Sunday, December 25, 2005

Christmastime is Here

And, fortunately, if only for my sanity, Christmastime has gone. Not that it was a bad year, given that my visions of absolute despair and ruin did not in fact come to pass.

The plays at church went well. Small glitches here and there, but I'd say that from both a techie and performance standpoint, they were better than in the past. The mad rush of rehersals is done, the anxiety of the performances is past, and life moves forward from here.

I got up the nerve to call the girl I've been interested in for a while (though only after losing the nerve to call in person). That she didn't scream in terror at the time or make any obvious attempt to avoid me is a good thing. Alas, she was busy and I missed a chance to talk to her today (as I had intended to) as a follow-up ("How was your week, did the things you were doing last weekend get accomplished? [miscellaneous small talk from here]). Disappointed? Sure. But overall, I've had much worse experiences trying to talk to women. I can come away feeling that all is not lost. At least, not yet.

The projectors (or, as it turned out a projector and possibly the computer's video card) died in the midst of our Christmas Morning service. That's more troubleshooting work this week, probably Wednesday and/or Thursday night. But I'm in some ways glad that it was today, because I became noticeably dirty getting the projectors down to examine them, and I didn't feel the ned to stay pristine in order to talk to her later.

Finally, I got what I wanted for Christmas. A couple cheap movies, a pair of slippers, and a llama donated to a family in need in South America. I brought home nothing expensive, and I spent the holidays unconcerned with the things I was about to receive.

After the pressures o the season left me rather ragged, and muttering the occasional "Bah, humbug" under my breath, in the end I think I can honestly wish everyone "Merry Christmas to all, and to all a good night."

Interesting Blog Entry

Saturday, December 24, 2005


Lest my loyal readers sense nothing but fear and dread in my spirit of late (mostly, but not completely right), I offer something that has helped in the midst of great uncertainty:

"Jesus, I Lift my Eyes" by Jars of Clay, Redemption Songs

When sins and fears prevailing rise
And fainting hope almost expires
Jesus to Thee I lift my eyes
To Thee I breathe my soul's desires
Are you not mine, my living Lord
And can my hope, my comfort die
Fixed on the everlasting word
That word which built the earth and sky

Jesus, I lift my eyes
To Thee I breathe my soul's desires
Jesus, I lift my eyes
To Thee I lift my eyes

Here let my faith unshaken dwell
Immovable the promise stands
Not all the powers of earth or hell
Can e're dissolve the sacred bands

Jesus, I lift my eyes
To Thee I breathe my soul's desires
Jesus, I lift my eyes
To Thee I lift my eyes

Here oh my soul
Thy trust repose
If Jesus is forever mine
Not death itself that last of foes
Can break a union so divine

Jesus, I lift my eyes
To Thee I breathe my soul's desires
Jesus, I lift my eyes
To Thee I breathe my soul's desires

Jars of Clay (Check out the music in the bottom-left corner, should you care to listen)

Friday, December 23, 2005


Please forgive me if I seem rather distant for the immediate future. I have yet to know for sure how she has taken my invitation to go ice skating, but I have no confidence remaining at this point. A week to think about it has been plenty of time to consider how every other girl I've expressed an interest in has reacted, and there's nothing encouraging there. It started the moment she said she couldn't go. Had I some reserve of confidence at that point, I suppose I'd have tried to continue the conversation, if only to be careful to guard how that news really hit me, but looking back, I ended the conversation pretty hastily.

A week also gave me time to reflect on the words that helped give me the confidence to call her in the first place. Normally, I don't believe such things. Dreams don't come true, and at least initially, what you look like on the outside is at least as important, if not much more so, than who you are on the inside. As a veteran "nice guy," I can say that the "it's who you are on the inside that matters" crowd probably has the luxury of being at least passably attractive. I'm not saying they are lying, just probably deluded. But I allowed myself to believe that it might be true. Now it's like those words were a crystal cup holding what confidence I could muster, now shattered and empty, leaving shards of failed hope embedded inside me.

What's left? On Christmas Eve or Christmas morning, I see four possible outcomes. One, she avoids going to the services she had initially planned on attending. Interpretation: she's avoiding me. This is a likely and painful result. Being avoided says "the thought of you asking me out is so repugnant that even seeing you at church will make me incredibly uncomfortable." Two, she shows up, but I don't talk to her at all or have any basis to judge how she responds. Possible, but I do intend to try and be friendly so I can see where she stands, so not likely. Three, she is there, and we interact, and it is clear that she is uncomfortable talking to me. Still painful, because it would be the final rejection. Less painful than the first possibility because at least she isn't running and hiding, just uninterested. Four, she goes, we interact, and her reaction is either neutral or positive. Highly unlikely, but I admit that I don't know the future. It could happen, I'm just ocnvinced it won't.

In the meantime, I'll probably stay in bed most of the day. I took it off, even though I already knew she would be too busy to do something with me because I knew I'd be brooding all day. I'd much rather be able to do so in private. I'll probably mark the time with what I had intended to do all day if things went the way I'd hoped (this is when I intended to get ready, this is when I would have left to pick her up, this is when we'd be skating, this is when we'd hit a coffee shop for something warm to drink afterwards, this is when I'd drop her off and thank her for a wonderful day).

I just remembered Valentine's day is coming up reasonably soon. I suppose I won't be sending her flowers this year. I did so twice in the past, anonymously, hoping to encourage her and let her know she's special on a day when singles can easily feel anything but. Bad idea? Probably, and I don't need you to tell me so. It's amazing how something that seems so romantic in a movie seems like such a bad idea in real life. After the first time, I overheard her asking a friend who could have sent them. A lady from the church? Another girl her age? "It must have been a guy," she concluded. I sometimes wonder if she ever got close to the truth.

Tuesday, December 20, 2005

Does it Matter?

I wonder: do girls know how gut-wrenchingly difficult it can be to approach them? Does it matter that a guy tries dialing her number 5 times, only to clear it instead of putting the call through before finally getting the nerve and hitting "Talk" (and promptly fighting the urge to hang up as soon as he hears dial tone and realizes the call is about to go through?

Does it matter that he's feeling physically ill with nervousness, that he paces about the house trying to get up the nerve to talk to her, that his palms go cold and he's trying desperately hard to breate normally so he doesn't sound like an idiot gasping for breath into the phone?

Does it matter that trying to approach someone you so admire feels like jumping from a plane hoping you can learn to fly - impossible, but oh so sweet if it works? That hearing the phone ring, and knowing that the phone was ringing in her her house was full of that no-going-back-now fear? That hearing her voice on the other end of the phone made the rest of the world go silent? That stumbling through an invitation to go ice skating is hard to do when your heart has suddenly stopped beating? That hearing that she had other plans deflated him like a worn-out parade float?

Or in the end, is it just an inconvinience? A possibly flattering but otherwise unwelcome intrusion into the evening? An uncomfortable moment to be dismissively laughed about among friends later? A sweet,if simple, thought like an old friend sending you a letter?

Having to let someone down is hard. I've been there (believe it or not), and envy no one who has to do it. Asking, not knowing whether such a let down awaits you is infinitely harder.

Monday, December 19, 2005

End of the World?

Hardly. When talking to a girl, and getting neither a firm yes or no when inviting her to go do something, it can be hard to know just what to think. So you'll probably see me fluctuate between tentative, if reserved hope and abject frustration over the next few weeks.

You are forewarned (ominous background sounds go here).

Sunday, December 18, 2005

8 days

Last week, I thought I saw her with another guy. That hurt bad. Then I learned I was wrong, told that if it affected me the way it did, I should express it. I admit, I allowed more hope in my heart this past week than I had in a while. It seemed like the time was right for things to change.

In the end, the best part of the affair was that I lost the nerve to ask in person. I managed to be pleasant and polite on the phone, however brief the conversation was. Whatever the record for akward pauses on the phone was in under 2 minutes, I think the record was shattered tonight.

How ironic is it that one reason she's too busy is that she's handing out toys to sick children with her family (I think... I was losing focus by then). What sort of horrible person could fault someone for that? I don't even get an excuse that allows me a chance to get all upset about it without feeling like a Scrooge.

By the numbers:
4 - years I've had a crush on her
8 - days I spent in the last attempt to strike up the nerve to ask her to go do something with me
2 - minutes it took for it all to come crashing back down to sqaure 1.

She was, to her credit, as kind about the way she let me down as anyone could be. I hope that the guy that finds her not too busy realizes just how special she is.

Thesaurus Addition

Another phrase for the "you're a nice guy but..." Thesaurus:

Logistics: Having to do with the allotment of scarce resources, eg, time. As in:
"...logistically, I don't know if I can." Girl's response to an invitation to go ice skating, during an admittedly busy time of the year. Synonym: "I'm just really busy." Antonym: "I'd love to."

Friday, December 16, 2005


Sam asking Rosie Cotton to marry him is recounted by Frodo as "the bravest thing he ever did," and this was after going into Mordor, single-handedly rescuing Frodo from the orcs, and fighting Shelob.

I'd have to agree. Trying to get up the nerve to ask for a date is hard enough. I think you could put a blender in my stomach, ice in my hands, a watermelon in my mouth, a kangaroo on my chest and give me the voice box of a boy hitting puberty and you'd know about how I feel.

There is, alas, no backing down. Despite the dread fear I know it is something I have to do, for good or ill. I've never quite got up the nerve before. I always lose heart and shoot off an ill-advised e-mail, but no more. It must be face-to-face.

Without the encouragement of a friend, I don't think I'd ever do it. I read what he wrote after we spoke about it on a daily basis, because I feel myself losing heart on... a daily basis. I appreciate that he's given me a nudge in the right direction while not forcing me to do anything, and offered advice and assistance as needed, which even if I don't avail myself of it lets me know he really is behind me on it, and that is greatly appreciated.

What should I wear? How should I initiate the conversation? When do I remember to breathe? How do I avoid wringing my hands, or staring at my feet? How do I remember to blink and not stare her down? When's the best time to do it? What do I say if she declines? If the answer is noncommital, how hard do I push? What in the world do I say if she agrees?

Ten thousand questions fly through my mind every instant, with each possibility spawning ten thousand more. At least with the spider, you have two basic goals: kill it, and don't die. There is not much nuance to try to determine there.

Anyone have a monster to be slain, or an evil artifact to be destroyed? A great quest, perhaps? I could use the warm up. God, help me.

More Useful Link

I still don't want anything for Christmas, at least nothing you can buy in a store (despite the admittedly tempting Duck Tales and Chip and Dale's Rescue Rangers DVDs that were recently released). I still prefer that people inclined to spend money on me during this season to give it to charity. They are welcome to take time to consider the things that matter to me (homelessness and hungry folks) and make donations appropriately.

I found this site, which ranks charities and nonprofits by their efficiency with donated money. I find it interesting to see how much the CEO makes, how much money is spent fundraising, and the like. Y ou can also look up regional charities, which led me to The Shade Tree, a full-time shelter for women and children escaping abuse or just trying to get off the streets. Not only are they very efficient with their money, serving a worthy cause, and regional (well, Vegas, but I can't really hold that against them), but the chief administrator makes less than $70K per year.

I have found that it is surprisingly difficult to ask people not to give me presents. Most people seem to think that I'm crazy. And I know that people like to give gifts. I just always wish that Christmas was about more than what I'm about to get. I still get giddy like a child and unable to sleep the night before, and that's okay. But It distracts me from more important things, and I'd like to avoid that.

Things You Can Survive Not Knowing

I was a late bloomer as far as being a sports fan goes. The first time I remember watching a football game that I cared in the least about was the '94 Superbowl. Not because I actually cared, but because the Youth Group was having a Superbowl party, and I figured I'd go.

I started watching UNR football for free as a student during my second year in school. I followed it the year before, but a 9am-noon Economics 101 class kept me from being too into the games. It happens that the year before was the last Bowl Game the team went to, and we won, thanks in part to quarterback John Dutton. UNR went downhill from there, but I remained a fan, went to games, got season tickets when I graduated, and did the alumni thing.

I was interested to see when EA Games made a Arena Football game, that UNR product John Dutton was chosen as the cover athlete. It's more obscure than the NFL, but Nevada has hardly been a major causeway in the athletic world.

In other news, Nevada basketball suffered their first loss last Saturday, to higher-ranked UCLA. Good news: they played poorly in the game, yet remained competitive. Bad news: they still lost. I was still pleased to see this article on CBS Sports.

Sunday, December 11, 2005

Sucker Punch

Only once before have I deleted a previous post. It was a picture I tried embedding, and it was ugly. I have said some things that left me feeling vulnerable, but let's just say I made some very hasty generalizations earlier. I ain't perfect. Things involving women are a hot button for me, and my supreme exhaustion the past couple weeks (fighting a bit of a cold and a LOT of rehersals for various Christmastime productions).

Excuses, yes, but not so far as to say that I'm therefore faultless. I was really just angry at God, and it looks like I may well have had no good reason to be, meaning, I saw things that didn't happen, or didn't happen how I saw them. My bad.

Thursday, December 08, 2005

Things You Ought to Know [but wish you didn't]

Slavery, in the classic sense. Going on. Right now.

From Philip Yancey's Reaching for the Invisible God:
"I cannot learn from Jesus why bad things occur - why an avalanche or flood decimates one town and not its neighbor, why lukemia strikes one child and not another - but I can surely learn how God feels about such tragedies. I simply look at how Jesus responds to the sisters of his good friend Lazarus, to a widow who has just lost her son, or a leprosy victim banned outside the town gates. Jesus gives God a face, and that face is streaked with tears."

Tuesday, December 06, 2005


In case you were wondering, the 5-0 Wolf Pack (not Wolfpack) has solidly moved to #17 in the AP poll and made it back on the ESPN/USA Today poll at #22. 4-0 against postseason-caliber (3 NCAA, 1 NIT) opponents on the road, including Kansas's Allen Fieldhouse, where in the last 11 years Kansas is now151-9. This Saturday, Nevada plays the first team on their schedule with a higher ranking than they have: UCLA (In the AP, this is a #16/#17 matchup, in Southern California).


I hate it.

100th post!

Here's to celebrating meaningless milestones! [raises another dose of Nyquil] Cheers!

Monday, December 05, 2005


I like C.S. Lewis. I rather enjoy reading the Chronicles of Narnia. Having discovered that they are short enough to read cover-to-cover in a long bath, I have read them often. I am intrigued by the imagery he uses, and enjoy the allegorical ties to my faith.
I am looking forward to the upcoming The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe. It looks to be done alright, though I know it is another Hollywood follow-another-movie's-proven track: we're getting a movie based on a book in a series writen by one of the Inklings with a fantasy background and fat Hollywood budget. I am often disinclined to be led like cattle to every movie that follows a formula, but I will tread loyally to the theaters to see the movie this weekend.

I like the books so much, that it was hard for me to comprehend what the writter of this article so despised. The teaser gives you a sense for where she is coming from:
'Narnia represents everything that is most hateful about religion'
How could she not like the story? Surely the banner of "everything most hateful about religion" is a bit much?

I read the article closely, because I like to understand why people don't see the same world as me.
Of all the elements of Christianity, the most repugnant is the notion of the Christ who took our sins upon himself and sacrificed his body in agony to save our souls. Did we ask him to? Poor child Edmund, to blame for everything, must bear the full weight of a guilt only Christians know how to inflict, with a twisted knife to the heart.
I think this helps to explain where she is coming from. It is a strange feeling for me to see the cross as a wretched thing, but it is a blessed insight. Having lived my life in the confines of my "church world," I struggle to see the cross as anything but the most supreme example of love. "Did we ask him to?" NO!

I am aware to an incomplete extent of the evils that lurk within me. Anger, jealousy, lust, pride, duplicity - these are just part of my extensive repitoire. I stand condemned before God, a very scary, dark place - the scariest and darkest in creation - but for that unrequested love of Christ for me. The cross is an unspeakable evil, well worth weeping over, a point the author of this article does not even go far enough in expressing. But through this great evil, God reveals the great surprise. It has been said that because evil exists, God cannot be both all-good or all-powerful - that any pain proves the world is less than it should have been. The idea that greater good must come through evil is dismissed by a circular approach to the original question - that a truly all-powerful God could have achieved that greater good without the evil. I cannot imagine this. The love of God is manifest so much more supremely in the reconciliation on the cross than by anything else that ever has been or ever shall be.

God does not just love His friends, He loves the rebellious enemies that we became, and we are then called to do the same. As God loved me, so must I love others, for that is what God is like. To the extent that the church conveys this message, we succeed. To the extent that we muddle this message, we fail.

Saturday, December 03, 2005


'Tis the season. I went into a non-grocery store for the first time since Thanksgiving, needing more than just food. It was late and thankfully mostly non-crowded. As I was finishing the loop that brought me back to the front, I slowed down in the "seasonal" aisle. There was a cheap ceramic cookie jar. The scene? The nativity. You actually grab the angel (carrying the banner "Peace on Earth" and lift the roof off to access the treats inside.

It depressed me. Not my typical "Boo hoo, me so lonely" Christmas funk, but the glossly crass abuse of the Holy Incarnation for profit. And yet, by the time I had made my way home, I found myself thinking of the pretty gifts and nifty electronics out this time of year. "Maybe I should ask for movies, books, toys and games. There's nothing wrong with that, after all." I found myself wanting pretty things, and not using this time to reflect on the gifts already given, both earthly and divine.

American society depends on ever-increasing wants. If everyone suddenly became content with what they have, the market would die. We have the need to have, to consume, to increase our holdings thrust upon us from our childhood. The giving of gifts becomes a ritual, a time of expecting things from others.

It is a difficult experiment, asking people not to give me things. I don't want to look as disappointed as I might feel when everyone else is opening their new toys, and I get cards saying that $10 was donated to Habitat for Humanity for me. But I want to refocus on the things that are more important than me this season. And toys, as much as I enjoy them, and as much as my family enjoys giving them, get in the way. I want to enjoy the time with my family, to reflect on what the Son gave up to become the Christ, and to put others before myself, not expecting reciprocity, but to follow the example of one who gave so much for me.

Friday, December 02, 2005

The World is Fallen

In Reaching for the Invisible God, Philip Yancey often hits a recurring theme: The world is good. The world is fallen. The world can be redeemed. This is meant as a rhythm to give a cohesive thought to the message of salvation. I am reminded of the second statement when I read this letter. It was written by an 8-year-old girl whose father, a police officer, was recently shot in the head, and died a day or so later.


Recent events have also had me considering afresh the death penalty. I believe that the death penalty is a legitimate tool of the government. I believe that such authority is ceded to governments by God. However, in a democracy the power of decision-making, of "shall we or shall we not use this power" falls to the people. Given the chance to vote, I would abolish the death penalty in all but a very few cases where the crime was both heinous and proven with absolute, 100% incontrovertible evidence. Sadly, innocent people have been executed by the state, and this is to me absolutely inexcusable. Better life in prison for horrible offenders than death for an innocent person in the wrong place at the wrong time.

I do not believe it to be immoral that the government may take the life of a person for certain crimes. For my part, I support tight limits on the exercise of that power.

Wednesday, November 30, 2005

More Basketball

The season has started now. Nevada has played three games, 1 at home, 2 on the road. We're curently3-0, but without any truly dominating wins. I have to remind myself that our greatness last year was not in winning by 25 or 30 points, but by controlling the clock, playing tight defense, and playing smart. UNLV was a tough fight - I don't think either team ever had a double-digit lead. And they managed to knock off Hawaii, who has gotten a few votes in the Top 25 polls since beating Michigan State.

Tomorrow we go to Kansas. How weird is it that when Kansas first came to Reno (a 14-point upset win by Nevada), they were ranked and we, of course were not. Who would have thought that just two years later, Nevada would be ranked #20 by the AP (an unofficial #28 by ESPN - just 1 point shy of a tie for 26 and 8 shy of #25... so close!), and Kansas would be unranked in both polls?

Who'd have thought that Nevada, a school whose name is STILL mispronounced by the ESPN anchors as the highlights from the football team's upset of Fresno State (WOOOOO!!!!!!) demonstrate, a school who nobody had heard of in the major sports world (at the 2003/4 NCAA Tournament, a cabbie picked up some Nevada fans and mistakenly said "Go Rebels," thinking back to UNLV of the 90's) would be the more highly-regarded team when playing in Kansas?

Who'd have thought that CBS Sports 4 weeks into the season would rank Nevada #13, that they would approximate a #6 RPI, or that would rank Nevada #14? Or that sports writers would have anything to say about Nevada, not as a NCAA Cinderella story, but as a team worth following?

Hype is, however, a double-edged sword. There is no surprising a big-name team. There is only a target on your back, and all the more reason to strive to excel.

---Football News---
Evidently Chris Berman chose Nevada's Ron Hubbard taking a knee at the 1-yard line instead of running the ball in for a touchdown against Fresno State with less than a minute to play as his top play of the week. I missed the story (no cable), but think that sportsmanship like that ought to be heralded. He had broken clear from the 15-25 yard line, had no one around to even touch him, but went to the ground instead of running up the score or pushing for another touchdown.

That's class.

Sunday, November 27, 2005

Amusing Quotes

From tonight's episode of The Simpsons:
Homer, after starting a fight with the Easter Egg Hunt Referee, Hugs Bunny:
"Silly wabbit, kicks are for ribs!"
Milhouse, after receiving a much-coveted kiss on the cheek from Lisa:
Milhouse: "I'm the luckiest guy in the world!"
Nelson: "Don't fall in love, stupid" [punches Milhouse in stomach, who then crumples to the ground.]


There is an episode of Seinfeld where the topic of giving a charitable donation in someone's name as a gift it discussed. It is decided to be a shallow thing, more selfish than selfless. I think I agree, to an extent. It could be taken as trying to assume the moral high ground ("You gave me this materialistic thing, but I fed the hungry."). It might feel unreciprocated - you get stuff, but they get a card. So I think it may be presumptuous.

Therefore, I'll be direct. I don't want any gifts. I have enough stuff. Would I like things? Sure, but need would be a great exaggeration. If anyone feels inclined to spend money with me in mind during this season, I'd be most satisfied with someone making a charitable donation. Habitat for Humanity, Heifer International, the American Red Cross, and World Vision are good places to start. I prefer nonpartisan organizations (Amnesty International therefore is not so high on my list).

Thursday, November 24, 2005

Picked Last

There is, I have discovered, an aura around every person. Evidently, everyone can see it but me. This aura tells people to pick me last for any form of sporting event. At a rough guess, I would say that 50-75% of the time I am picked last whenever there is a competitive physical activity where teams are being picked. I am convinced that if I played basketball and no one was more than 5 feet tall, I would be picked last. Maybe people just think I'm good-natured enough not to take offense. Mostly I don't. But I noticed that the really good players went, then the girls went, then the wild card "how will they play" people went, then me.

Technically, I didn't even get picked this morning. Everyone else got picked, I just went to the last team in the order. It was only flag football, and this sport definitely favors the fleet-footed, which I am not. And I didn't know most of the people there, so they may just have not wanted a stranger.

The result? In a game to 7 touchdowns, I threw for one, caught another, and made a more than proportional number of "tackles" for our team. We had no good chance containing one guy out there, but at least it wasn't just me.

Most amusing moment? First snap, we have the ball. I threw it to a girl on our team, about 5 yards down field. She turns to run, sees someone on the other team, and throws it at them. They catch it, and run it back for a touchdown. We then explained the rules a little more completely. It was funny, but the pounding headache I have from the unfortunate collision of my jaw with someone else's skull (a liability that comes with above-average height) is rendering me less than loquatious.

Wednesday, November 23, 2005


I'm the sort of person that really hates the idea of looking stupid. To myself, or others, I feel like I have to maintain an air of competence in all things. I once tried to rebuild a broken down picnic table. It came together... much worse than when I took it in. I still feel sheepish when I think about it.

At a point when I was more quick to believe things, I looked for divine signs to guide certain steps of my path. At least, that's how I framed it in my mind. What I really wanted were reasons to do what I was going to do anyway. The frustrations born of these experiences have, I hope, sobered me to reading too much into things.

But I cannot quench the looking for such things. When utterly lost and unsure where to go, looking for guidance is a natural result, right? So in my endless saga of frustration with women, there is a song that in recent times has improbably come up repeatedly with respect to the focal point of this frustration. Sometimes, through my actions it was made marginally more likely, but hardly to a point where I feel that I was "manufacturing" signs. The first time I heard the song, I was feeling very discouraged. I'd rate it #3 on my all time worst memories when it comes to women. I had never heard the song before, and the words spoke to me in a way that isn't very common. It is a song of promise, of hope, of things "not always being this way."

I chalk it up mostly to circumstance, but am willing to be grateful for the truth in the song. Later that evening, I hear the same form through a different medium, where it starts to play just as I am driving past something (on a multiple-hour drive, mind you) that threatens to plunge me back into the despair of earlier. Quite literally, the negative association with where I was driving formed in my mind, and the song began playing within 5 seconds. To top it off, a person in the car pointed out the fact that this song was playing, something not done before or since for the remainder of the trip.

Okay, I get the point. Things really won't always be this way. But two coincidences may in fact be just that. However, they did cement in my mind the association of this song with hope. Since then, there have been two improbable events occurring of the same nature (one which I would say happens once every six months, the other once a year or so), again, as this song is playing. There have also been several other more probable events that I could tie in, but then I feel like I am reaching.

What I don't think: I'm not going to take this song as a promise regarding a specific girl. Been there, done that. If everything in the world suddenly aligns such that unfulfilled and eviscerating longings turn into wildest dreams being fufilled, it will make a wonderful antecdote. But I do not want to impute what I want to come true to a promise from God that it will come true, because if it fails, I would use it to turn on God in anger. I want to believe things that are true of God, and I don't trust my judgment on such subjective things.

What I do think: I choose to regard this as what it is. An encouragement, divinely sent, that reminds me of the things I know are true of God. The He is faithful, near to the brokenhearted, one who knows the pain, the hurt, the loneliness and cares. That pain does go in time, and that faithfulness will be rewarded. That He sees the depths of my heart, and offers encouragement in my greatest weakness to show Himself faithful.

I cannot say if a girlfriend, much less a wife is in my future. But this song helps me remember that God is still good. God is still faithful. And God does still care. Of the potential meanings for these signs, this is probably the most valuable.

Sunday, November 20, 2005

I, Pharisee

One of those wonderful things about her. I don't think I've ever known someone so quick to avoid any spotlight on what she does to serve others. She shuns, flees attention like no one else. I admire this... very much. This is, I suppose, in part because I see in myself the temptation to do the opposite. Personally, I can readily identify with this blog entry.


Would you walk away?

Talk is cheap. It is far too easy to wax eloquent (or so I have sometimes flattered myself) about the problems, injustices, pains, and toils of the world. The above link is a post on a site I stumbled across, and it cut me deep. Do you ever wonder about the starving children you see in photographs? Did the photographer do anything? Obviously he was right there, like the film crew in "reality shows," but unlike in those shows, likely not forbidden to intervene.

I want to do less talking, and more acting. Hypocrisy is a subtle trap and a WMD for my faith. Jesus showed boundless love for those who did not hide their faults in a mask of righteousness. He gave sharp warnings to those who care more about the outside than the inside. Whitewashed tombs: pretty on the outside, full of death, decay, and rot on the inside.

Saturday, November 19, 2005

Intelligent Design

Is evolution true? Do species change from one form to another, even into other species? For me, the answer could be yes or no - it's not that big a deal. I think a God who guides the formation of life from primordial goo to human in His image is just as astounding as a God who simply calls into being fully-formed complex organisims.

I am astonded how often the designs we find in nature are so incredibly efficient. The idea that pure random chance somehow given enough time not only made intelligent (or so we flatter ourselves to think) beings, but ones that are so well designed that we can split an atom, but are hard pressed to equal a small fraction of the engineering marvels that allow us to play a game of catch.

Bones, muscles, nerves, the heart, blood, skin, the eye, joints, reflexes, hair, and the mind are amazing things. Who could build a pump that is self-regulating, runs for 70 years without missing a beat, is able to self-repair, respond to increased demand, and fufill its role so beautifully as this muscle in our chest that just does its job without a moment's conscious thought?

The Power of Google

Yes, I'm one of those strange people that googles their own name. Except that "David Schmidt" is such a common name that there are lots of results. Evidently, there's something like 10 million Dr. David Schmidts in the world (or so it seems). So I tried "'David Schmidt' Economist." How many Economists named David Schmidt could there be? At least one formerly worked for the Federal Reserve, but the most interesting thing I came across was this link: The Economics of Manure Management. Not only was it on there - it came in at #3!

Monday, November 14, 2005

Interesting Links of the Day

I saw this link while at work today. It was put together by a graduate department, giving interviewing advice to those seeking academic positions. I have not yet watched the videos, but they sound amusing.

Are "religious" people happier? Why? This article and the related links are a look at that question.

In an academic aside to my, shall we say, issues with singleness, this paper (PDF) is a look an attempt to quanitfy happiness in an economic sense. Among the conclusions: married people are happier than singles across the board. But widowed and divorced singles are unhappier than the rest. But getting a job makes the average Brit about 3.5 times happier than getting married. Interesting.


Things that make you feel like a not-a-person suck. We hate stereotypes applied to us because they are a hasty guess, may well be untrue, and it makes you feel like the person is unwilling to see "the real you," chosing instead a cheap out. To be "used" romantically is both insulting and humiliating - a person you cared about, maybe even loved, only led you along to get what they wanted. They were not concerned for how it would affect you, or if concerned, put their own wants enough in the forefront that no ammount of potential emotional damage to you would hinder them. When most of my friends didn't go to my college graduation, it hurt. The reason most gave is that "I've been to a lot of these. They're boring. They're all the same." But this one was different - it was different because it was mine. It was personal. For this aspect of it to not matter makes one feel like a nameless face in the crowd, a not-a-person, but just a face and a name.

I have read a similar warning when it comes to leadership, especially in the church. The temptation is there to see people as tools, as objects, as cogs you use to fill needed slots to make everything operate. This is deadly. This treats those bought with the blood of Christ as a hammer you get at Home Depot for $2.99. We must remember that these are real people, probably making real sacrifices to help. To treat them as a resource deprives them of dignity, of personhood. It is a temptation for me to reduce people to the utilitarian benefit I derive from them. I need to remember to appreciate them. Thank them. Let them know that they matter, not just for their schedules and availability to run sound, computers, or spotlights, but as friends, as colaborers, as people. To ask them how they are doing, and want a real answer. To share in their joys and griefs. To let them know that they are more than a tool, they are a person.

Friday, November 11, 2005

Another Blog

One might think that I don't have a unified enough theme, or frequent enough posts to have two blogs, and they'd be right. This blog is an attempt to have focused conversations about matters of Scripture. Things we've read, things we've thought about. I hope to have a cadre of people posting on it, commenting, and in varigated ways exploring common themes. But I'm patient. Sometimes. Except when I'm not.

Scary Evangelicals

A question I want to hear answered: what do people think of evangelicals, or Christians at large? What might the average person on the street think if I said I consider myself an evangelical, raised in such a church. Knowing how different people approach the same issue can be beneficial to both.

An article by Philip Yancey on just such a question, which I would not have found without reading Philip Hartman's blog.

Thursday, November 10, 2005

My Name in Lights!

This is what I do for a living. I gave a 20-25 minute presentation on the unemployment fund for the state. It is, for me, more interesting that it probably sounds. I had lots of graphs, charts, and tables. This is good, because it means the internet broadcast of the event showed the tables, graphs, and charts, instead of me. It would have been more unnerving to look at the monitor just over the shoulders of the people I was addressing and see my own face looking back at me. It was weird enough hearing my voice over the in-house speakers.

Monday, November 07, 2005

Exciting Links of the Day

Michael Yon Online Magazine. I don't know the guy, and obviously can't vouch for him. The spin is that he is an independent journalist covering events in Iraq from his own perspective. Looks pretty authentic to me, but I am by nature suspicious of anything that plays so perfectly to how I would expect it to be.

Clark Kellogg discuses his preseason picks for the Sweet Sixteen. Am I excited for the upcoming basketball season? You bet!

More basketball news. I don't think Nevada ever made both major polls at once. This year, Nevada has made the preseason AP top 25 (#22), the ESPN/USA Today preseason top 25 (#25), the preseason top 25 (#24), and several other minor rankings. We have a preseason All-American in Nick Fazekas (sharing the honors with Illinois' Dee Brown, Duke's J.J. Redick, Boston College's Jared Dudley and Duke's Shelden Williams). I have seen two journalistic opinions (one in the local paper, one referenced above) that place Nevada in the Sweet Sixteen. And this with the team yet to play a regular season game. Hopefully the hype doesn't prove to be only that.

Sunday, November 06, 2005


I had lunch with a friend today. It was good, we chatted, and I got to order Country Fried Steak from Chili's, which I really like (though I ended up not touching the steak... that came home as leftovers). At one point be brought up a girl I had asked him about before (as in, "do you think there's potential for a relationship here?") After bringing up the subject, he paused. I was expecting the response I had been expecting ever since I brought it up to him. The specifics were unknown, but the conclusion is always "don't go for it." Instead, what I thought he said was "[she's] interested." I was quite stunned. I think I lifted my eyebrows. I try very hard to not let people read me unless I let them (and these topics I play very close-to-the-vest in person), but the human brain is impressive as judged by the the sheer volume of distinct thoughts I had in the two-second pause in conversation. "Oh?" (I think I said). The remainder of the conversation bore out that what he probably really said was "[she's] interesting." As in, that's an interesting question. If I know anything, I'm not telling you, but it's never a good idea to put all your eggs in one basket. I do not think it was a translation of "she loathes the fact you exist" (not that I would really expect such a response), but it was hardly a hardy encouragment to go for it.

This reinforces the curious fact that between the physical stimulus of vibrating air molecules striking a taut bit of skin in your ear (or photons striking the strange cells at the back of your eye), there is a very important bit of translation that happens. Those vibrations are translated without conscious thought into an interpretation of the world around you. The more I think about it, the more impressive it is that misunderstandings are the exception, not the rule. The human body and mind are fascinating things.

Unfortunately for me, perception is not reality. If my confused hearing could somehow create reality, I'd be a much giddier blogger right now. As it is, I have roughly the same information I did before (though following a path that briefly soared above the clouds before plummeting back to earth right where it left).

Saturday, November 05, 2005

The Lord of the Rings

Yes. I like Lord of the Rings. Until I saw The Fellowship of the Ring, Star Wars was my favorite trilogy. I have on two occasions attended all-day movie-fests to watch the three extended editions back-to-back-to-back. I appreciate the investment made by the movie company, financing the filming of all three movies at once. I appreciate the attention to detail by the art department. And I like the blending of traditional photograpic tricks as well as digital effects.

This is an article I read about ways of interpreting the world of Middle Earth. I hold to neither of them, but would rather make the basic argument that most dogmatic positions taken in life fall on either side of the truest representations of reality, so any book, song, or movie which strikes us as true on a deeper level will fall in the middle thereof.

Sunday, October 30, 2005


In a previous post I received a comment to the effect of "Stop Bitching and Start Living." This was very direct advice, and useful because it is easy to collapse into only complaining about things, letting unresolved issues dominate my life to the point of robbing my life of any joy. But I was thinking about this: What does it mean to "start living?" Shall we use the definition from my Biology textbooks of high school, that the definition of life is to grow, to reproduce, to react to your environment? This seems to be the height of pointlessness. Is it the more hedonic "do what makes you feel good?" If this is taken to be a base motivation of life, in an economic "utility maximization" sense, then one might say I am doing that already. Perhaps whining in the past is more self-satisfying than anything else I can come up with. If the ultimate arbiter is myself, who is anyone else to judge what's in my head? I may well already be maximizing my utility with the resources at my disposal.

If my life revolves around me, then nobody else has any right to suggest that I live in any other way than I am. All such advice would be self-serving, as the number of TV and radio commercials, in addition to whole wings of bookstores for self-help books can attest It would be like trying to measure my pulse by counting off six seconds while simultaneously counting off the heartbeats in my neck - the beat in my neck always messes up my sense of time. Only when I ahve an external clock, if my life ought to be subordinate to something else, an external ideal that I have any basis for saying I ought to be better.

If I, therefore, claim to be following Christ, suddenly my life has a form, a mold that it can be checked against. My faith, love, aspirations, motivations, actions, emotions, and everything else have a standard to be measured against.

I need Christ, not only for forgiveness for my sins, but for a direction, a path, a purpose. I need Christ living inside of me, acting in me the unbelievable role of a member of the Body of Christ. Left to my own devices, I will as Scrooge McDuck pace the same tired territory in my life until I disappear utterly into the rut.

Wednesday, October 26, 2005

Less Depressing Post

I found these websites today. They may have use to you:

International Justice Mission
Famine Emergency Warning System

One of those days

It's just been one of those days. I think the rain has me unusually down, because while I like the rain, I see it is an unfortunate circumstance keeping me from going camping this weekend. So I get to go from doing something I love to hanging around the house doing nothing.

Ordinarily, I like doing nothing. I keep busy enough much of the time that I like to just chill. But the past couple months, I've felt even lonlier than normal. Given that I'm usually pretty lonely as it is, this is a noticeable dip. And on the rare occasion that the chance to do something comes up, I often decline it. There's a part of me that resents the "my wife has other plans, do you want to do something" approach. I understand where it comes from, and I'd do the same if the roles were reversed. It still sucks.

There's been a spat of birthdays at work, which means going to the conference room at about 10:00 am, having some sort of sugary treat, and politely chatting for 15-20 minutes. Most coworkers, being older than I, talk about their kids, their spouses, and the like. I hope that sports comes up. Otherwise, I got nothing to say. A spouse, kids, and a house for all of us are my three big goals in life. I have a job and a car, which would probably round out 4 and 5 on the list, but the big three seem unobtainable.

I currently first see the sun in the mornings about 75% of the way to work, and it gets later every day. The end of Daylight Savings time would change that, but I hope to move to a 7-4 schedule and use the time shift to help me make that adjustment. When I get home, there's maybe 30 minutes of sunlight left. But I do have a window with a view, so I see the sun during the day.

It's the holiday season. That always gets me pretty down. Valentine's Day, Easter, Birthday and October-January. I love my family. I just thought by this time in my life, I'd be on my way to having one of my own. And it doesn't help that some of the most discouraging memories I have in romantic pursuits fall during this time of year.

But mostly, it's been very vivid memories of past rejection. The sort of memories that in aggregate, lead to a very depressing "who did you think you were kidding?" If I had ever had anything close to success with women, maybe I could hold on to some hope. All I have managed to be is at best a good friend that gets to hear all about how wonderful every other guy in the world is and more typically a guy that causes women to become bug-eyed and run away as fast as they can.

It's like the whole dating scene is a bank. Guys get to take out loans - assuming the risk of making advances toward a woman. If things go well, they get to enjoy someone's company, build up confidence, and repay the loan. If they go as they do for me, they accrue interest on the loan in terms of rejection but gain nothing to pay it back. That being the case, I'm overdrawn and out of collateral to try to take out more loans.

It affects my prayer life, rather seriously. Meaning, I can't focus on anything else. It's hard to consider the great scheme of life or commune with God when the constant drum beat of my life says that I am effectually unlovable. I try, but it is tough. Especially on days like this.

Tuesday, October 25, 2005



adj. Given to contention; quarrelsome.

Why are Christians so contentious? Personally, interpersonally, intrachurch, interchurch, cross-denominational and with respect to the world at large, sometimes it seems like Christians never lack a bone to pick. Like me, right now, complaining about the fact that we complain and argue so much...

Do we feel a need to prove something? To defend the world from the evils of itself? To prove our holiness and become somehow more acceptable to the Almighty? Look at the following list, and rank them as to who would be most acceptable at your church.

1) A homeless man, smelling of urine and alcohol.
2) Two men, openly gay.
3) A young couple: spiked hair, black lipstick (on man and woman), spiked collars, enough piercings to make a Volkswagen.
4) A man in a suit, outwardly proper leading a secret life of sin.

All? None? Some? What "sins" do we regard as more evil than others? Premarital sex? Drinking? Hypocrisy? Swearing? But sins are not the only thing that can put up a wall. People who dress different, talk differnt, speak out of turn. What keeps you from embracing your brother or sister in love? What keeps you from seeking the help you need in the Body?

Do we really regard one another as more important than ourselves, or do we simply claim that high-minded nobility when it will impress others. Is my kindness more than a way of trying to signal to single women that I'm a good, godly man that they should get to know better?

Is worship more than cheerleading? Is prayer more than talking to ourselves to make ourselves feel better? Is church a social gathering to meet friends, get to know people who could be of use to your own goals, or a way to make yourself look good to God? What's with the Trinity - is it just a way of reconciling factual errors in the Bible?

If I want to get married but can't gather the nerve to ask for a date, can I blame God? If a childless couple wants children but cannot have one, is God really involved for good or ill? Not one sparrow falls to the ground apart from God's knowledge of it, but lots of sparrows are bought and sold and killed. How can God allow things like the Holocaust, Somalia, Rawanda, Bosnia, Darfur, Iraq, Palestine? Does God intervene, or do we just like to think that when good things happen?

Is faith worth the cost?

[Wow - that got away from me. I had a point, but it's late, and I like the questions. Some have answers. It's too late for me to start on that road intelligibly.]

Saturday, October 22, 2005

Don't Wanna Be A Rock Star

[exasperated rant] I never wanted to be one of those guys that every woman wanted to be with. I wanted one and only one woman to be close to. Loyalty, faithfulness, love. These are good qualitites, right? In economics, certain things are known as signals. These are used to make judgements with limited information, ie: a college degree signals employers that a given candidate is of above-average inteligence, even if the given job does not require the degree this candidate has earned. I suppose it's the same with women. If a guy is liked by some women, other women find him attractive because he is evidently love-able. Which leaves a guy like me out in the night.[/exasperated rant]

In other news, Tech Central Station has become my favorite reading at the moment at work. I can find plenty on market issues, which helps get my mind running. But some articles offer just plain interesting insights on a variety of topics.

See, for example, this, this, and this. The third is my favorite of the three, but each was informative and interesting.

In further news, I asked a rhetorical question whether the Bible could contain myth. I am not saying one way or another here, but consider the story of Job. It always seemed... less than historical. It almost seems to begin with a "Once upon a time..." Would that make it less true?

What about metaphor or allegory? The sun standing still, the strength of Samson, the parting of the Red Sea, the story of creation and the Garden of Eden? Literal history, or something else?

Finally, I may be going camping over Nevada Day. It will be cold and rainy. But (1) due to my recent change of jobs, I missed much camping this summer, (2) I now get Nevada Day as a holidy (hooray for state employees!), and (3) I always hope to get to know people (women) I don't see very often, if at all. Camping is my element. I feel more comfortable surrounded by trees, stars, and clouds. So while the unpleasant weather reduces the already unlikely odds of this happening this weekend, if I stay at home there is zero chance. If I end up going alone, there is also zero chance, but at least I'm out where I feel like I belong.

My only other regular social outing is football games, where if I didn't have a big "I'm a crazy fan" sign hanging over my head, my "singing" of the school alma mater before the game sticks the sign there with crazy glue. At a recent game, my former college pastor and his daughter made the mistake of sitting nearby. According to my sister, they were "laughing hystericaly." Funny is good. Crazy, that's another story.

Wednesday, October 19, 2005


I know, it's been a while. But I read something today (or, most of it - it is a long read) that I found to be worth sharing.

Is the Bible completely literal? Is there anything in there that could be a God-breathed myth?

I believe that the Bible is true, God-breathed, and profitable for teaching, rebuke, correction, and training in righteousness. I am not always sure that our interpretations are as foolproof. I belive that confusing the inerrancy of Scripture for the inerrancy of our interpretation thereof is horribly dangerous.

You should read this.

Tuesday, October 18, 2005


I was showing one of our rare, and therefore incredibly wonderful, sound booth volunteers several blogs Sunday. We sawe Jose's and Rob's blogs, and then I showed him mine. "This is my blog. I mostly complain about women."

This is, to a large extent true. I don't mean it to be, it just is. And I'm sure there are plenty of women who have felt the same way about guys, so hopefully they can understand where I come from.

Only a few people are afraid of being alone for the rest of their lives at 27, or so High Fidelity informs me. I am one of those people. So, fear turns into the ultra-unattractive duo of neediness and desperation. Because I don't want these to be the defining characteristics of my interpersonal relations, I avoid much human contact.

In another time, I was invited by a girl as part of a group of people to go ice skating. I managed to utterly screw up the directions, and left horribly late, in part because I was trying to carpool some other people. We ended up in the middle of nowhere, probably several miles if not more from the intended destination. As I tried motivating the people I went with to get moving so we could leave, they encouraged me to go by myself. If I could do it over, I would have. But I was nervous. I didn't know her all that well, and I sought the safety of the people I knew. This is easily in my top 5 regrets of all time, alongside not trying to play football in high school and not pursuing engineering in college (much as I like economics, the job prospects are much harder to come by).

It's these sorts of things that haunt me. Blown chances, missed opportunities. It's like flying in The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy (book, not recent movie): you have to be able to throw yourself at the ground, and miss. The trouble is, this is very difficult to do. I succeed at the throwing myself at the grund part, but in the crucial moment, I remember. I remember, seemingly in one instant, every rejection that came before. And so, instead of missing the ground and engaging in the perfectly normal conversation I might otherwise be able to have, I hit the ground, usually imitating a fish (opening and closing my mouth with the occasional bubble coming out).

In a previous post, Jose empathized with the observation that to a nice guy's dismay, women seem to fall for jerks. The veracity of this aside, I think it's like in Father of the Bride: at first you're worried she'll meet the wrong guy. Then, you're worried she'll meet the right guy.

I'm tired. I'm tired of chasing after things I can't have. I'm tired of waking up depressed because I saw her, or heard her voice in my dream; a simple "Hi Dave" in my head that is rarely duplicated in reality. I'm tired of the whole package. I don't want to have my heart stop in my chest when I see her. I don't want to instantly flash into jealousy when another guy mentions her. I don't want to think about her at all. I want to forget her utterly, totally, and completely.

And I don't want to lose her - not (and I'll thank you for not pointing out the contradiction) that she's in any way "mine" to lose.

Hear that thumping? That's me beating my head against the wall. I figure, someday I'll knock out enough brain cells to forget all this nonsense. Hopefully I'll retain enough to not drool on myself, or enough to not care about that, either.

Friday, October 14, 2005


Stories you may have heard about recently:
Conservatives attack Bush over Harriet Meirs
Heavy rains continue in Northeast
Job loss due to Hurrican Katrina tops 438,000
Wolf Pack defeats Idaho Vandals 62-14
Angela Merkel to be new German chancellor
Consumer Price Index surges in September - real wages fall
Dog killed in Reno mobile home fire
Violence escalaes in Iraq ahead of constitutional referendum
Bush stages interview with troops
Japan's upper house approves postal reform measures
Apple announces video iPod
Daniel Craig to be next 007
Bird flu outbreak in Turkey
Story you may not have read about (except that my know readership all knows Jose, and so probably has):

Genocide in Darfur

Why? In my case, it's because I don't really care. I wish I could wax long and eloquent about the atrocities being committed, but I am far too wrapped up in my love of sports, and my loathing of being single. Am I racist? To be honest, I was not too choked up about Hurricane Katrina, Hurricane Rita, the earthquake in Inda/Pakistan, the flodding in the Northeast, or many other disasters. I am sad in a very abstract way for those who are suffering, but I am not moved to act.

What makes Darfur different is that it is something that usually gets me: acts of evil perpetrated by one human being on another. Like the story of the pregnant woman who was knocked out with a baseball bat by her neighbor, who proceeded to drive to a remote area to try and cut the baby from her womb with a razor. Or the recently sentenced BTK killer. Or any other stories of atrocity. But in all of these I feel helpless against the flood. I am relieved when justice is done, but the accomplishing of it seems so big, so beyond me, that it feels fruitless to try.

It is a sad commentary on the news that partisan pointless bickering gathers so much news, while the rape, murder, and starvation of innocent children goes on without a second thought. But it is sad in part because the news is, for good or ill, a reflection of the stories deemed to be interesting to the people.

What can one do? I use Google News as my homepage. In it, you can customize what news you see by keywords, and sort where it is on your page. I could add a Darfur section to this page. I could look for stories about what is happening, and write to the papers thanking them for their coverage. It's just a thought.

Thursday, October 13, 2005

37 Days to Go

As a lifelong football fan, it is strange that in the middle of a football season that's better than in recent memories, I find myself more excited that Nevada Basketball is just around the corner. This very weekend, I don't know what to be more excited over: the beginning of practice for basketball, or the football game with first place in the conference on the line.

Perhaps it is because the nature of the NCAA Tournament in basketball makes it possible for a good season to mean a trip to the national playoffs, with a chance to win gmaes, whereas even a remarkable football season means a mid-level and forgetable bowl game.

Perhaps it's because I like seeing my school's name spoken with respect by people who couldn't pronounce it correctly when Nevada beat Michigan State and upset Gonzaga two years ago. Perhaps it's because led it's college basketball section with a story about my team over the weekend. Perhaps it's because CBS Sports listed not one but two Nevada players in its analysis of the top 20 players at each position. Perhaps it's because the WAC media and coaches unanimously voted for Nevada to take first place in the conference, with Nevada's own coah being the only one to vote for another team (because I believe one isn't allowed to vote for his own team). Perhaps it's because these same media and coaches picked Nick Fazekas to be the player of the year in the WAC - the same Nick Fazekas picked by CBS as the third-best power forward in the country. And perhaps it's because Nevada, gaining a top-25 ranking last year and retaining most starters, bench players, and the head coach, is under consideration as a preseason top-25 this year.

R-E-S-P-E-C-T. I guess this is what it means to me.

Sunday, October 09, 2005

New Photo

After contemplating it for 15-30 minutes last night, I decided I needed to make public one of my new favorite pictures. It's online at, search for author renowiggum and look at picture 100_2822. I like the simplicity of it, and I like that none of the moving cars showed up even as ghosts under the streetlight or the headlights of other cars. I also like how crisp the parked cars look.

Printing it to hang on my wall used more than it's share of black ink, but it was still worth it.

Big Brothers

I'm the family first-born, with a brother and a sister. So this Peanuts comic strikes close to home.

Friday, October 07, 2005

Life's Quirks

One of those things about Reno, good or bad depending on who you ask, is that it really is a small world. I went to the gym for my daily excursion into self-torture, and ran into a girl I knew from high school. I didn't recognize her at first, but she asked if my name was Dave, introduced herself, and we had a half hour conversation as she finished her exercise and I began mine. We talked about where our lives went since high school, what we are doing for work, how we aquired the furniture in our apartments, and other bits of trivia.

Why is it that I can have a completely natural conversation, even while short of breath with sweat dripping into my eyes, with a girl I hardly know when in the course of my everyday life, but in the church, my attempts at conversation often come across as wholly unwelcome? Maybe it's me, maybe girls in church are different from those in the world, maybe I was too tired on account of the cross-country machine to care.

Maybe it's just that in this instance, someone was kind enough to say "hi." It's amazing how much knowing that your conversation is not only welcome, but desired. It's nice to have someone talk to you like a normal person - it makes it infinitely easier to respond in kind. It's also amazing how often this doesn't happen in the church, in the kind of authentic, friendly way that invites your participation. I talk to my friends, but hardly anyone else. Outside my circle, I don't approach anyone, and the only people that approach me have known me since I was a child.

What would the church be like if people who hardly know you struck up a genuine conversation, without pretense, without expectations, without acting as though they were doing you a favor by speaking to you, or looking over their shoulder for the more popular people to be avilable to speak with?

Wednesday, October 05, 2005

A lighter note

In order to feel proud, and hopefully therein find motivation to continue:

In the 3 weeks (?) I have been working out, I've dropped about 10 pounds, from a high (albeit late in the day and fully dressed) of 258 to a low early this week (right after waking up) of 247.5.

I *hate* working out. I loathe every minute of it. I loathe every machine in the room, except the TV which reconnects me with ESPN. So I feel that much more proud when I can push through the sore muscles, the desperate desire to get off the elliptical 20 minutes into a 65 minute course, and finish to look down and be proud of my 10,854 strides (a personal record), with just over 875 calories burned, according to the machine, and know that I even did the first 25 minutes at an increased resistance level until the increasing incline + resistance utterly did me in.

And I have to express my thanks to Andrew for the times he can come lift with me. Without having my ego on the line, I would wimp out when lifting much sooner. I may had even stopped by now. And I have to thank Kenny for once upon a time getting me thinking about lifting. Without his beginning shove, I'd be much further behind now.

True Beauty

It sounds cliche. Enough so that I doubt myself when I think it, because I may in fact only be fooling myself - a curious ability of man to make a decision and then warp reality itself to fit the conclusion. But true beauty comes from inside a person.

I know a guy, and I remember when he first started dating his fiance. The specific conversation is foggy, but he did refer to her as a certain "very beautiful girl." I met her, and my first reaction was to be less astounded than he. Attractive? Sure. But it wasn't until I got to get to know her that I could agree that he has found a special person, and really be happy for him without reservation. I think it is self-evident that she loves God earnestly, and that this spills out beyond a pseudo-intellectual coffee shop debate into her life.

Love for God, manifested in someone's life - this is true beauty. A woman who can worship, pray, and study fueled by a desire to know and come into contact with God. A love for God's people, for God's work, and for a world of people made in the likeness of God. All the more so because I often find my own passion lacking.

This is a significant part of why I never really wanted to date people I didn't know. I wanted to find that kinship, and build from there. I didn't want to be in a position where I would more likely blind myself in order to have companionship. Because really, I often feel desperate. I can usually damp those feelings enough to subsist, but I fear myself in that regard.

So I made a plan, with the best intentions.

And it seemed like a noble idea.

And it, or I, failed miserably.

Tuesday, October 04, 2005

A Question of Ethics

Suppose you are in a railway station, at a rail switch. A speeding train is coming. If you do not pull the switch, the train goes down tunnel A, where there are 5 people on the tracks who will be killed. If you pull the switch, it will veer to tunnel B, where there is one person on the tracks who will be killed. Quick: what do you do?

Now suppose you are on a bridge. Below you, there is a bus on an unavoidable course for five people below. They have no hope of evading the bus. However, there is a very large man next to you. If you push him off the bridge, he will fall into the path of the bus. He will certainly die, but the five people below will be spared. Do you push him?

Curiously, when faced with this question, I pulled the switch, but did not push the man. More curiously, many people respond the same way. For a deeper look into this, check out this article.

Subject to Interpretation

If one should tell a few close friends: "I have come to the realization that I am wholly inept at trying to meet single women of like mind on my own - I need help!" (Paraphrased), and he gets the response "We've been trying... to provide situations where you can talk to someone if the interest is there" and no such situations come to mind (well, there were some enjoyable social evenings at their house where the enjoyable company was all married or dating each other), is the proper interpretation "We are looking, but there's just no one out there?"

At least I know they're trying. The others just stay suspiciously silent.

Monday, October 03, 2005

Professional, or Something

Today I had my first significant responsibility as an Economist. By statute, the Employment Security Council has to meet once a year, and at this annual meeting the unemployment tax rate for the upcoming year is set. I got to give a presentation explaining the history of the trust fund, the current levels, and provide forecasts for the next couple years.

I got all dressed up in my one suit (which has served me well, but may need to be retired as the growth in my arms from working out means that the sleeves are noticeably tighter), made sure to shave carefully (skipping that duty Friday through Sunday to accumulate enough stubble to cleanly slice it all off - growth in facial hair is not something that happens in a hurry for me), put on my gray silk tie, and got it taken care of.

Through strange coincidence, I heard "Stayin' Alive" by the Bee Gees on my CD player 2 or 3 times this morning, which may explain once I had put the meeting behind me (broadcast live on the internet and everything!), I couldn't help but think about John Travolta's "There's just one thing left to do now... strut" line from.... whatever the sequel to Saturday Night Fever was.

I feel confident that when all cleaned up, I look pretty decent in a suit. I just don't like wearing clothes that I can't wear sitting in the dirt to set up a tent. Lacking the presence of a woman to "civilize me," I am quite content in jean shorts and a well-used tee shirt.

Evidently the entire meeting went well, was concluded in quick fashion, and the members of the council for whose benefit this information was prepared had good things to say all around about the quality of the information presented.

My name was on the agenda: David Schmidt, Economist. That's like, a real job or something. A job with which I can tell people what I do, and not feel like I need to hide my head in shame. Not because the work I had before was not respectable, but I always felt more capable than what I was able to do there. Now, I feel better able to stretch and apply myself.

And I make enough to support a family, should the need arise. Currently at $.02 per hour beneath the average national hourly wage, with a promotion and raise in a year (I think). There are studies that show that a person's satisfaction with their wage is not best measured in absolute terms (how much do you make), but in relative terms: compared to others. Being a couple pennies from the nationwide 50% mark at 27, I feel pretty okay with this. And I can look forward to a good career with the state, with room and time to advance.

Now all I need is the family...

Somehow, forecasting the future of the unemployment trust fund seems a simple task compared with that one.

Saturday, October 01, 2005

Who am I?

Below is a list of movies I own. Roughly alphabetical order, except those that were off the shelf for some reason. If someone has borrowed a movie, I have likely forgotten that I own it, henve it would not be listed. TV shows are not in order. Parenthesis indicate that I think I own it, but cannot find it. What does this list say about me? I'd be interested in hearing what you think.

Remember: some of these I received as gifts. But as I have no kids, no wife, and no girlfriends, these are for my enjoyment alone.

A Christmas Story
A Midsummer Night's Dream
Air Force One
Alice in Wonderland
Along Came Polly
America's Sweethearts
Analyze This
Apollo 13
And Now For Something Completely Different
Be Cool
Better Off Dead
Beverly Hills Ninja
Bill & Ted's Excellent Adventure
Black Hawk Down
Brewster's Millions
Bridge on the River Kwai
Broken Arrow
Bruce Almighty
A Bug's Life
The Count of Monte Cristo
The Cross and the Switchblade
Encino Man
Down Periscope
The Road to El Dorado
Farenhype 911
Finding Forrester
The Fighting Temptations
Finding Nemo
Jackie Chan's First Strike
Forrest Gump
Fraggle Rock: Where it all Began
The Fugitive
Galaxy Quest
George of the Jungle
Get Shorty
Good Will Hunting
The Green Mile
Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone
Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets
Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban
High Fidelity
History of the World Part 1
King Arthur
The Hobbit
Hot Shots Part Deux
The In-Laws
Iron Will
The Italian Job
John Q
Kangaroo Jack
Kindergarten Cop
A Knight's Tale
The Last Samurai
The Last Starfighter
Liar Liar
Lilo & Stitch
The Lion King
Little Big League
Little Monsters
The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring
The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring Extended Edition
The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers
The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers Extended Edition
The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King
The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King Extended Edition
Creating the Lord of the Rings Symphony
The Lord of the Rings (Cartoon Version)
The Love Bug
(Master and Commander)
The Matrix
The Matrix: Reloaded
The Matrix: Revolutions
McHale's Navy
Meet the Parents
Men in Black
Men of Honor
Monster's Inc
Mr. Nanny
Mr. Nice Guy
The Mummy Returns
The Musketeer
My Fellow Americans
The Negotiator
Never Ending Story
O Brother Where Art Thou
Office Space
Ocean's Eleven
Ocean's Twelve
Open Range
The Passion of the Christ
The Patriot
Pirates of the Carribean
Planet of the Apes
Rat Race
Red Dawn
(Remember the Titans)
Road to Perdition
Robin Hood
Schindler's List
Robin Williams: Live on Broadway
Rules of Engagement
School of Rock
The Score
Shanghai Noon
Shanghai Knights
The Shawshank Redemption
Short Circuit
Shrek 2
Simon Birch
Sleeping Beauty
Stand & Deliver
Star Wars Episode 1
Star Wars Episode 2
Star Wars Episode 4
Star Wars Episode 5
Star Wars Episode 6
Star Wars: Droids
Star Wars: Ewoks
Star Wars: Caravan of Courage / The Battle for Endor
Suburban Commando
Third Day: Come Together Tour
Trading Places
The Three Amigos
Three Kings
Tommy Boy
Turner & Hooch
The Truman Show
U.S. Marshals
Veggie Tales: Holiday Double Feature
The Village
The Whole Nine Yards
The Waterboy
Weekend at Bernies
The X-Men Collection (1 and 2)
The Sixth Sense
The Hunt for Red October
Patriot Games
Clear and Present Danger
The Sum of All Fears
Cool Runnings
Monty Python's Quest for the Holy Grail
Walt Disney: On the Front Lines
The Terminal
The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy
Back to the Future
Back to the Future 2
Back to the Future 3
Black Sheep
Secondhand Lions
The Last Castle
The Majestic
Toy Story
The Incredibles
The Medallion
The Karate Kid
The Karate Kid 2
The Karate Kid 3
The Next Karate Kid
Alias Seasons 1-3
Simpsons Seasons 1-6
Futurama Seasons 1-4
Macgyver Season 1
Father of the Pride Season 1
Alf Season 1
Doogie Howser M.D. Season 1
Home Improvement Seasons 1-2
Dilbert Seasons 1-2
The Critic Seasons 1-2
Harvey Birdman, Attourney-at-Law Season 1
Star Wars: Clone Wars Volume 1
Quantum Leap Season 1

Often when I feel lonely or otherwise depressed, I go shopping, usually looking at movies. Does my melancholy show?

Sunday, September 25, 2005


I have long since stopped asking God directly for brokenness. I suspect that most people who do don't know what they nay be getting themselves into.

Read about 75% of my posts, and you find a guy trying and failing to come to grips with why he is where he is in life. Cool, calm, or collected I am not, but I play one well at church.

But all too often I go too far. I mistake the burden I carry as worse than those others have. I have never heard "Your dad has cancer." I have never lost a child, or a spouse. Aside from some Jello-like extra baggage, I am in reasonable health. I see well, have a full head of hair, and am a deceiving 6' tall. I have friends I can confide in, a family that loves me, and a roommate that is enough of a geek like me that we can relate well.

I have lost my share of dreams. To be dog-sitting in a house that smells of dog urine while a girl you believed would reciprocate your love in the end gets married is frustrating.

Brokenness for me is not being single. This is just the mirror that shows me how empty I thought my well of faith is. I have moments of noble "I will trust God no matter what." I wish I could say that these came up more often than desperate feelings of acute loneliness and begging God for reprieve.

Once in an embittered retort (wrapped in the cold "logic" I use as a defense when hurt) to another girl I had a crush on, I explained away her rejection of me with a surprisingly-cold "you're just not the sort of person who would want to be a pastor's wife." That remains one of the things I most wish I could take back, in part because the measure I used I feel myself measured against. And I find myself lacking.

For me the cross remains the anchor point in a sea of uncertainty. I know that grace abounds to sinners - to those who have nothing but utter filth to offer God. I know that neither my failures, my weakness, my fighting, my rebellion, my anger, my hypocrisy, my legalisim, my flippancy, nor my utter non-comprehension of the overwhelming majesty of God can separate me from his love.

I dare not proclaim my endless love for God on account of the cross, for my love grows cold. I cannot say that I will trust God through shadow and fear, because I have not. I cannot pledge fealty, because my next thought may be worthy of hellfire. But I can come: weary of the burden of myself that I carry, and find acceptance. And not just a cold non-rejection, but the love of a Father whose son was dead and is now lives.

The cross. The one point at which my blasphemies are shown for the hollow utterances they are; where my dusty well of faith is filled; where my filthy garments are replaced with the very righteousness of God.

Wednesday, September 21, 2005

Why "Price Gouging" Isn't Evil

In the wake of a natural disaster, it is natural for politicians, pundits, and other talking heads to denounce the horrible evil of Price Gouging.

Price Gouging as popularly defined, is raising prices for essential goods and services in a crisis. The more technical definition includes the term "unconscionable profiteering." There was a letter to the editor which won the weekly award for being the most well written such letter during the week in this Saturday's paper. The thrust was "Why did your prices go up in between new shipments of gas? How could the $70/barrel price of oil have made it to my gas pump so fast?" The quick demon: Price Gouging.

Prices in the market are a function of Supply and Demand. How much do you want something? How much are you willing to pay? How much is the supplier willing to give it to you for? If prices are too high, some people will purchase, but suppliers will be left with a lot of inventory they did not sell (hurts suppliers), while many customers who would have liked that product are left without it (hurts customers). If prices are too low, the inventory is sold out below what it was worth (hurts suppliers) and people who wanted that product at that price are SOL (hurts consumers).

In a crisis, there is an increased demand for certain products, like plywood. Because no one has a magic wand to make more plywood appear instantaneously at the same cost as the existing plywood or less, supply is limited. How do we determine who gets this plywood? Market Economists will say the people who value it the most: the people who will pay the most for it. At first this seems unfair. Why should people with more money get things that poorer people need too? The answer to this good question is another good question: Why should people who wanted this plywood be unable to buy it when supplies are gone? Artificially low prices produce a shortage. If there is a demand for 15,000 sheets of plywood and only 5,000 available, what is the moral difference between allocating them to those willing to pay a higher price: say $15 per sheet, instead of those people lucky enough to grab the same sheets at $5 per sheet? In fact, I suggest the former is preferable, because then the supplier gets the full value of those 5,000 sheets.

Apply this principle (higher prices lead to fewer people consuming a good or service until a balance is reached) to the gas pump. Why is it fair for prices to go up, even when the cost per gallon is the same? (1) Because people are willing to pay it. (2) Because if gas prices are shooting up in response to high demand (in this case, panicked car buyers topping off their tanks upon hearing that oil hit $70 per barrel), increased prices both restrict demand to ward off a shortage and provide the full value of that gas to the person who had to pay for it so he could sell it to you.

I heard about people who in the aftermath of Hurricane Andrew purchased generators from areas that had them north of Florida, transported them into Florida, and resold them at significantly higher prices. These people were seen as evil vampires, preying on human suffering. I see them as people providing additional generators, at a price people are willing to pay, to a market that has none because prices were too low.

What's wrong with more generators ending up in a place where they are needed, resulting in the profit of those who saw the need and moved to fill it?

Sunday, September 18, 2005


I tried. I really did. After learning that a girl I had been interested in was being, shall I say, "intentionally talked to" by a guy she was interested in, I really wanted to become bitter and even angry inside. I wanted to want her to fall for a guy and get hurt and know just how I felt. Mostly, I just wanted to not just get depressed. My typical response in the past has been the oh-so-pointless "If this will make her happy, I want that for her" that leaves me lying in bed at nights trying to figure out how to keep this from repeating again in the future.

I tried. I consciously cultivated a great deal of anger and frustration with God, and allowed that to pour over into the girl as she existed in my mind, preparing to be as cold and jaded as I could. Mostly, I wanted something, anything, other than the despairing "I hope she's happy, even if it means I may never be." Nice guys get hammered in the end, and I'm rather tired of being that nice guy.

And then I saw her. And it was all an illusion. And I didn't want to see her get hurt in the end. And I wanted her to be happy, even if it meant watching one more girl I cared about get married to someone else. It doesn't bring me even a vicarious joy. It hurts. A lot. And unlike in movies, where the hero has to demonstate that he is willing to lose that which he treasures above all else in order to receive it, I know where this road ends, and it is a rather unhappy one for me. Hpelessness. Cynicisim. Frustration.

I desperately wanted to feel something else. Noble or ignoble, I didn't really care. Just not that painful vulnerability. But in the end... Damn. I hate being a nice guy.

Thursday, September 08, 2005

New Pictures

New pictures are up on search for photos by renowiggum. Couple shots of the Yuba River valley, couple shots of Webber Falls, and one I really like of the coals from the campfire our first night up at Boca.


You have heard that it was said, "You shall love your neighbor and hate your enemy." But I say to you love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you in order that you may be sons of your Fater who is in heaven; for He causes the sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous. For if you love those who love you, what reward have you? Do not even the tax gatherers do the same? And if you greet your brothers only, what do you do more than others? Do not even the gentiles do the same? Therefore you are to be perfect as your heavenly Father is perfect.

I was camping over Labor Day Weekend at a local lake. It's a campground with basic amenities - drinkable water in faucets, restrooms with toilet paper and seats. For a few years, we were able to sneak up to the site on busy three day weekends and still get a site. Last Memorial Day, we had to reserve a site for the first time, as we did this Labor Day. This increasing business may push us farther into the backcountry next year, but we shall see.

Often when camping, you meet some of the nicest people in the world. The farther you get from civilization, the nicer they get. Backpacking is a way to meet just about the nicest people in existence. Perhaps it is this overly-idyllic outlook that left me so shocked when the people at the site across from us turned out to be just about the rudest campers I have ever seen up close. They were amicable enough during the day, but come 9 or 10 at night, the men would get some booze in them and turn into yelling, howling, barking morons. At 11:30pm on the final night, after hearing several other campers shout at them to be quiet (you shouldn't be able to hear people in another campsite after 10pm) and having them respond with less than kind language, we called the sheriff. They never showed up - likely they had much more important things to do - but we amused ourselves talking about what incredibly horrible people those campers were.

I participated fully in this. But not without internal reservation. Couldn't there be a better way to respond than insulting them behind their backs? Is there a way I could share with them the fact that they are more precious than anything to the God of the Universe, so much so that he would leave 99 people that 'do not need to be saved' to reach them? To share the love of the God of the Universe with them.

All I know is that in my actions, I chose to "love my neighbor and hate my enemy." I chose to like those that acted in ways I approved of, while looking down on those who behaved poorly. I failed. I said nothing when it was burning in my heart to do so.

Thankfully, I can find forgiveness. But the solace I find from my shame I did not offer to those who desperately need it.

Sunday, August 07, 2005

Deadly Llama Cavalry

In my new job as an Economist, I am spending a considerable ammount of time retuning my mind to think along the lines that I learned while in school. As a part of this process, I found the following on a very interesting archive of Economic Texts.

It is essentially a discussion of an argument that perhaps Eurasian Economic and Military strength came about because they had access to animals that were more easily domesticated than those in Africa or the Americas.

The author makes the point that this analysis could suffer from the powers of hindsight - that if in 1492 Montezuma had landed in Spain with deadly llama cavalry, then perhaps we would now be talking about how the difficulty in domesticating the horse relative to the llama led to the conquest of the Eurasian new world by the Aztecs or Incas.


Sunday, July 17, 2005


We have an instinctive feeling that, no matter who we are, no matter our follies, foibles, shortcomings, we should always belong. With our close friends, and with our families, we should have a place where we fit in.

We hear the story of the prodigal son, and despite the horrible things that the son does, it still seems somehow right that the father welcomes the son back. Some of the worst stories that pull at your heartstrings are those of parents abandoning their children. That feels so, wrong, so unnatural, that you can hardly believe such things happen. Rejection by those that are supposed to love you unconditionally, by those who know you best is the most complete rejection one can experience.

So when Scripture tells us that Jesus came to those who were his own, but his own did not receive him, we have a picture of what that is like. The Hebrews were God's chosen people. They were brought out of Egypt, given the laws of God, brought into the Promised land, led by the judges, the phophets, the kings, and even when hundreds of years of the most vile sins had sent the Israelites into exile, they were brought back to their land, with their culture intact, awaiting the promised Messiah.

If there was any group of people that should have recognized and welcomed Jesus, it should have been them. But Jesus was rejected, viilified, and executed. God himself enters the world and suffers first-hand the worst the worst that humanity can dish out, including rejection by his own beloved people.

Saturday, July 09, 2005

Busy, busy, busy.

A new car, a new job, and the tight finances created by moving from one job to another. The 11 hour day of leaving at 7am and arriving home at 6pm takes some getting used to. I have been reading a couple good books at once, interestingly covering the same topic - one a biography, the other a sort of autobiography, and it is interesting to see how various events in the person's life are treated differently.

I have nothing truly exciting to say, except that if you have not seen my archive at recently, you should check it out. Search the archive for photos by renowiggum. Let me know if you like any, why you like them, or if you have any photographic requests.

Sunday, June 26, 2005


From the greek prefix eu- weaning well or good and angelion meaning message or news. The good news. The gospel, in Christian parlance. It has been a hard couple of weeks. The father of a close friend of mine passed away, and though he had been battling cancer and very weak for some time, death is not a simple thing to deal with. It is hard. It is wrong, and it ought not be that way.

I believe that death is the result of sin. That sin corrupted mankind, and while we retain the image of God put into us at creation, it is a warped, twisted image. We know good and evil, we have lost our innocence, we have defiled the name, gifts, and character of Almighty God. Death is in it's way a gift - to live forever as corrupted people... let's just say that zombies are just that - the walking dead. Rotting corpses not at peace, seeking only to corrupt others.

Today we discussed the Crucifixion at church (briefly interrupted by a 5.0 earthquake about 25-30 miles away). The unjust death of Jesus the Messiah. The chosen one of God. The one who took my punishment as the physical realization of the significance of the Passover Lamb. A sad thing. Jesus died for me. For me. Me. I deserve what was coming to me, he didn't. A man, not beautiful in appearance, but in love, in kindness, in character, and in all those things that really matter. The cross brings up tears of grief in my eyes.

But the cross is not the end. The good news goes beyond sacrifice. Jesus told his followers that he had the power to lay down his life and to take it up again. And so he did. Death was not the last word. The grave was not where it all ended. The darkest hour in all the world, darker than Original Sin. Darker than the fall of Lucifer. Darker than the murder of Abel, the flood of the earth, the exile in Egypt, the siege of Jerusalem. Darker than the Crusades, the Inquisition, the Atomic Bomb, and all the atrocities and evil of the world put together. God himself hung on a cross, taunted by his chosen people, and died. The darkest day turned into the brightest light. Jesus died... and we can call it Good Friday because he made good on his word to his disciples.

He rose from the grave, with a new type of life, and as he was raised, so we can be raised to. He was the firstfruits, an example of what was yet to come. Easter Sunday brings me a great many benefits. But really, they do not compare to the fact that Jesus did not stay dead. That causes me tears of joy. I almost had to pull of the road today thinking about this, because I was having trouble seeing. Mankind did the worst it could, and God allowed it. God is Lord over all, and death has no trump card on him.

And when he arose, Jesus did not storm into the temple and slap around the Pharisees that incited the crowds to call for his head. Jesus did not approach Pilate and demand the keys. He appeared to his followers as proof of who he was, and handed them the keys. Go and do likewise. Love. Teach. Serve. And do not fear. They hated me; they will hate you. Torture you, too. Kill you, even. But I've been there. I was beaten, tortured, hated, reviled and killed. But I live. Do not fear death, but trust me and follow.