Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Literary quotes - A.K.A. 'Quotes from famous writers that you may or may not have heard of but nonetheless have somewhat interesting things to say'

(A.K.A Dan's totally madly in love with both C.S. Lewis and Donald Miller - from a purely literary standpoint - and these are some of his favorite quotes of theirs)

C.S Lewis

"I believe in Christianity as I believe that the sun has risen: not only because I see it, but because by it I see everything else."

"A man can no more diminish God's glory by refusing to worship Him than a lunatic can put out the sun by scribbling the word, 'darkness' on the walls of his cell.”

If the whole universe has no meaning, we should never have found out that it has no meaning: just as, if there were no light in the universe and therefore no creatures with eyes, we should never know it was dark. Dark would be without meaning.”

A man who is eating or lying with his wife or preparing to go to sleep in humility, thankfulness and temperance, is, by Christian standards, in an infinitely higher state than one who is listening to Bach or reading Plato in a state of pride.”

“Friendship is unnecessary, like philosophy, like art... It has no survival value; rather it is one of those things that give value to survival.”

The safest road to hell is the gradual one - the gentle slope, soft underfoot, without sudden turnings, without milestones, without signposts.”

A young man who wishes to remain a sound atheist cannot be too careful of his reading.”

Affection is responsible for nine-tenths of whatever solid and durable happiness there is in our lives.”

Has this world been so kind to you that you should leave with regret? There are better things ahead than any we leave behind.”

Even in literature and art, no man who bothers about originality will ever be original: whereas if you simply try to tell the truth (without caring twopence how often it has been told before) you will, nine times out of ten, become original without ever having noticed it.”

(As an English Lit major I love this particular one from Lewis)

Literature adds to reality, it does not simply describe it. It enriches the necessary competencies that daily life requires and provides; and in this respect, it irrigates the deserts that our lives have already become.”

(And my all-time favorite quote from C.S Lewis...(drumroll).......)

You don't have a soul. You are a Soul. You have a body.”

Unattributed Annals
"The stone cannot know why the chisel cleaves it; the iron cannot know why the fire scorches it. When thy life is cleft and scorched, when death and despair leap at thee, beat not thy breast and curse thy evil fate, but thank the Lord for the trials that shape thee."

Ralph Waldo Emerson
There are people who have an appetite for grief; pleasure is not strong enough and they crave pain. They have mithridatic stomachs which must be fed on poisoned bread, natures so doomed that no prosperity can sooth their ragged and disheveled desolation."

Antoine de Saint-Exupury
"It is only with the heart that one can see rightly what is essentially invisible to the eye."

"E iti noa ana, na te aroha: Though my present be small, my love goes with it"

"May the road rise to meet you.
May the wind be always at your back,
The sun shine warm upon your face,
The rain fall soft upon your fields.
And until we meet again,
May God hold you in the hollow of His hand."

Samuel Butler

"Man is the only animal that can remain on friendly terms with the victims he intends to eat until he eats them."

Mark Twain

"If you pick up a starving dog and make him prosperous, he will not bite you. This is the principal difference between a dog and a man."

Donald Miller

It was as if we were broken, I thought, as if we were never supposed to feel these sticky emotions. It was as if we were cracked, couldn’t love right, couldn’t feel good things for very long without screwing it all up. We were like gasoline engines running on diesel. I was just a kid so I couldn’t put words to it, but every kid feels it. (I am talking about the broken quality of life.) A kid will think there are monsters under his bed, or he will close himself I his room when his parents fight. From a very early age our souls are taught there is a comfort and a discomfort in the world, a good and bad if you will, a lovely and a frightening.”

Even our beliefs have become trend statements. We don’t even believe things because we believe them anymore. We only believe things because they are cool things to believe. The problem with Christian belief—I mean real Christian belief, the belief that there is a God and a devil and a heaven and a hell—is that it is not a fashionable thing to believe.”

We see those cigarette advertisements with the rugged cowboy riding around alone on a horse, and we think that is strength, when, really, it is like setting your soul down on a couch and not exercising it. The soul needs to interact with other people to be healthy.”

I need wonder to explain what is going to happen to me, what is going to happen to us when this thing is done, when our shift is over and our kids’ kids are still on the earth listening to their crazy rap music. I need something mysterious to happen after I die. I need to be somewhere else after I die, somewhere with God, somewhere that wouldn’t make any sense if it were explained to me right now.”

My most recent faith struggle is not one of intellect. I don’t really do that anymore. Sooner or later you just figure out there are some guys who don’t believe in God and they can prove He doesn't exist, and there are some other guys who do believe in God and they can prove He does exist, and the argument stopped being about God a long time ago and now it’s about who is smarter, and honestly I don’t care.”

Desiderata - St. Paul's Church; Baltimore 1692

Written on a placard found inside the church was this writing:

"Go placidly amid the noise and haste and remember what peace there may be in silence. As far as possible without surrender be on good terms with all persons. Speak your truth quietly and clearly; listen to others, even the dull and ignorant; they too have their story. Avoid loud and aggressive persons, they are vexations of the spirit. If you compare yourself with others, you may become vain and bitter, for always there will be greater and lesser persons than yourself.

Enjoy your achievements as well as your plans. Keep interested in your own career, however humble; it is a real possession in the changing fortunes of time. Exercise caution in your business affairs; for the world is full of trickery. But let this not blind you to what virtue there is, many persons strive for high ideals and everywhere life is full of heroism.

Be yourself. Especially, do no feign affection. Neither be cynical about love, for in the face of all aridity and disenchantment it is perennial as the grass. Take kindly the counsel of the years, gracefully surrending the things of youth. Nurture strength of spirit to shield you in sudden misfortune. But do not distress yourself with imaginings. Many fears are born of fatigue and loneliness. Beyond a wholesome discipline, be gentle with yourself. You are a child of the universe, no less than the trees and the stars; you have a right to be here. And whether or not it is clear to you, no doubt the universe is unfolding as it should. Therefore, be at peace with God, whatever you conceive Him to be, and whatever your labors and aspirations, in the noisy confusion of life keep peace with your soul - With all its sham, drudgery and broken dreams, it is still a beautiful world. Be careful. Strive to be happy!


Today I was given several gifts from my good friends at TNL - Mason, Katie, and Chris. Among the gifts was a necklace with a shield pendant, the back inscribed with Joshua 1:9b :

"Be strong and courageous. Do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go."

The shield symbol especially strikes a chord with me because I am beginning to realize just how greatly God has protected me through my life, even as I was spitting in His face and cursing His name.

With my father's struggles with alcoholism, I have a very dark past regarding substance abuse, as it was prevalent in my family. Indeed, I still carry genetics that make me incredibly susceptible to alcoholism, which is one of the many reasons why I don't drink.

Yet it was through the troubled times of my childhood that God's light shone brightest of all - to see now that His love for me is so all-encompassing and incredible that I cannot fathom it. He protected me from walking a darker path - one that I could have all-to-easily stumbled into.

I have heard it said that 'The sins of the father will be repeated by the son' - and I have also heard of (and witnessed firsthand) sons and daughters of alcoholics who immerse themselves in the very activity that drove their families apart. I am incredibly blessed to have never stumbled into drinking, and I thank God every day for my health in this regard.

I had many friends in High School who drank quite heavily, as it was their way of numbing themselves to the pain of their shattered family lives. They would often invite me to drink with them, and despite my great desire to numb myself from my pain, I would choose to return home in order to care for my mother instead. God impressed a great desire to care for others onto my heart, so much so that I would seek to aid others even in the face of my own brokenness.

I found that by helping and caring for others, I could forget my own troubles - if only for a few moments. My family needed me to be strong for them, and so I did exactly that - and I figured that as a drunken addict, I would be of no use in caring for my family.

Thank You, God, for keeping me strong in my greatest moment of weakness, and most of all, thank You for never leaving me - when all others had abandoned me, You never left.

I owe You my life Lord, and I'm ready to follow.
Teach me, and I will learn.
Break me, and I will thank You for it.

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Spiritual Pathways

Whilst resting my nearly-shattered body after a grueling day at Winter Park, I began reading a book that my friend Nick kept in his truck about spiritual pathways - basically a guidebook for the different ways that followers of Christ engage in worship - be it through immersion in nature (Naturalist), engaging and striking out against injustice (Activist), or through intensity of emotion and kinesthetics (Sensate).

No two people are alike when defined through these pathways - so much so that I find myself attributed to four different pathways in various ways.

I am a "Care-giving-Enthusiastic-Intellectual-Sensate".

Try saying that five-times fast. "CAREGIVINGENTHUSIASTICINTELLECTUALSENSATE"... - whew - quite a mouthful.

Useful for trying to sound smart, though.

I intend to either steal that book from Nick or rent it from the library (I like the 'renting' idea - less jailtime) in order to expand for this blog.

I found it fascinating - and oddly enough, strangely comforting in ways that my heart had felt pierced. For example, I have always felt like a 'sub-Christian', or perhaps a 'broken' Christian because I have never been spiritually moved by church music. The sermons are absolutely riveting to me, but the songs never have been.

From this book, I realize that I heavily favor the 'Intellectual' pathway as opposed to the 'Traditionalist' standpoint of rituals and ceremonies. I feel God in me when I learn about Him much more so than if I am singing about Him. Complex? Yes. Comforting? Absolutely.

I aim to have the book rented soon, and I plan to update this blog so that the "Ohh Wow Neato!" influence of the book can spread.

Until next time. (Or until the library gives me the book, I guess.)


Monday, December 15, 2008

Auditory Eroticism

I recently came into possession of a supremely powerful weapon. For years, I knew nothing of such a weapon, until I unwittingly unleashed it upon a poor and unsuspecting female.

It makes their desire for me insatiable. It drives them mad.

What is this weapon, you ask?

A British Accent. (A.B.A)

With A.B.A, the world is yours for the taking. Robbery, grand larceny, murder - all these are overcome by possessing A.B.A.

Suppose for a moment that you find yourself at a bar/party/funeral where you desire female attention. On the one hand, you could start out with a simple ice-breaker such as "My God these appetizers are fantastic! I simply MUST get Rob's recipe for this delectable Chex Mix!"


You could plant some C4 in their collective minds and blow them all away. Observe - A.B.A in action:

"'Ello man, 'ow ya doin'? I fink dat I've doid an gone to 'eaven, 'cuz I see an angel before me eyes! It's noffin' doin' man. This is a roight bloody trip, innit?"

...and so on and so forth.

It is out of control how much people love that accent. One could appear charming while wearing a cardboard box with dead rats stapled to it.

Simply say that you're from Bristol or Manchester, and roll wiv the punches.

But be careful. To quote from Spiderman: "With downplayed power comes fairly limited responsibility."

Truer words were never spoken. Or written. Or whatever.

The Worst Date - EVER

This is an old story that I've had on my computer for a year or two, but it is definitely a favorite amongst my friends, so I decided to post it here as well - if only to further the tale of this ridiculously embarrassing event.

Ah, memories. :)


I thought I might let all of you, my loving peers/friends/partners in crime in on one of the worst/funniest/worst/funniest again experiences of my (relatively) young life.

Here's a little back story:

I had been working at LOWE'S for almost 2 years when this ...event... occurred, and I would frequently go across the street to a restaurant (the name has been changed to protect the innocent) to order food on my lunch break.

One day, after frequenting the restaurant for some time, the head chef/waiter guy stopped me and told me that one of the girls that worked there thought I was cute and wanted to go out with me.

Now I have never been presented with this kind of situation in all my life (I.E. a woman asking me out, not vica versa), so I decided to be adventurous, and thought I might give it a shot. He gave me her name and number, and I was off, thoughts of potential-cuddling-and/or-movie-watching (or PCAOMW's) running through my head.

So I gave her a call, and arranged a meeting for the next afternoon.


I picked her up at the aforementioned (or referenced, in this case) place, and proceeded to ask her about herself as I drove around aimlessly. (You know, rule #1 in dating 101 - "Drive around aimlessly while asking her about herself.") I was following that dating etiquette that I just made up, and all was well in the world.

...Until my questioning brought us to the discussion of age. She revealed to me that she was only seventeen years old, which nearly caused me to convulse violently and veer off the road into a roadsign.

To clarify:

I was dating a girl who was five years younger than me, which isn't a problem unless I was 22, which I was at the time. So: underage minor chillin' in my car with me.

Back to the story:

After she told me this interesting piece of information, I informed her that I was in fact twenty-two years old. Here's what she said (this is verbatim):

"Cool! You can buy me booze!"

...Now I don't drink in the first place, so that idea was quickly dismissed from my mind. The secondary element that dismissed said idea even more quickly was the fact that I could be arrested for being with a minor, let alone buying her alcohol. Yeesh.

Oh, it gets better.

Awkwardly, I changed the subject, and asked her what she wanted to do for our first date. She told me that she liked to go dumpster diving on a regular basis, and suggested that.

-Here's a bit of clarification, for you non-Dumpster-Diving aficionados: 'Dumpster Diving' consists of jumping into an open dumpster, and digging through people's discarded trash in the hopes of finding some cool stuff that you may want to keep/use/eat whynot. Yeah.

So, still retaining my adventurous mood (which was now bordering on mild insanity), I agreed to do this deed, if only for the sake of being able to tell someone that I have never met that I have dived into a dumpster with no other purpose than the sheer enjoyment of it all. So, we drove around to a local grocery store, and drove around back to find the dumpster.

She squealed with glee at the sight of a large dumpster (which was probably the one-hundred-and-ninth red flag that she set off in my mind) and pulled out a pair of gloves from her back pocket in preparation. To clarify: she had gloves with her. At all times.

I began to wonder how often she did this, but I decided against it.

THANK GOD that the dumpsters we found were devoid of garbage, because as soon as we left the scene and pulled into the main road, (and after severe disappointment on her part), a police officer appeared behind me and turned on his lights.

So he pulls me over, and tells me that there is no illegal dumping at the grocery store. He told me that illegal dumping was an offense (hence the word 'illegal' I thought..but said nothing), and asked us why we were back there. Now I'm not stupid, so I told him that we were simply lost and took a wrong turn. If I had told him "No, we weren't dumping trash, we were going to dive in and keep some - perhaps to be of use at our next dinner party or masquerade ball" - then I most likely would have been tasered and probably beaten with a nightstick. Hell, if I said that, I'd taser myself.

So he grimaced and grunted something polician, and took my driver's license to run through his records.

I have to admit that the idea did run through my head to 'inform' the police officer that my female passenger was a crack-dealer, if only to get her the hell out of my car. Needless to say, the date wasn't going so well.

After he finished with his police mumbo-jumbo, he told me that if his office deemed it necessary, then I would receive a ticket in the mail for my misfit nature. He drove off.

At this point in my planning, I had desired to go see a movie or eat food of some kind with my date. However, I re-evaluated my situation, and decided to sever the date in an attempt to minimize whatever damage this madwoman still had in her mindf**k arsenal.

As I drove her back to her car at the place we first met, she said the most shocking thing that I have ever heard in my entire life, and I am not exaggerating.

(Be sure to take your shoes off, because when I tell you what she told me, then your socks will be blown off, and I don't want you to damage your shoes. Shoes are expensive.)

...Ready? OK. Here's what she said, verbatim. I am NOT making this up:

"You know, I wonder if it would be considered statutory rape since I'm only seventeen."

...I can't really remember what happened immediately after that point, because I think that 3/4th of my brain shut down, and if I had been able to, I would probably have collapsed into the fetal position and started crying.

I decided then and there that I needed to get this jailbait out of my car as quickly as possible. In fact, she so effectively messed with my mind that I was incapable of decipherable speech for almost 3 minutes. I think I just stared at my windshield and drooled.

As I pulled up to her car, she told me what a fun time she had, and sat there patiently. As she began fluttering her eyelashes and blushing slightly, I realized that she wanted me to kiss her goodbye.

Here's a fun quiz for you at home:

1. Underage High School girl


2. Act which would leave you covered in garbage


3. Police involvement


4. Proposal (Invitation?) to rape an underage girl


A). Kiss her goodnight
B). Drive away as quickly as possible and hope to God she doesn't remember your license plate and/or anything that she could use to track you back to where you and/or your loved ones live

(The correct answer is "B").

I did not kiss her goodnight. Not one single fiber of my being was attracted to her garbage-loving ways. In fact, she may have paralyzed me in ways that would leave me useless to a woman. It was insanity.

So that's the end of my tale. In an odd way, I'm glad that I had the experience, so that in the future - when my kids tell me of a bad date they went on, I can shove them into a chair and SCHOOL them about true horror.

I am a giving sort, so I give this story to you, my companions. May you derive some laughter from my mind-numbing pain.

Here's to horrible dating experiences.

I can now say that I have looked into the face of madness.

And it smiled.

God moves in mysterious ways

God Moves in Mysterious Ways

I just wanted to tell all of you about one of the most intense experiences of my life - and it happened a few months ago after my friends and I left from Two-Fisted Mario's in downtown Denver.

Here's some backstory:

I had parked relatively far away from 16th street, and so by extension, I had to walk roughly a dozen blocks to get to Mario's.

When everyone was departing, Don offered to give me a ride to my car, and I happily obliged him.

Don was driving, while myself and two of his friends were riding as passengers.

As Don drove down the street towards my car, he showed us his supercharged engine in a short burst of speed. Unfortunately for us, a police officer noticed and pulled Don over. Don had not been speeding by any means - he merely wanted to show us how powerful his engine sounded.

While sitting in the car, Don told us that if he got a ticket for speeding, he would most likely be arrested on the spot, as his trial was pending as of that next week.

Don said "If I get arrested tonight, none of you will ever see me again."

If so, his trial would be thrown out, and his sentence would become immediate, with no hope of resolution other than trial without jury.

As we sat there in the car, our hearts racing, the thoughts smashing around inside our heads, Don's friend wrapped her arms around him, and whispered "I won't let go if they try to take you."

I put my arm on his shoulder, as the tears began to run down my face.

All I said was "We will be praying for you, no matter what happens ."

The four of us then began to pray for mercy and compassion - for some glimmer of hope amidst the choking darkness.

We cried out to God for something - anything - to keep them from tearing Don from us forever.

The officer then walked out of his car, and over to his trunk, seemingly looking for something to assist him in the arrest.

Then, walking back to the car, he tilted his head down to our awaiting faces, pensive and taut with fear.

"It is against the law to have any exhibitions of speed in a public area, Mr. Hamm. Be sure to keep your speeds down in the future, or you'll be making payments on a car that you no longer own."

...and he walked away.

Turning on his lights and siren, he sped off into the night - leaving us...shaken.

Don said "....he had another call - There was someone more important than me right now."

....I don't cry 'tears of joy' very often in my life, but in the raw presence of divine intervention - in the face of spiritual absolution - I wept tears of joy.

The odds that another more important call would come at 12:07 AM on a Monday morning in downtown Denver for that specific police officer are one-in-a-million.

I had just witnessed a miracle. God once again reminded me that he's there. Always there.

...who says prayer doesn't work?

Not only have I never written in a blog before...

...but I recently came to know that a blog is an online document used to write ideas/beliefs/thoughts about any particular subject, and NOT a sound-effect of someone having a piano dropped on their head.

(I guess that 'Blog!' and 'Blargh!' sound fairly similar in my head.) Oh well.

That completes a small part of my grand scheme:


1. Start a blog (or blargh)
2. Mention someone having a piano dropped on their head in said blog
3. Smile
4. ???

So it begins.