Thursday, March 30, 2006

The Other Side of the Coin

I value people. I want to do right by others, which is why I don't want to put uncertain dogma ahead of concern for the welfare of a person I know.


This does not mean that I think sin should never be confronted, if it is known that sin is taking place. To allow another person to continue in self-destruction and rebellion against God is a disservice to them, and the weaker position for me to take. Sin is deadly serious, to the point that it would be better for a man to "sleep with the fishes" than to be guilty of leading a child astray.

This, then, is the crux of the matter. Sin whould be addressed. But inventing sins is harsh, judgemental, and alienating. So it is crucial that we be careful, that I be careful, in condemning others. I am growing cautious in placing my faith in my interpretations of Scripture. I believe it to be Truth, but it does not follow that what I gather from it has the same qualities of truth.

This is why I appreciate not just the doctrinal matters of the Epistles, but the life of Jesus in the gospels. Not a parsing of words, but the story of a life. Real life often seems so much more complicated than to allow for easy answers, and it is comforting to see a life that can be an anchor in the confusion.

Sunday, March 19, 2006


A man I know, a mutual friend of several of my friends, who I did not know very well at all until recently decided to announce publicly that he is gay. This is a topic that raises a lot of strong emotions in the circles I run in, usually resoundingly negative. I do not want to explore whether homosexuality, whether in the feelings or in acting upon them is a sin, though that is likely the central issue. How should a Christian respond?

My biggest gripe with the church I am familiar with (not a church, but the culture of church that I know) is that we, like everyone before, have certain offences that are higher on our list than others. We choose to single out certain deeds (homosexuality, abortion) as the topic of our ire and angst about the state of the world, while seemingly ignoring other problems (genocide, slavery, famine) in the world.

I desperately wish that we could drop all our pretense and seek God as a broken, messed up and lost people. I wonder if our public displays of contrition are genuine, or simply the things we are expected to say and do. I wonder if in worship we truly stand speechless in awe of the Almighty, or if we use high words to say "thinking about God makes me warm and fuzzy."

And I wish that we did not feel so confident in our interpretation of Scripture in some matters. Having a systematic theology is well and good, but I believe that we need the humility so say that we could be wrong about some things, perhaps many things. The Pharisees were as studious as an y seminarian, perhaps more so. We say that they were more concerned with status, and so missed the Messiah they were looking for. But are we setting up a straw man? These were real, presumably genuine men. I get nervous when I hear them discussed as characters in a play, instead of men just like me.

If our interpretation of Scripture causes us to call down fire from heaven upon the unrighteous, I worry about that interpretation. The example I have of Jesus is of a man who cared for the outcasts, the sinners, the people shunned by society while maintaining a sometimes cool, sometimes hostile attitude to the professional theologians.

For me, the Christian life is one spent following Jesus. Correctly reading and applying the Scriptures is an aide in this. The guiding of the Holy Spirit is another. This means a life among the sick, for they need the doctor. It is a life of rejoicing when one lost sheep is returned to the fold, or when a son thought dead comes home. It is a life of "follow me," existing not simply as an exhortation to "follow him," but a life I can invite those close to me to emulate.

How do I respond to this man? He has a heart for the homosexual community to come to know the person of Jesus. He wants to serve those the church has cast aside. Those I know that knew him before his announcement considered him a Godly man. So I will allow for now that his heart is what it seems to be. I will pray for him, as I understand what it is to feel like an outsider, or even to feel unwelcome, though in a different context. I have heard how the Christian cummunity has often responded to such men, with vitriol and hatred that it chills me to hear. And I understand growing older with desires for physical companionship being wholly unmet, though in a different context. To feel I am a freak for never having even been on a date is one thing. I imagine to be told you are a freak by those you worship God with because you like men instead of women being about the lonliest thing in the entire world.

In the uncertain land of right and wrong, I want to choose the side of grace and love. Support for the hurting. Help for the weak. Solidarity with those who feel alone. Not accepting sinful behavior, but not being hasty to label things I am uncertain of as sin. Who am I to judge another man's servant? To his own master will he rise or fall.

Tuesday, March 14, 2006

Not the Same

There are things that happen in your life that seem to change who you are forever. Good or bad, full of joy or pain, moments that affect your outlook, your opinions, maybe even everything that makes you... you.

Maybe these moments don't change you, but reveal who you really were all along. Or maybe you is a very flexible concept, not existing as a sort of Platonic Ideal, but simply a person in time, never what you were before, never sure what you will be.

Recent events have affected me, more than I can say to anyone in large part because I'm not sure of the extent myself. I am different, and I don't even know if the change is good, bad, or morally neutral.

So I ask those of you who know me to be patient. If you see me departing from what you think I should be or do or say, understand that I frankly don't care. But perhaps you won't think that at all. Perhaps I will seem completely the same, or even more "Dave" than ever.

I've tried to fit, to find a place where I belong, and where I feel that in the depths of my being. I play the roles I think might be expected of me, or those that might bring me that feeling. I look for romance to find this feeling - the image of a girl putting her head on my shoulder has always held a particular attraction to me as a close symbol of tender togetherness. I tried my hand at teaching, or participating in leading groups, but they always seemed doomed to failure, too. Even in the sound booth - it's something I enjoy, I think. But I'm not sure of that either. I can do tech things, and enjoy it, but I just don't know.

I leave for Salt Lake City in the morning for a few day's vacation. It has been very trying to get everything squared away, and I won't know if it is all set until I get there. I can't wait for spring. I intend to spend many weekends by myself at Davis Creek Campground, and others in the area. I am alone. I have no reason to believe that will ever change. I don't like it. But I don't intend to let that stop me from doing things, even if it taints them.

Can someone just explain to me why, when I send a general "who's interested in going on a camping/hiking trip to Oroville sometime next month?" bulletin out on MySpace, only one person responds (with an enthusiastic yes, of course). And why was it her? I actually believe I understand the answer (that a. she really likes camping and hiking, and b. she's making an extra effort to "be friends" now that everything is out in the open between us, a thought which is honestly appreciated for what it is). But really. Is God a practical joker?

Saturday, March 11, 2006


My desktop computer has died, at least for now. Windows encountered several serious, unrecoverable errors. In a time of tight expenses, I now get to get a copy of Windows XP so I can wipe my c: drive and reinstall it fresh.

Fortunately, it looks like the problem is with my c: drive, so my picture and video archives should be safe. I hope.

In a case of cruel irony, I am typing this tale of woe on my laptop, while my roommate watches an episode of Lois & Clark. In it, Lois Lane recounts the tale of a pathetic computer nerd who was her secret admirer in college. She, of course, was not interested.

But in happier news, the Nevada basketball team has won the first two games of the WAC tournament and now faces the #2 team in the conference in the finals Saturday night at 6pm. It should be a good game. The winner gets an automatic bid to the NCAA tournament. Nevada is widely regarded as a team that will get an at-large bid if it fails to get the automatic bid, but Utah State has to win to get in. If Nevada wins, they go into the NCAA tournament with a 14-game winning streak, the second longest in the nation.

Utah won in Reno, Reno won in Utah (by a much more convincing margin). Utah has a good sized crowd in Reno, and they are loud. Reno fans are individually quieter, but there should be many more of them.

Monday, March 06, 2006

Special Needs

Have you heard about the boy with autism that loved basketball? Whose coach put him in his first and only game for the last game of his senior year, with 4 minutes to play with the team up by 20? How he missed his first two shots? How he then rattled off a record 20 points in 3 minutes?


You should read this story. And watch the video if you can.

Geek Humor

He said: "You've committed one of the classical fallacies of message boards..."

I said: "Pardon me, but would that be Post blog, ergo propter blog?"

New Layout

I changed my links. Added some, and added some organization. If I overlooked you, or if you have things you'd like to add, let me know.

Exciting? Hardly.

Wednesday, March 01, 2006

On a Lighter Note

Can you name the five members of the Simpsons family?

Can you name the five (I count it six, personally) protected rights in the First Amendment?

You should read this news story.

In a survey of 1,000 Americans, it was determined that one in a thousand could name all five rights. (which means only one did, but there was a +/-3% margin of error)

Roughly 25% could name more than one right.

Over 50% could name at least two Simpsons.

And about 20% thought the right to a pet was guaranteed in the First Amendment.

Speech, assembly, press, petition (to redress grievances), no state establishment of religion, and no prevention of the free exercise thereof (the final two lumped in as one in their tally); Homer, Marge, Bart, Lisa, and Maggie. But we already know I'm a freak. I may as well wallow in it.

Tough Week

Bet you can't guess why. But it's a bet I expect to lose.

Let me just say if another girl ever tells me how nice, sweet, smart, great or admirable I am in the same breath that she tells me how she just doesn't think about me "like that," I might just scream.

She did say that she really appreciated the flowers, but that she was disappointed there wasn't any follow-up, and she was expecting that. I didn't say that, in the absence of the events of the past couple months, I had intended to do that this year - flowers with follow-up. The past couple years, one reason I didn't follow up was that my then-current job was not one I thought I could support a family on, and being able to do so was important to me before pursuing anything further. Now that I have a good career job, that wasn't standing in my way. But, you know. I'm a really nice guy, but she just doesn't think about me like that.

That's a rather common opinion, though. I think it'll take a miracle to find one who does. As Rich Mullins said, "Love is a miracle; it's a miracle if you can find it. And miracles are hard to come by these days."