Sunday, August 24, 2008


i now have four blisters on my feet. four. they hurt alot, but i may just be thankful for them...

i took my bike out for a ride this morning hoping to ride 15-20 miles (im still too new to ride farther) but noticed a problem about 3.5 miles from the house. i strated noticing it was a little difficult to pedal. i went to a higher gear, but it didn't help as much as it usually does. then i heard it... click click click click... i had a flat tire. i had to walk my bike back 3.5 miles. as i was walking i got really worried i would wear out my shoes (you aren't supposed to walk in them at all really) and ruin the part of the shoe that clilps into the pedals.

so i took off my shoes and walked barefoot.

the sidewalks and roads are hot in guam.

3.5 miles.

before my feet started to hurt i prayed a little for the college students and the ministry starting here in guam. i really think we'll be recognized by the university very soon. we have a few more than the 10 people we need if everyone shows up at the same time. but as my feet started to hurt my mind shifted to other things.

as i walked i remembered a few pelple i've met who don't own shoes. in swaziland i met four little girls living in a one room orphanage with about 25 other kids. i think they were 9 years old. i walked up to their orphanage as they were arriving back from the river 4 miles away. each little girl had a 5 gallon jug of water on her head or under her arm for the kids that day. they walked 8 miles every single morning without shoes. i met phumzille at the dream center in durban. she didn't wear shoes because aids hurt her feet too badly. in brazil along the amazon i met an entire team of soccer (futball) players without shoes. they didn't have shoes, generators in their village, toothbrushes... but they did have infections, worms, river water to drink, and a good time beating the pants off us in soccer. about half the kids in a little school outside durban didn't wear shoes, but it didn't stop them from attacking me while we played red light green light. and i remember a homeless man in abilene i met my first year in college. he didn't have shoes in the most religious town in the bible belt.

i don't remember the last time i gave a pair of shoes away. im ashamed that i don't remember. i don't know if ive ever bought a NEW pair of shoes for a kid. i remember imploring others to do that kind of thing, and i remember my roomate daniel buying shoes for kids in college. i also remember being angry in peru when i found out people send their old worn out shoes to the orphanage rather than sending shoes they would want on their american children... but me buying the shoe, i don't know. and as i walked along the sidewalk my heart started hurting more than my feet. i know it isn't wrong for me to have shoes. and i think its good to wear them if you have them... but it was nice and painful to remember connections with people without shoes today. and its even nice to have four blisters to remind me to "seek justice, love mercy, and walk humbly before God."

Sunday, August 17, 2008

coastal thoughts

so i got a new bike 2 days ago. i bought a decent giant rode bike so that a) i don't have to pay quite as much on gas every month, and b) so i can get into shape and maybe ride down japan sometime soon (its my newest goal). i really like it. its only a few steps up from the basic entry level bike, but its mine and its blue.

while i was riding yesterday (only 8 miles because im not in shape) i noticed something i haven't seen in a few weeks. guam is beautiful. ive had a difficult 2 weeks and have been so inwardly focused that i haven't been able to see what is happening around me. the sun still rises in the east and sets in the west. the waves still crash into the reef. the small islands off guams coast still intrigue me. i rode along a coastal road yesterday and tried to breath guam in.

while inhaling and exhaling guam (and tons of oxygen... remember, out of shape) i realized i was beginning to enjoy God as well. I began to remember the psalms and other writings where men and women express their joy with God while looking out over his creation. for the first time in weeks i felt like i was BEHOLDING the glory of the Lord. i didn't just see a wave. i didn't just admire a bird. i wasn't just impressed with a coastline. i enjoyed the God who created them. i communed with the God who tells birds when to hunt and forms waves miles offshore.

as i put the bike in my truck and bought an enormous water and gatorade i felt sad from not looking. i quietly mourned my self centeredness and its reprocussions. i thanked God for his beauty. and i decided to look around.

Psalm 92 says this:

"for you, oh LORD, have made me glad by your work; at the works of your hands i sing for joy."

and psalm 95 also:

"in his hands are the depths of the earth; the heights of the mountains are his also. the sea is his, for he made it, and his hands formed the dry land. oh let us come and bow down; let us kneel before the lord our maker."

before we are to bow down overwhelmed by his creation we must first see it. to rejoice from his creation we have to look at it. notice the trees in new england's autum yes. notice the miles of clear skies in the west texas towns sure. but let them also cause us to enjoy the God who created it all.

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

tuxedo t-shirts

I performed dave and erin’s wedding this weekend in new jersey. I got to see good friends from new london and eat some good Mexican food at ortega’s, but the best part of the week was a conversation the night after the wedding. I was talking to some new friends on our way back to the hotel after we ate dinner at a great pub called “the grasshopper off the green.” We were laughing pretty serious when we passed a very nice Presbyterian church. My new friend’s fiancĂ©e asked me if I was a minister in the Presbyterian church or some other denomination (I got asked a lot of questions about being a minister this week. Apparently im a little too young and “normal” to be a minister).

This sparked a great conversation. Somehow we started talking about Jesus and what he was like when one of them said, “you know, I wish Jesus was the kind or guy who would wear a tuxedo t-shirt.” I admit that until this moment in my life ive never heard anyone say they wished Jesus was a tuxedo t-shirt wearing kind of guy, but I was intrigued. After I asked them what they meant (through laughter almost causing tears) they explained that they always wished Jesus would have been a guy who would knew how to handle himself at a formal affair or church service but then also knew how to be the life of the party.

I don’t know how to tell you how good it felt to tell them that the Jesus they wished for was the Jesus who is. I grinned and laughed a little as I told them Jesus might have in fact been the tuxedo t-shirt kind of guy. They looked shock when I told them he got accused of being a drunkard and a glutton by the religious of his day. They loved the story of him partying with Matthew, tax collectors, and sinners after Matthew became a follower of Jesus. And they nodded in agreement when I them he said “its not the healthy that need a doctor but the sick.” They’re response was to ask why they never heard about this Jesus before.

You see, I realize more and more everyday that we don’t have to water Jesus down, butter him up, or protect him from his hard sayings or difficult ways. Jesus is intriguing on his own. Some people like Jesus, some don’t, and many are somewhere in this blend of apathy and ignorance. It seems if we’d just give him a good look and share what we know, without our well constructed outlines, without our acronyms, without our gimmicks and tricks we tack onto his name that people might actually be intrigued and ask who he was and what he did. He doesn’t need me to put cool clothes on him, make his teachings easy, or give him a Victorian halo.

He probably doesn’t like halos anyway… after all, he might just be a tuxedo t-shirt kind of guy.

Sunday, August 3, 2008

9 things i saw this weekend:

i saw...

and walked over a spanish bridge built in the 1500s, but was most excited about the picture with tara taken in front of it.

i saw...

a bright blue starfish with arms reaching out wider than a basketball.

i saw...

an island deer walk along the beach and then swim in the ocean.

i saw...

a latte (long "e" sound, not the coffee) stone site dating back 1000 years. these stones were most than likely used to create the foundation for a town hall near the ocean. i took a picture of tara holding stones used for grinding and cooking and thus proved she is domestic.

i saw...

the bob dylan story "I'm not there" and was intrigued by a very unique man. the world affected him so deeply.

i saw...

and ate the meat of a coconut my friend george found on the beach. it was delicious. but even more delicious was talophopho, which is the meat of a coconut after it has started to grow a stalk or branch from its heart.

i saw...

beautiful fish in 50 feet of water. i know im new to the ocean scene, but i don't think i'll ever cease to be amazed by the colors and designs and movements of these fish. they are a wonder. the more i see underneath the surface of the water the more i am saddend that we overfish these oceans. every other animal on the globe seems to live in balance with the animals around it. why don't we? and a more disturbing question, why do we use scripture to allow us to overfish, overhunt, and overtrash the earth? God telling us there's an end doesn't give us the liberty to squander what he's put us in charge of.

i saw...

myself change with the book "everything must change" in my hands. and i begin to ask myself the question what is more immoral: cursing, sex before marriage, homosexuality, drinking... or greed, oppresion of the poor, consumerism, war, and jesus' name being tacked on them? we are so focused on the individual sins that we lose our responsibility for the global ones. i really don't think the author says this directly in his book. im pretty sure i just daydream while i read.

i saw...

a bike i really want to buy so i can start training for a tri-athlon... tomorrow.