Thursday, December 29, 2005

For Andy Brown…

Apparently my good buddy (GB) Andy Brown (AB) checks my blog everyday. Sure, I thought my girlfriend was the only one stalking me, but apparently I have stalkers of the same gender too. This story goes out to AB.

It was the night before my good buddy Aaron Shaf. was getting married and a bunch of us guys were hanging out at AB’s uncle’s house. In attendance were the two now famous stars, Nick Nye (the Nick Nye that’s recording in Louisville) and Lenny Tavernelli (who stars as the native in his new movie: End of the Spear). Anyway, we’re eating Sloppy Joes and lots of chips, drinkin’ root beer, rippin’ some bad gas, and playing video games. Someone, I can’t tell you who, but if I had to pick someone I would say Nye, decides we should wrestle. We pair off and people take turns. First up, Nye verses Brown. AB pretty much doesn’t touch Nye, while Nick decides to go animal on AB. Then AB turns up the heat and Nye blows out his knee. We grab ice from the kitchen and he’s done.

Now most of you would think that would stop the wrestling for the night, I mean, we’ve already had an injury. Here’s the thing, Nye is a faker. You can’t tell when he’s really hurt and when he’s faking it or when he’s just milking it for attention. We figured it was bad, but no one really knew how bad it was till much later when he had to have surgery on it.

Next up, Lenny verses myself. Now I’m quite a bit taller than Lenny which should give me some advantage, but Lenny is built like a tank. The result, we were standing up for like ever, no one could really get the other to go down. Besides I think we were both taking it easy, we didn’t want to end up icing something next to Nye. Anyway, in a bold move, I did something and Lenny starts to go down, but he’s not going down forward, he’s flying backwards. He used an atomic kick on me, somewhere between my legs. I yelled, “Solider Down!” as I collapsed to the ground in agonizing pain. I crawled over to the couch and sat next to Nye.

At this point you would surly think the other two wouldn’t be wrestling, but sure enough they decided to go at it. It was Matt Martin verses Mike Halpin. Mike is about half the man Martin is, weight wise. They get to actually wrestling, making sure neither of them ends up like me. Then Martin uses a “Gator” roll on Halpin. It was quick and looked painful. Halpin also was injured like myself. He crawled to the couch and sat next to myself and Nye. We shared the package of ice between us, passing it back and forth. Believe it or not, it actually helps a lot.

What I learned from all this is skinny guys shouldn’t pair off with ape shaped men in wrestling matches, sure chess wouldn’t be bad, nor video games, but when we’re talking wrestling, a couple shots placed carefully can take a solider down. And knowing is half the battle. Go Joe!

Monday, December 26, 2005

Mom Awards

Everyone should be thanked for what they do, no doubt. This past week has been trying to my patience. You see, I’m at home helping my dad do things, since he’s recovering from his neck surgery. It means I can’t really leave the house, I have to always do things at the drop of a hat, and do annoying things at that, like help my dad put on his socks, clean up dog puke, shake the shaving cream, let the dog out, do the dishes, do the laundry, run errands for him, etc. It seems to be illusory to think I’ll be able to get my homework done while I’m here over break. When things slow down, it’s after dinner, way after dinner usually. Who wants to do homework then? I want a break for crying out loud.

It’s got me thinking about moms. Now don’t get me wrong, dads work their tail off at the office and are pooped when they get home, but I think moms aren’t getting off easy themselves. It’s a practice of humility every day, making themselves a servant for others who aren’t able to do simple things for themselves. I can’t even imagine what it’s like to take care of teenagers! My dad tells me how to do everything from proper steps of cleaning up puke to how to make his sandwich for him. I think I would go crazy if some little pipsqueak decided at the age of 14 that they knew how to do my job better and whined about everything as it was. I’m already praying for patience almost constantly as each new chore around the house comes up just as I was ready to take a break.

I think we should consider mom awards. You know, give your mom some kind of award for the hard work she does. I think they should come in multiple levels. The first and most basic would be thanking your mom randomly as she does the daily tasks. The second level would be random days where she gets some relief from doing her tasks, maybe more systemized. The last level should be mom vacations, hey, they give them in the work world, but even on vacations moms are usually kid managing. This might look like a family vacation where dad is responsible for keeping track of the little/teenagers. And last but not least, every mom should be given a car and given some time away from the house, I’m going stir crazy and I get to walk the dog every day.

I would also blow up television. Even when I’m tempted to watch it during the day nothing is on. Nothing. The internet is really mostly like a news/shopping mall. I’m sure that there are social groups where moms get together and hang out with other moms, let us be careful to not give them a hard time about it calling their jobs easy, everyone knows in the workforce that we sit around the water cooler every once in a while and gab it up, it’s only necessary for sustaining sanity during the daily routine. I wouldn’t doubt I’ll get hate mail from moms over this one. All I can say is, it’s only my first week!

Send me back to school!

Wednesday, December 21, 2005

A Dog Gone Dilemma

I’m home for the holidays in Cincinnati, taking care of my dad and his dog. Now we all know dogs have three goals in life: eating, sleeping, and playing. Champ, my dad’s dog, loves to eat, loves it more than life itself. If there’s one thing he loves more than food though, it’s walks. He loves going on walks. At first I think I was foolish enough to believe he really liked exercise, but as time has continued it has become apparent that he really wants to do his job, peeing on things. We (Champ and I) have to stop near every good bush or tree, at least to smell it and maybe to pee on it. When he finds a place he really likes, he pulls out all the stops, like Columbus when he reached the new world, like Astronauts when they reached the moon, he stops and plants his flag in the dirt, well it’s more like he leaves a happy present for someone else to find. Now here’s the question, should I bring a bag or a few to pick up his ‘presents’ or should I leave them in hopes that the winter will destroy them into oblivion?

Tuesday, December 13, 2005

a virus in the system

American Christianity is plagued by a virus, a virus of thought. The virus tells us that it’s ok to accept Christianity on the grounds of a philosophical system. It helps us determine what is morally acceptable. We go to church, we pray over our meals, and we spout out theological terms like it was a description of the most wonderful vacation we’d ever taken. Yet, somewhere deep in the recesses of our hearts, the virus has done its work. There is not daily, living relationship with God. It has been replaced with short prayers early in the morning and late in the evening. Our lives have been turned into a routine. We understand routines, they make sense, they keep us feeling safe. Over and over we trace the lines of our philosophical system, all the while neglecting the relationship the system was designed to function in. And we give up. Signs of life vanish in the hustle and business of life. Reflect with me, how does the relationship God is desiring in us fit with the life we’re living?

Tuesday, December 06, 2005

the all nighter

We’ve all done it, ok, so I’ve at least done it a few times, waited until the last minute to write the paper that will be due the next day. As I was writing my paper last night, I remember thinking, “Gee, I don’t know how this is going to get done.” Then I talked with my girlfriend, and she says, “How long have you known about this?” I sheepishly knew I shouldn’t answer that question, she knew the answer, like an episode straight out of Matlock. After our short conversation (I had a paper to write for Pete’s sake!) I went back to writing. Each sentence had to be painstakingly checked, it’s an exegesis paper which is heavy on research, and one mistranslation can send the paper in a totally new (and wrong) direction! It was about 3 am when I started feeling like I was floating. It was then I realized the level of sleep depravity had sunken to a new low, because while a few years ago 3 am might have seemed like a reasonable bedtime (when in college), now as an old man, 3 am seemed more like the “all nighter” you hear stories about. At the end of it, my typing was getting pretty incoherent. I guess that’s the beauty of it. You may think that being in grad school at a seminary would mean that we do our work well before it’s due… yeah, that is not the case, except for a few married guys who are just on the ball. And now you know, the rest of the story. I’m Ben Douglass. Good bye.

Monday, November 28, 2005

Thanksgiving was a blast

Thanksgiving break was a blast. It’s hard in the moment to realize how great things are but hindsight is great. I spent a bit of time with my girl, Andi. She always cracks me up and we had some good discussions. I spent some time with her family, they’re fun too. They are word people, what I mean by that is that they play with words and make jokes by playing on them. I beat her whole family in a game they called Swimmin’ and I almost felt bad for beating her mom, but the whole family is smart so I don’t feel bad, I was dealt some good cards. I spent time with my dad’s family in northern Ohio. My grandparents and dad would watch tv and then go off on a tangent related to what was on tv, speaking really loud, preventing us from hearing any show and giving them our undivided attention, which at the time was annoying, but now, it’s just funny. We ate lots of good food and forgot the meaning of thanks-giving, at least as it related to God in the corporate setting. I hung out with my mom back in Cinci until I bored her to sleep (she was tired to begin with) and ate spicy Panera (what were they thinking?). Now I’m back to school and am starting my routine. It’s going to be a hard two and a half weeks ahead, lots of reading and writing, but this is what I’m suppose to be doing, so I’m honored to do it. If something really hilarious happens between now and then I’ll be sure to post it. Lastly, who in the world is reading by blog in Plano, TX?

Saturday, November 26, 2005

it ain't easy being cheesy

I know when I started out as a Christian I was a lot more naive as to how life would play out. I thought that being a Christian would be a cakewalk, you know where you walk around and someone just gives you a cake, man, carnivals are great… I digress. I can’t tell you that when I wake up I want to go pray, or want to read my Bible. In fact, I don’t really want to do anything Christian many days when I wake up. Now either I just have missed the boat, or the Christian walk is hard. Unlike many other things, discipline is not enough, I can’t just get up and spend time with God out of duty, I mean I can, and I do have to some days do things out of obedience, but that’s not what my life is suppose to be. It’s a battle within myself many times over. I’ve heard the inner struggle compared to war, and I must agree, it is a war. I was just reflecting on this, this morning and thought I would share.

Thursday, November 17, 2005


I love thanksgiving. Almost more than Christmas. Now if Christmas was about Christ and not about presents, it wouldn't even be a contest, but alas, the enemy has taken a joyous holiday and turned it into American consumerism, or maybe we just did that. Either way, I find that I enjoy the fellowship of family and the de-emphasis on presents and materialism all that much more. I do regret that every Thanksgiving turns into a contest among peers as to who became the biggest glutton, this year I will be out of the runnings. I’ve found in myself a stronger and stronger desire to not be a glutton and to remember God’s not excited about me being a glutton either. Fasting has helped me gain a control over the food that I doubt I would have realized I needed, had it been otherwise. Anyway, there’s nothing like being with my incredibly loud family, eating great food, laughing so hard it hurts and then listening to old men gabber on and on about meaningless football while the women are having deep conversations in the kitchen (and you thought they were just cleaning the dishes, no way, it’s just a method of keeping the men out of their conversation). This holiday season will be all the sweeter spending time with my brother who just graduated high school and has been spending his first semester away from home and my sister who is in her senior year at Wright State University. I hope your thanksgiving is as good as mine will be. Praise be to God, who brought to us eternal life through the only savior of all humankind, Jesus Christ our Lord!

Saturday, November 12, 2005

HP and Me, throwing down

I'm tired of my HP printer. It should be shot. I'm contemplating sending it back to HP with a note on it, "CRAP." just so they'll remember that the 3420 Deskjet is a piece of work. Normally I'm not too hyped up on printers, but I think I've finally had it. There is very little redeeming value to the printer. It will not work without a color cartrige in it, although the HP website seems to disagree, as well as not having a "Print Assistant" that it tells me I have because I have a HP printer. It starts printing a large job then stops two pages in, it has done this repeatly. HP suggests restarting my computer, which has the effect of wasting my time. All in all, HP owes me a sweet laser printer. I know it won't happen, I'm realistic. Yet, me and the junk printer need to go take a 'walk'. One of us won't return. So here's to you HP, way to make a such a terrible and difficult printer.

Thursday, November 03, 2005

chapel lecturer

Another world famous lecturer came and spoke in our chapel today. It’s actually a normative thing as chapels go. I’m sure that it makes some people feel impressed, but something else has made an impression on me. The speakers usually participate in a section following the lecture, during lunch, in which the speaker dialogues with people who want to speak with them. This smaller area is used to foster an atmosphere where a deeper level of learning can take place. Beyond the annoying questions that people ask that make the lecturer out to be a god of sorts, there is a sense of learning that takes place.

The thing that most impresses me though is the way we all interact with these heroes that we get to meet, these men and women that have helped shape our thought and challenge us to look at the Scriptures in new and deeper ways. There is a sense in which we want them to know us. We want them to build a relationship with us. We want others to know that we have a relationship with this person. And it got me thinking about my motives. Why do I want a relationship with this person? What if my relationship with them was just behind closed doors, would I still want it? Am I after the publicity of being known as a friend or an associate of their work? And I can’t help but think that secretly, my motives are being driven by a need to feel important, to gain leverage to feel accepted by others. To make the world stop and say, “Whoa, that guy is special!”

And then I started to think about their source of wisdom; the source from which they blow our minds and bring us new insights. And I think, “it’s God!” God is the one empowering them, giving them insights.

And then I start to think about how God works in people. Granted he does give status and power to some. Yet, it seems to me, that throughout the Bible we are told not to seek such things, not to desire men’s approval and worship. I think of Paul and Barnabas running into the crowd and tearing their clothes, scarcely being able to stop the people from worshiping them.

And then I think, man, God is so counter-intuitive, so ironic. Only when you aren’t driven by the need for prestige, about man’s glory, then you will seemly get it. And if you do get it, you won’t want it, you’ll point back to the Creator, even at the point of getting mad at these men who are trying to ascribe glory to you. And you’ll beg them not to, and they still will. Secretly they think you want it, secretly you might even have the desire to get it, but with every fiber in you, you know you shouldn’t want it, and you glory in not getting it, but pointing them back to the one that is truly worthy of the glory.

What a God.

Tuesday, November 01, 2005

that special bond.

There is a special bond two people who live in the same room hold together. You talk to each other, you share theological insights with one another, and you pass gas together. There's just something special about passing gas in the presence of another. Some prefer verbose gas that could tell a story while others prefer to express themselves with a machine gun like speech. Either way, the point is at the end of the day, there's that special bond between those two people who live in the same room. Sure, some may say it's simply the funk that's infiltrated the recesses of the mind (those poor only children), while others know it's something that goes beyond what words can express.

And who can forget the methods people take to rid themselves of this special bond. Some prefer to use "air freshener", while others prefer to open a window or door, still others prefer to light a candle (if you're brave enough). The point is that you express your expulsion method together.

Friday, October 28, 2005

so english isn't my language

it has also been recently been pointed out that english isn't my language....

Wednesday, October 26, 2005

Matching clothes...

My girlfriend tells me I can’t my feet together. It’s a painful truth, but I just plain don’t know how to match nothin’ I guess. For example I went up to visit her in Portland two weeks ago and I wore a green t-shirt with a tan dress shirt over it with blue jeans and some sneakers. She waited until the next day and subtly told me that I didn’t match the day before. Honestly, I thought I was stylin’. On Sunday I thought I would push my luck and wear a similar outfit, another green t-shirt and the tan dress shirt. After church on the way to lunch one of my buddies tells me I don’t know how to dress and decides he’s going to take me on has his new style project. This is hilarious to me. I guess I will always be an engineer no matter how hard I try. Personally, I still think the outfit wasn’t lookin’ so bad.

Monday, October 17, 2005

Identity in ministry?

This past week was a bit discouraging. I debated not writing about it, fearing that some of the college students at our church might read it, but I guess it will be a good lesson in the imperfection of humans. Here we go.

I put a lot of time and effort in arranging something recently in the ministry God has placed me in. By all human measurements, it failed rottenly. I found myself struggling with basing my identity in my performance in ministry. I know that I shouldn’t base my identity or feeling God’s ‘approval’ in how well I am doing, but still when I fail, it’s not a good feeling and the temptation to believe that God is disappointed in me because I failed is real. In retrospect, I’m glad when God lets me fail on some level because I think it helps me re-evaluate what I’m really thinking, not what I think I’m thinking. It caused me to really deal with how God views me when I fail.

To which I must agree in asking, "Is this one for the people? Or is this one for the Lord? Do I simply serenade the things I must afford?"

Sunday, October 09, 2005

modern scholars

It has finally turned fall here in Lexington. I’m sad to say that I’m actually kind of glad that it is here. School is going well, I’m reading a lot of commentaries and trying to decide how to best deal with all the modern scholarship against the traditional writers of the NT. I don’t agree with modern scholars, and frankly I’m not really convinced by their case but I have to wonder how I’m going to deal with it. How do you approach a bunch of Christians that don’t think that the people claiming to have written the NT aren’t really the writers? If the writers don’t have the integrity to be honest in who’s writing them (writingin the sense of dictating or directly writing the letter), then why in the world would we take them as a credible source? I think the answer is that a lot of modern scholars while acting like they still would keep the credibility if the author was other than asserted in the letter, really want to use it as a basis for throwing out whatever they decide they don’t like, something that rubs against the culturally accepted values. It’s odd to me because I think most Christians (outside of these ‘great’ scholars) would agree that the Bible is always counter-cultural. That’s what being the Bible means! If it didn’t rub the cat the wrong way so to speak, then what value would it be? Would it be valuable to tell us, “Hey you’re doing everything right, don’t bother reading!”

Tuesday, October 04, 2005


I have no idea what to write about so I’ll talk about what God’s teaching me. He’s teaching me to be thankful for what he’s given me. I can see this in the convictions I’ve felt lately. I’m by nature a fixer. I fix things. Whatever it may be from relationships to electronics to church systems to whatever, I just have a tendency to see the problems, address them and move on. The down side is that I have a tendency to see all the problems and get frustrated with them. It definitely can burn people around me as well as burn myself if I don’t take time to focus on the good, thus the lesson I’m learning. It’s like I’m being shown how to fix the fixing fixation!

Thursday, September 22, 2005

God's will

"I have found His will is always good; but the best thing about it is that I find Him there.

Almost every young person you counsel as a pastor wants to know God’s will for his life. How much more important it is for him to know God than to know what His will is! If we know God, His will becomes evident. We can’t miss it; it will come."
Dennis F. Kinlaw

Wednesday, September 21, 2005

Less than 25% in US are married w/kid(s)?!?!?!

I had to post this, it's amazing to me. Less than 25% of Americans are married with children. By 2010 it is suppose to drop to 20%. Divorce rates are high, living together is growing in popularity. America is in big trouble.

Tuesday, September 20, 2005

how human?

How human was Jesus? That was the question raised tonight in the dorm. An interesting question. Did he take a number one, how about a number two? The debate was raging on how did he struggled. Did he experience being sick? Did he get the common cold? Could he have gotten leprosy? He was ordinary and yet, not ordinary by any stretch of the imagination. Yes, he did bleed just like we do. He was tempted just like we are, but without sin. Did he struggle with the normal things as he grew through puberty? How did he deal with being single in his 30s? Did he doubt his own divinity or want to throw in the towel in ministry? How often did he feel discouraged? Did he feel depressed in his ministry?

Wednesday, September 14, 2005

let it come alive.

“The great tragedy of the Reformation was that when Luther died, Piper said [another Piper], Melanchthon edited his work. And when Calvin died Beza edited his work. Melanchthon encouraged the people of Germany to read the Bible to find Luther’s doctrine in it, while Beza encouraged the people of Geneva to read the Bible to find Calvin’s. Thus the Word of God was stifled again.
That was a comment for which I will never cease to be grateful. I am Wesleyan in theology, but I need to be very careful that when I read the Bible my concern is not to find what Wesley taught, but to discover the Word of God. If Wesley opens the windows on the Word of God (and he does for me), three cheers for Wesley; but the important thing is that the Word of God comes alive for me, so that I can share it with others.”
Dr. Dennis Kinlaw
from Preaching in the Spirit

one of those days...

Do you ever have those days where you’re given a lot of information and you’re not sure how to process it all? I’m there today. I just got back from visiting UK and am trying to figure out how best to go about setting the gold standard. Advice seems to run parallel and in tangent at the same time. Everyone agrees they want me to show up and hang out, but they really want me to come to their weekly meeting. I am just now realizing everyone wants me to be another body in their meeting, you know, helping the momentum grow. I'm not sure that's the best use of my limited time, actually, I think it's a horrible use of my time. God, grant me the wisdom to handle this correctly.

Monday, September 12, 2005

headship of the church

I've recently had a conversation with a person dear to me about being part of the body.

We all agree that it is an important thing to not be a solo Christian. Many errors come from not partaking of the Christian community. Another danger is not putting yourself under the headship of the church. 3 John 1:9-10 gives us the example of Diotrephes, a heinously sad example of a man. “Diotrephes, who loves to be first, will have nothing to do with us.” Here Diotrephes decides he doesn’t need to listen to John, the apostle, the man who spent three years with Jesus and was specially commissioned to lead the church! Or for that matter, any of the other church authorities! How often can we say the same thing? Regularly I meet young 20s who will have nothing to do with the church leadership. I agree we need to listen to what God is telling us, but without the context of Christian community, part of a local congregation, I believe we put ourselves in a great danger, bypassing the authorities God has prepared and instituted, both in the leadership of the church and also by not honoring the older men and women of our church. Please share your passage references and thoughts.

Saturday, September 10, 2005

my Andimal

I realized that I haven't put a picture of Andi up on the web.... This could really backfire on me if one of her stalkers starts using it as their background... For my faithful, and not so faithful readers, here's a picture of my favorite girl in the world.

Friday, September 09, 2005

it is not the will to do great ministry....

"The will to win is the most over-estimated phenomenon in sport. It’s not the will to win – everyone wants to win. It’s the will to prepare to win that makes winners."

-Bobby Knight

Thursday, September 08, 2005

prove what you know?

I just learned that you can't always prove what you know, and that's ok, you can still know it. A simple fact we overlook many times. I can't prove that I ate Oatmeal today, or that I had a pain in my ankle on Tuesday night, but both happened and I know them. Next time someone tells me to "prove it" because I "know it" I'll help them understand you can't always prove what you know. To prove something you have to have publicly accessible criteria. Thanks Dr. Walls.

Wednesday, September 07, 2005

life in Wilmore

I haven’t written on my blog in quite a while. I thank you for being faithful to a human who is less than faithful to his readers. It’s not that I don’t like you’re enjoyment, but blogging is just a hobby, something for me to do in my free time. Lately, that’s been non-existent. I am not complaining, don’t get me wrong. I’ve enjoyed spending time with my girlfriend before I left and now that I’m down at school, I’ve spent most of my waking moments preparing for the semester and making connections and setting the workings for the college ministry in place.

I should slow down a bit. I got the job of college minister at my church, First Alliance in Lexington. I felt a burden last spring that I needed to start doing ministry. I knew I needed to do it before then, but Greek was suffocating at best and left little time for normal things, such as reading my other class books. Now that I’m the college minister, I’ve been working hard at building relationships with campus groups at UK such as Crusade and the Wesley Foundation. I believe that God is asking the college ministry at FAC to reach out and start making an impact at UK. This means that I hope to equip the Asbury college students and send them out to UK to do evangelism, Bible studies and discipleship. I hope to also continue working with the UK students that are FACers. Needless to say, the first couple weeks down here are busy off the hook.

In other news, my new roommate is cool. He’s laid back enough and works with me on the things I love most. I am sleeping peacefully all night now. It’s a blessing that is ministering to me. My classes seem great, I need to be disciplined enough to make sure they get enough of my time. Of course, Andi, my girlfriend will be getting my time as well, and before anyone gets my time, God gets it. That’s a pulse check with me. I haven’t seen nearly anyone on campus still. It will happen in time.

The best story I have for you is that Andi, who gave me two goldfish last spring is watching them this fall in a twist of irony. Buwha ha ha. She thought she was going to get out of it, but somehow before I left, she took them. Now she’s trying to get me back by adding more fish to the tank. I should add that she bought a new tank and is now talking about upgrading the tank. It happens every time. I think that’s why they sell small tanks at the store, they know how people think and how they will be tempted to upgrade. It’s like crack, only fish owner crack. I told her that she is keeping the new fish. I’m not taking more fish, I was gracious once and spared their little fishy lives, but I don’t think I’ll tolerate more fish. I’ll keep you updated, semi-regularly.

Monday, August 22, 2005

An Unbelievable Witness

As most of you know, I have a girlfriend. Andi and I have been very diligent to have good boundaries in our relationship. I have accountability with my roommate and she will have it regularly with a friend who just returned home. I was at work today explaining that I took Andi to meet my parents this weekend in Cincinnati (thus my haircut that brought on the discussion). A co-worker started talking about how they let their children sleep with their girlfriend/boyfriend when they bring them home to visit, strongly implying that I also partake of the practice. I could feel their eyes on me as they waited for the response they assumed would be confirmation. In that moment I could see the worth of our purity, it is a testimony to the world, a sharp contrast, light in a dark place. I responded shaking my head no, “We have good boundaries in place.” The co-worker prodded me, looking for holes in my statement; I assume finding my statement wholly unbelievable. I know it’s hard for them to believe that a person would wait and preserve marriage as a holy covenant. It is unconceivable, unimaginable, something not of this world. Then again, who could ever imagine such a good God as the true God, our Father, is? The discussion went on, moving to other people sharing their children coming home stories, but the damage was done. A brick in their walk towards Christians came down. The witness of our relationship actively spoke to God’s goodness! It was like a new form of evangelism hit them! The kind you don’t bottle up on a few pieces of paper and hand to them, rather, the kind of evangelism that is lived out in lives of Christians who are pursuing God through holiness and a relationship with him. They sure won’t let me preach to them, but our actions, when so different from the norm, so unbelievable, opens the door for further discussion. Father, you are good. Good indeed.

Sunday, August 14, 2005

the painful parts

It is amazing how God uses the most painful parts of my life to grow me in my relationships with my parents. I think it shows me how he is able to turn those things which the enemy has meant to destroy into something powerfully useful for the kingdom. A recent event I will keep nameless has sent my family out into the deep waters of emotional turmoil. Both my parents grew up in homes that were void of the deep Christian love I take for granted. It shows me the depth of sin and how our relationship with God restores us, even while we are broken, into a new level of wholeness even a hundred years of consoling couldn’t fix. I more and more realize how great a gift God has given us, how far we are restored and how much more we will be restored in the resurrection from the dead, when all in Christ will be given bodies that are perfected, that is, bodies that are not ravaged by the depravity of sin. As I grow as Christian I find myself growing in love to everyone I know. I feel emotions more powerfully, because I love more, as I am loved by God and love God more. I don’t know how non-Christians do it, they think they are living but in reality the hollowness they live is a paper mache shell of the true living and active life God desires for them. All of life is about a relationship with God. For the longest time I thought that meant I had to hear God audibly speak to me and say stuff like, “Ben, how was your day today?” I’m realizing how he speaks to me, I can see him speaking to me and to others through many things and I am able to know what he wants me to do almost instinctively (God’s guidance through his Spirit).

I must stop here, though. I would love to continue, but something must be covered. If there is not complete, and I do mean complete, surrender to God, just hang up any notion of being Christian and go live your hollow lives of desperation. I think most Christians live lives of unsurrendered living. We’re willing to give God almost everything, but we hold on to something, it could be a girlfriend/boyfriend, a child, a rock collection, money, maybe watching your favorite football team on Sunday afternoon, or an mp3 collection. Maybe you’re just not willing to speak to someone at work, love the unlovable, forgive the unforgivable. My point is, that we lose the joy God has for us because we refuse to give up everything to him, we don’t trust him with everything and lose for it. I can honestly say I’m living a surrendered to God life right now, it’s painful, especially when I have to slow down on the highway, repent of my mouth’s musings and do things I sure don’t want to (because I’m selfish).

But seriously, I feel so far inside of God’s will for me right now. It’s one of the greatest joys I think I could ever try to express. I find I’m listening to people more, ministering to people’s needs more, being gracious in ways I didn’t know I could be, and caring about people that only God could get me to love. What joy there is in our Father! It’s not an easy road, as in, there are bumps along the way, but God always sustains me. Great is your faithfulness, oh God, my Father, there is no shadow of turning with you.

Thursday, August 11, 2005


This looks good, probably even better after camping...

Tuesday, August 09, 2005

Go ahead please fight me

Fell in love with the game

But i forgot your name

Go ahead please fight me

Cause i'm not scared

Though you stayed the same

I forgot from where i came


I'm glad God disciplines those he loves. I don't know where I would be without it.

Wednesday, August 03, 2005

Gross hands

This is a post about washing hands after hittin’ the can. I must confess, the first time I started washing my hands regularly after using the can with the exception for #2, was in college. It was all thanks to the persistence of my dear friend, Adam Ewing. Without Adam, I’d probably still be a caveman, one that gets sick a lot. He convinced me that it was indeed sick to walk out of the can without washin’ the hands. Now, on with the post!

Many of us have experienced this, we’re washing our hands at the sink, when someone comes flying out of the stall and runs to the door and makes a departure. Instantly we’re jolted, “What just happened!?!?! Did some dude just walk out of here, after a #2?” What makes it worse of course is that they just grabbed the handle on the way out! Now, as you grab the handle, you can’t just grab it, you have to get a paper towel and grab the handle with it, or you might as well go take a #2 and not wash! We all know that it gets worse, not only did they just grab the handle, and probably the handle to get back into their office, but they will shake other people’s hands, handle money, use keyboards, push elevator buttons and may even be the guy who is serving you food!!!! This all said, JaBurd and myself have come up with a solution. Toilet police. They’ll watch over us like Batman over Gotham, like Superman over Lois Lane, like your boss over your shoulder when you’re reading this post. They can write tickets, pull people over as they are walking back to their office and even do raids on office cubes where guilty perps. have been walkin’ the streets for years. They’ll be funded by the government, hey, they’re the guys who sent monkeys into space, pay 500 bucks for a toilet seat and hire contractors to do work that they could do themselves! Don’t get me wrong, I think the police, fire fighters and CIA have an important job, but they’re not the only guys the government hires, they hire a lot of people! Even me! All toilet police will carry hand sanitizer on their belts, as well as Lysol and air freshener. They will sometimes sit disguised in stalls waiting for the guy next door to commit a violation. You’ll see them pulled over on the side of the hall too, ready to do random hand checks!

Ok, so this is a bit ridiculous, but there are other alternatives. One being we just all refuse to wash our hands and just “suck it up!” as my girlfriend would say. Another is public awareness like the smoking campains. “Just say no to toilet hands” “Dare to keep hands clean” They can do after school programs where they give kids candy after they wash their hands. Make movies about how cool it is to wash your hands. Get famous movie stars to pose with wet hands and put them on billboards that say “Got clean?” I’m sure you can think of a few others. The bottom line is wash your hands after the can! This post goes out to my boy named Burd, thanks for the brainstorming.

Monday, July 25, 2005

bein' cool

IF you're still reading this blog I give you props. I have to admit, I hardly use the internet anymore! It all started when I lost my internet connection in June. After a few weeks of it, my appetite was curbed and I found that I hardly ever used it. I still read a few blogs now and then, but mostly just to see what stuff my friends are up to.

I don't know why, but my life has a lot of ketchup stories. On Sunday we were at Ruby Tuesdays eating lunch. I had left my cell phone at someone's house by accident (it fell out of my pocket). My girlfriend, Andi, got a hold of it and decided that I would have to do some dumb stuff before I got it back. When she went up to the salad bar, I went through her purse (I know, it's a crime in most states) and grabbed her phone (mine was being held hostage in another girl's purse). She didn't know it was gone and I later agreed to all the dumb things she made me do, like sing "I'm a little tea pot" with a british accent, and have a friend draw a smiley face out of ketchup on my forehead. I was agitated when doing these things for sure, but I got through them knowing that whatever she made me do I was going to double or tripple it for her when she figured out that I had her phone. Well the time came and I got my phone back. Then I told her that if I ever get a hold of her phone she better watch out, because I'm going to make it worse for her. She then proceeds out of parinoia to go through her purse looking for her phone that she had just earlier made a phone call on. The look on her face when she figured out that I had it, and had my phone back in my possession was priceless. Scott and Paul were giving her and all the girls such a hard time after she found out, it almost made me feel better that I had just put ketchup on my head. Almost. I let her squirm for a few hours and then I droppped it off at her parents house. She wasn't there, and they both watched me as I walked in the house. Man it was awkward. Anyway, you should have seen her face. She knew she'd been snookered!

Tuesday, July 05, 2005

teachin' me grace

God has been teaching me a lot about grace lately. Words always fall short.

I was part of a conversation with a person struggling with a drug addiction we ran into on Sunday after the fireworks downtown. God showed me a small snippet of his love for that person during the divine appointment we had with them. The backdrop was a gay bar we had parked in front of by accident. As I reflected over the backdrop on the way home, I felt sadness for them. I am reading a book on grace right now, and the following day, the chapter I read focused on the struggle of one man who struggles with homosexual tendencies. How he had divorced his wife and left his children. The book talked about the Christian culture and how hateful it has been towards these people. Last time I checked, Jesus wasn’t hatin’ on the outcasts and the people with struggles. He loved them. He extended grace to them. I didn’t ever read of him giving a high five to someone committing adultery, but he did love them in spite of their sin. Kind of like how he died for all of us, despite our sin, our position as enemies of himself. It has really made me re-examine how I’ve joked in the past about homosexuality. People are in an all out struggle with this tendency, I realize my need to extend more grace, more tact, more love. It is interesting for me to realize now that grace isn’t grace unless the one extending it pays a price. I think in the past I saw grace as ignoring a problem, bending the truth. Rather, I see it now as a sacrifice made with love for those who may not even want it.

Thursday, June 30, 2005

odd day.

Two memorable things happened today....

1. I thought I punctured my lung and couldn’t breath at all for at least 30 seconds, it was a long 30 seconds. Everyone around me seemed confident that I would start breathing soon, I wasn’t. I did however manage to almost grab the Frisbee out of the air as I dove for it (Ultimate Frisbee). Man, I’m getting old.

2. I cracked my finger, I mean by that, that it popped…. on Scott’s belly! I was sitting on the couch trying to do some stuff on the internet, and he lifts up his shirt and charges me with his stomach. I figured if I held out my index finger, it would be a deterrent. It wasn’t. I couldn’t let him call my bluff, so I just kept it out there, and then he ran into it. I think I have the weirdest roommate in the world. I certainly didn’t wake up this morning thinking I would crack my finger on my roommate’s stomach. It’s gross. Did I mention I couldn’t breath for like 30 seconds? Man, it was a long 30 seconds.

Tuesday, June 28, 2005

Job 31

Job 31 is a curious chapter. I googled it, and found a person who refered to it as the man's equivalent of the Proverbs 31 woman. It is a quite interesting comparison. I don't think I've ever heard anyone make a reference to the male equivalent. A good chapter to read and think over. Enjoy!

Job 31
1"I have made a covenant with my eyes; how then could I gaze at a virgin? 2What would be my portion from God above and my heritage from the Almighty on high? 3Is not calamity for the unrighteous, and disaster for the workers of iniquity? 4Does not he see my ways and number all my steps?
5"If I have walked with falsehood and my foot has hastened to deceit; 6(Let me be weighed in a just balance, and let God know my integrity!) 7if my step has turned aside from the way and my heart has gone after my eyes, and if any spot has stuck to my hands, 8then let me sow, and another eat, and let what grows for me be rooted out.

9"If my heart has been enticed toward a woman, and I have lain in wait at my neighbor's door, 10then let my wife grind for another, and let others bow down on her. 11For that would be a heinous crime; that would be an iniquity to be punished by the judges; 12for that would be a fire that consumes as far as Abaddon, and it would burn to the root all my increase.

13"If I have rejected the cause of my manservant or my maidservant, when they brought a complaint against me, 14what then shall I do when God rises up? When he makes inquiry, what shall I answer him? 15Did not he who made me in the womb make him? And did not one fashion us in the womb?

16"If I have withheld anything that the poor desired, or have caused the eyes of the widow to fail, 17or have eaten my morsel alone, and the fatherless has not eaten of it 18(for from my youth the fatherless grew up with me as with a father, and from my mother's womb I guided the widow), 19if I have seen anyone perish for lack of clothing, or the needy without covering, 20if his body has not blessed me, and if he was not warmed with the fleece of my sheep, 21if I have raised my hand against the fatherless, because I saw my help in the gate, 22then let my shoulder blade fall from my shoulder, and let my arm be broken from its socket. 23For I was in terror of calamity from God, and I could not have faced his majesty.

24"If I have made gold my trust or called fine gold my confidence, 25if I have rejoiced because my wealth was abundant or because my hand had found much, 26if I have looked at the sun when it shone, or the moon moving in splendor, 27and my heart has been secretly enticed, and my mouth has kissed my hand, 28this also would be an iniquity to be punished by the judges, for I would have been false to God above.

29"If I have rejoiced at the ruin of him who hated me, or exulted when evil overtook him 30(I have not let my mouth sin by asking for his life with a curse), 31if the men of my tent have not said, 'Who is there that has not been filled with his meat?' 32(the sojourner has not lodged in the street; I have opened my doors to the traveler), 33if I have concealed my transgressions as others do by hiding my iniquity in my bosom, 34because I stood in great fear of the multitude, and the contempt of families terrified me, so that I kept silence, and did not go out of doors-- 35Oh, that I had one to hear me! (Here is my signature! Let the Almighty answer me!) Oh, that I had the indictment written by my adversary! 36Surely I would carry it on my shoulder; I would bind it on me as a crown; 37I would give him an account of all my steps; like a prince I would approach him.

38"If my land has cried out against me and its furrows have wept together, 39if I have eaten its yield without payment and made its owners breathe their last, 40let thorns grow instead of wheat, and foul weeds instead of barley."

The words of Job are ended.


Saturday, June 25, 2005

See, the Sovereign LORD comes with power,
and his arm rules for him.
See, his reward is with him,
and his recompense accompanies him.
He tends his flock like a shepherd:
He gathers the lambs in his arms
and carries them close to his heart;
he gently leads those that have young.
Who has measured the waters in the hollow of his hand,
or with the breadth of his hand marked off the heavens?
Who has held the dust of the earth in a basket,
or weighed the mountains on the scales
and the hills in a balance?
Who has understood the mind of the LORD,
or instructed him as his counselor?
Whom did the LORD consult to enlighten him,
and who taught him the right way?
Who was it that taught him knowledge
or showed him the path of understanding?
Surely the nations are like a drop in a bucket;
they are regarded as dust on the scales;
he weighs the islands as though they were fine dust.

Isaiah 40:10-15

Thursday, June 16, 2005

invisible boogers

It’s been a booger of a time. Pardon the bad attempt at making a joke. You see, my little girlfriend (Andi) gave me a cold she had, the end of last week. When she originally got it, she was quite the little whiner. Being the “tough” boyfriend I am [Sidenote: whenever I say boyfriend, now there’s this association I make with Sqeaker, the live-in boyfriend cat of Andi’s cat Carmel, who got her pregnant and happens to be her brother. Cat soap-operas, I know. Also I should state: No! In no way is Andi possibly pregnant, unless you can get pregnant from holding hands, or my sister. End sidenote]. I decided getting a cold wasn’t that big of a deal and we hung out anyway. Well, now it’s been about a week and I still have the cold I got from her.

However, this cold has a weird side effect. It makes me think I have boogers hanging out of my nose all the time. If I’m ever in a conversation with you during this past week, I’m sure you’ve seen me rubbing my nose. It’s all a desperate attempt to clean it out so we can keep talking. The thing is, I don’t have any boogers in my nose, unless I can’t see them when I stare in the mirror. I can look and look some more in the mirror, believing from my nose (I think I can officially say it’s a liar) that there are boogers there. So I pretty much look like a cocaine snorter, always rubbing my nose. I’m not. I just have imaginary boogers in my nose that I can’t get out. If I would have known that every conversation I have would involve me violently rubbing my nose, I’m not sure I would have hung out with my little Andimal that dreaded night. So Andi, let me say, we’ll always have Paris, er… that time you gave me a cold and I began acting like I had a bad drug habbit.

Thursday, June 09, 2005

What mission trips really are....

To all my loyal readers, thanks for hanging in there with the Dumples. It has been an interesting time back here in Boston. I’ve been doing a lot of hanging out with my girlfriend and some time doing stuff with my other friends too. You’ll have to cut me some slack, she’s leaving for three weeks and we all know what mission trips really are… find your future spouse! At least, that’s what one of my favorite professors at school calls them. So I have to remember how cool she was before she goes and dumps the Dumple for some dude she falls in love with on the trip. I’ll miss my Andimal.

Things are good here. I’m working again, which means soon I’ll have money to get my eyes checked and my teeth cleaned. Woo hoo! I know you’re happy too. You know I thought I was the only one who hadn’t seen the dentist in a while, until I talked to one of my friends tonight who informed me that he hasn’t been to the dentist in like four or five years! Gross! I’m glad you’re married dude, she should keep you in line.

For all the readers who keep asking if the ex-girlfriend I ran into during my brother’s graduation is Leanne, the answer is no. You need to find a hobby or something. I don’t avoid her, and now I don’t think I’ll avoid any of the ex’s. It’s just too interesting to find out what happened to them.

At this point some of you are saying, “Man, does this guy have a lame post or what!?!?” All I can say is… Alright, so I remembered this story when I was talking with Andi. I was in junior high, in gym class and I had a bad cold. So I started coughing and hacked up this major loogy. I couldn’t exactly spit it out because the teacher was lecturing. So I did what any self-respecting junior high guy did, I swallowed the sucker. Or at least, I tried to swallow it. It got stuck. It was huge! So there I am choking on a snott ball I coughed up, when the teacher sees me choking. She grabs me out of the audience and starts performing the Hymleck maneuver on me. Everyone is stunned. I remember watching their faces, I mean what else are you going to do when someone’s punching you in the stomach? The problem was that I wasn’t REALLY choking on it. At least I didn’t think so. So I tell her, “I’m not choking!” which obviously you can’t do when you’re choking. But it was hard to get out when she kept knocking the wind out of me. After it was over, she pulled me aside and told me I was lucky, when she did it on her grandpa he broke some ribs. It was one of the most awkward times I can ever remember.

So that’s the story for now. Thanks for checking in. Until next week, this is the Dumple saying, “RAAAAAAAAAAH!!!”

Tuesday, May 31, 2005


The move back to Boston has proved to be quite the adventure. Compared to the daily routine of life, the past three days has been a whirlwind. I was part of my friend, Matt’s wedding and many adventures sprung from that, including:
-getting yelled at at the Jolly Pirate in Waverly
-getting a ticket on the way to Kentucky (Scott did, not me)
-a wrestling match with Matt that went three rounds
-having my shorts thrown on the highway
-dancing with my girlfriend, Andrea, for the first time
-switching hotel rooms because stuff was broken

Then when I got home from the wedding on Sunday, I had approximately 3 minutes before I hopped in my car and drove to Portland for my brother’s graduation, which created weird scenarios including:
-seeing a girl who’s wedding I skipped on because I didn’t want to see another girl
-seeing the girl who I skipped the wedding for
-finding out that that girl is engaged to a much older man
-watching my brother graduate
-eating dinner with my mom and dad, together (first time since the divorce, 15 years ago)
-seeing my mom upset again

Exhausted, I returned home and early Monday, I helped my sister move out of her place, which led to:
-moving her stuff to my place
-moving her stuff to my dad’s place in Portland
-going to a cookout with Andi’s friends and my sister
-hanging out with my homeless sister for a while, until she had a home again
-swinging with Andi at the park
-talking with Andi

Oh, in addition to all that, for the days leading up to the chaos, I was preparing my talk for Crusade, which went well I think, almost immediately upon returning home from an Emmaus walk, which was on the heals of moving out of my place in Kentucky. I haven’t slept 8 hours straight in a long time, but I’m not complaining, it’s been good stuff. Maybe tonight. I think I’m going to go read a book and relax.

Wednesday, May 25, 2005

will post on monday

hey. it's been crazy busy. i'm writing a talk for Cru tomorrow night, and getting ready to head to Matt's wedding. i'll post lata.

Tuesday, May 17, 2005

Exam Week in Wilmore

I thought I would drop in and leave a quick post. I'm in mid-week of exams here. By God's grace I'll be able to drive back safely on Thursday to Portland. I'm diggin' the beats of Anberlin while I prepare my last paper in Spiritual Warfare. Tomorrow I'll take my Greek exam. Wew, let me just say, it's been quite a trip learning Greek. Her birthday is coming up soon, any ideas on what I should get her? (Grins) If something really weird happens in the next couple days, I'll throw it down. For all you in Dayton, I'll be up Monday. Hopefully I'll be workin' Tuesday. Peace out my homies.

Wednesday, May 11, 2005


Andi, Scott, Matt, Tamara and Nick thought I needed fish. Since having them, I've decided some things, Let me share:

1. Being lazy makes fish sick
The rest of these will expanding on 1 (maybe)
2. Being lazy means I try to pour in just the right amount of fish food
3. As I dump in mass quantities of fish food, I end up creating more work for myself
4. The fish and I end up fighting over who's going to do the clean up job on the excess food
5. Jose and Fred like to eat so much they have to puke to eat more
6. Watching them puke their dinner, makes me laugh
7. When they puke the water gets dirtier
8. Stinkin' fish water stinks
9. Stinkin' fish water has to be changed a lot
10. Stinkin' friends bought me stinkin' fish, which is stinkin' funny
11. Although they've both eaten so much that they are puking, they fight over the scraps that they haven't tried to shovel down
12. Fish pukin' reminds me of Campo, McClure, Lenardz drinkin' milk at Horstman's party
13. These fish act like I don't feed them three times a day, pigs.
14. Fish have boring lives
15. When fish try to eat the plastic plant, I wonder if they are getting high off the air pump
16. How in the stinkin' world does the water get dirty in three days! Three!
17. I don't think I'll have to buy sucker fish

Sunday, May 08, 2005


A common misperception among us as Christians is that feelings don’t matter. There is an old adage that goes, “Facts, Faith, Feelings” where “Feelings” are optional. This does apply to the truth of the Gospel. It applies to science as well, it doesn’t really matter how much I want to believe that gravity doesn’t exist, or how I feel about it, it’s still here.

However, somehow at times I am guilty of taking this to another level. I come to be callous to my feelings. Don’t get me wrong, sometimes feelings get all mixed up like my Etch-a-sketch, but if I’m feeling sad or distant from people, it’s a warning sign that something could be wrong. At times I am guilty of the self-mutilation for the sake of others. While it may sound noble, it’s highly destructive and in many cases not in keeping with God’s will.

Let me give an example, what if I decide that I need to help people, so I go running around downtown and rescuing people from fires, walking old ladies across streets and counseling people. However, in the process I decide I can do more work if I don’t eat lunch, or dinner. In fact, I decide I don’t need to eat at all, that way I can do more good. I would be doing good couple of hours but soon (I don't have a lot in the reserve tank), I’d be hurtin’ pretty bad. By neglecting my needs, I’d be able to do more “ministry” temporarily, but I’d be hurting my “ministry” in the long term. In fact, I would be much better off if I took time and ate healthy meals regularly, then I would be better equipped to help people more!

The same applies when we neglect our family, our basic needs like sleep, exercise, time with God and time for some relaxation. Further, our emotional health is very important. If you’re not listening to what your emotions are saying, you may be missing what God is telling you about yourself. It’s like driving your car down the highway looking for billboards that your gas tank is empty, when if you would just look at the dashboard (which a brilliant engineer put there for just such a purpose) you would know!

More lessons that I should have learned before I got to seminary! On that note, I’m starting a regular exercise schedule to help keep my body a fine-tuned God-directed ma-chine.

In other news, Andi came down for the weekend. We had a blast and I laughed my rear off. Girlfriends can be fun! And my sister Dawn made an apperance today. It was cool. Even if I do commit academic suicide. In the end, I'm glad I was able to hang out with two cool girls in one weekend.

Sunday, May 01, 2005

beth and matt painting.

Wednesday, April 27, 2005

Wooden Jesus

So my girlfriend tells me that my blog is really boring and I never say anything good. Here’s something you’ll really like. I moved this big wooden Jesus across campus. He was really heavy. I wonder what God thinks about us carving wooden images of him? Does it bother him that most everyone on campus refers to it as ‘Jesus’ and people give him high fives, smack him on the butt and say stuff like, “Good game, Jesus” because honestly, to me, I would be ready to throw down the fireballs. Sure it’s a statue, but I’m still not sure why we need one and why everyone feels free to make fun of it, absolutely it’s not really God, but to act out scenes where God, who doesn’t react, is the joke… Somewhere I either missed the boat (it wouldn’t hurt that I’m an Engineer) or it just isn’t funny.


One of my buddies at school is studying Calvin. It's interesting stuff, here's an email he just sent me. Note: I'm trying to seperate Calvin from the Calvinism that came after him, if there is a difference.

Thought you might find this interesting. I was reading in the institutes were it spoke of God's attributes pre-existing before creation. So parts of the Institute seem to point for election coming out of God's foreknowledge. BUT I found where Calvin says the exact oposite out of his commentary on Malachi.
"As we have said, there is no real difference among men, except in their hidden election. Some theologians would make foreknowledge the mother of election, and that very foolishly and childishly. They say that some men are chosen and others rejected by God, because God, from whom nothing is hidden, foresees of what sort each man will be. But I ask, Whence comes virtue to one and vice to the other? If they say, " From free will," surely creation was before free will. This is one point. Besides, we know that all men were created alike in the person of Adam. . . . And what does this mean except that the condition of all who come from the one root is the same?"
Anyhow obviously this seems to be counter to what I said last night. I don't know man. Calvin is confusing. He says one thing then goes right around and says the exact opposite. Then again he did change alot. Each edition of the institutes is vastly different from the previous. Heck he was branded twice with 2 version of the institutes got him the label as an Arian. Go figure. But hey he does take the subordination view of the trinity. I am going to keep working this thing out. But honestly man Calvin is so flip floppy it is so hard to tell where he stands. Especially since his theologies changes in almost everything he writes.
What seems to be the jist so far is that in Calvin, God may or may not have known whom he would elect but apparently he foreknew that he would preordain individuals at creation (the issue here is then is it at the moment of their birth or is it at the moment of actual creation).
Here are some quotes from Calvin that are interesting:
"We say, then, that Scripture clearly proves this much, that God by his eternal and immutable counsel determined once for all those whom it was his pleasure one day to admit to salvation, and those whom, on the other hand, it was his pleasure to doom to destruction. We maintain that this counsel, as regards the elect, is founded on his free mercy, without any respect to human worth, while those whom he dooms to destruction are excluded from access to life by a just and blameless, but at the same time incomprehensible judgment." (Institutes of Christian Religion, Book 3, Chapter 21, Section 7)
"distinguishes among men according as he foresees what the merits of each will be"(Inst. III, 22, 1)
"by thus covering election with a veil of foreknowledge, they not only obscure it but feign that it has its origin elsewhere"(Inst. III, 22, 1).

Monday, April 18, 2005


Woo hoo! Membership!

Back in November, I started the process to become a member of my church after visiting the other seminary I highly respect, Beeson Divinity School. They convicted me that if I was so excited about my church, I should stop hesitating and start the process to become a member. So I did. Early in January I was invited to my pastor's house. I turned in my application, and then later was interviewed. This past Sunday they officially welcomed me into the church as a member! I'm amped.

Wednesday, April 13, 2005

Women in Ministry: A Quest

Well, after almost a full six months, I'm back at it again. I'm going to study the Egalitarian and Complementarian views. Gross. Obviously I have an opinion, we all do, but I'm going to look at the differing sides again. It's a hard thing to be objective about, but I do want to listen carefully and understand both sides. It seems to merit a lot of my time, but that's ok, we are talking about one of the most heated debates among Christians today. Besides, if I'm wrong, I'm hurting a lot of my sisters and quenching the Spirit of God, simultaneously!

Thankfully, I have a much better grip on the Greek now, and have encountered enough non-objective professors, in person! I desire to listen well to what God is saying to me, I hope I do it well. I ask for your prayers.

Saturday, April 09, 2005

a collector

I am a collector. I’ve been one since I was little. I’ve collected everything under the sun from baseball cards to old shoes, from awards to old batteries. As I get older, I am realizing the things I collected don’t satisfy. These ‘things’ that I have held onto are mere objects, zapped of their magic I’ve tried to capture. Some symbolize my childhood. They make me think of times gone past… so bittersweet.

I must confess, I’ve been thinking a lot about death lately, mostly, because I’m being reminded of it through some events God has orchestrated. It’s awe inspiring to think of dying, to realize I’m going to die. To, for a moment grasp the significance of life. It causes me to realize the value of ‘things’, objects, to contemplate their worthless. It makes me realize how useless most knowledge is. Even relationships come into full view.

I am realizing that I am a relationship collector. All this time, I thought I was finally free of my addiction to collecting. Don’t misunderstand me. I love relationships. People are so interesting when you start to know them. To catch a glimpse of what the Creator made, is awe inspiring.

I think the problem with collecting, besides the mismanagement of resources, is that the collector collects with the intention of enjoying, but finds themselves rather addicted to hording instead of the enjoying. There is greed that seeps in and it drains the enjoying out, replacing it with a sludge that we drink deeply, without remorse. And then, when it sits in our bellies we ache, and ache.

I’m tried of collecting. I wish I could tell you that I won’t be collecting anymore, that I will be enjoying what I have instead. I am asking God to help me remember my priorities. If I enjoy God, that will be enough. My desire will be drown in a river of fresh water, water that will not be like the sludge I drink so daily. If I enjoy God, I will enjoy people. I will enjoy relationships. I will enjoy love. I will enjoy peace. I will enjoy patience. I will enjoy joy! I will enjoy kindness! I will enjoy faithfulness! I will enjoy gentleness! I will enjoy self-control.

Oh God, help me to live in you, to enjoy what my soul has always desired.

Sunday, April 03, 2005


I retired my secret blog, bringing over two posts I enjoyed and leaving the rest lost in cyberspace. I'm going to change up the content a bit, it will probably slide over to more church related issues in general and continue stupid stories I remember about life on occasion.


Are we as American Christians being the salt we’re called to be? It’s a hard question to answer, I know. Every time I return to the suburbs where my family lives I find myself facing the reality of middle-class Christianity. Should every family be on ‘the mission field’ and what defines what a ‘mission field’ is? What level of income is necessary for us to live at? What do we ‘need’ and what constitutes wants? Is this is different from person to person, based on what God requires of us or should we all be living less comfortably than we live? Do I need a new computer? Do I need a nice guitar, a tv, video games, a large house? What is a large house? Do I need the latest fashions? Should I support missionaries whose work is here in America, or should I use the money to feed people in other countries, or should I support missionaries overseas? Should I support American missionaries overseas or should I support natives who need support? Does God want me to give to Para church organizations or to work through my church despite its deficiencies in hopes that if everyone gave to their church, the church would reform how it uses its money? Should I consider car-pooling when I travel? What about buying products at Wal-Mart that have been made by child-labor even if it means that I have less money to give to Christian organizations? Can we take vacations? What is a sufficient amount for churches to spend on their building, decoration, staff, location, advertising? Should we buy Christian music or should we share it freely? Should Christians make profit on books? Should more Christians go overseas and help in needy areas?


I talked with a MK (missionary's kid) and learned about his life at a missionary boarding school. He told me about his friends and how they turned out. It wasn't uplifting. They weren't really able to spend time with their parents in large quantities. His friends all at best were nominal Christians who are utterly disenfranchised with Christiandom. In reality they show no fruits of Christianity by their lifestyles, now. He prays for them. He’s struggling too. I do fear that many who come to seminary are struggling. I don’t mean having battles where we make war on our sin. I mean flat out questioning everything about being a Christian. I know we are quick to point fingers. These MKs came from across the denominational lines, from Baptist to Methodist. I know even the church I attend requires boarding school for their MKs, and probably a similar fate.What kind of witness is it to the world when our kids are being destroyed, when we tell others about Christ love and love on them, but keep our loved ones at a distance? It’s time for a change. I don’t have all the solutions but why do we always feel that we have to send Christians into a hard country as “Lone Rangers” as it were. Why not send communities of say ten families to a country and start a local schooling program? Invite the native children of the area to come too. It seems that for too long we’ve become sterilized. We’ve separated ministry with outsiders from our ministry to our families. It is quite ridiculous. I’m guessing a reason they don’t allow children to stay with their parents is due to security risks. Are we really counting the cost? I would rather raise a family in a persecuted area as a family then send my children away as though they are not mine. Then again I’m not a parent. I can’t help but see the negative consequences as real nonetheless.

Monday, March 21, 2005

a hot summer day

I’ve avoided blogging for a while, much to the chagrin of some of my readers. When you don’t remember anything good to write about, it’s just best not to post. Today I remembered a good story however, so it’s time to share.

It was a hot summer day, back in the mid-80s and I was riding my bike up and down the street. Many kids are allowed to ride their bike in the street, however, I was not one of them. I was chastened to the sidewalk, on which I was allowed to ride, as long as I could see my house and was on the same side of the street. I agree, my parents didn’t let me do anything cool, but I was the first child and that usually means you have to experience the extreme boundaries of parents and carve the path for the next kids. Anyway, so there I was riding up and down the street.

Now my street happened to be situated on a small hill. I would pump up it and then coast on the way down. Just to give you an idea of how pathetic we’re talking, I would ride to the far edge of my neighbor’s driveway turn around and coast to two houses down.

It was a hot, extremely hot day and I was burning up. I luckily was wearing my Cincinnati Reds ball cap (go Reds!) which was providing some shade for my head but not a whole lot. I began to get this killer headache. I found that if I would close my eyes, it would somewhat go away. Then I had the idea of a lifetime, I decided to ride down the hill with my eyes closed. I had peddled up the hill with my eyes closed for Pete’s sake! Down the hill I went, picking up speed, more and more as I continued down the street. Then I heard a, “BAM!” which was shortly followed by a weightless feeling as I for an instant began to float off by bike. Was I flying? Was I somehow magically transported to another time and place?!?!?! And then, my face came to rest on its final destination, the neighbor’s car. Now, I knew at this point that I had made a miscalculation. I had forgotten that the neighbor parked their yellow compact car slightly out past the sidewalk.

You can’t really cry when you have made a complete fool out of yourself and no one seems to be around, even if you are seven. I mean, what if someone heard you cry and then came out to see what happened, only to find that you’ve smashed yourself into a parked car?!?!?! I did what any self-respecting seven year old would do, I fled the scene, bike and all and decided I was done riding for the day.

Sunday, March 06, 2005

kentucky roadkill, it comes in many flavors, but everyone prefers skunk!

I can't seem to see enough skunks on the side of the road on the way to church. Granted, it is about the only time I leave Wilmore when the light of day is shinning. I gotta say, you would expect to see a possum, or a deer or something, but all that I ever see are skunks and lots of them. I'm not sure if skunks are the only thing wild animals won't eat, and I use the term 'wild animals' loosely, you could include some of the wilder Kentucky folk animals, or even my friend Andi, although I don't think she'd touch roadkill with a ten foot pole much less take it off the side of the road and eat it. One thing I am sure of though, unlike my old home of Dayton, we don't have any squirrels around here. Then again, when I lived in Dayton, I only knew one guy who would dare eat them. I'm thinking that a good friday night adventure would be to drive around and collect roadkill into my buddies pickup and dump a big pile of them somewhere, or maybe that's just gross.

Friday, March 04, 2005

“Bring it” got brought it

I signed up to play the assassin game one or two weeks ago, I can’t remember which, time doesn’t seem to move linearly anymore, it’s more like some morphic oozing wormhole thing. Anyway, I signed up but instead of just writing my name, Ben Douglass, I had to be me, you know a little arrogant, a little spicy, so I put, Ben “Bring it” Douglass down. So from that point forward people who signed up on the sheet in the student center would walk by and say things like, “What’s up ‘Bring it’ Ben Douglass?” I would laugh and we would do the dumb college thing and slap five or hit the rock or something. Well the game commenced on Monday night at 6pm. I survived the night handily and was surviving the morning without much trouble.

Then I went to chapel. The speaker was probably the most untrained and painful to hear speaker I’ve heard in a long time. First, he liked to say things like, “You know” and “Right” more times than he actually filled his talk with meaningful words that make up real sentences. Second, instead of following a logical progression, he just rambled about whatever seemed to be on his mind. Third, he didn’t help us tie his personal experiences or someone’s experiences in depth to a small passage. In fact, he didn’t meditate on a passage of Scripture (a pet-peeve of mine). I’m not talking about reading a chapter, I mean I enjoy it when they really explain a few verses. Wait, I’m way off topic…. So he did have good content, he just didn’t know how to present it, I wish he would have asked someone for help. The content was good in a bad way. He shared with us about how where he works people are being mutilated by their government, how people are being used and destroyed, how vilely sinful the world really is. When you live in a great country like we do, and really it is great compared to the atrocities that are happening across this world, you tend to forget how bad life is elsewhere and how little Christians here are doing anything about it. So I’m walking out of chapel very sober. I forget about the dumb game. Inside I’m just mulling over the pain and the suffering and talking it over with my friend. I’m within five feet of the door I need to get in before I am safe in the game. I’m standing there waiting for the crowds to enter into the next building and then it happens.

Mark, my assassin comes out of the building, I’m not really paying attention to him, and shoots me. Instantly I’m transported back to Lexington, KY. Yeah, I’m playing some dumb game with a whole bunch of people in a peaceful area. It made me frustrated on many levels. I don’t know what I’m suppose to do to help as a guy who feels called to be here, now. My professor said something interesting in the class following lunch, he said, “The ministry of Jesus Christ is directed primarily to the Father, not to the needs of the world.” Very profound. I know God is concerned about his creation, his people, his loved ones. However, our ministry is to be directed primarily to the Father. He’ll point us where we need to go.

I totally missed the point I was going for. Here it is: I got shot. The real first day of the game. Like a sucka, I was taken out. I think it was because I wrote Ben “Bring it” Douglass instead of Ben Douglass. God wins again! One of these days, I'm not going to talk trash. I'll probably be dead... but it'll happen. I said "Bring it", Oh how He brought it.

Tuesday, February 22, 2005


I don’t know if ya’ll have heard of this one, but someone here at seminary obviously had. What you do is grab a whole bunch of your friends, and maybe even a few you don’t know too well, and write down everyone’s name. You make these into cards, and then shuffle them up. Everyone has a mini-squirt gun and will be given a hit list. Over the course of a few days you are to “assassinate” the people on your list. When you make your hit (squirt them with the water gun) then you get their assassination list. Whoever has the most at the end of the set time period, or gets them all, wins.

Our game will start next week. I’ll keep you posted…. It was worth a mid-week update.

Sunday, February 20, 2005

a coffee shop experience

Yesterday I went to a concert at the coffee shop on campus (Solomon’s Porch - ATS). When I say I went to the concert, it was more like my buddies and I went to get some coffee and read, when a concert broke out. I don’t know what it is about coffee shops but many times when there’s a white guy with a guitar there solo you can bet he’ll be singing out of key, and this guy was no exception. I think maybe the microphone projects your guitar/voice so loud that somehow they’re just not able to hear themselves. He sang some interesting songs, such as ones by Guns’n’Roses, Red Hot Chili Peppers, Billy Joel, Jimmy Buffet, and a Christmas song about shooting his puppy with rabies in the head. I tried not to listen to all of his terrible (out of key) songs, but sometimes when you know them, you can’t help but pay attention half-heartedly. The song about his puppy with rabies was especially gripping. No matter how much I told myself to read Os Guinness, I found myself listening to the sad song about how he blew his puppies brains out on Christmas. It was pretty much the worst (however, unfortunately funny) song I’ve ever heard someone sing. It was quite obvious that he was a college student. Sorry college students, but you’re immature, and that’s coming from one of the most immature (at times) seminary student east of the Mississippi. Thankfully it will be his last appearance in Wilmore, although he said while at the microphone that he’s done 9 shows, in Michigan, Indiana and here in Kentucky. He does deserve some props for being courageous enough to play 9 shows! The crowd disappeared somewhere soon after the puppy song. I wish I could have taped it. It was the funniest, worst song I’ve heard, bar-none.

Monday, February 14, 2005

takin’ communion

Last Tuesday down here at school they took communion at the chapel. I’ve taken communion many times, so this should be a short story. They broke the bread and talked about the meaning of each of the items. Then they said and I quote, “When you’re ready to receive the communion come forward.” I had spent some time praying before chapel, and I knew I was ready to receive it, so I hopped out of the pew and headed down. Not until I was standing in line did I realize that they were dismissing people by rows. I was sitting in the last row to be dismissed, so when I came forward I had to face everyone who was still waiting to be dismissed to take it. I felt like a genius. This is what happens when you stick a non-Methodist in a Methodist communion service, I mess it all up!

Sunday, February 06, 2005


I had a divine appointment today. The kind you remember far into the future. When working at Orientation, they passed out cards and we were given people to pray for. I prayed for my dude, and then felt compelled to continue praying for him. The next day he arrived and I heard him say his name to a person at the table next to me. I was busy at the time, but I recognized it instantly and then when I was free, I introduced myself. I ran into him multiple times from then till today. Tonight while at the Superbowl party, I felt restless, so I left it and went back to the dorms. Yeah, I know, I took a lot of crap for leaving. When I arrived back at the dorms, I felt like I was to go find him and invite him to the party. I went up to his floor, and found his room without any trouble. I didn’t knock on his door or anything, I just waited. I know it is weird, but I knew he would come out. Sure enough, he came out of his room and I invited him to come to the party. He agreed to come without persuasion. As we were walking over to the party I find out his background a bit. He’s a Baptist, a rarity on a Wesleyan campus. He felt guided by the Holy Spirit to come to ATS. We talked a bit more; it was good to hear where he was coming from. After we arrived, he met up with some guys and I knew I could take off, so I did.

I know it’s a pretty weird story. I guess why I share it is because it was one of those times when you just know what you’re suppose to do. I can’t really explain it any other way. I love ‘em and had to share this latest one. If you’re not convinced, I don’t blame you. You had to be me in the moment to understand probably.

Tuesday, February 01, 2005


if the republicans here keep ranting, i may end up a democrat. people here don't get up until 10:30! sick. going to study greek tonight. the fish are doing ok, one died, it was little timmy. i think he choked on the water. hope ya'll are doing well.

Monday, January 31, 2005

leaving dayton

I write this entry on the night before I leave Dayton. Eerily I recall earlier a conversation from earlier today. A friend said to me, “We won’t miss you, but you might miss us.” I haven’t even started packing and yet I’m sad. They say that home is where your heart is. If that’s the case, I can understand why it saddens me so to leave. When you have to move your home, in a weird way you have to move your heart too. We thrive on change, we love new things. Yet, part of us loves the beauty of the way things are. It reminds me of being a kid. I wanted to be just like dad, I had a little plastic lawn mower that shot out bubbles. I would push it all around the yard trying desperately hard to be like him. Still, I enjoyed being a kid and playing in the sandbox for hours, painting with my fingers and playing with our puppy in the backyard. I’ve been saying goodbye to my friends here in Dayton over the course of the weekend. In some of the relationships here, I find that we’ve moved apart. Time has worn the commonalities that held us so close together into a fine thread that now seems stretched. In other relationships, the first pages of our adventures as friends are starting, as a good book that you’ve just finished the intro to. Still, in other relationships it is as though nothing changed at all. Amazingly in these relationships it is as though we’ve never aged.

So I sit at the dinning table and remember the past weeks, the anticipations, the fears, the joys, laughter, sorrows and silences. It is sad in general. I’m going to miss the people I work with, the people I play with, the roommate I fart with. The people I share life with. Then I think about the future at hand. Life doesn’t end at death. For some, their rejection of God will be bitterly more sorrowful than anything experienced on earth. For others, their acceptance of God will bring the abundance even more fully than experienced here. I am trying to cherish the relationships and opportunities I do have here. To savor the life that God has given us. He never asked us to numb ourselves, only to sacrifice that which would take our joy from us. The price has seemed too high for many. They walk away clinging to their rusting skates, buying into the lie, unwilling to trust the only one who can save them from themselves. I too want to cling to my rusty skates, but I know I can’t. I press forward, enjoying that which I was blessed to receive while here. I press forward, knowing full well that loving God must always stay my true wellspring of life. I press forward, finding more of God’s blessing lying ahead. Maybe even my old skates. Maybe even in better condition. Or maybe God will do something completely different. Whatever He should chose, my life is His to use.

Thursday, January 20, 2005


well, i don't have much. honestly, i'm losing the blogging bug. i'm sorry. my latest inspiration is andi's braces....

What rocks my face off about braces:

1) Braces come with a special storage feature that allows you to eat food and store them there in your braces to “eat” later! Mmmmmm… leftovers….

2) Braces increase bad breath which aids in repelling robbers and weird stalkers.

3) 28 rubber bands. Do I need to say anymore?

4) Rap artists each have a few pieces of metal in their mouth. When you put on the braces you’re like your own rap group!

5) Chewing gum becomes an art.

6) If you threaten to bite someone, they are more likely to be intimidated.

7) It is rumored that you can pick up radio stations if you turn just right.

8) You get to carry around thousands of dollars and don’t have to worry about anyone stealing it!

9) Spiting food at friends is fun! Who doesn’t love spitting pizza all over your buddy? Braces let you get away with it.

10) Your mom and dad will love you more.

Monday, January 10, 2005

A Happy New Year

It was New Year Eve of 1994. My family and I had returned from our trip to Grandma & Grandpa’s in Medina, Ohio. Grandma had insisted that we returned home with some of her soon to be world famous cookies. We told her that she didn’t have to send an entire tin of cookies home with us, but secretly we hoped she wouldn’t take us up on it. Back home in Cincinnati, we all were in the habit of eating some of Grandma’s cookies “unannounced”, also known as sneaking cookies. See, we are greedy little Gollum-like beings when it comes to her cookies. Yes, my precious. We won’t share you with the little hobbits. All mine. HmmHmm!

Anyway, we were in business of sneaking them to make sure we ate more than our fair share of the cookies. I was being a master of disguise, I mean even Mirage from G.I. Joe wouldn’t know I was hitting the cookies. I was good. Now New Year’s Eve was near the time of our return from Grandma’s so the tin started almost full. I would sneak two or three at a time, making frequent stops into the kitchen. By around 8pm or so, I was hitting the bottom of the tin. I finished them off with great precision, once again proving to all people that not only could I be a master of disguise and greedier than the little hobbits, but I could also pack’em away.

I started getting hot. I mean really hot. Maybe it was the sugar rush. Maybe it was the sour cream in one of the varieties of cookie balls. Maybe it was the guilt when I got caught eating the last cookie. Maybe I simply ate too much. Whatever it was, I was not feeling very well. I remember sitting on the couch and feeling oh so sick. Then it hit me. I got up and made a B-line for the bathroom. I was moving at a pretty good clip, I was only one turn away from facing the toilet and then it happened. A cookie extravaganza! I mean all your favorite colors and favors made a second appearance. We had reds, greens and browns as well as raspberry, sugar sprinkles, peppermint and chocolate! Wow! If only I had the tin nearby. I did one better though, I missed the toilet and painted wall with a blend of spices that would make anyone’s stomach turn. As the little hobbits, my siblings will tell you, indeed it took the paint off the wall.

Every Christmas I have to hear about this story. It’s like one of my family’s great traditions.

Thursday, January 06, 2005

A smooth move

I went swing dancing last night (don't ever call it swinging, I was warned at work today that was something different). I realized my feet don't know what swing dancing is. They were completely confused. I think my right foot kept thinking we were going to do some kind of ballroom dancing, ok it was more like concreted to the floor and my hands kept thinking we were going to either do the robot or do some funky rapper moves. I wore my red shoes, the ladies seemed to like them. They told me so. I met some cool people, ok so they were girls, all except Josh and some dude who wanted to talk about nothing and was able to waste a good 15 minutes I was going to use dancing with the girls... The ladies were very gracious and put up with my terrible ability to swing dance. I do mean terrible. But, I have been practicing. That's where the smooth move comes in. See I was practicing my moves at work in the hallway. I had just done some ‘push the girl’ move and then pulled the door open (imagining that I was actually pulling the girl's hand back towards me). Well, on the other side of the door there was this guy reading a magazine in a chair. I could tell I startled him and I think he thought for a split second he saw me dancing. That is until I pulled a smooth move. I did some kind of John Travolta walk immediately and walked away quickly. So instead of looking like a complete idiot, I looked like a moron trying to walk goofy. But, now you know I was being an idiot and that’s probably better somehow.

Today I also gave my presentation that I've been working on for months now... I was all set to head out to work, the car was all loaded up when I realized I didn't have my badges. I checked my coat (that I was wearing), my car, my room, the kitchen, the living room, the dinning room, and then I got desperate so I checked the garbage, the bathroom, the refrigerator (who knows where I could have put them down), Matt’s pickup, my room again, the kitchen again, the living room again my coat four more times, the spare bedroom, I called work and asked Adam and then Eric if they had seen them (of course not) and then I realized I was in big trouble. Yeah, big trouble. God came through, I moved Matt’s coat on one of the chairs to reveal anther coat that looked just like mine… Huh, wait… It was mine! I was wearing Matt’s coat! That’s why the badges weren’t in the pocket where I left them. I hopped in my car and went to work. I also had to add a slide to my presentation when I got there. I finished adding the slide and then the client walked in for the presentation to start. Now that’s what I call God providing. And yes, I was flipping out in a calm way.

Oh, here is a picture of my shoes, by request for all the ladies out there. Peace.

dead sexy.