Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Becoming Gardeners, N.T. Wright

Here is an exert from a recent N.T. Wright book I read. I love that God never really provides answers about how to follow him. He just says, "Follow me." For example, we are left to find some sort of balance between spiritual discipline and knowing the God is the only force that can transform us to be more like Christ.

"The key is this: the "fruit of the spirit" does not grow automatically. The nine varieties of fruit do not suddenly appear just because some one has believed in Jesus, has prayed for God's spirit, and has then sat back and waited for "fruit" to arrive. Oh, there may well be strong and sudden initial signs that fruit is on the way. Many new Christians, particularly when sudden conversion has meant a dramatic turning away from a lifestyle full of the "works of the flesh," report their own astonishment at the desire that springs up within them to love, to forgive, to be gentle, to be pure. Where you ask, has all this come from? I didn't use to be like this. That is a wonderful thing, a sure sign of the Spirit's working.
But this doesn't mean it's all downhill from there. These are the blossoms; to get the fruit you have to learn to be a gardener. You have to discover how to tend and prune, how to irrigate the field, how to keep birds and squirrels away. you have to watch for blight and mold, cut away ivy and other parasites that suck the life out of the tree, and make sure the young trunk can stand firm in strong winds. Only then will fruity.

and then later...
"Christian, virtue is the gift of God and the result of the person of faith making conscious decisions to cultivate this way of life and these habits of heart and mind. In technical language, these things are both "infused" and "acquired," though the way we "acquire" them is itself, in that same language, "infused.' We are here, as so often theology, at the borders of language, because we are trying to talk at the same time about "something God does" and "something humans do" as if God were simply another character like ourselves."

-N.T. Wright, After you Believe

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Leather Man

I cant remember how I came across this on the internet but I did.

The leatherman was a famous vagabond that was known for his handmade suits made of leather. The identity of this man along with why he lived the way he did remains a mystery. He traveled a 365 mile circuit between Connectuit and the Hudson river living in caves and whatever else he could find along the way. He stopped into towns that he was passing through and as you can imagine the legend grew. So odd right? There is now an effort to dig up his grave and examine the body in the hopes of unearthing the mystery behind this man. Also there is an effort to thwart the attempts to dig up the leather man. Read more here: Also in general just check out wikipedia:

For whatever reason I was so intrigued by this man and was inspired to write this poem for my creative writing class:

Leather Man

Off the road amongst the Connecticut trees

A rusty old man sits in a dripping cave.

Fragments of his life and travels

tattooed on the cave’s walls

the emotions of such fragments

chiseled into his heart.


He hammered his eyes open and shut; hoping,

praying when he opened up his eyes he might be somewhere

warmer, drier, but most of all

somewhere more forgiving.


Wednesday, March 23, 2011

N.T. on the Book of John

I have been on a N.T. Wright binge. Within the past month I have read the following N.T. Wright books: After You Believe, Evil and the Justice of God, Scripture and the Authority of God, and I have dabbled in his 700 page work The Resurrection of the Son of God.

I am not 'bragging,' only mentioning these as recommended reading!

I picked up his book Following Jesus: Biblical Reflection on Discipleship (also, so far, very much worth your time).

Two semesters ago I took a class on the book of John that explored the complexities and uniqueness of the book compared to the other synoptic gospels. I think a lot of times (at least in my case) we are attracted to the book of John on a personal level because of these differences. Yet, on a scholarly level you cant help but be left confused at the complexities and uniqueness of the Gospel of John. Hence, why I love how N.T. Wright phrases his relationship with John:

"I said then, and its still true, that I feel about John like I feel about my wife; I love her very much but I wouldn't claim to understand her." -N.T. Wright

Thursday, March 10, 2011

I went to the woods...

Came across this on on a blog today and had to share it. It is the from the very beginning of the transcendentalist and poet Thoreau's Walden.

Monday, March 7, 2011

Not a Bucket List

I was browsing through an old journal and came across a bucket list I made this summer. Since then, I have grown to not really be a fan of buckets lists, as they might create a false measuring stick to measure your life's joy or 'success.' Cynicalness aside, it is still fun to dream about places you want to go, mountains you want to climb, women you want to kiss, etc.

That being said, here is my bucket list from this summer. I am not sure if if made a bucket list today that ALL of the same things would be on it or not. Nevertheless, in no particular order:

Climb Mt. Everest, K2, Mt. Mckinley,
Go to Yosemite, Sequoia, Mammoth, Muir Forest,
Hike All of the A.T., Continental Divide Trail, Pacific Coast Trail
Go To Vancouver
Hike the Pacific Coast Trail
Through hike the smokies
Write a book
Write a book on Christian Paradoxes
Get a Phd in Conflict Transformation (write the dissertation on Jesus, Peace, and Conflict)
Go Skydiving
Own a Jeep
Write Poetry for the rest of my life
Marry the most beautiful women in the world
Take my children hiking
Hike in Yellowstone
Live in Boise, Idaho
See a moose and a mountain lion in the wild
Go to Israel
Learn Hebrew
Be the first half Jewish president
Go to New Zealand
Read Lord of the Rings
Read my children Narnia Chronicles
Tell the women I marry she is the most beautiful women in the world every day of my life.
If I have a daughter, tell her to never settle, and be an example to her of how a man ought to love her.
Be in a bar confrontation and break the bottle over the edge of the bar and defend myself with the remaining jagged half.
Bring down the corrupt evil capitalistic system in America
Live in a town where I can ride a horse to the grocery store and bank
Wrestle a bear
Be a college professor

Thursday, March 3, 2011

Colonel Mustard

Because I can, and because I think it will force me to write with more intention I am going to post some of my poems I write for class on my blog. I am in a creative writing poetry class this semester that writes about a poem a week. I am also in a upper level poetry class that is surveying the modern poets, i.e. Eliot, Yeats, Stevens, etc. Basically everyone that is way over my head.

I was intrigued by poetry and wanted to find out more about the process while reading great poets because of the unique way they interpret the world and express themselves. If a poem is going to be any good the poet would have had to thought deeply, uniquely, creatively and intentionally about what it is they are writing on. (If you will excuse the following over generalization.) People do not think deeply anymore. Hence, why I wanted to learn more about poetry as a medium for interpreting the world and expressing myself.

Here is the first poem I wrote worth posting. It was inspired by this summer and the nights my friends and I would sneak up the top of the surrounding mountain at camp. The poem is in the poetic form Ghazal.

Colonel Mustard

We stole the mustard colored truck, named the Colonel

and drove up to the clearing on top of the mountain tonight.

Orange and purple in the twilight sky

had just been swallowed up by the darkness tonight.

The dry dirt road was steep to the top,

and was lined with cracks, crevices, and holes tonight.

The colonel, so old, I struggled to find the gears,

while my friends bounced and jumbled to and fro in the bed of the truck tonight.

Our last quest to the top.

A summer full of nights like tonight.

We dangled our legs over the edge of the colonel

and as usuall the dry and warm air moved with a breeze and graced over us tonight.

From memory, I recited one of David’s hymns:

‘for you are always with me, you hold my right hand’ tonight.

‘A falling star,’ she yelled

I returned, ‘that’s the seventh tonight.’

Time stretched on and he sang:

‘oh its such a shame for us to part’ tonight.

Down the mountain we rolled, like an eighth falling star.

yes, such a shame for us to part tonight.

‘David’, said the Colonel, ‘Yes?’ I replied

‘Never forget the grace of that breeze you felt tonight.’

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Kings and Queens and Poets

I came across these pictures on Tumblr and was really drawn to them: