Two things that I wanted to relate to blogspace:

  1. I ran 2 miles today.  It felt good.  Well, let me rephrase and say I ran a mile (which I figured was about 8:30, considering that it was a song and a half), and ran/walk the second mile.  This is a big deal to me, as a few months ago I would have laughed.  My hope is by August to run 4 miles straight a day.  This is stretching, but I think totally possible.  Three times a week I'd like to be lifting for definition.  I'm considering taking a picture of myself this week, and then when I go back for school in August and compare.  This will either be one of the most joyous occasions of my summer, or one of the most somber.  Encouragment is always appreciated.
  2. Being with the family was wonderful today, and we sat around and watched a show of FoodTV about a couple getting married and having it in their $20 million car dealership.  Per plate, the dinner cost roughly $700 (600 guests… high five for you doing the math).  As I watched, I just thought "I am so sick and tired of opulence".  This is something new for me to actually straight out and admit to myself, as I always thought I'd want the fancy car or the nice house.  I don't, if you want the truth.  I think after I get married, if I have just enough to support my wife and myself happily with a house that is a home, I'll be juuuuuust fine.
    2a. Some of you may have heard my complaint about engagement/wedding rings.  In a nutshell, I think it's, well, opulent, to spend so much money and have all of the environmental damage to have a piece of metal say "I love you and cherish you" when actually doing it and saving the money for, say, a down payment on a house or children's education or paying down our debts seems so much more loving and appropriate.  In the Utne (which I finally bought a personal copy of), I found a company which makes wedding rings by recycling old jewlery as well as taking other metals (such as in computers) and making rings.  This, to me, seems so much more faithful as a Christian, as well as I think a much cooler story than Tiffany and Co could ever hope to create.  You can learn more from here.



home and wal*mart… and goals

I'm home.  As in Salem, Ohio home.  And to tell you the truth, when I'm here, I'm ambivalent about it.  It's not to say I don't love my family (which I do.  Any of you who know me know that's the case), but it's simply that when I'm at home, my routine is thrown off.  I can't live my life the way I'm accustomed to.  The best example is bedtime.  My family is on a 10-6 sleep schedule, while I, just purely on the basis that I work with college students, am on a 2-10 schedule most often (even though I tried the 12-8 schedule with mixed results).

Obviously we all make space for each other – I just go upstairs to my bedroom and do what I want to do quietly, and they leave me to my own devices.  But it's still frustrating when things as simple as going online to blog is a logistical ordeal.  But, I do love my family deeply, so it all works out.

My main thrust, however, is my continuing saga against Wal*Mart.  I hate it.  I hate so much of what it stands for (personally, I think it's capitalism without conscience), and have decided to boycott the organization on principle.  Although I'm one man, conviction should mean someting, right?

However, in the last week or so being home, I've almost cracked twice.  When I was there with my brother, I wanted to buy Imogen Heap's album.  Not on Wal*Mart's shelves.  I wanted to get a modem for my brother's computer.  Not stocked.

God will pull you through your own convictions if you give them to Him.

And here's an update on my goals:

  1. Read classics – Because I want to do #2, I'm staying away from the classics for this week and next.  I did, however, read The Perks Of Being A Wallflower, which is a top 3 book for me. 
  2. Diligently persue my Master’s degree – I am, actually.  I've read everything I've needed to, am writing everything I should with purpose, and loving it.
  3. Play the instruments I love – I've practiced my piano, and played my guitar often.
  4. Be athletic in someway everyday – Up and down.  The beginning of the week I was playing basketball 2 hours a night, but then I got tired and busy.  I'm buying a good pair of running shoes tomorrow, and comitting to using them.
  5. Keep losing weight – I still don't have the nerve to check a scale.  I should do that soon.
  6. Stay in balance with sleeping, watch what I eat and drink, care about my body – Balance hasn't been possible yet.  Well, that's a lie – I just haven't let it happen yet. 
  7. Continue to devote my 15 minutes in Scripture and prayer every morning – Only one day in the last 2 weeks have I not. 
  8. My Appreciation Journal – I've written in it every day. 
  9. Let go – It isn't really let go.  It's hold on.

Peace to you all. 

you, friend, deserve a midweek update

I have free time now, and instead of, you know, napping, I’m going to write an update. I’ll keep it brief, because my goal during this time is not to write blog entries, to but to enjoy the chautauqua I’m in.

Chautauqua is defined as a time of spiritual renewal through the heart and the mind. In New York, there’s a place called the Chautauqua Institution which for over a century has operated to that end. I have found this time to be a retreat into a place where I can be vulnerable, exposed, and open to whatever is coming at me. I’ve learned quite a bit already, and am anticipating that much more.

Obviously, as I have written before, this doesn’t mean it’s always comfortable. I had a conversation last night with Erik Wessel and Josh Hayes that certainly wasn’t comfortable, but was rather convicting and has spurn me to think about how I continue to relate my faith life and my work life and my identity.

It’s a time to be with friends who know very well what it’s like to endure the hardships of ministry: to love deeply and be hurt the same, and to watch the good, bad, and ugly.

In the end, this time is allowing me to see God again in a very real way, where in the last few weeks He had seemed hidden from my sight. It’s allowing me to see beyond my existensial “Let Go” and is reminding me to “hold on”.

Oh, and by the way: I’m taking a master’s class (College Students In America), and watched Garden State as part of class. It was an amazing snapshot of Millenials. I’d love to talk to you about it sometime.

Anyway. That’s it for now. Much love.

master’s classes

I'm reading for my master's class starting on Tuesday (it's all about the college student in America, and is in a lot of ways a Student Learning primer), and I read a particular section that I found profound, and I wanted to share it with you:

…learning is seldom without struggle.  In the same way that the exploration of unchartered territory may include surmounting obstacles or even dangers, the learning process may be characterized by strife.  Frustration, confusion, and conflict are inevitable in the learning process… when viewed as a process, learning necessarily involves wrestling and discomfort… On a more positive note, Giroux (1988, p. 128) suggests that this struggle, though difficult at times, is worth enduring because it may result in lives that consider "despair unconvincing and hope practical"…

Later, Guthrie (the author of the chapter, and one of my Higher Ed professors), affirms that learning does not stop at commencement, but continues on throughout life, so in essense the struggle continues as well.  I especially love that last line, thinking that even though the struggle occurs, it enables us as humans, as collegiates, and as youth to look beyond and see (and believe) in the good, the right, and the True.  As a Christian, it needs to be said that this struggle can lead to a perfection of our faith, building one thing upon another.

I have found that I've made it point this year to try to learn things I didn't know much about, and to basically immerse myself in it.  In a lot of ways, it was centered around what could be called more "liberal" politics and philosophies, especially concerning social justice and green issues, and then obviously, not to mention the typical moving through life and making the best of it.  In some ways I've struggled in my discernment of all of these things, but now, as I have time, I see the, indeed, practical hope that I and everyone else needs to have.  It's really, really easy to get bogged down in the muck.  Hope is what keeps us all afloat.

I've also found that the rules of life I have (Gregg and I have worked on them) create a foundation that allows life to just happen (and I can hear him saying those words right now… and I finally get them… haha).  By saying "okay, I'll be sure to pray and read my Bible, and serve other people", everything else just happens.  I control what I know I can, and let everything else be in the realm of God.

I leave you with a CS Lewis poem.  Enjoy.

As the Ruin Falls

All this is flashy rhetoric about loving you
I've never had a selfless thought since I was born
I am mercenary and self-seeking through and through
I want God, you, all friends merely to serve my turn

Peace, reassurance, pleasure are the goals I seek
I cannot crawl one inch outside my proper skin
I talk of love, a scholar's parrot may talk greek
but, self-imprisoned, always end where I begin

Only that now you have taught me,
but how late my lack, I see the chasm
and everything you are was making my heart
into a bridge, by which I might get back from
exile and grow man…
and now the bridge is breaking

For this I bless you as the ruin falls
the pains you give me are more precious than
all other gains.

for kelly + stream of consciousness

Dear K. Fenn –

This is for you, so you'll keep writing. I like what Joshua said when in many ways the blogosphere has become a third space. There has to be a reason why it and MySpace and Facebook are so popular, right? The New Yorker, by the way, had a great article about Facebook and its beginnings.

Anyway, I could have called this "various and sundry", but the last two times I put that, bad things happened the next day, and I'm in no mood to test fate.

I passionately took (recieved, although often used in this context, is a poor reflection of what I did) 12 hours of sleep last night, and woke up at 11:00. I can't remember the last time I did that, and it was worth every bit of the 3 hours I wasn't awake that I usually am. Try it folks. It's amazing.

I went to Wal*Mart today because I needed a haircut and socks and undershits. As I left, I felt guilty. My stance on going there is I only go if I have no other option, and really, I probably had options. 8% of the nation's consumers do not shop at Wal*Mart because it's a moral choice. I think I'm getting closer to that 8%, but maybe I'm in the "So close but when push comes to shove I pansy out on that particular conviction" category. Suck.

As redemption, I went to the local coffee shop. It's called Friends Roastery, for the obvious reason that they roast their own beans. It's the best coffee in town. Whilst sipping on a cup and eating a cinnamon roll, I picked up a copy of the Utne Reader they had there, and I loved it. I'd heard of it two or three times – bloggies, Adbusters, seeing it at B&N – and finally decided to park myself over a copy. The first aricle was entied "Capitalism with Conscience" – YES! I love that. That's what I've always felt! And I kept reading, and had similar reactions. Utne will probably be the something like 5th magazine subscription I have, which I think puts me in fully obsessed with magazine land.

(it rhymes with chutney, by the way)

Also, a few albums to check out: Aimee Mann's The Forgotten Arm, Calexico's Garden Ruin, The New Pornographer's Twin Cinemas, and Lupe Fiasco's Food and Liquor.

Finally, K. Fenn; readers x,y, and z; Mr. or Mrs. "I really need a poem about love affairs"; and myself three weeks from now, I leave you with a poem I wrote. I was started in October, and finished last night. It started because I would go to Aromas and had an infatuation with the barista (who I think was named Elizabeth). Enjoy.

Can we fall in love over a cup of coffee?
You see, that’s how I’ve always wanted to:
You with your latte, I with my black regular
(not that I think you’re disingenuous, I just prefer it bitter)
And discuss why this did not happen sooner.
Sooner, we agreed, would not have been fate,
I had mistakes to make, after all –
And would I be me now had I not?

I violently tip back the last of my drink,
Smile and say "But who’s to say I am ever finished
Making my mistakes?"

#50 entry

    Hi all.

    This is just to let you know this is my last day here in Erie for awhile, which means spotty dial-up internet access/community internet access.  I'll try to update regularly, but basically what I'm trying to get at is don't expect one every day.

     Like you were anyway 🙂

oh! and to you, mr. or mrs. love affair

    Stay with whomever you're with.  It's better.  I promise.  The last thing you want to do is ruin something when maybe you just have to talk it out.

    I cheated on my 7th grade girlfriend, and couldn't tell her until my junior year of high school.  She's happily married, and I, for one, am happy for her as well.

    And, no, there are no poems dealing with love affairs on this blog.  However, I do enjoy John Legend's song "She Don't Have To Know".

…another one of the random things of this week, you are.