Sunday, September 28, 2008

Slowing? I Don't Think So

So I had this thought driving to APU at 12:45 am.

I was thinking about how helpless I feel sometimes to relax. Or even just to keep up with all the things I am involved in. It's like no matter how bad I want to do it all, no matter how much time I want to devote to this or that, it's just not going to happen. And that makes me sad. I don't want it to be that way.

And for some reason my mind drifted to the thought of Sabbath. A God-intended time of rest. And I totally feel completely unable to acknowledge this wonderful day that I can only dream about. So I started thinking... "What can I do to change this?"

To be honest, I became a little disappointed. Because I soon realized that I go to a Christian school that keeps my schedule wrapped up seven days a week, every week. There's no time to rest. And if I show up to my concert tonight unprepared, I don't really think my director will take my "day of rest" as an excuse for not knowing my part.

I think the problem is bigger than APU though. This problem is a national epidemic. We Americans are unable to slow down. And I feel the stress tugging at my heart. I constantly think to myself, "I need to practice my trombone tonight, but it's already 1:30 am." Or, "I should stop practicing. It's 12:30 am, and I need to start my homework."

That's not the worst of it though. The worst of it comes when my girlfriend shows me that I can't even devote a single day of my week to relationships. Not just with her. There's no day that I can drop all the schoolwork, all the churchwork, and just be. With God. With people. Period. There's always something to do. Something I'm behind on. Something that's due the next day.

How is that for flat out rejecting God's plan for human beings?

It's interesting too that at APU this semester one of the morning chapel themes has to do with slowing. But APU itself does not allow its students to slow down. The professors aren't keeping in mind that students need a day of rest. (Granted, most students wouldn't take a day of rest anyway, but that's another conversation.)

Not just APU students, but every single person across the nation finds himself or herself bombarded with work to do every single day of the week. There's no time for "rest." No time for "Sabbath."

This points me to another chapel topic. I think the only way that humans will ever begin finding a day of rest, the only way that we will ever embrace God's calling us to "Sabbath" is if we take up Woody Morwood's Kaleo theme and stand up as revolutionaries in a hectic world full of insane schedules, and stop.

Just stop.

We stand and say, "No. I don't care if culture says that I am supposed to literally work myself to death. I'll take the kingdom life instead. The one that my Creator has already designed. The life that actually works properly."

Until we start doing this nothing changes. Until we become revolutionaries and stop ourselves in this spinning world, things will not get better. Stress will grow. Relationships will diminish.

And this is my last point. This is all quite timely considering that in a few hours my church begins the 40 Days of Love. I got the book early and have read a whopping one chapter and already realized how much I have neglected one of the most important aspects of my life due to a busy schedule. I'm beginning to think that Sabbath is all about relationships. All we have to do is stop.

We need to stop our spinning world. We need to find our Sabbath. And we need to embrace it and find the purpose of our lives again.

Thursday, September 18, 2008


So today was the day. I finally took my Strengths test! Hooray!

Here were my results. I thought a couple of them were absolutely true (input, empathy, adaptability). Then I didn't expect the other two, but after reading the descriptions they made sense. So here they are in order, starting from my top strength: (Danny will be pleased)

1. Connectedness: I believe things happen for a reason in a purposeful manner.

2. Adaptability: I easily adjust to my environment, I'm a "go-with-the-flow" person, and live in the moment.

3. Input: I want to know more; I crave information.

4. Empathy: I can sense what it feels like to be someone else.

5. Achiever: I am busy and productive, and I don't require external motivation.

Well done, Strengthsquest. I would say that you describe me well.

Friday, September 12, 2008


Jon Stewart, you are amazing.

On Michelle Obama:

She's got to. She's a Democrat. She must prove she loves America.

As opposed to Republicans who everyone knows love America. They just hate half the people living in it.

Watch the whole episode here.

Thursday, September 4, 2008

Are You A...?

Caitlin and I found ourselves discussing some of our friends and the situations they find themselves in. By the end of the conversation, we felt we had made some neat little categories that most people fall into.

Clashers, wobblers, cyclers, and fidgeters.

The way we named our groups is primarily based on how each personality interacts with other people. See what I mean...

Clashers are aggressive and like attention. They tend to direct conversations in a certain way, and they're not afraid to approach people with a cheerful voice and a big smile. You know that guy at the party that has a whole room full of people intently listening to his story? That guy is a clasher.

Fidgeters, on the other hand, are almost completely the opposite. They feel uncomfortable at the center of attention. They don't really enjoy conversations with people they don't already know, and if they are approached by someone else (like a clasher for example), you can bet the farm that the fidgeter isn't going to give the conversation any substance.

Wobblers and cyclers are in the middle of the two extremes.

Wobblers and cyclers can both handle attention, although they don't really prefer it (well, maybe sometimes they don't mind a little reinforcement). These personalities have both the ability to happily allow someone else do the talking (clasher) and to fill in the gaps for someone who really doesn't want to do any talking (fidgeter). In a few moments we'll get to how wobblers and fidgeters are different.

You're probably wondering where these names are coming from. Well, let me continue...

Caitlin and I began talking about how these different people function in the context of relationships.

Clashers tend to prefer excitement and new experiences. It is difficult for them to simply settle indefinitely because it is enjoyable for them to meet new people, gain new experiences, and express themselves to many different people. There are times though for clashers when they encounter other clashers and the two people are forced to, in a sense, battle it out for the attention in a particular scenario. The result is usually some confrontation, or "clash" you could say.

Fidgeters like to settle though. They like consistency. It makes them feel stronger, and sort of compensates for the fear of creating new relationships with other people. It also allows the fidgeter to "attach" themselves with - to almost find an identity in someone, which they like. Unfortunately, if this attachment were to for some reason or another break, the person's entire world will be affected. We used the term fidgeters because these people don't really come into contact with too many people and sort of keep to themselves. (Imagine a super shy person sort of shaking in fear alone in the corner. I know it's sad as well as an exaggeration, but you sort of get the idea.)

Here's where wobblers and cyclers separate:

Wobblers can hold their own. They can recover from relationships without much long-term damage. They can shake it off. They get "bumped," but don't really go anywhere; nothing really happens. They just.... wobble.

Cyclers are the people that make the same mistakes over and over again. They think they've got what they want figured out, so every time a relationship goes under, they start a new one the exact same way. And that relationship simply results the same way as the first one. They go through cycles (obviously).

So, as I see it, this pretty much categorizes everyone I think I've ever met. There are some exceptions - of course. But for the most part, I bet you can put yourself into one of these categories. So which one is it?

By the way, I should mention that each group is equally balanced between its pro and cons even though I didn't represent them fairly all the time. So I hope you're not afraid to call yourself a clasher for example, or ashamed to call yourself a fidgeter.

Tell me what you think!