Friday, July 29, 2005

Radio Chaos

I just about reached through the receiver and over the airwaves and grabbed a fellow by the face the other day. I was listening to a program on 620AM, which is the Christian talk radio station in 'metropolitan' Knoxville. They have some really intellegent and thought-provoking preachers on there, so I usually channel-surf over it at least once between Jefferson City and Knoxville. So I was listening to this guy who had a talk show, sort of like Rush Limbaugh or Michael Savage, and he was going on about child molesters. I'm just going to level with you - he said, and I quote, "They should all be killed." That's right, all dead. Capital punishment, every one. He then proceeded to quote the verse where Jesus says that it would be better for a man to jump into the sea with a millstone around his neck if he caused a child to sin. This was his entire reasoning for a total lack of mercy for child molesters. Granted, what they do is horrible, but sheer dispassionate murder is not the answer for them. Besides, I get the impression that Jesus was talking about judgement in a heavenly sense, not the penalty bestowed by men, since "it is given unto men once to die" anyway, and we should "be afriad of the One who can destroy both soul and body in hell." Heck, while we're hard at this killing, let's bring in some liars, and some thieves, and possibly some rapists. They all deserve to die as well don't they? "The wages of sin is death." Isn't that what that means.......that we should kill all the sinners?

What a load of crap. I felt wonderfully inclined to call the guy up and ream him a new exit for his attitude. Then, some woman called in to talk about Pokemon. Now, I don't like Pokemon, it irritates me sometimes, but there's nothing wrong with it. He proceeds to talk about how Pokemon is a precursor to involvement in the Occult and how it poisons childrens' minds with fantasy. He actually said that fantasy was a bad thing. So, out with Chronicles of Narnia and Tolkien. And certainly we must be rid of that demonic Harry Potter (please tell me you hear the sarcasm gushing like an open wound). And Santa Claus, now he's got to go. And I think all fiction is bad too. So the parables that Jesus told, those were really lies. They didn't help us to be rooted in reality. Or were they realistic fiction, and thus not sacreligious? Is realistic fiction okay? I guess that makes reality TV our best source of Christian entertainment........

Alright, yeah, I'm taking it too far. Oh, and I think my favorite quote was how Pokemon was developed by a "pagan nation." I'm sure all the Japanese Christians would agree. I'm going to go to church now and pray the Prayer of Jabez thirty times in succession. Maybe I'll double my money and forget that I live in a pagan nation.

Friday, July 22, 2005

Making Tents

Paul. A man who I would like to meet just to find out what his personality would be like. As you read, he runs the gamut of forceful, indignant, happy, frustrated, joyful, sarcastic, and the beat goes on. But, something my dad always mentioned to me when he was trying to persuade me to make money in a money-driven world, was that even Paul had a job: a tentmaker. While I've always sort of let this slip in one ear and out the other (since there are many better scriptures on work and making money), here I find myself, out in the money-driven world, making tents. To remind you from the last post, my 'tents' are mounds upon unconquerable Aztec mounds of corrugated cardboard, and the assorted contents, which range from blank labels and tickets to - blank labels and tickets. I had to sit down didn't you.

So, Kat and I have good days and bad days with this job. Today, thankfully, was a good day. It's incredibly hard on her and me both to get about 8 out of 24 hours a day together, 7 of which is spent sleeping. I suppose the hardest part is that I feel nearly without purpose in this job, other than making money to pay bills. While paying off ones debts is certainly Biblical, I can't help but know that there's got to be more. It's difficult to say for me, because I sort of feel like I'm second-guessing God when I think this way. I have to remind myself that prophet after prophet second guessed God and was unhappy at some point. And also that there's not a formula for this life. This place in my life feels like a desert, and I'm trying to convince myself that throwing caution to the wind might not be the best solution. Of course, waiting around for something to happen certainly isn't better, and I feel like that's what we're doing, what with Kat having little to no luck finding a job for the fall and me despising the job I'm in. I keep thinking of Daniel, who God made successful in everything he did. As I recall, he was even brought out of prison to interpret the king's dreams. And Joseph, who was second only to pharaoh. I always wondered what Potiphar thought of that. Anyways, I find all sorts of reasons to keep my mouth shut when I could scream nails for the fact that this is not the place I want to be. And I know that I've heard and will hear every side of the argument from well-meaning people with no greater clue than I as to what God's idea of my life is. I want it written on the wall....except not. The only thing God every wrote on the wall was, "Your days are numbered. I'm sending the Persian army after you. Cry my a river." Besides, as Rich Mullins said, "God is a wild man." And if it was so easy, it seems like something would be lessened in that area of love and beauty and fury. Still, it's frustrating. I also prayed to get a job, and he certainly got me one. But I'm having a hard time feeling grateful.

All these reasons why I shouldn't complain though, I think they're invalid anyway. Job had what I would think is every right to complain, and yet when the heavens were opened to him, God said I'll question you. Certainly though, an audience with the Almighty would be the answer to everything, since it's more about presence, about I Am, about Amen. I can't wait for some door to open. I feel like I'm ready to kick one down. Thanks so much for reading, and I hope that this entry finds you well and prayerful and in wonder. Thanks for your prayers.

Thursday, July 14, 2005

State of the Oligarchy Address

Since I've been complaining about several things lately, I think it's time I give you a happy sort of post about what's going on. I ripped off Andy P and a couple others for the title, but I changed it so as to better fit my situation, since I feel like I'm being pulled in quite a few directions at once these days.

To begin, the reason I've been up so late the past week or so (if you've been keeping track and the Blogger clock is accurate) is that I've got a job. I'm working through Staffing Solutions at a company called Nashua. So, at 3pm every day, I go to the plant to pack rolls and stacks of labels into little boxes for 8 hours. One of my few comforts in this job is having a friend who delivers for FedEx, so I know that the labels go somewhere and are put to use. Pathetic motivation, I know - but it works alright. The schedule is a bit harsh for Katrina and I. I work until 11:30pm, and Kat works normal hours at Girls, Inc., which is a Boys & Girls Club style place for girls only. Very feminist and socially unacceptable - except that I don't really care. We've got jobs and that's what we prayed for. Now I pray for machines to break down so I can catch up to the people running them who have been working at Nashua for three-hundred-some-odd-years. Speaking of prayers, yours would be appreciated.

Moving on, I'm not playing Wednesday nights at my church anymore. My work schedule dictated this outright, but it's something that I think God is behind. I don't know, I could be wrong. What I mean is, I think Kat and I are fazing out as worship leaders for the youth group at church. I had a talk with the student minister John the other day. We met at a new coffee shop in Halls of all places. I got a whole pitcher of great oolong tea for a buck, 37. And I had a great reuben. But I wanted to talk with him about some concerns I had about the direction that I felt the youth ministry was headed in. Turns out, I simply found out how disconnected from my church I am. It makes me want to get involved more. Not that this new job makes it any easier, but I think I'll be getting involved in some other places soon. I'm certainly praying for a place to plug in. I'm talking with the fellas down at Jammin' Java in Columbia, SC about playing a show. Randy, the house manager I assume, told me he'd like to put me as an opening, which means I'd be playing for my supper and the opportunity to sell merch. Problem is, I don't currently have any merch. That's in the works though. I'm actually hoping to have some surprise stuff at the August show, but I don't know if it will come together before then. We'll see.

Another thing my conversation with John revealed to me, besides how judgemental I am, was that the kids at Salem are wonderful people with great spirits. I felt like such an idiot because I forgot about a thing I was supposed to play at with a girl at church. The one time I get to better form a relationship with somebody and I screw it up. I hope it went well. She's a great guitarist and she's got a good attitude about most everything to boot. I'm trying to begin a new bible study with some friends of mine. I hope to go through Celebration of Discipline by R. J. Foster. He talks about several things that I feel are missing from my life or could use some polishing up. And besides, I want the accountability of studying something. Being in school didn't affect my procrastination skills too much, but it did give me deadlines. I sort of enjoyed the responsibility to be studious.

There are several new songs that are going to make an appearance at the August show, plus I'm going to blow the dust off a couple oldies and give them new faces. I think my wife might even be singing at the concert. Sefrona's opening up for us. It's always so much fun to play with those guys. They're great to be around. Come out and spend an evening with us.

Conan is long over, but the thought of Alec Baldwin and him looking Into the Future still lingers. They should make a whole tape of just sequences of that skit. Baldwin, Jimmy Fallon, and of course, William Shatner. Memorize them, love them. It's a beautiful thing. Thanks for reading. Goodnight.

Sunday, July 10, 2005

Extracurricular Reading

Read and be amazed.

The Birth of Thought Police

I don't need or want pornography in my life, but legislated morality is an oxymoron. To roughly quote Lewis, the worst thing you could do is set up one law as the thing which you should follow at all cost. One must remember, God himself gave the first gift as choice. Otherwise, why would he have said, "You should not eat from the tree in the middle of the garden. For if you eat of it, you will surely die." And why would we think that there was no choice? Is God not able to prevent man from going their own way? Morality is based on love, not fear. "If you love me, keep my commands." "A new command I give you: Love one another as I have loved you." "Religion that God accepts as pure and faultless is this: To look after orphans and widows in their distress and to keep oneself from being polluted by the world." We cannot defeat sinful vices with laws and legislation. Pornographic addiction, like all sin, stems from fear. "Perfect love drives out fear."

Forgive my ranting. I get extremely tired of people trying to legislate morality.

Friday, July 08, 2005

The Bombs Bursting in Air

The fourth of July was a day for freak accidents. I was sitting right here, typing away at something and I heard a monumental crash above me. It sounded exactly like thunder without the echo. Then my neighbors dog barked for seven hours straight (it's usually quiet). So I thought: Hmm...crash plus unnerved dog equals break-in? So I went upstairs to see if everything was okay. Come to find out, a shelf with dishes on it had spontaneously dropped to the floor. I fall down myself with laughter every time I think of the dog's face at that moment of sudden pandemonium. It's a mini Boston terrier, so it's already predisposed to be nervous. Thus begins a series of unfortunate events.

Now we go to Maryville, where my friend Mikki has just returned to from job-hunting in Morristown. She returns to find not one, but two sixty-foot oak trees have committed hara-kiri. No, they were not cut down. They were uprooted - completely, with the root system intact. One fell in Mikki's yard. The other fell on the neighbor's barn where it laughed to itself as it blocked in his tractor - which he needed to move the tree - and destroyed his log-splitter. This one made the news folks. No other tree fell down or was uprooted, and they still can't explain what happened to those two. Chapter three. Enter, Adam and a wok.

Kat and I didn't watch the vast array of amateur fireworks that were lighting up Monday night. We weren't feeling so well, so we stayed in and lazed around most of the day. Then my wife up and says, "We need to eat something. I'd like some fried rice." So I get up and prepare to make fried rice. We have a nice Betty Crocker Asian cookbook that I looked in for reference. It told me that woks were designed to spread a little heat over a large area and to cook things very quickly. It told me to heat the wok very hot and then put a little oil in before I put the rice in. So far so good. It occured to me that whenever I see someone cooking with a wok, they use an indirect source of heat from a gas flame. It's not in direct contact with the pan. It occured to me that my electric stove eye was not exactly the ideal contraption for such cooking. But I brushed these occurences away with a nonchalant, "It'll be alright." So I put the wok on the stove eye. I turned it up 'very hot'. I put 'a little oil' in the pan. Then I turned around to chop some onions and I here this:

"Um, Adam?" *woomp!*

I turn back around to see the rocket's red glare licking the edge of the oven range and black smoke starting to overcome the wussy little fan on our stove. Think, Adam! Water - no! Suffocate - yes! I was reduced to a kindergarten vocabulary as my brain used all functions to react to the carnage before me. Black smoke is filling the house. The smoke detector was going off. My dog is going insane. So I told Kat to open the door, I grabbed a second skillet to try and suffocate the blaze, and I carried the flaming ball outside. So for dinner, we have a bowl of uncooked vegetables, a pot of rice, and a bottle of soy sauce. We took the dog and went to Sonic. Returning to the house, I thought I might could salvage the pans. I looked at the wok and turned it over to watch black goo drip from the bottom. No dice. So we are minus one wok. And in case you're still buying post-ceremonial wedding gifts, no, we don't want another one.

Falling shelves, suicidal trees, exploding wok. Happy Independence Day.