Monthly Archives: February 2009

What if…my band’s first album.

myalbumOkay – Just got back from a Citizen Cope concert and saw this on my friends blog and thought…what the heck.  My friend got this from facebook, and I thought it was fun. So follow the rules and end the eternal mystery of what your band and first album would be called.

1 – Go to “wikipedia.” Hit “random”or click http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Special:Random The first random wikipedia article you get is the name of your band.

2 – Go to “Random quotations”or click http://www.quotationspage.com/random.php3 The last four or five words of the very last quote of the page is the title of your first album.

3 – Go to flickr and click on “explore the last seven days”or click http://www.flickr.com/explore/interesting/7days Third picture, no matter what it is, will be your album cover.

4 – Use photoshop or similar to put it all together.

5 – Post it to your blog, comment on mine and other blogs (I’m making this part up…since this was supposed to be for facebook, but whatev.)

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Show me…

Running has been coming along pretty well. Having my friend Trent training for a half-marathon and using my new toys (Run keeper app on iPhone) to help track my training has been very effective.  This past Saturday I went to run in an addition that someone had recommended I run some of my longer runs in called Biltmore Forest.  She told me that it was a low traffic area and that it was a beautiful addition as well. I was excited to check it out and it was cool to finally run somewhere new. It was a little hillier than I had expected, but I was focusing on keeping my head up and breathing correctly so i wasn’t too distracted by the obsticles and instead enjoyed the new scenery. It turned out to be an amazing run and today was a good run was well. My time is improving and I’m seeing progress in all areas.

Today during my run I spent time reflecting on a movie that I started watching called Lord Save Us From Your Followers. It’s a documentary style film about the division that faith is having on America. Although I haven’t seen Religulous yet, I gather that it might be in the same vein except with the end point being that faith shouldn’t be given up on. Religulous is next on my Netflix cue, so I’ll be checking that out this week as well. As I ran I just kept thinking about how different this world might be if Christians were as passionate about loving others as trying to win arguments. What if we stopped trying to convince people that we are “right” and instead lived what we believe. How different might things be?

Today was Ash Wednesday. Last year I decided to participate in Lent differently than I had in the past. I decided to focus on doing more spiritual emphasis than abstaining from something. This year I plan on doing the same. Of the four New Year resolutions I have taken on, I’ve done really well with three of the four. Reading, running, and blogging have been very regular but blogging hasn’t taken off as well as I’d hoped. I really think that for me journaling is an essential spiritual discipline. It is where I can be totally honest with myself and really express myself in though and prayer. This year for lent my plan is to journal every night, reading through the gospel of Matthew, and reading Jesus wants to save Christians by Rob Bell and Don Golden. To make time for this I’ve limited myself to only two TV shows a day. Although I don’t like to admit it, TV can be a real time waster for me. I guess my computer can be as well, maybe next year I’ll reduce my computer usage.

Favorite song of the moment…Use Somebody by Kings of Leon.

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Here Come Da Judge.

gavelI love how easy it is to be wrong for me lately. The other day I was out getting some fast food for lunch with some friends from work, when I saw a rather obese woman eating.  I had a thought, and immediately decided to share it on twitter and so with facebook as well.  My thought was “does anyone else feel like they are watching an alcoholic take shots when they watch an obese person eating fast food?” I thought it was a clever yet true statement and found myself laughing as I sent it. I went on to enjoy my lunch and then headed back to work. On my way back I was thinking about what we would be discussing with my friends as we are talking about the book The Shack by WM. Paul Young. The actual part of the book that I thought might be interesting was a paragraph where the character Mack is asked by another person to be the judge of others. His response…

“What? Me? I’d rather not,” he paused. “I don’t have any ability to judge.”

 “Oh, that is not true,” returned the quick reply tinged now with a hint of sarcasm. “You have already proved yourself very capable, even in our short time together. And besides, you have judged many through your life. You have judged the actions and even the motivations of others, as if you somehow knew what those were in truth. You have judged the color of skin and body language and body odor. You have judged history and relationships. You have even judged the value of a person’s life by the quality of your concept of beauty. By all accounts, you are quite well-practiced in the activity.”

So as I drove back to my office thinking about this passage and how do I judge others to make myself feel better on a daily basis, it struck me. I had just done it. I had looked down on that lady at the fast food place and had even gone a step farther to mock her in a public forum. Ouch, reality can really be striking sometimes.

When I got back to my desk, I looked at my computer and realized that there were 17 new updates and I already knew what they were going to be about. They were going to be comments on my ignorant comment. The dialogue I joined was a good one. All I can say is I was humbled and ate crow as I realized again how easy it is to judge and dismiss others in some perverted attempt to make myself feel better. Special thanks to Kristin and Matt who are always merciful but helpful in opening my eyes to own bias.

Matthew 7:1 “Do not judge so that you will not be judged.”

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Tearful performance.

I’m reading a book called Divine Nobodies by Jim Palmer and tonight I’m absolutely crying. I mean I’m not much of a crier, you won’t probably ever see me cry. Don’t let that fool you though, I’m a softy, and I do cry often when reading books or watching movies alone. Well, actually even then I don’t cry often, but I definitely tear up and get a little emotional. I’m not bragging that I don’t cry in front of people, I know that it’s the machismo culture that men have been brought up in that makes me this way. I’m fully aware that crying is not a sign of weakness and there are several men that I admire that I see cry often at sentimental moments, but still it’s engrained  in me to not cry easily in front of others. I know it’s silly.

Anyways, tonight I was really hit by a story that Jim shared about a young woman who was sitting in the library with her father as he read her a book. She was an angelically beautiful young woman who had cerebral palsy. He talked about how she sat with her face against her father’s shoulder, enamored as he read to her. By no fault of her own, she can’t express to her father all that she feels in the ways that a typical child would, yet by her father’s actions, it is clear that he adores her and loves to be with her. It’s a beautiful picture and I believe Jim’s point was that the father’s love for his daughter has nothing to do with what the daughter can or cannot do. He related this to the fact that so many people are caught up with trying to “perform” for God instead of loving God and loving others.

I wonder how long I will keep trying to perform for God before I realize that what God really wants is for me to just live life in love with Him. I believe we will bring more of the kingdom of God to this world out of response of living in love then in trying to perform for him. When will I ever realize that there is nothing I can do to make God love me more?

C.S. Lewis expresses it like this in Mere Christianity.  There’s a story where a child asks his father for a sixpence to buy his father a gift. The father gives the son the money and is happy with the gift that he gets. But he realizes that he’s not any richer, because he gave the child the money in the first place. It’s a reminder that we can never really “do” anything for God. He has made us, and we are just to live in response to that love, by loving God and loving others.  I’m done trying to perform.

love_is_blind_

 

 

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Change the world?

Westminster Abbey

Westminster Abbey

“When I was young and free and my imagination had no limits, I dreamed of changing the world.

As I grew older and wiser I discovered the world would not change –
So I shortened my sights somewhat and decided to change only my country, but it too seemed immovable.

As I grew into my twilight years, in one last desperate attempt, I settled for changing only my family, those closest to me, but alas, they would have none of it.

And now I realize as I lie on my deathbed, if I had only changed myself first, then by example I might have changed my family. From their inspiration and encouragement I would then have been able to better my country,

And who knows, I might have even changed the world.”

– inscription on the tomb of an Anglican Bishop in Westminster Abbey

I really like this thought, and yet tonight, for the first time, I’m realizing that my entire adult life has still been lived trying to change the world. I feel bad about it, the fact that I’ve lived trying to change everyone else instead of trying to change myself more often. It’s not like I’ve grown up never hearing this sentiment.

“Be the change you want to see in the world” – Mahatma Ghandi

“Why do you look at the speck of sawdust in your brother’s eye and pay no attention to the plank in your own eye?” – Jesus

Still I find that I’m so quick to try to change the world and others instead of focusing on being who it is that I believe I’m meant to be, who I’m trying to be. The crazy part is that at this point in my life, I feel as though I really have something to say, something to contribute to the conversation of life, but realize that most of us are too wrapped up in our own lives to have the conversation anyways. So for those of you that I’ve tried to change, instead of enjoying the conversations in life that are worth having, I’m sorry. I’m working on it, and I’m learning to listen and understand before trying to be understood. This will be an ongoing process though, so please be patient. I’m learning how to live life all over again. Learn how to live as I believe is best and yet to not impose on others. Learn to live my life in a way that hopefully does inspire others and yet be ready for when no one takes notice.

On the other hand I’ve been pretty excited lately and for several good reasons.

1) My half marathon training is going well and I can already feel and see a difference with my running and weight lifting. My blisters are healing nicely now that I’m using two pairs of socks. I have changed my training program though; I’m using Runners World smart coach training now.

2) I’ve just got six new books and I’m excited to read all of them. (authors: Jim Palmer, Shane Claiborne, Rob Bell, Mark Steele and 2 by N.T. Wright.)

3) I got information on Noe Israel, the kid I’m now sponsoring in the Dominican Republic, and his family, along with a photo. (I’ll scan it soon.)

4) The next two months of my life continue to blossom with more and more fun excursions with great friends who will be coming to visit me and of course Lesley and Bruce’s wedding.

5) I found the blogs of two authors that I’ve really enjoyed reading lately: Jim Palmer and Brian D. McLaren.

The sum of these things has really kept me in pretty great spirits. That being said, here’s to being a world changer, the right way.

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The Second (oops, Third) Israel in my life.

runfatboyrun

So the half marathon training is up and going for almost a full week now and I have a blister that resembles New Hampshire on my left foot to prove it. Today I talked with my friend Trent, who is racing in the Indy Mini in May, about training regiments and I’m considering looking into a different training schedule after looking at the one that he is following. This is only my second half marathon, so I figured I’d ask for some advice from some other half marathon runners on their training regimen. So if you consider yourself a runner and have thoughts on training, do share your insights with me. I’d also love to hear some recommendations on music I could add to my run iZZy run playlist on my iPhone. Of course run iZZy run is my tribute to the Simon Pegg movie run fatboy run. The movie is pretty funny and can serve as inspiration to get you running, but still doesn’t hold a candle to my favorite Simon Pegg movie…Shawn of the Dead.
dominican-republic

Yesterday I met with the team of people who will be going down to the Dominican Republic with me in May for a service trip. It was nice to catch up to some people who went last year as well as meet a few new faces. The most exciting part for me was that I decided to start sponsoring a child that lives down in the area that we work in. The sponsorship, throught Solid Rock Missions, provides education and materials for the student for the entire year. I’ll be able to correspond with him and because of our missions’ trip, I’ll be able to meet him and see him every year that I make the trip. (Totally cool thing, his name is Noe Israel. Awesome, cause my Dad’s name is Israel and mine is as well.) This is really meaningful to me because part of my personal revolution has been to try to know people who are in poverty. The inspiration for this comes from Shane Claiborne who in The Irresistible Revolution said that many people are so far removed from poverty that it has no affect on them. Jesus said we will always have the poor among us, and many people have used that as an excuse for not doing anything about poverty. But Shane’s take on it is that we are never supposed to allow ourselves to be removed from those who are in need. This makes so much sense to me, because if I am sitting and talking with the widow Ms. Maylee or corresponding with Noe Israel, it helps me to be conscious of the difference between my wants and my needs. I’m not saying that we should do away with all our wants, but I always want to think about the fact that I, little old me, can have an effect on those around me and the world by using the gifts and resources that I’ve been given. I want to know when I die that I have not just gone through the motions, but that I have made the most of my life. For me that includes helping others and not one day realizing the difference I could have made if I had bought one less THING and instead helped to feed or clothe someone in need. I’m not out to become a saint, but to become more aware of the world I live in and to be active in making it better.

Ever heard of skype? A co-worker of mine has been using it to talk to her daughters who are out of the country as well as her father who lives across the country. So I’ve been thinking about checking it out to use to talk to my loved ones that don’t live close. Any pro’s or con’s I should know about?

Final note…Totally excited to check out Demetri Martin’s new show Wednesday night (2/11/09 10:30pm) on Comedy Central. He is comic genius in my book.

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Training has begun…

RaceFest

Charlotte RaceFest April 18th Charlotte, NC. Finally found my next half marathon and I’m pretty excited about it. It’s exactly what I need to get myself up and running, so to speak. I have such a hard time running when I don’t’ have some sort of goal to press for. I’m also happy that I’ve found out about a few different places to run when I get to my longer runs on Saturday’s when the time gets closer. This new app for iPhone I found to help track my runs is really amazing too. It’s called Run Keeper. It tracks my distance, time, speed and pace. Even better when you upload your run to the internet, it shows the altitude you ran against the speed you were running. Also it shows when you slowed down and when you ran fastest. These are all absolutely interesting to me as I try to improve my stamina and pace. So between Run Keeper and my heart rate monitor I’m totally tracking everything possible as I train this time.

Tonight I’ve been researching dreads again. I get excited when I check out dread sights and read about the process that will work best for me and the kind of stuff that I’ll use to wash and maintain my dreads. I get a little nervous though when I look at the photo galleries. There are so many people who have dreads that I think totally look disgusting. I really hope they work for me. I know they can really look great on people as well, but tonight, so many of the pics I saw were not really good looking to me.

Looking at my calendar today I realized that I’ve got an awful lot coming up! In March I’ll get my dreads and have two retreats with my students. One of the retreats I’ll have my friend Tim as a guest speaker and musician. He’s a student at Emory and I think my students will totally enjoy having him around. Then after the retreats I’ll have my amazing friend and mentor Scott coming to visit me from Indiana. It will be great to have him around just when March Madness starts. I’ll be sure to have some time off to hangout and take him hiking out here in the beautiful mountains of western NC. Then in April I’ll have the half marathon and then later that day Bruce and Lesley will be getting married! In May I’ll be headed to the Dominican Republic with a group of people to work with orphans, school children and just try to make a difference in general. There are also two to three other friends that might try to come visit soon, could be an amazing next few months!

I’ve been checking out some cool music lately. I’ll just give you a few that have been in heavy rotation for me for the past few days/weeks. Outsider by The Daylights, Consoler of the Lonely by The Raconteurs, and Getting’ Up by Q-Tip. Thanks to Trent, Justin, and Don for sending new music my way.

 

album covers

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