Monday, October 31, 2005

Questions of Identity

Over the past few months, I have undergone a challenging of much of my ideology. Not only have my religious beliefs, but also my political views been under investigation and evaluation. I have been reading a book titled In the Name of Identity that raises many questions about people's identities and why people think what they think. The book is written by an Arabic Christian who lives in France. In his book, he investigates many issues concerning Islam and Christianity, and the differences between Western and Arabic culture.

Here is an exerpt:

Wherever on the planet one happens to live, all modernization is now westernization. And this trend is merely accentuated and accelerated by technical progress. True, monuments and other great acievements bearing the imprint of other civilizations are to be seen everywhere. But everything that is newly created - buildings, institutions, aids to knowledge or improvements to life-styles - all is produced in the image of the West.

This reality is experienced differently by those born in the dominant civilization and those born outside it. The former can change, advance in life, adapt without ceasing to be themselves. One might even say that the more Westerners modernize themesleves the more completely in harmony they feel with their culture. Only those among them who reject modernity find themselves out of touch.

For the rest of the world's inhabitants, all those born in failed cultures, openness to change and modernity presents itself differently. For the Chinese, Africans, Japanese, Indians and American Indians, as for Greeks, Russians, Iranians, Arabs, Jews and Turks, modernization has constantly meant the abandoning of part of themselves. Even though it has sometimes been embraced with enthusiasm, it has never been adopted without a certain bitterness, without a feeling of humiliation and defection. Without a piercing doubt about the dangers of assimilation. Without a profound identity crisis.

More on this subject later.

I leave you with this question. What makes our culture better than any other culture?

Tuesday, October 25, 2005

A post worthy of random thoughts...

I went home this weekend to my parents and a chocolate lab that love me unconditionally. One of the things I love most about going home is always knowing that I will find acceptance, understanding, support, love, and concern. My parents have always encouraged me to become the best man that I can be, to follow my dreams and to love with passion. I am always inspired by their love for one another and their radical obedience to the Lord's calling on their lives.

I am incredibly blessed by my family and I take this forgranted too often. This weekend my dad said words to me that most children dream of hearing from their fathers yet never do. He said, "Brett, you are one of my best friends. I am so proud of who you are." like that blows me away!

This week is homecoming here at SWU, which is an exciting, yet hectic time. I was nominated to be on the homecoming court this year, which is a great honor, especially as this is my last semester here. That's right, 45 days and counting! I'm really excited about this change and yet I am sad to leave some of my best friends that I have come to love over the past years.

Here are a few updates...

For those who don't know, I'm moving back to Richmond to attend Virginia Commonwealth University's school of Mass Communication. Also, I'm going to start writing for an american-owned magizine published in France.

I'll leave you with this quote that I read this weekend:

"The power of beauty is as absurd as it is undeniable."

Leave your thoughts...may they be as random as mine have been!

Thursday, October 20, 2005

This One's For You, Candice!

So, clearly its been quite a while since my last post. For some reason I haven't been very inspired to blog this semester....maybe it has to do with my resident blog nagger moving away! Anyway, it has been an eventful several weeks.

During my fall break a few weeks ago I drove out to Texas to visit my brother and his fiance'. I had a really good time just relaxing and being lazy; however, I will never drive that far by myself again! Since break, I have barely managed to keep my head above water with school work and various extra-curricular activities. Homecoming is next week and I have several responsibilities because I am my class president and I am on the Homecoming Committee. I am going home this weekend though, so hopefully I'll be able to re-energize!

This past weekend, I went out with some friends to see the new movie, Elizabethtown. I really liked it. The film is written and directed by Cameron Crowe, the same guy who did Almost Famous and Jerry Maguire. The story was one of redemption and discovering identity. The main character, played by Orlando Bloom, was a young businessman who faces a failure of great magnitude but is unable to focus on this because his father dies. On the way to his father's home, he meets Claire, played by Kirsten Dunst (a major the way!). Claire challenges Orlando Bloom's character to greatness.

I could see so much of myself in the main character. So often I feel like a failure and it takes reminding sometimes to remember where my focus should be. One line from the movie particularly stands out to me, "I've been asleep my whole life". Wow! What a wake-up call. When we focus on trivial difficulties or others' opinions, we are actually alseep to what life is really about. We were meant for greatness. In order to acheive greatness one must first accept his failures.

So, no promises, but I am going to attempt to update this more often. Especially since I will be transferring in less than 2 months...hopefully this will be a means for people to keep up with me.

Recent albums of note:
The Trip by Snow Patrol
Strange and Beautiful by Aqualung
Daniel Powter

Thursday, September 15, 2005

Confessions of a Blogger Failure

If anyone should hold the title of a blogger failure, that person is me. I am certain that no one will even read this, as most of my friends have given up hope that I would return to the blogger world. Well, I am back....and here to stay (at least that's the plan).

As can be imagined, much has transpired since my last post. In fact, too much to try and catch up. I will give a brief summary of the past few days, weeks, months (however long it has been).

I am currently in the middle of the 5th week of my Junior year...that's kind of hard to believe. Overall, my semester has been rather uneventful thus far. I've been incredibly busy, and am beginning to wonder if I have spread myself too thin this semester. I am already beginning to be excited about Fall Break, which is only 2 weeks away! Classes are going well - some have been a little disappointing, but I'm holding out hope for improvement. I am in the freshman dorm as an RA again this year, which has its ups and downs. I have made several new friendships and am continuing to enjoy old ones. I am sad that my boss/friend, Candice, is leaving us at the end of this week. She is irreplaceable.

Spiritually, the past few weeks have provided a lot of challenge and opportunities for growth. Some I have taken, others I haven't. I am constantly amazed at how many opportunities God puts in front of my face that I blatantly ignore. If only I would listen and obey more consistently. A lot of my views and ideas concerning Christianity are being challenged, and I am truly desiring to understand my role in the big picture. I don't know if we are ever truly able to comprehend this. I think maybe we're not supposed to fully grasp everything and learn to trust more. Isn't that what faith is all about?

Tonight I met my brother's fiance, Jana, for dinner in Greenville. I always come away from spending time with her with a smile on my face and such a larger view of the world. She challenges the way I think. We spent several hours together eating, walking, drinking coffee, and talking and I thoroughly enjoyed every moment. We talked about our lives - where we are and what we're dealing with. We talked a lot about God, as he is central to both of these themes. Sidenote: If you haven't read Blue Like Jazz, you need to!

Some things that I came away with from this evening are that I need to be more transparent, allowing myself to be vulnerable to other people, and that I need to broaden my world view.

Sometimes I think that I (along with the majority of the church) am missing the big picture of Christianity. I will leave you with this quote from Blue Like Jazz,

"Too much of our time is spent trying to chart God on a grid, and too little is spent allowing our hearts to feel awe. By reducing Christian spirituality to formula, we deprive our hearts of wonder."

Coming tomorrow: Review of the movie Crash and the band Aqualung.

Wednesday, September 07, 2005

New Pictures

I'll be posting something of substance shortly...
In the mean time check out some new pictures here:
random thoughts photography

On the Palette

currently reading:
Blue Like Jazz by Donald Miller
The Trial by Franz Kafka
The Color of Water by James McBride
This Side of Paradise by F. Scott Fitzgerald

currently listening to:
Against All Odds - The Postal Service
Strange and Beautiful - Aqualung
What Sarah Said - Death Cab for Cutie
O.Lover - Jason Mraz

Wednesday, July 13, 2005

Random Thoughts Photography

I have a new passion for photography. Yesterday, my editor loaned me his digital camera for a reporting assignment. I decided to take it home and play around a little. I went downtown and just shot some random pictures. I think they tured out rather well. I am going to buy my own digital camera soon, so hopefully I'll learn more about photography and will be able to take more pictures.

Check out my pictures here.

I've also added a link under "sites". Check back often.

Tuesday, July 12, 2005

20 Things to Know

As I flipped through the pages of the May/June issue of Relevant Magazine, I came across some beneficial and very practical advice for those of us in our 20's...I guess I'm not quite there (5 months to go!); even lacking these crucial, life-defining 5 months, I found the information presented to be very applicable, so I thought I'd share.

to know
in your
by Colin Creel

1 Live below your means
Look at a guy's checkbook to find out what's important to him. What would your examination say? Managing your resources well often hinges on your ability to live below your means. Take one look at the abundance of consumer debt in our nation, and you'll recognize that millions of people are learding the hard way. Read I Timothy 6:9-11

2 Live life like an adventure, do not merely endure it
If our lives are so planned, so rigid, we may miss cool opportunities along the way. Take the time to slow down and see where God might take you.

3 Honor God with your resources
Circumstances differ greatly: whatever your position or condition, God calls us to be good stewards of the resources He has entrusted us. Honoring God with the resources entrusted to you is a discipline cultivated over time.

4 Create a clear picture of your "dream" spouse
Take out a sheet of paper and recognize those traits, both physical and emotional, that are important to you. Wait and pray.

5 Stop wrestling with God
Our obedience to God and the development of our character are intimately linked. A life of obedience begins with obeying God in the seemingly inconsequential items.

6 Wait on God's timing
Wating drives us closer and makes us more reliant on God. God's timing is perfect.

7 Do not settle for anything less than God's best
How often do we settle for instantaneous gratification in lieu of God's best?

8 Take time to fill up
Determine those activities that recreate you, and guard that treasured time.

9 Critique your bookshelf (and music collection)
What types of ideas/thoughts enter your mind through popular reading material? What messages are you sending through your bookshelf?

10 Pay God, Pay yourself, Pay your bills
Tithing is an eternal investment. Much like your honor, if you screw up your credit, it takes a long time to earn it back.

11 Establish perspective
Take inventory of your strengths and weaknesses. Set yourself up for success.

12 Invest in people
No amount of material wealth will fill the void of human beings to love, care for and support you. Write encouraging notes. Tell people you care about them.

13 Pay your dues
Work hard consistently. Don't be in such a hurry to climb to the top. Think of each job as an opportunity to enhance your skill set. You sill sets will be your greatest asset.

14 Chirst doesn't call the qualified, He qualifies those He calls
You don't have to know everything. Relax. God desires a man or woman after His own heart first a foremost. Spend time with the Lord daily, listening to His desires for your life.

15 Face your fears
When fear strikes, will you trust that the Lord "plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you a hope and a future"?

16 Guard agains the tyranny of the urgent
Prioritize daily. Establish boundaries for yourself and, at times, barriers for others.

17 Enjoy your freedom
Work hard. Play hard. Don't lament what you don't have, enjoy what you do have.

18 Establish disciplines
Structure will provide you more freedom. Rest. Eat healty. Exercise. Rmember that old habits die hard.

19 Write down your prayers
Remember what God has done for you. Slow down and thank God for answered prayers.

20 Dream
"Delight yourself in the Lord and He will give you the desires of your heart". Dream big dreams. Move aside and watch God work. Do not let the world dampen your enthusiasm or optimism.

Thursday, July 07, 2005

My Celebrity Playlist


I have an addiction to iTunes. I don't buy a ton of music, but I am known to spend large quantities of time browsing and listening to samples of varied music stylings. One of my favorite indulgences is to browse the celebrity playlists. In my opinion, looking at a person's music preferences reveals much about one's personality, and since its highly unlikely that I will ever meet or be in relationship with anyone of noteable fame, it is somehow satisfying to unpeel a layer of separation and plasticity of a celebrity by checking out their listening proclivities. Not only am I consumed with fascination, but also fantasy. That's right, I dream of seeing my name along with my music choices listed beside Mariah Carey, Nicole Kidman, and numerous other musicians and actors. So...since this also is not likely in the near future, I decided to share a couple of my playlists here.

Title: SUMMER 2005

Song ------------------------Artist -------------------------Album

1 Crazy-------------------------------Javier---------------------------------Javier
2 Somersault------------------------Zero 7------------------------------- When It Falls
3 Fall to Pieces ---------------------Avril Lavigne------------------------Under My Skin
4 Happy-----------------------------Meleni Smith-------------------------Hitch Soundtrack
5 Gone Going-----------------------Black Eyed Peas----------------------Monkey Business
6 Speed of Sound------------------Coldplay-------------------------------X&Y
7 Love Train------------------------The O'Jays-----------------------------Hitch Soundtrack
8 Bad Girl----------------------------Usher----------------------------------Confessions
9 Chariot-----------------------------Gavin DeGraw------------------------Chariot
10 Sitting, Waiting, Wishing-------Jack Johnson--------------------------In Between Dreams
11 Can't Have My Heart-----------Javier-----------------------------------Javier
12 Ooh Wee--------------------------Mark Ronson--------------------------Hitch Soundtrack
13 Behind These Hazel Eyes------Kelly Clarkson-------------------------Breakaway
14 You and Me----------------------Lifehouse------------------------------Lifehouse
15 Who Knows----------------------Avril Lavigne--------------------------Under My Skin
16 Woman--------------------------Maroon 5--------------------------------Spider Man 2 Soundtrack
17 Never Gonna Let You Go-----Omarion---------------------------------Hitch Soundtrack
18 Don't Phunk With My Heart--Black Eyed Peas-----------------------Monkey Business
19 1 Thing---------------------------Amerie---------------------------------Hitch Soundtrack
20 Confessions Part II-------------Usher-----------------------------------Confessions
21 We Belong Together------------Mariah Carey-------------------The Emancipation of Mimi
22 A Message-----------------------Coldplay--------------------------------X&Y
23 I Can't Get Next to You--------The Temptations---------------------Hitch Soundtrack
24 Smile Like You Mean It-------The Killers----------------------------Hot Fuss
25 Untitled-------------------------Simple Plan----------------------------Still Not Getting Any...



1 Naked As We Came---------------Iron And Wine-----------------Our Endless Numbered Days
2 Fix You-----------------------------Coldplay----------------------------X&Y
3 A Lack of Color--------------------Death Cab For Cutie--------------Transatlanticism
4 Keep It Loose, Keep It Tight----Amos Lee--------------------------Amos Lee
5 Cannonball-------------------------Damien Rice----------------------O
6 The Scientist-----------------------Coldplay---------------------------A Rush of Blood to the Head
7 Come Away With Me-------------Norah Jones-----------------------Come Away With Me
8 Eastern Glow----------------------The Album Leaf-------------------In A Safe Place
9 Delicate----------------------------Damien Rice-----------------------O
10 If You Leave--------------------Nada Surf---------------------------Music From The OC: Mix 2
11 Warm Sound---------------------Zero 7-------------------------------When It Falls
12 Trouble---------------------------Coldplay----------------------------Parachuetes
13 Walnut Tree----------------------Keane---------------------------Somewhere Only We Know (EP)
14 Move On--------------------------Jet----------------------------------Get Born
15 Swallowed in the Sea-----------Coldplay----------------------------X&Y
16 Soul Suckers---------------------Amos Lee--------------------------Amos Lee
17 The Beauty of Who You Are----Mark Broussard-----------------Carencro
18 Something Pretty-----------------Patrick Park---------------------Lonliness Knows My Name
19 Amie--------------------------------Damien Rice---------------------O
20 Bonus Track-----------------------Coldplay--------------------------X&Y
21 Black Balloon----------------------Goo Goo Dolls-------------------Dizzy Up The Girl
22 The Long Day Is Over-----------Norah Jones----------------------Come Away With Me
23 Comfortable----------------------John Mayer----------------------Inside Wants Out (EP)
24 Bananna Pancakes---------------Jack Johnson--------------------In Between Dreams
25 Belief------------------------------Gavin DeGraw--------------------Chariot-Stripped

Friday, June 24, 2005

Currently on the Palette

currently reading:
The Last Juror by John Grisham
Passion and Purity by Elizabeth Elliot
The CoffeeHouse Gospel by Matthew Paul Turner
I Peter

currently listening to:
Blackeyed Peas
Jason Mraz
Mariah Carey
David Crowder

Lessons From A Horse Named Haley

Last week, I looked up (literally) my horse trainer from several years ago. She has since moved to the other side of my county about 45 minutes from where I live. I went out to her new farm just to say "hey" and catch up, as it had been almost 3 years since I'd seen her. When I pulled up to the barn, she was in the middle of teaching a lesson to 10-12 middle-school age kids. We talked for a few minutes and set up a time for me to go back out this week. I went back on Wednesday after work to ride and interview her and her daughter (as it turns out she was looking for someone to write an article about her daughter to be in some horse publications and local newspapers). After the interview I found the horse that she wanted me to "work out". In reality, the horse would give me a work-out! For the past 2 days since riding, I have had sore muscles that I didn't even know I had! It was a lot of fun though, I was able to do some jumping patterns and just enjoy riding, something I haven't had the opportunity to do in quite a while.

So the horse that I rode was named Haley. Haley was very strong-willed. She wanted to run the whole time, and after I had been riding for a while she started bucking and trying to throw me off. Believe it or not, I really enjoyed riding her, despite her flaws. So as I was riding along, figthing and pulling the reigns trying to gain control of this 1,500 lb animal, I couldn't help but think about how she and I were so very much alike.

Haley didn't want me to control where we went and what we did. She wanted to decide. When I wanted to walk, she tried to run. When I wanted to speed up, she'd slow down. How often do I treat God this way? I try to control my own life. I make plans and go about them, paying no attention to where my master is leading me.

A properly trained horse doesn't require to be kicked very hard to understand what the rider wants it to do. In fact, a good horse only needs a slight brush of the leg, or even merely a vocal command. I think that God gets tired of "kicking" us into submission. If only we would respond to His voice or even His gentle nudges we would avoid so much discomfort and pain.

The mid-nineties movie The Horse Whisperer has always seemed to me a very clear illustration of the redemption and restoration we find in Christ. The horse had been severly wounded...physically, mentally, and spiritually (so to speak). To many he seemed beyond repair, worthless, and deserving of death. Throughout the movie, there are several scenes in which the horse trainer exhibits the character of Christ. He waits patiently for the horse to respond to him, he brings healing to his wounds and restores his purpose. The final scene of the movie clearly depicts the horse choosing to surrender his will and through that surrender gaining peace, joy and purpose.

I was reading this week in Elizabeth Elliot's book Passion and Purity, she says this of surrender:

"Wen the will of God crosses the will of man, somebody has to requires countless 'little deaths' - occasions when we are given the chance to say no to self and yest to God...Surrender does not mean that everything about ourselves is evil. It is a choice to lay down everything - the good and the bad - for the love of God...We die in order to live".

May we respond to His nudges. May we understand that only in surrender, only in death, can we experience healing, redemption, and restoration.

Tuesday, June 21, 2005

Random Thought #178543

I've got a BIG secret!

Chinese Take-Out

Something that I have really come to love over the past few years is Chinese food. I think I could eat chinese food almost every day and not get sick of it. Sesame chicken is, by far, my favorite, but I can settle for other selections of the americanized version of chinese (I can't help but wonder what people in China actually eat!). So as I drove back to my office today with my nifty chinese take-out container I began to think about some of my Chinese food buddies. My best friends Jennifer and Megan and I have a tradition of going out to eat Chinese food everytime I am home. I have also gotten Chinese take-out with my brother, Patrick, a time or two. At school, there is...well there was...Jes and Heather. I guess now it'll just be Heather and me as Jes has moved on to a "real" college, as I like to call educational institutions that have a student population of over 2,000.

Today was Chicken w/ broccoli and an egg roll. Good choice. After I ate the main course, I moved on to dessert: the complimentary, wraped-in-plastic, fortune cookie. I've never really understood the fascination with fortune cookies. They are stale and tasteless and have a piece of paper in the middle. Beats me!

Today, my fortune read, "A pleasant surprise is waiting for you". That's exciting. Maybe I'll meet the woman of my dreams, maybe I'll win a new car, maybe I'll find a ten dollar bill in my jeans when I do laundry tonight. Surprises make me smile, no matter how big or small or seemingly insignificant. However, the whole idea of things being unexpected is a little bit scary.

he Bible teaches on this a little.

James 4:14
"Why, you do not even know what will happen tomorrow. What is your life? You are a mist that appears for a little while and then vanishes."

We never know what tomorrow holds. Tomorrow could be the day I meet my wife, or it could be the day I meet my maker. We should live each day as if it were our last on this earth, striving to make a difference in whatever way we can showing Christ's love to all.

Life's a journey...proceed with passion!

Tuesday, June 14, 2005

How Are You Defined?

At some point last weekend, my mom asked my dad and I this question: "Are you defined by what you do?" Good question. My mom has a habit of engaging our family in very deep and philosophical conversations. I'm not sure if I know what I think about my mom's question. I guess my answer would have to be "sort of", which I know is a very easy, safe, middle-of-the-road answer. I definitely think that other people's perceptions of who we are is very much molded by what we do, our actions and activities. However, I think that the very essence of who we are, the core of our identity is not even something that can be physically measured or determined. I think that who we are will be revealed by our actions; however, not neccessarily in what we do, but how we do.

How does this affect me?

I am a college student. But how do I do college? Well, I'm a slacker. I procrastinate, and do the least amount of work neccessary for me to keep my scholarships. I only read about 1/4 of the reading required of me; again only that which is neccessary to make the grade. You may be thinking "that's completely normal", I know. I have entertained those thoughts in pursuit of some sort of apathetic justification of my actions. Do I want to be defined as "completely normal"? Do you?

I am a son. I am a brother. I am a grandson. I am a singer. I am a writer. I am a friend. I am a leader. I am a Christ follower. I work at a newspaper. I sing on a worship team. I listen to music constantly.

How do I do all of these things? Well to be quite frank, for quite a while I've been doing everything rather half-you know what. I don't want to be defined as normal. I don't want to be defined as good. I want to be defined as someone who does everything with passionate excellence.

May I live a life worthy of the calling I have recieved.

Just a few "random thoughts"!

Monday, June 13, 2005

New Cell Phone

Good news: I finally got a new cell phone this weekend

Bad news: I don't have anyone's numbers

So.......Shoot me your digits!

Wednesday, June 08, 2005

Some Really Old Pics

Since I have access to a scanner at my office, I decided to post a few pictures from the end of the semester. I really think that the last few weeks of this past semester were some of the best of my life. I had so much fun and made many memories to be cherished for a lifetime. I miss my friends from school a whole lot, especially since I still have no cell phone and therefore, no communication!

Me and some of my girls went to G-ville for Laura's B-day and to celebrate the end of the semester (Heather, Christy, Jes, Me, Laura)

Me and one of my best friends Jes at the RA Banquet

Melissa and Me at Freedom's Hill Church before the Formal

My friend Melissa was my date to this year's Jr/Sr Spring Formal

My friend Ashley and Me at the Spring Formal

Friday, June 03, 2005

"Goochland Gazette, this is Brett"

So I am nearing the completion of my first week on the job. I started a "sort of" internship this week with a local newspaper. I am serving as an editing assistant and I also do alot of random office tasks. One of these seemingly meaningless tasks is answering the phone. I couldn't even count how many times I've said, "Goochland Gazette, this is Brett" over the past week. I'm really excited about this expereince; I think that it will be beneficial to me in the future.

I lost my cell phone this week so I have been barren of all contact with the outside world for the past several really sucks! So guess what I get to spend my first pay check guessed it...a new cell phone. I'm going to go this afternoon or sometime this weekend to check out my options. I'm not overly thrilled with the idea of wasting my time or money in the Verizon store. Every time I have ever been in there I am treated with such disrespect and rudeness that it pains me just to think about my upcoming venture.

So I have unofficially dubbed this summer as "Extreme Makeover: Brett Edition". I am really trying to focus on myself...spiritually, emotionally, and physically this summer...not that I've ever had a problem focusing on myself! But I am really trying to make some improvements in each of these areas this summer. I'll keep you updated on the successes and failures throughout the summer.

Pray for me this weekend as I will be leading worship at my church. I'm really excited about this opprotunity and want to make sure that I am in the right place spiritually to lead the body of Christ in worship.

Tuesday, May 31, 2005

New Music Tuesday: Jazz Meets R&B

Soulful vocals have always put a smile on my face. There's just something about a musician who can really singthat excites me. In our pop-culture so many artists are given status who couldn't win a high- school talent show if their life depended on it. Because of this lack of talent in mainstream music, it is incredibly refreshing to discover smooth vocals coupled with quality music.

A few weeks ago, I was browsing the music section at the local Barnes & Noble. With a chai late' in hand, I put on the headphones that had no-doubt been used by hundreds of people before me. Now, I'm not one to share drinks or even wear someone else's clothes, but for some reason these communal headphones don't seem to bother me. So I started scanning a few CDs and went about my "listening to new music" routine: I listen to about 20 seconds of each song and if it sounds promising I'll stay connected through the chorus. After about 4 CDs with little to no redeeming features, I stumbled (figuratively) upon Amos Lee's self-titled debut album.

Amos Lee sings very real, intimate lyrics with great passion and conviction. His voice is so smooth and soulful and penetrates the thick layers of impersonalization that we so often build up around us. The album is an intimate look into the life of an artist. Themes of love, lonliness, friendship, and city life prevail throughout the album. The music is primarily guitar and piano providing both soothing ballads and more upbeat jazz/R&B songs. Lee has been described as the male version of Norah Jones, and even though there are several stylistic similarities, Lee's sound is fresh, individual, and unique.

Here are a few lines from the album. All lyrics written by Amos Lee.

"Some times we forget what we got, who we are and who we are not
I think we got a chance to make it right-Keep it loose, Keep it tight"

"Who’s bold enough to believeIn either love or war Both just leave you busted, and broken down, and wanting more"
"Nothing is more powerful than beauty in a wicked world"
"I see the trouble and all the loving that I’ve doneAnd the world ain’t no harder than it’s ever beenLooking for love in the lies of a lonely friend"

Monday, May 16, 2005

Holy Spirit Gatorade

So I've been home for a whole week now and yes, I have failed to keep up with blogging like I intended. FYI the past couple posts were a part of a short story I wrote in my creative writing class this past semester. No...those things didn't actually happen to me!

Coming home is always such a wonderful thing. I miss my friends from school terribly, but its so great to come home to such a relaxing atmosphere and to parents who love me unconditionally...just for being me! I have really enjoyed going to school away from home for many reasons, one of which is the break from being a PK (pastor's kid) - there are so many extra stresses and obligations that come with being in a pastor's family. I've also enjoyed going to a different church than my dad's - while in S.C. I attend Newspring in Aderson. The Lord has really used Newspring to minister to me and bless my life in numerous ways. I am so thankful to have a home church away from home.

So yesterday it was back to my home church, Hanover Friends. Honestly, I was a little nervous about coming back. The music is...well different from Newspring's and its a little different to listen to my Dad's sermons rather than Perry's. But as I sat next to my mom in the pew and looked around at many new faces I couldn't help but see a beautiful picture of the body of Christ. Our church has about 300 regular attenders...I guess that's average. We have grown quite a bit in the past year and I can definitely see God moving among the people here. I am very excited about being a part of this "body" for a few months.

My parents left today for KS, which means that I'm home alone! I'm excited about this week. Pray for me that I will fill my time with things that are benificial to me and not harmful. Temptations seem to gain strength when I'm alone. I'm feeling really strong, spiritually, right now. I've spent a little more time than usual in prayer and worship the past few days, and I can definitely feel a difference. It amazes me how I find time for so many meaningless and trivial things and yet fail to take the time to connect with the lover of my soul.

I think my spiritual life is a lot like the Gatorade commercial. I attempt to quench my thirst with water or soda (things of the world), but it does not satisfy. I desire to gulp some holy spirit Gatorade, so overwhelming that it overflows and pours out of me and comes out of my pores. I'm so thankful for a renewed thirst.

Sunday, May 08, 2005

Day Two: A Little Sexual Frustration

It’s another beautiful night to stay in a hotel, but of course any night would be. There’s nothing more comforting to me than the retro seventies décor of a cheap hotel room. I guess it would be somewhat understandable if this were intentional; if there were some reasoning behind the lime green comforter and the burnt-orange, shag carpet, but rarely do hotels with a number in their name have any sort of aversion to faupas such as these. You would think with such an influential and world-changing job, I would be staying in a deluxe suite in some high rise luxury hotel. Oh no, not me. I prefer the grassroots, simple life version of a Saturday stay-over.

So I’m all alone in my hotel room, the smell of dust and bathroom cleaner linger in the air and my face involuntarily scrunches in disgust. I have come to the place of decision. To go out or stay in, that is the question. I settle on the latter, to go out would require more meaningless conversation and I am not up to the task. Here is where the real problem is revealed; alone in a hotel room - just me, 46 channels and a Gideon Bible. How does the saying go? Boredom is the root of all evil, or something like that. I decide to do what any single, thirty-something male in a hotel room would do. No, not that. I turn on the television and look for a good, light-hearted, chick flick. You know, the kind of movie you always want to watch, but are too embarrassed to admit to it. Sleepless in Seattle is playing on TBS. Meg Ryan, what a dream. I don’t think I’ll ever comprehend why the producers of the movie chose Tom Hanks over me.

There’s just something about Meg Ryan. She reminds me of my third grade teacher, Miss Parker, which makes the fact that I think Meg Ryan is incredibly sexy somewhat disturbing. Granted, Miss Parker had brown hair as opposed to Meg’s golden blonde hair, but other than that they are really quite similar. Of course now that I’m thinking about Meg, my mind wanders to the greatest novel of all time, Little Women. I think I could read Little Women a million times and never loose the emotion of Meg, Jo, Beth, and Amy. Every time Beth dies, I can’t help but cry, even though I know its coming.

Ok, so by now I’m sure you are thinking, “What’s wrong with this guy? He watches chick flicks and reads books like Little Women.” But before you get judgmental, consider this. Since when does it make a man less of a man if he is sensitive and can appreciate love and beauty? I’ve never understood why our society has allowed men to become so plastic, so emotionless and disconnected from their own selves. We value a man’s ability to be wild and rugged and play contact sports more than his ability to love or be loved. There are thousands of very talented young men working behind their computers in their cubicle who have very attractive outsides, but in reality, they are rotting away. I am one of these. I am in the ranks of a generation of pretty boys who are so dazed and confused by the messages of society that we are so desperate to sell out to something, anything.

The lights in my room are dark; the only light still present is that radiating off of Meg Ryan’s pretty little face. I turn off the television and close my eyes with only one thought in my head. What’s so special about Tom Hanks?

Tuesday, May 03, 2005

Day One: A Window Seat and Airplane Friends

It’s another beautiful day for business travel, but of course any day would be. The horribly replicated image of a seatbelt and the internationally recognized “No Smoking” sign are illuminated directly overhead. The sun is beating through the window and I am starting to sweat-not enough to cause distinguishable odor or stains under my arms, but enough to be uncomfortable. I am not one to be fooled by the romantic notion of a window seat. In fact, I hate them. I’ve hated them for a while now. The last time I was forced to give up my emergency exit row, aisle seat, 16C, I developed my theory. You see, there is not one thing that is universally accepted as the defining characteristic of an adult. Some say its age, but even still there is debate: 18 or 21? Some say its responsibility. You know...job, bills, house...all of the things we hate about being adults. So I decided that the only hold-fast way to tell if someone is an adult is their airplane seat preference. You see, kids love window seats; they get some sort of excitement out of watching the brownish-green colored earth pass below. An adult, on the other hand, prefers space over entertainment. If you’ve seen one take-off or landing, you’ve seen them all. So needless to say, my theory hasn’t caught on with the general public as of yet...I’m not holding my breath.

So I’m flying high over the armpit of the US, some middle-of-nowhere hell-whole in east Texas. Since I have to suffer the window seat, It would makes sense that I might as well take in some of the view, except, there is no view. So I’m stuck in the heat of the sun, sitting in a window seat with nothing to look at (someone must’ve stolen the complimentary airliner magazine). With all resources exhausted, I turn to my neighbor, 26B, and engage in some sort of meaningless conversation that neither he nor I really want have, and yet, we do. Airplane friends are such a phenomenon. We have next to nothing in common but we have been destined to spend the next few hours with each other. Our conversation goes something like this, “Hello 26B, I’m 26A. Where are you headed?”

“Oh, to some nowhere place that has to do with my nothing job”, 26B replies with a sort of imitation interest.

“Me too!” With these words, I’ve just offered our first commonality. Maybe our connection will be deeper than the routine, surface-level interactions that we engage in everyday. Maybe not.

“So what do you do?” 26B asks, attempting to keep the momentum going. I cringe when I hear these words. “What do you do?” as if explaining my job to someone will actually help them understand me as a person. Once before, when I was talking to another airplane friend, I asked them the question, “Who are you?” rather than “What do you do?”, and he couldn’t answer without talking about his job. I would like to know when what we do from nine to five starting dictating who we are as a person.

Who am I? That’s an easy question. I’m 26A, a baby-boomer and marketing executive. I’ve bought into the commercialism and materialism of our culture. I have 7 pairs of designer jeans, 4 pairs of khakis, 5 million polo shirts, 2 kids, and a dog...minus the kids. I am the quintessence of ideal. I live in an ideal city in an ideal apartment where I watch my ideal plasma screen while sitting in ideal IKEA furniture. I work at an ideal company doing ideal things...and I hate it. I’ve lost all sense of individuality and have become a carbon copy of the man who works in the cubicle next to me.

My conversation with 26B is unfortunately not turning into a deep, meaningful connection. These conversations rarely do. I am listening and speaking, yet my mind is somewhere else. Suddenly it hits me; 26B and I really are the same. We’re all the same. We’re a generation of pansies. We hide behind brand names and computer screens. We are afraid of being who we really are. We share the same meaningless existence and I can’t help but think, “There’s got to be more”.

The tires of the Boeing 737 screech as they hit the pavement. We have arrived at our nowhere place and must now go about our nothing jobs. Or do we? I say goodbye to 26B as I enter the crowd of people in the terminal with only one thought in my head. I sure hope I don’t have to sit in a window seat on my return flight.

Sunday, April 24, 2005

"She Loves Me"

One of the things that has kept me busy this semester was the musical production of "She Loves Me". The plot features employees who unknowingly correspond with each other through a lonely hearts service. The musical is based on the 1940’s movie, “The Shop Around the Corner,” starring Jimmy Stewart and Margaret Sullavan. This story was the basis for the 1998 film “You’ve Got Mail" starring Tom Hanks and Meg Ryan. I was cast as Georg Nowak, the male lead role. This was my first leading role, so naturally, I was rather nervous. A good friend of mine, Heather Clifton, played opposite me in the female lead role. The whole cast was incredibly talented, and It truly was the experience of a lifetime. I am so thankful to have had this opportunity. I have posted some pictures from the production below.

Jasmyn Byrd and Michael Wooten played two of my co-workers. I really enjoyed working with these talented individuals.

My character, Georg Nowak, is a clerk at a cosmetics store. Here my boss, played by Scott Bryson, is teaching me how to dance.

Just like in "You've Got Mail", the main characters fall in love through a series of letters. Here my character, George, is writing a letter to "Dear Friend", his un-named pen-pal.

Here Heather's character Amalia is reading a letter that my character sent her.

Christy Peed played a customer. Christy and I have been in three plays together and played opposite each other in the fall play, "The Rivals". One of my favorite things about being in productions is the extra time spent with friends!

Jasmyn Byrd belts it out in "I Resolve". Her character had some major relationship issues!

During this scene I discover that the girl I've been corresponding with is actually my co-worker...the plot thickens!

"Where's My Other Shoe?"...What a fun scene!

Heather Clifton writing or rather singing a letter. During this song, Heather had to hit a high B...AMAZING!

Jasmyn Byrd, Me, Tim Walters

On the monday following the show, a faculty member here said, "That kiss sure looked real!" I responded by saying, "That's because it was!"

Taking our bows! ENCORE!

Thursday, April 21, 2005

"Birthday Shout-Out"

I'd like to give a Birthday Shout-Out to my boss and good friend are such a blessing in my life!

"Looking Back"

I realized tonight how much I miss leading worship. I helped my friends Christy and Jes lead worship at their church tonight and I couldn't help but think back on when I led worship for my youth group when I was in high school. At the time, I don't think I truly realized how priviledged I was to be in that position. Leading worship is such an amazing experience that I cannot even begin to describe with mere words.

I am so thankful for times like tonight when God reminds me of different things that He has used to shape me into who I am today. So often, we only want to remember the good and pleasant things from our past, but many of the painful and challenging things from my past are what make me the person that I am. It's so difficult to see God's provision sometimes, but looking back on my life, I am able to see God's grace and faithfulness covering everything that I have been through.

Remember that the challenges and changes of today are shaping the useable and beautiful vessel of tomorrow.

Thursday, April 14, 2005

"CoffeeHouse Gospel"

I've been reading a book recently called The CoffeeHouse Gospel. The book is about evangelism presented in a very relevant way. It encourages believers to share their faith in everyday conversation. To be honest, evangelism is something that I have failed in time and again. I am amazed at how uneducated the American church is concerning evangelism. We trick ourselves, or rather satan tricks us, into thinking that it is some incredibly intimidating and daunting task that we have to do...but really it is so simple...all we have to do is tell our story. Even this can seem intimidating at times, but I think that is because we have become so accustomed to our plush comfort zones that it seems too hard to get up and act. We have become so incredilbly selfish...when did Christianity become about "me"?

Below is an excerpt from The CoffeHouse Gospel by Matthew Paul Turner:

"The quest to be selfless is often a lonely pursuit in today's modern, sophisticated, and very selfish culture. Chock full of success-driven individuals only interested in looking out for number one, today's culture is filled with people consumed with careers, image, mondy, and self-fulfillment. Instead of focusing on the needs of others, we hone in on our own needs for financial comfort, sex, and acceptance, just to name a few. Instead of looking to the needs of others, we invest in ourselves. If we want to be followers of Jesus who talk effortlessly about our faith, we must dispose of our selfishness. And that's not easy to do.

Many of us have let ourselves become programmed by the culture's message of self-investing. We have let ourselves become people who are only motivated by self-advancement and self-glory. We have a mindset of, "How can I help 'me' today?" We're all guilty of this at one time or another. I certainly struggle with naturally thinking of others. Our society works that way, and it's hard not to get sucked into the madness of me, me, me!

You can't watch one episode of MTV's Cribs without being bombarded with the materialism for which wealthy Americans strive. So many of my friends watch Cribs in complete lust for the lush commodities that wealth and celebrity bring in today's society. The same is true watching Donald Trump's The Apprentice. Although wildly entertaining, this show depicts sixteen intelligent, hard working individuals who seemingly will employ whatever means necessary to be percieved as successful, business savvy, and powerful. We will long remember the actions of Omarosa who lied and manipulated her way throughout the experience. God's ways don't relate or line up with those of Cribs and The Apprentice. God's ways are pure and selfless and do not succumb to the faltering of "me" invesing.

As Christians, God's call on our lives flies in the face of what the world deems cool, successful, and pleasurable. Answering God's call on your life begins with a desire for selfless investing and constant renewal of your mind. Our selfishness does not keep us from witnessing and sharing our faith; it just eats away at our ability to do it with integrity and grace. How many times have you been subject to the witnessing tactics of an individual who seems to be in ministry to the fame? It's important that our hearts for ministry be motivated by only what is pure and honest."

Any comments?

Saturday, April 09, 2005

"Life Cycles"

Yes...I am aware that it has been over a month since I've posted anything, and even longer since I've posted anything worth reading, and for that I sincerely appologize. It's not like very many people even read this, but for those of you who have been faithful to check every once in a while (hopefully there are still a few of you left!), and for myself, I decided it was about time to start writing again. I could name numerous excuses for why I haven't written (ie: 25 page papers, lead role in the musical, RA responsibilities), but these would just be petty attempts to justify my lack of motivation over the past month.

I am constantly amazed at the cyclical nature of our lives. Almost everything comes in waves...exercise routines, dieting, devotions, blogging, relationships, etc. For example: about every 2 weeks or so, I make up my mind that I am going to get serious about eating healthy and running whenever I have a chance...this mindset lasts about 3-5 days and then it's back to the same ole' routine of eating popcorn and easymac after midnight! Have you ever had the "Christian book" urge? My brother and I both get this every once in a while, as do many Christians I suppose. If you've ever had it, you know exactly what I'm talking about. You go to the Christian book store, or even Barnes and Noble, and you find the perfect book that specifically adresses your "issue". You sit down and read the first few pages in the bookstore and are so inspired that you are compelled to spend the 10-20 bucks this newfound inspiration will cost you. After you return home with your new book and maybe a CD you thought might serve as a good soundtrack to this new and improved version of you, you sit down and visciously tear through the first few chapters. 2 years later you find the book under your bed or on a bookshelf collecting dust, with the same page still folded over from that life-changing, monumentally inspirational night!

So I guess all that was to say that I've kind of been in an "off" cycle in many different areas of my life over the past month. I don't necessarily think this is a bad thing. I think it is in these "off" times when a lot of real growth and change takes place that we don't even realize until much later.

Below are some Norah Jones lyrics which somewhat accurately express my feelings over the past month. Obvious spiritual parallels can be drawn, but there are several other areas in my life that I am wanting to be "turned on"...maybe I'll write more on that later!

Like a flower waiting to bloom
Like a lightbulb In a dark room
I'm just sittin' here Waiting for you
To come on home And turn me on
Like the desert Waiting for the rain
Like a school kid Waiting for the spring
I'm just sittin' here Waiting for you
To come on home And turn me on
My poor heart It's been so dark
Since you've been gone
After all you're the one who turns me off
But you're the only one who can turn me back on
My hi-fi is waiting for a new tune
My glass is waiting for some fresh ice-cubes
I'm just sittin' here Waiting for you To come on home
And turn me on

Monday, March 07, 2005

"Bless The Lord"

I've been doing a lot of self-evaluation the past few days. I'm sure I'll write more about that when things become clearer, but for now I'd like to share these words from Jason Morant...

I tremble at Your presence
Shaken by te truth that You are God
No deed could bring You pleasure
Or a word Add a measure to Who You are
I lift my heart in worship
Taken by the truth that You are God
I'm silenced by the virtue
Surrendered and in awe
Of Who You Are
Bless the Lord
With all that's in me
Bless the Lord
May kingdoms fall and rulers crawl
Before Your throne
I want to give all of me
I'm giving You all of me

Tuesday, February 22, 2005

"Almost Famous"

I watched "Almost Famous" last night...such a good movie! If you haven't seen it, its definitely one you should check out. The movie is about William Miller, a very uncool 15 year old who writes for Rolling Stone Magazine, and his love for a girl named Penny Lane. Even though its a typical, coming-of-age story, I am always inspired.

Here's a quote from the movie:

"The only true currency in this bankrupt world
is what you share with someone else
when you're uncool."

"Live Your Life"

I wrote this essay earlier this week for the AE LIVE YOUR LIFE contest...its about my goals and dreams for life.


I have often sat starring at my laptop, watching the little black line, affectionately known as a cursor, rapidly appear, disappear and reappear again. This incessant flashing greatly intimidates me. It is my responsibility to write the words that will fill up the page. However, inspiration always comes; sometimes from the music on my Ipod, other times from great writers like Faulkner or Hemingway, even Nicholas Sparks, or my father. With inspiration, the words come too, sometimes more easily than others. I have no problem writing a research paper on Victorian novels, but when I am faced with the task of writing about my dreams and goals for life, I am somewhat flustered. I am not concerned but inspired, for I know that I am my biggest critic. Therefore, I am taking this opportunity to truly delve into myself and discover what my goals and dreams really are.

I dream of being significant. In today’s society, the mass media has become an overwhelmingly significant influence. American youth no longer look to their parents for direction; instead they turn to television, magazines, music, and the internet to dictate how they live their lives. It is my hope to attend graduate school for journalism, and to use my education and ability to positively influence young adults. Each generation is becoming increasingly hungry for something genuine, relevant, and creative. It is my goal to develop and launch a magazine for young adults that will promote individuality, leadership and morality in such a way. My dream is big and my goals are intimidating, but I believe. My belief is not in myself, but in the cause. I believe that in order to change our world it is necessary to impact our future in a radical way. My dream is to be a part of the change.

What are some of your dreams?

Thursday, February 17, 2005

"My First Memory"

Here's something I wrote in my creative writing class. We were instructed to write about our first memory...

The cold January air seemed to burn my face as I opened my eyes to see that I had been displaced from the seat of my father’s pick-up and was now lying on the floor, surrounded by pieces of shattered glass. I was frightened and confused; however normal and appropriate a response crying would’ve been for a three year old child, I could not seem to shed a tear. I looked up into the seat where just a few minutes earlier I had been seated between my father and older brother. My brother and I had often made the 3 mile trip from our farm into town with our Dad. We loved riding in his truck. On this particular day, the dirt road took control of the tires and the small white pick-up went off the road into a field. My eyes went searching for my father, the one who always made everything better, but he was nowhere to be found. I saw my brother halfway out the window and called to him for help. He assisted me in crawling out the window. The field seemed to go on forever. I could hear my brother talking to me, but his words were muted and unrecognizable. I felt a calmness that I didn’t understand as my brother and I started walking toward our home. We saw him lying face up covered in blood, unconscious and not moving. The tall grass seemed to envelop his limp body and even though I was only three years old, I somehow knew that my daddy was dead.

The next thing I remember is sitting in the hospital with my grandma. Miraculously, both my brother and I were unscathed. My father was flown to a hospital several hours away and was not expected to survive the flight, but he did. I don’t remember much else from this time, other than the day my father came home from the hospital. What a wonderful day. I’m not sure why this is the only memory I have of my early childhood. Perhaps it is because it was such a traumatic experience, or because I was overwhelmed with emotion. Whatever the reason, I will never forget the day I almost lost my dad.

Thursday, February 10, 2005

This picture always makes me think about the path that I am on...where is it leading?

These are a few pics I took a while ago. I love black and white pictures...they are so classic.

Tuesday, February 08, 2005

"New Music...Arab Strap"

I've added a new link to my music list.
Arab Strap
Check 'em out!

"I Love Technology...NOT!"

Napoleon Dynamite has been one of the majorly hot topics on campus this semester. At pretty much any point during the day, there is a good possibility that you will hear someone quoting part of the movie. It's just freakin' hilarious. If you're one of the few people in America who haven't subjected yourself to countless hours of meaningless must! Also, even if you have seen the movie, you need to watch the deleted scenes and bonus features on the dvd. After the credits run, there is a hilarious wedding scene between Kip and Lafawnda, during which Kip sings a love song. In this song Kip talks about how much he loves technology. Most days, I would have to agree with Kip. Technology is amazing. We don't even realize how much we use technology throughout the day. However, today is a different story. Today I hate technology. Everything in the technology world seems to be teaming up against me in an evil plot to ruin my life. The rough draft of my short story disappeared from my word files, and then the floppy that I had saved it on decided it would quit working. So that's pretty much the end of that story (pun intended). Also, my digital camera randomly shut off while I was using it and now it won't turn on. My laptop keeps freezing up, the batter to my ipod ran out just when I need to listen to some tunes to help me chill out. So to say the least this has been "the worst day of my life...what do you think?" (random napoleon quote). So even though I'm posing as a technology hater for the time being, here's a link to a few napolean soundboards, etc. that will aid you in wasting your time online while you should be doing work, it certainly has worked for me!

Napoleon Dynamite Soundboard
Another Soundboard
Yet Another Soundboard
Quiz-Which Napoleon Dynamite Character Are You?
Napoleon on Ebay

Monday, February 07, 2005

new pic for profile

Friday, February 04, 2005

"A Few Random Numbers"

We can assign a number to almost everything in our lives...

22...hours until the weekend

38...dollars in my wallet

7...hours away from home

34...current temperature

2731...songs on my ipod

10...months until my brothers wedding

57...credits left after this semester

396...po box number

41...guys that share a bathroom with me

One thing that cannot be counted or measured is God's love and forgiveness. Tonight at FCA, I was overwhelmed with thankfulness as I sang words that are hundreds of years old, "Amazing grace how sweet the sound that saved a wretch like me". Oh what a wretched man am undeserving of mercy and grace. I have failed so many times and yet God always finds me at my lowest point, completely covered with the ugliness of my sin, picks me up, washes me clean, and sets my feet back on solid ground. I don't think I will ever be able to comprehend this miracle of grace, a grace based soley upon love. A love that is unconditional and sacrificial. I wear a ring everyday engraved with the beautiful desription of love found in 1 Corinthians 13. Love is so many things that I fear I will never be. Love is so many things that I fear I will never understand. Yet love is something that I want to know. I want to LIVE and BREATHE and BE this kind of love that is beyond my human understanding.

"The world moves for love. It kneels before it in awe."

This quote from "The Village" leaves me speechless. Think on these powerful words today.

Sunday, January 23, 2005

Me and my best friend Jenn at a youth group party at home over christmas break.

Thursday, January 20, 2005

"No Time To Blog"

This week has been crazy. I've had no time to think, let alone blog this week. I just wanted to let everyone know that the "Phantom of the Opera" movie releases nationally must go see it. It truly was one of the most beautiful things I have ever experienced. By the way, I'm in love with Emmy Rossum who plays Christine, the main character in "Phantom". She's definitely a she can sing, which really does it for me!

Friday, January 14, 2005

"Pursuit of Love"

I've always heard girls say how they desire to be pursued by a guy. I never really understood this whole idea of pursuit until this week. I've really felt this week that God has been passionately pursuing me...He won't give up or back down. I feel as though I can't escape God, He's everywhere around me. I can hear his voice in the simplicity of my everyday routine, calling me to something more, something greater.

What is this "something"? I don't know exactly. It may not even be anything specific, but I am confident that God is desiring me to become more and more like Him every single day. That's my desire too. I desire His patience. I desire His strength. I desire His compassion. I desire His heart for the lost. I desire His love. I desire His joy. I desire His endurance. I desire His creativity. I desire HIM!

So I've given in. I've stopped fighting against Your pursuit. You win God. Your prize is my heart, my life. I give you control...I am yours. I trust you. Hold me in your arms and let the strength of Your embrace breathe strength to my life. You are my Strong Tower, my place of You alone do I place my hope!

Monday, January 03, 2005

"Not So Quiet Desperation"

"The mass of men lead lives of quiet desperation."

This statement from Walden, by Henry David Thoreau has been used for ages to describe the majority of people, who Thoreau seems to believe are somehow missing out on their purpose and living such pitiful, second rate versions of their intended life. This idea of "quiet desperation" is one with which I think most people, and assuredly most Christians are all to familiar. We tend to live our lives day to day with a sense of dissatisfaction that we have termed desperation. This fall, the hit show "Desperate Housewives" has drawn more attention than any show in recent years...Why? Because at the heart of every human, we are able to make meaningful connections with feelings of desperation, feelings of loss, need, and desire. When it comes down to it, I would have to say that Thoreau was right on when he described the "mass of men" in such a way.

However, this cliche' statement has derived several negative connotations throughout the years. We see so many men (and women) leading these desperate lives and we are compelled to feel pity for them. They've missed out on their lot in life, they're not satisfied, they've lost sight of their almost brings a tear to my eye as I write...not! When did desperation become such a bad thing? Even though millions of viewers have tuned into ABC on Sunday nights to watch the women of Wisteria live out their desperate housewife lives, and however attractive this make-believe lifestyle of glam, glitz and sex is, I cannot truly believe that our culture is one which promotes desperation. In fact, the American culture stands in complete contrast to a lifestyle of desperation, we know nothing of the sort. We kill ourselves 40 plus hours a week in order to bring in the big bucks...After all, we must look out for "number one". It is essential to our survival to drive a fancy SUV, drink designer coffee, wear designer jeans, and live in a house so large that we must buy even more stuff to fill it up.

As Americans, we have been taught since birth to place an extremely high value on independence and self-sufficiency. We spend countless amounts of time and money striving for a freedom that has become so very tainted. In the context of our culture, the word desperation brings forth thoughts of homelessness, poverty, and other undesirable situations...all negative. I would suggest that only when we become truly desperate will we ever discover profound freedom. This desperation is not for money, or other material things or even a sense of satisfaction, but rather a desperation for a deeper connection with the creator of the universe. The American church, as a majority, is far from leading lives of desperation...of any kind. In fact it is becoming increasingly difficult to distinguish the church from the world. We should be craving more. However, I think Thoreau's statement is true in describing the American church today. The mass of [American Christians] lead lives of quiet desperation. Our desperation is so quiet that too often we don't even realize that we are desperate, hungry and unsatisfied. We are filling ourselves with the junk food of our culture and are becoming blind to its effects.

It is my aim to live a life that screams desperation. With every breath that I take, may I realize that I need God more than the very air that fills my lungs. Only He can satisfy. Only He can bring freedom. The time is now. God is calling out and desiring to raise up a generation of Desperate housewives, and students, and lawyers, and musicians. May our desperation be not like that of Henry Thoreau, but may our desperation be loud, visible and contagious.