Wednesday, October 30, 2002

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Bad Ass
After some discussion and deliberation, I've decided to be a bad-ass mf. No more pussyfootin' around with the mollycoddles on the fence of life. That's right, you're talkin' to a new man-- a serious
Bad Ass Mofo!

Martin Luther, Reformation Bas Ass
What this entails is doing the right thing, being a real man, and taking the lead. It stems from an inner conviction to beat the living snot out of punks, cons, shitheads, and the like. It also means that desire is at full strength, desire for truth, desire for intimacy, and desire for holiness--truly masculine desires as measured by the ultimate Man, Jesus of Nazareth! That guy was one bad ass!


No more lukewarm. No more Mr. Nice Guy. Say hi to the Bad Guy. As Martin Luther put it, “Sin boldly, but believe yet more boldly.”

Sunday, October 27, 2002

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The Demanding Memory




Stirring, mixing, endlessly

Speak to me ocean

In the middle of the night

Speak to me




Like the waves outside

Lapping up against the windows

A sea of desire and possibility

I can feel it now, getting closer




Reading the sky, telling the times

A strange excitement bestirs

Before a melancholy flood

Where is my ark? My shelter?




They say a butterly can flap her wings

And cause a hurricane a world away




Come dance with me

Butterfly


Thursday, October 24, 2002

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When I was a younger and more impetuous man than I am now,
I used to go on long bike
rides at night. I would get restless, at say, 11pm or even past midnight,
and I would have to get out and go somewhere. At the time,
I didn't even have a bike, I would have to borrow href="http://www.cds.caltech.edu/~shane/images/2002/tim-head.jpg">Tim's.
On these rides, I would think a lot, and pray to God, with whom I was href="http://esther.eastern.edu/~yacht/images/48hrs.jpg">struggling.
Sometimes I would pray in the middle of the bridge that looks upon the
"whirling blades of death," as a particularly frightening kinetic
sculpture on the Caltech campus came to be referred to. Jacob wrestled
the angel, and the angel was overcome. What was I wrestling with? And
would I overcome it?


A similar experience came over me tonight. Around 10pm, I had to leave
and go out, out there, and just roam in that darkness, where I
could be alone with my thoughts. Oh Lordy, don't nobody know my
troubles with God?
Very few people are on the streets in Pasadena and
Altadena at that hour, especially in darkly lit neighborhoods. It gives a
man a chance to be surrounded by people, and yet be all alone, for all the
people are off somewhere, or most likely, snug in their homes, safe from
strange sojourners like myself.

Cloaked in that darkness, it feels as though I may as well be in my own
room, for the privacy it gives. I chose that time to address my Father
in Heaven, and I asked him, "What can I do to be more like you?" And I
could not take the answer, for there is so much, too much to handle at
once. And he knows that. So he teaches me one day at a time. I said, "I
want to love more like you love." Okay, then give. Be a servant and
give everything, until you have nothing left but your life. And then,
give that, and give it willingly.
I recalled that God came and gave
himself for us, for reasons I hardly understand, but one day hope to. I
also recalled one of the things Jesus spoke while he was here among us, "No
one has greater love than to give up his own life for his friends"
href="http://bible.gospelcom.net/cgi-bin/bible?passage=JOHN%2B15%3A13&showfn=on&showxref=on&language=english&version=AMP&x=10&y=9">[John
15:13]
. To love as Jesus loved, which all his followers are commanded
to do, demands sacrifice -- ultimate sacrifice. It may even be easier to
die for someone than it is to live for them. But for now,
my life is not immediately demanded, so I live, and I choose to love and
to sacrifice. The road to maturity is a long one, and few take it. I want to take it, but I do not know the way. The Lord must show me, day by day.


Racing through the dark urban jungle, I felt a longing, a deep longing. And I heard, This longing you
feel right now is barely a glimpse of what I feel when you ignore Me.
I am your Creator, Shane. Talk with Me. Walk with Me. I am always
with you and will never forsake you, even until the end of time.

Wednesday, October 16, 2002

2 comments
TX


Flat. Humid. Water towers. Football.

That's how I've described Texas before, and this previous trip is no
exception. But of course there's more. There are many wonderful and
creative individuals in Texas. Not the least of which is my sister href="http://www.shaneross.com/images/2002/natalie-head.jpg">Natalie, who recently was in a
play. They finished their last performance of ="http://www.phillyburbs.com/halloween2001/dracula/huntley.shtml">Dracula
at Conroe High
School
last night.

Her performance was very good. She played a senile old woman who said
inappropriate and silly things and was very taken with Count Dracula, the
mysterious Continental man, until everyone suspects he's a vampire. The whole cast did an excellent job. The
play was full length -- two and a half hours -- and it even had several
special effects, like explosions and flying bats, even "optical illusion"
ghosts.

If she comes out to California, or even if she doesn't, I hope to see
her in more plays. (Rumor had it, there were talent scouts at the play,
but I think that was just some vicious, unsubstantiated hearsay. Then of
course, maybe I'm the talent scout, and maybe I started the rumor.)


CA

Now that I'm back in California, where people avoid eye contact and
secure valuables, I've decided it's time to get to work. No foolin'
around this time. I've really got to get crackin' on that textbook --
it's kind of like a prelude to my thesis, and an expansion of it. I'll
just put the Russian National Anthem on infinite repeat and get goin'.

TIPS 4 Christians

Those of you who are part of the Fellowship of the Lord, are you aware
that you are to be as one with each other as Jesus and the Father are one? I cannot
comprehend how those Two are actually One, what intimacy they must have.
And yet, every Christian is to have that with every other Christian. And there are, what, perhaps two billion of us living now?
Amazing. At the very least, this tells me that it is time to settle
conflicts I may have, and be at peace with all people as much as is
possible. It also means transparency, being open and honest, as
appropriate to the maturity of one's audience.

And speaking of maturity, I've meditated upon that subject recently,
especially in the context of contemporary "seeker" churches, churches that
are focused on evangelizing via their Sunday service. I have heard
complaints from friends for years that sometimes the Sunday service at
these churches is too elementary. These friends want deeper truths, new insights, more meaty teaching. I recall a passage from Hebrews:


By now you should have been teachers, but once again you need to be taught
the simplest things about what God has said. You need milk instead of
solid food. People who live on milk are like babies who don't really
know what is right. Solid food is for mature people who have been
trained to know right from wrong. href="http://bible.gospelcom.net/cgi-bin/bible?passage=HEB%2B5%3A12-14&showfn=on&showxref=on&language=english&version=CEV&x=12&y=9">[Hebrews
5:12-14]


People need not only the basic gospel message, but need to grow
spiritually. The best way I have seen is through discipleship, where a
more mature Christian walks alongside a less mature Christian and teaches
them. I am not talking about a discipleship program (pogrom?)
exhibiting cult-like control. I'm talking about friendship, but with the
understanding that the discipler is more mature. I have benefited from
this approach. It is very counter to the postmodern, post-Christian
world, which would scoff at the idea of having one's character shaped.
But it is the example Jesus gave with his (gulp!) disciples, and the
example those discples went and did with those they brought to the faith.
And so on through two millenia until the present day, which hopefully
brought you, gentle reader, into fellowship with Christ, and with the whole distinguished host of witnesses from Paul of Tarsus to Billy Graham, with whom you and I are to be one.


Arbeit nicht macht frei.

Only the truth shall make you free.

Wednesday, October 09, 2002

1 comments
For those who didn't receive reports along the way, here's my general
epistle on the Oktoberfest in lovely Deutschland.


Mein freund Matt und Ich arrived in Frankfurt
and we then went to Heidelberg. He knows
a couple there, Sonja und Thomas. Sonja was an exchange
student in San Diego, where Matt claims to be from.
They are a very nice couple, and generous.
We talked some about the US position on Iraq,
something which concerns me. Don't know what will happen.
There's a very large US army presence in Heidelberg, so
they are very concerned as well.


Now, wouldn't you know it, I was in Germany while Oktoberfest was going on.
So of course I went.
Matt and I took a train to Muenchen to see this world famous fiasco.
And it was wild in a scary-clown way.
Like some nightmarish Las Vegas Circus Circus hotel writ
large.



Imagine a huge fair ground, with millions of people there from all over
the globe. They've come here to wander the space of a few city blocks
filled with tents where there's food, beer halls, and carnival type games
and rides. Several people are walking around in traditional German dress--
the women look like Heidi and the men look like a yodelers, wearing shorts
even though it's freezing. The beer is some of the best. And it even
tastes good. In the beer halls, there are thousands of people jammed in,
listening to German bands in traditional garb; 'oompah' bands, they are.
The bands play pop musik (actually the same four songs) and every ten
minutes, they sing the traditional German toasting song, which sounds
something like 'I'm toasting...' chanted over and over, but it certainly
isn't. I heard a lot of "Take Me Home Country Roads" by John Denver, some
oldie that goes "...hey baby, I wanna know-oooooooh, would you be my girl?"
And some song about "Alice." Who the Hopfbrau is Alice?



I think I said 'Prost!' (Deutsch for 'cheers') with one hundred people
during my Friday night at the Fest, with people
from all over the world, especially Irishmen. And a lot of
Italians. Many Italians. So many so that people started thinking I was
Italian
; mostly other Italians. Weird. I should definitely push the
Italian aspect more, they are My People after all.
Met some Irishmen too. We ended the night singing tunes like "Dirty Old
Town" from the Old Country.



Speaking of a truly international incident,
a Scotsman lifted his kilt to a whole beer hall my last day at the
Uber-Festival. I was not more than a yard from him, ugh! The
exposure his wares got him summarily kicked out of the hall within moments,
amid cheers and jeers from the crowd. Nothing gets a beer hall going
more than frontal male nudity. It marked a hedonistic low point during
that Oktober pageant of absurdity. I hear from German friends that
Scotsman exposure is not uncommon at Oktoberfest.
Strike one, Scotland. How I weep for my My People!


Fortunately, my last day at the festival, I had had nothing
to drink and was very sound in mind, for another international incident
erupted in the Augustiner Biergarten. Some
liquored-up tough guy started punching a little girl's balloon (yes,
children are everywhere as there are no restrictions). The girl's father
told him to stop and then the father started getting pounded by Die
Tough Guy. Some Italians and Matt had to hold the tough guy
back. He continued punching people. One of the Italians got to bleeding,
but he is okay. I am unscathed. I went to get the (seemingly
nonexistent) security, trying to explain that we had a clear and
present toughguy situation. I had to use international words and symbols,
yelling "agh!" and punching myself. I'm sure they thought I was just
another American fool, making games with armed officers.
The Polizei finally came and hauled Herr
ToughGuy to jail. I'm sure the little girl
will be scarred for a while.



After Oktoberfest, I took stock of the previous few days events. I just
had to look down. I had
Oktoberfest all over my shoes-- soaked in were all sorts of sweat, blood,
vomit, alcohol, food and slime, little bits of broken glass,
the kind of stuff you find on the sticky floor of fraternity. It was
disgusting. Took me a good 15 minutes to clean it all off.
What's the color of Oktoberfest? you ask. The color of
bile.



I don't think I'll ever go back. True beer fest aficionados tell me that
Oktoberfest is good to avoid. It's just a bunch of trouble-making
tourists
who
don't know better. The real beer festivals are much better I hear, especially
with a large group of friends who can chat and laugh into the night.



And that's all the news fit to blog.

Tuesday, October 08, 2002

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Ryan Cox doesn't write a blog, but he should. So I've reproduced one of his thoughts here without any permission:


According to a gallup poll taken on Sept 20-22 57% of Americans are in
favor of "invading Iraq with U.S. ground troops in an attempt to remove
Saddam Hussein from power," while 38% oppose it. And 46% think "the Bush
administration has a clear and well-thought out policy on Iraq," while 48%
do not.


In conclusion, more people than not believe that Bush doesn't know what he's
doing with the Iraq issue, but they want him to invade anyway.


Furthermore, 64% of Americans approve of "the way George W. Bush is handling
the situation with Iraq." But, only 57% approve of invading, and that
number drops to 37% if the UN opposes it (which it does currently). So,
apparently a large number of Americans don't realize that Bush is "handling
the situation" by pushing for an invasion (with or without the UN's help).


Also, notwithstanding the American public's strong desire to see weapon's
inspectors allowed back into Iraq, 68% believe that UN inspectors will fail
to eliminate the "threat of Iraq using weapons of mass destruction against
the United States."


Amusingly, Gallup poll tells us that the Iraq issue has overtaken economic
conditions as the number one issue which will determine their vote in the
upcoming elections. It's good to know that despite their confusion on the
Iraq issue, the American public still feel strongly about it.


-ryan


And a final thought.