Middle Eastern Winter: Pre-Trip (Day -13)

I got my passport back with an Egyptian Visa in it. I think thats the last of our worries. Now we are just waiting to leave. Maybe...


I'm in class right now. This classroom is in the basement. I spend too much time in this classroom:

Monday: 5 hours
Tuesday: 0 hours
Wednesday: 2 hours
Thursday: 6 hours
Friday: 0 hours

Tuesdays and Fridays are good days.


Thanks Lori

Today I got an e-mail from my friend Lori. She told me this is what she did in class with Lauren...

I think my favorite part is that I only have hair on the top of my head. It doesn't connect to the beard. Tim suggested I should actually shave my head so I will look like that for Yule. Umm.


MIddle Eastern Winter: Pre-trip (Day -15)

I admit I haven't updated about the trip since my first update. Sorry.

Tonight we have made huge progress in our plans. Meaning, we actually planned where we are going to be on what days. Also, we booked a hotel in Egypt and a hostel in another country. We are also awaiting the return of our passports with an Egyptian visa in it and we already got our Jordanian visas.

I am really excited about everything. December 13th is coming quick. I have kind of been thinking that I might miss a traditional Christmas holiday, but in light of where I will be, I also don't think I will miss it all that much. I'm quite curious how it will be in a culture that does not celebrate Christmas. I'm actually excited about experiencing that. I am constantly trying to get an idea of what it will be like in a Muslim country/culture. Islam and the Middle East have interested me for a few months now, even before this trip came together. Overall, I'm just excited to be traveling again. Getting on a plane and flying somewhere new. Its a beautiful thing.


Books I've started and have yet to complete:

A Tale of Two Cities by Charles Dickens
Sense and Nonsense About Heaven and Hell by Kenneth Boa and Robert M. Bowman Jr.
The Radical Reformission by Mark Driscoll
God's Passion for His Glory by John Piper
The Clash of Civilizations and the Remaking of World Order by Samuel P. Huntington
Next Generation Leader by Andy Stanley
The Bible orchestrated by God


Clarification To My Previous Post

I received this comment from "Anonymous," as a response to my previous post, Black Friday/Consumerism/Church/Black X-mas:
'Quit complaining about the Church. You are the Church.
Love her painfully well. Stop pointing fingers and take a deep look at yourself.'

Maybe I should have made some precautionary statements so that didn't happen.

I understand "Anonymous'" concern. However, I did not mean to sound as if I was complaining in any way, shape, or form. I believe the Church is a beautiful thing. Established by God to be his change agent in the world. He has given all responsibility to the Church. It seems God believes a whole lot more in the Church than anyone ever could. That fact is very comforting to me.

The goal of my previous post was to simply express some thoughts that have been on my mind. I in no way meant to demean the Church. I in no way was meaning to point fingers because as you stated I am the Church. So the finger would have been pointing at me in the end. I was simply trying to bring to light something I perceive to be true. I was looking deep within myself while posting. I realize I have a lot of change that needs to take place within me. I am in a stage of my life where I am constantly trying to find ways I believe are the best to live the teachings of Jesus. I apologize for any misunderstandings.

The end.



The Silver Chair

"That is a very good answer, Human Child. Do so no more. And now" (here for the first time the Lion's face became a little less stern) "the Boy is safe. I have blown him to Narnia. But your task will be harder because of what you have done."
"Please, what task, Sir?" said Jill.
"The task for which I called you and him here out of your own world."
This puzzled Jill very much. "It's mistaking me for someone else," she thought. She didn't dare to tell the Lion this, though she felt things would get into a dreadful muddle unless she did.
"Speak you though, Human Child," said the Lion.
"I was wondering-I mean-could there be some mistake? Because nobody called me and Scrubb, you know. It was we who asked to come here. Scrubb said we were to call to-to Somebody-it was a name I wouldn't know-and perhaps the Somebody would let us in. And we did, and then we found the door open."
"You would not have called to me unless I had been calling to you," said the Lion.

Well done Mr. Lewis.


Black Friday/Consumerism/Church/Black X-mas

I've been thinking a lot about the two subjects that are in my title. I think this year more than ever have I become more sickened with how much useless crap we buy. Sometime recently, maybe in the middle of summer, I began to try to find ways to live more simply. Its been an interesting trial. Although it feels like I've been able to lessen the amount of stuff I have. It still feels like I have too much.

In chapel last week, Francis Chan spoke about how with the Holy Spirit in our lives, we should look completely different. I would say the same thing. Its been something I tossed around in my mind for awhile now. He shared about a person at his church who now lives out of there car so they have more to give away. Some might here that and say it is extreme. I hear it and it inspires me to do the same thing. Maybe it is extreme, but maybe extreme is something we need. I guess I think the church is supposed to be a radical change agent.... maybe thats extreme?

Back to the subject at hand, this past week I heard multiple people talk as if like they've bought into black friday which, I would say, means they have bought into consumerism at some level or another. My own mom said some things that made me cringe. I just feel more and more that the church keeps allowing more and more of culture to seep into its thinking. I think trying to stay relevant with the world has become into something which makes us look more like the world. The way of the world has a set way of thinking. The world says we should buy as much as we can, have as much fun as we can, own as much stuff as we can, only love those who we are close to, think the homeless guy is up to no good with the $5 we gave him, have to make it on our own, and other absurd ideas. Jesus Christ, and the Church should as well, says the complete opposite of what the world says (which could be a completely different post). The Kingdom of God is completely upside down compared to the worlds standards. I think thats one of the things that makes it so beautiful.

In light of this way of thinking, how can those in the church think it alright to cooperate with the world in spending precious money which could be used to change so much? Its not just Black Friday. Its the whole season of Christmas. The world's idea of Christmas is to spend money on presents for those they feel need presents. Whatever. They're not held to the same standards as the Church nor do they feel the need to celebrate the true "reason for the season." By the way, thats a dumb/cliche saying/rhyme. For the Church, it should be a time of celebration because of the birth of Jesus Christ. What it feels like it is most of the time, however, is a lot of the world thinks Christmas is with a little bit of Jesus. Maybe thats a huge assumption. Thats just the way I see it. The way I think it should be (this should not be confused with the way it actually should be, which I'm not sure what that is) is the Church celebrating a lot, possibly spending little money on those around them, but giving a ton, with money and time. But not buying useless stuff. But meeting people's needs, true needs.

I think for too long the Church has allowed the culture around it to influence too much of the way it does things. For too long much of the Church has been fooled into thinking their consumerism is okay. But maybe I'm "off my rocker." Maybe my assumptions are too big. Maybe my theology on this topic is way off. I do not try to appear like I understand like I know how its done or should be done. I would hate it if that was the way it sounded. I only speak about it to further a conversation to make things better. To find a way become the Church God believes we can become.

Happy Thanksgiving All


Crappin' Out On Me

I'm not sure what happened, but after I installed Leopard, which is sweet besides what I'm about to share, a few programs have screwed up. The first program that I found out about was Word. When I tried to open it, it said that it was a 30-day trial. That was a dirty lie. I've had it for around two years now. But it started working again, so I don't care too much. The next program the I found out wasn't working was Excel. Makes sense since its part of the Office Suite. However, Excel never started working again like Word did. Thats frustrating, but I don't use it that much so I'm not too worried about it. I am still frustrated though, don't get me wrong. The last thing that has failed me is Photoshop. Sucks. Granted I'm using Photoshop 7, which is quite old. Still though, I don't care how old it is, it still allows me to edit. So, I'm still trying to get a copy of CS2 from someone. Whenever I get it I'll post some pictures that I took today.



I feel as if I need to apologize for my inconsistency of blogging. This space is as much for whoever reads it as it is for me. Lately I just haven't pushed myself to write though. I think its a mixture of not having any new pictures to show you and not having anything really to talk about. Whatever the case may be, I will try to be more consistent. I need to get out and shoot but I don't have much time. Its especially difficult when you live at your school. However, I found a place that develops medium format film so I should soon have some film to show you guys.

The beard is going strong. The beginning of September was the last time my face was touched by something that cuts. I've got less than two months until I've accomplished what I've told people I'm doing. We'll see if I feel like leaving it when I get to that point. I've totally got a date for Yule (our school's Christmas banquet) too. Lets just say I'm a sweet talker. But I'm not really at all, unless I'm pretending to be one and then I'm amazing. My date is my good friend Lauren. She doesn't like the beard, but I told her its not coming off for Yule. So, I won that battle. I'm paying for tickets anyways so I can do what I want. If it was a dating relationship, I wouldn't have said that, but since its not, I can say stuff like that... because I can do what I want.

We leave for the Middle East in: 1 month, 1 day.