Wednesday, February 28, 2007


So my car, the Civicus, also affectionately known as Civy, is dead. The pictures are pretty ridiculous, and you should click to enlarge them to get the full effect.

Anyway, thank goodness for Grace. My car is totaled, but I'm OK. Thanks to everyone for all the phone calls and e-mails. My parents are safely in Mexico now, and they called to see how I am today.

So God is funny... yesterday I fasted. Instead of eating lunch I decided to read my Bible and pray. I admit I have been pretty horrible about making time to pray, but yesterday I spent a solid 20 minutes with no noise, praying out loud. I prayed for my prayer list, for my family, for some of my friends... and then I started praying for myself. I have been realizing that I have to work through some of my feelings about death and dying. I'm not afraid of death really, but pain. I have never been in serious pain, so I found myself praying, "God, please help me to not fear pain, and if that means I have to feel pain, please hold my hand while I go through it." I knew, as I prayed it, that this was the kind of prayer that you almost immediately regret praying ( on some level.)

That was 1:30. At 3:30 I was supposed to meet my covenant group at Trinity to cook dinner for the rotating homeless shelter. I was running late, and had to drop something off for my mom at the Youth Center. I stopped to turn left onto Randalia Road. I saw there was oncoming traffic, and reasoned that I could probably make it, but I am always kind of scared turning on 213. So I decided to wait. And then all of the sudden I heard a crash, and realized that my seat was reclined and I was spinning. I had no idea what was going on, but my immediate reaction was, "Oh come on God... you didn't have to take my prayer so literally." When I stopped spinning, I sat up (my seat had reclined), and got out of the car. I was dizzy and there was already a police car with his lights on, so I thought at first that I had been unconscious. You can see in the picture that my seat was reclined right where the trunk DIDN'T come up into the car.

As it turned out, there was a cop car two cars behind the person coming toward me. Somebody who had pulled over told me that a truck had plowed right into the back of my car. Fortunately the third car that had been coming toward me was a police car, which was why there was already a cop there when I sat up. It looked like a Crayola truck had exploded... there were chubby markers everywhere. By the time I realized I was ok, my mom was running out of the Generation Station because she realized it was me.

We waited around while they cleaned up and did paperwork and stuff. The other driver was on the other side of the road and we never crossed over to talk to each other. I actually thought about going to talk to him because I felt bad for him. Most of us are guilty of going too fast on 213 at some point, and we've all been distracted while we were driving. That whole stretch of road is pretty dangerous. After awhile my mom took me to Trinity for a minute, where we prayed with the people getting ready for the rotating shelter, and then went to the hospital. They basically gave me mild prescriptions, and told me that I'd feel worse over the next couple days.

So today I'm sore. My neck won't turn very far, and I have a bump on my head. I don't feel too bad though. My body feels tired, and people keep telling me that tomorrow will be worse. So, I'm going to go take my medicine and hope for the best.

Friday, February 16, 2007

Homeless in the 80's

Did you know that Growing Pains is now on TV Land? I have been watching it a lot this week, and its sort of like doing modern anthropology. Tonight I saw an episode about Christmas (from 1986), in which Mike desperately wants a $150 CD player, Carol wants a modem, and Ben wants a whole bunch of toys. Jason (dad) tries briefly to tell them that Christmas is not about getting presents, but it doesn't stick. Later, Ben goes out and comes back with a homeless kid, whom he found in a dumpster.

Now, this is standard family sitcom fare, and we are pretty used to sitcoms focusing now and then on homelessness, alcoholism, teen sex, drinking and driving, etc. With this episode, however, I'm assuming homelessness and teen runaways were a fairly new topic to cover, because it was done in such an un-PC way.

Maggie (mom) is really freaked out, and the kids expect Ben to be punished for bringing home a stranger. Jason convinces them to let her stay, but when Maggie is doing the girl's laundry, a knife falls out of one pocket and Maggie FLIPS out. Of course, they have a nice dinner, but then that night we see the girl rounding up all the presents as if to steal them. She overhears Jason and Maggie discovering that the kids have each found a present to give the girl. When they leave the room, she starts crying and says, "Who the hell asked them?" Again, I'm guessing this is pretty harsh language for this show.

The family comes downstairs to discover the gifts gone, but then go outside and discover them all on the lawn, because the girl couldn't go through with it. The moral is that their kindness affected her, and then we see her call her dad from a phone booth, crying. I'll admit it, I cried. I sort of wish that they had realized that they didn't need their presents, and the girl was doing what she thought she had to do to survive. Then again, I imagine what they did have in this episode was pretty cool for its time.

Random quote from the episode:
Jason: I have a problem with you walking around in the cold all night on Christmas Eve.
The Girl: Oh, so you're a Democrat.
Jason: If you don't sit down, I'll call the authorities.
The Girl: Oh, Republican.

Gotta go... there's another episode on, and this one is about grieving a loved one. :-)

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Tuesday, February 13, 2007

My Soundtrack

Ok, since it's my day off and I love music and movies (and party shuffle), I'll go ahead and try this.... and just for fun, I'll add song quotes. According to this, if one were to make a movie about my life, it would be a Lifetime Original Movie written and directed by Zack Braff...?

Opening Credits: My Favorite Things - Sound of Music

Waking Up: Understand - Jeremy Camp.
Wow, my life is so confusing and I don't understand it.

First Day At School: Colorblind - Counting Crows
" Taffy stuck, tongue tied/ Stuttered shook and uptight/ Pull me out from inside/ I am ready/I am ready/ I am ready/ I am fine."

Falling In Love: The Brilliant Dance - Dashboard Confessional
"So this is strange/ a side-stepping has come to be/ a brilliant dance where/ nobody leads at all" That quote is strangely appropriate for me, but the song is actually about breaking up....

Breaking Up: Draw Me Close - Katinas
Good song for a broken heart.

Prom: Mellon Collie and the Infinite Sadness - Smashing Pumpkins
This song is instrumental, and sad. This is definitely one of those indie coming of age movies with a lot of quiet interludes and soft dialog.

Life's Ok: Cuban Pete - Jim Carey from the Mask Soundtrack. Wow.
"When I play the maracas I go chick-chick-ey- boom, chick-chickey-boom"

Mental Breakdown: My Stupid Mouth -
"Oh another social casualty/ score one more for me.... I'm never speaking up again"

Driving: Alive - Rebecca St. James
"You make me come alive"

Flashback: God Be Merciful to Me - Jars of Clay. Ok, honestly, what came up was an NPR stream....

Getting Back Together: #1 Crush - Garbage
" See your face every place that I walk in/ Hear your voice every time I am talking/ You will believe in me/ And I will never be ignored" This is so lifetime original movie....

Birth of Child: Everything - The Normals
"I wanna give you everything/ but I've got nothing but my open heart"

Final Battle: Diggin' On You - TLC ???
"I was like deep in a cool/ Whatnt gone be nobodys fool"

Death Scene: To Be With You - Hoobastank
" Cause I would leave it all so far behind/ Just to be with you today"

Funeral Song: Shout to the Lord - Mark Schultz

End Credits: Over-Rated - The Remedy Session
" I will visit here alone/ helps me breathe/ and I'll never sleep again/ It's overrated. "

1. Open your music library (iTunes, Winamp, Media Player, iPod, etc)
2. Put it on shuffle
3. Press play
4. For every question, type the song that's playing
5. When you go to a new question, press the next button
6. Don't lie and try to pretend you're cool.

Thursday, February 08, 2007

Success and Excess

Its been awhile since I wrote a blog, because I've sort of been mentally decompressing. Between getting back to work, and starting school, and thinking about all of this consumerism stuff. I've been chewing on the realization that our idea of success is maintaining the extreme poverty in this world.

I can't remember if it was in Hebrew Bible, or Gospel in a Consumer culture, but somewhere in the last couple weeks I learned that in the Bible abundance is measured by "enough-ness," whereas in our society we measure abundance in terms of excess. When the Bible talks about God providing abundantly, God is not talking about making people rich. God is talking about giving people what they need to survive. And the community that the Hebrew Bible describes is one in which the main instruments that God uses to feed people... are other people. In the Bible, farmers are obligated to leave part of the harvest for the poor, widows, orphans, and even travelers. When the Bible says "Thou shalt not steal," it isn't protecting private property, but guarding against the amassing of wealth that could be used to feed the poor.

When God provided manna in the wilderness, everyone was only allowed to gather what they needed for one day, and everyone had just enough. In churches we talk about how everything we have is God's, but still believe that what we've worked for should be spent the way we wish. Thinking about wealth in these Biblical terms is uncomfortable, but it is the only way we will ever defeat global poverty.

I am a big fan of Oprah, and I think she has done so much good in this world, but I often wonder how many more schools and houses would be built if she lived by John Wesley's rules, "Earn all you can, save all you can, give all you can." Wesley lived on the same small annual sum for his entire life, even after he was earning much more. Barbara Walters recently interviewed Joel Osteen, and said, "You know, I like you because you believe that God wants us to be rich." I never had a strong opinion about Osteen until him agree with that statement. Material riches are not promised by God, and when blessings come, "To whom much is given, much is expected."