Sunday, December 28, 2008

A Christmas Season reflection

It makes me a little sad that the Christmas season has come to an end. This year was, so far, the busiest December of my life. Maybe it was the late Thanksgiving or something but everything was so packed in. The first two weeks of December included finishing up my fall semester at Fuller, which included preaching twice, a paper on "My Life" by The Game, and a paper on the show Gossip Girl. It was a little sad to think that this would be my last Fall semester at Fuller in my life, but at the same time it felt really good to almost be done after 3 long years. This next Winter and Spring quarters will be my last at Fuller. Of course I have saved my hardest classes until the last few quarters. I will be taking a Hebrew intensive and Systematic Theology: Eccesiology and Eschatology. In the Spring I will take my last class, Old Testament Exegesis: Isaiah (Hebrew text).
To top off my paper load, I attended nine different Christmas gatherings/parties from December 1st to the 21st! It was really good to spend time with people I care for but after 3 weeks of parties one gets quiet tired. I guess being in leadership at a church equates many Christmas parties. My favorite party by far was our annual friend Christmas party. This year it was a the house I live in, in Glendora. The Christmas party is always my favorite party of the year at the house because it is the most low key. No one gets to crazy and for the most part it is just fun people, good conversations, and good times.
This Christmas was also the first time that Katie and I did the duel family Christmas thing. I spent Christmas Eve with her family in Arcadia, going to her families Church and eating tamales. The next morning I celebrated with Katie and her family their usual Christmas morning of opening presents and homemade cinnamon rolls. Around 11 am, Katie and I took off to my parents house in Riverside. Driving in rain it took us about an hour and fifteen minutes to get to my parents house. When we arrived we showered and got ready for the day. As is the usual Johnson family tradition, we watched the Lakers kick the Celtics butt! (Go Lakers!) When my sister and her husband arrived we paused the Lakers game (thank God for pausing live TV) and opened our families' Christmas presents. After Christmas presents were open Katie's family arrived at my parent's house. Quickly after they arrived, as well as other family members, we sat down for a Christmas dinner. My aunt makes the best rolls ever, and I ate way to much, but hey...what else are the holidays for but stuffing are already fat faces with more food? After dinner the family mingled and did a white elephant gift exchange, I got the In and Out gift card, always a good steal. After hanging out for a while everyone left leaving my parents, sister, her husband, Katie, and I to just hang out.
Over-all, this Christmas season was great! I was pleasantly surprised how well Christmas day went with all of the driving and families connecting for the first time on a major holiday. If I could change one thing I would try to be more intentional with some of my time during the Christmas season. Last year I got to help service a little in East L.A. but this year things got away from me and I did not make a point to service anywhere during this season. I also wish that our family could spend some time reflecting on the Christmas story together. I think that would be time well spent.
I hope you all had a great Christmas! Blessings to all!

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Random...but be back soon, meaning after my final papers are done

I am sitting debating if I should start the next section of my paper on Talking to Adolescents about sex using the show Gossip Girl or if I should just kill time posting a new blog, since I haven't posted on this thing forever. You can guess which one I chose. Being the Christmas season I have already been to two Christmas parties and still have six to go! I know I am very popular. Actually, working at a church also seems to require attendance at multiple Christmas parties. The one I am looking forward to the most is coming up this Friday, when my house will have it's yearly Christmas Party. This is always my favorite because not only do we have great food, thanks to Jackson Stava, and some great wine, but it is a great time of just hanging out with some really good people. I am sad that some of my good friends, Geoff and Kyle, will not be in attendance this year but it will still be great!
On a total unrelated note...I have been listening to some a lot of music lately and I started thinking about my favorite bands of all time. Now, to set some qualifications on this group, first they have to be a band not just an artist. Second, they have to have put out at least 3 LPs. Thats all the qualifications so here you top 5 bands of all time, as of now.

1. mewithoutYou
2. Sigus Ros
3. Brand New
4. The National
5.Broken Social Scene

Death Cab for Cutie
The Roots
Appleseed Cast

Monday, November 3, 2008

On the Eve of the Election

Tomorrow will be a day that will go down in the history of U.S.A. Whether Obama or McCain are crowd the king of United States there will be history made. We will either see the first Black President in the history of the United States or we will see the first women Vice-President. For most of you reading it is not hard for you to discern who I have chosen to vote for, but let me assure you that no matter what happens tomorrow there is one thing that is for sure, we will be let down. You see, when 2008 comes to an end and 2009 approaches, a new king of the U.S. of A will be crowned. Yet, they will be nothing less than human and this country will still be nothing less than a kingdom of this world.
As Christians, let me encourage you brothers and sisters of the Father in heaven, that we belong to a Kingdom that has now here but not yet. You see, while tomorrow morning I will cast my vote for the next president of the U.S., by doing so I will not be placing my hope in a person who will bring about the "Change" that is needed in this world, I will simply take advantage of a voice that I have been given to elect a person to an office who I hope will make less bad decisions then the other candidate.
As the Church, the body of our Lord Jesus Christ, we are to be that community and people that bring about change. While, as citizens of the U.S. we are given the right to vote, as Christians we are called not to put our hope and anyone else but our Lord. We are call not to pledge our life’s to a kingdom of this world. We are not called to give our life's to anything but to the Kingdom of Heaven.
While many of my family and friends over the last few months have argued with me about which candidate is better of this country, which person will bring about the change we need, I have to stand and say, sorry no person will ever bring about the change we need. You see, that change we need in this country and world can only come from the Spirit of God at work in the community of Christ.
Therefore, as the votes come in tomorrow night, and the hopes of some rise, while others fall, may you know that trusting in a kingdom of this world is nothing but idolatry and chasing after the wind. May you instead trust in the Spirit of the Lord who is a work among us. May you open your eyes and see the kingdom at work among us. May you stand for those who are being oppressed. May you open your ears to hear the cries of the needy. May you use your hands more than your mouths. May the body of Christ be the change and hope we need in this country and world. And may the God who created and redeemed us be gloried in the work of his people. Amen.

Are We Ready?

I will not ask the question because but I will let Tupac and Nas ask the question for me.

Black President Lyrics

[Intro: Obama]
They said this day would never come.
They said our sights were set too high.
They said this country was too divided;
too disillusioned to ever come together around a common purpose.
They Said, They Said . . .

[Hook (2x): Tupac]
And though it seems heaven sent,
we ain't ready to see a black President
And though it seems heaven sent,
we ain't ready to see a black President

Yes We Can ... Change the World (Change the World )
(They Said!)

[Verse 1: Nas]
They forgot us on the block
Got us in the box
Solitary confinement
How violent are these cops?
They need an early retirement
How many rallies will I watch?
I ain't got it in me to march
I got a semi to spark
The game's in a drought

Public housing, projects
Cooking up in the Pyrex
My set, my click
Either getting money
Or running from homicide trial
That's if they ain't died yet

Trying to be rich
Still I'm pledging allegiance
A predicate felon, a ghetto leader
Lending my poetical genius
To whoever may need it
I bleed this from Queensbridge
Now living with my feet up
Never defeated
So a president's needed
Y'know these colored folks and Negroes
Hate to see one of their own succeeding
America, surprised us
And let a black man guide us

[Hook (2x): Tupac]
And though it seems heaven sent,
we ain't ready to see a black President
And though it seems heaven sent,
we ain't ready to see a black President

Yes We Can ... Change the World (Change the World )
(They Said!)

What’s the black pres. thinkin’ on election night
Is it how can I protect my life?
Protect my wife?
Protect my rights?
Every other president was nothin' less than white
Except Thomas Jefferson and mixed Indian blood
and Calvin coolers
KKK is like 'what the fuck', loadin' they guns up
loadin' mine too, Ready to ride
Cause im ridin with my crew
He dies - we die too
But on a positive side,
I think Obama provides Hope - and challenges minds
Of all races and colors to erase the hate
And try and love one another, so many political snakes
We in need of a break
Im thinkin' I can trust this brotha
But will he keep it way real?
Every innocent n!gga in jail - gets out on appeal
When he wins - will he really care still?
I feel . . .

[Hook (2x): Tupac]
And though it seems heaven sent,
we ain't ready to see a black President
And though it seems heaven sent,
we ain't ready to see a black President

Yes We Can ... Change the World (Change the World )
(They Said!)

Say a prayer for "do we have to?"
You ain't right, Jeremiah Wrong pastor
In love with a slave master
Sincerely yours:
USA most brave rapper
Jesse car-jacker
Uncle Tom-kidnapper
Ask around
Bentley Coupe off the Richter
B!tch-called-life, I pimped her
Politics, politricks
Deacon for defense
Nothing on the stove
A survival-booster

Gotta do what we gotta do
We ain't got no governors coming through - to help
anything we need done, we gotta do for self

New-improved JFK on the way
It ain't the 60's again
N!ggas ain't hippies again
We ain't falling for the same traps
Standing on the balconies
Where they shot the King at
McCain got apologies
Ain't nobody hearing that
People need honesty

[Hook (2x): Tupac]
And though it seems heaven sent,
we ain't ready to see a black President
And though it seems heaven sent,
we ain't ready to see a black President

Yes We Can ... Change the World (Change the World )
(They Said!)

It is my distinct honor and privilege to introduce the next President of the United States:
Barack Obama.

Monday, October 27, 2008

Reflection Based on 2Pac

If the conservative church in the U.S. wants to fight so hard to end abortion why doesn't the conservative church want to fight one of the things that creates the need for abortion: poverty? Top down economics will never work. As my professor Ralph Waltins said the other day, "The people in the ghetto's are still waiting" for Regan-nomic's to trick down. Remember when you are voting this election that MaCain still buys the lies of Regan-nomics. Top down economics is a lie and has never worked for those who are poor and it will never work. Jesus fought for those who were in poverty and in need. Ask yourself the question, would Jesus support top down economics?

Reflect on Tupac's song and sit and think about how the church in the U.S. needs to respond:
Lyrics to Brenda's Got A Baby :
Brenda's got a Baby
Brenda's got a Baby

I hear Brenda's got a baby
Well, Brenda's barely got a brain
A damn shame
Tha girl can hardly spell her name
(That's not her problem, that's up ta Brenda's family)
Well let me show ya how it affects tha whole community
Now Brenda never really knew her moms and her dad was a
Went in debt to his arms, it's sad
Cause I bet Brenda doesn't even know
Just cause your in tha ghetto doesn't mean ya can't grow
But oh, that's a thought, my own revelation
Do whatever it takes ta resist tha temptation
Brenda got herself a boyfriend
Her boyfriend was her cousin, now lets watch tha joy end
She tried to hide her pregnancy, from her family
Who didn't really care to see, or give a damn if she
Went out and had a church of kids
As long as when tha check came they got first dibs
Now Brendas belly is gettin bigger
But no one seems ta notice any change in her figure
She's 12 years old and she's having a baby
In love with tha molester, whos sexed and crazy
And yet she thinks that he'll be with her forever
And dreams of a world with tha two of them are together,
He left her and she had tha baby solo, she had it on tha
bathroom floor
And didn't know so, she didn't know, what ta throw away and
what ta keep
She wrapped tha baby up and threw him in tha trash heep
I guess she thought she'd get away
Wouldn't hear tha cries
She didn't realize
How much tha tha little baby had her eyes
Now tha babys in tha trash heep balling
Momma can't help her, but it hurts ta hear her calling
Brenda wants ta run away
Momma say, you makin' me lose pay, tha social workers here
Now Brenda's gotta make her own way
Can't go to her family, they won't let her stay
No money no babysitter, she couldn't keep a job
She tried ta sell crack, but end up getting robbed
So now what's next, there ain't nothin left ta sell
So she sees sex as a way of leavin hell
It's payin tha rent, so she really can't complain
Prostitute, found slain, and Brenda's her name, she's got a baby


(don't you know she's got a baby)
-Tupac on 2Pacalypse Now

Monday, September 29, 2008

Colorado 2008, a walk through and reflection

Colorado has quickly become a place of peace and love for me. Despite the fact that in Christian circles Colorado is usually associated with Focus on the Family, Conservative Christianity, Young Life (a organization I generally love), and Colorado Spring(the other happy valley other than the Provo Utah area). I have come to love Colorado for totally different reasons friends, hippies, liberals, walking, and mountains. Three years ago Tim and I took a week long trip to see our friends Garret, Aubrey, Jared and the rest of the Shelsta family. I still remember the week long trip as one of the funnest times in the last three years, after all it was when I feel in love with ping-pong and groudiez.
Since that time I have gone and visited the loved members of the Shelsta family two other times, one was two years ago and the other just a week ago. This time for the first time I was out in Colorado solo, in that Tim was not with me. I left on the morning of the 21st of September and arrived in Colorado one plane flight and great conversation with a very open African American women later (lets just say I now know here son's "man's part is large" and that her neighbor once tried to sell her "Adult toys" to kill the time in a snow storm). When I got off the plane Jerry, Garret's dad, picked me up and brought me to Garret's work where I sat and drank coffee and read while waiting for Garret to get off work. Afterward, we meet up with some of Garret and Aubrey's friends at a bar in Boulder to watch the Bronco's game. Being that I am a Chargers fan I wasn't too excited that the Broncos won but hey the company was good so... When the game was done we went to Garret's church were I got to be apart of a great community of people who long to see the Kingdom manifested in the world in a tangible way. For dinner Garret took myself and his sisters to a great little local Mexican food restaurant on Pearl street in Boulder.

For the next couple of days Garret and I just hung out, went to coffee shops, watched Heroes, and just caught up on each others life's. Tuesday night Garret had a youth meeting so I sat in on it and thought he did an amazing job running the meeting. As a youth worker it is always great to be around other youth workers and see them at work. Garret is great at what he does! Right before the meeting Aubrey got back from Chicago, where she was visiting friends from college. That night all three of us went to late night Sushi, that was very good btw.

Wednesday Garret had a staff meeting so I went to a local coffee shop and got some reading done and watched some "How I Meet Your Mother," which is a great show. Afterwords I meet up with Garret and grabbed some lunch. After lunch we went on the longest walk of my life! Not that is a bad thing. Garret and Aubery only have one car so when one takes the car to work the other is left walking or riding their bikes. This isn't to bad in Boulder because everything is so close. I wish I lived in a community where I could walk or bike everywhere and didn't have to rely on my car as much as I do in Socal. Not only is walking a great way to feel and be apart of your local community but walking helps save the planet, which I am always down for, after all God did give us the command to care for the world right after he created us.Our walk took us to a local bike shop and hardware store to pick up things Garret needed to fix his bike as well as work on some other bikes him and a friend are building together. On the way back to their house Garret and sat in a park by a farms market. We had to wait for it to be 4 0'clock so Garret could pick up his produce for the week from a local farmer Aubrey and him buy from. Later that night I got to be apart of Garret and Aubrey's local church community/bible study/cell group thing. It was great to see and be apart of a community that care so much for people I also care so much about. The best thing about this community was that it was naturally multi-generational, made up of both singles and marrieds, and worked to care for others in their community.

The next day Garret and I woke up early and went on a short 2 hour hike leaving directly from their house and walking strait up into the mountains. After the hike and a much needed shower we meet up with some of his students for lunch. I don't know how Garret got so lucky, but his students are into some amazing music and even have a great little indie band! Later that night-since it was the last night of the trip-Garret, Aubrey and I packed up a dinner of wine, cheese, crackers, and a salad and drove up into the Rocky's for dinner. We pulled off on the side of the road and ate dinner looking over a beautiful Rocky mountain valley. We sat up there until it was about dark and headed down to conclude the night with a in home movie and some of Aubrey's great peach pie and ice cream.

Overall my time in Colorado was amazing as usual. It is always so refreshing to be with people who you love and you know love you. Garret and Aubrey are two people who I know care deeply about me and who I deeply care about. My time in Colorado allowed me some great time to reflect and see some practical ways to get a intentional community together. Katie and I know that if not now, even though we hope for soon, God is calling Katie and I to be apart of an multi-generational intentional community of people who work to live out the kingdom in their daily interaction and life's. Thank you again to both of them and love and peace to all.

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Writing from Boulder, CO

For the last few days I have been in Boulder, CO. hanging out with my old roommate and friend Garret and my friend Aubrey, who happens to be Garret's wife. After I get back I will do more of a reflection on my time here but for now just know that it has been a great time relaxing, catching up with friends, and exploring new places. The sound track for this trip so far has consisted of:
Bob Dylan's - Blond on Blond
Jenny Lewis' - Acid Tongue
Jon Foreman's - Spring and Summer Ep's
Ra Ra Riot's - The Rhumb line
Sigur Rios' - Með Suð Í Eyrum Við Spilum Endalaust
I highly recommend all of these CD's, they have all help set a great tone for this trip. Peace and Love to everyone.

Monday, September 8, 2008

Why Sarah Palin for VP scares me

Looking at I came across this story about Sarah Palin's religious beliefs. To be really honest I wasn't too shocked after hearing Palin make a few speeches but like most people I hate to be right.
"Speaking of the troops in Iraq, Palin says on the video, ""Pray for our military men and women who are striving do to what is right. Also for this country, that our leaders, our national leaders, are sending them out on a task that is from God. That's what we have to make sure that we're praying for -- that there is a plan, and that plan is God's plan.'" Video Watch Palin speak at her former church »here
The saddest part is that many people in this country, like Palin, still believe in manifest destiny. May God help us all.

Friday, August 22, 2008

Ramblings of the last month

It has been a while since I have posted. I have been busy to say the least. This last month has been an interesting time in life. For the last two weeks of July I was house sitting for Katie’s (my girlfriend) parents house while Katie, her family and some members of her church were in Israel. During those two weeks I was also in an intensive class at Fuller called Modern Church Theology, where we studied Western Church Theology since the 16th century. The class was good but way to much information to try to remember in two weeks. During these two weeks I was also helping prepare for our youth groups Mexico missions trip so I was busy.
I was though very happy to have my girlfriend back at the end of her trip and I know she was also glad to be back.
With the end of July my sister and her husband also traveled back to their home in Korea. My sister had been in the States since mid-June and her husband since the beginning of July. Much of the time they were in town Katie and I spent time driving back to my parent’s house or trying to meet them half way somewhere in Riverside County. It was hard to say goodbye to them but I know I will see them again in December. I have to admit though it has been nice to not have to spend so much of my weekend driving back and forth to Riverside County.
Two weeks ago I was Mexico with my youth group. There were a total of 21 of us and the trip was good but hard at the same time. During the week we built a 22 x 22 foot house for a family of 10, a single mom and her nine children. The family was previously living in a shack no bigger than 10 x 15. The new structure we built them will provide housing with doors and locks for many of the children to live in. It seemed as if many of the students were moved by the poverty of Mexico and by the family themselves. Many of our students connected with the family through playing with the children. One of my favorite memories of the trip actuality happened after the trip when a mom of one of our students came up to Janelle and myself and told us that her son was in tears telling her about how Jesus, one of the children, was running in and out of the house on the last day screaming “Mi Casa Nuevo!” The mom told us that he was moved by the fact that a child would be so excited about a new house that was barely the size of his living room.
Since I have been back from Mexico I have been working on work from my modern Church theology class. The work is coming slowly, needless to say I am a little burnt out on school. Since I have been back I have also gotten to have some conversations with a friend of mine named Christiana. She works for CRM and her and her husband are moving to San Diego in January to start an intentional missional community through CRM. Both Christiana and her husband Derek, my churches worship leader, have a calling to work with and in intentional communities. Last week Christiana and I had a great conversation about intentional communities because she is aware that I am interested in the topic. After our hour long conversation over the phone she has asked me to compel a group of people to meet with her boss Sam and talk about doing intentional communities. The hope is that Sam will be a resource for us as well as helping some of us think through what an intentional community might look like. Christiana warned me that many times she has seen people that have good ideas but who are not willing to make the sacrifice to make things happen. She really urged me to start praying and thinking about how God has gifted me and my calling in life. I know that God has called me to life in intentional communities but now it is just flushing out the who, where, when and sorts. I hope that the conversation with Sam will help. I have to say I am sad though that more people who have affected a lot my thinking, such as Garrett, will not be able to be at the meeting. As of now it will only be Katie, Tim and I. We hope to ask more people to join in to the conversation but have not yet. I am sure as this gets flushed out more I will be updating.
Sorry if this blog seems a little forced, because it was, I just felt I needed to post something but am sick of writing, but hey here it is so…love…

Wednesday, July 9, 2008

"With a Buzz in Our Ears We Play Endlessly"

With the coming of July it is crazy to think that 2008 is already half way over. July has so far been a great month! The 4th was one of the best 4ths I have had in my life, just because how chill it was. There is nothing like a day off with 15 plus friends, BBQ, some drinks, football, a good walk to 7-11 and fireworks in the streets of Azusa. I think my favorite part of the night was lighting off fireworks behind Alosta place in Azusa. Since in G-town it is illegal to set off fireworks we had to mozy on down to Azusa. When walked onto the street the smell of sulfur quickly let us know we were in the right place. I think everyone who lived there on the street was out hanging out with each other and having fun. There were kids, adults, random creepy men lighting off fireworks from the back of their cars, and us. It was so cool just to see people from the community outside of their houses and enjoying one another. For far to long have we let our homes become our personal hideaways from the outside world. A night light this gives me hope for a community of loved ones.
The day after the 4th Tim, Geoff, Jackson, Ryan, Roy, Elliot and I got together and invited a few of our friends to participate in sports day 2008. The idea behind the day was to play sports all day long and then end the day with a sports movie. We all (about 10 us) meet up about 9:30 am at Azusa square and started off the day with 2 and half hours of football; this was a bad choice! After just 3 long games of football we all were already beat, yet the day had to go on and so it did. After football with played an hour of ultimate frisbee. I am happy to say that both of my teams dominated both football and ultimate, in fact the final ultimate source was something like 15 touch downs to 4.
After ultimate we went to the closest area of shade, since it was over 100 degrees outside and BBQed some hotdogs. After the BBQ about nine more people showed up and we played nine innings of softball. My team lost...sad day. During the game Jackson ended up almost breaking his thumb after a throw from Ryan to get a man out on first was way to low for Jackson to get to. The highlight of the softball game was when Tim slid into 3rd, with shorts on, only to get tagged out by the 3rd baseperson who had the ball for about 15 seconds before Tim even got to the base.
I don't know if it was the heat or what but after the softball game all nine newbes took off and left the O.G. ten of us, minus Tim because he went home to because of his bloody leg due to his slide, to finish up the day with two basketball games in the freaking hot as hell courage dome. By the second basketball game, to 15 by 1's and 2's, I was drifting somewhere between thinking I might pass out and feeling like I was going to throw-up. On top of that I had a mad headache from dehydration despite the fact that I had already finished off 5 Nalgenes of water and middle sized gatorade.
To end the day five of the original nine ran a four by four relay, each of us running a 1/4 mile. I was surprised that our team of four (Jackson, myself, Geoff, and Ryan) completed the relay under 7.30 min. That night we meet back up after showers to eat some subway and watched "We Are Marshal." Overall it was a great day! I hurt like hell for the next three days but it was totally worth it!

With half of the year over I also have come up with my top 5 CD's so far in the year 2008. Many of these CD's I have not digested in their fullness but here they are with a couple of honorable mentions:

Top Five of 2008 (as of July 2008)
1. Sigur Rós - Með suð í eyrum við spilum endalaust ("With a Buzz in Our Ears We Play Endlessly")
2. Vampire Weekend - Self-titled
3. Fleet Foxes - Self-titled
4. Foals - Antidotes
5. Death Cab for Cutie - Narrow Stairs

Honorable Mentions (in no order)
Thrice - The Alchemy Index: Vol. 3 & 4: Wind and Earth
Bon Iver - For Emma, Forever Ago
Hayden - In Field & Town
The Acorn - Glory Hope Mountain
Wolf Parade - At Mount Zoomer

Thursday, July 3, 2008

Reflections on my two weeks in Systematic Theology

Today I finish my last day class for Systematic Theology 2: Christology, Pneumatology and Soteriology. As I sit in class totally distracted as the T.A. talks to us I thought I would put together a top 10 list of things learned over the last two weeks of class.

10. Getting up around 6am makes me really tired.
9. Risk online is a great way to kill time.
8. Four hours strait of Systematic Theology is never a good idea.
7. I still don't understand why we have to approach theology either "from above" or "from below."
6. The early church fathers taught crazy stuff and for the most part would be put out on the street by many evangelicals today.
5. Penal Substitution is a Western/ post enlightenment construction
4. Jurgen Moltmann, Wolfhart Pannenberg, Karl Barth, Karl Rahner and Stanely Grenz are freaking awesome.
3. Eastern Orthodox theologians have their stuff together, and are for the most part right on.
2. White people have held the reigns of theology for way to long and this needs to change.
1. "Our God is an awesome God!"...J/ really, he must be to deal with the fact that we try way to hard to try to explain him

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Killing time while in class...

This Monday I started my summer quarter at Fuller. I am expecting a busy summer full of school, youth ministry, trying to make money any other way I can, spending time with my sister who is back from Korea until the end of July, Geoff and Kyle's wedding, a trip to CO, and hanging out with my girlfriend and friends. At the moment I am taking a class in Systematic Theology: Christology, Pneumatology and Soteriology. While at times theology can be very interesting, at least to me, I need a break sometimes in which I search the internet for things to distract my mind. Today I came across the most amazing and somewhat distrubing product. I have to admit I want this product, I have taken my ipod into the restroom with me to help pass the time during #2 session but there are times when my ipod are dead or I can't find my headphones so in times like these this little device could help. You could also use it to rock out when you are in the shower and while getting ready in the morning! Love it!

Monday, May 26, 2008

Why Fox News Sucks!

And people wonder why Fox news sucks and aren't respected by anyone with a brain. They should be banned from the air. WTF!

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

This is what happens when Tim and Casey get bored

These videos are rated R for strong language and a brief sex scene.

Monday, May 19, 2008

Let the children come to me

Over the last couple of days I have been working on a paper for class that I am quite proud of. The paper deals with Mark 9:33-37 and 10:13-16, but its focus is on the latter. In both of these passages Jesus uses children as an illustration to teach his disciples about the Kingdom of God. Yet in Mark 10:13-16 Jesus makes an interesting statement, "Do not impede the children from coming to me."
In March of 2007, Chap Clark stood up at his inaugural professorial lecture at Fuller seminary and called for or a new model of ministering to youth by assimilating them into the life of the congregation based on Matthew's version of Mark 10:13-16. Clark as well as many other scholars have noticed that our current structures of youth ministry are hurting our students more than helping them. Our programs are based on the goal of making individual disciples of Jesus within the context of the youth program. As students move through the youth programs and graduate from high school students find themselves lost and disconnected from the body of the church and soon drift away from any faith in Jesus they once held. Researchers are finding that this occurs because while students are deeply connected to adults and other students in the youth group they are not connected to any other adults in the rest of the church. This means that when they leave youth group they leave their community.
Over the last nine months this research as become a reality for many of the students that I have had a relationship with over the last two years at Baseline. Two of our youth group students that graduated in June of 2007 have both left our church and one now is not sure if he even believes in God any more. As I have continued to meet with these two students, as much as our busy schedules allow, they have both told me that the reason they do not come to church anymore is because they feel that they do not belong in our church's normal serve. One has even gone as far as to say that he has even felt personally judged by many adults within the church as well as our head pastor himself.
Jesus' words in Mark 10 are more important for us to hear today, in relation to adolescents than at any other time in the history of the Church. The western fascination with children though cannot be read back into the Mark passage. Those who were under the authority and care of others, such as children, had not yet achieved the right of self-determination. This means that in the Greco-Roman world a children’s stratum and status where first directly related to the stratum and status of their own parents. If a child’s parents were from a low stratum and status their children were also believed to be of the same stratum and status. Children not only had the fact that their parents determined their status to overcome but children in the Greco-Roman world children were viewed as the members of the lowest status scale Today it is no different for adolescent in the church. Our youth have been sparated from the body of the Church and given the lowest status in the life of the church. Our churches have impeded our youth from coming to Jesus and this needs to change. We need and change, we need to ask questions, if not, our youth and the future of the church in the U.S. is in trouble.

Wednesday, May 7, 2008

My top ten comic book movies ever...because Tim made me

I was moved by my roommate tim's list and my pure boredom in class. Plus I needed to find and excuse to use this picture in some way. So here is my list of my top 10 comic book movies ever...

Top 10
10 X-Men
9. The Crow
8. Superman Returns
7. Batman
6. X-Men
5. Iron Man
4. X-Men 2
3. Batman Begins
2. V for Vendetta
1. Spider Man 2

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

An update on recent thoughts through my reading of Sndra Ely Wheeler

Sondra Ely Wheeler in Wealth as Peril and Obligation: The New Testament on Possessions, concentrates more on the narrated setting and situation of the Markan text. Wheeler approaches wealth in the New Testament through a study of Mark 10:17-31. Mark’s structure builds up to show who Jesus is, the Messiah, and how he must suffer because of who he is (49-50). It is within this structure we find the story of the Rich Man. The man in the story, who is believed to be rich, is unable to leave his many possessions in order to have the life “he knows enough to seek;” as Wheeler puts it “He (the man) departs grieving…the first to mourn his own death” (45). When the man leaves Jesus widens the scope to include those “having riches.” In the following verses the scope gets even wider as it includes Jesus’ own disciples. Wheeler suggest that the heart of the message of this pericope is found in the disciple response to Jesus, “and who can be saved?” Wheeler suggest that this suggests that only through God can it be possible for anyone, even the rich, to “wholeheartedly” respond to what the “kingdom requires” (47). There though is some requirement from individuals in order to be welcomed into the kingdom. For Mark, Wheeler believes, that one’s “undivided love” is demonstrated by “following Jesus on the road to Jerusalem” (48-49). Following Jesus though means that we are not just to follow him around but that we are willing to follow him to his death (49). As Wheeler states, “discipleship is formally following Jesus on ‘the way of the cross’” (51). Within this message we cannot expect the call to poverty as something unreasonable (51). This is not to say that all are called to poverty but that but what this means is that “whatever you have sell it” and “come follow me (Jesus)” (51). This makes wealth a “potential obstacle to discipleship” (53). Wheeler notes that the theme of Mark calls the Church to “some substantive notion of a ‘Kingdom of God’ that might be entered (or not)” (55). This means that a commitment to Christ might teak the form of being called upon to do something “concrete and distinctive” even leaving or possessions in order to follow Jesus (55).
As I read through both Nardoni and Wheeler I could not help but become saddened. As I mentioned above, the U.S. church is rarely a picture or even a glimpse of what it seems that the Kingdom should be. The U.S. church is more concerned with their own individual lives and saving souls that Biblical justice gets thrown to the side and becomes an after thought. Inside the church I rarely encounter individuals who are willing to take the step outside of their comfort zone to really pursue what the Kingdom calls us to be. The church is more interested in pursuing the American Dream. I really question who it would look like to preach the gospel of the Kingdom of justice in a church today. It seems like we are more like the Rich Man, not willing to let go of what keeps us from following Jesus, than we are Jesus’ disciples. How do you proclaim this message in a church that has become comfortable?
I have recently come face to face with this reality in my own life. I have for the longest time thought that I somehow existed above the reality of the U.S. church, not realizing that I was had become just like the Rich Man. I was aware of the cognitive knowledge of the what it means to be a member of the community of the Kingdom of God, but I had bought into the American Dream of a house with a white picket fence, 2.5 kids, and a dog. As I said to a friend two weeks go on the phone, “it is so easy to just buy into the American Dream, it is all so appealing.” The road to Jerusalem though is not such an easy road. It is a road that calls us to ultimately die. While this might not be a physical death, this road calls us to give up our lives and with that our dreams of a picture perfect life depicted in the paintings of Norman Rockwell. So, the question that is left is what does a life lived falling Jesus toward Jerusalem look like, but not only for myself but for the Church?

Monday, March 3, 2008

...Almost There

This quarter has been one of the craziest ever! 12 units, 3 classes all on different days of the week! What the crap was I thinking! Exegetical Methods is kicking my butt! Hey two and half more weeks and I am done. I don't think I have ever been this ready for a break. I am so excited for my week and half off of school. During that time I plan on doing a lot of nothing but working till 2ish everyday to make money, reading for fun, hanging out with friends and girlfriend, and a 2 day retreat to an undisclosed region by myself with Jesus. Other than school I have been stressing looking for a youth job. If you hear of anything give me a shot out! I need some love and encouragement. Love yo all! I hope I will be back soon.

Thursday, January 3, 2008

Top Albums of 2007 and more...

This has been a great year for music. At the beginning of the year I was not to sure how this year would turn out being disappointed by many of the CD’s that were released in the first half of this year like Bloc Party, Sherwood, and The Academy Is… There were some early highlights like Bright Eyes, Dear and the Headlights, and Fiest but over all is was a disappointing first half of the year. Because of this I ended up really getting into some CD of last year like Manchester Orchestra and The Annuals. Yet when the summer came the amount of CD’s coming out in a month sky rocketed as usually and I was drowning in good music once again. As you will see, for those who have known my music taste for a while I have grown in my music taste and development a different palette if you will. For instance, while As I Lay Dying’s An Ocean Between Us was a good CD, it did not make my top 20 because I have pretty much gotten over pop-core, hardcore and metal music and moved to a more indie/ folk / eclectic/ hip-hop/ pop lover. Therefore this year I bring you my top 20 of 2007 as well as some little extras to bring you into the next year. We can only hope that 2008 will be half as good as 2007. I hope you will check out and support the bands I have listed here if you have not heard them before or give them a second listen if you have passed by them in the past. Love and enjoy!

Top 10 CD’s of 2007
1. Arcade Fire – Neon Bible (Amazing CD! There is nothing else to say)
2. The National – Boxer (fall in love to this CD, while watching Garden State and/or Juno)
3. Dear and the Headlights – Small Steps Heavy Hooves (Most listened to of 2007)
4. Iron and Wine – The Shepard’s Dog (Iron and Wine taken to a new level)
5. Band of Horses – Cease to Begin (Folk Indie Rock at it’s best)
6. The Most Serene Republic – Population (Listen to if you are dancing in a field of flowers with your closest friends or running through the streets during a revolution)
7. Chase Pagen – Oh Musica! (Piano {check}, Voice {check}, Beauty {check}; Rufus Wainwright eat your heart out!)
8. Menomena – Friend of Foe (When you are listening know they are only a three member band and be blown away)
9. Broken Social Scene Presents Kevin Drew – Spirit If… (B.S.S. is being one of my favorite bands of all time with music written by one of it’s founding members you know it will be good)
10. Radiohead – In Rainbows (One of the most approachable Radiohead CD’s in a long time, great as usually)

Honorable Mentions (11 – 20 of 2007)
11. Field Music – Tones of Town (It took me forever to find this CD and it was well worth the wait. It was everything I was wanting in a CD at the prefect time.)
12. Straylight Run – The Needless, The Space (Straylight took it to a new level)
13. Common – Finding Forever (My top Hip Hop CD of 2007. The beats and lyrics are just quality. The best thing about this CD is how you can hear the heart and soul of Common in every line. He is not rapping for his own self but for “the people” in hopes to tell other about the injustice of our system to hoping to get the common person through their day.)
14. Bright Eyes – Cassadaga (Coner O. is back, an album of self discovery; musically and personally)
15. Jay – Z – American Gangster (Jay-Z is back for all who hated Kingdom Come, and for those who have been around he is still taking it to a new level)
16. Fiest – The Reminder (loved the first CD, loved this one about half as much maybe because I hear it at every true, will even know but it is still in my top 20)
17. Dr. Dog – We All Belong (Think modern day indie Beatles = Love)
18. Steel Train – Trampoline (In line with The Format’s Dog Problems pulls together many styles from classic rock, jazz, Bob Dylan, Beatles, musicals and mixes them into an Indy-pop smoothie for your singing and listening enjoyment)
19. As Cities Burn – Come Now Sleep (While this CD is different from their last one I feel that it is a good step forward. The CD is an honest portal of someone struggling with God, sin, grace, and heaven and hell.)
20. Ben Harper and the Innocent Criminals (I love Ben acoustic/chill style)

Top 10 Songs of 2007
1. Keep the Car Running – Arcade Fire
2. The Most Serene Republic – Present of the Future End
3. Grace – Dear and the Headlights
4. No One Would Riot For Less – Bright Eyes
5. Invasion – Eisley
6. Horse by the Sea – Iron and Wine
7. Ode to Lrc – Band of Horses
8. 15 Steps – Radiohead
9. Hunting for Witches – Bloc Party
10. Contact – As Cities Burn

Top New Finds of 2007(CD’s that did not come out in 2007)
1. Manchester Orchestra – I’m Like a Virgin Losing a Child
This would have been my number 2 CD of the year if it would have come out in 2007, yet this list. I probably listened to this CD more than any other CD this last year. Everything on this CD is nearly prefect from the music to recording to lyrics. You can feel the passion and honesty of every song as if you listen as if you were seeing the band live! And the best part about this band is they are 100 times better live!
2. Silversun Pickups – Carnavas
Reminds most of the Smashing Pumpkins but more indie sounding. Love the CD love the band! Excited for their 2008 release!
3. Annuals – Be, He, Me
This band is in the new stream of bands indie bands that are coming out that mix genres all over the place leaving you not knowing what they will do next.

Top Surprises of 2007 that didn’t make the top 20
1. Yellowcard – Paper Walls
I don’t think there is one person who liked Yellowcard’s last CD. This CD is a return to what made them famous good pop-punk that makes you want to sing at the top of your lungs as you speed down the highway with your friends
2. Dashboard Confessional – The Shade of Poison Trees
Dashboard takes a step in the right direction for the first time in years. The last two CD’s have been over all boring with good songs few and far between. Dashboard has not only come back to their roots in this CD with a return to acoustically driven rock that made then stand apart when they first came onto the scene.
3. The Junior Varsity – Cinematographic
This CD is quiet I move from their pop-punk roots to a more mature rock indy sound that deals with larger issues than girls dumps boy. The band approaches issues of faith, hope, the working class lifestyle, and all the other trials that come with life. Great CD!

Most Disappointing
1. Rilo Kiley – Under The Blacklight
I have loved the last 3 Rilo Kiley Cd's and when I heard about their new CD I was very excited to see what it would sound like. I have even seen Rilo twice live and loved them both time as well as Jenny Lewis’ solo band and loved them to. When their first single "The moneymaker" came out I thought I was listening to a totally different band. The music was bland and the lyrics where honorable. I picked up the album anyways out of love for everything that Rilo has done in the past. The first two songs, Silver Lining and Close Call are strongest songs on the album with Dreamworld and Breakin' Up following close behind, but really that is not saying much. Then comes "The Moneymaker," this song's musical make up grew on me but the lyrics are still some of the worst I have heard on any Rilo album. Much of the album reminds me of this song, musical content that is just okay to poor with but lyrics that just lack. It seems as if the band is going for a concept album but it is overall unclear and messy. When it comes down this is a CD that I have had to force myself to even get through the thing, something that never happened to me on during a listen through of the first 3 Rilo CD's.
2. Sherwood – A Different Light
I was really excited about this release. It was in my top 10 of 2007. At first listen I enjoyed the album and hoped and thought it would grow on more. Yet it did not…I soon became bored with the CD and when listening to it could not get past track 6 or 7. The most disappointing thing for me was that half of the album contained songs that were pre-released as a free EP download in the summer of 2006. On top of that the four out of the five songs were better on the free EP download then they were on the CD.
3. Saves the Day – Under the Boards
Anyone who knows me knows that I love Saves the Day and every single CD that they have ever done, even In Reverie, which everyone hated. This CD is the second in a series of three CD’s through Chris Conley’s brain. The first about the dark times in life and the second about picking up the broke piece of our lives. Yet the CD doesn’t seem to focus on this central theme throughout the whole, as most Saves the Day CD’s do. The CD just feels like random songs about disappointment strung together by four or five songs that bookend the album. For track 2 to 7 the CD just drags with poppy songs that yes you can sing along to but seem out of place within the context of the CD’s theme. On top of that Track 9 has a horrible voice over that sounds like it should be on a bad horror movie. Lastly out of any Saves the Day CD this CD lack lyrically, which is usually the strongest element of any Saves the Day CD’s. The lyrics are plain, not descriptive and just typical for a band in their genre. The only reason this album isn’t number 2 on this list is because the musical backing of most songs are so strong.
4. 4. Mae – Singularity
It is never a good sign when you hear about two members of a band hating new material so much that they don’t want to play the songs, hear the songs and eventually leave the band. That how bad and boring this stuff is
5. Kanye West – Graduation
I have been a fan of all of the Kanye CD’s. When I got more into Hip Hop Kanye was one of the first artists I really checked out and got into. With this being this final album in what seems as of now to be a serious of three I was expecting it to be very similar to the last two, yet from the first track he proved me wrong. I love the direction Kanye went with beats on this album they are new, fresh and really good. Sadly what did not like about this album was much of the lyrical content which is why this album concludes this list as number 5. By track 6 I am just tired of hearing all about Kanye and how cool he thinks he is. For a guy that has been hanging out with the likes of Common and Talib Kweli I was expecting a little more socially focused album but oh was I wrong. On top of that this album hosts the worst Kanye song ever, Drunk Hot Girls with Mos Def, which makes the song that much more disappointing because I like Mos Def’s stuff. As a reviewer said about this song, “it sounds like a reject Eminem song.”

10 Most Looking Forward to in 2008
1. The Format
2. mewithoutYou
3. Brand New
4. Jeremy Enigk
5. Dear and the Headlights
6. Silversun Pickups
7. Sufjan Stevens
8. Anathalo
9. Saves the Day
10. Destroy the Runner