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.

mcdonalds v starbucks

    So as is my fashion, I had this whole idea in my head about McDonald's and Starbucks and how as I went into both today, how culturally stereotypical they were, and how that sucks.  How McDonald's is lousy in general becuase it's making people fat, but when one looks on their website or watches their commercials, he or she will see skinny, happy people.  Which is not what I saw.  And then at Starbucks, it was full of suits and soon-to-be suits drinking coffee, being busy, and I think deep down wanting someone to ask them how their day is, but not really having the time to respond.

     However, I lost my steam for a really big entry.  I'm excited for tonight, as I'm making dinner for Statia (I love to cook for folks), and some of my buddies from Grove City are coming up for a last hurrah in this fair Erie-town.

    If you, dear reader, and I have a chance to sit down and talk, I look forward to telling you all the wonderfully random things that have happened this week, the latest of which being that one of the security officers here at Gannon (Hoss, who else?) offered me a pylon for my parking spot so people will stay out of it.  But that's only the tip of the iceberg.

      I love you.

lollapalooza, anyone?

    I think I'm going to lollapalooza this year in Chicago.  This could be my day:

Good morning.  Oh gee, I think I'll listen to Anathallo.

Did you enjoy your piece of deep dish pizza?  I did as well.  Shall we see Iron and Wine, now?

My, that 4 o'clock sun beats warmly upon my already tanned body.  Look!  It's The New Pornographers! 

The moon is bright today!  Let's bask in it as we enjoy the sounds of Kanye West.

    This certainly deserves the "whoa!" tag. 


    Mahatma Gandhi listed Seven Deadly Social Sins that he considered to be most spiritually damaging to humanity. This list is more relevant today than when he wrote it more than a half century ago.

Politics without principle.
Commerce without morality.
Science without humanity.
Knowledge without character.
Wealth without work.
Pleasure without conscience.
Worship without sacrifice.

    I found this as I was going through the adbusters webpage, after I had bought the magazine yesterday.  It's an impressive magazine, and I appreciate their candor.  However, as Lindsey said, perhaps they're just preaching to the choir.

    I would not have thought I'd be one of the members, but I certainly am.

    I have more stuff to write, but right now, I'm going to go take a nap.  Peace. 

new mixtape

    …this is the album that would document the artist that I've "found" over the last year or so (really, this has been a second semester passion). Enjoy the listing:

  1. Lupe Fiasco – Kick Push
  2. The New Pornographers – Stacked Crooked
  3. Amy Winehouse – In My Bed
  4. Bitter:Sweet – The Mating Game
  5. DangerDoom – Old School (f. Talib Kweli)
  6. The Raconteurs – Steady, As She Goes
  7. Dwele – Hold On (remix)
  8. Belle and Sebastian – We Are Sleepyheads
  9. Van Hunt – Hot Stage Lights
  10. Anathallo – Cuckoo Spitting Blood
  11. Cody ChesnuTT – On A Joyride
  12. Half-Handed Cloud – Everyone Did What Was Right In Their Own Eyes
  13. Old Canes – Blue Eleanor
  14. Matisyahu – King Without A Crown
  15. Rashaan Patterson – Seperate

    Tasty. Nakis and Wessel, you will certainly be getting copies. I like to think of this as the "taste of 2006"

inconsistency maybe?

    US to renew full ties to Libya.

    Does this really surpise anyone else?  I mean, I see (and agree) that Libya has made its reparations from Lockerbie and really tied to show itself as a peaceful country and am happy to see some movement in a positive direction with any country, but I feel this is coming at an extremely convient time.

    In the last year, I've become significantly more cynical of government on the whole, and while I know people are fallible, I question sometimes how often people are blinded to simple common sense.

    As Ben Harper sings on his new album, it seems politicians have one foot in the grave and the other on the flag.

    I'll leave you all with the official document from the US.  Any comments would be great!

I am pleased to announce that the United States is restoring full diplomatic relations with Libya. We will soon open an embassy in Tripoli.

In addition, the United States intends to remove Libya from the list of designated state sponsors of terrorism.

Libya will also be omitted from the annual certification of countries not co-operating fully with United States' anti-terrorism efforts.

We are taking these actions in recognition of Libya's continued commitment to its renunciation of terrorism and the excellent co-operation Libya has provided to the United States and other members of the international community in response to common global threats faced by the civilized world since September 11, 2001.

Today's announcements are tangible results that flow from the historic decisions taken by Libya's leadership in 2003 to renounce terrorism and to abandon its weapons of mass destruction programmes.

As a direct result of those decisions we have witnessed the beginning of that country's re-emergence into the mainstream of the international community.

Today marks the opening of a new era in US-Libya relations that will benefit Americans and Libyans alike.

Just as 2003 marked a turning point for the Libyan people so too could 2006 mark turning points for the peoples of Iran and North Korea.

Libya is an important model as nations around the world press for changes in behaviour by the Iranian and North Korean regimes – changes that could be vital to international peace and security.

We urge the leadership of Iran and North Korea to make similar strategic decisions that would benefit their citizens.

For Libya, today's announcements open the door to a broader bilateral relationship with the United States that will allow us to better discuss other issues of importance.

Those issues include protection of universal human rights, promotion of freedom of speech and expression, and expansion of economic and political reform consistent with President Bush's freedom agenda.


In this somewhat of a renaissance that I’ve been under (I’d like to coin it my quarter-life crisis – 23*4 = 92 = pretty good, long life), I felt it was a good time to set some goals for the summer. With that in mind, I’m inscribing them upon my blog, so that people who will never meet me in person can ask me and maybe leave the peirodic “hey, how are you doing with that?”. Here they are, divided into Mind, Body, and Spirit:


  • Read classics – I’ve started to get into some of the classics of literature, because I think appreciating them helps one appreciate the rest of what goes in with words. For instance, if you can appreciate 1+1=2, you can then appreciate that maybe 1+1=3, because foundations count for something. To that end, here’s the list right now for the summer. I’m in no push to get them all done, but here’s the lineup:
    • Fyodor Dostoevskvy – The Brothers Karamazov (I’m about 60 pages through)
    • Geroge Eliot – Middlemarch
    • Sinclair Lewis – The Jungle
    • Walker Percy – The Moviegoer
  • Diligently persue my Master’s degree – I was really frustrated throughout college with my own blasé attitude about grades. I did just enough to get by with a 3.29, which I figured was just enough to get me where I wanted to go. Looking back, that’s ludacris. I am a better student than what I put up, and for me to just wander through anything else is just plain disrespectful to myself and the institution. So, I’m planning on really trying on my Master’s Degree. Really reading, really taking notes, really being engaged in class. In many ways, these things I’m studying are things I love, so why not invest in them?
  • Play the instruments I love – I don’t play my piano or trumpet any more. I bought a nice classics piano book (with Clair de Lune in it – one of the songs I’ve always wanted to learn how to play and be good enough to impress someone at a cocktail party by saying “oh, y’know, this is a little something I’ve picked up along the way”). I want to do this because I find losing gifts by attrition to be a sad reason.


  • Be athletic in someway everyday – This should get easier once I get into my CCO routines. Beth Herman’s training for a half marathon, there will be frisbee everyday, and I see the reason not just to look good (although, dang, that’s a good reason), but that I want to be healthy, and that I would love to work out with the ROTC guys next year. If this pans out, I will be in the best shape I’ve ever been, and chances are will ever be. This is all a matter of inertia. Related is…
  • Keep losing weight – I’ve probably lost 25 pounds this year, mostly because I don’t eat when I’m not hungry. I’m starting to see glimpses of a body I could have, and when that happens, the momentum gets going.
  • Stay in balance with sleeping, watch what I eat and drink, care about my body – The more I’m in balance, the better things will feel. The better things feel, the more motivated I want to be in keeping the momentum, and it rolls and rolls and rolls. Inertia, baby!


  • Continue to devote my 15 minutes in Scripture and prayer every morning – It’s my most critical rule of life, and something that waxes and wanes much too often. Loving God and being part of His community is wanting to have a conversation with Him – to talk and to listen. While I’m good at the talking, I’m learning to do the listening. This summer will be a great place to recommitt to my conversation with God.
  • My Appreciation Journal – I have a moleskine journal that at the end of each day I put the #1 good thing I want to remember from the day. I thank God for it, and I close it. It reminds me of two things – one, that God is always good, and two that life is always good. Not easy, but good. I have no doubt that there will always be one good thing out of the day, even if I write “I woke up and saw the world again, and can go to sleep with the same”
  • Let go – If there’s one thing that God has shown me over again over again, it would be living in the present moment and trusting fully in Him is what He wants, not trying to micromanage life. When I stopped trying to be the one controlling my life, God did, and it was good – maybe not easy, but good. Truly, that’s what I want.

To that end, I leave you with a portion of the Tao Te Ching by Lao Tzu. Tao Te Ching is the base of Taoism, and I feel that there’s something be learned in the pages. There’s a sense of God in it, and the more I skim it, the more I try to find Him in it:

…Therefore the sage produces without possessing,
Acts without expectations
And accomplishes without abiding in her accomplishments.

It is precisely because she does not abide in them
That they never leave her.

Good morning all.

i’m writing profusely

    In the six years I've had a blog/journal, this might be the most I've written, ever. The only time that comes close is August 2005, but that's an old journal, and I really think that now if you read my journal, it's more thoughtful. Maybe it's the fact I know how many times people are reading it, and I figure I owe you all a little bit more than garbage.

    Today I had my 1:1 with Gregg, and I've thought about this a couple times, but this has been a tough year to learn how to start doing ministry. When I map out all the challenges I've had, you can include natural disasters such as Katrina, and having students live there (including one of my leaders) and other CCO staff there as well; beaurocratic things like the issues between the ROTC and Voice For Peace, one of the social justice groups the Chaplain's Office (not Campus Ministry) oversees; good things like Jubilee and NYC back to back; working 50-60 hours every week; and then toss in that in the last month or so of school there was a rape and a death on campus.

    I'm not complaining, and I don't want you to get that impression. I think what I am trying to say is that I've finally had a chance to think about the year, and where I am now in comparison to where I was a year ago, and it's been a steep uphill growth. That might be the most crazy part about post-graduate life: you know you're going to grow up, and so you strap yourself in and go with it. I knew how it was going to work, I just didn't know how it would all fall out.

    Gregg and Tom both said I did, indeed, have a challenging year, and that I've thrived. But now it's the let-down time: the time when I'm not just racing through the day getting this done and that done. I have time to think, to reflect, to process. And when you have a whole year that needs that kind of processing, it's a stressful task at times.

    I think that's part of the reason I haven't really felt like myself of late. I've just felt tired, soft, and out of sorts. I'm going on vacation starting on Monday, and it's going to be devoted to reclaiming my peace of mind.

    I also told Gregg I felt as though God was distant right now, which has been part of my frustrations of late, and he reminded me (as I can always remember, but sometimes struggle to beleive), that in these times, God is closer to me than I can imagine.  He also reminded me of a passage in II Peter that I like a lot:

For this very reason, make every effort to add to your faith goodness; and to goodness, knowledge; and to knowledge, self-control; and to self-control, perseverance; and to perseverance, godliness; and to godliness, brotherly kindness; and to brotherly kindness, love. (II Peter 1:5-7)

    This is always a good reminder to me that when life gets tough, it builds the blocks of a faithful life, and gives us all the chance to be more loving, more compassionate, and more Christ-like in the end.  But, again, it's remembering that in the interim that is tough.

    I think that's it.  I'm off to get some lunch, to get "The Celebration of Disciplines", to get my oil changed, and to read some more stuff for my class in a couple weeks.

bedtime enjoyment

    I wanted to leave you all with a website.  This came out an away message Hannah has periodically, and I thought I heard the quote before.  Turns out I hadn't; and instead found this:


     It reminds me of a more thoughtful explodingdog.com (which if you're unfamiliar with, you need to probably go there as well). 

    I feel really good tonight. 


…What this means is that almost 1000 times people have read whatever I had to say. Holy moley.

If I break that down, it's about 9 reads a day. I had a couple wild days last week where I had about 40 people read in a day, but now it's more like 20-25. Which is awesome.

And to whomever #1000 is, you get a big hug from me if you know it's you.

Much love to my readers.

third place theory

    Joshua Elek wrote an article not too far about about the Theory of Third Space, something I've also found to be intriguing. I'll sample him, and that'll save me the time to inform you what it is (and really, Joshua writes well, so I'm doing you a favor as well):

…The idea is that There is something called the Theory of Third Place. Essentially what it means is that people need to visit a place which is neither home nor work. The Third Place. For some, this is a coffee shop, for some it's a library, or a park, or a bar. It doesn't matter what the third place is, it's just a place you like to go that is neither home nor work.

Third places do a lot for society. According to Ray Oldenburg (one of the founders of the idea), "they make the citizen feel at home, they nourish relationships and a diversity of human contact, they help create a sense of place and community, they invoke a sense of civic pride, they provide numerous opportunities for serendipity, they promote companionship, they allow people to relax and unwind after a long day at work.." And he goes on…

    And here are a couple quotes from Oldenburg that will add to the conversation:

"The character of a third place is determined most of all by its regular clientele and is marked by a playful mood, which contrasts with people's more serious involvement in other spheres. Though a radically different kind of setting for a home, the third place is remarkably similar to a good home in the psychological comfort and support that it extends…They are the heart of a community's social vitality, the grassroots of democracy, but sadly, they constitute a diminishing aspect of the American social landscape."

“Life without community has produced, for many, a life style consisting mainly of a home-to-work-and-back-again shuttle. Social well-being and psychological health depend upon community. It is no coincidence that the ‘helping professions’ became a major industry in the United States as suburban planning helped destroy local public life and the community support it once lent.”

    As a campus minister, resident director, and I would extrapolate further to college students, I'm beginning to realize how critical the third place is, because our first place (our home) and our second place (our work), are one and the same way too often. I think about the last (now) 5 years of life, and how they've been characterized by going to class, going "home" to work on my work, goofing around, and then to bed to start it all again. In the same way, I can look around my bedroom right now and see commentaries, Bible Encyclopaedias (that's the way they spell it – don't judge, youngin'!), and the like. Without a third place of social interaction, there's no place to actually be in community, and we are lost in a blur of work and home.

    However, as Joshua commented, our third places are quickly being endangered. I think of the places I'd want to deem my "third place" – Starbucks on Fifth, Barnes and Noble, and hopefully soon Docksiders on State – and really, from Oldenburg's description, there aren't necessarily regular clientele (excluding Jesse and Ricardo, who always happen to be on the same 'bucks and B&N schedule as I am). Our society, quite simply, is no longer willing to be equipped for consistency in places. We want our single-packaged, microwavable society because it's controllable and it's independent and it's just what we want how we want it.

    It's modernistic. Which all the jibber-jabber I've heard said we don't roll in anymore.  This is nothing to new to say that our modernistic, subdivided society has done much to hurt community on a city and societal level, and I think third place theory helps name the elephant, but I think we, as a new generation up-and-coming, need to embrace the third place again.  We need to get out of dorm rooms, get out of our work cliques, and find places just to be.

    I'm going to stop here for 3 reasons: one is I realize I'm rambling, and this is a convergence of ideas I have about modern/post-modern tension, third place theory, and "millennial" community interaction (which Howe and Strauss say is supposed to be a big deal, and I don't know if I see the proof yet)
; two is that I want you to read the whole of what I wrote, and if I go too much further, your attention span will recede; three is that I'm going to Starbucks to read for my class.

    It rained hard today.  I smelled fresh Spring.  It was spiritual.

you can actually categorize an entry “lobster”

As I was at Presque Isle with Nick and our prospective KH canidate, I told this tidbit of info, and I wanted to share a little.

I love Maine. Specifically, Bar Harbor, Maine. Most people want to go to Florida for vacation, but I'd rather head north, especially in the late summer, as it's 85 degrees on the land and 45 on the sea, it's a wild transition. My pseudo-fantasy retirement (psuedo because I'm not really sure, deep down, if it's my dream) is to own a lobster boat, fish in the morning, and then in the afternoon and evening read and discuss the world's problems with my wife, solving the majority of them, but not being willing to share because, obviously, every husband and wife should have some secrets.

Anyway, so here's the lobster story. Lobsters are get caught in crates. They go in for food, eat it, and get caught in the back of the crate as the rope they walk through eventually encloses them. Think of it like a varmit trap – totally humane, they just get stuck in the back.

Well, they've found in recent years that the population of lobsters have been going up, not staying even or down – as one would think it would, as the US government has called lobster "overfished".

The study now being done is to see if the herring bait that is used to attract the lobsters into the traps is actually improving the environment for the lobsters. You can read more here.

How funny is that though? I'm sure there's some sort of profound thing in that, but it's 12:51 in the morning, and instead of something profound, I'll leave you with the life cycle of the lobster.

Is it strange to see mama lobster poop out her babies? I certainly thought so.

Great day today, by the way. Another reminder that life is best lived as it is, not to try too hard, and just let God and time do what they do best. Too bad it took 23 and a half years to figure that out.

hi summer.

So today was commencement, marking the full end of the school year. Sure, there's odds and ends, but in the life of the Resident Director and Campus Minister, without students, it's basically living at a college, and that's really not a job, but a state of being… if you know what I'm saying.

And what a wild year. Thinking about the fact that at this time last year that I was recieving my diploma and what I was worried about, what upset me, and what I was looking at are so different. I've grown so much, and I just laugh. It's life. We're moved and shaped and defined a little differently. I've had some spectauclar high points this year, as well as probably a couple of my lowest points yet. But I'm still here.

I'm looking forward to this summer to continue the friendships I've developed and cherish here, and to get back to some old ones that seem to have gone on hold, which will be wonderful.

If there's one thing I can say I've learned this year (and when I say this, a few of you who read this blog and know me are going to laugh), is that I've learned to let go. I didn't realize how much of a micromanager and worrier I am about things. When I stopped trying so hard and just was and let life do what it does best, I found I was at my best, and things fell together, even if they were bad things.

It seems that what may matter most in life is just living it.

I laugh right now reading that.

So to everyone who reads this blog and knows me and was a part of my life in the last year or so: thank you. For dealing with me when I wasn't right or in a good mood or just off, and for riding with me when life was good and right and well.

another poem for the peeps

i am a little church(no great cathedral)
far from the splendor and squalor of hurrying cities
-i do not worry if briefer days grow briefest,
i am not sorry when sun and rain make april

my life is the life of the reaper and the sower;
my prayers are prayers of earth's own clumsily striving
(finding and losing and laughing and crying)children
whose any sadness or joy is my grief or my gladness

around me surges a miracle of unceasing
birth and glory and death and resurrection:
over my sleeping self float flaming symbols
of hope,and i wake to a perfect patience of mountains

i am a little church(far from the frantic
world with its rapture and anguish)at peace with nature
-i do not worry if longer nights grow longest;
i am not sorry when silence becomes singing

winter by spring,i lift my diminutive spire to
merciful Him Whose only now is forever:
standing erect in the deathless truth of His presence
(welcoming humbly His light and proudly His darkness)

ee cummings


Hannah said something a couple weeks ago that made me laugh because it's so true: usually, there's a song that's been written that describes how you're feeling. The last week or so is no exclusion. And, so everyone understands, my lousy week comes mostly from Stephanie passing away and my subsequent emotional overload. It's a tough experience as a staff person during your first major emergency like that, and while I could handle it then, I certainly struggled a little afterwards. But, time is a great healer, and I'm feeling better now.

Anyway, enough of me, here's the song (And ps – it might be one of John Mayer's best songs anyway, so try to get ahold of it if you can):

Perfect Sense – John Mayer

This will all make perfect sense someday
I'll be A-Okay
All my bills have all gone paid
I shit the bed
I broke the bank

This coulda been a slow song
A laundry list of all my wrongs
But at the end of the day
This is my beautiful disaster piece I've made
Gonna laugh I know the pain is here

This will all make perfect sense someday
I'll be A-Okay
There's got to be a reason for the rain

I don't understand the numbers
But my faith is in the math
And the odds are all this pain will even out in the end
And we'll look back and laugh

And to all the hearts I've broken
And the ones that once broke mine
I've got suspicions, all will be forgiven in time
All you gotta do is call 'em up and say that, that
This will all make perfect sense someday
I'll be A-Okay
There's got to be a reason for the rain

And if it ever gets bad I mean really bad
I'll move to Nova Scotia
Forget the life I had
I'll be up at 9 each morning
Down by the shore
Collecting things that fell off boats in storms
Well ok so I might never
But it's nice to know the option's there

This will all make perfect sense someday
I'll be A-Okay
There's got to be a reason for the rain

And it doesn't help
That I keep biting my lip in the same place

picture 9 – inspiration

This is the picture of my front door. It has thank you notes, my rosary, pictures of fun things that have happened over the last year (thanks mostly to Bridget Eshe), and people that are really important to me.

Today a Robert Frost poem came into my mind, and I leave you with it.


Stopping By Woods On A Snowy Evening


Whose woods these are I think I know.
His house is in the village though;
He will not see me stopping here
To watch his woods fill up with snow.
My little horse must think it queer
To stop without a farmhouse near
Between the woods and frozen lake
The darkest evening of the year.
He gives his harness bells a shake
To ask if there is some mistake.
The only other sound's the sweep
Of easy wind and downy flake.
The woods are lovely, dark and deep.
But I have promises to keep,
And miles to go before I sleep,
And miles to go before I sleep.


    Joshua recently said in my blog how we may very well have some of the best jobs one can have.  And I certainly don't disagree.  I feel so blessed to be an RD and to work in ministry with students. 

    And then we have a day like today.  One of our students passed away from natural causes.  As I'm writing it, I hurt.  I feel just like a friend, someone I care about was taken from me.  And I hadn't even met the girl. 

    Maybe I would have.  Maybe she might have come to Truthseekers next year.  Maybe she was planning on living in Walker next year.

    In the last month, there's been a rape and a death.  In the last year I've taken 18 year olds to the hospital.  In the last year I've fallen in love with the Gannon community, and hurt with them, and cried with them.

      Tricia wrote this, and I'm shamlessly copying it, because it's perfect.


Today is beautiful. Today is perfect. Today is wonderful. Today is fine. Today is a day for drinking iced tea.
And a day for walking the long way home. Past the freshman dorm.

A crowd outside. (A fire drill)

Police cars and van. (A threat)

The Chaplain.

Campus ministers.

Other priests. (Jesus.)

Students crying.

Keep walking. Two freshman friends approach from the opposite direction.

"What's going on over there?"
"A girl had a seizure…. and died."

Today is

"Who was it?"
"Stephanie something."

Our Stephanie? Someone's Stephanie.

Today is a tragedy. Every day is a tragedy. Someplace.

various and sundry post

  • Happy May.
  • I changed my presentation, and I think I enjoy this one as a summer theme.  It is, after all, getting closer to sweet, sweet summer, and why not greet it with open arms?
  • Dear Tricia – thanks for your statements in your recent blog entry.  You affirmed me as well, and mutual affirmation is the things great days are made of.
  • Speaking of great days – I recieved my Found magazine today, and it's pretty much amazing.  Basically, people turn in things they locate on the ground or in things (hence Found), and they put it in a magazine.  This simple premise may be one of my favorite slices of modern sociology ever.  I mean, seriously – these are real life letters and notes written about many different things.  It's a simply amazing piece of work, and if you see me, I will not hesitate to show it off to you.  I promise.
  • I have a paper to finish writing.  Ugh.  Can't my blog count for all the writing I do?
  • I'm in a better mood than I have been.  I blame it on a new view on life, and the fact it's Monday again, and it's a new week.  Who knows.  But I don't feel as offbeat as I was before.

Great day.  Have one.  On me.