31 January 2018

Roman Thoughts

I'm in my classroom drinking my coffee... so, so good coffee.

I had a couple of things on my mind. I often think about religion and philosophy, so that's one of the things. I'm not sure if anyone reads this, and I'll say sorry to them if they don't like it. Maybe I shouldn't apologize. It's just me. This is what I think about, and I shouldn't have to apologize for who I am--unless I'm hurting someone. I don't think I'm hurting anyone.

Okay. I'm almost done with Romans. I plan on reading the gospels next. Romans has been an interesting read for me though. Today I read chapters 15 and 16--so, I guess I am done with Romans.

A few things struck me today. Paul was talking about building people up, and advised not to think about pleasing yourself. I thought that was good. A confirmation bias for me. I have always thought it to be better to serve others, and to forget about yourself, maybe even to a fault. I'm not bragging either, I have always felt that way. I'm shy. I tend to not stick up for myself. I've learned that it's good to advocate for myself more than I do, but I also realize that it's good to look out for others, too. In chapter 15 Paul talks about this a little.

I also highlighted a part of verse 8 where it's mentioned that "Christ became a servant". I want to think about this today. The idea of God is really hard for me to think about. I try my hardest to use logic and reason to understand and to describe the world around me. God doesn't fit. This is where I'm learning to have faith. I know it would be easy to just have no faith. Life would be good. I wouldn't have this burden. I call it a burden because it's hard for me to have faith. Yet I continue to try. I have some faith. And it's worth it to keep trying. I read things like this in the Bible where Christ became a servant. Gods don't become servants, they're served. This makes sense to me, and it makes sense to me because it doesn't make sense. I'll explain.

People look out for themselves. The people that look out for themselves seem to be very successful. I guess I don't have data on this. But, I wouldn't expect a person who has a lot of power and money to be a person who didn't look out for himself over others at some point. Money and power are good motivators. People want them. They'll work hard for them, and they'll have to consider themselves over others at some point. I don't think you can get around this. So, Christ became a servant. Looking at others over himself, even to the point of death. Christians are then instructed to do the same. This doesn't make sense. There's a bigger reward. A better reward than power or money. I'm not sure what those things are, and I think we can experience some of those things now. I think peace, relationships, laughter, love, and joy are some of those things. I'm still trying to figure this out. But, this is what I feel right now.

The other thing I noticed was when Paul was thanking people at the end, he mentioned a lot of women that were working with him. This is encouraging to me because I grew up thinking a certain way about what woman can do in the church. Lead was not one of those things I observed very often. I think there's a lot in the bible about women leadership that's ignored, or breezed over.

The other thing I was thinking about was pseudoscience. I might have to cut this short because the bell is about to ring. But, I'm starting to see people buy into pseudoscience a lot more. GMOs, essential oils, global warming, and chemicals are a few things people don't seem to know much about. Natural isn't always good, chemicals aren't always bad. GMOs can be good and can save lives, essential oils smell nice, but aren't better than scientifically tested medicine. Global warming is real, humans are causing it. Evolution is real.

Okay, I rushed through that thought. I'd like to concentrate more on that later. Maybe in our next podcast.

16 January 2018

Guide Me

Yesterday, I was listening to the Bad Christian Podcast. In this episode, they were interviewing Paul Young. He authored a book called "The Shack".

Okay, I'm going to pause. Right now, I'm writing in my personal journal, but I'm thinking about publishing this on my blog. The reason I write in my personal journal first is so that I hold less back. Privacy is good, but I want to be open. I don't know why. Right now, I'm writing to an audience. I'm aware that i'm writing to an audience. I'm going to try not to do that... I'm going to try to be as open as possible. Time to pretend that I'm the only person that will read this. Well, I'm not even sure people read my blog, so I still might be the only person that reads this. So, there ya go.

Anyway, back to the interview. It was an excellent conversation. This man was describing what he knows to be God. And it was excellent. The questions back and forth, and the experiences shared, were ones that...I don't know...they touched me.

In the interview, they talked about the movie the book was based. I was curious, so I decided to see if it was streaming online, and I found out it's on HBO Go. Lindsey and I watched it last night. I like to watch movies. I like to admire cinematography, and convincing acting, and character development, special effects, the whole nine. This movie wasn't awesome in some of those categories. But...I loved the story. This was a story about God's love.

There are some thoughts that are coming together and meeting in my life right now. I'm reading a book by Timmothy Keller called "Making Sense of God", and I'm also reading through Romans, and I'm becoming more and more fascinated in science, the cosmos, the nature of the Universe... What remains constant is love. There's good news in the Universe.

10 January 2018


I figure I'll write here more. I've been writing in my private, physical journal. I feel like the digital world is calling me. Maybe I've been watching too much Black Mirror. Whatever. I'll still write in my private journal, but apps are cool. Tech is cool, and if I feel like sharing my thoughts, I can do that easily. So, there ya have it.

This morning, I read the Bible. Not the whole thing. Just a few chapters of a New Testament book. I read the 5th and 6th chapter of Romans. The entire book is interesting to me. I grew up reading this through a lens that was given to me. I remember being told that I need to witness to my friends at school and I need to take them down the "Roman Road". The church handed out literature with instructions on how to "lead someone to Christ".

I don't have fond memories of the pressure that was placed on me. I didn't want to "witness". But, I'm not here to talk about my sour memories of the church. I'm reading new things, and I'm seeing some beautiful things.

Chapter five, verse eight says, "but God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us". I thought that was really beautiful.

I mentioned in our podcast that I didn't want to have a half assed faith anymore. My faith is super half assed. I thought to myself, I should either really grab hold of my faith, or just have no faith at all. For the longest time, I felt like a phony, because I had an inherited faith. Since I was nine, my parents took my to an evangelical church. And there are so many problems with the church, and that's how it is because its run by flawed humans. But what's grabbing a hold of me are what appears to be laws of the universe. Not natural laws. But these things I'm observing about the nature of Jesus.

While I was still a sinner. Unworthy. Christ died for me. He loved me that much. He died for me. Now, I know it's just something written in a book, by a man. As I think on this... there's a tug of war. I deal with doubt. Wondering if Christ was a real person. If Christ was God. If Christ's physical body was dead and he rose again. There are questions. But I think more, and I watch more YouTube videos, and I read books, and I listen to Podcasts (mostly secular, scientific). There are mysteries in the universe. The Universe is vast. Laws exists that planets have to obey. The scale of things blows my mind. From quarks to nebula, and all the detail in between. Existence. Consciousness. Love. And when I think about all of this, I read that the God that made this all happen loves me...

It's all hard to understand for me. I'm trying. Supernatural things are hard for me. Faith is hard for me. I feel like the more I learn, though. I can deal.

08 January 2018


New journal post. I was trying to remember all of the things I have to do. I feel like there's more... I guess not.

There's a lot going on. At least it feels that way. My mind needs to settle down. I need to relax. I need to remember the important things.

What are the important things to me? I know I've been saying that my faith is important. It is. My faith is really important. For the longest time, I've been walking around doubting everything, sweating details. I think I just want peace. I think that the gospel is making sense to me. -- Even using that word "gospel" makes me feel uneasy. I feel like the gospel as I've known is different than that the gospel is that I'm learning.

I'm trying to make sense of what it means to be a child of God. To be the bride of Christ. There's metaphors that help me understand. It makes sense though. Jesus loves me, like I love my wife. Or he loves me like I love my kids. I know my marriage isn't perfect. It's far from perfect, so the kids metaphor works a little better for me. That, by itself tells me I have work to do. I need to love my wife. I need to work on that. Kids. I love my kids. They make me smile.

And I can understand that metaphor. When Jesus things about me, he's pleased. Just like when I think about Juliette. I'm pleased. Her little self just brings me joy.

Thinking about that... I was remembering what our marriage counselor told me. I am the type of person that is searching for validation. I need it. When I do something around the house, I look to my wife to tell me that I did a good job. If I don't get that affirmation, I feel like I don't have worth. When she tells me I did a good job, I feel very valuable. It's good. Where I've been messing up is depending on my wife to give me that validation. I mean, my wife knows that I need that, and she does validate me. But, she can't keep up with me all the time. And, she's not a mind-reader. She can't know when I need that validation.

What's cool, though, is that I can remember that I am a child of God. God loves me like I'm his child, and he cares about me like I care about Luke, or about Riley, or about Juliette. When they do something good, I'm pleased. They make me proud all the time. I make God proud. I'm trying to embrace that more and more.

There are other things I want to work out in my own thinking. Things that are small. Details that are just fun to think about. The big thing is knowing what love is. I don't know entirely, but I do know that love is in the universe. Love is God. Jesus experienced death/sin for me. Because he loves me. So yeah, I'll leave it there.

Thinking more.

28 December 2017


I’m typing a document on a Windows XP machine, using Microsoft Word 2003. This is kinda cool.

Today, I’ve been quite the grumpy jerk—especially to my wife. She’s been a trooper with me. I know she isn’t happy with me right now. Nobody should be, though. Anyway, moving on. I want to talk a little bit about why I’m grumpy. The first thing that comes to mind is envy.

I keep a blog to vent. I vent my feelings, and sometimes I tell too much. I’ll be honest, though. I struggle with envy. A lot of times I tell myself that I don’t struggle with envy. Or, maybe there are times when I am perfectly content. Today isn’t one of those days. I went to the grocery store to buy some groceries. I’m doing this thing now—or I should say WE are doing this thing now—where we purchase the things we need for the month on our credit cards, then we pay off what we spent at the end of the month.

Again. Being honest. There are months where we spend more than we make. I’m a teacher. I’m not rich. I’m not poor either. But, we struggle sometimes. Finances is a topic that brings our family stress. I know that other families that don’t struggle with the topic of finances deal with their own problems, too. Problems I might not deal with. So, I can’t be too whiney. There are times though, when I just wish… I wish I didn’t have to worry. I wish I could have something nice. Things. I wish for things. But, I hold back.

There are days when I tell myself “fuck it”. I’ll go to the dealership and buy a truck. I’ve wanted one for a while. I’m 34. There are people my age that are now saving. More is coming in than is going out. They have “success”. I’m driving the car I bought in college. Thing won’t die.

It’s wrong to feel that way. I think it is.

I’m reading a book by Timothy Keller right now called “Making Sense of God”. It talks about those things people look to for happiness. They never get it. Rich people are necessarily more “happy” than I am. I just think there are issues I don’t want to deal with.

There’s that. I got that out. I’m working on envy. I realize I’ve got a lot. I’ve got a family that cares. I’ve got a house. I’ve got food. I’ve got transportation. I’ve got more than I need. Now I know I need to work on contentment. And I realize that things are necessarily bad. Things are cool sometimes. But, there needs to be balance. Balance should dictate my decisions, I think. I’m not going to just quit my job because contentment. I’m also not going to claw my way to the top hurting everyone that gets in my way. I am going to work hard in my job. I am going to love my family around me. I am going to be happy I have a car and I’ll try not to complain about it, or literally start to hate someone I see that’s driving the truck I want.

Okay. I think I’m done here. I’m going to try and write more. I’m in my workshop right now. I just ran on the treadmill. I feel much better. Maybe I’ll write in my blog every time I run. That’s a good goal for 2018.

Now it’s time to apologize to my wife for being a jerk.

01 October 2017


I’m laying on the ground in my backyard. The concrete is cold, but it feels nice.

There’s a lot of anxiety in me right now. I’m worried about my tests. Will I pass? Can I even pay for them? I’m not sure. But today’s talk at church was encouraging. We can trust that Jesus is for us. He cares for us and our well being. That’s hard for me to swallow. It’s hard for me to have faith.
I’m thinking about copying out of my journal and pasting into my blog right now, so maybe I should explain where I’m coming from. Where the background is in the talk and so forth.
The talk. We’re in 1 Corinthians 10. Here’s what I remember: people lose faith because they doubt God is either great, or that God is good. I’ve doubted both at one time or another. Honestly, I’m having a hard time remembering it all. I can look through my notes, but I don’t feel like it.
Anxiety. I’ve wanted to have money for a long time. I don’t. It’s even embarrassing to say. People measure your success on how much money you have. That’s how it feels. There are some that don’t. But, our culture definitely cares. It cares about money a lot. I’ve been sucked into that. I’d love a big house. I’d love a 2018 Toyota Tacoma. iPhone X. International vacation. Those all sound awesome. Even just not having to worry about things.
I can say that I don’t have faith many times. In fact, this morning I had a thought: I might be one or two steps away from atheism. And I wondered if that was a bad thing. I think I’m further away than that. But, this morning that was my thought. If that’s true, I wouldn’t want to resist. If there is nothing but nature, I wouldn’t want to resist. If there is not a god, then I wouldn’t want to believe. Using logic is good…
I’m not there, though. I’m a Christian. I believe in things that aren’t logical. I believe in the supernatural. I believe God met humans as Jesus.
He did things, and said things that weren’t logical. He told us to love others, even those outside our tribe. That doesn’t make sense. Nature says to look out for yourself, and fight outsiders. 
I’m thinking out loud. I don’t have it all together. Today’s talk was good. It strengthened my faith. I’m looking for balance. A balance between logic and faith.
In between sentences, I’m looking up at the sky. The clouds are moving around so gracefully. Whisper clouds breaking apart, then coming back together, on a background of blue sky. It’s beautiful.
Life is hard to understand. I have a drive to try to live right though. Treat others with respect. Show my children love, and teach them how to be good humans. I feel like that is important, and it’s consistent with my faith.
I’ll never have this figured out, and I imagine if I’m lucky to have 40 more years of life, my journals and blog will have the same sorts of struggling going on.

11 July 2017


I just googled "why do people choose to live in the desert". I'm trying to find out. I think I'm trying to justify my choice to remain where I am.

Recently, Lindsey and I visited her hometown, Portland, OR. I loved it. Linsey misses it. We were there only for a couple of days, but, it was enough to make us want to be there permanently. The Pacific Northwest seemed to be what we wanted, and everything we thought Albuquerque is not. Courteous drivers, cool weather, towering pines, a crime rate that's not out of control, and a community that cares about public education.

We decided to move. We were set, ready to go. Then we were smacked in the face with a healthy dose of reality. Housing costs. I like to say housing costs is why we didn't move, but it might be a little bit of my fear overtaking me. I don't know. There were a lot of reasons we decided to stay. Point being...we're still here.

Now, I'm googling things like "why do people choose to live in the desert". I'm trying to find the beauty of where I'm at. I've been exposed to a lot of ugly here, and my eyes are focused on that. People think we're crazy for staying. Some do, at least. Some people see the contrast of Albuquerque and some other city, and they move. They get tired and they move. We were almost those people. Almost.

I'm trying to be accepting. I'm trying to make the most of my location. My life. I'm trying to convince myself that Albuquerque is a great place... I've been a New Mexican in denial for a long time. People talk about the crime here a lot. I always stick up for us. My response is always a reminder that there's crime in every city, and Albuquerque isn't that bad. Then, my front door got kicked in in broad daylight and things were stolen. Another time, we got in our car to go to church finding a two liter bottle with a used needle in it. We forgot to lock our door one night and someone found an opportunity to shoot up in privacy.

There are drugs in our neighborhood. There is crime. Every night I feel a little uneasy that my house can be broken into. I think about what I would do if someone climbed into my house via my kids bedroom window. I imagine myself tackling an intruder and hitting them with any object I can find.

I don't like this feeling. I don't feel safe in my city. I felt safe in Portland.

I told Lindsey I feel like I have excitement hangover. Reality is setting in. I'm realizing that I'm here. I'm trying to make the best of it. I truly feel like I must be here for a reason. I have faith. Faith doesn't come naturally for me. I have to work at it.

I'm looking for beauty in our state. I know we have it. I've lived here all my life. There's beauty. I think the path I need to take is balance. I can't just look at the beauty and ignore the ugly. That's probably why we're in the place we are now. I'm a New Mexican in denial, and I'm sure there are more people like me. I think we need to confront the ugly head on. Do something about it. Still, stop and stare at the setting sunlight reflect off the Sandias every once in a while.

Roman Thoughts

I'm in my classroom drinking my coffee... so, so good coffee. I had a couple of things on my mind. I often think about religion and phil...