Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Past/Present/Future

"Trust the past to God's mercy, the present to God's love, and the future to God's providence."
-St. Augustine

I'm coming out of a series of really busy weeks with Bridgetown and fighting my way through midterms. Expect some postings of more substance over the next couple weeks.

Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Love Song of a 6 Year Old

The following was written by Brian James Wiggs. He is a six year old who has been serving at Nightstrike regularly with is family for over 2 years now. He asked for a pen and paper a couple nights ago and ran up to his room...
















I had to post the scanned copy, in his own hand writing, to truly convey the beauty. As his father commented "talking to God as a six year old must be amazing."

If anyone would like to write a melody for this song we could sing it during worship at Nightstrike!

Love Song of a 6 Year Old

Jesus You are my true King.
I wish I could see you,
with my two eyes.

You are beautiful.
I know you very well.

You are my Holy Father.
In Christ forever,
I will worship You.

-By Brian James Wiggs

Monday, April 28, 2008

Race for Hope

I'm so proud of these girls! They were part of a mission trip team I worked with, through Bridgetown, over spring break.

Friday, April 25, 2008

"$3 worth of God"

Wilbur Rees, author of Growing Up Crooked, once said:
"I would like to buy $3 worth of God, please - not enough to explode my soul or disturb my sleep, but just enough to equal a cup of warm milk or a snooze in the sunshine. I don't want enough of him to make me love a foreigner or pick beets with a migrant worker. I want ecstasy, not transformation; I want the warmth of a womb, not a new birth. I want a pound of the Eternal in a paper sack. I'd like to buy $3 worth of God, please."
Let that one penetrate.

Courtesy of Ben Witherington

Thursday, April 24, 2008

Th!nk

We need to get over our addiction to cars. Driving and owning a car is not a God given right as Americans.

Wheels like this little guy, from the Norwegian company Th!nk, are the future.

It is looking like North America will have a chance to start practicing some self restraint (with a little nudge from exorbitant gas prices, of course.) later this year.

I have always preferred my cars with a throaty exhaust that makes children run in fear, rear wheels that can repave the road with rubber, and a muscular design with an overdose of testosterone. But $25,000 and running at 110mpg; you have my attention, even if you are as cute as a button.

And if you think trading in your land boat is asking a little much, check out this New York Times article titled The Big Thirst.
“The country has been living beyond its means,” said Vaclav Smil, a prominent energy expert at the University of Manitoba. “The situation is dire. We need to do relative sacrifices. But people don’t realize how dire the situation is.”
And if you are feeling too depressed about gas prices, here's a smile on me:


Cute Kittens Bop Their Head - Watch more free videos

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Suburban Farming

This makes me very happy.



Time to till up those pointless finely groomed patches of useless grass.

Here's an excellent resource for more ideas: Path of Freedom

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

3200 W 90th St‎ Cleveland Ohio

This guy is so famous! I'm jealous...
Caught on Google Street View:











You can see the action unfold in Google Street View here. Go forward one notch and swing the camera around to see him next to you. Then you can even go one click more, and looking behind you, see him doing a pretty sweet backwards sumersault.

Movies from Sociology Class

So far this term I have watched excerpts from a couple fascinating movies in my sociology classes that I am going to try and get my hands on and watch and some unknown later date when I magically have more time.

Chalkdust Memories - Classic Classroom Films: We watched a couple excerpts of these in my Social Deviancy class. Quite entertaining!

The Corporation: We watched a good chunk of this one (and the next) in U.S. Society. A fascinating documentary into the dark underside of the corporate entity. An eye opener. You should be able to rent this one pretty easily. Highly recommended!

Class Dismissed - How TV Frames the Working Class: A look at how media shapes societies understanding and misunderstanding of class in America. This one might be a little bit harder to get my hands on, because it looks like they only sell it (for outrageous prices!) to educational institutions.

Monday, April 21, 2008

Lost in 4 minutes and 24 seconds

If you need to catch up (from episode 1) before the new episode on Thursday, simply watch and be enlightened:



Impressive.

Sunday, April 20, 2008

Jesus Is Getting Kicked Out From Undeneath the Burnside Bridge

From my friend Samuel:
The city of Portland has declared underneath the Burnside Bridge to be an "Illegal Campground." A notice of 13 days has been given to any and all sleeping underneath the bridge to move. All sleeping underneath the bridge have until April 26 to move.

On the notices posted underneath the bridge a phone number was listed, as well as the following: "Shelter is available through several nonprofit service agencies. For more information about shelter and other services contact Transition Projects, 503-823-4930."

I contacted Transition Projects (aka TPI). The wait list time period is 6 weeks to get an available bed in a shelter. And that bed is only for a few nights. And there are not enough shelters or beds to house the amount of people who are now staying underneath the bridge.

I am currently working in unison with several other individuals to try and remedy this situation. I am getting in touch with Mayor Tom Potter. Another individual is getting in touch with politician and mayor candidate Sam Adams, as well as Luis Pulau.

If no solution can be reached by April 26 I am prepared to camp underneath the bridge.

Matt 25:40
The King will reply, 'I tell you the truth, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers of mine, you did for me.'
NIV
I perceive this as Portland's attempt to solve the "homeless problem", but they are only addressing the symptom and not the disease. They are not addressing the root of the problem (sin, or even from a secular view, resources required for proper reintegration). They are merely pushing their problem onto someone else. THIS I believe is the issue that needs to be raised! This could be, so to speak, our battlecry - the irresponsibility of the city's actions.

Isaiah 58:

6 "Is not this the kind of fasting I have chosen:
to loose the chains of injustice
and untie the cords of the yoke,
to set the oppressed free
and break every yoke?

7 Is it not to share your food with the hungry
and to provide the poor wanderer with shelter—
when you see the naked, to clothe him,
and not to turn away from your own flesh and blood?

8 Then your light will break forth like the dawn,
and your healing will quickly appear;
then your righteousness
will go before you,
and the glory of the LORD will be your rear guard.

9 Then you will call, and the LORD will answer;
you will cry for help, and he will say: Here am I.
"If you do away with the yoke of oppression,
with the pointing finger and malicious talk,

10 and if you spend yourselves in behalf of the hungry
and satisfy the needs of the oppressed,
then your light will rise in the darkness,
and your night will become like the noonday.

11 The LORD will guide you always;
he will satisfy your needs in a sun-scorched land
and will strengthen your frame.
You will be like a well-watered garden,
like a spring whose waters never fail.

12 Your people will rebuild the ancient ruins
and will raise up the age-old foundations;
you will be called Repairer of Broken Walls,
Restorer of Streets with Dwellings.

If you are interested in getting involved in this fight for justice, please contact me immediately!

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Not Once But Twice

If you thought you were having a bad day, this will put things into perspective:




Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Brazil oil field could be huge find, and why I don't care.

Yesterday an exciting piece of news hit the headlines titled "Brazil oil field could be huge find"
"A deep-water exploration area could contain as much as 33 billion barrels of oil, an amount that would nearly triple Brazil's reserves and make the offshore bloc the world's third-largest known oil reserve, a top energy official said Monday...

"This would lay to rest some of the peak oil pronouncements that we were out of oil, that we weren't going to find any more and that we have to change our way of life." said Roger Read, an energy analyst and managing director at New York-based investment bank Natixis Bleichroeder Inc., which buys and sells stock in offshore drilling contractor Seadrill, a Petrobras contractor." (News.Yahoo.com)
First, take a moment to reread Roger Reads job description and soak in any biases that he may have.

Now, continuing on; so we find a little bit more oil and we buy ourselves some more time for what? So we can continue living extravagant wasteful lifestyles, raping the world to feed our addictions, and not have to worry about changing?

I say praise God that we can delay the inevitable a little bit longer to make the transition to a more responsible way of life. But if you read something like this and it reaffirms your complacency, simply put, it is irresponsible to the generations that will follow.

There aren't to many ways to spin this.

Not only is it short-sighted, it is selfish to make excuses for why we have a right to retain a lifestyle that 95% of the world could never dream of. I worry the only force powerful enough to ween us of our luxuries addictions is the limitations of nature. Someone dies every 3.6 seconds because of disease that could be easily avoided if they only had access to clean drinking water. Is this not a powerful enough motivator to practice some good old self restraint?

As a Christian, this shakes me; to the very foundation of my existence. I believe we have a greater purpose to live for then the empty luxuries of America.

As a Christian, I must not be complacent with the extravagant lifestyle I am offered.

As a Christian, I must put myself on a trajectory of a lifestyle of continually living with less excess (I will be touching on this more in a later post).

As a Christian, I must be seeking to be satisfied more and more in Christ.

It is worth mentioning also, that it has been common knowledge that there are massive unexplored oil reserves in the ocean. The hard part is extracting it at a feasible cost. The cost to energy ratio will never be anywhere near the levels we enjoyed when you could just stick a pipe in the ground and oil came out. And at some point, the cost of energy to extract the oil makes it unprofitable.

So in this day, with $4.00 a gallon on the horizon for the summer, I can understand why this is welcome news. But in the bigger scope of things, it changes absolutely nothing. Do not let it lull you into blind complacency.

Because this is the future; an article on the BBC (Again, something else worth noting, I could find no mention of this in any of the American media outlets) released today titled "'Threat' to future of Russia oil".
"One energy expert said the Russian industry was now acknowledging a crisis which had been evident to independent observers for several years.

"We now see production peaked last year," Mikhail Kroutikhin, editor in chief of the Russian Petroleum Investor told the BBC.

"I believe the decline will continue for quite a number of years." (news.BBC.co.uk)
That is the undeniable future of oil, no matter how much is still in the ground; anywhere.

That, my friends, is why I don't care how much oil was discovered in Brazil.

Sunday, April 13, 2008

Sunday, April 06, 2008

41st!

My First race in a couple years, and after only 1 1/2 months of training, went well. In the 2008 Race For the Roses 5K I got 41st out of 946 overall; 4th of 19 in my age division.

I'm not content with my time though. 20:05; which comes out to just under 6 minutes 30 second a mile pace. With more consistent training I should be able to shave at least a minute off that time, which brings it closer to a 6 minute mile pace.

They had an awesome spread of food and I got a wicked massage afterwards! (Thanks again Tyrone's cousin!)

If anyone is interested in doing a race, let me know. It's a great motivator! And, actually, is quite fun!

Thursday, April 03, 2008

WellBeing

This last Sunday afternoon I served at a local ministry in Portland called WellBeing. It is a ministry to serve those living with HIV/AIDS. This is driven with a focus to do all that they can to bring comfort and healing to those living with it and those living around it.

I don't know what was the most exciting part of serving at WellBeing. Possibly it was discussing theology and the works of C.S. Lewis with a cross dressing man or playing a hilarious game of Apples to Apples. Maybe it was the delicious meal, which I was drooling over the whole time I served, and finally getting to sit down and eat it with a friend of mine from under the Burnside Bridge. But buried within all of this, God was stretching and growing me. 

That cathedral in north Portland has seen its better days of awe inspiring worldly majesty. In the basement of that century old decrypt cathedral I was a part of something. I remember looking at the back of the church, mismatched bricks through decades of repairs, and seeing the path lined with brightly colored tulips bursting forth (hang in there, I know I'm dropping some hardcore touchy feely jargon); but this was only a glimpse of what was happening inside. Deep in the basement the physical building was not doing too much better with broken everything; from sink nobs to garbage disposals. But within the framework of the physical old and broken building there was life bursting forth. 

This same new life was bursting out of each of us there. Within my worldly-sin-ridden-self-loving body, new life was bursting forth! By laying everything down in the pursuit of being a lover of God I experienced a new life with it's well-spring in Jesus. Now, the inappropriate disgusting humor of a man, who all his life was treated like trash far worse then the trash spewing from his mouth, rolled off my shoulders. The unabashed flirting and objectifying actions towards me and my body, was not only a massive wake up call to how we as men treat woman, but was something I was able to return with love and compassion as opposed to my old self sparking repulsion or bitterness.

Awkward and uncomfortable? At times - for sure! But only because I have sheltered myself for so long within the walls of the Church and don't know how to engage this broken suffering world yearning for something more. But even more then uncomfortable, the experience was eye opening and fun. I am learning more and more, there is no better experience then to lay down your life to be used by God. The joy and the peace that flow out of being used by God is nothing short of glorious.

Race for the Roses

Over the last two months I committed myself to running 3 times a week, even if that means I have to squeeze in a run at 11:00 pm. It feels amazing to be back in the routine of running regularly! To help with the motivation I signed up for a 5k race in Portland this Sunday - Race for the Roses. I'm also mulling over doing the Portland Marathon in October. 

I did an intense interval workout on a killer hill yesterday and was planning to do a nice easy run this morning. The sun was shining bright, the air was fresh, and an Ame
ricano was flowing through my veins. I ended up on the waterfront (best place to catch the sun in the morning with all the high-rises.) and found myself pacing a guy right in front of me. I caught up to him and asked if I could run with him for awhile. 

His name was Jim and we got to talking about life. He's doing the Boston Marathon in a couple weeks. He got a bachelors in Psychology, a masters in English, ended up in I.T., and is still paying off the loans 15 years later. Next thing I knew it was 9:00, I was on the wrong side of the river 2 miles down, and our course parted as he headed home. If your not a runner - it is much harder to set a good pace running by yourself.

I still had a 3 mile run home and needed to take a shower before my barrage of Thursday classes started at 10:00. I made it to class on time and it made for a glorious start to the day!

I am absolutely in love with my latest pair of Pegasus' 

Wednesday, April 02, 2008

US set to spend 50 Billion against HIV

Now there's a foreign diplomacy program I can get behind!


...How about we shut down a few of those 737 military installation in 130 countries around the globe and we could nearly triple that number. "Using data from fiscal year 2005, the Pentagon bureaucrats calculated that its overseas bases were worth at least $127 billion." (excerpt from Nemesis: The Last Days of the American Republic)

Tuesday, April 01, 2008

Exciting Drive Home

So, this last term I borrowed my moms white Pontiac to get to my night class at the PCC Rock Creek campus out on the west-side past Beaverton. The only way I knew how to get there was from riding the MAX. I thought I was in the clear, but it looks like Tri-Mets security cameras caught me after all...

Driver drives car into MAX Westside lightrail tunnel