Monday, April 30, 2007

OK. Even More

If you look hard, you will see the deer(s)

More Scenery

From our Sunday drive through the mountains

Thursday, April 26, 2007

Polar Opposites are Cold

OK my post about not liking any form of Calvanism really created heat. No so much here as at another blog.

Here is how I see it. Arminianism and Calvinism are not polar opposites. The polar opposite of Calvinism (or better Hyper-Calvinism) is the belief that everything just happens by chance. I will quote one of my favorite bands, Rush.

"Why are we here, because were here
Roll The Bones
Roll The Bones
Why does it happen because it happens
Roll The Bones
Roll The Bones"

Now I dont agree with Neil Peart's assesment of life here anymore than I agree that God is in charge and controls us like little robots. Both views are polar opposites and therefor frozen.

Neil Peart doesnt believe their is a God at all and that everything happens by chance. Calvin believed that God controls everything and there is no freewill.
Arminianism is a bit too far on the "Rush" side in that it discredits God's power.

I think in between lies the truth. God is there and is in control overall, however he doesnt override free will. Some things happen just by chance. The choice of whether to follow God is up to the person

Wednesday, April 25, 2007

Peace Like a River

This was taken at a place that I felt close to God. Not in Church but rather on the banks of the beautiful fast flowing Santiam River at Cascadia State Park. The cool sound of the water rushing is soothing to the soul. I like to spend a lot of my time in the outdoors. I find it renewing to the Spirit and Mind and Body.

That is one thing I love about Oregon. Its so easy to find places where there are no people where you can enjoy

Tuesday, April 24, 2007

Truth in 7 easy steps

I was at Roth's yesterday. Its a grocery store in Independence Oregon for the benefit of my fellow Oregonians. I saw a book there with a title that intrigued me so much I bought it. The book is called "7 Biblical Truths you want here in Church but might change your life". Its by David Rich. Since it was published by Harvest House of Eugene I thought why not. I have enjoyed other books they publish. well it started off kind of cool until I got the chapter called "Dead People cant help themselves". This was disturbing. It touches on predestination and election but goes so far as to say that God chooses who will become saved and who wont. In other words he says, this one for heaven, this one is gonna burn.

I have a real problem with a God that created people just to stoke up his bonfire down under. I have read the Bible many times and yes it speaks of election and I believe we cannot become Christians totally on our own. However I dont believe God made anyone to perish. Honestly I am not sure I even believe that everyone who is not a Christian in this life is automatically gonna burn. God is love. I believe he gives people second third fourth chances etc. this may sound like heresy to some but I think the Hyper-Calvinistic belief of God choosing who to save and who to roast is sick and disturbing. I honestly wouldnt want to serve a God that got pleasure out of making human marshmallows out of people for sick fun.

I believe God LOVES everyone and if there is a literal hell, everyone has the power to choose not to go there.

Sunday, April 22, 2007

I too am a victim. Long live the gods of consumerism

OK. The title is total sarcasm. My specialty. I was reading about all the hype about bottled water and it dawned on me that we are all just dollar signs to the corporate execs. The gods of capitalism. The almighty dollar is their god. They will do anything. Burn the rainforest. Kill, have wars, destroy all to line their pockets. What they dont realize is when they get old and are dying, they wont be any better off than anyone. Just like the mannequins, I dont envy these people either.

I never realized how much of my thinking was shaped by them. What car to drive. What cell phone to have. What other piece of made in China crap I need. What chicken I eat. Well I am sick of it. No I am not gonna go off and grow my own food. Mainly because I wouldnt have a clue how to. As a product of consumerism, I like many lack basic skills needed to survive without an endless sea of "products" which are made to make money and nothing else.

I am however going to be more selective about companies I do business with for example, I now only drink Earth2o water. Because it has been proven legit to me. Also though I love the finger lickin good taste of the Colonel's chicken, I cannot in good conscience support a company that burns rainforest to make land to grow the chickens they so cruelly torture to death. I guess Pizza Hut is out too since they are owned by the same company. I know I know I canot take this too far. But would Jesus eat tortured chicken? Would he drink water contaminated with bromide? Would he drive a Tahoe? I think not.

Saturday, April 21, 2007


I read the book of Phillipians before I went to bed tonight.

15It is true that some preach Christ out of envy and rivalry, but others out of goodwill. 16The latter do so in love, knowing that I am put here for the defense of the gospel. 17The former preach Christ out of selfish ambition, not sincerely, supposing that they can stir up trouble for me while I am in chains.[c] 18But what does it matter? The important thing is that in every way, whether from false motives or true, Christ is preached. And because of this I rejoice.

Part of that jumped out at me. My motives for wanting to go into full time ministry before were not right. Yeah I wanted to "lead people to the Lord" but what I really wanted was to break into the Church industry. I figured like any other industry you gotta start somewhere. Somewhere seemed to be working with kids. Now I believe good things came from my work with kids, but why did I do it. To work my way up the corporate ladder in the Church industry. Sure I felt good about it. To make it worse, Church actually encourages would be leaders this way. Since Church is a business, you start at the bottom (whether you feel led to or not) and work your way up. Once you get the recognition of men, you can do the "real" stuff

My whole perspective has changed. I no longer want to work my way up the corporate ladder. I am not sure that my purpose in life anymore is even to switch industries.

Ministry is service. Service to what. Service to God and to your fellow people. Nothing about a corporate ladder in that.

Friday, April 20, 2007

Happy April 20th

This is a sigificant day in the US:

Hitlers birthday
OK City
Marijuana day
Earth Day

So watch out. The stoned Neo-Nazi terrorists might get you.

Just kidding. Have a great day


When we here of blacklisting we may think of the hollywood blacklist of the McCarthian era. We may think of the good guys who save us from SPAM. I think of credit bureaus, Chexsystems, no fly lists and other evil things that are supposed to be for good but are misused and move us toward pure fascism. Lets look at spam blacklisting. Safe enough right, NOT. There is an evil organization out there called SORBS. They make a point of deciding who can and cannot send email. They blacklist you your toast. Try sending an email straight from a DSL account. I dont mean through the mail server of your ISP. Try running your own server like I did. No worky. Thanks a lot SORBS.

How about Chexsystems. You get on there and for 5 years you cannot get a bank account. You have no rights to get removed and any pissed bank can report you.

I think people need to be outraged by blacklisting and band together to ban all forms of blacklisting. It is evil and must be stopped.

Even the infamous no fly lists are evil. Sure they may or may not stop a terrorist but if your name happens to be the same as a terrorist, you are fscked.

What makes a blacklist a blacklist is:

You have no right to find out why you are being denied something when you are denied
You cannot remove yourself
Poor regulation for who can put you there.

How about sex offender registries. YOu may say, they keep kids safe. Well maybe, but what they do is make it nearly impossible for a rehabilitated sex offender who wants to do things right to make a living. The ones who reoffend are likely going to not register. Blacklists only hurt the people who want to play by the rules.

What ever happend to forgiveness. Or if they are so freaking dangerous, dont let them out of prison to begin with.

Thursday, April 19, 2007

Living Mannequins

I see them. Everywhere I go. They are there. People who ask how you doin? When they dont care. They say good. Its a greeting. They look good in their business suits. Starched up. Women with so much makeup they look like mannequins. Inside they hurt. Inside they are broken and sad. Outside they look plastic. They seem so happy in their world. Like they have it made. They are better than me. They say so. As they parade around in their silver and gold Tahoe's, or their BMWs they seem plastic. Though deep down, they must have hearts. Otherwise they wouldnt live. The Church is full of them too. More than the world. Not that there is really a difference. So I mourn and lament for the plastic people. The mannequins. They do as they are told. They think as they think they should. But later in life when they are old and the plastic melts, they will see it was all fake.

If anyone has seen the Soundgarden video Black Hole Sun they will get this reference. In the end, the Barbies will melt. Not by the hand of anyone, but just from age. Their plastic parts will fall off and they will be lonely old and sad.

I dont envy the mannequins. I pity them. I hope they get it figured out. I wish them well. Their pain is self inflicted.


This is almost free writing but not. I feel like I am starting to become free. Starting to discover who I am. Not what they tell me I am but who I am. Like a bird leaving the nest. An old bird with a young heart. I am free falling toward the ground. No mother bird to scoop me up. Just the air. All of a sudden something picks me up and sets me on the solid ground. Could it be the hand of God. Why are so many just falling falling fast. Fast toward the ground. About to be smashed to pieces like a splattered egg on the pavement. Then there are those on the ground. They stand there holding nets made of paper mache. They look like they will catch you but they wont. The will just make a tearing sound as you hit the ground. Then they paint over you and make it look like you made it. But really you are smashed to pieces.

I am thankful that the hand of God catches me. He carries me to the ground but not all the way. Just close enough to see the pain of those who hit it hard. Also enough to to wave at those falling and reach out a hand to them. That is if they will take it.

I am guilty of the paper mache net however I saw it before I let many fall to the ground. God has opened my eyes. What was so clear is now obscured by clouds but the fakeness is apparent. My life was like that of Truman in the movie. Now it is real. Whatever real is. I see light in the tunnel and its not from the oncoming train. And to those who lie to me, I see you.

I now wish I could provide comfort to those who have smashed into the pavement but are still alive. Broken and beaten yet alive. I want to be like duct tape for the soul. To tape up the broken wings. Heal up the crushed hearts. I cant do it because though I think I am OK, I too am broken. But not beyond repair.

This stuff is crazy but it was what I was thinking at the time. Take it for what its worth.

Tuesday, April 17, 2007

More Tragedy

Anyway, I am not belittling what happend by being introspective here. It really was a terrible tragedy. My heart goes out to the families of those people in Virginia.

It disturbs me that tragedy in other forms takes place in the world and we never hear of it, but it is still terrible.

I have to wonder what kind of world will my kids (if they ever exist) grow up in.


Many of you may have heard about the shootings at Virginia Tech. This struck me the way most monumental tragedies do, however a bit different. This is now the second time a major tragedy has struck in a state I used to live in. Now in neither case did I know anyone presently attending the school but I have known people who did in the past. When Columbine happend it really struck me because I used to live in Colorado, had been past Columbine many times and knew people who went there years before. One thing that was interesting is Columbine was not an inner city school. It is a suburban school in the area parents strive to live in so their kids can have a good safe school experience.

I have been to Blacksburg, Virginia. Its a nice little Southern town in the hills of Appalachia. Looks like a Norman Rockwell kind of place. Not a place you would expect tragedy to strike.

Maybe we should all move to the South side of Chicago to keep our kids (not that I have any) safe.

Anyway, back on track, it hits me how fragile we are and how it can all be over so quickly. Even in the safety of suburbia or smalltown America.

I want to share another story that may sound dumb but gripped me much the same way. It was way back in 1993. I was 21 (wow I am old). My mom and I were in the middle of Utah way out in the desert in a town called Salina. Its not much but there are hundreds of miles of desert in every direction so by the time you get there, its paradise.

At the truck stop just off I-70 (Its a shell now, used to be a chevron) Its the one with the big statue of the african dude if you have been there. Anyway, as I walked in, I saw the paper. The front page story was about a whole family tragically killed in a car accident. It had a picture of the smashed car on the front. Apparently the person driving fell asleep and car rolled. It was a family with kids. They were all killed. Happens every day right. Well yeah but as I walked around I noticed the police impound lot was right there. For some reason I was drawn to a car. I recognized the car from the paper. I looked inside. I saw pillows, blankets, a water jug, fast food trash, clothing, stuff that belonged to these people. The car looked very lived in. Knowing these people were dead made this creepy. Here I was looking into the lives of people. Looking at stuff that if it could talk would have witnessed the last breath of a family and heard their dying screams. It haunted me so much. I felt like I knew these people. Where did they go when they died? Did it hurt. Having been in a nearly fatal accident and knowing. Not thinking but knowing without a doubt I would be dead in a few seconds, I wonder. Did they feel what I felt?

Anyway, in my case, God miraculously saved me and my only injury was lower back problems. I should have been a human biscuit. I will share that at another time. It was many years ago.

Anyway, this tragedy at Virginia Tech made me remember Columbine and that weird day in Utah. When tragedy strikes and you somehow intersect it with at a different time. It could have been you. It could have been me.

Will I be alive tommorrow? I assume yes, but do we ever know?

A week ago monday a golf ball hit my windshield. For a few seconds, I thought I had been shot and I stopped and examined myself for holes that werent there previously. I realized it was a golfball and it shattered the windshield. If that golfball had hit me in the head instead, I would be in the same boat as these Virginia Tech students.

Just something to think.

Thursday, April 12, 2007

The struggle within

Its the big old dilemma I have wrestled with most of my adult life.It seems worse when I am in a job I like. I used to want to go into the ministry. I still think about it. Oftentimes I would fantasize about doing something with my life other than wasting it away for the corporate greed of others. Now I am beginning to think about doing something meaningful. However I like my new job. Deep down I have always thought secular work was something you had to do and to be truly free and mean something to God, you had to escape the slavery of it. If that was true it still is. But what to do. I like my job. I actually feel guilt for liking my job. Work is somethign you are not supposed to like. Thats as obsurd as a prisioner liking jail. Also what eternal valus is there in work. Should I not be in ministry where what I do could mean something to God.