November: A Month of Movies

Lately my movie reviewing count has laxed. I’ve watched many for sure, and scribbled some thoughts, but nothing concrete or for sure. This is due to business, but also to laziness. It is hard analyzing a film start to finish- then recording as unbiased thoughts as possible. In short, It has been a lack of discipline.

So, to remedy this, I have set aside november to do a full month of movie reviews. All Requests, once a day. This will not only get me back in the habit of reviewing intentionally, but also provide reviews for you guys, who have made the list I have.

So join me this November in some critical thinking of what we watch. Hopefully, it will be a month to remember.

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Listen to the Rain

Heavy Downpour

Constant rainfall could quite possibly be one of my favorite noises. The hushed washing of each droplet onto the ground, multiplied by a thousandfold creates a unique sound which is calming, and restful. The fresh smell of the water and the aftermath creates a refreshing deep breath to breath until the sun takes it away. The rolling thunder across the sky, sometimes soft and low, and other times angry and sharp provides a bass like nothing else.

A rainstorm is, in my opinion, of of the most relaxing and incredible pieces of work in creation. They are common, yet so taken for granted.

Next time one rolls around- Step outside, close your eyes, and listen to the rain.

The Path of My Degree: It Is Finished

March 2013- I set the pencil down in the Library testing center. With 5 min to spare, I had put my last period on my last sentence of my last paragraph of my last test in my degree.

I walked to the Librarian, internally jubilant and confident of passing the test. I signed the forms, paid the fee, and walked out of the library feeling like a new man. I was free. Free from college Deadlines. Free from expensive courses. Free from College.

I was free.

I worked in the afternoon at my job, per usual, and I was so excited I told everyone who would listen. Four years (off and on) of my life and the fruit was complete- given I had passed. I knew I had passed. I just knew it. Sure enough, a few weeks later, I look online and the score says passed, and that (After a few administrative hiccups) they were processing my degree.

It is a weird, wonderful feeling- not having any studies to do. God had already provided me an incredible job, so there was not even any transition from college to work. I jumped headfirst into 8-10 hour days. Mom and Dad were moving away with the family, so I started renting the old house, and even focused in on working more on my car.

College Was over, bachelorhood had begun. And I’m still loving every second of it. ;)

Please, Don’t Be Yourself.

Just going to share a quick experience about a common theme the world tells us today. A while ago, a person talking about many life choices they had made, and all the bad things which resulted in those decisions. Financially, personally, and physically. They ended the story with- “Well, that’s just who I am, so it works I guess.”

I want to plead with you today- please. Don’t be yourself. We, as humans, as flawed creatures. Scripture tells us over and over we are obsessed with ourselves, and in that, utterly lost in our actions. Without Christ, ourselves will destroy each other. Think of the various literary works, both ancient and modern, which display this. The book of Judges in the bible- where there was no ruler and the people did as they pleased. The story of Narcissus, where he fell in love with himself and ultimately died. In fact, greek mythology is full of similar stories. The Little mermaid (the real version- not disneyified), who gave up everything because she felt she was supposed to be human for a prince- ultimately dies.

The list could go on for ages where we see people pursuing their own desires. Being themselves and embracing their human desires…. Always winds up in a terrible ending. Why is the world encouraging this? Because Satan is the master of all lies.

So I guess I’ll sum this up with this thought. The world tells everyone to “Be yourself” no matter what adverse affects it has on others. No matter how destructive yourself is. No matter how painful you make it to live your life. In contrast, the Bible tells us to die to ourself. And in doing so will live a life glorifying to Christ, which results in fruit that is a blessing to all whom we come in contact with.

Seems to me, the best option is pretty clear.

The Path of my Degree: The Finish Line

You can read my previous post regarding my degree path here:

The Path of My Degree: The Long Haul

As time went on, I continued amassing credits. Statistics and precal through Aleks.com… Byran College Leadership courses…. and of course- CLEPs and DSSTs. Eventually, around December of 2012, I was reaching crunch time. I had enrolled in TESC, and my tuition ran out in March. It was time to take my last high level courses, and cross the finish line.

But what is a race without needed that last boost of energy to finish strong? I found the need for mine in January. I’ll say this honestly- the last semester of college is by far the hardest out of the entire degree. You’ve got the pressure to finish on time so you don’t have to pay another year of tuition, the most difficult classes, and final papers a mile long. Not to mention you are tired. Tired of studying, tired of deadlines, tired of being tired.

I was SO ready to be done I could taste it. Problem was, nearing January that taste was growing more and more bitter. I was tempted to do just enough to get by, and even tempted at times to cheat. As I was going through this, my “key verse” wasn’t doing much for motivation either. I could feel my heart hardened to the process. I was, quite simply, done. I was ready to go work and make money, and stop spending 8 hours a day in my room working on class assignments.

In the midst of this personal struggle, I remember looking one day at the poster many people signed when I graduated from high school. on the side, in small writings, there was a phrase, signed with a mustache. It said:

“Never tire of doing what is right.”

I thought to myself “too late- I’m tired.” But the phrase kept going through my head the rest of the day. By coincidence (kidding), I happened to be reading Galatians, and read chapter six the next day. Ironically… This verse popped out at me.

And let us not grow weary while doing good, for in due season we shall reap if we do not lose heart. ~Galatians 6:9~”

Noticing a pattern? Yeah, I was too. It was pretty clear I was being spoken to. Being told to keep doing good. Again, honestly, I didn’t feel like doing it. But I sucked it up, and did it. For the most part anyway. It is that verse, that kept me going in the final months. Did I enjoy it? No, but I knew that I had a responsibility to do so according to God’s word.

So, I’m not going to say I had a revolutionary change moment. Because I didn’t. I’m not going to say everything was all better and I felt great doing the last part. Because it wasn’t. Through the power of God alone though, I was able to keep doing what was right. Even when I personally didn’t feel like it. Like Puddleglum says- Sometimes we just have to put a bold face on it.

The next, and last post will be about completing the degree and the aftermath of such. Don’t worry- it won’t be as dismal as this one was. Because after a storm, the sun shines a little brighter.

The Midwest Gathering – Friday

Solitaire for Two

Yeah, I’m not posting daily. Once or twice a week will probably be my normal blogging routine, I just wanted to get a little ahead of the curve with the remembrances. ;)

Anyway, now I’m going to tell you about our mornings (or evenings depending on the day). Throughout the week we focused on two of Bill Jack’s videos, Seven Habits of Highly Suppressive People and Simple Tools for Brain Surgery. If you have never seen these videos or heard these lectures, I highly encourage you to look into these, along with Ways of the Wizard versus the Ways of the Wise Man. (links at the bottom of the post)

Bill Jack an apologeticist who uses questions in order to make others think about their beliefs in order to present the gospel. In Simple Tools for Brain Surgery, he outlines the method he uses to do this (I’ll post…

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The Midwest Gathering – Thursday

And Thursday, also well stated.

Solitaire for Two

Thursday!

Well… It started normal… getting up, staggering around until gaining food and curling up on the couch to chuckles and good-natured barbs. I still am not exactly sure what was said of me…

But anyway, we left around ten (yes, we did do stuff before we left, but the stuff we did in the mornings before leaving is going to have it’s own post. Because I want to do it that way and it’s my blog ;) ) for the City Museum.

You, if you don’t live near St. Louis or have never been to said museum are probably very confused as to why we went to a museum about the city of St. Louis.

Well, first off, it’s not a museum about the city of St. Louis, it’s a museum that is made of the city of St. Louis, and second, it’s not really a museum in the…

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The Midwest Gathering – Wednesday

Drew Covered the day much more entertaining than I ever could.

Solitaire for Two

We’re going to the zoo, zoo, zoo.
How about you, you, you?
You can come too, too too…

What?

Anyway (yes I did just quote a Raffi song on my blog. Sue me), Wednesday was a trip to the World Famous St. Louis Zoo. The #1 free zoo in the country, number two zoo overall, too.

We left in the late morning, parked, and ate an early lunch, picnic style at a nearby park (in Forest Park, it was a lark). We didn’t see the sharks, but dozens of other animals were waiting for us. It was really fun to see the stark contrast between some related animals. Like the Frogmouth and Kookaburra.

 

But I’m getting ahead of myself. We had our photo-op and started at the River’s Edge. Cheetahs, Rhinos, Hippos, Elephants, Hyenas. Yep. The African animals. We then went over to the Primate House.

After picking out…

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The Romantic Relationship Rant

touch

Contrary to the title, this isn’t going to be a romantic rant about relationships, sorry to disappoint in that way. ;) No, this is a conglomeration of thoughts that have been collecting over the past few years as I’ve studied the scriptures, read books, and listened to speakers and pastor’s on the topic of pursuing romantic relationships.

This pursuit is called many things today. Dating, Courtship, Promising, and other lesser known titles. Not surprisingly, many people take a position on which is the best method, and use it to pursue a relationship. And this is where the trouble begins. In our modern world today, the word “Date” or “Court” has many different meanings. Sure, the dictionary provides an empirical response to which we can refer, but it doesn’t spell out step by step what that looks like.

And for good reason. 

I’ve seen the past few years many many people jumping into the boat of Courtship. This boat is supposedly perfect. It won’t ever sink, go astray, it is safe, and can withstand any storm. In fact, if you don’t get into this boat, you should never set sail for a romantic relationship at all. At least, that’s what they tell you. And if you get into the dating boat, well, you are poor lost soul bound for divorce.

That imperative and near legalistic standard is the cause for my rant today. 

Because here is the deal. Courtship in any sense isn’t all gumdrops and flower blossoms. It isn’t anywhere near perfect, because I’ve seen first hand failures. It can be just as destructive as the term or method of “Dating” and can be just as emotionally scarring. It isn’t “God’s design” for relationships. It isn’t the perfect or even most desirable system.

Why? I’m so glad you asked. I’m going to let you in on a tip most people don’t know, but should, as scripture is clear on it over and over. That tip is this:

It isn’t what you name the relationship, but how you pursue that relationship. 

Something the vast majority of people miss in this area of romance and relationships is that because we are in Christ, and led by the spirit,  each and every romantic relationship a couple pursues will look different. There aren’t ten simple steps to engagement everyone should follow. And you know what? That’s OK.

See, it doesn’t matter whether one says they “Date” or “Court”. What matters is asking “Are they are pursuing a relationship with the right heart?” A heart striving to honor and glorify God in everything they do together and whom they interact with. What that looks like and how it plays out will be dependent on each person pursuing that relationship for Christ- emotionally, physically, and spiritually.

The key is to walk in the Spirit when in a relationship– just like you would in your normal walk with Christ. If you do that, it doesn’t matter what you call it- just know it is is a romance reflective of your redemption. How’s that for alliteration? ;)

 But I say, walk by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the flesh. For the desires of the flesh are against the Spirit, and the desires of the Spirit are against the flesh, for these are opposed to each other, to keep you from doing the things you want to do. But if you are led by the Spirit, you are not under the law. Now the works of the flesh are evident: sexual immorality, impurity, sensuality, idolatry, sorcery, enmity, strife, jealousy, fits of anger, rivalries, dissensions, divisions, envy, drunkenness, orgies, and things like these. I warn you, as I warned you before, that those who do such things will not inherit the kingdom of God. But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law. And those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires.

~ Galatians 5: 16-24~

Midwest Gathering Recap: Tuesday

The Tuesday morning sun rose officially starting an amazing week of fellowship and memory making with old and new friends. We had all talked previously on a G+ hangout call, and decided together that this day we would just hang out around the house. So Hang out we did.

It started off with breakfast and a devotional. We all watched Bill Jack’s “Seven Habits of Highly Suppressive People” video and lecture. The video went into detail the reasons why people reject scripture as the sole moral and eternal authority of their live. After the video, I asked some questions to see if anyone had experienced those rejections of the scripture from people they knew, and several had. It was enlightening and encouraging to share in struggles, yet also explore solutions to those problems.

The devotional lasted quite a bit longer than anticipated, so as soon as it was finished, I headed off to pick up one last straggler to the gathering from the airport. A few friends went with me, which made it much more fun. After we picked her up, we drove down to Chipolte to meet up with the rest of the group and enjoy a flavorful lunch we all could feel good about eating. It always amazes me how fast those workers can get orders out with each meal being entirely custom.

When we made it back home, the Frisbee was broken out and an afternoon of games commenced. The teams were rather uneven the first few rounds, but after we moved some players around they became much more evenly matched. This resulted in some excellent and challenging games which everyone enjoyed. As if frisbee wasn’t enough, after an hour or so of that game a soccer ball was produced, and we all played some pickup soccer. It had been the first time in years I had played soccer. While it isn’t my favorite sport by any stretch, I enjoyed the laughs and playing with friends.

Before supper, we played an improve game called freeze. Some people did some pretty funny things. Supper arrived all to quickly in the day, and we had an excellent meal of mexican lasagna, homemade ice cream, and cookies for dessert. There was another campfire going, so a few of us stayed up quite early just talking and being together. It was one of the best moments of the day and a great way to end it.