Where you can read the relatively rational ramblings of a silly half-monkey, half-boy. This freak of nature is named Joel. He also responds to the name 'Bart Wang'.

Sunday, September 21, 2008

God, if I pray so long so loud, it's that most days you don't make a sound

If you haven't seen these videos yet, make sure to visit Bill's site and behold the tragedy of Christians trying to be hip. I think the dude in the first video can be described as a true 'try-hard', as my sister-in-law Katie would say.

And speaking of Bill, he wrote an awesome entry on his blog last month. You need to read it in light of our respective countries' upcoming elections.

We had a wonderful time on Friday evening with Todd & Bridget. They were fabulous guests and we thoroughly enjoyed our conversation, ranging from goofy to philosophical. We watched Doug Nagy by way of video (Bridget has not yet met Douglas) and talked about how dreamy Dave Blondel is when he wakes up in the morning. And, as usual, Melanie prepared the meal that would satisfy any death row inmate as their last meal this side of eternity - Thai mango salad, pad thai and a delicious assortment of baked goods. I do have the best wife ever. That's no lie.

I spent part of the day on Friday with Jordan Fox because he was off and I was off and I needed to do some yard work and he needed to do some yard work on Saturday. It was a good trade. We moved a lot of dirt from my driveway to the yard. It was sitting there for over a year. Then I offered some meagre assistance on Saturday as he worked on the grade beside his home. I also got to meet Robin's parents, who were lending their time and energy as well.

This may or may not lead somewhere fun and exciting... Jordan asked me to participate and, of course, as someone who wishes desperately to be accepted, I agreed. I hope I don't drag down their credibility.

We had our first run at the new east Hamilton site for our church this morning. It was really chaotic and didn't occur as I had hoped or expected. Too much going on. Of course, some of it was unplanned (i.e., setting off a breaker). Anyhow, we're meeting at the new site of my high school, Saltfleet, so it was kind of cool to see our graduation composite on the wall. I should have cut my hair and exercised a bit more back then. The foolishness of youth - I'm sure you've met in your own journey.

Whitney and Matt Baldwin (Whitney is formerly known as Masters) are going to Ethiopia in a couple weeks! I hope they are able to connect with Christina Vandermark as she is working in the capital, Addis Ababa, for the next year with MCC. It would be fun and interesting to meet up with a friend in such a far-away place.

After way too long, I finally caught up with Blondel last week. He posted another Bart Wang piece of memorabilia on his site. We're going to see a Jays game on Tuesday with Chris Vyn. That will probably be the first time I have seen Dave in easily one year and probably, more likely, two years. Insane. Dave and Melody are hoping to travel to Holland in the near future - and staying for multiple months. The ever-hospitable Allison Parker has offered the home of her and her family to the Blondels, a move she may yet regret when she learns how Dave's personal hygiene routines have deteriorated over the years. It's at the point that his routine is actually the absence of a routine. Sick.

Until next time, I suggest you check PostSecret every Sunday for new stuff. Always interesting.

Prayer as a form of co-operation with God

I read this on an insert in the bulletin from church and liked it a lot. It is both challenging and inspiring. I am the first to acknowledge that I suck at prayer. I don't spend enough time praying, I am easily distracted and likely bore God with lame prayers because I don't treat it as a real experience of communing/hanging out with God. This makes me want to be better. This was taken from a book called The Meaning Of Prayer by Harry Emerson Fosdick (1962).

"The experience of life is clear that some things God chooses not to do until he finds a person who prays. Indeed, Meister Eckhart, the mystic puts the truth with extreme boldness: 'God can do as little without us, as we without him.' If at first this seems a wild statement, we may well consider in how many ways God's will depends on human co-operation. God himself chooses not to do some things unless humans think. He never blazons the truth on the sky that humans may find it without thinking. Only when people gird the loins of their minds and undiscourageably give themselves to intellectual toil, will God reveal to them the truth, even about the physical world. And God himself chooses not to do some things unless people work. Will a person say that when God wants bridges and tunnels, wants the lightning harnessed and cathedrals built, he will do the work himself? That is an absurd and idle fatalism. Recall the words of Stradivarius, maker of violins, as George Eliot interprets him:

'When any master holds 'twixt chin and hand a violin of mine, he will be glad that Stradivari lived, made violins, and made them of the best... For while God gives them skill, I give them instruments to play upon, God choosing me to help him... If my hand slacked I should rob God - since he is the fullest good - leaving a blank instead of violins... He could not make Antonio Stradivari's violins without Antonio.'

Now if God has left some things contingent on humanity's thinking and working, why may have he not left some things contingent on our praying? The testimony of the great souls is a clear affirmative to this: some things never without thinking; some things never without working; some things never without praying! Prayer is one of the three forms of humanity's co-operation with God."

Sunday, September 14, 2008

Could it be? Really? A post?

Yes, it could be. In fact, it is! Everyone and their mom is blogging more than I am. I feel like a dunce. So many times I have thought about fun stuff to post but, honestly, Facebook is way easier. And less meaningful, I recognize that.

So, how have you been? I'm relatively not unwell, thank you for mentally asking. We had a good day so far (hopefully there will be no problems in the next four hours before bed). Chatted with Douglas Nagy this morning, enjoyed the sermon at church, went out for lunch with Matt & Jess (whom we have missed greatly over the summer), checked out some junk at the mall, Melanie mauled a kitten in the pet store, watched half of 'Solaris' but turned it off because Melanie lost interest (it was quite slow moving) and then picked up some groceries for a dinner we're hosting tomorrow. We're also having Todd and Bridget over on Friday for dinner. It's been way too long since we have seen them. And, honestly, I don't know if I've been able to hang out with Todd in a quiet, non-communal setting more than a couple times for as long as I have known him. Shame on me. I'm really looking forward to it.

The only bummer for today so far is that I tried to order some shirts and music from P Is For Panda and the blasted site told me it wouldn't ship to me. I've e-mailed them to see if we can't work something out. Lucky for me, I got to chat briefly with Craig Douglas, who was watching 'Oldboy' at the time. That movie (save the one very uncomfortable scene - do you know which I'm referring to now, Craig?) is awesome.

We've done a lot of travelling this summer. In May, we visited Bill & Ronee Lynn in Nashville for a week. We saw the sights of downtown, visited the Frist and the Loveless Cafe, ate plenty of BBQ, took a road trip to Atlanta to hook up with the wonderful and generous Chad & Candy, toured The King Centre (and saw Ebenezer Baptist Church - at least from the outside), CNN and the World Of Coke. The latter two were fun and full of propaganda!

The World Of Coke was fun because it had all-you-can-drink Cherry Coke. Mmmm, Cherry Coke. Here's Bill doing a suicide (that's what the Americans call 'swamp water')...

Then, in July, we travelled to Portland to see Whitney and Matt tie the knot, which was excellent. Both of them are fabulous. We visited Imago Dei, I lost my debit card, got to spend time with the marvelous Jenn Moreton, Lindsay Kunkel, Natalie & Mark (I still don't know their last name), saw the Masters clan and ate twice at Helser's. While in the state of Oregon, we travelled to the coastal town of Astoria, best known for its role in 'The Goonies'. We tried to see as many of the places they filmed as possible. We saw the house, the museum, the county jail and Cannon Beach. Awesome trip.

Melanie went to see Catherine and Mark get hitched (congratulations!) in B.C. a week after we came home from Portland. She had a lot of fun while I starved at home and cried a lot from loneliness.

In August, I travelled with Taxman and Chad to Purple Door Festival in Lewisberry, PA. They went to see a lot of bands that I did not. Hahaha. I went to see two people - Denison Witmer and Derek Webb. Along the way, I got to meet Conrad & Julia, Scott Hatch and Greg from Foxhole. Taxman and Chad were gracious to put up with my "boring" music and they shared a bed for old times' sake. Chad also enjoyed the all-you-can-eat waffles. Well, until he ate all the waffles he could then it wasn't such a great deal. Though he didn't have to use the porta-potty at all, so that's a small victory! It was great to catch up briefly with Denison, hear his new songs, meet Scott for the first time, meet Derek Webb and learn that he is friends with Mindy Smith but has never heard her music and see that Christian kids are still trying hard to fit in with their heathen peers (even if they're going about it in many of the wrong ways). Doug Van Pelt made a great comment when he introduced The Showdown, as the kids booed him for giving the band's latest album four out of five in his review. He said that, if the kids still liked it in five years, he'd reconsider. Hahaha.

I've posted all the songs from Denison's set on YouTube. Here's the first song for your listening pleasure. The new album, Carry The Weight, comes out on November 11, 2008. The first single, Beautiful Boys And Girls, is on his MySpace page and it's dreamy. You can also hear a new cover tune he posted of a Bonnie Raitt song.

I suppose I should spend some time with Melanie now, as I've been posting here for about an hour. I'll talk more about our time at the cottage and other junk that pops into my mind next time. I promise, it won't take ten months. Maybe eight. No more than nine.

Until then, enjoy Blondel's new site. Listen to my hilarious, rambling messages on his voicemail.