Walking on Sunshine

I just finished my last final which is not as big of a deal as usual because I had two easy guys and one toughy. So now I'm able to do what I want, which includes reading NT Wright's new book on the Bible. In the forward he mentions www.ntwrightpage.com. What a sweet joyous resource. It's like a fount of sweet nectarous Peach Fresca emanating from heaven blessed by Our High Priest.

In case you were wondering, why is Ryan getting all Charles Wesley on us? It's because I love me some N.T. Wright. In many of my studies, Wright emerges as completely right. I'm going to go ahead and not back up that claim at all, because we all know that you can say whatever you want if you are writing it for the internet. I know that grape jelly is empirically the greatest flavor of jelly since its inception in 754ce.

I know that at least Trevor reads this junk and he is a pastor. Of course we know that all good pastors steal their sermons from the internet. So I will be expecting to hear how the response was to your sermon entitled "The Prince of Peace" on Sunday, Trevor.

On a similar note, I got the second season of Arrested Development from the library last week, and it's real good buddies. I'm telling you for reals. Then I found out that they might get cancelled after this season. That would be a big-time no-no. But then as an add-on bonus, Showtime said they would pick it up if it got cancelled. This would be a doubly blessing/curse simultaneous to the death of Andre the Giant. The reason is that I could not watch it ever on the Television set, because I do not receive showtime. However, the same gang is true for Curb Your Enthusiasm, and I am entirely accustomed to waiting for the episodes to come out on digital vido discs so the gracious public library will use my membership fees known as taxes to purchases said video discs and allow me to borrow them for three weeks.

I think that if I had a friend that would willingly let me borrow things for three weeks but then started charging me after that, it would be a strained relationship. I would get kind of annoyed and think that they should probably offer me grace, but a combo of me feeling judgmental and me being too afraid of conflict to say anything would result in me saying, "It's no problem" a lot but feeling slighted nonetheless.

To avoid complete anacoluthon, if Arrested Development ends up on Showtime, it would mean that the show is still being made, which is better for everyone. Even if I can't watch Fresh Episodes (I hate that expression, they use it on ads for new episodes on the WB...television isn't fruit...I'm not at the grocery store in the produce department, I'm trying to watch the not-as-good-as-the-original-but-still-really-funny-american-version-of The Office...and why is the WB advertising on NBC anyway, don't they dislike each other...if my business were shouting at people that they should go eat at L&L's Hawaiian Barbecue (which you should do if you're in Denver ever), would I also join the guy next to me yelling at people to go eat at Fobidden City Buffet (which, incidentally, you should NOT eat at if you are in Denver ever)?...definitely not) of Arrested Development, it will be nice that they are out there for me to enjoy at some point.

Speaking of Curb Your Enthusiasm, there is an all evening marathon of Season Five on New Year's Eve, and I will be back in Denver, where my brother has HBO 67 feet from my house. Since my brother is basically the only person who read this junk, this is my completely inappropriate and public way of asking if he can leave me some way to get into his house so I can tape it. Speaking of junk in the trunk, The New Pornographers are doing a New Year's Eve show at the Metro in Chi-town and we will already be back in the D-train. I bet ole' Jake will be there, and I haven't seen him since he was working on the tan and reading Voices from the Margin on the lawn outside his apartment at Huntington College 1.5 years ago. Oh well, at least I'll get to be with Urrka, and since she's the most important human being to me, that's a good deal. I just wish numbers 2-5 could also have New Year's Eve hang-out time (oooooooooo, did you make the list? If your name is Trevor and you're the only person who reads this, you can be confident with much percent certainty (because we're never certain are we? us post-moderns) that the two-spot is reserved for me own flesh and blood.

And on that note, I am going to use my eyeballs to read books.


Suffragette City 2005

This past week was crazy Thanksgiving time, and in the midst of it all, I realized that I really love the work of Takeshi Kitano. A few months ago, I watched Zatoichi (which is super-great), so last week I picked up Dolls at the library. I realize I'm a few years late on this, but holy crap. What great sweet sweet nectar. So now I've put a number of his older films on hold at the library. I'm a little nervous because I guess Dolls and on were a bit of a departure from his previous work. He used to make a bunch of action films, which are great and all, if you're into that sort of thing.

The conclusion here is that, given the two Kitano films I've seen thus far, he make my list of "People Who Are Reasons Why God Made..." Here's the list so far for Film.

People Who Are The Reasons Why God Made Film
Wong Kar Wai
Jean Pierre-Jeunet
Wolfgang Becker
Jean-Luc Godard
Francois Truffaut
Darren Aronofsky
Terry Gilliam
Lars von Trier

The thing is that a great body of work tends to be required to make the list, so we'll see if things pan out. The list is elite (or at least I'd like to think so). Woopdeewhat


Gary the Gare

Erika's birthday is coming up, followed by Christmas and I haven't purchased a single present. But Coldplay is coming to town in February. Now, you may not know this, but Erika and I don't often go to concerts together. This isn't a big deal, she's just not as into it as I am. She's a good sport about it, but it's not her deal.

But then, like a crystal light shiny across a murky sea tainted by the stale blasts of ever-increasing sludge from the careful disdain of a thousand oil-soaked ducklings, we went to see Keane together last Spring. Oh what a night that was. What joyful bliss on a fresh meadow. Granted, I had to compromise a bit of snobbery in going to see a band that at the time got a lot of radio play. The concert was mainly frequented by business-types who only like what Mtv tell them to like, but I was able to sacrifice such arrogant thoughts with good grace. The result was that both Erika and I had an incredible time at the show (a first in our relationship (our concert going experience to that point was either Erika coming to see bands she didn't care for at all or vice versa)).

This time was one I hoped to recreate at some point in life. Coldplay was such a possibility. All the factors were there (some even moreso, i.e. Coldplay is the second biggest band in the world, so there are literally millions of non-musicocentric people who like them and would be at the show), leading me to believe that this would be the birthday present of the era.

Then ticketmaster showed up. I understand that Coldplay is the second biggest band in the world, so their tickets are going to be fairly pricey. 35 bucks a pop is double my usual spending, but I figured it is worth it to have such a night of shared enjoyment with my wife. So I headed into Angelo's to pick up some tickets. The lady at Angelo's is very nice and helped me in my cheapskate ways to find the cheapest possible tickets (the aforementioned 35 bones). She knew of my reluctance to shell out so much cash (via credit card), and told me of the five dollar building fee per ticket. I thought, I'm sure $35 times 1 billion people is probably enough to cover building fees, but what do I know? Then, there was a $13 per ticket convenience fee. What convenience am I getting?...

$13 is $5 more than I make per hour and this is for each ticket. For that kind of convenience, when I think that I want tickets to a show, ticketmaster should pick up the brainwaves and immediately dispatch some sort of messenger who will come to my house and pick me up in a helicopter. Then, we would go to the venue (in this case the Pepsi Center), so that I can sit in each of the seats that I am considering buying, so that I know that I will have chosen to optimal viewing seats. Then I will purchase the tickets on the way back to my house. Upon getting out of the chopper, the messenger hands me a delicious pizza and wishes me a good day.

But here's the convenience that $13 a ticket gets me in real life...NOTHING. When I buy a ticket from any other vendor or venue, there is no convenience charge. If I get them online, maybe there is a charge to cover the shipping of the tickets, but even that is rare. I realize this is nothing new, but ticketmaster is really a fine example of human depravity. They do what they want because they own big concerts. Fortunately, I don't want to go to many big concerts, so I can thumb my nose at them and say, "Ticketmaster, I refuse to buy tickets to your concerts because you completely miss the point of making music and take advantage of people. Good riddance." Then they will say...well nothing, because they will be too busy making billions of dollars off of people who are willing to spend $60 a person for three hours of enjoyment (That's $20/hour. An amount I am not willing to spend on any kind of joyful entertainment). So anyone who wants to not change anything, join me in my boycott of ticketmaster (didn't this already happen on a national scale when I was 10 years old or something?)


Viva La Revolution

This morning I was at the gas station. While I was standing outside my car (no static electricity for me, thanks...I'm not paranoid), I looked at the little ad buddy above the pump. It was an ad for mini Coopers. Here (more or less) is what it said...

Next time you get gas, go inside to pay. Talk to the cashier. Ask them the craziest thing they have ever seen at work. They'll probably have a great story. Or they may say, "Here's your change." Either way, it's just good to talk to people.

I was so happy. This is something that I first really started thinking about when my brother's prof brought it up in his Christian Ethics class. Even though all this convenience stuff (pay-at-the-pump, self-checkout at the grocery store, redbox dvds, self-checkout at the library)is supposed to be for convenience, it ultimately succeeds in cutting out a lot of interaction in our days (depending on the day, and how much money we have to spend that day). I realize that the usual discourse is...

"Hello" (my personal favorite greeting)
"How's it going?"
"Well, have a good day."
"Thanks, you too."

But part of why our interaction is so lame is our lack of experience in interacting due to all our "conveniences." I'm not suggesting that this is the sole culprit. This has been a problem for a long time (see the film Good Morning). But we need to become better conversationalists. Take the time to really interact with the people at the grocery store.

This is something I'm still working on myself. For the sake of honesty, I have to admit that I read this just after I had paid at the pump. I guess my point is that we do all this stuff to save time, but it doesn't really save us that much time. With the four extra minutes I saved by not going inside, I was able to sit at work today four extra minutes. Not really worth it.

My grounding for all of this is that I believe we were created to interact. It's the way the Trinity works, and that's what I think part of the Imago Dei is. If our conversations start out worthless, it gives us a place to improve. What what.


Leagues of Despair

Yesterday I received an e-mail from my good pal Paco, who is working with the Relief Effort in Pakistan right now. Basically it was desperate plea for money to help buy tents for people to live in before the harsh winter comes. If the funds don't come in, thousands of people will die. This created a deep sense of urgency and panic in my soul to do whatever I could to raise money for this effort.

One of my attempts to garner support was to email my professors to see if I could pass out the letter he sent me to students prior to class. One of my professors told me that such an action will not be possible, because if we did this every time a student had a worthy cause, there would be no end to such appeals. In some ways I can understand this. He also said that the campus president is deciding the best way for the Campus to aid the problems in Pakistan.

It took everything in me to restrain my anger upon receiving this reply. People will die if the aid doesn't come in. Meanwhile our president sits on his thumbs waiting to decide the best way to help. The earthquakes happened over a month ago. How long does it take to take action? I am going to contact the president about this need, but given his usual deafness, I'm not very hopeful.

I hope this post isn't too much of a knee-jerk reaction. Perhaps I should have taken some time to reflect before writing my thoughts. However, my brother and wife are unavailable to talk right now, so I have to vent somewhere. I guess the hardest part is that all of this comes from a professor that I highly respect and admire.

Here's my question...when a disaster happens outside our country, what does it take for Christians to make it a priority to help? Sure we pray about it (which is important), but don't ask us to sacrifice anything. We'll help out with the problems in America because we are continually reminded of the devastation by the news. But if something happens in another part of the world, forget about it. Oh, we'll say that we are going to help, but we take five months to decide how to help. Then we just let it slip our minds.

I must include that some people have been very great about this need. One of my friends works at a church that is not very affluent, but he was quick to get his congregation behind this effort. One of my professors (who is not American, by the way), was very eager to allow me to pass out the information in class and talk about it.

If I'm being ridiculous, tell me. I'm trying to be balanced about this, but it is so maddening that we are so stingy in such an affluent nation (this coming two days after Trevor taught on not being a slave to anything (specifically Money)). Back to work now, Ryan



Okay, this may be the most fruitless blog ever. The other day I was driving in the car. I don't know what inspired this, but I started thinking about secular media's take on adultery and stuff. I think some people get caught up in believing nothing good comes from the media concerning this issue. Here are some examples of why they are wrong.

The Sopranos: Obviously Tony is a jerk when it comes to this subject. However, in the community of people he lives in, adultery is an accepted part of life. Everyone has a gooma. The wives don't ask questions. Yet, the problems this creates for Tony and Carmella are a focus of latter season four. In addition, Carmella deals with her attraction to Furio. Furio even moves back to Italy to avoid giving in to his attraction to Carmella. Now it is clear that his motivation is the consequences that would follow messing around with Tony's wife. However, his conversation with his uncle back in Italy suggests that this was not his only motivation.

In the Mood For Love (if you haven't seen this, you should. And you should not read this prior to seeing the film, because I necessarily must discuss some crucial points of the plot): Again, two people have every right to become involved with one another (if such a statement can be made). Their spouses are cheating on them with the other's spouse and they are left behind (so to speak). In the face of this, they develop an incredible relationship that ultimately results in the desire for romance. In response, he moves to another part of Korea, rather than go back on his vow to his wife.

I realize this isn't really breaking any ground, but I think that we can see virtue in secular culture. I'm not saying it's all great or anything, but these are only a couple examples of something that is somewhat encouraging to me in the face of Christian naysayers. Word.


Antony Bonus

So I'm staying up later than I need to in order to kind of sit around and do nothing (I know, good use of time with a Romans mid-term in three days). I'm sitting here and I flip on Dave Letterman, just in time to catch...ANTONY AND THE JOHNSONS. What a sweet stroke of good fortune. I didn't realize they are doing a US run (which they may have before, I don't really know). Regardless, this makes me largely happy and full of enjoyment. It was a great performance by the way. Now I flipped to Jimmy Kimmel (I'm not sure why), and they just said that Thrice is the musical guest tonight. What a pleasant eve for music. Great great fun.

Since we're on the topic of music (as I almost always am lately, I guess it's just one of those months), I saw something I thought was kind of funny. When I was seeing how cheap I could get Joanna Newsom's single of Sprout and the Bean (not that cheap by the way), they had a little ad for a magazine that I think was called Under the Radar, and Death Cab for Cutie was on the cover. This struck me as odd, since Death Cab seems to be largely above the radar compared to many other bands. They're on iTunes essentials (the first video essentials ever) among many other things. Plans was advertised in the Best Buy, Target, and Circuit City ads (I'm pretty sure Transatlantacism was also). In addition, although it's Ben's side project, Postal Service songs are featured on ads for a doctor show on ABC and a Kaiser Permanente commercial.So I guess my question is, whose radar are we talking about here? It seems that in the realm of those who don't simply listen to music, but make it a major part of their life, Death Cab is not under the radar. Even if not all of these people are not familiar with their music as they may be into other styles of music, they have certainly heard of Death Cab. Who knows? If I was publishing this magazine, I think I would put Of Montreal on the cover. Has anyone listened to them lately? Sweet.


In an ongoing effort to totally dominate the Denver music scene, I just got my ticket to see the Decemberists in a week. Hoorah. This is largely exciting for me, as I very much enjoy the Decemberists. However, my favorite song of theirs at the moment is "The Apology Song" from their 5 Songs ep. I am gravely concerned that since the song comes from an ep, it may suffer neglect at the show. I'm sure the show will still be tanfastic, and I still love all their other music.

The problem is simply that I almost always go into a show hoping for one song to be played. Since moving to Denver, I have not been let down in this quest (Well, except for when I saw Emery at the Warped Tour, but they were only given 20 minutes to play (plus they were about to release a new album, so what do you expect? (and this shouldn't count because Warped was an entire day of sweet music where my 'one-song quest' was upheld by many other bands so by process of majority, this case is void))).

The other lame-o time 2005 is that I no longer can afford to go see Iron & Wine (a show which takes place 2 days after the Decemberists). But I'm okay with this exchange. After all, it's like they always say, "When The New Pornographers, Thrice, Emery, Death Cab for Cutie, Scary Kids Scaring Kids, the Decemberists, Hawthorne Heights, and Iron & Wine all come to Denver in October and you're on a budget and your wife is in a master's program so you don't see her as much as you used to, you can probably only go to 3 of those shows." I remember people telling me that all the time growing up.

And I'm very grateful for these shows that I have been able to go to. I don't want to sound like Mr. Never-Content-With-How-Many-Shows-He-Can-Go-To. Nobody likes that guy (at least not on the West side of the U.S.) The 2 I've been to already have been superb in a way that I didn't really know of before I moved here, and I'm sure the Decemberists will be the same (plus I'm running out of room for stickers on the ol' briefcase).

So ultimately, things are running on full here in CO (as opposed to Running on Empty (speaking of which, has anybody listened to Jackson Browne's acoustic album yet? (I haven't been able to pick it up yet due to lack of funds, but I bet it's great (although These Days has to be his best song, and that's already acoustic (then again, he's totally great and whatever he turns acoustic I'm sure will be super-great)))).


Concert week 2005

I just realized, this may be the best and worst week of the year. First, why it is the best. There are four concerts in or around Denver this week. Tonight I am going to see the New Pornographers (don't worry Mom and Dad, they chose that name because they think that the music industry can be compared to pornography because it has perverted something beautiful, so they are trying to change that...subsequently, they are incredible musicians). Then, tomorrow night is Emery, the next night is Scary Kids Scaring Kids, and Saturday night is Death Cab for Cutie. I'm excited to the maximum.

Here's the lame-o part. I only have tickets to the show tonight and Death Cab on Friday. Normally this wouldn't be a problem because Emery will not sell out. However, Erika is currently sick, leading to this equation...
I'm already going to 2 concerts this week +
Erika is sick +
Last month we did a good job sticking to the budget and saved money, so Erika will not want me to spend a lot of money +
I have already seen Emery before =
There's no chance I'm going to get the thumbs up to go see Emery tomorrow night.

Oh what endless sorrow for a band as gifted and joyous as Emery to be in town and the Ry-man can't go.

Lame-o fact number two. Scary Kids Scaring Kids is on Thursday night. Take all the pieces of the previous equation, except take out me having seen them before, but add in that the show is in Colorado Springs (1 hour away) and you end up with the same conclusion.

I guess in the end, tonight and Saturday night will have to appease me. I'll have to apply the principle of being satisfied with what I have. Ultimately, that makes this whole experience good for my sanctification...Hooray!


Divine Showoff

For my theology class I have to read God's Greater Glory by Bruce Ware. I have not been looking forward to it and I've been putting off reading it for as long as possible. But now the time has come, so I've been reading it today, and among many things that annoy/bother/confuse/baffle/irritate me, ultimately, I have come out of reading so far gaining a little bit of insight. The thing that I always kind of said before, but became abundantly clear to me is a fundamental difference between Calvinism and Free Will Theism.

Ware says that the ONLY end of humanity is the glory of God. That sounds neat, but we are the consequences. God creates us, causes us to fall (thereby becoming the author of evil), causes us to suffer an incredible amount (continuing His evil streak), causes some of us to go into eternal suffering, sends His Son as a display of power and provision, so that the vast minority He has elected can praise Him ever greater because they see the majority of people going to Hell. All of this so that God can have attention.

Is this "only Glory" model what we see in the Bible? Absolutely not. Love is the overarching theme of the Bible. A major result of this is glory, buut it doesn't seem to be God's motivation for this whole deal we call existence. God created us as an act of love, not for attention. We fell on our own...not by God's hand so that later He could show off what He was willing to do for us, so that we would give Him more glory.

Ultimately, I don't want to be too harsh, because what if I'm wrong. But I think this stems from the false idea of total depravity. There is absolutely nothing good or decent about people. This is simply not true. There is something of value in people. It's called Imago Dei, and its still around. We are still the image-bearers, even though we screwed up. God does want a relationship with us. It is what He created us for. This does not rule out glory. This love leads to tons of Glory for God (I believe moreso than a Calvinist approach), but the glory is not His purpose for creating. That simply results in an egocentric Deity.


Perpetual Dissatisfaction

I realize that I am always complaining about things and I don't yet know if it is because I am too cynical (I certainly was in college) or if there really is as much dumb stuff in the world as I think (probably a combo...a delicious cheddar cheese with pretzel outside combo. I haven't had combos in years. Maybe I'll get some later).

Working as a receiver in the bookstore, I see all the new books that come in. If a book is going to be a big deal, we get a lot of it. This trend has led me to much exasperation lately. Here is a tasty sampling of what is big in Christian circles (or at least is predicted to be)...
The Purpose Driven Life Collector's Edition in Leather
Healing is a Choise by Stephen Arterburn (co-author of all 2,539 books in the "Every Man" series)
Living the Extraordinary Life by Charles Stanley
The Convenient Pocketsize version of The Treasure Principle by Andy Stanley

I guess these things aren't necessarily bad in themselves, but meanwhile, there is some great material that is coming out that gets completely over-looked because people are too busy marking up their Leather Purpose Driven Life. Some people say that at least people are reading something. But is that really the most we can ask of each other? Maybe if we looked beyond Christianity's imitation of secular pop culture, we could move into some real spiritual formation instead of simply aquiring trite snipets that give us a shot of self-confidence and half-heartedly challenge us for the one hour it takes to read them.

In an effort to not simply be negative, here are some alternative recent releases that seem to offer some real insight...
Theological Aesthetics ed. Gelsa Thiessen
Contours of Christology ed. Richard Longenecker
Does Human Rights Need God? Eds. Elizabeth Bucar and Barbra Barnett
Renewing the City by Robert Lupton
Saving Power by Schmiechen

I will admit that not everybody is into Biblical Studies or Theology, but I think I'm trying to say that they should be. Obviously we need balance, but why say that nobody needs to think or care about modern discussions in these realms. It makes us seem stupid. If a teacher wants to be excellent, of course she will spend a lot of time in the classroom, working with the students, but she will also take the time to educate herself on the newest methods in teaching, and what discussions and arguments are taking place, while also informing herself of what has happened historically. If following Jesus is really the highest priority for us, we should do the same in Biblical Studies and Theology, and all the more so, because it is not simply our source of income, it is the foundation of our lives.

One of the janitors at Erika's school became a Christian about 8 months ago. Since then he has started learning Koine Greek and reads theology all the time. Every time he sees me asks me all kinds of questions based on what he has been reading lately (he knows I'm in Seminary, although I think that he thinks I am training to be a pastor, even though I've told him otherwise a few times). One time he asked me what Greek lexicon I would recommend. The point is, this guy is a janitor, and he has no plans to go to Seminary or anything like that. He simply sees it as part of what it means to follow Jesus to learn as much as he can from whatever sources he can find. I know what some may think, "Isn't that dangerous? What if he starts reading Tillich and thinks God is simply the Ground of Being?" This is why it is great for such things to be shared by the Christian community. Then we can discuss and help each other. Plus, he doesn't just try to learn all the time. He serves the poor, tells everyone he meets about Jesus, and is an all-around great person to serve as inspiration to all of us what it means to follow Jesus.

I'm not saying everyone needs to learn Greek or anything, but why can't we seek to deepen our understanding more? I guess I should wrap this up. Ultimately, read more (although I don't really think anyone who reads this will need to be particlarly convicted by my rantings here), and read more broadly. John Piper and Rick Warren are not the mouth of God. Try some real material, and you might be surprised how fruitful it is.

P.S. I don't hate John Piper. Even though I think he is wrong almost every time he puts his pen to paper or opens his mouth, and I think he is really mean, I still work at loving him. I will certainly hang out with him in heaven and give him a hug, although only after shouting "I told you so." To which God will confirm, "Word, broseph."


Podcasting Trickery

I keep hearing all this hubub about podcasting. Well, not so much hearing as I downloaded the new version of iTunes a few weeks ago and everytime I open it the "podcasts" thing is on the side and I keep looking at it. So I thought I would check it out.

I went to the music portion (naturally), since people I don't know, talking about things I generally don't care much about sounds like about as good of a use of the downloading time and space of my computer as me giving my computer the job of finding any time anyone has used the phrase "you can't stop this train" on any messageboard in the history of the internet (including when it was called the Information Superhighway and Candace Bergren did MCI commercials advertising it on breaks from the hilarious hit show "Murphy Brown"). So I subscribed to about ten podcasts that sounded pretty good. I listened to a couple of them and they were nice and all, but not the best. Then I came to a couple that I was pretty pumped about listening to. The first one was a BritRock podcast. I started listening, and it started off with a Decemberists song, so I was excited to the max.

Then to my eternal horror and utmost dismay, there was twenty minutes of the host talking about video games (for my thoughts on radio talk-shows, c.f. above). Then the show wrapped up, and I was left, feeling like some sort of rabbit had entered the room, become friends with me, we spent two years together and then decided to start a small business fixing shoes and giving haircuts for lawyers (of course I did the shoe-fixing and the rabbit (whose name is obviously Gregory) did the haircuts), and eventually I introduced him to his wife and I was their best man, and then suddenly he tells me he hated me all along and he was working for a program that helps rabbits get over their hatred of people like me and it didn't work at all so he's moving back to Lebanon.

I still have a couple of the podcasts I initially downloaded left to listen to, but I think it suffices to say that I no longer have any type of excitement remaining for the unheard casts. I guess I should have listened to the little guy in my mind that was saying, "Broseph, You hate the radio picking your music for you. That's why the pod is an excellent buddy. Why do you think it will be any different with podcasting?" But then I said, "podcasting is different because anyone can put stuff on there, so it is not just popular music. I'm sure there is some good music on here." Then the little guy said, "Don't count on it. Even if there is good music, there will be something wrong with podcasting." And I said, "I don't care. I wanna listen to it no matter what you say." Then, though the little guy in my mind knew podcasting would let me down, he loved me and knew that I had to learn some lessons on my own, the hard way. So he stopped arguing and made a delicious mug of Dazbog Hermitage House Blend coffee (check out www.dazbog.com).

I should have listened to him. Now I am only left to sit here and wallow in misery over the time I wasted downloading those podcasts and listening to them, resulting in more wasted time. Good gravy. At least I can enjoy some soothing comfort from Mr. Yann Tiersen before I lay my weary head to rest.


Plan to Enjoy (ha ha)

Last Tuesday I snagged the new Death Cab album. I was a bit nervous, mostly because here in Denver, they're fairly popular among people who don't care very much about music. I figured that would probably make their music worse. Incidentally, I was wrong. Perhaps this is premature, but I'm enjoying the album so much that I daresay I enjoy it more than any other. This is hard to say, because We Have the Facts has been a tried and true favorite for many a year.

This is why I probably shouldn't be saying such things, but I can't help myself. I'm like a 43-year old H&R Block employee with a nice wife, three great kids (one of whom is going to start at Harvard this year as a lit major), a golden retriever, a two-story house, and a 2003 Toyota Camry. But for some reason, it's not enough. I feel like my life doesn't have any meaning even though I go to church every week and help lead the men's ministry. Every day I drive by the BMW dealer and look at the new Z4s on the lot. If I get off work early I even test drive them once in a while. I can't really afford it, but my oldest is at Harvard on scholarship and I don't have to feed him anymore. Maybe if we refinanced and traded in the Toyota, I could swing it. I know my wife would never approve, but it handles so well. And Clive Owen looks so sweet in the BMW films. Maybe I could look that sweet. Then one day, I drive by, and there's a big sale. The forest green car I've been coveting for the last six months is 5,000 off. I go in and realize that if I trade in the Toyota, the payments will only be $200 more per month. I'm sure we spent that much on Riley when he lived at home. "I'll take it." What a day. The wind is blowing in my hair with the top down with some Journey cranking on the Monsoon sound system. Sweeeeet. But then I get home, and my wife is on the couch crying. "What's wrong?" "Riley lost his scholarship." "What? He's brilliant. What happened?" "He's been dating this environmentalist (no offense to environmentalists, I'm quite fond of taking care of the earth) girl, and I guess he's been neglecting his studies to save some trees and make hummus." "Crap." "Jeff, how are we going to pay for his college. Harvard is really expensive." The conversation goes on. The result is, I signed a weird new contract where I can't take the car back, so we sell the house and live in the car (which is really small for a family of four (since Riley's in college) and a dog). Then, after a year, the car isn't even exciting anymore and having the top down all the time makes me go bald.

The Dog-Eyed Wafer

Here in Denver, I'm working at the Seminary's bookstore, which turns out to be a pretty great job. Most of the time, I do things in the back, away from people. I was sort of reflecting on this, and how I'm glad I don't have to talk to people often. That's pretty sad, and I wasn't really the same way when I worked at the theater in Huntington. Obviously there were customers I didn't want to deal with, but the feeling is so much more intense now.

The point is, I realized that Christians are much less pleasant to work with in Customer Service than other people. Obviously this is not always the case, but they are more likely to be rude, demanding, and generally unpleasant. The worst is when people call from a church and need some books. These people are often more demanding than any other people I have served. I don't know the cause of this, but that's ridiculous.

The same was true when I worked at Applebee's. No one wanted to work Sunday brunch because Christians would come in after church. They would tip poorly, be really demanding, and their kids would make a huge mess. I was talking to a friend who works at a coffee shop, and the same rings true with his Christian customers.

I don't want to simply be destructive with this, but I wonder why this is the case and what the solution might be. The people who are called to give up their rights cling to them more desperately than the world around them. We are called to place others before ourselves, yet we demand that others serve us without gratitude.

So here's my proposal. Everyone who decides to follow Jesus has to work in some sort of customer service for at least a year, preferably in the food service industry. That's the new rule. I'm going to call the Pope and see if he can issue a statement to the Catholic church. I guess for the Protestants I'll call Rick Warren since he seems to be the Protestant Pope. Hopefully this will create a new community that is sweet.


Intro to Ryan's Mind

So I tend to be skeptical things such as these (blogs, that is). But since everything my brother does eventually seems like a good idea, I'm starting this thing. I don't really know if this will be of any value, but when I think of crap I'll write about it. That's how this works, right? I guess this makes me a slave to popular culture in addition to being narcissistic (you have to be to assume that what you have to say is worth enough to share it with others, right?)

In the end, the biggest reason for this is that in college, I had some great buddies with whom to chat Theology and Philosophy. Dig? I don't have that anymore. Actually, now I have Trevor to fill the place of five chat-buddies. In addition to the difficult task of becoming five people, Trevor tends to think along most of the same lines as me, so we mosly get together and agree with each other a lot. Maybe now, everyone can disagree with me and I can regain the joy of disdain for my ideas that was so greatly applied in college.