trying to follow

Thursday, October 5

Regular bloggin'

If you want to read regular blog entries from me, then check out They are generally of a less introspective/contemplative nature than these, but I figure that if you're here, then you probably know me.

Submission to the Authorities

If you would like to get into my head a bit, and that of the friend I mentioned in the previous post, check out the comments that he and I wrote for the following entry on his blog. It concerns, as the title of this entry suggests, submission to the authorities.

denuding: Dietrich Bonhoeffer

Points worthy of consideration

A friend of mine in Jerusalem posted the following entry. I find it remarkable. You should read it.

denuding: Fundamentalisms

Saturday, August 12

four and a half months later

i'll keep this short. [who cares?]

i'm moving to tennessee on monday. i'll start taking classes at emmanuel school of religion at the end of this month. my wife and i are jobless as of monday.

i kept this short. [i thought i'd be obvious and redundant.]

Thursday, March 23

four months later...

i return because of the same reason i first came: phil webster.

for whatever reason, i stumbled upon phil's blog for the first time in a while. it's good to read his thoughts, even though much of what i read was months old. he was/is a catalyst for my spiritual curiosity.

i feel as if i'm growing even though my "q. t." is not "where it should be." i feel that i'm discovering that what Jesus taught really is radical, and that He expects us to heed. but am i getting that from Him? not during a 15-minute (or longer for the more mature) period each day. i struggle most in my "prayer life." i wonder, with phil, if that's what it's all about. the alternative, i suppose, is the hokey pokey.

so i checked out phil's book list. i'm a bit jealous that it's much longer and more respectable than mine. it's kinda like he recommends bach and such, and i recommend britney spears. at any rate, my book list contains all the Christian books i've read. it makes me wonder if phil has read any books that aren't on the list. of course he has. but that just means he reads much, much more than i do.

so i like a couple of "pop" Christian books: the life you've always wanted (ortberg), soul survivor (yancey), and seizing your divine moment (mcmanus). i wonder what phil would think of them.

so i'm applying to a couple of seminaries. but i don't think i want to be a minister. i think God has other plans, and i think the kingdom will benefit from my education. who knows? my guess is that even if God doesn't "have other plans" and it's just i who does, He can still use my more educated self. i grow weary of my own ramblings.

i set out to write something profound and have only convinced myself that i am unable.

Monday, November 14

of this i'm sure

i have lots of doubts, or rather, lots of questions. i long for certainty, to close up all those holes in the framework of my perspective. i suppose clarity may come with age and under the title wisdom, but for now there are many holes. but i do prefer to look at a picture with holes than for my culture to fill them in for me.

but, of this i am sure: love is not a crime. Jesus Christ, in laying down His life and in resurrection, showed us the power of love and demonstrated its power over those of this world. truly, He now rules in the midst of His enemies. i wish to convince others of this not-so-obvious truth while it is still a secret, so that they may accept it and rejoice in the freedom thus offered. i do not know the extent to which salvation is exclusive, but i know that it is only through Jesus Christ.

bennett, miller, and their detractors

ok, so nobody cares about this anymore, including myself. i will, however, provide a brief summation for the sake of closure.

the villification of bennett was unfounded. while the comments he made were racially insensitive (perceived as such, while not intended to be), he did nothing to justify the hate-filled charges thrown at him. he was slain on the altar of p.c. with all the real racists out there, i think this outrage was clearly aimed at conservative talk radio. and, as a bonus, bennett served under reagan.

something else that i thought was strange was the protest that accompanied the posting of flyers. it seemed mainly to be leveled against self-segregation. what does that have to do with bennett's comments? (especially since this protest was intended as a matter of self-reflection, in addition to the public aspect?)

ok, enough polemics. i'll try to leave this stuff for popular, political bloggers.

Friday, October 28

bennett, miller and their detractors (the background)

some time ago (perhaps it was last week) fliers were posted on campus. the brightly colored 8 1/2 x 11's sported a quote from bill bennett, a conservative radio talk show host and former u.s. secretary of education, in which he spoke of how aborting all black males (or was it just children?) would lower the crime rate. there was a protest that day which, at least to the best of my memory, expressed contempt for self-segregation and the comments made by bennett.

earlier this week (monday, i think) stephen miller, a columnist for our paper, the chronicle, used his editorial space to put bennett's quote in context and express contempt for the actions of the students of the black student alliance, whom he assumed sponsored the protest. (apparently this was an incorrect assumption, but i'm pretty sure they posted the fliers. i could be wrong.)

(bennett was using the statement hypothetically and hyperbolically to demonstrate the irrationale behind an extremist pro-life position advocated by one of his callers.)

needless to say, there has been a wave of letters to the editor condemning both bennett and miller.

well, this is the beginning. i need to go, but i'll continue this later. actually, i'm still trying to collect my thoughts. perhaps they will be more cohesive than if i quickly typed them now.

what's a [Christian] boy to do?

i got on the bus today. there was a fellow passenger who appeared to be down on his luck, to apply a trite euphemism. i'll say it: he looked and smelled homeless. my first reaction was, "i wonder why he's on a campus bus." he certainly would be out of place at any duke bus stop. anyway, my second reaction was, "do i help this guy? how do i go about it? what do i offer him? will i offend him?" anyway, i pondered this and, of course, did not act. i had myself convinced that i would have helped him had he asked. i would have given him the four dollars on my person if he wanted money. i thought about offering him the opportunity to take a shower at my apartment, some clothes and some food. but i didn't. i thought that it'd be a great opportunity to share love and, incidentally, to lend creedence to my claim of being a compassionate conservative. but i left him alone. maybe that's the way he wanted it. maybe not.

Wednesday, October 19

thoughts on pacifism

so over the past couple of months i have become somewhat of a pacifist. i say "somewhat" because i part with pacificists on some issues. more specifically, i support the death penalty, i do not bemoan our government's involvement in iraq (while i do disagree with it), and my reason for opposing war in the modern era is different than pacifists (it's not simply "war is wrong.")

over the past couple of days, however, i've been asking questions to myself about whether it is justifiable. i suppose it's necessary to divulge my main opposition to war. that's easy enough. i object because there's no directive from on high as i believe there was in the old testament. furthermore, it seems to me that a general principle of the new testament is submission as opposed to retaliation. (i am aware of the difference between an individual Christian and the secular state.) an issue that is not completely clear to me, on a personal level, is the issue of violence for the protection of others. that is, i believe that i would act in a violent manner, if necessary, to protect someone from another person. while it is my decision to not retaliate if someone attacks me, it is not my decision to deny others that choice. it was in thinking about this that i wondered again about war. was it not the case (or could it at least be argued) that the united states' actions in iraq were to prevent one group of human beings from harming others? is the war analagous to me resorting to violence to protect someone from a rapist or a murderer? i don't know.

on the expression of gratitude

for those with little tolerance for the ramblings of the overly analytic, i recommend not reading the following. for those who enjoy such ramblings, this one isn't the greatest.

sometimes as i and others get off a bus, some of them thank the bus driver. i generally refrain. the way i see it, he is just doing his job. perhaps i would express gratitude if he had waited a few seconds to leave a stop for me to get on, but it seems unnecessary to thank him for driving the bus. i believe there are grounds for complaint in the event that he fails to do his job but fail to see why i should commend him for stopping at my stop.

at the same time, i realize that this sounds insensitive and humbuggish, neither of which i desire to be. i certainly neither condemn friendliness on the part of my peers nor question their motives. rather, i question merely their words. i've considered saying other things to bus drivers, equally friendly things, but am unable to come up with anything that isn't trite ("have a good one", etc.). i am not against positive reinforcement but insist that, on my part, it be genuine and logical.

i experienced similar ambivalence shortly after september 11, 2001. there was an outpouring of gratefulness expressed to the new york fire and police departments. while i appreciate their service, do they deserve praise for doing their job? if we express this gratitude, then are we not insisting that inaction would have been a viable option? i feel that a greater debt of gratitude was owed to the volunteers who attended the aftermath of the disaster; in their case, inaction was a viable option.

i desire consistency. if i am grateful that my bus driver drops me off at my stop, then i should be grateful that beavers build dams.

and yet, i know that i am wrong somehow. if my mother were rescued by a firefighter, then i would be grateful. and i would most definitely express gratitude to him, indeed, just for doing his job. this extends. i know that i am encouraged and delighted when people express gratitude to me for things that i'm supposed to do.

the issue remains for me. what actions deserve gratitude? which do not?

Thursday, October 13


so last night i checked out job openings in beaufort county schools. they had listed an opening for a math teacher in the spring at washington high school. i wrote down the contact number, thinking i'll call the next morning.

my cell phone woke me up this morning. my mom was calling to let me know about the very same job opening. as it turns out, the lady who was principal at my junior high school talked with the principal of whs last night, found out about the job, recommended me, and then called my mom this morning.

anyway, so i'm stoked. i talked to the principal this morning. he seemed very encouraging, despite the fact that i'm not licensed. i've talked to God about this (i.e. a job for the spring). i'm wondering if this was all coincidence, or if He had a hand in it. if the latter is the case, then i feel bad for just wondering. if the former is the case, then i feel foolish for just wondering. maybe i should decide one way or the other, so i'll be completely right or wrong. maybe.