The Speckled Mind

Wednesday, May 24, 2006

Living The Dream--But Not This Week

Hey friends. Brad and Jerod often joke about how I am "living the dream." They say this for any number of reasons, but one of the major pieces of evidence for their assertion is that I don't actually "work" at my job. In many ways I feel like the guy from Office Space.

Jess's job is very different. She bills her time in 8 minute increments. I was thinking how funny it would be if I did the same. It would look something like this:

8:00-8:08 : Drank coffee and stared at my desk
8:08-8:16 : See above
8: 16-8:24 : Checked email and fantasy baseball results
8:24-8:32 : Set fantasy baseball lineup for the current day and cursed Jason Giambi's recent ineptitude
8:32-8:40 : Drank coffee and stared at my desk
8:40-8:48 : See above
8:48-8:56 : Groaned and sighed while staring at my desk

It would go on like this pretty much the whole a normal week.

But not this week.

This week, I will be working like every other normal, red-blooded American. I will proudly (read 'begrudgingly') put in my 40 hours of honest, real labor. So, sorry for the blogging lapse. I promise it will get better again soon.

Thursday, May 11, 2006

A Week Gone By...

I have been so lazy lately. It's pathetic really. It's not that I haven't had anything to write about...I just haven't managed to discipline myself enough to write in a witty and eloquent manner. Because I'm still not feeling particualrly witty, I'll just share in list form a few of the things on my mind this past week. This is a blog after all. I'm allowed to do that, right? Well, here goes.

1. We had our first week of softball on Sunday evening. Somehow I'm never as talented as I remember being the previous year. Curious. We took one out of two and I batted 'just ok.' If you want to see the team's stats, you can check them out here. What you won't see is my strikeout count. I have a mean underhand spinner, that leaves hitters as clueless as Johan Santana's changeup. Ok, maybe it's not quite that good, but I still struck out 5 batters over the two games.

2. I like the Twins. Even when they suck. Which they haven't lately. Kyle Lohse only gave up one run yesterday. I was surprised. Torii Hunter is on a ten game hitting streak. I like the Twins.

3. The new Snow Patrol album is tasty. Pretty standard rock album, but there's enough in there to keep it high in my playlist. Good riffs, surprisingly intelligent chord progressions and a shoutout to Sufjan Stevens.

'Put Sufjan Stevens on
and we'll play your favorite song
"Chicago" bursts to life and your
sweet smile remembers you...'

Who could ask for more. OH, and it has one of the best digital booklets iTunes has ever seen. It's like 30 pages--most of which are photos of the band in the studio. The rest of the booklet includes explanations about the creative process behind each song. I really dig that kind of stuff.

4. I'd like to continue with my series on Mythology. I have a few ideas, but I don't want to force it. I think it stifles the creative process when I force myself to write on a particular subject. For those of who that have enjoyed it so far, there will be more--I promise. For those who haven't enjoyed it--stop reading my blog and go make me a sandwich.

5. Speaking of Sufjan, I ran across this quote of his and thought it was absolutely stunning.

"On an aesthetic level, faith and art are a dangerous match. Today, they can quickly lead to devotional artifice or didactic crap. This would summarize the Christian publishing world or the Christian music industry. If you are an artist of faith (a Methodist or a Jew), then you have the responsibility to manage the principles of your faith wisely lest they be reduced to stereotype, which is patronizing to the church and to the world, and, perhaps, to God."

Any thoughts on this? Call me a bandwagoner. This guy can do little wrong in my mind.

6. I might change the look of my blog if I can figure out how to do it. I'm not what you would call "Technologically Literate." I'm hardly literate at all. If I do change the template and you like it, let me know. If not--yep, you guessed it--you can go and make me a sandwich.

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Wednesday, May 03, 2006

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Monday, May 01, 2006

Exposing Mythology Part 3: Cooling Off

I love pizza--especially when it's really good restaurant pizza. Some of my favorite memories from high school involve eating pizza, most notably the first time I ate at Giordano's in Chicago.

For those of you who have never partaken of the legend and ultimately euphoric cheesy-goodness that is Giordano's Stuffed Pizza, you have not yet lived.

The first and only time I went there was en route to a high school youth conference. The youth group had been aimlessly wandering the streets of Chicago for about four hours and all of our stomachs had begun to growl. We arrived at Giordano's at 6:30, and learned there was a problem with our reservation. After some pastoral finagling (or 'holy peer pressure') we got in, sat down and ordered. By this point it was nearly 7:15 and the creature in my stomach was itching to make an appearance, a la Alien 1.

By the time the much anticipated stuffed pizza arrived at our tables, a hungry lion wouldn't have stood a chance with any of us. Each person in the youth group grabbed a piece and greedily jerked it onto the waiting flatware.

And there I was in the midst of the chaos asking myself that most important of questions: Do I wait until it cools or bite now?

With all the wisdom that a starving sophomore boy could muster in such a situation, I thrust the pizza into my mouth and bit down into the oily, cheesy and meaty goodness. As you can probably guess, the pizza's temperature was hovering somewhere around 10,000 degrees at that point. Brilliance.


I often feel like Peter in Luke 5--awaking to the reality of the miraculous and life-giving person of Jesus Christ. But I frequently find myself lacking the same kind of follow-through that Peter displayed in that story. Whereas Peter immediately dropped to his knees and engaged the divine, I am unwilling do the same.

There is a myth that rules my life in these situations--the myth of cooling off. In this fantasy realm, my all too frequent response (continuing along the lines of Peter's story) is to haul the fish into the boat and wait for a few days until the stark reality of my own depravity has lost some of its sting.

How could I, after all, engage with the Almighty when I am so dark, depraved and ugly. How can I, when my clothes are torn and tattered, present myself to the Father that I want so desperately to be proud of me?

I can't let him see me like this.

And so I let it subside for awhile, treating my Father as if he were some tyrannical, tempermental dictator that is more to be feared than loved. In reality, this is nothing other than pride masquerading as humility--"I'll just deal with this problem myself. It really only affects me." How foolish to assume God is too hateful to love, or too angry to forgive. How silly to think the passing of time lessens the load of guilt or heals the relational fracture. Time does not heal all wounds--it simply aids the spread of gangrene.

Cooling off is a myth, and I'm not going to live that way anymore. This is the true story with which I will replace it.

Hebrews 4: 14-16

14Therefore, since we have a great high priest who has gone through the heavens, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold firmly to the faith we profess. 15For we donot have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but we have one who has been tempted in every way, just as we are—yet was without sin. 16Let us then approach the throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need.


Looking back on the situation, I was the only one to bite the pizza right away. I bit boldly, with confidence trusting in the ultimate goodness of the pizza. And as I walked away from the retaurant that night with a burned mouth, I knew I would never be the same again.


Exposing Mythology: Guest Blog Interlude

Just a short note to point out that others are exposing their own myths. It's healthy. But, as Jerod pointed out to me, exposing and slaying our mythological dragons is only good if they are replaced by true stories. Live in truth, everyone. Read Jerod's blog.