Monday, July 31, 2006
They didn't stay long enough, or eat enough food, or visit enough. But that's why they will be required to return in the near future.
Don't try to tell me that piracy doesn't hurt anyone.
Physical effects of fasting
Sharpened sense of smell. You could blindfold me on a busy street and I could point out the various fast food restaurants. I can smell an empty pizza box at a hundred paces. I can tell what the neighbors are having for dinner.
Hunger pangs disappear. On a day-long or probably any fast shorter than three days, I am hungry. But around day four the hunger pangs go away, except for maybe a mild rumble once a day or so.
Sharpened mental faculties. The first few days of a fast I feel sluggish and somewhat in a cloud mentally. But, again, around day four it's like I become a super genius. Okay, that's an exaggeration. But I feel that I can think more clearly.
Toxic dump. One of the first things your body does on a longish fast is to start dumping all of your accumulated toxins. Once they're mostly dumped you start to feel pretty good physically, even though you aren't eating. On the downside, you have probably the worst breath ever, and may even exude nasty smelling toxins through your skin. No, really.
My swollen, angry eye goes away. Since living in East Asia I've had trouble with one eye... it's always swollen and irritated. K was pointing out yesterday that the swelling and redness are mostly gone. What this may tell us: I may have a food allergy. What do I eat every day that people are often allergic to? Milk. So I guess when I start eating again I'll have to lay off my beloved Honey Nut Cheerios for a few days and see what happens. (!)
Decreased blood flow. I find that most of the things I dislike about my physical reaction to fasting come from this. It causes most other things on the list, like--
Cold, so cold. I am wearing a sweater in the middle of summer. Brrr. I need blankets on couches and my wife nearby in bed. I wear socks more often than usual. Note: Fasting in summer is more fun than fasting in winter.
Whhooooh! K asked me last night why I kept sighing when I moved around. Mostly it's because if I don't move slowly enough, I get light-headed. And I'm not used to it yet, so I keep moving too fast.
Muscle fatigue. My muscles cramp up more easily, and just in general get tired. We were painting at the new office on friday and my painting hand kept cramping up.
Fatigue in general. I get tired. Tired and cold. I almost took a nap during "business hours" today but luckily Matt O'Brien called my cel phone at that precise moment. Thanks, Matt! Good save!
Could go either way:
Weight Loss. For me, this is a plus in the sense that I could stand to lose a few pounds. But, on the other hand, your body starts hoarding any food that comes into your system after a fast, so as a weight loss program it's actually pretty stupid. Unless you and Julia Roberts have made a pact to never eat again. Which I don't recommend.
You're likely to gain back most of the weight you lose (or more) on a fast pretty quickly, unless there's some other change in your behavior. I've lost eleven pounds so far, and it seems to have evened out at about a pound a day. Which honestly, is a little frightening, but also fun to check on the scale.
DON'T fast for weight loss purposes. It's not effective, for one thing. And there are easier, less dramatic, more healthy ways to do it.
I Will Allow It
Burning Hearts Northwest.
In other news, someone came to the Burning Hearts Revolution because they were searching for Burning Hearts Northwest. So I guess we're one big happy family.
Yet more childhood logic
A: Because I ate too much.
I guess I can see the logic in that
Me: I guess because God made you that way.
Z: So. God wants my belly button to have water in it, but A's keeps it out.
Fasting Question #1: Is it okay to talk about fasting?
"Bro, its a good thing you shared about [your fast].
I find it funny (ironic?) how the church notes Jesus saying not to make a show of your fasting but then we forget in the same passage that he also said to not prayer in public but in a closet yet we don’t ream people for public prayers. I would say we have way more people who have showy prayers than proud fasters. Or we note in the story in Luke 18 of the Pharisee bragging about his two-a-week fasting habit but he also spoke of his tithing and we have tithing sermons.
I think the passage in Mark 2:18-20 seems to say that fasting should be the norm for followers of Jesus after He leaves. True fasting is another mark of desperate prayer."
So long as you're not bragging or looking for sympathy, I think it's okay to talk about this stuff. I mean, we know somehow that Jesus fasted for 40 days. He must have told someone. Honestly, it's pretty hard to hide a fast that goes more than a day. Having said that, I generally prefer not to talk about my fasts or let anyone other than absolutely necessary know I am fasting.
My kids--and this is hilarious--still haven't caught on that I'm not eating anything (It's day five of the fast!). They don't notice. Suddenly it makes sense that they are constantly asking me to get them milk, refill their plate, change their forks out and so on when I just sat down to eat. They think I ate already.
Sunday, July 30, 2006
Questions from My Children
Me: Uhhh. I just don't know.
Eavesdropping With Matt (Episode Eleven)
Dedicated to the tall, skinny man withthe glasses and crazy hair, who was buying books at the Christian Bookstore. Also dedicated to the young woman ringing him up, who clearly was following the orders of the large, uptight manager/owner. Also dedicated to paper bags everywhere.
Customer: That's a lot of books, they're very heavy. It would probably be best to double bag them so they don't rip through the bag.
Employee: We don't do that.
Customer: It's easy, you just take the empty bag and then you--
Employee: We don't do that, though. You just get one bag.
Customer: That's a lot of books, they're heavy, the bag is going to rip. Just put a second bag in there, that's what they do at the grocery store.
Employee: This is not a grocery store.
Customer (clearly irate at this point): I know that. I am just saying that I am buying alot of books, they are heavy and the books--
Manager: What seems to be the problem here?
Customer: I am trying to teach your employee here how to bag up books.
Manager: Sir, we don't double bag.
Customer: Are you trying to lose my business? There are a lot of bookstores in Portland. I can go a lot of other places to buy books.
Manager: That's true, there are a lot of bookstores in Portland. You could go to any of them.
Employee: That will be a hundred and sixty dollars.
Customer (getting his credit card out): *Harumph*
The conversation goes on, but I dont' have the heart to relate it. It's just wrong on so many levels that I can't write more. But I will say this: I really dislike Christian bookstores. And I really love Borders, Powell's, Barnes and Noble, pretty much anywhere where the employees actually like books, there is some semblance of customer service, and where someone buying a hundred and sixty dollars worth of books can have two bags if they want. And where I don't have to know that the cranky, ill-mannered customers, employees and managers profess Christ.
Today is the fourth day of an extended fast for me. I'm drinking some juice but not eating any food. The fourth day of a long fast is a nice day for me, as most of the hunger pains and other physical discomforts disappear around this time. I'll probably still be cold and still be tired, but I probably won't have hunger pangs and the mental cloudiness of day two and three will probably dissapate.
Two reasons I decided to share this and to talk openly about the experience are: 1) I think that fasting has this mysterious "we don't talk about it" aspect in our current Christian culture, which is really too bad because it makes it seem inaccessible and strange to people who haven't tried it yet. And it's such a good, useful tool for spiritual growth; it's a shame we don't talk about it openly sometimes. And then, 2), I just feel weird not sharing about it on the blog because it' s a major part of my life right now, and this is where I share major things about my life. I feel close to the BHR community. As Alexis said last night when I said the same thing to her, "You mean you feel close to the general public." I guess so!
Another thing I'd like to say on this topic: fasting, even for a long time, does not make one Super Spiritual. I am not bragging when I talk about this experience. In fact, I am pretty much embarrassed to talk about it at all. But I think it's good to talk about it.
Over the next couple of weeks I'll share more about this... my continuing experience, why I'm fasting, the benefits I find in fasting, the lousy things I discover about myself while fasting, etc. I want to be open about what it's like to be fasting for a couple weeks at a time, so feel free to ask questions if you want, either in the comments section or by e-mail, and I'll answer them here.
Thanks, friends. Now I'm off to have breakfast. I mean, to have a glass of water! :)
Friday, July 28, 2006
Family, friends, family friends, friendly family
We had a sort-of reunion on Wednesday night, with Big John, Joe, myself, Krista, Z, Cecily, Jesse and Lynnette. All former members of the EA crew.
Kerri and Mom and Dad came out, too.
A good time was had by all.
The children stayed up late.
The adults stayed up late. We basically acted like children, and it was wonderful and fun.
Thursday, July 27, 2006
P.S. I told you that this was Science-fiction week at BHR, didn't I?
Wednesday, July 26, 2006
How I feel today
I feel as if I am preparing for a journey on foot. There is sadness for things that must be left behind, but joy in the road stretching out ahead.
I sense that a half-filled rucksack sits by the door, a few provisions stacked inside, a few more on the kitchen counter.
I expect the path will wind down through the cool dark of unexplored caverns, and that the reward will not be increased knowledge, but a sense of awe, an increase in wonder.
There are sparks of coming transformation thick in the air. There is uncertainty about the destination, but trust in the guide.
I am told that the journey will not end in a cavern, but will wind somehow to a tower overlooking the sea.
But mostly there is a feeling of anticipation, of embracing this path like an old friend, and the comforting discomfort of the road.
I stole this picture from stint team leader's training from Jessica. See if you can find me. Hint: look for the biggest smile. Click on the photo to make it larger.
Other people to look for that you might know: Alexis, John, Emily, Bryon, Peter, Jen, Dan Weidner, Andy McCullough.
Tuesday, July 25, 2006
It's Science-Fiction week at the Burning Hearts Revolution
It's science fiction week at the Burning Hearts Revolution. Okay, well, maybe not sci-fi week, but I *did* post about the coming technology singularity yesterday and that has to count for something. Also, I need an excuse to post the most impressive photo above. Yaaaahooooo! I don't know what the heck it is from, but I do know that I need to see that movie, and I need to see it NOW!
Some friends of mine are doing reviews this week of Christian Fandom, a Christian website that runs reviews, commentary, fan fiction and whatnot of various genres of literature, including, of course, science fiction and fantasy, even horror. I thought a couple of you out there (particularly those out in the middle of India) might find the website interesting, helpful, infuriating, entertaining or the-thing-you-always-wished-for-when-you-wished-on-wishing-stars.
There are a bunch of my buddies writing about the site this week (yes, it's a blog tour my friends) including:
Becky (she's on an angry rampage, watch out!)
Yup. Blog tour. So, spin the magic needle and see what these bold and fascinating people will say. Or say something yourself. Or maybe you'll get a boring link, who knows? It's like roulette. I know you want to. Go ahead and click on one, it's fine. Go! GO AND THEN REPORT BACK TO ME, MY MINIONS!
Seriously, get out of here.
Waking Lazarus-- review
I've been meaning to write a review of T.L. Hines' "Waking Lazarus" for quite a while now, and I keep not doing it. So here it is, at last. You can call it a supernatural thriller. You can call it "crime fiction with a supernatural twist". You can even call it (*gasp*) Christian fiction. I know, I know. But it's good! No, really.
Okay, here's the deal: Jude Allman has died three times. Now a recluse living in Montana, he begins to wonder if the recent rash of child abductions is somehow connected to his mysterious deaths and resurrections. Could it be that there's a purpose to his life, and that he is here for a reason? Could Jude be the only one able to stop the creepy bad guy who is preying on young kids? Of course he could!
Anyway... I read this book in a day and a half. It is one of those "couldn't put it down" type books. And I have to say that I liked it a lot. In fact, I was majorly creeped out by it, and I enjoyed the death/resurrection question. The spiritual angle is nicely underplayed; you could give this to any of your friends without them feeling preached at. And the action is solid.
You guys know what a picky jerk I am, so it goes without saying that I didn't like every single thing about the novel. But my complaints were minor. I think there are two facts that most succinctly sum up my feelings about the book.
Fact #1: We were staying at a relative's house the night I finished the book (at about 1am, I think... see note about "couldn't put it down" above). My three-year-old had to sleep on a couch in the front room, near the front door. When I finished "Waking Lazarus" I said to myself, "You know, I don't really want to leave my child alone in this room. I will sleep here on the other couch." Books rarely have that effect on me.
Fact #2: "Waking Lazarus" is more entertaining than "Superman Returns" and "Pirates 2" combined. You money is better spent on this book than both movies. I know, you can take a date to a movie, but not to a book. But you could always read the book aloud to your date. Awwww, sweet!
The Office (northwest edition)
For those of you "Office" fans out there who are wondering which character is based on me, it's Michael.
No, it's not Dwight. Shut up!
Monday, July 24, 2006
Sin is the singularity
To which allow me to say: Nonsense.
Humans will never become "post-human". We cannot ascend past our twisted human nature. Whatever may come in technology, we will continute to behave the way we have always behaved: occasionally with honor and bravery, wisdom and strength, and often with treachery, selfishness and evil intent. We behave today in essentially the same way the pharoahs did, in the same way the Aztecs did, in the same way that the painters of Lascaux did. Regardless of social, technological or scientific change, human beings will do the same things they have always done: fall in love, hate, murder, cheat, protect their children (sometimes), tell the truth, tell lies, war with one another over resources.
We have the technology today to behave as an "ascendant race." We could feed everyone in the world today if we could overcome our petty bickering and selfish consumption. We could significantly alter the world mortality rate. We could eliminate various types of sickness and suffering with a little concerted effort. The reason we don't do this in the future will be the same reason we don't do it today: the cost is too high. Because in the end, the cost involves me living a little less well so that others can live a little better. And we're not going to do that without some sort of outside change... and not technological change, either. It has to be a transformation of the heart. And when that change happens it won't be us becoming post-human, it will be us becoming humans as we were intended to be.
Saturday, July 22, 2006
STINT leader's training
Here's a picture of the leaders we coached. From left to right starting in the back they are: Emily and Bryon (Venezuela), Dusty and Allison (East Asia), Peter and Jen (Lithuania), John and Alexis (Croatia).
I was the MC for the week. I made everyone call me Master. Of course they all obeyed without question. I also explained to them the importance of keeping statistics. This is because I am very well rounded, and find numbers easy to use. I helped out with some thoughts on culture, and of course provided many Leadership Tips... several of which are included elsewhere in this very same website.
The last night was our commissioning night, which we did together with X-track (a six-week training for people going overseas for three or more years). It was a lot of fun. And that is sparkling cider, of course, in the photo. We started the night out by toasting Jesus together. Well, actually, we started the night out by watching some guys from the X-track do a skit about themselves that would probably have been very funny if we knew what they were talking about.
Big John (does he seem taller than he used to be?) and Cecily were there at the X-track, preparing for their first three years in East Asia, and Jamin and Ashley headed for Russia. It's so cool to see people we served with overseas when they were students (or recently graduated) going back overseas to stay.
And, for the last picture, I thought I would show you what I do with those who disobey me. BEHOLD THE WRATH OF MY LIGHTNING JOHN ROZZELLE!
Friday, July 21, 2006
Eavesdropping with Matt (Episode Ten)
Mom: Look at this movie!
Grandma: What is it?
Mom: "Cannibal! She's dying to eat you."
Grandma: That's disgusting.
Mom: We're definitely getting this one.
Grandma: (horrible gagging noises)
Young Boy: I'm Superman.
They went on to rent, yes, "Cannibal". I am glad that the young boy is a super hero and hope his mother doesn't warp him into a villain. I am glad that there seems to be an epidemic of young heroes lately.
Pirate or ninja?
1) Stealth, ability to stop one's own heart.
2) The ability to disguise oneself as a hedge.
3) Cool outfit.
4) Creepy, silent, ancient weapons.
1) Lots of booty.
2) Lots of friends/scurvy dogs to betray and boss around.
3) Peg leg! Parrot!
4) You don't have to train in an ancient Japanese monastery for several decades.
I guess I would have to choose pirate. So long as I can be the Captain. And I WILL be the captain, don't you worry.
Now, to help you decide what you would like to be:
You can try your hand at being a ninja here.
Or a pirate, here.
And, of course, this list would not be complete without a wacky pirate who fights the other pirates on the ship... and they are all ninjas.
And, lastly, here's a link for people who like any combination of the words "Super Monkey Poop Fight".
Now get back to work or I'll keelhaul the lot of ya!
Wednesday, July 19, 2006
magical realism and Christianity
I had this sudden epiphany while listening to Sufjan Stevens' album "Illinois" today. He has a song on the album called "The Seer's Tower" (yes, it's a pun) and I realized with a sudden jolt that really he is writing a poem of magical realism, but using Christian symbology.
Of course, traditional magical realism will bring in Christian symbology (i.e. angels washing up in the backyard and so on). But I think I realized that what sometimes misses for me in Christian fiction is that the spiritual aspect of things seems so jarring and disconnected from the physical world. One of the strengths of magical realism is pulling magic into everyday life, making it an expected part of the world order.
Anyway, it got me to wondering if there's a way to pull off a sort of Christian Magical Realism, where the spiritual world would be more than co-existant with the physical, it would be the same world. I think this could work quite nicely. I might experiment with it a bit.
Tuesday, July 18, 2006
Swab the Poopdeck
So, I had a nice time for my birthday, forcing a lot of good friends to join me in watching "Pirates of the Carribean 2" at the 10:10 show, which got us all the way through to the next morning at 1, which was not, properly speaking, my birthday any longer.
I thought about doing a review of the movie and then realized that it wouldn't keep you from going to see it. I liked the first one pretty well. I did not like this one at all. I will say this: Pirates has retroactively forced me to say that "Superman Returns" was not so bad.
Best Moment in the Movie: When the kid two rows in front of tried to cuddle up with her date, somehow breaking the chair she was in. We all laughed pretty hard. And then she stayed in the broken chair! Ha ha ha.
It was meant to be....
Here's a link to the "sovereign grace singles" website. I don't know how to prepare you for how wonderful this site is, so I'm just going to say it straight out: it's a web-dating service for Calvinists.
That's right, no more pesky Arminianists trying to take you out on a date, always wanting you to make choices: Should we follow Jesus? What do you want for dinner? What movie should we go see?
So, if you feel that as a Calvinist you "worship a different God" than the rest of the Christians out there, this is the site for you. You might even "meet someone with whom (you) can be Romantically Equally Yoked in Faith and World-view."
So, all you Calvinists, stop wasting your time waiting for "The One" to come along! Get out there, take some initiative and choose your mate!
A special thanks to Keith Richards of Denver for alerting me to this. I wish you had been joking, but now that I have seen the site I have no choice but to believe.
A Leader's Thoughts on Leadership #3
"It is not a good thing if your followers start to call you a Nazi, unless you are the leader of a gang of skinheads."
Friday, July 14, 2006
Ken, International Man of Renown
Thanks, Ken! You're great.
We're in Ft. Collins right now for the "Stint Leader's Training"... a time when we get together with those who are going to be leading international mission teams for a year or longer and help them know what to expect and how to lead. It's a great time.
Krista and I flew in a day early and got to go hiking in the nearby national park.
I have no time to blog. Unlike this elk, who stands around eating grass, enjoying the view, and taking naps in meadows. Oh, to be an elk.
Sunday, July 09, 2006
A Leader's Thoughts on Leadership #2
A leader should never say, "I am sorry you are so stupid."
I know what you are asking yourself right now. And the answer is: No, not even if they are very, very stupid.
Another mystery-- solved!
Me: This must be because they take all the clothes they couldn't sell, cut them up and use them for linings.
K: This is because women buy all the clothes.
Me: Oh. That makes sense.
Friday, July 07, 2006
In Which I Sit in Judgment Upon Superman
As many of you know I am a big Superman fan. Not a crazy, "I have a tattoo" kind of fan, not a rabid "I know Clark Kent's social security number" kind of fan, but a fan, nonetheless.
To celebrate the 4th of July, my Dad, sister and father-in-law traipsed off together to see the newest addition to the Superman mythos: Superman Returns.
***Spoilers are about to spoil things for you if you keep reading. ***
I left the movie saddened. Not because something sad happened in the movie, either. There were some cool parts from an effects point-of-view and a couple of decent action scenes (if it's really considered action to see a guy flying around and moving Very Large Objects).
I left saddened because Superman--at least the Superman in this movie--is morally weak in pretty much every way. He left earth several years ago because astronomers found the remnants of Krypton. He didn't even say good-bye to Lois Lane (who he had apparently *just* had sex with... and as Superman, not as Clark Kent). He comes home and briefly allows his mom to have a nervous breakdown before flying off to pick up where things left off with Lois (he never thought she was the type to settle down). When he discovers that she has a (vey nice) fiance who has been taking care of her and her little boy he proceeds to (1) fly to her house and use his x-ray vision to watch the family and his super-hearing to eavesdrop on them and (2) pick Lois up for an "interview" during which he tries to hook up with her again.
STUPID! Dumb, dumb Superman. Grow UP! For crying out loud. This is not Smallville. You are (supposedly) an adult. Use your powers for good, not to get chicks. You big, selfish brat. I will be glad when we discover you are actually a Kryptonian clone sent to prepare the people of earth for an impending invasion and the real Superman comes and kicks you around the planet you freaking self-centered pile of alien testosterone.
In other news of Complete Imbecility, Lex Luthor is pretty much a moron. He's supposed to be a super genius but the guy can't even get rid of Superman when he has an entire continent of Kryptonite. His big plan involves making some islands, luring Superman there and then letting some thugs beat him up. Um. Okay. And, in an unprecedented display of Dumbness, he flies a helicopter out to his new continent but it doesn't have enough gas to get him back to the mainland. I never really believed Lex was evil in this movie because--despite continually promising to kill billions of people--he was just too stupid to do anything other than rant at Superman. Which I could do myself (see above). So, expect to see me taking the slot of Superman's arch-nemesis in the near future.
Okay. I could vent at considerable length. I haven't even really approached the plot (mediocre) or the themes (clearly spelled out but strangely executed, especially for a franchise movie). But let me give you a piece of advice. If you would like to see a good movie about Superman, go see the 1970's version. Superman is moral, witty and likeable (three things the current incarnation was missing as he flew around mooning for Lois, smiling slightly at people and saving a couple of people from earthquakes, car accidents, big guns, etc.) . Okay, this was better than Superman IV and probably III. But really, what wouldn't be?
In conclusion: Go see the first Superman movie with Christopher Reeve.
I certainly hope so....
Z (pointing to Joy's midsection): Why are you so big right there?
Joy: There's a baby in there.
Z: Is it yours?
Tuesday, July 04, 2006
Every Heart Beats True to the Pink, White and Blue
Here's a little conversation from our family this morning. Krista was helping Z get dressed, and helping her get on red, white and blue clothes in honor of the U.S.A.'s birthday.
Z: Why are the colors red, white and blue?
K: That's because they chose those colors for our nation's flag.
Z: I should have been there to choose what colors, we should have had blue, white and pink.
K: Well, they were chosen a few hundred years ago.
Z: I still should have been there.
K: If you had been there a few hundred years ago there would have been no hot water for your bath.
K: You would have had to get up early in the morning to do farm chores.
Z decided to wear purple with a red flower.
Monday, July 03, 2006
A Rare Opportunity
The new issue of Wittenburg Door is out, which means, true believers, that you have an opportunity to buy the first magazine in which yours truly was published. It is sure to be a collector's item when I become Supreme Emperor of the Americas (this will happen right about 2016 according to my current projections).
Good luck, and good night.