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Post #50: “Underneath me, all around me…

This is where I get to confess that I like hymns. I honestly don’t get why we don’t sing those as much as we used to…they’ve got some good stuff going for them. This one’s called “O the Deep, Deep Love of Jesus”. Hope you like it. (I think I’m going to start posting one of those whenever I can. They’re great.)

O the deep, deep love of Jesus, vast, unmeasured, boundless, free!
Rolling as a mighty ocean in its fullness over me!
Underneath me, all around me, is the current of Thy love
Leading onward, leading homeward to Thy glorious rest above!

O the deep, deep love of Jesus, spread His praise from shore to shore!
How He loveth, ever loveth, changeth never, nevermore!
How He watches o�er His loved ones, died to call them all His own;
How for them He intercedeth, watcheth o�er them from the throne!

O the deep, deep love of Jesus, love of every love the best!
�Tis an ocean full of blessing, �tis a haven giving rest!
O the deep, deep love of Jesus, �tis a heaven of heavens to me;
And it lifts me up to glory, for it lifts me up to Thee!

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Post #49: Church and the AIDS crisis

I was reading Prayer and the Art of Volkswagen Maintenance last night–great book, it’s out of print but you can find it used on Amazon and/or I could loan it to you–and I found this one part that pretty much sums up how I feel about church lately:

“Church doesn’t stimulate me the way it used to. It is most often the same as the week before. The worship lyrics are presented on a screen that has all but the little bouncing ball over the words, then the pastor gets up for a ten-minute sermon that could be understood by a group of third graders.* It is as if the church is ashamed to present the Gospel for what it is. We’ve got to water it down and tiptoe around the complicated passages. It is one thing to be seeker-sensitive and another to be silly.”

*My pastor isn’t really like this. He at least preaches about stuff that adults and people my age will get, and he goes for, oh, I don’t know, half an hour?

The funny thing about all these seeker-sensitive type services is that they assume that people who don’t know Christ are going to be drawn to Him through a bunch of happy, up-tempo worship songs and a sermon about how their lives can be better because of Jesus. People, or at least people I know, get really turned off by that. I don’t know about you, but I’d rather have something real than something that’s just happy. People, even Christian people, have their moments when they doubt, when they’re sad, when they have problems with their family, when they’re depressed. Somehow I just don’t see that addressed so much in church, except the occasional, “Well, just take all your troubles to God and He’ll take care of it.” Which isn’t to say that that’s a lie. It really is true. It’s just, well, where’s the compassion there?

I’m sorry, guys, but that’s just how I feel.

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Hey, did anyone catch President Bush’s State of the Union address the other night? I watched most of it, heard about the whole “Hey, let’s go get Saddam” plan, the tax cuts, blah blah blah blah. All that lovely political stuff. Oh, yeah, and the Congressional aerobics: Stand, clap, sit down again, repeat. Repeat more often if you’re Republican.

Anyway, the part that really stood out to me was this:

“As our Nation moves troops and builds alliances to make our world safer, we must also remember our calling, as a blessed country, to make this world better. Today, on the continent of Africa, nearly 30 million people have the AIDS virus including three million children under the age of 15. There are whole countries in Africa where more than one-third of the adult population carries the infection. More than four million require immediate drug treatment. Yet across that continent, only 50,000 AIDS victims only 50,000 are receiving the medicine they need.

Because the AIDS diagnosis is considered a death sentence, many do not seek treatment. Almost all who do are turned away. A doctor in rural South Africa describes his frustration. He says, We have no medicines many hospitals tell [people], You ve got AIDS. We can’t help you. Go home and die.

In an age of miraculous medicines, no person should have to hear those words. AIDS can be prevented. Anti-retroviral drugs can extend life for many years. And the cost of those drugs has dropped from 12,000 dollars a year to under 300 dollars a year which places a tremendous possibility within our grasp.

Ladies and gentlemen, seldom has history offered a greater opportunity to do so much for so many. We have confronted, and will continue to confront, HIV/AIDS in our own country. And to meet a severe and urgent crisis abroad, tonight I propose the Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief a work of mercy beyond all current international efforts to help the people of Africa. This comprehensive plan will prevent seven million new AIDS infections treat at least two million people with life-extending drugs and provide humane care for millions of people suffering from AIDS, and for children orphaned by AIDS. I ask the Congress to commit 15 billion dollars over the next five years, including nearly ten billion dollars in new money, to turn the tide against AIDS in the most afflicted nations of Africa and the Caribbean.”

The reason that impressed me so much is because I’m sort of a grassroots spokesperson for this organization called DATA (that stands for Debt, AIDS and Trade in Africa) and they’ve been working to get our government to help out the continent of Africa and such. Apparently, they got through. $15 billion, huh? That sounds pretty good. HIV and AIDS might not get totally eradicated because of that, but it’s at least a start. Now, why am I so concerned about these people in Africa? Well, Proverbs 31:8-9 says this: “Speak up for those who cannot speak for themselves, for the rights of all who are destitute. Speak up and judge fairly; defend the rights of the poor and needy.” I figure this is a good way to help. (Ha, and you just thought Proverbs 31 was just about that “woman of noble character.”)

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Post #48: “Lloyd’s dead…”

About the title…on Sunday, during church, Lindsay E. decided to start a story, and pass it around so we could all write a line (I only got to write ONE! it’s not fair!)…it was about Lloyd the bunny, and somehow he died (I didn’t ever see the end). Somehow, we’re going to resurrect him this week and write another story. Funny stuff.

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I think I’ve found the original emo song. George Friedrich Handel wrote it (which just goes to show you that yes, Christians can write emo songs, too), and it’s called “Ah! mio cor!” (“Oh, my heart!”) I’m singing it for TAPPS Choral Competition in March. It’s actually in Italian; roughly translated, the lyrics are something like, “God, are you there? I can’t help but love this person who broke my heart. You traitor–how can you leave me here weeping and lonely, and scorn my love?!” Like I said, the original emo song. If you could get Chris Carabba to sing in Italian, this would go great on the next Dashboard CD.

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Well, since one good quote deserves another, here’s one from feeling is mutual (thanks, Riss):

“Early to rise, early to bed, makes a man healthy but socially dead.” –Animaniacs

That ^ is my new life philosophy…lol

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My teachers…after five months of observing them, I think it’s about time for a blog about all these ladies (and two men) that work in order to cram as much information into my brain as possible. So…here goes.

Mrs. Holzman (Bible). This is the first year I’ve had her, and after five month’s worth of classes with her I’ve come to the conclusion that I like her. Granted, she does have ADD (and she’s even admitted to this), but I see where it comes from: She’s got so much truth to tell us that she can’t really help but sharing it all as soon as she possibly can. She loves God, that’s for sure, and her passion is to see us know Him too.

Coach Spurlock (consumer math). Hehe…Coach is crazy. He’s actually sort of a passive teacher–he gives us the assignment (or sometimes not even that, lol) and then sits back. Occasionally he’ll tell us to be quiet or quit talking about certain subjects…he’s a pretty cool guy all around, though, and all of us can poke some fun at him…he does the same to us, anyway. 🙂

Mrs. Lucas (English). I had Mrs. Lucas last year…she’s actually a pretty good teacher, I think. Sure, she can be harsh, but at least she knows what she’s talking about when it comes to literature and college stuff. Well, that, and she’s really easy to get off track…we go on so many rabbit trails in there it’s not even funny. She and my dad go round and round about the computers; it’s hilarious to see them go at it with each other.

Mrs. Syms (gov’t/economics). This is my first year with Mrs. Syms…she’s pretty cool. She’s been teaching for something like forty years, so she’s pretty set in her teaching method and such. She’s not a hard teacher, really; you just do what she tells you to do, and study for the tests, and you’re OK. For some reason my class amuses her a lot…

Mrs. Gertson (choir). Mrs. G and I have known each other for years–she’s really sweet, but she’s tough. She’s one of those people you don’t really expect to be tough whenever you first meet her, but trust me, she is. She’s pretty faithful to you, though, even if she does have to get on your case. For some reason, my class really amuses her, too…

Mr. Ozmun (speech). Heh heh…what can I say about Mr. Ozmun? He’s a lot of fun to hang around; he’s always got something witty up his sleeve. He’s really fond of talking about his kids, especially his youngest son (Dave), because he’s in this band called flying machine (also known as “spin490”–check out the link to the left). Heh…I love Mr. Ozmun. He’s the coolest.

Mrs. Weppler (Spanish). I’ve never observed her in a big class setting (my entire Spanish class is four people), but the best word I can come up with to describe Mrs. Weppler is “quirky.” She’s pretty well-educated when it comes to Spanish, and she actually joins in whenever the other three kids and I start wandering off-topic. She’s a pretty fun person, very nice, very concerned about our lives.

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Post #47: Someone save me from my life…

Have you ever just had a long stretch of time when everything was just mediocre? It’s been that way lately…nothing much really happens that hasn’t been happening for a while. Even the really traumatic/strange/yucky stuff gets boring after it’s been going on for months…*sigh*. I don’t know. I need a change in routine or something. The cool thing about God, though, is that even though He never changes, He doesn’t really get boring. Even if everything else does. I don’t know…I’m just tired, I guess. I keep wondering if this is all my life is gonna be like…oh well. Things can’t be exciting and happy all the time. (That would get boring really quickly, too…lol)

Anyway…yeah. Sorry for that lovely melancholy post. I think I’m going to go do my homework now…

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Post #46: Some spiffy quotes from various places

“Life is a dance toward God. And the dance is not so graceful as we might think. For while we glide and swing our practiced sway, God crowds our feet, bumps our toes, and scuffs our shoes. He lowers his head, whispers soft and confident, ‘You will dance to the beat of “Amazing Grace” or you will not dance at all.’ So we learn to dance with the One who made us. And it is a taxing dance to learn. But once we learn, don’t we glide. And don’t we sway. And don’t we bury our head in His chest. And don’t we love to dance.” (Donald Miller, Prayer and the Art of Volkswagen Maintenance)

“My Lord God, I have no idea where I am going. I do not see the road ahead of me. I cannot know for certain where it will end. Nor do I really know myself, and the fact that I think I am following your will does not mean that I am actually doing so. But I believe that the desire to please you does in fact please you. And I hope I have that desire in all that I am doing. I hope that I will never do anything apart from that desire. And I know that if I do this you will lead me by the right road though I may know nothing about it. Therefore will I trust you always, though I may seem to be lost and in the shadow of death. I will not fear, for you are ever with me, and you will never leave me to face my perils alone.” (Thomas Merton, “Thoughts in Solitude”)

“I don’t think adventure is ever the enemy of relationships. The bigger threat is boredom and routine.” (Bono)

“God doesn’t know us by our labels, He knows each of us by name.” (Kevin Max)

�I cried when I was born and every day shows why.� (George Herbert)

�Why is it called �Going to sleep?� You�re not going anywhere. You�re just falling asleep. Of course, falling doesn�t make that much sense either. Goodness, what a silly language we have here. Someone ought to complain. Write your congressman. It�s late. Good night.� (Zach Arrington)

And Jesus said unto them, “And whom do you say that I am?” They replied, “You are the eschatological manifestation of the ground of our being, the ontological foundation of the context of our very selfhood revealed.” And Jesus replied, “What?” (anonymous)

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Post #45: Paranoia…

Did anyone watch Alias last night? Ohhhhhh my GOSH. Madness. I just saw the last thirty minutes–wow, that was the tensest I’ve ever been watching TV. I seriously thought he was a goner.

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Well, Ethereal Thoughts has been undergoing some nice changes. There’s more poetry up, so I highly recommend that you go check it out!

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Here are some songs that I’ve been hooked on lately…

“Piece of Glass” by Caedmon’s Call

“Live For You Tonight” by Everyday Sunday

“Worlds Apart” by Jars of Clay

“Who’s Got My Back” by Creed

“Canto Alla Vita” by Josh Groban

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Another brilliant quote from Travis Hughes’ buddy profile: “Love is a sacrifice, not a suicide.” That, in a funny sort of way, is incredibly appropriate.

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Post #44: “We know that schizophrenia is a brain disease…”

The above quote is from one of Baylor’s assistant psychology profs…wow, that guy needs help. Or something.

Yes, boys and girls, my dad and I went to Baylor University today, had a lot of fun, met some cool people. Let me say this: Baylor has some nice buildings. Like super-nice. I walked into the English department’s building (oddly called “the Carroll Science Building”), and it was one of those places you expect Lewis or Tolkien to be wandering around in. The people are friendly, too…plus the girls in Collins Residence Hall have really good decorating taste. Quite nice dorms. Huge college bookstore (that has a really bad selection of music).

The only thing that sort of bothered me is the apparent lack of spirituality, but it could just be because I got around the wrong people. The funny thing is, one of my first thoughts about BU was, “This is a lot like Cypress, only bigger and there’s not a dress code.” It’s spooky how similar it is. The English prof I talked to reminded me of Mrs. Weppler (my Spanish teacher). Come to think of it, that psych prof was a lot like Mr. Dice, too…lol

Anyway, if you don’t know where you want to go for your higher education, I recommend Baylor. Heeeeeeeeyyyyy…sic ’em, Bears!

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Post #43: Come on, get happy

There’s this song called “Get Happy.” I think Judy Garland did it originally…Kristen Jolly’s crazy about it (which I found out when I started singing it during 8count). If you think about it, though, the lyrics are sort of a paradox…

Shout hallelujah, come on, get happy
Get ready for the judgment day

The first time I ever heard that, I was like, “Whoa, wait a minute–‘get happy and get ready for the judgment day’? What in the world??” We don’t normally associate the Day of Judgment, the “day of the Lord”, with something to get excited about it. I mean, we’re gonna get up there, in front of a holy God, and have to give an accounting for our lives and ourselves. That’s not going to be fun.

Or will it?

The Bible always says that Christ will come and we’ll be rewarded for what we’ve done, if we’re in Him. When He comes, we will be like Him. He’ll glorify us if we have glorified Him. I don’t know about you, but that sounds pretty cool to me. Also sounds like a good reason to live holy. Of course, you shouldn’t live holy just for your own glorification in heaven–that’s a side benefit of the job, though.

So come on. Get happy. Get ready for Judgment Day.

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Post #42: “Curiosity killed the Korean.”

Yes, boys and girls, that is an actual quote from yours truly, made today during English. I’d had it floating around in my head for a couple of days, and the perfect opportunity to use it came up. I still have no idea where it came from.

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Well, I have some cool, random announcents that I’d like to tell the world. They’re mostly about myself. Yes, I’m feeling very narcissistic today (lol).

1) Baylor University has graciously decided to give me $28,000 because I’m a good student. Yay, now we only have to pay $17,000 a year…
2) Got my license today, so if you’re out on the roads, look out for me.
3) It’s officially 11 days until the new Juliana Theory CD is out, so all you emo kids out there, be sure to stash $14 away for that.

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Does God still speak through dreams? I ask because I had a particularly weird one last night, and I have this feeling it means something. Maybe I’m reading too much into it, but it was seriously freakish. I can’t shake it.

You see, in my dream, I was scheduled to commit suicide. Yes, that’s right, scheduled. I had a specific date I was going to do it. Sometime in March, if I remember correctly. Rather morbid, no? Actually, in my dream I was looking forward to it. How strange is that. And everyone knew I was going to do it–my parents, my friends, my teachers–and they seemed rather happy about it. Don’t know why. Anyway, the time comes, and in my hand I have the stuff that I’m supposed to swallow–it was poison or pills or something like that (no blood in my dreams, thank you very much)–and I can’t do it. All of a sudden I get this overwhelming fear of eternity. Like, “What’s it going to be like on the other side? Am I really going to heaven, and if I do, what will it be like? What if we’re all wrong and it’s just a bunch of nothingness afterwards?” That kind of fear.

That’s where it ends. I don’t know what happens after that. Weird. Maybe tonight’s dream will be my committing suicide and actually finding out what it’s like. Or something. Who knows. Like I said, pretty freakish dream.

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Post #41: My heart is frozen with meaningless motions…

Ha ha, not really, that’s a line from a song I’ve had stuck in my head all week called “Knocked Out.” I have no earthly idea who it’s by. Actually, I’m quite giddy about a lot of stuff…God’s goodness and a lot of random little blessings He’s sent my way. Wow. He just rocks. If you haven’t figured that out by now, you should soon. Otherwise, you are going to have a very mediocre existence, and you don’t want that, now, do you? *shake your head back and forth* No, I didn’t think so.

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Everyone, if you can, check out a short story by Gabriel Garc�a M�rquez called “A Very Old Man With Enormous Wings (A Tale for Children)”. Amazing. The symbolism is awesome.

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My blog has a doppelganger! It’s studentteacher.blogpsot.com (not blogspot) and it’s a Bible study sort of website. It’s interesting, sort of.