Wednesday, October 08, 2008

a new journal

I felt it was about time to change, so I have officially started a new journal-

I think the purpose / theme/ reason will develop over time. We'll see.

See you there ;)

Tuesday, October 07, 2008


When it rains it pours. Everything stressful happens at once. There are a lot of ways to say it, though trying to describe it will make me feel like I'm complaining.

Coffee doesn't help. It's been a tough month, friends.


On the bright side, I'm still ridiculously loved, in a 'grace is something I can't comprehend' way.


Sunday, October 05, 2008

non-chalance is no fun


some friends and I put on a 'storytellers' concert, with songwriting and stories and chocolate fountain. all in all a good time.

I'm going to a concert tomorrow in Vancouver, with David Crowder and Chris Tomlin. I think this will be a good one / very lifechanging.

I spent the better part of my day yesterday on commercial with come friends, shopping for records, visiting stores that smelled really good, one of which was a store that sold only organic (expensive) stuff. For a second I felt like I was dating someone who lived in a downtown loft- sigh (I have a weird imagination).

My roommate and I are making homemade alcohol- a wine made with honey and oranges. Yes, this is a good idea (later on we can say 'yes. it was a good idea at the time').

Feeling somewhat drab. I'm trying to think of some ways to fix this, more or less. i.e.- more tea, letter writing, autumn leaf pressing, reading or less movies, staying inside entire days, dwelling on the human condition, dreading any sort of social contact due entirely to my fear of biking in abbotsford traffic (bah! some of life's problems seem to make more sense than others).

Anyway... Good night.

PS - listen to this song.

Wednesday, October 01, 2008

this way

if you take me as I am,
I haven't taken that to heart.
If you take me as I am,
I can't take me as I am.

If you take me as I am
did you make me this way?
If you called me to come home,
I haven't taken that to heart.

Saturday, September 27, 2008

writing in a library

The typical life of a college student / me on a saturday morning- sitting on my couch until 11 mulling over Tyler Perry movies with a cup of blackberry tea.


A little known secret about me- my mom and her friends and I used to watch Tyler Perry movies, back in the good old days of me going back and forth between here and Nanaimo, before she moved to Washington (Perry's notable film is "Diary of a Mad Black Woman). We saw "Madea's Family Reunion" when it first came out, and there was the whole of 5 of us in the entire theatre.

They are not really good films by any means, but there is the occasional good line that speaks great truth, stuck in the mix of semi-ok acting.

So, while I was watching one of these said films this morning I had a small epiphany- and usually, as I always say, the best epiphanies catch us off guard in unexcpected places (most of my best epiphanies happen when I'm taking a shower. another little known secret).

So here it is- I'm a really cynical person towards aspects of the Christian faith, because I study it at college, and because I grew up in and around it. A friend of mine told me last week that being cynical towards the Church, and the Christian culture, would only be damaging to my character.

Cynicism is not a good thing. In my experience cynism can be defined as judging the acts of the whole based upon negative experiences with a few. In other words, if I was to have a negative experience at a church, I feel like I can judge the Church itself. Or I come across a bad christian movie, and judge all christians because of it.

It's not a healthy way to live, I don't think. Why don't I use energy I waste on being cynical on recognizing the love of community I have instead? Or doing some serious self-examination?

And I'm sure, at the very root of my cynicism, is my own insecurity. I'm not sure how to deal with my hurt, so I project it onto something else- which seems like a very human response to hurt.

Hmm. Thought of the day.

Thursday, September 25, 2008

being sick is lame sauce

True story: I spent 6 hours on monday staring at my computer non-stop trying to figure out how to make print with a book format.

Eventually I found this program called 'Cheap Imposter' and printed a small book, which was easier than dropping a cat... which actually is pretty hard, because cats have claws.

So, I hope to have this small publication out in November at the latest. Its a really scary prospect.

In other news, it's been a hard couple of weeks. Sitting in my 4th year classes I came to the really striking realization that most of my friends from my first year are now married, or engaged, or in relationships. Me and my single friends have been discussing this, trying to avoid immature questions like 'what is wrong with me? why am I still single?"

It's a tough, and really humbling, thing to experience. Every so often life calls us to a deep and profound realization- the reality of marriage, the reality that there are more days behind us than before us. This is one of those I think- Really asking myself if I am mature enough to think about having serious relationships.

Anyway, I wonder. People have told me that as soon as I stop looking for 'someone' I will find them. I've done nothing but look for the past 4-6 years, and it's not getting me anywhere.

Maybe there is something called grace, which is ridiculously beyond my ability to comprehend. Love is not this instant quick fix. Love, and life in general, is a slow process.

Food for thought.

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

english house

Yesterday some friends and I made it into Vancouver, to spend some time in local scene stores and watch a concert. The concert in question was 'The Fleet Foxes', who, I think, are going to be huge in the next couple years. They are definitely the most humble, and committed, act I've seen in a long time. Without any pretension to speak of, they played a pretty powerful set. Check them out soon.

That said, in tradition of stories my friends and I on campus are telling these days, I'm going to move backwards from the end.

Before the concert we had breakfast at this dive of a place on Nanaimo street- costing a total of three bucks. Then we made our way to Commercial for a couple hours, where I visited my traditional coffee place for my traditional drink- JJ Bean, medium dark-roast. I was hoping this coffee would make me more aware, and energetic, but instead it made me pretty anxious and blah. Albeit, I stayed up until three am the night before.

On Commercial we checked out a record store, and I picked up Sufjan Stevens' Illinois and Wincing the Night Away by the Shins on vinyl for a reasonable cost. After that we found a retro clothes store, and I picked up my first plaid-esque shirt, thus boosting my credibility as an independant artist slightly (I wish).

After that we found had lunch at an all you can eat taco place, and they charged me too much for my pop- which I am aspiring to not drink- a lofty goal as both a youth worker and a college student.

We found a couple other retro stores near Burrard, and another record store where I found Michigan by Sufjan on vinyl (yes, I spent lots on vinyl that day, and yes I'm still trying to get my vinyl player to actually work. even so...).

From there, the highlight of the day, we walked through a giant building which looked a lot like the roman colleseum, but with a distintive North American design- square shaped windows and archways instead of the traditional arch design. Even so, walking through was a breathtaking experience in itself.

All in all, a good idea. I think the best concerts are those that have the potential to build a strong sense of community. Fleet foxes, although they are getting a lot of buzz recently, didn't come across as a band that was better than us because they have a record, radio time, and venue space.

I think this is one of the reasons why creating art in community is so profound- we seek to create together, instead of creating competitively.


In other news, trying to write a book is really hard. I'm hoping to get a lot more writing done this week, i.e. get some inspiration/find something worth capturing.

I'm starting to look into the possibilty of getting help from already published authors, who have been doing this a lot longer than I have. Thus is life.


Tuesday, September 09, 2008


Hide in the covers or the
paper sheets,
monsters in the closet,
in the books shelved neatly,

unorganized another minute.

Pay a simple bill,
speak a simple word through
the language of a sleepless night-
worrying too much,
not loving myself quite as much
as I used to.

It comes back on us like a
winter storm-
that nagging sense of inadequacy,
the fear of not being good enough.

And this simplicity,
this quiet wants me to
take it easier. Alas
I'm too hard on myself, sometimes.


"This time of year you always disappear
You tell me not to call,
And when the door is closed you're wearing different clothes
Or hiding in the paper, pretending not to hear"

- Sufjan

Thursday, September 04, 2008

I smell like watermelon

My friend advised me to buy some axe phoenix, and I'm finding that it smells a lot like watermelon. It's weird.

For the first half of my day I smell like fruit.


My friends and I were talking about movies, and some ones I really want to see / own soon are

21 grams
The Secret Life of Words
Mystic River
Bridget Jones 2 (guilty pleasure).

The first three films definately show Matt Dillon, Sean Penn, and Tim Robbins at their best. I mention these films because I do not want to forget.

Confession: I was at a nearby dollar store, and I noticed a rack with cheap movies. So I impulsively bought The Squid & The Whale and Children of Men. These are both great films, though not on my priority list. I am merely a cheapass, and could not resist two movies for $15

Alas. Art is hard to maneuver around.

Take Care

Tuesday, September 02, 2008

a difficult week

I'm helping to plan an outdoor concert this friday, which should be good. Planning things of an artistic nature, I have decided, is where I find my joy in life.

Take care.

Saturday, August 30, 2008

a critique

Something I learned from this past week, and from the summer in general, is that we have to get broken before we can get fixed.

For a long time I've had a problem with "Big Revival" meetings in Christian circles, mainly because of the simple truth that every great high is followed by a huge low. The term Revival has become synonymous with extravagant expressions of happiness and well-being. The focus is on receiving, getting something from God.

But, how can we really begin to re-build our lives with such an approach?

I don't think revivals are supposed to be about displays of emotion. Rather, a revival, for me at least, is about breaking down and then being put back together again. When this happens, we realize what is really important in life- not trying to get by pretending everything is ok, or trying to end all life's problems as quickly as possible.

We find God in the 'sacred ordinary'- in the small insignificant details of life that we overlook- not so much in the constant search for the next big thing to come along and complete us (a new car, thousands of dollars, a boyfriend/girlfriend, whatever).

I'm still trying to figure this out myself. I just think, why wait for the next emotional high to feel complete? Is there anything I can find today that expresses something true and real about my life?


And, on a similar note, one of the things I'm trying to learn in life is being able to forgive myself. After awhile I just got sick of feeling like garbage because of every stupid thing I do. I know there are a lot of self-help books that push this destructive idea that one can only be happy if one is perfect, all the time.

Sometimes we have to allow ourselves enough grace to just be imperfect. It is not my great skills or abilities that make me a good person, but rather learning to grow in, and love my, imperfections.

Life may just be a little more forgiving that way.

Take care.

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

keeping to myself a bit too much

I've figured out, in my five or so years as a youth worker, that the requirements of a youth pastor are:

1) A Stack of CD's from the 90s (think Matchbox 20, or Audio Adrenaline).
2) A Goatee
3) A really hot wife (my theory on youth pastors having attractive wives is that youth pastors have really strong character, and that is what girls like).
4) Blue T-shirts
5) A wealth of random stories which may or may not be transated into bad puns and / or catchy illustrations.
6) A copy of "Velvet Elvis" by Rob Bell.

This is what I think.

It's been a long week so far. I'm doing a leadership training camp at my school, which keeps me to busy to deal with all the hundreds of details that come up in late August (bills, tuition, crushes, prospects. I'm such a guy).

In other news, I'm still trying to reconcile dealing with depression (not in a "poor me, I have depression" way, but in a "I experienced tough things, now I'm doing the mature thing and dealing with them because I have a lot of good to offer" way).

Remind me to elaborate on this subject later. There is much more to say, all of which is hard to capture with unspoken words (aka, words typed).


Thursday, August 21, 2008

any given thursday.

What is new in life you ask?

a) Finally did the right thing, and bought a mac. This system works famously. It feels like, compared to windows, I was wearing plastic bags on my feet instead of shoes. 

b) Finished work last week. Now I'm taking it relatively easy for a week, planning a Lance Odegard concert. 

c) Radiohead was, in many ways, the most beautiful concert I have seen. I think the most sacred moment of my summer was standing in the pouring rain, in a crowd of thousands, most of which which probably pretty high, listening to "House of Cards" and "Paranoid Android". It does not get much better than that. 

d) The book I started this summer if ridiculously close to being finished. I'm trying to think of the most effective way to get it to my friends who live thousands of miles from me. 

d.2) I read 7 novels this summer. 

e) Last week I picked four pounds of blackberries. Come over sometime and help me finish them ;). 

f) I should really stop using lists. 

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

this writing life


1) The summer is almost done.
2) Writing books is really hard.
3) coffee at 12 am is a poor choice
4) My computer died, and I am wrestling with the ethical implications of purchasing a new one (pay rent or buy laptop? undecided.)
5) I'm starting my last year of school next year. It's scary, thinking about all the places of maturity I feel like I still have not stepped into.

6) This video is super lame, but it's a great song.

Let's continue this conversation. Enjoy.

Thursday, August 07, 2008

a summer morning

Adam is...

1) Writing a book
2) Listening to the new Augustana record
3) Watching 'Once'
4) Trying.
5) Feeling the summer lonelies. Sigh.

6) Eating blueberries.

Take care

Friday, July 25, 2008

I think way too much

Summer is a very erratic time in life, in terms of keeping ourselves together and knowing exactly where we stand. Summertime seems more like a rush of enjoying whatever life we can, then stopping to think about how we were changing later on.

It sounds wise, but this is really more of a question for me than a statement, acknowledging some kind of arrival. I'm just about ready for summer to be over.

So, this is what I have been upto in the last while:

1) Driving down to the Oregon coast for a couple days. I definitely did not see enough of it.
2) Picking up the new Relient K EP, and more copies of books that were written for the sake of giving away (Blue like Jazz, and Captivating).
3) Sitting in my office for hours.
4) Writing a book. Kind of.
5) Not paying bills.
6) Missing writing. A lot.
7) Planning an outdoor concert for september.

I'm really looking forward to relaxing this weekend, cleaning up and curling up on the couch with a warm blanket to watch 'Dan in Real Life' over a pot of green tea... Although, realistically, I seem to enjoy the idea of moments like these instead of the moments themselves (Grrr. bittersweet irony).

I'm also looking forward to seeing radiohead, in the next couple weeks.

As far as I go, I've been feeling a bit hurt. Maybe it has something to do with me not going home to Nanaimo this summer, or with the fact that I'm giving a talk to my church next month about hurt, introduced with the statement "You won't really find healing unless you admit you are broken" (by you I mean 'I'). I'm sure it has everything to do with being apart from friends too, which is something life demands as a necessity every so often.

How is your summer going, by the way?


Tuesday, July 08, 2008

late spring, early summer

Summer is a really slow time in life, I am discovering. Everyone I know either lives way too far away, or works a lot. And me and all my friends seem to spend our summers growing apart from each other.

Which kind of sucks, in my mind. There is not a lot to write about without friends.

My friend asked me, via a letter, if "it is harder or more hurtful to dream... does it hurt more now than when we were kids because we have lost a significant chunk of our faith/hope"? I'm not completely sure.

Apart from being with people, it is difficult to have faith/hope. I would like to think that when I grow up I'm not going to just lose child-likeness because of too much harsh reality. If anything, I should be allowed to hope for better things, or to hope for the same things in better and creative ways...

as opposed to living a life-less existence of a summer. It is true that creativity is not always valued in the day-to-day summer life of work, but I also think that a lot can be learned from this idea of a 'sacred ordinary'- that there is great truth in the everyday of life.

A long time ago I brought up the idea of a 'grace in imperfection'- almost as if to say that life is enjoyed more imperfectly, not stressing out about the bad stuff but just enjoying it as a whole. For me, thinking about life in these terms just seems to take a great weight off of me, and reminds me that we really should enjoy life... not just 'get through' it.

This is all to say I'm still trying to figure out how to deal with summers, when all the people I really like aren't around to talk about all this with. Summers have always been an inbetween thing for me- lived between the seeing and the missing of friends.

So whatever. In a couple weeks I'm driving down to the Oregon coast for a couple days. If you have any ideas for how I can get creatively inspired these weeks, let me know. I'll do the same.


Listening to: John Legend- come home.

Friday, July 04, 2008

in the office, by the phone

"We are becoming a people accustomed to ugliness. Most people most of the time have strong feelings about beauty, order, and harmony, and at some level are wounded by their absence"

- David Orr, Geez Magazine, Summer 2006.


Watching: Paris, je' taime (ah. this movie is like poetry. watch it soon).

Monday, June 30, 2008

sunny days

Sometimes I think the best way to experience God is to go through something difficult.

PS- It is a really warm day here in Canada.

Friday, June 20, 2008

in the morning, in the window


bluish, atmpospheric.
I can't
be less than real.

pitch, consonance.
I tried
to be much better.

traveled, expectation.
depends on weathering.

eloquent, atmospheric,
whether or not we capture that
which is beautiful.

Wednesday, June 18, 2008


It is really gray today. The weather feels a lot like fluorescent lighting, which I do not like. I don't think I have ever been in a good coffeehouse that also had fluorescent lighting, and if it did I probably didn't stay there long enough to remember being there in the first place.

I think I like the sky more when it's sunny. I like it even more when it looks like candles are placed on small candle-holders above the clouds. or, that dark blue quality that the sky has in places next to the ocean, like kitsalano beach. There are, decidedly, a lot better things for the sky to be than gray.

Let's all pray for summer.


Thursday, June 12, 2008


Personal advice from experience:

a) Get a good dental plan
b) see a dentist often
c) floss often
d) eat less candy

Apparently I have a huge problem with one of my tooths (intentional grammar), and my dental plan does not cover it, so I have to just get a quick-fix which my plan does cover. This is a frustrating place to live sometimes, the land of junk food. But I can't blame culture, because I should have taken care of this a long time ago. And I can't complain, because I can afford to take care of my problems when I actually become brave enough to.

Hello, by the way. I kind of started this entry in the middle of a sentence. I have noticed that my journal entries have become less one-sided journals and more conversations- speaking with the assumption that people are reading this and trying to understand it.

I have a lot of unexpressed thinking on my mind, most of which comes out in my really great thinking times (in the shower, over coffee, in a coffeehouse) which I have not had any of recently. I heard it said once that "from the overflow of the heart the mouth speaks".

I have noticed that;

a) Writing prose, unlike poetry, is very immediate. Writing prose has to be well thought out. Although, a lot of prose seems to have more of a flow to it, like a well told story. I don't really know.
b) People that hang out at Ethical Addictions, one of my mainstay coffeehouses, all have a distinctive look. There are the quoteunquote "scene" kids that spend a lot of time trying to look very stylish, getting their hair and color schemes just right. Then there are the "artsy" kids that just wake up, and their look happens by default. I fall into this category.

You can always tell which are which. The artsy kids are the ones that act awkwardly around the really cute baristas. Case in point... I am too scared to talk to the cute baristas.

I do not know what I am talking about. This, like a couple of my last entries, have been transitional- trying to get from one place to the next, not fully settling on a theme, trying to find a theme to get settled into for a long period of time (home, creativity, expression of artistic ability, relationships, what have you).

So. Leave me a comment. Tell me something I should write about. I'm getting there. By "there" I mean, I'm searching for a theme to devote extensive thought.

Thus is creativity.

PS- I had an english toffee from Tim Horton's this morning. A very little known secret about me is that I always have one of these drinks before traveling. This or a moch frap from starbucks. Or at least I used to. Everytime I drink these I feel like I need to travel somewhere. Sigh.

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

here by my side

A lot of news as of late:

One) I picked up some tickets for Matt Good yesterday, a minor expense for an artists who was really big in the late 90's. And I just found out this morning that The Album Leaf is playing this Friday in Seattle.

So somewhere between being broke, and feeling convicted for spending too much money, I will be enjoying some pretty rocking moments.

Deux) I picked up a lot of movies the day before that, on a whim. By on a whim I mean on a sale. Among them are Paris ja' Taime, Good Will Hunting, and Atonement- all movies which are my heart / all movies you should see.

Three) I have not written prose in a long time, again. I blame this on my computer still being broken. Last summer I spent a lot of time in solitude hanging around on the back deck in solitude, while my roommates were still at work. Yesterday my roommate, a roofer, had a day off because it was raining immensely. Which, kind of, messed up my idea of having a day of solitude to myself.

As I usually say, the one thing that wrecks solitude is having too many people around.

Last week I asked myself the question, "if I can't be real at home what is the point of living"? I think we, as people, need to have places in our houses that we can escape to, without the fear of someone walking in to our embarrassing moments of honesty. By escape I don't mean avoiding community, shutting myself out completely. I mean being able to have solitude.

Something I realized back in 2005, is that I can't find the joy of solitude without the strength of community. In order to be confident I need time to myself. This just makes sense to me.

So that is that. The rain was really nice yesterday. I wish you were here to see it. There is always that cool air that you only get to feel when it rains here. BC really is a nice, though horribly under appreciated, place to live. A lot of us living here get so caught up in ideas, and questions, that we forget how easy it would be to just spend a day outside, taking pictures or writing in our notebooks over cups of coffee.

I don't really know. I just think life could be so much easier if I stopped running around and just found solitude. Well, maybe not easier. Just more profound.

4) I owe it to myself to write more. Let's talk more about this.


Thursday, June 05, 2008

hope somehow

Some news.

I started compiling some poems yesterday for a new book project, which I hope to have done by the end of this year. I have realized that I have some really down, sad, poems. My theory for this so far have been that I only write poems when I am sad, to express.

Which leaves me with a lot of questions, about creativity. To what extent can we, who write, allow ourselves to be creative? Is being down the only emotion we can express?

In reality I am a pretty fun, hopeful, person (when I am not in some coffee-induced state). So, my challenge is being able to express hope in the stuff I write... writing that is able to say "it is tough, but I'm getting somewhere" instead of always say "bah, I am lost and miserable and sad all the time... bah".

I owe it to myself to start writing about hope, because that is the real me. The real me is not just down all the time.

How about some feedback? How do you, who reads this, think about writing?

I'll continue this thought in the next couple weeks, here in my office of fun.

See you later.

Wednesday, June 04, 2008

a short introduction, or an afterthought

I am forgetting the quiet of ordinary days,
when I am surprised, by
something unexpected.

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

on rock and the fine art of listening.

Currently, I am in the process of taking pictures of all the funny stuff around my office, and all the artsy stuff around my house that is hard to realize apart from feeling artistically inspired to notice (whew. trying saying that five times fast). I will finally update my photojournal this week, I promise.

I'm also in the process of disliking myself because I spend too much money. I do so because a lot of my life depends on being artistically inspired, and this involves the purchasing of spectacular films and music- such as Darjeeling Limited, Xavier Rudd's White Moth album, and Waking Ned Devine, none of which I could find on sale yesterday.

In reality, all I bought this weekend was a fantastic book called "Jamie at Home". Its a book about a chef who grows food in his backyard and cooks a lot, with a lot of beautiful photography and artwork. Buying this was not a poor choice, necessarily.

To make a long story short, I am not being honest with myself. I feel bad about money because I do not keep myself organized. That is the truth.

In other news, I really like the new Sarah Mclachlan record, but I am too cheap to actually pick it up. The initial concensus regarding the new Death Cab for Cutie album, that my friends and I share, is that it kind of sucks. But I think it is one of those albums you dislike for a long time, then all of a sudden love like crazy- like every album that Wilco and the Arcade Fire have put out. "Narrow Stairs" reminds of of Death Cab's older stuff- more rocky, less overtly artsy... i could be wrong. Please argue with me.

I am still a huge fan of Xavier Rudd, although I can't find his stuff anywhere. And I am loving everything by The Album Leaf right now, but the same problem presents itself. alas.

In other other news, the new Coldplay comes out next month. Really excited to hear this one, I won't lie. Violet Hill, I think, is one of their best songs to date... or to listen to on a date. But I have no idea what that is like.

Case in point: I still have yet to hold hands with a girl, since publishing this entry. Alas alas. One of these days.

I have a lot of music to catch up on. Later.

Friday, May 23, 2008

this office life

I have been listening to a lot of The Album Leaf in the past couple days- hence the previous video I posted. A couple mornings ago I found my roommate's copy of "in a safe place" and listened to it about 4 times over during the course of the day. I am down.

Last night after work I sat at home, on my deck, trying to put together some poems. But I forgot all the lines I was making up in my head on the drive home, which I thought was lame as life.

Then a friend of mine gave me a chocolate cake for my birthday, which is sitting on my friend Brad's desk here in our small church office, next to our mandatory pot of french-press coffee and bowls of "fruit loops" (Being a youth worker has it's benefits). So I wrote what I could, whatever random lines I could come up with, before my friends and I watched Hotel Rwanda.

I was hoping to watch something really arsty, like Persepolis, Once, I'm Not There, or The Savages... maybe next Thursday (Thursday nights, for the record, are 1 dollar movie rental nights at a video place a block away from where I live. Ideal since being arsty goes hand in hand with being cheap). I am at least 5 or 6 movies behind at the moment.

I have nothing at all planned this weekend, besides hanging out with a certain someone on Sunday, so I might try and do some actual good writing again. We'll see. My computer will not leave this office, as I have been on it all week and there is always the need for moderation of time. So it will be good.

For now, here is a list of essential items for a Youth worker's office, that I have discovered (look forward to pictures);

1) A big funny hat
2) Candy
3) Weird thrift store treasures (like our earthenware juice container, and fake yellow flowers
4) Bags of chips
5) Coffee. Hot Chocolate. Hot Apple Cider.
6) Guitars
7) Letters to read, for those few times of being over-computerized
8) Really cool looking t-shirts
9) Freezies
10) Books. The good ones. Currently, The End of Religion, ,The Wounded Healer Contemplative Youth Ministry, and Stumbling Toward Faith.

11) The occasional student.

The journey continues.

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

another day

It was another long day today. And it's starting to feel like yesterday was weeks ago. Thus my current act of posting two days in a row.

I'm feeling really sick today, mainly because I haven't slept well in a week and because I have been thinking non-stop about everything since I started here. Working here feels like a major adjustment, from hard construction work to administrative work. The big question I'm asking myself, well one of them, is "where does youth ministry start"?

I mean, where / when do I start being all the things I read about in youth ministry books? The man of character who disciples students?

I started reading a book today called "Contemplative Youth Ministry". In the first chapter the author says, "The real crisis those of us who seek to share faith with youth is this:

We don't know how to be with our kids.
We don't know how to be with ourselves.
We don't know how to be with God. "

Later on, describing what a contemplative approach is like, we writes, "The yearning to be fully awake and alive, the desire to be attentive to others, the longing to be receptive to God's call in every moment of our lives is the heart of the contemplative tradition." Later he talks about "unrehearsed moments when a deep sense of gratitude falls upon us and we find ourselves without need or want, satisfied and reverent at the mystery of life. "

So, the more I read this the more I feel the need to be alive. I'll be honest, feeling dry and burdened is something I feel most of the time. Sometimes I get so busy, like in the last two days, that I forget to just "be"- to take a second to just be who I am, and to sit with a student and allow them to do the same.

Or, in plain terms, I don't allow myself to stop and be loved. My place in working here is not supposed to be this rush. I am supposed to be taking rest. I am really meant to, as the author describes "take a long loving look at the real... a look, long and lovingly, at what is".

Really, in all the rush I don't know how to just enjoy these moments, to enjoy the comfort of contemplating, about where I stand and where I am going, before getting buried by the rush of life.

I'm still trying to figure this out. I think, it could be as easy as taking care of some unpaid bills and then taking a deep breathe or two. But I think the real challenge is being able to apply any of this to life. To allow myself the time to realize I am loved enough where I am right now. And it definitely is a challenge.

The other question I was asking myself, for the record, was "what is it like to really be humble". I'll have to save that for another day.

More to come.

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

pizza and better office space

It's been a really long weekend, friends. But it was good.

I spent most of my weekend on a guy's retreat, with some boys from my youth group. We spent 3 days on a small lake near long stretches of ranch land and rolling hills. Driving there it felt like the movie "Open Range".

At night the moon mirrored on the lake perfectly, setting up an atmosphere of loons and frogs, the sound carrying across the surface of the lake. It was really more beautiful than I can describe with prose right now.

Then yesterday I spent the day at a silent retreat place called "The Mark Centre". Me and some young adults read books, talked about life, ate food together, and enjoyed a day of quiet, which is a nice thing to have every so often in the chaos of life.

I had a lot of conversations this week, mostly about the love of God. From what I have read, and heard from a lot of interviews on "The Hour", a lot of people don't like God. Sometimes it feels like the God they are talking about hates them, or else could care less about what they do. The God they talk about, in fact, seems to do more harm than good via the people who call him friend.

I have a problem with this, because I have this image of God as a lot more loving than that... a lot more gracious than all the rules and legalisms that Christians tie to God.

So here is what I came up with in my reflections. There are two basic, essential, truths I have of God. The first is that God likes me, likes me, and nothing I can do will change that. The second is that I am trying. I'm trying to be a good person and figure out life, and that, I think, is all God expects of me.

And this kind of love is really hard for me to accept, because I grew up feeling worthless a lot of the time. In the working world our worth is defined by what we can do. The people with the highest skills get money, success, and value. But a lot people with low social skills- the mentally handicapped, the abused- are deemed worthless.

In light of this, the love God is supposed to have for us is opposite. Essentially, I don't have to do anything to deserve love, and I don't have to carry all the guilt or shame from mistakes I made in the past.

Really, this should free me, us, up to enjoy life. Even if I am feeling broken most days, I want to know that I have love to look forward to everyday. The question "am I loved" should not even come into my mind, as much as the question of "what can I figure out today" should.

One thing I have said in conversation before is that "If life feels easy for me, I'm probably not being honest with myself". To be honest is to know I have a lot of hurt to carry, and having the humbleness to give that up. In the end, I think it is more humble for me to accept that I am loved and cared for, rather than always thinking God's love is only given to those people who are good enough.

I am good enough. Right now. And that is what makes the difference.

In case you are wondering what my "today" is like, today is my first day working in the office, at my first Youth Ministry job ever. The beauty of working here is that things like solitude, praying, reading and meeting with friends is part of my job. So far, I am loving it.

More to come.

PS- please ask me any questions if anything I just said sounds confusing. It's really tough trying to transfer really good conversations into semi- good journal entries sometimes.


Friday, May 16, 2008

making my way up the west coast

some scattered thoughts, before more traveling

(I really hope this is my last weekend away for the next long while).

creativity scares the hell out of me,
on days like this, the really nice ones,
inside without words
or consequence.

tough love never asked me any questions,
a lot of tough, not a lot of love.
tough love hurt more than anything,
given the days I could take it seriously.

originality doesen't like my living room,
staring blankly from the walls like christmas lights,
taken down nonchalantly,
like christmas itself.
I never like to grow tired of things I love.

I've made more excuses than mistakes,
because forgiveness doesn't come without conditions.
I'm wasting today to
like myself enough.


I'm not what I say I am most days,
i could never give myself enough credit.
Grace is that love we never asked for:

I never asked for love because I didn't think I deserved it,
and I'd just as well learn to live alone.
But who I am to ask for anything less
than belonging to something. to someone.