December 31st, 2008
Yeah, I know I haven't updated all year. Whatev.
1. What did you do in 2008 that you'd never done before?
Well I went to Seminary and started working on my Theology degree does that count? Also I went to Mexico City.
2. Did you keep your New Years resolutions, and will you make more for next year?
I don’t remember but given my track record on resolutions probably not.
3. Did anyone close to you give birth?
I don’t….think so?
4. Did anyone close to you die?
Not this year.
5. What states did you visit?
Hrmm….Georgia, Wisconsin…I think that’s actually it.
6. What countries did you visit?
7. What would you like to have in 2009 that you lacked in 2008?
Motivation and discipline for my diet
8. What date from 2008 will remain etched upon your memory and why?
Actually I can’t think of any date in particular. 2008 was a pretty pedestrian year.
9. What was your biggest achievement of the year?
Pulled off straight As my first semester in Seminary.
10. What was your biggest failure?
Put on a couple dozen pounds >.<
11. Did you suffer illness or injury?
Not so much, I am ridiculously hardy and non-accident-prone.
12. What was the best thing you bought?
Probably the new computer. But also: new digital camera yay! Ipod yay! PDA yay! Obviously I like electronic gadgets a lot.
13. Whose behavior merited celebration?
Hrmm…I’m gonna go with my youth group kids for behaving themselves in Mexico and just being generally awesome. My family, as always. Good portion of my friends as well. Missy definitely merited celebration for finishing college.
14. Whose behavior made you appalled and depressed?
The news media, the GOP, Israel, Palestine, Iran…interesting that all the people who made me appalled were impersonal and all the people who merited celebration were personal.
15. Where did most of your money go?
my car and school
16. What did you get really really excited about?
School, the election, going to Mexico, meeting new people finally
17. What song will always remind you of 2008?
hrmm…maybe M4 (part 2) by faunts, because it got me into an entire new genre of music (for me)
18. Compared to this time last year, are you happier or sadder?
I think happier, most things are looking up for me.
ii. Thinner or fatter?
bleh, fatter (slightly)
iii. Richer or poorer?
Poorer, largely due to the rather large debt I’m accruing for school.
19. What do you wish you'd done more of?
worked out, eaten better, gotten to know people at school
20. What do you wish you'd done less of?
eat crap, mope around.
21. How will you be spending Christmas?
Spent it at home with my family and friends. It was great.
22. How will you be spending NYE?
Headin’ up to Milwaukee to party with friends
23. Did you fall in love in 2008?
24. How many one night stands?
25. What was your favorite TV program(s)?
Favorite new program is probably 30 rock, but I also enjoyed Chuck, House, Lost, and Battlestar Galactica.
26. Do you hate anyone now that you didn't hate this time last year?
Nope, don’t really hate anyone period honestly.
27. What was the best book you read?
Anathem by Neal Stephenson
28. What was your greatest musical discovery?
like I said before, faunts
29. What did you want and get?
A fantastic time at school, good grades, A new computer, a new camera, an ipod…erm…yeah…and so on.
30. What did you want and not get?
A lady and less weight
31. What was your favorite film of this year?
32. What did you do on your birthday?
Went out to dinner? Opened presents? Had lots of fun?
33. What one thing would have made your year more satisfying?
Being more extroverted and less self-deprecating.
34. How would you describe your personal fashion concept in 2008?
comfy but decently stylish. Cargo shorts/pants and a decent shirt in a good color. Been rocking the ¼ zip sweaters since it got chilly.
35. What kept you sane?
Just about everything, really.
36. Which celebrity did you fancy the most?
Good question…hrmm…Kristin Bell? Probably something like that.
37. What political issue stirred you the most?
The election, obviously, and also Prop 8
38. Who did you miss?
39. Who was the best new person you met?
Definitely can’t pick, I met so may cool people at school
40. Tell us a valuable life lesson you learned in 2008:
I’m not nearly as much of a loser as I see myself as.
June 8th, 2008
My mind is:
Well, I'm 24 now. Okay, admittedly, on its own that's not terribly significant. Most people were, are, or will be 24 at some point in their lives. I guess what's far more significant was the birthday present I got today.
I spent yesterday and this morning at a Synod assembly. Chances are you have no idea what that is. A Synod is a regional division of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America, to which I belong. Specifically, the Metropolitan Chicago Synod, which works with all the ELCA congregations in greater Chicagoland. They hold an assembly every year, in June, to pass new resolutions and, more importantly, to talk about how to do the work that God has set out for us. I went figuring it'd be a pretty neat experience. But after some time processing what I experienced there, I've realized that I got way, way more out of it than I thought.
For a good while now, I've had a pretty danged good idea of where I was headed with life. Seminary starts in the fall. About two and a half years after that, I get my Masters. Four more years after that, I get a Doctorate, and after that I move out to teach, write, and whatever. I plan to focus my studies primarily on faith in a contemporary context, especially reconciling Christian theology with modern scientific understandings. I figured I had a pretty good grasp on what I'd be best at and how to go about doing it. What I realized today, though, was that I haven't given enough thought to why I've been equipped to do this sort of thing. I didn't even realize that it's a stumbling block until now. But, Synod Assembly reminded me of what the heck being a member of this church is all about in the first place. I was expecting meetings and voting, but what I seem to be getting out of it is some good old fashioned awakening.
Sometimes, I forget how much of a sly fox God is.
I've been reminded that Christianity isn't just about accepting God. It isn't even about knowing that you are loved unconditionally by God. Christianity is about recognizing that you are blessed, to be a blessing. I've heard that phrase before, but the import didn't strike me until now, having been snapped into place with the rest of my understanding, like two chunks of a Lego model. At any rate, what it means is that God has done wonderful, spectacular things for us. God has saved us from our own craptastic nature. God has given us gifts of insight, support, dedication, love, and each other. And the reason for all these gifts is that so we can go out and make the world better. Christianity is about knowing that, some way, somehow, God has equipped you to transform the world. We are freed from worry about ourselves, because through Christ's sacrifice we're saved. Instead of directed inwards, towards our own ultimate fate, our energies are free to be directed outwards, to pushing back the forces that would seek to destroy the world.
I don't know if I'm really getting my point across the way I want to, here. Let me try putting it a different way. I have always, always been passionate about teaching a new understanding of theology and scripture. That's what my interest in Seminary has been about. That's what my devotion to faith and science has been about. That's where I find most of my own faith centered, in theology. But now, I understand that the reason this work is so meaningful and so important to me is because through this work, people can be transformed, and can begin to use their own gifts and their own blessings to transform others. To put it in a nutshell, I want to do mission work, to bring the Word of God to people who haven't experienced it in a way which speaks to their hearts, so that those people may be transformed by it and find the same fulfillment I find in doing God's work through it.
One of my long-standing issues with my faith is the seeming lack of spiritual enthusiasm I have. Like I just said, I find most of my faith in theology, in understanding the teachings of Christ on a mostly academic way. I think this idea of using new theology to help people find their own spiritual font may be what I need. Before, I considered bringing new insight to people the end of my work, the final result of the effort I make. But I think now I'm beginning to understand that it is, in fact, the barest beginning. The theology I want to bring to people isn't a conclusion, it's an introduction. It's not to educate, it's to inspire.
So I guess God had this whole little thing planned out for me. The fact that it happened on my birthday is just a giant, celestial wink. God is telling me "there, you asked for some help. Happy Birthday, dude. Go nuts."
And so now, the question becomes not "what should I do with my degree?" but instead "What is the best way for me to use my degree to inspire people to Christian action?"
I'm sorry this turned into such a huge essay, but as you can probably tell, It's important to me and I'm pretty excited about it.
February 10th, 2008
My mind is:
September 2nd, 2007
I'm crossposting this from the Ministry, just so I have a free-floating copy I can link people to.
One Hundred pounds.
As an abstract measurement, it doesn't seem particularly remarkable. Sure, on the heavy side for most people, but not that
heavy. But just for kicks, let's take a look at a few things that measure up to that nice clean number, 100 lbs.( Behind a cut due to lotsa picsCollapse )
August 31st, 2007
Ganked from Sweets:
I will send a gift to the first 3 people who leave a comment here on my LJ.
I don't know what that gift will be yet, but you will receive it within 365 days.
The only thing you have to do in return is "pay it forward" by making a similar agreement on your Journal
Yay for sending stuff! :D Leave your address too so I know where to send it <.<
oh also hi LJ I haven't posted anything in you for like 6 months sorry about that but things are going awesome.
March 29th, 2007
My mind is:
Current Distraction: Digitally Imported Chillout
March 16th, 2007
My mind is:
Current Distraction: Digitally Imported Trance Station
I need to award myself a few points here real quick, just to give myself a bit of an esteem boost, or something.
Last night I actually went out and did something social. Now, okay, it didn't really go that well, but given my usual tendency to enscone myself in my room and pretend the outside world all but doesn't exist, I'd call it a decent accomplishment.
I went out to a bar with Matt and Josh. Now, I've been doing markedly well on my Jenny program this week, for the first time in a long time I'm showing real progress. So, while at the bar, I drank a diet coke. That's it. No beer, no mixed drinks, no nothin'. Just a diet coke. That felt pretty good, I gotta admit. And the scale backs me up on that one.
This morning, after watching a bunch of YouTube videos detailing people doing incredible things, I decided to take a whack at something of a long-standing personal challenge to myself. In DDRMAX2 there's a track called Burning Heat!. On heavy, it's a 9-foot cata. It's always been my favorite DDR song, and ever since I first saw it I've been thinking of the day when I could actually handle it. Well, today, I did. I got a D, but a D is not an E, and that's the line between "fail" and "pass". So, I passed Burning Heat. I could not have done that a year ago. Not even six months ago. Hell, not even three months ago. But today I did. I know this isn't exactly a terribly meaningful accomplishment, I didn't save a life or cure cancer or anything, but it's an important milestone to me, because it reminds me that, already, I can do some things that I could never hope to do before.
Now then, to keep it up :D.
March 9th, 2007
My mind is:
Current Distraction: Rusted Root - Send me on my Way
So, we were talking about the Confessions of St. Augustine in my human nature class today, and while I didn't particularly catch anything interesting in the confessions themselves, the prof mentioned something which tossed me off on a fun tangent which I developed into the little idea you're about to read below. Namely, he mentioned the Christian Holy Trinity.
Now, the Holy Trinity has been rather interesting to me for quite a while now, because I once drew an interesting analogy between what I see as the three different characterizations of God in the Bible and the branches of the Trinity. Today, though, I wound up expanding that and connecting it to what I see as God's message to us concerning how God wants us to live.
Okay, the first branch of the Trinity is God the Father. Father is sort of an unfair characterization because what with it stemming from the classical conception of God as male, which is kinda silly, but whatever, it's what people are familiar with. Now, to me, God the Father represents the God of the Old Testament Israelites. During this time, God spoke to God's chosen people through the prophets, and God guided God's people through the Law. Of course, the Israelites weren't perfect, and God spent rather a lot of time in the Old Testament laying the righteous smackdown on them for breaking some law or other. And that's sorta the key point. God the Father represents the Law. That's the first aspect of how God wants us to live. God's Law is God telling us how to lead a good life. Of course, the well-known problem with God's Law is that it's impossible to follow it completely. God's Law demands perfection, and we're imperfect humans, so we're never going to get there. So why the crap does God lay down a law we can't possibly live up to? My theory is that God doesn't want or expect us to really live up to God's Law. What God expects us to do is to always try to get closer to living God's Law. Since God's Law is perfect and we're not and can never be perfect, that basically means that no matter what, we'll always have something to strive for. And that's what God really wants. God wants us to always, no matter how good we think we're doing, to be looking for ways in which we could better live in the Light of God, because there's always something. God wants to motivate us to improve ourselves, no matter how little improvement we may think we need.
The second branch of the Trinity is Jesus Christ, God the Son. When Jesus was cruising around the Holy Land with his band of Hippies, he focused on one thing above all others, and that was Grace. God the Son is God the Grace. Jesus was constantly telling us both that God happily offers us forgiveness for our shortcomings if we're willing to accept it. Jesus was also pretty big on us forgiving one another, because hey, if it's good enough for God, it's good enough for those created in God's image. Jesus' whole purpose was to let us know that God understands that God set an impossible standard for us, and it's okay if we don't make it because God reaches out across the gap between us and God, the gap we can never cross under our own power, and offers us a bridge. God doesn't want us to stop trying to improve ourselves, and Jesus still makes that very clear, but at the same time, God wants us to know that we're safe, because God doesn't want us desperately reaching for perfectino as a means to save ourselves. God wants us joyfully striving to live in God's image because understand the Love and the Glory and the Light.
And hey, wow, actually, without really meaning to I just set up a really nice segue into God the Holy Spirit. Fun fact for people playing the home game: the Holy Spirit was often referred to in the feminine in Hebrew texts. Think about it. Anyways, so yeah, the Holy Spirit is, I think, the way we experience God today. God gave us the Law, and God gave us Grace, and after that was done God's role in our development changed. Humanity graduated high school and moved out to go to college. We can still write home and get some extra cash when we need it, but God lets us be independent and find our own path these days. God the Holy Spirit represents the pure Joy that comes with growing into our own understanding of God and the world around us. If we keep the holy spirit in our lives, through our day-to-day living and our outlook, then we open ourselves to the pure kickassery of God. It's not about codifying God's Law anymore, and it's not about understanding our need for and our capacity for Grace, those lessons have been taught. What remains for us is to seek and understand the pure essence of God's existence, to find God in our own way, to express it in everything we do in life, and to be a conduit for God's Love and Joy to spread through the whole world.
Kinda neat, if I do say so myself...
And yeah, I definitely have major problems with all three of these key concepts. I'm very, very far from perfect, and I have challenges and obstacles to overcome in order to improve. I'm trying, first, to get a better handle on those obstacles, and get help in understanding them and what I need to do to surpass them, and I think that's what God would want me to do. I have these rare moments of semi-clarity where I can look over everything I've gone through and am going through and actually be able to see the influence of God in my life, holding my head above water and always nudging me forward. I see God in my family, I see God in my friends. I have trouble seeing God in myself, and that's what I want to work on first. My hope is that, if I can learn to see the Joy of God that exists within my own heart, then I can let it transform me into the person God wants me to be, because I want to be that person too. And once I do that, well, then hopefully my path in life will be clearer, and I can set down it secure in the knowledge that I'm walking with God.
...Huh, that was surprisingly frank and spiritual for me. At least, that's what it feels like. Anyways, yeah, that felt good.
March 7th, 2007
January 27th, 2007
My mind is:
Hard to say...
Yes, I still exist, in theory.
In a rather messed up mood tonight. Wouldn't exactly call it depressed. Or bitter, or anything. I don't know, maybe it's just a temporary exhaustion with my life. Tired of being me, wish I was someone else, that sort of thing. I mention this now, when I really should be going to bed, because in my experience this sort of thing has become quite ephemeral and will most likely be a fading memory in the morning.
I've really made leaps and bounds as to setting things in order in the last six months or so. Positive change, yadda yadda yadda. But the results are slow in coming, coming though they may be, and at times like this, I find myself tired of waiting, and moreso, frustrated at the chances I've missed or may yet miss. It's somewhat disheartening to look back into my past, see how rough things have been, then look into my future and see more of the same before I finally get myself somewhere I really don't mind being.
On the other hand, if I lift my eyes just a bit above that spot, I see where I know I'll find myself eventually. It's hazy and indistinct, but it's there. I have to trust my intuition, but I can be reasonably assured that I'll get what I've been wanting, or more likely I'll get something else that supplants what I've been wanting entirely and makes it seem insignificant by comparison.
Of course, it's difficult to let go. It's always difficult. And, of course, we most desperately cling to the things which most hold us back. I know I'm guilty of it. There's not much for it but to deconstruct it and put it on display, readily apparent as what it really is and not what it wants me to believe it is. Pacing back and forth in a cage, with a little brass plaque reading "please do not feed."