Friday, August 31, 2007


Devin Mitchell was born this morning, August 31st, to my brother and his wife, and his big sister Lexy Ann. I have a nephew!

She will never hold you
blue-bundled bright ball of boy;
but this miracle she sent out
from heaven
dripping with some sweetness, the sweetness
that draws families together
like honey draws flies-
undeservered innocence enters a world
and we all fall silent;
circling around, watching him yawn with purity,
imagining ourselves in his place,
as this tiny monster,
and our own parents holding us, in awe
at our tiny hands and fingernails.
This is not the first time I have witnessed birth,
but it's the first I've realized
the importance of the soul, and the veil
between heaven and now is almost pulled away,
and my mother peeks at us
from around the hospital's curtain,
my mother, who, only hours before,
must have smiled her smile, and
told my little nephew that it was time
to come into the world and meet us face to face.

Sunday, August 26, 2007

Your Will be Done

So, I went to church at the right time, again. I think God is trying to woo me back into fellowship with a chain of "wow, I really needed to hear that" moments at church. I guess you could say it started when I opened the bulletin and read the announcement that next week would start a new Bible class in the morning covering Ecclesiasted and Job. This is merely remarkable partly because I've thought about reading through the book of Job lately, and partly because Ecclesiastes thrills me in an odd, enigmatic way. But God surprised me more than once.

Before going to church this morning, and indeed, all weekend long, I've been thinking about the upcoming school year. Well, not just thinking, but I've been dwelling. I know this is the semester when I'll decide upon my future and start making choices that will ultimately affect my life ahead, academically, spiritually, etc. I've had dreams about graduate school, merely because I fall to sleep at night thinking about this upcoming year, about getting through it so I can go to grad school, but also wondering what I'm missing since I'm not in grad school yet. That's not the healthiest line of thinking, because it brings on quite a restless night. But as I was telling a friend of mine, I even found myself dreaming about studying literary theory... which is odd, to say the least. But the problem has been that I've been dwelling over what I want, or where I want to be, or what I want to study.

I've been worried and worried and worried about the choices I'll be making this semester.

So imagine my surprise when the minister begins his sermon regarding prayer - not just about prayer, but about that key line that some people say far too often to be sincere about it: "not my will, but thine be done."

When Christ prayed in Gethsemane, he was in agony. He sweated drops of blood, for crying out loud. Our preacher pointed out that the song that states "he had no care for his own griefs, but sweat drops of blood for mine" is incredibly misleading, and downright false. Christ was in agony for himself, pleading with God over and over again for "this cup to pass," BUT, that if it was God's will, he would take of it. We don't understand the concept of "your will be done" when we talk to God.

Isn't prayer supposed to be about changing God's will? What about Hezekiah, in II Kings 20, when God ordained that he should die, but Hezekiah's unrelenting prayer granted him 15 years more of life? What about the parable spoken by Christ about the persistent woman who's request was granted by the King merely because of her persistence? Why should we ever pray "Your will be done"?

"Your will be done," is not for everyone.

There is a certain amount of spiritual maturity that comes with truly being willing to accept God's will, and to be "okay" with the outcome. It's hard to give up our will. It's hard to turn things over to God, because there is always the case that God's will could include suffering. Look at Job. Look at millions and millions of people who ask God everyday why a loved one had to be taken from them. Dr. Baird referenced C.S. Lewis, whose book "A Grief Observed" relates a CHristian journey through the turmoil of losing a loved one, and how he faced God in all of that pain.

Christ understood that pain, and he still granted God His will. Our will is a will based merely on our knowledge, our own interests, the love we have for ourselves and those we love, and whatever is the least painful path to take. We can't possibly take in the entire picture. We, like Dr. Baird suggested, would have been railing and railing against God if we had been alive during the time of Joseph, watching him suffer as a slave, and even a prisoner, for decades and decades. How could we have understood God's overall plan? How can we ever understand God's overall plan?

But God's will is stronger than our will, and we have to be able to accept it. Of course, God's "no" is better than "no God," as Dr. Baird put it, and God would rather us be sincerely angry with him, than insincerely in agreement.

A sincere argument with God is better than an insincere "Your will be done."

I'm going to think twice on that before I mention that in a prayer. I understand now, through this summer, that God's will is perfect, and beautiful, but that it includes a lot of pain and blind confusion from us humans, who can't fully understand it. It's hard to just trust, and obey, blindly.

Friday, August 24, 2007


I can't believe the summer is officially over.

I have full intentions of spouting flawless wisdom in my blogs, but tonight the muse escapes me.

Thursday, August 23, 2007

Thank You

"What would you think of me now?
So lucky, so strong, so proud?
I never said Thank You for that."

-Jimmy Eat World

This is a song I hadn't connected with until recently. Part of the lyric reminds me of my mother. My mother is the one who raised me, to whom I attribute everything good about myself: my optimism, my tendency to see the good in most situations, and my endeavour to always see the good in other people.

Driving home from Texas was enlightening. Most drives are, especially when the landscape is pretty, the sun and the clouds are just right in the sky, and all around Nature seems to be singing its praises, and you can't help but join in. But listening to song lyrics like the one above, I realize both how lucky I am to be where I am, how blessed I've been in this life, and how grateful I am. There are things in my life now that I would be dissapointed about, if my mom were still alive to find out about them - and there are things I've learned, changes I've made (for the better), that I really wish I could share with her.

I did have the chance to thank my mom for what she gave me, and I've grown up since then, since she died - grown away from her, as I should, as everyone does. But the lesson I learned - even from that sentimental feeling I got, thanking my mom once more, thanking her through the sky and the clouds and through God on that sunny drive north from Texas - was that I cannot forget to thank those who have helped me even further in my walk as a Christian, in my walk as a human being, and in my walk as a man.

My friends are the gems of this world. Friends are the arms of God, reaching out to hold or comfort us. I see God in the tears of my friends, in the laughter, in the words of my friends, in the love of my friends. Friendship is one of the key elements to our humanity. There is little I could have done without them.

It's tough, sometimes, watching them move on with their lives, or having to move on, yourself, and leave people behind. It happens, it always does. One hopes that paths cross again, and sometimes they do. I'm grateful to know that I don't have to worry about falling away from the friends I've made.

God has truly blessed me.

There's so much more to say here. To say about life, the future, the keys to happiness, to contentment. There is so much I've learned about myself and about love. Maybe I'll find the words to share it. I'm not as eloquent as some, so it might take me more time :). But for now, I just wanted to get that out there.

I am blessed. Very blessed. I pray to God that I can give back as much as I've gained.

Tuesday, August 21, 2007


The stars are out tonight.
How fitting - I would say,
if we were in a convertible, and the world was our oyster
and we were climbing on the backs of the mountains
throwing our shit to the wind
and asking it, just begging it, to challenge us.
They shine for us - is all you would say,
and we'd clang glasses of illegal substance together
in our car
as we howl at the night and celebrate the stars and the moon
as if they were our brothers, and we were all traveling together
like Jack Kerouac, or some crazy shit like that - I'd say
and you'd agree, with some philosophic or theologic words
that I couldn't begin to write down for you, since you're
the only one who spouts that stuff out well enough
for both of us.
But we'd be flying down the road
with the world, the road, and boxes and boxes of wine at our fingertips
just challenging God to slow us down,
or asking Him to pick us up -
It didn't matter, because we felt Him with us, anyway,
you, me, and Jesus in the backseat of a camaro,
toasting boxes of wine to the moon.
Yeah - I say, I can dream, can't I?
And you put your arm around me and tell me,
brother -you say, we're already there.


I decided that I wasn't really using this blog for my creative fiction, so I created, which I'll use for my creative outlet, hopefully focusing on pieces of the novel I hope to start working on, soon.

For the day to day calendar events, my blog remains open at, and I think I'll use this particular blog for my more philosophical or existential musings :).

Maybe I'm a nerd with too many blogs, but I hope this will help me better organize my thoughts.

Monday, August 20, 2007

It's not selfish to ask for help.

I've had to realize that it's more prideful to refrain from asking for help, than it is selfish to ask for it.

It's not selfish to want to get to know someone.

It's not selfish to want someone to hear and understand your problems.

It's not selfish to do something in exchange for friendship. There are many more prideful motives one could have for helping someone than just wanting to have their friendship. Maybe we're lied to all our lives, being told that we're horribly selfish beings, when in fact all we're really trying to do is reach out for help, or reach out to other people. To prove that we're human, too, in fact.

Don't get me wrong, selfishness does exist. We are all inherently selfish - but I think sometimes we focus so much on the smaller matters that we forget the point of it all. We can't go dissecting every little thing we do, or else we'll be afraid of doing anything at all. A man who's afraid that talking about himself will come across as selfish, will never be able to truly let his feelings out, and will eventually explode.

But we are selfish. THat's the first thing we have to realize. We have to realize that we are selfish, and we have to realize that some things we think are selfish, are NOT selfish. Strange. But I guess, really, the point is we have to redirect ourselves to focus on the more important matters. I can't allow myself to continually pick at myself for being "selfish." Yes, okay, I'm selfish. I'm not selfish for wanting a friend, or for desiring love, because that's human. I'm selfish for not wanting to take responsibililty for my actions, not wanting to have to give love in return. That should be my focus. Not my friendships, not my cries for help - but my actions.

I am a selfish person.

But I am not a hopeless person.

Monday, August 13, 2007

Inspired by a friend

I believe God never gives us more than we can handle.

I believe that God purposes us to suffer as to make us better equipped to handle the life he has planned for us.

I believe that inside everyone is a kernel of goodness, because they were created in God's image.

I believe that there is such a thing as an over-soul,a "Universal," a Tao, a gift of God, possibly akin to the Holy Spirit, that inspires us.

I believe there is no such thing as a distinction of Science and Religion, because if God exists, then God is also Science.

I believe that in the beginning was Logos, the Word, or "Reason," and that logic is one of the core sentient elements of our nature.

I believe that there is a reason for everything.

I believe that good comes to those who trust in God. I believe that good is always the outcome, depending on one's faith, and one's outlook, no matter how trying the situation.

I believe that action is a fundamental part of our salvation, and hence, of our nature.

I believe that you can't sit around and think about your life, you have to go our and live it, and DO it.

I believe that love is a verb, not an adjective, or a noun.

I believe that emotions are everything.

I believe that emotions aren't everything.

I believe that God is a God of both our emotions AND our intellect, and we cannot forsake one for the other.

I believe that balance, or moderation, is the key to all things.

I believe that we serve integral functions as human beings, but our primary function is to be children of God.

I believe most people give up their humanity for the mechanization of the modern world, drying themselves up with a lack of human contact and emotion.

I believe more people suffer from psychological problems than they would like to admit. I believe the strongest people are those who are willing to admit that they need help.

I believe Socrates was right when he said the only thing we can surely know is that we know nothing.

I believe that friendship is one of the most important things on earth, and that is meant to be cherished sincerely.

I believe that love knows no bounds.

I believe that it is possible to be content in every given situation. I also believe it takes a lot of faith to get to that point, in God and in yourself.

I believe in God, and His Universal.

Wednesday, August 8, 2007

1 Peter: Hope amidst suffering

I haven't gotten the chance to listen to my father speak very often. Sometimes it's hard to see the man as a preacher, but he has a knowledge of scripture, and an eloquence of speaking, that is almost unparalleled in my opinion. I was able to visit with him this evening, and listen to him give a lesson to the church's Wednesday night Bible class. He has been leading them in a discussion of the letters to the different churches discussing the problems of the first century churches, and the solutions offered by the apostles. Tonight he spoke on 1 and 2 Peter. Although he talked about 2nd Peter, and the emphasis on false teaching, I was only struck by his talk on 1 Peter.

He begun by mentioning what he thought to be the overall theme of the book itself, a theme of "Hope amidst suffering."

The very first scripture he had us look at was 1 Peter 4:

"So those who suffer according to God's will should, in doing good, entrust themselves to a faithful Creator."

He asked us the question: who, in this verse, is causing us to suffer? The answer is clearly God. I was amazed, not that I misunderstood the possibility of God allowing us to suffer so that he might shape us into who we need to be, but that it is his intention for us to suffer. It is his plan for us to suffer. Surely God is more merciful than that, and doesn't want us to suffer... right?

1 Peter 1:11 mentions "the sufferings of Christ and the glories that would follow." Chapter 2, verse 21 makes it fairly clear: "To this you were called, because Christ suffered for you, leaving you an example, that you should follow in his footsteps." The suffering of Christ serves to us as an example. How is this?
In verse 23 of the same chapter, "When they hurled insults at him, he did not retaliate; when he suffered, he made no threats," and in chapter 3 verse 9, we are told "do not repay evil with evil or insult with insult, but with blessing."

It's easy to repay evil with evil, to focus on revenge and not turn the other cheek, but by suffering, or going through trials, we are taught how to react in negative situations, and we are trained to understand to look for the good in ourselves and in other people, regardless of the situation. This is a side note that my father didn't talk about, but it reminds me personally of Paul's statement in Philippians, "I have learned to be content in any situation." We are taught throughout the entire Bible, it seems, on the usefulness of trials and suffering.

My father pointed us back to chapter 4, in verse 12 and 13:
Dear friends, do not be surprised at the painful trial you are suffering, as though something strange were happening to you. But rejoice that you participate in the sufferings of Christ, so that you may be overjoyed when his glory is revealed."

Another version talks about the outcome of "exceeding joy." The outcome of suffering, the suffering shared with us by Christ, or that we share with Him, leads to joy when God's glory, or His plan, is revealed in us.

The class discussed several things at this point, from the point of us experiencing suffering to become better people (someone who has never experienced suffering and has everything in the world tends to be more frequently depressed than those who learn how to deal with the harshness of reality), to the necessity of giving up worrying about our suffering, and giving up on anxiety, and dwelling on our problems and sufferings. Christ did not dwell on his shortcomings, nor did he rebuke others when he was falsely accused, and the glory of his resurrection was revealed because he suffered so perfectly.

It was all exactly what I needed to hear. No, I don't consider my life any harder than the next person, but I think sometimes we forget that God doesn't give us any more than we can handle. It's sad, all the time I've wasted complaining, or "venting" to others about the problems in my life - when I really shouldn't burden other people with what I know I am able to handle all on my own. No, of course, I don't mean that people shouldn't talk about things like this with one another, or that people can't help one another - but a friend should not be a crutch, and the glory of God has an avenue through me if I'm able to understand the path that God is taking me through. I can stand on my own two feet and take what I've learned from life and use it to be a stronger person. I guess part of me used to be worried that people wouldn't care to be around me, if I was self-sufficient, if I didn't "need" them. But I have a feeling that I could be much closer to people if I realized how much I didn't "need" them. At least, it's a thought I had, listening to my Dad talk tonight.

I felt so overwhelmed tonight. Hearing the same talk about anxiety and "dwelling" versus "acting" that I've pondered over and over with a friend of mine recently, things the importance of which we both have recently discovered... it was sobering. I felt what I like to call the "over soul" seeping down over me. The knowledge that I was meant to be there and to hear that was very sobering; humbling.

I know I just have to take everything one day at a time, and continue to thank God for the time He gives me.

A Swiftly Tilting Planet

"Nothing was. ... There was no dark. There was no light. No sight nor sound nor touch nor smell nor taste. No sleeping nor waking. No dreaming, no knowing.
And then a surge of joy.
All sense alive and awake and filled with joy.
Darkness was, and darkness was good. As with light.
Light and darkness dancing together, born together, born of each other, neither preceding, neither following, both fully being, in joyful rhythm.
The morning stars sang together and the ancient harmonies were new and it was good. It was very good.
And then a dazzling star turned its back on the dark, and it swallowed the dark, and in swallowing the dark it became the dark, and there was something wrong with the dark, as there was something wrong with the light. And it was not good. The glory of the harmony was broken by screeching, by hissing, by laughter which held no merriment but was hideous, horrendous cacophony."

- Madeleine L'engle, from "A Swiftly Tilting Planet"

Tuesday, August 7, 2007

A conversation.

I'm working on a novel. I'm superstitious about divulging information, but I'm not against posting little pieces I write - writing for the sole purpose of allowing myself to flesh out my characters. I meant this journal for things like this, anyway, didn't I?

"I hate being up past twelve every night. I hate it."
"What does that mean?"
"Being up past twelve."
"Oh, great. Here you go again."
"You're going to start in on some deep shit, aren't you?"
He looked at me. His smile was almost comical, but I could tell behind his quiet eyes that he was halfway serious. Then again, he always was half serious.
"What do you think I'm about to say?" He raised an eyebrow.
"I don't know. Something about the meaninglessness of time, or that my necessity for eight hours of sleep is all in my head. Something like that."
"What do you mean by time?"
"What do you mean, 'what do I mean'? I've been complaining about the hours I've worked all day."
"What's an hour?"
"We're just talking increments of time, here. It's not complicated."
"Increments?" He leaned back. Classic interrogation pose.
"Yeah. You know, for measuring."
"Increments of time meant for measuring. For measuring what?"
"I don't know. Time."
He must of seen the look on my face, because he laughed.
"Time measures time, does it?"
"Okay, Socrates, if you have any theories, just lay them all out for me."
He just smiled. It took him awhile, but then he spoke.
"If time didn't exist for you, would you still be worried about how long it would take you to learn from your mistakes?"

Wednesday, August 1, 2007

How much strength...

actually comes from within ourselves? As human beings, we're consistently reaching out for others - whether for other's approval, or other's support. For instance - why create an online journal if no one else is going to read it? What part of us thrives on outside attention, how much of it is necessary, and how much of it do we need to stifle? Where do we draw the line, and where do we re-teach ourselves to be self-reliant once more? C.S. Lewis' depiction of the genuine Christian was a person who, Lewis claims, doesn't "need" anyone. Lewis even warns the reader that falling into the trap of "wanting to be needed" or wanting to "feel needed" is a grave mistake. How is that prevented - and why do we fall into that trap?

How many times have I told myself that that was all that mattered - just being "needed," as if I did not exist without the necessity of my presence requested from some other source. If someone else didn't need me, I wouldn't cease to exist, but I find that most people that have that fear have a low self-image, or else are just so incredibly afraid of being lonely that they'll go to all lengths possible just to know that someone is not going to forget about them.

It's sad, isn't it? Equally sad is that fact that it's a constant struggle, no matter how often people can say the recognize it in themselves - we live in a world of distant relationships, grasping for love like grasping for straws. We'd all be fools if we tried to say we were able to "get over" every little flaw we recognize in ourselves.