Sunday, October 29, 2006

conference over

the conference was quite amazing. my heart is full and also broken in new ways. still processing. will post more in-depth thoughts soon.

Friday, October 27, 2006

progress (say it the canadian way! pro-gress)

well, i just got hired as a barista at a cool little coffee shop in the berkeley/oakland area. also investigating about another part-time job at my church. and thus ends some of my free time. but it'll be good to be a contributing member of society again, even if i don't get to sleep in anymore. and eventually, i hope to live in over there, that'll take some saving. but i think it's good temporary situation until, you know, I FIGURE OUT WHAT TO DO WITH MY LIFE. or something like that.

i'm off to berkeley again this evening. the church is putting on this jesus and evangelical conference. i am quite excited about it. speakers from egypt, india, el salvador, and uganda (this particular speaker was at the screening last night and added a lot of insight to the film and updates on the situation there). what do voices of the chuch from the majority world have to say to the church in north america? i remember reading at regent about how this conversation needed to take place, and i am excited to see it actually happening.

and to be perfectly honest, it's nice to actually have something to do on the weekend.

Thursday, October 26, 2006

invisible children

my church had a free screening of the movie "invisible children" tonight. powerful story, overwhelming images. i' m still working though my feelings and thoughts in reaction to the movie. as you may already know, i've got a huge soft spot in my heart for kids. and to see these kids in northern uganda wandering around as orphans, recovering from their abduction and being forced to fight as rebels and fending for themselves ... it greatly grieved my heart. and that these atrocities have been going on for so long while the rest of the world has remained largely ignorant and inactive further saddened me.

the other day my brother declared to me that he had very little faith in humanity; he believes that we're just going to keep on going right ahead and destroy the earth. i was surprised at how sure he sounded of this. i don't know. i just don't agree with him. i still have hope. even in the midst of all this suffering.

more thoughts tomorrow. see the movie if you have the chance.

go bears

last saturday, pre-head implosion, i went to my first college football game ever. at my alma mater, gwu, we just had an underachieving basketball team.

anyway, my bro, a cal alum, took me to see the cal bears play the uw huskies. to make things more interesting (and much cheaper), we hiked up tightwad hill. for a more complete history of the hill read this (it's a good read, even if you're not into sports). for those that bypass the link, tightwad hill overlooks memorial stadium (kind off like how people can sit on the roof and watch cubs games at wrigley field). not only do you get a great free view of the game, you also get an amazing panoramic view of the san francisco bay. it is scenery that i love deeply, right up there with the mountains north of vancouver. and we were able to see the cal marching band play their halftime tribute to tv theme songs and their formations. the best was the saved by the bell theme song and they formed a large bell. so unexpected and creative - that must be why they're at cal. nevertheless, the band is pretty cool, one year they did a weezer tribute for their halftime program.

remember, of course, that we are in berkeley. so there is this benevolent flair of anarchy and cheerful oddness that colors the whole scene on the hill (and most sporting events in general). there is no way to easily or gracefully ascend this very steep hill, as it is covered with slippery dead foliage and loose dirt eroded by past spectators. as people kicked back and drank their beer through the game, i wondered how they could possibly make it down the hill without injuring themselves.

we ended up next to a man armed with several coolerrs that had obviously been to many games, as he had staked out a great and stable spot on a ledge formed by the roots of two trees. he grinned with his crooked teeth for most of the game as he gulped down several cans of natty light ice then crushing the cans and throwing them past us down the hill when cal failed to perform to his standards (besides that though, the hill is surprisingly fairly clean - those hippies pick up after themselves). he kindly shared two cans of beer with my brother, who in turn shared them with me. mmmm... natty light. it has its own unique flavor that seems to complement football watching well.

twenty feet over, a pair of men paced and nervously smoked their joints, cursing the cal quarterback, the coach, and the entire cal football program nonstop throughout the whole game. i have never seen such an angry stoned person before. if that's what he was like when he was high, then i'd hate to see him when he wasn't high. our natty light friend clumsily sauntered over at one point to talk to them and when he came back pulled out some cigarette paper, but not before sharing with us again - passing my brother a pinch of tiny green bud and leaves. eric quickly stuffed them into his pocket. generosity occurs in unexpected ways and places.

cal went on to win in in thrilling style with an overtime victory, 31-24. it was hard not to get too excited and jump up and down, with the risk of sliding down the hill and all. i just may be a convert to college football fandom.

Wednesday, October 25, 2006


this made me laugh and laugh. apparently, they're modeled after these nbc "the more you know" ads, but i don't remember them. for more ads, go to they're pretty funny.

long distance fun

i talked to this kid on the phone today. the conversation was witty, incisive and thought-provoking.


as i consider my time of inactivity, i am surprised at how hard it is for me to practice sabbath. well, it's never been quite easy for me to do so. the pressure to be productive and all. even when sitting still or alone, there are loads of ways to keep the mind and spirit from resting. believe me, i am quite good at this - the not-really-resting thing.

yet that is the rhythm that God sets for us - it is not only good but necessary to rest one day out of seven. i wonder then, how we came to our own rhythm of the 5-day work week. i guess before we complain, we ought to remember that 6 days of work used to be the norm. 2 days of rest? well that seems extravagant, and yet we are more harried than ever. i suppose it is because we are such a pleasure-seeking society that we work so hard at filling our time off with activities.

i decided that i would not check my email on sundays. i spend way too much time on my computer doing nothing in particular in the first place, so i thought this would be a good place to start. it was hard. i had to unplug my computer and put it on the other side of the house. i was out for most of the day anyway (doing a walkathon despite my monstrous headache, yeah, real smart i know) and it was still hard. i wouldn't have been able to do it if i had been home. sometime i'd like to do sabbath the way orthodox jews do - no travelling, no appliances, no anything. such a marked departure from day to day life that reminds us of the presence of God.

Tuesday, October 24, 2006


i just finished meeting with my spiritual director. not coincidentally, my headache has lifted. (cue choirs of angels)

time to not live in my head so much and make myself crazy. time to get a job, even if it is pouring coffee for yuppies. sometimes they even tip well. the unemployment ennui needs to be abated. i will also buy a truckload of excedrin headache medicine in the event this happens again, and continue meeting with my spiritual director.

of course i have to go to my editing class in an hour, so the headache could return. i'm supposed to get my midterm back. headache is probable.

i have stories to tell though, funny ones, and it is annoying me that i have not blogged them. soon, faithful blog readers, soon.
the headache, it has returned. i think this hoohah might be solved by drinking a cup of joe. i stubbornly refuse. i guess i've never gotten myself addicted to anything because i just hate being controlled by/dependent on something else.

more when i can handle thinking again.

my brain hurts

i've just come out of a 2-day long headache. some kind of combination of lack of caffeine, dehydration and any number of other factors all came together to put my skull in a vise, and then kick my brain with steel-toed boots. awful. holla if you hear me.

Friday, October 20, 2006

something kinda different

i felt bad publishing my mental angst. of course, that's what a blog is for. so i googled theology to see if anything funny came up and i found this.


it's indian summer in the bay area. meaning, it's 83 degrees today. join me in saying "what the hell?" there is no hint of crispness in the air, though the sun is setting earlier and the leaves are slowly turning. i haven't been here in a while, so i can't remember if this is normal or not. my friend said her azaleas are blooming because they think it's spring. sometimes i enjoy it and sometimes i wouldn't mind a little brisk autumn rain, a la vancouver.

in an effort to keep too many of my brain cells from dying, i continue to patronize the library resources. here's a few things i've seen or been thinking about lately.

rented this movie. it's an old akira kurosawa movie. he's a classic japanese filmmaker, and a few of his films were made into american westerns. i don't know if this is a particularly popular one; i just kept running across references to it and finally decided to find out why. there are all sorts of cinematic elements to this movie that would appeal to film geeks, but unless you're into that kind of thing, i don't think you'd really be into this movie. but it has a lot to say about how people perceive things and tell story. a man is killed; there are 3 different witness accounts of what happened. which one is true? no one can be fully objective. (for those that watch veronica mars, the first season episode where she is trying to find out what happened to her when she got roofied at the party and possibly raped - that story structure was a play on this movie) i often feel that tension when i write. i view an event one way because of who i am; another person can have a totally different perception of the same event because of who she is. is one of more right or true than the other?

i must really be into subtitled films because motorcycle diaries is the third movie i've talked about here and they're all subtitled. this one's about the early formative experiences of che guevara as he travelled around south america. the film is quite poignant, and the film appeals to the socialist in all of us in the desire to help the poor in society. of course, i don't agree with che's ideas about the necessity of an armed revolution. afterward, i really did want to hit the open road like he did. (plus the guy playing che is rather dreamy. that always helps draw people to the revolutionary cause. viva!)

then i read a book of wendell berry's essays and it make me want to move out to a farm and settle in for 20 years or so. you know, be connected with the land and all that. i'm so easily inflluenced these days - there are much worse things to be influencing me i suppose. it was "What are People For?" good stuff. i'm glad to finally get a chance to read him. today i interviewed at a coffee shop and listening to this woman talk so passionately about the craft of roasting coffee made me think of him.

i had coffee with the mssions pastor the other day. a petite barely 5' tall filipino/japanese dynamo of social justice. an incredibly refreshing conversation as we shared our stories and the winding path both of us has taken to end up at this point. she understood the uncertainty and culture shock post-school kind of feeling. hoping hang out with her more. plus she really tight with the pastor of the chuch that anne lamott goes to - apparently they went through seminary together. from the stories anne lamott wrote about her, she sounds really cool. i'm volunteering for this walk-for-AIDS event that the church is helping sponsor this weekend. i figure hanging out with her more often would be a good thing and perhaps more effective to connect with other people as we serve togther. it gives more context (and perhaps shared perspectives) for me and other people than the small groups i have been to.

some friends go to this informal gathering once a month. several small groups get togther, have dinner, and someone shares a lesson. in discussing relationships, the language of finances in reference to people gave me much to consider. "investing" in someone, "spending" time with them were the terms bandied about the most. the meatphors were acknowledged, but not much was made of it either way. there are all sorts of expectations built into these concepts that i thought so odd to apply to people. because we are not commodities. if you "invest" in someone, are you then expecting a "return" or "payback"? how does this work in the scheme of God's economy (if economy is a word that really applies)? because i'm pretty sure he doesn't operate this way. and yet this kind of thing is deeply ingrained in all of us. my life coach says i have this chance to act differently with my family, yet to not expect anything back, the important thing is that i changed. and i am surprised at how little that really appeals to me.

hm, least lighthearted, most rambling post ever. i feel all jittery. this coffee i just bought had better be decaf or there is really going to be hell to pay.

Wednesday, October 18, 2006

abused by caffeine

after my midterm last night, i felt like treating myself. on the way home from berkeley, my bro and it hit up nation's, a local hamburger chain. (see that last phrase? it's called an appositive - a phrase that further describes a noun thus requiring a comma - at least i think that's what it is. grammar is kicking my ass, sticking my head in a toilet and giving me a swirly) i had some good pumpkin creme pie and some decaf coffee. a tasty combo. i couldn't fall asleep until 4 am. yeah, i'm pretty sure that coffee was not decaf. i know i have insomnia sometimes but that's just ridiculous. curse inattentive restaurant employees. at least my thoughts during the long caffeinated night of the soul gave me some time to think about stuff, which will be posted forthwith. check the blog obsessively.

secret authority?

i finally talked to someone in my class the other night (i'm shy and when i'm cranky -as i often am in that class - i don't feel much like talking, anyway). i got there a few minutes before class started to look over the style manual before the midterm; one woman was already in there. we ruefully admitted to each other the humble pie we'd been forced to eat because of the class. she asked me what i did. i gave her the quick schpiel, theology and art, yadda yadda yadda. to my surprise, she nodded in recognition and said that she also studied theology, in fact, she had studied to be a roman catholic priest for a while.

now you're wondering, isn't it only men that can be catholic priests? that's what i wondered too. at that point some other woman had arrived and they carried on the conversation. turns out she's part of some group that is working towards the ordination of women as priests in the catholic church. apparently she just got elected president or this group. and some women actually have been ordained. only it's all in secret because any person involved gets excommunicated. i don't really understand how they serve then, if this is all done in secret. she mentioned that she went to a home church, so in that setting it would be allowed. today i found a story NPR did about this movement. it's a pretty hot topic.

and i thought some of my friends had encountered resistance in their own denominations as they pursued a vocation of ministry. the woman breezily (with an steely undertone in her voice) described their goal to "just change one word in the canon." from "any baptized male can become a priest" to "any baptized person can become a priest." yeah, good luck with getting the church to changing the CANON. dang. and apparently her subcommittee was named the "ministry of irritation" (the monty python sketch jokes immediately leap to mind) that actively was speaking out to demand church reform.

don't really know what i think of all this. there's this big wide world out there.

Tuesday, October 17, 2006

probably not covered in supervised ministry class

for those that are considering being or are already pastors: at church last sunday, the associate pastor had to baptize a hawaiian baby girl with a 9-syllable last name (and because it's a hawaiian name there were lots of dashes, vowels and apostrophes in it) either he's got nerves of steel, or he must have practiced saying her name a a lot before the big day.

Saturday, October 14, 2006


mental note: next year in playoffs, don't forget how to hit. oh well. see you guys in april.

Friday, October 13, 2006

Banker to the Poor

Check out this article on the latest winner of the Nobel Peace Prize. He links the world peace with the reduction of poverty. interesting stuff. and he looks super stoked.

i'm trying to keep up on the news and read more, seeing as how i have the time to do so. i'm wondering if all the rest and free time i have right now is the time to make up for the last year of school, where i lived on red alert for 8 months. that just ocurred to me today. basically i didn't really practice the sabbath during that time. i feel like i just managed to finish before the wheels came off my wagon completely.

it also just occurred to me that i have yet to hold a typical 9-5 office job. i worked at the washington post, and that was a 6pm-2 am gig (awful, but it did have some perks). then i was a teacher which was a part-time schedule (you try filling a two hour block of time with 20 sixth graders twice a week"hey it's time for another video!"). worked at summer camp which is all sorts of fun and chaos. after that came being in youth ministry and that has a unique schedule all it's own (though i did have my own cubicle aread that i actually enjoyed). and then came three blurry mind/heart/life-altering years of grad school. this could have happened subliminally, after the editor at my magazine internship in college warned me against getting jobs that required me to wear panty hose (best thing that i learned there. best thing that i taught there? teaching another editor the difference between tupac shakur and notorious b.i.g. and showing her how to flash the west side sign).

and now... well, now i have this desire to work on the behalf of those on the margins, be a good steward of creation, and be more thoughtful about my faith. and i haven't the foggiest idea of how that will come about. and i can see all these different avenues to take, hear all these different cries for help in different forms, and i sit here under my parents' grape vine arbor like jonah under his shrub, stewing (i know that his stewing is totally different from my stewing, i just like that i'm sitting under this grapevine, plus i'm reading wendell berry when i'm not blogging so it's not all that bad).

Thursday, October 12, 2006


i heart douglas coupland. just finished this book. it's a good 'un. he takes things we take for granted in our culture, blows them up to super caricature cartoon level and in doing so, gives us a glimpse of the truth. it's a fun ride.
i've been thinking about a lot of things lately. too much to put on a blog because it becomes this place of mental vomit that doesn't necessarily make sense. but i have had several good conversations to help me untangle the many threads of thought.

the reacclimatization process continues. it comes to my attention at odd moments and in odd ways. like i said pop instead of soda once. or i wonder why the team leading the music during a church service put all the women singers way in the back of the stage. or why does todd agnew get the credit for writing a "new" song, "grace like rain" when it really is just "amazing grace" and he wrote a new 3-line chorus for it (this one REALLY tees me off, even though i have enjoyed other contemporary arrangements of old hymns).

or how very jarring it is to me when it is asked what the take-away lesson is from a passage of scripture; or the immediate measuring of oneself against scripture. this one i've been thinking about for a while. yes, one is to learn how to live from scripture. but to reduce one passage to one meaning? it seems to me that it chokes the Living Word; and it is turned into a public service announcement. it's like looking at an impressionist painting up too close, all you see is a bunch of paint blots; but back up to take in the whole picture and you see something of beauty. the bible paints this huge and vibrant picture of God and of creation and of relationship. i am wary of condensing this into one sentence summaries (tempting as it is). it's a subtle switch that eugene peterson describes, "No longer was I reading and asking 'What does this mean? How can I use this?" I was asking, 'How can I obey this? How can I get in on this?'" (Christ Plays in Ten Thousand Places, p. 64) these thoughs are definitely in progress.

and i spend more time mulling this over than studying for my editing class. but it's like reading instruction manuals. i red and after about 15 minutes, it is much too painful to continue. i hate this class. it's like one of the games in highlights magazine, you know that you read when you were a kid? spot the 6 things that are different in the two pictures. and i can't do it. that's what it feels like. so, you know, i have to come up with some other plans about what to do to earn money. somewhat demoralizing, yet enlightening at the same time. am looking into clown college. or truck driving school. or beautician school. let's conduct a poll: which one of these options would you like to see me pursue? or something else i haven't thought of yet?

Tuesday, October 10, 2006

born into brothels

i've been renting movies from the library. born into brothels is a movie i've been meaning to see for a long time now. it certainly deserved the academy award it won in 2005. it was beautiful to see these kids' faces light up as they begin to see the world around them in different ways and tell their own story. as the express their thoughts on the pictures they took, it occurred to me that this was probably the first time they were able to express their thoughts and opinions and be listened to, and probably the only place that it happened. it is amazing to see how intertwined these lives become.

Monday, October 09, 2006

o, canada

rather than call attention to the politically incorrect holiday we recognize in america that recalls some lost sailors, indigenous people and the following years of oppression, i would like to wish all five of my blog readers a happy thanksgiving, canadian style. note the cornucopia. mmm... cornucopia.

advantages of canadian thanksgiving: less commercialism than american thanksgiving, it's on a monday so if you play your cards right you can have up to maybe 7 thanksgiving-type meals with different people, it's earlier in the year so that's kind of cool, and it's in canada. thinking of thanksgiving makes me immediately crave green bean casserole. and mashed potatos and gravy. i've always been way more into the side dishes than the actual turkey.

things i am thankful for: it is 79 degrees outside, friends near and far, and the yankees lost in the playoffs while the a's won (a's second baseman marco "mr. clutch" scutaro, dh frank thomas aka "large gary coleman" and pitcher barry "dreamboat" zito in particular).

i am glad to actually have lived in canada to celebrate thanksgiving there. sometimes i still expect to see the labels of stuff in french. mmm... pamplemousse. happy thanksgiving to those celebrating it today!

Saturday, October 07, 2006

reunited and it feels so good

tonight i went to my friend natalie's wedding. i've known her forever - through the early stages of teen awkwardness, church youth group insanity, college hijinks until now in our mature adulthood (hah - whatever). the wedding was in her parents' backyard and i enjoyed the flashbacks in my mind as i drove over just like i did in high school. I remember going over there to watch movies, jump on the trampoline, or go on some late night mission to t.p. her house (or someone else's). and today i watched as she married this amazing man, and it was beautiful. i met ryan earlier this summer, and about 30 seconds after talking to him, it was exceedingly obvious to me that of course they should get married. it could've been that the three of us immediately talked about the simpsons. i'm very excited for this adventure that the two of them have embarked on.

i'm going to venture a guess that heaven will be a little bit like a really awesome wedding reception. reuniting with long lost friends, resurrecting old jokes, recalling fun memories, and laughing till there were tears in my eyes - i find few things more satisfying than this. i haven't laughed that hard in a while. plus there's free booze and small children dancing crazily. but seriously, picking up the threads of old relationships again was very good for my soul.

Friday, October 06, 2006

the hits just keep on comin'

this is how we roll in oaktown, baby. yahoo! i love baseball in october.

talk of the weather will do

my prespective gets all skewed. today was slightly overcast, clouds blowing through all day, the sun peeking through here and there. to my california eyes, this was a blah day. then i remembered that a day like this in vancouver = fabulous.

i wonder what else i see differently. this worries me.

Thursday, October 05, 2006

Gilead, page 5

"It is an amazing thing to watch people laugh, the way it sort of takes them over. Sometimes they really do struggle with it... So I wonder what it is and where it comes from, and I wonder what it expends out of your system, so that you have to do it till you're done, like crying in a way, I suppose, except that laughter is much more easily spent."

Wednesday, October 04, 2006

your thoughts

when approaching the scripture, is it presumptuous to look for a "take-away" lesson? why or why not? what, if any, expectations should we have when we study the bible? (i went to another small group tonight as you can guess. there was beer this time, so that was kind of cool) i'm serious. comments, please.

was this something we talked about in seminary while i wasn't paying attention? shoot. i was probably checking my email.

green october

it's 10:30 am and i'm watchin' playoff baseball with my bro and grandma. milton bradley spilled coffee all over esteban loaiza in the dugout and everyone freaked out except loaiza. who names their kid milton bradley? no wonder the dude is such an angry player; he's been harassed about board games his entire life. let's go a's!

p.s. i'm wearing my "mcfavorite" baseball shirt that melanie and dan gave me for my going away from vancouver gift. except what with all these grey's anatomy "mcdreamy" and "mcsteamy" characters, i look kind of weird for wearing it. oh well.

Monday, October 02, 2006


(cue "we are the champions" by queen)

in this historic baseball season in the year 2006, my team, the springfield isotopes, emerged victorious in my fantasy baseball league. thus, i have earned major trash talking privileges over my brother, cousins, friends and random people from the internet that i have never met. awesome.

rock over london, rock on chicago

this past weekend was more exciting than most weekends have been lately.

i met up with eric and his high school pals in the city on saturday night for some karaoke. i refrained from performing, but they busted out spirited renditions of "bad leroy brown", "i did it my way" and "hey jealousy." only because of karaoke would these songs be mentioned in the same sentence. oh, and the beautiful duet "you don't bring me flowers." everyone else was dressed to be out on the town, because that's how you roll in san francisco even if you're at a dive karaoke bar. but the boys were dressed in what they wore to the giants game earlier in the day and i was pretty much on the same level. it made the whole experience that much more amusing. i seem to only like dive bars - they have more character and the people watching is much more entertaining.

afterward we headed back to the east bay for late night grub, cheeseburgers or pies. mmm... pie. and rolled into bed at 2:30 in the morning. which actually isn't too much past my regular bedtime, only i've usually been up that late because i'm reading a good book, not out carousing around town.

sunday night i saw these guys. sherwood - the hardest working men in the music business (no joke - it's hard work being a rockstar). have a listen to their music if you're hankering for a bit of summer in your day, their music will hit the spot. my buddy nate is the lead singer and bassist - we worked at camp together crazy summer five years ago (the concert was a perfect excuse for a mini-reunion). his heart is as big as his laugh and loves making music without having to attach the adjective "christian" to it. he and the guys live in the winnebago from road rules 10 - they got a good deal on it. it makes me proud to see friends doing something that they love. sherwood: they're so hot right now. check 'em out.

Sunday, October 01, 2006

my favorite canadian-californian.

happy birthday wishes to jane halton, one of vancouver's finest. and i do mean FINE.

jane hits the big 3-0 today. welcome to the thirties, my friend. jane is a champion chickenfoot player (her inaugural victory celebration is at the left), a discerning burrito lover, and diet coke addict. for the sake of our friendship, i am willing to overlook the fact that she likes the LA dodgers.