9.30.2005

Deleted Comments

A word on deleted comments, I only delete spam, something I've been getting alot of lately, and sometimes my own replies for various reasons. In an effort to prevent the spam I enabled word verification. Sorry for the hassel, but it prevents the time wasting spam.

9.29.2005

Long Day

Today has been a bit long. On tue and thur I have class at 8am, 1pm and 6:30pm So I just hang out at Fuller all day, it’s ok, but…

For dinner I had sushi, got to love CA. I can choose from good, Americanized, Mexican, SE Asian, or European food, in addition to good old fashioned hamburgers and pizza.

I haven’t listed my classes for the quarter here yet because I think I’m going to drop one of the classes.

When the prof first entered the room I had high hopes because he was wearing hiking shoes with his kakkies, but as it turns out our personalities just clash.

Today, he tried to say that pastors should get the entire tithe because one line does indeed say this. (Num 18:21) Never mind the fact that another verse says use the tithe to buy some beer, and a rib-eye for yourself. (Deu 12:17-19) The point being that you can’t make a direct translation of tithing passages into the contemporary setting. Which should be kind of obvious since the New Testament never uses the word tithe. Anyway, that was kind of the last straw, so I have to find another class to take.

That’s my day, what was yours like?

9.27.2005

Cool Friends

Two cool blogs for you to check out. One belongs to a friend I made in blogland who I met for the first time in person today, Kyle Bennett, who just arrived here in SoCal. The other belongs to a friend of mine, JR Rozko, who I just found out has a blog.

Both of these guys are fellow fuller fools, and both, like me, are studying theology and culture. Check them out for another perspective on the madness that is Fuller Seminary…a madness I thoroughly enjoy. : )

9.21.2005

A synopsis of my time with the Red Cross

This will simply be a synapses of my time with the American Red Cross, latter some reflections will follow. To see nearly 50 pictures, click here.

In the beginning there is a lot of waiting in line, and whole days are given up while the powers that be figure out what to do with the mass of humanity that has shown up on their doorstep. They were no more prepared to deal with this disaster than anyone else was, but unlike some organizations, they have responded admirably, it seems, at least that is my view from the bottom of the volunteer barrel.



Because they do not provide direct emergency assistance, the heat isn’t so hot on them. Their main deficiency is their inability to deal nimbly with the overwhelming number of volunteers, but to suggest that I or anyone could have done better given the circumstances would be na├»ve.

If you are thinking of volunteering, here is a snapshot of my experience. It’s not the whole story, but it’s my story.



I made my first contact to volunteer on a Friday, and was told to come back the following Tuesday for training. At that time, we were told we could expect to go out within 24 hours, but in reality we didn’t fly till Saturday. We arrived in Montgomery, Alabama, late on Saturday night, which was too late to be processed at the headquarters (HQ), so we went to a hotel. The next day we were in-processed in a haphazard manner, in which we were never quite sure what or where we were supposed to be. Once we were done with the paperwork, we settled in to wait in the outgoing volunteer area, where people chatted, read, or watched TV. After a while, it became obvious that we were going no where fast, and so we tried to find something to do there at the HQ. Actually, it was mainly Joey that was trying to be helpful, I was busy with the more important challenge of keeping up with what was going on that Sunday in the NFL, but I, too, got to work when she found something for us to do, namely handing out office supplies to whomever was in need. Because Joey is a pro at anything she puts her mind to, we were asked to stay there at the HQ. (I was totally riding her coattails.) We were both given jobs in Logistics, I in the motor pool, and her at the shipping and receiving desk.

Things quickly settled into a routine. We would come in at 8am, and by nine the FedEx shipment had arrived with 30-90 packages that needed to be accounted for, and distributed throughout the HQ.

A word on HQ. HQ was an old K-mart building, each function (i.e. manpower, records, logistics, bulk distribution, external affairs, etc…) had their own section filled with laptops, cords, and paper work. The various functions made up about 250 people. In addition, there was a constant stream of volunteers from around the country. They would fly into Montgomery and then 12-48 hours later, ship out some place to the south. The task of driving these people to their assignment was the job of the motor pool, to which I was assigned.




I found the job enjoyable, driving all over southern Alabama and Mississippi, delivering people and packages to various shelters, and distribution points. The days could be long, but I enjoyed the solitude, especially compared to the noise and commotion of HQ. On the long drives, I got to know a number of people fairly well, including two new friends, John and Scott. I truly enjoyed my time with the Red Cross, mostly because of the people I met, and would do so again in a heartbeat; however, be prepared for a certain amount of bureaucracy that inevitably accompanies any national organization.

See more pictures here.

9.18.2005

A Watery Hell

Yesterday we drove down to the coast, just to the east of Biloxi in a town called Ocean Springs, where the devastation was breathtaking. The homes nearest to the coast were completely wiped out, leaving nothing but the foundation, and a few concrete support beams. Farther inland the homes were still standing, but had to be gutted because they were completely waterlogged, every imaginable thing was piled in a heap of stink on the curb, a testament to the power of the storm, to humanity, and to God, and/or whomever you blame.

How do I feel having witnessed this? Similar to how one feels at a cemetery I think. Reverence, awe, sadness, all were present and appropriate. However, there is a sense in which you don’t want to feel, there is too much pain present to allow it inside, and so you keep your distance, not able to feel what the home owner feels, as you walk among the ruins, a tourist of a watery hell.


(I"ll post some pictures when I get home)

9.12.2005

Our Red Cross Duties

Joey and I are both assigned to the Alabama HQ - Logistics.

Which means we are fetching any imaginable supply, in the motor pool delivering people and supplies across Alabama and Mississippi, or administrating the FedEx table, which means delivering packages throughout the HQ, an old K-Mart, jammed with about 500 people, and all their technology making this thing happen.

9.09.2005

Going to Montgomery with the Red Cross

About a week and a half ago Joey and I looked into the possibility of volunteering with the Red Cross to go and serve Katrina victims. This past Tuesday we got trained on shelter operations, and a number of other things. Today we got word that we are leaving at 7:10am tomorrow on a flight bound for Montgomery AL. (we'll be back in 11 days) From there will be bussed to wherever we are needed on the Gulf Coast.

The training reminded me of what it may have been like shortly after Pear Harbor occurred, for the mass of people that volunteered to serve in the armed forces, the Red Cross, or some other capacity. On Tuesday we were just a rag tag bunch of volunteers being rushed through training by a 30 year veteran of the Red Cross who skipped most of the official training, and instead told us what we needed to know, which wasn’t much, because nothing like this has ever happened on this scale.

I hope to be able to blog while I am down there, but there are certainly no guarantees that internet service will be available, or that I will want to write after a 13-hour day.

Please keep us, and the many that are hurting, in your prayers.

9.05.2005

Holy Horror

Is the Holly Spirit calling you to make horror flicks? Talk to Scott Derrickson.

Here is just a bit of what he said:

To me, this genre deals more overtly with the supernatural than any other genre, it tackles issues of good and evil more than any other genre, it distinguishes and articulates the essence of good and evil better than any other genre, and my feeling is that a lot of Christians are wary of this genre simply because it's unpleasant. The genre is not about making you feel good, it is about making you face your fears. And in my experience, that's something that a lot of Christians don't want to do.

I think that the horror genre serves a great purpose in bolstering our understanding of what is evil and therefore better defining what is good. And of course I'm talking about, really, the potential of the horror genre, because there are a lot of horror films that don't do these things. It is a genre that's full of exploitation, but the better films in the genre certainly accomplish, I think, very noble things.

C. S. Lewis had that very practical wisdom, well stated, in his introduction to The Screwtape Letters, when he talks about how the two great dangers, in regard to our thoughts about the demonic and the devil, are to think too much of them or too little of them.

Read the rest here

9.01.2005

The Lord's Katrina Prayer

Our Father which art in heaven, Hallowed be thy name. Thy kingdom come. Thy will be done, in New Orleans, and Mobile, and every where else affected by this storm, as it is in heaven. Give us this day their daily bread, and water, and medication, and a dry place to sleep. And forgive us our debts, as we forgive those that rampage with guns, and loot our stores. And lead us not into temptation to complain about the slow response, and the poor planning, but deliver us from evil: For thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, for ever. Amen.

It Isn’t About America

I was doing some more pondering on my incoherent opinion on Iraq, (read a previous oponion here) due to a post by a solder in Iraq. If you want my whole opinion, you need to read to the end (or just scroll to the end and read the last paragraph)

I can't verify it, but according to Duke in Iraq, the following was published in the Stars and Stripes. I think it represents the feelings of most of the troops very well, and helps show why I have such muddled feelings on the whole thing.

I’d like Jane to witness Iraqi women demonstrating for their right to participate in the drafting of the Iraqi constitution. She could park her eco-van in front of a local Iraqi father whose four children were just murdered by insurgents, or visit the families of Iraqi soldiers who died fighting for a free Iraq

She could witness headless bodies of children floating in the Tigris River and view pictures of mass graves, one showing a child size skeleton still clinging to its mother’s leg. She should protest in front of families clawing at these graves with bare hands, tears streaming down their weathered cheeks. Tell any of those people that this war is wrong.

Read the rest of the post here.

In light of this, does it really matter if there were weapons of mass destruction; is America's safety and security, (or better said, America's financial safety and security) the only thing that matters?

And yet, I still wonder if it was worth it. Mine is a muddled opinion. The reason I think it may not have been worth it is based on the possibly naive idea that there may have been another way, a less violent way, a less costly way, (I’m thinking of the lives and limbs, not the dollars) to get this done.

So when I read of the good that happens, or the horrors of Saddam’s regime, I think “great, praise God something good has happened”, but of course I always here the bad as well, and then I wonder, “could we possibly have done this any other way?” Especially when I ponder on the motives of our leaders.

Not that it mattes. Were in now and we need to find the best possible solution for the people of Iraq, and maybe our own as an after thought.

I guess that is what separates me from the overwhelming majority of…well, just about everyone. I want what is best for the people of Iraq, not that I’m the only one who feels this way, or have any idea what that is, (maybee someone should ask them), but to appose the war based on the idea that it was not in the best interest of America is entirely too nationalistic for me, particularly as a Christian. And yet I’m afraid that the majority that support the war do so for similarly nationalistic reasons, wanting to prove to the world that we will not be beaten. In the end, it isen't about America.