Monday, November 19, 2007


Over the last few weeks, I have been talking to Jill, and several other people here at Candler, about how disconnected we all are, how we all feel isolated, stranded, even alone at times. Essentially, I heard from a variety of sources that we all feel like (despite Candler’s claims to the contrary) there is no community here, that we’re on our own here. I’ve heard similar sentiments from everyone ranging from first-years to third-years.

We’re all busy. Between class, work, reading, writing, and sleeping (occasionally), it’s a wonder anyone here has time for others and for the self. It is a hectic time. If one were to do all the assigned readings, all the papers, the studying and so forth, there would be absolutely no way to even get a healthy amount of sleep each night, not to mention time to eat, bathe, etc. Nearly every professor feels like theirs is the only class any of us have. And the handful of professors who don’t are dearly loved by their students.

Anyway, getting back from the tangent...

The point is, we all feel kind of isolated. Wondering if this is the place for us, or where we’re going to be after we graduate. We wonder if we have real friends here, friends who will still be in our lives after graduation. Yeah, we’re all going different places, but with facebook, email, blogs, cell phones, no one is far away. But the point is, are these friends who will reach back? Maybe that’s just me, but I wonder how many of the people here I will actually keep in touch with, and of those, who will bother to keep in touch with me. It’s a two-way street. I just wonder if I’m the only car who’ll be driving it.

(I realize the hypocritical nature of me saying that. I have friends from Transy who I never talk to. And that’s my fault. If any of you are reading, I’m sorry. I’m going to try to be better about it. And if I fail, let me know...haha.)

I wonder if what we’re feeling here is something peculiar to this environment, or if it is something endemic in our generation. In this modern society so intricately interwoven, in a world that continues to shrink, why do we feel alone? And especially at a place built upon a radicalized idea of community? The church is a community different from all others, a place that, in theory, is so close that people don’t get isolated like this. I know it’s idealistic, and when dealing with real people ideals and theories don’t work to perfection. But the idea is there. We should be looking out for each other, not letting others and ourselves get stranded. We need to love each other. And part of that is communicating, spending time together.

On the bright side, this weekend was a great weekend for spending time with people. Friday night Jill and I went to the movies, something we had not done in a long time. Saturday we had dinner with a few friends. We went to Edo, a Japanese steakhouse. It was delicious and fun. Then yesterday we hung out with some other friends at Taco Mac and watched football, then later that evening had pizza with even more friends. All in all, a good (and needed) weekend for healing some of the disconnectedness, for strengthening the bonds of friendship. We were not made to be in isolation for significant lengths of time. We all need time apart, but we really need time together. We need each other. Even God doesn’t exist in isolation (i.e. the Trinity). Why should we?

So, if anyone out there still reads this, and understands what I’m talking about, I just want to say that I’m always available to talk. Or rather that I want to be, and will be making an effort to be a better friend.

“If you need me, call me, I’ll be there in a hurry, you don’t have to worry... ‘cause baby there ain’t no mountain high enough...”


Monday, September 24, 2007

Still no Halo or XBox, but I've got something better...

So, no one's come to my aid in acquiring an XBox 360 and/or Halo 3. No surprise there; I'm not sure anyone other than Jill reads this thing anymore. Oh well, I don't need it.

Like the title says, I have something better. How about an amazing girlfriend who, get this, did my laundry for me?

That's right. Jill did my laundry for me. I brought it over to her place to use her washer and dryer. I did the first couple of loads, but then I left for a while, with every intention of finishing it when I got back. When I came back it was almost entirely done, folded and ready to go. I don't know what I did in some earlier life, but I must have been awesome to deserve someone so sweet. It's funny though- I'm not sure most people get to see how sweet and kind she really is. She's usually pretty serious and thoughtful, somewhat reserved. She's not the saccharine-sweet kind of girl. But she does all kinds of sweet things for me. Like my laundry. Evidently she finds folding clothes to be therapeutic. I don't know... whatever it is, she's great, and I know I don't deserve her. Hopefully she'll never realize that.

Anyway, this weekend was nice. Jill and I went to the Braves game on Saturday, which was fun. We had been talking about going to one all summer, but just hadn't made it yet. So, since it was the last home stand of the year we had to go. And we got free tickets from my roommate Chris, which was very nice of him. We were sitting in the next to last row in the upper decks, but it was fun nonetheless. And we got to park right across the street from Turner Field because Jill drives a Lexus (so we used the Lexus lot).

It seems I've been on the receiving end of a long list of random acts of kindness- free tickets, free laundry, good parking, etc.

Which, of course, makes me think- when was the last time I dealt out some random acts of kindness? And since nothing immediately comes to mind, I know one thing- it's been far too long.

You see, I mentioned that I have something better than an XBox or whatever. I have Jill, who loves me and is exceptionally kind to me. And even bigger than that, I'm reminded of the fact that we're all called to random acts of kindness. It's part of following a God who deals in agapic love, also referred to as charity (especially in Dr. Jackson's Ethics class). Not simply charity in the since of a philanthropist giving to causes and foundations. Charity in the sense of good done to another without concern to repayment or benefit. Giving for giving's sake. Just being kind, helping someone in need or giving someone something just because.

It's what God does.

All the time.

I can't even begin to imagine that. The depth of goodness it takes to always be pouring out good to people who, rather than accept graciously, so often just turn away. As though we don't need it. As though God's grace is a gift we'd rather not have, thanks.

I wonder what's wrong with me. With us.

If God is pure good, to God's very essence or being, then the best thing God can do is share that goodness with us. Which, I believe, God does; I think this is most concentrated and/or evident in Christ. So it makes sense to me, then, that we should try to participate in that goodness as best we can by doing good of our own. Imitation as the most sincere form of flattery, right?

So, this is my reminder to myself to try to do some good, to give charity, to show some of God's love that has been (and continues to be) shown to me. Hopefully I can do some of that.


Monday, September 17, 2007

Anyone want to seriously endear themselves to me?

Halo 3 comes out on 9/25. I'd love to have it. And of course, an XBox 360 (just not the core system).

Here's the info:

If anyone out there has an extra $400 lying around, and wanted to do something kind, I would gladly be the recipient of said kindness. It's been a long long time since I was this interested in a video game. Guess I'm still a nerd at heart.

Okay, enough begging for stuff I want but don't need. I ought to be doing homework right now, but I need a break. I've been at it all day, and just don't want to do anymore. It's mostly busywork, which means I'm not motivated at all to do it. I've got a huge presentation to do for Thursday, but I'm waiting on a book so I can get started. Grr...

I spent most of this weekend not doing homework, and instead hanging out with Jill and other friends. Lots of football watching. That's one of the many awesome things about Jill- she actually likes to watch football. How cool is that? Yes, yes, all you guys out there can envy me. She's that wonderful. She made me dinner on Friday (cue more envy), and even made brownies for dessert. Delicious.
I don't deserve her. I know.

I thought of something else I wanted to talk about here, but I've forgotten it by now. I should start making notes of this stuff.

Well, I'll spare you anymore ramblings. I'll be back.


Monday, September 03, 2007

It's that time again...

Time for school to start back up. It's my last year of seminary, and perhaps my last full year of formal education. I've been in school since I was 5.

I'm not sure how I feel about this.

Part of me is absolutely ready to be done with the regiment of sleep, class, read, write, test, repeat. I pretty much hate any time that I have to sit down and do homework. It often seems pointless. I don't feel that I really learn anything from writing a paper that regurgitates what I have read or heard from a professor. That isn't education. It's memorization. The more time I spend in higher education, the more it seems to me that I just get to be a mimic, firing back to a professor what they think.

There aren't many chances to write about what I think. Which I suppose is somewhat fortunate, since I'm not sure I have anything that important to say. But the point is, I am tired of professors ostensibly wanting to know what I think when in reality they only want to hear their own words coming out of the mouth of another. Welcome to academia.

End rant.

Other than school starting back up, life is great. I had an amazingly relaxing summer. I only worked a couple of days a week, and I spent the rest of the time being lazy and enjoying my last real summer break ever. I've been able to have a ton of free time to do what I wanted. And of course, I wasted most of it...haha.

Today is going to be a great day. I'm getting ready to draft a fantasy football team, then on to a Labor Day cookout/gathering, where there shall be Wii, Ping Pong and other festivities.

Life is good.


Tuesday, August 07, 2007

I hate moving...

Eventually, I'm hoping to get to a point where I actually update this thing regularly. You'd think this summer of working very little and being lazy very much would have been a perfect time for this to happen, but evidently not. But by request, I have returned to ramble on about whatever comes to mind.

I moved last week, leaving behind the wonderfully 1970's atmosphere of Turner Village for the more spacious (albeit equally retro) accommodations of President Park Apartment Complex. I now have a massive room, with enough floor space to actually walk around and the like, which, when compared to the labyrinth-like little path I had through my last bedroom, makes me feel almost spoiled. And to think I'm actually spending less money to live here! We even have a pool. So, while I do hate moving (especially when coupled with the fact that I'll be doing this again in only 10 months), the new place is better than the old one.

Here are some pics of the new room:

[Edit: The pics aren't showing up. I broke it.]

I've even got my own bathroom, which is actually something I have never had before. Of course, that means I'm the only one responsible for cleaning it. Dang it...

Anyway, moving out and then moving in have occupied most of my time over the last week. But now I'm just about settled in, and just in time for the summer to come to a close. I have exactly one month until classes start (AHHHH!) for my last year of education for the foreseeable future. My last year of school. Unless of course I decide to continue on and maybe get a D. Min or something crazy like that. But for now, the plan is to enter the real world come next May/June. I'm very ready to stop writing papers and taking tests, and yet I'm not completely excited about the prospect of no more summer breaks. C'est la vie, n'est-ce pas?

Let's see, what else has been going on recently.... Well, Jill's birthday was Thursday, 8/2, and we went to dinner with a group of friends and then went to Stone Mountain for the laser show. That was a lot of fun, even though a lot of people were out of town and unable to come. Boo them. They're all bad people who kick puppies and punch the elderly. I hadn't been to the laser show this summer, and I enjoyed it. I think most guys like the concept of lasers and explosions and fireworks and flamethrowers, and that was reinforced by the reactions from the guys who were with us. Good times were had by all. And we had some deliciously fantastic freshly-made taffy. So that was good too.

Of course, most of all I was glad to be there with Jill. I gotta say, being with her makes even the awesomeness of explosions and fire that much more awesome.

We have now reached the sappy portion of today's blog.

She's so much fun to be around; she makes me laugh pretty much every time I see her. Before we were dating, I never thought she'd be so goofy. She usually comes across as pretty serious (and she is), but when we're together, it seems like we're always laughing about something. That's one thing I really love about her- she makes me laugh. And I do love to laugh. Usually, I find myself making other people laugh, but Jill cracks me up on a regular basis, something that isn't easy to do. I do love that girl, very very much.

Speaking of laughing, I've been watching "My Name Is Earl" on DVD the last couple of days, and that show continues to grow on me even more. It's absolutely hilarious, and it is made even more enjoyable by the fact that it is able to push a good message (trying to be a better person) without bludgeoning you over the head with it. For those not in the know, Earl (played fantastically by Jason Lee, of Kevin Smith-movie fame) discovers the idea of karma after winning $100k and then being hit by a car. The show revolves around him trying to make up for all the crap he has done in the past; these actions are all on his list, and each episode has time trying to tackle something and fix it. It's extremely funny, and I recommend it highly.

Okay, I think I've rambled on long enough. Again, I'll try to be more timely in my updates. I'd ideally like to update this thing everyday, but I'm 99% sure I don't have enough thoughts in my head to make that a worthwhile pursuit. I am boring. Very much so. But I'll do what I can; who knows? Maybe I'll stumble upon a good idea that will make updating daily easier. Some sort of gimmick or concept. I've seen people update their blog daily with what they eat, what they're thankful for, something that made them think that day, whatever. I'll try to find an angle with which to run. We'll see how that turns out...

Until next (hopefully sooner) time.


Thursday, June 28, 2007


Here's what's happenin' ...

Today is my mom's birthday! So, happy birthday mom. This is when it sucks being 6 hours away, for stuff like birthdays and mother/father days and so on. I feel like a bad son, as I haven't been home in 6 months. Literally. But I'll make it home eventually. I think...

I've been trying to buy an iPod for like 2 months, and I'm not having any luck. I bought one from someone on eBay, and they didn't come through with it. Then I bought another one, and the jerk never sent it. So I'm in the middle of filing a claim against them to get my money back. It's so frustrating. I will give it one more shot, and then I'm just going to give up using eBay. I guess it's what I get for trying to save some money.

Thanks to Jill's mom, I'm currently reading a book called "The Book of Dave," by Will Self. To briefly summarize the plot, it is set in a sort of post-apocalyptic England where society has been recreated in light of the discovery of a book that was written around the turn of the millennium (2000 or so). This book was written by a cab driver named Dave who wrote the book for his son, in hopes that his son might find it one day. Anyway, the book gets discovered post-apocalypse and society is built upon the knowledge the book contains (which is all rather slanted to Dave's viewpoint).

In light of beginning to read this book (I haven't finished it yet), as well as many conversations with Jill and others, I've been thinking a lot about community. We hear a lot about this at Candler, about the value of community and how it is central to the Christian life. I completely agree that Christianity is very focused on community, both the community of the church as well as the community of humanity. Community is definitely a buzzword here, arising in pretty much every class discussion, many social conversations, etc. We spend a great deal of time thinking and talking about it. At Candler, they even consciously try to foster a strong sense of community.

But here's the deal- You cannot throw a group of people into a colloquy and simply expect them to instantly become a tight-knit community. But this is how Candler seems to think it works. Throughout Con Ed, New Testament, etc., it seems the powers that be think that we'll all just instantly become BFF's and open up to each other.


Community has to be organic.
If we want it to be real, community cannot be forced. It cannot be mandated. It has to come out of the free choice (followed by deliberate effort to make it work) of those wishing to be in the community. You cannot make someone like someone, or make people open up to each other and share deep, sincere feelings, thoughts and so forth. I think stuff like that has to happen over time, and those involved need to have a choice in how that happens. You just can't force real community. Oh, you can make these groups and hope it happens (and sometimes it does). Or you might get the fake sense of community that I feel comes out of Con Ed (where we all sit together for 2 hours a week and get along, and then go our separate ways as soon as it's over) but I think real, true community has to come from choice.

Looking at the gospels (hey, imagine that!), we see Jesus reaching out to people, repeatedly saying "Follow me..." The gospel stories tell us that most of the time, people followed. Of course, there is the story of rich young ruler who walks away after being told he must give up everything to follow Jesus. But I think what we may overlook is the fact that these people (even though the very Son of God was asking them) had a choice to participate in the community. They made a conscious decision to follow Christ and participate in that community. They weren't names on a list thrown into a too-small classroom and almost forced to engage a group of strangers. To be fair, this can sometimes work. There are situations where random people forced into a group can become a real community, but my point is that I think one gets better relationships when people can choose. Of course, I am not encouraging some clique-type behavior where a group begins to exclude people via their choices.

This is where I think the Christian community is called to be markedly different from other communities. Whereas other communities (our circle of friends, perhaps?) tend to be insular, I think the Christian community is called to be open to all, to all who seek Christ and even those who don't. Christ was open to all he met, but he gave them the choice to follow. Those who chose to follow entered into a challenging and life-changing community.

Okay, I'm done ranting. Just wanted to get that out there. Plus, it's probably more engaging than hearing about my day-to-day escapades.


Monday, May 28, 2007

My what? My grill!

I bought a grill.

I will now cook delicious meats upon said grill.

I also bought a bocce ball set, so I'm looking forward to that too. I remember first being introduced to bocce ball at Off-Campus events during Rush. It is a simple lawn game that entails throwing softball-sized balls at a smaller target ball. And it is good times. I miss Rush.

Jill and I went to the Zoo on Thursday, and it was a lot of fun. Check Facebook for pictures of animals. And Jill in a giant nest, looking extraordinarily cute.

I love summer.


Saturday, May 19, 2007

I am a killing machine...

At least on Star Wars Battlefront II, that is. I racked up over 300 kills in one round. Stupid thing resets at 255 though for some reason, so I had to keep a manual count.

As you can tell, I'm doing nothing productive. Summertime is great. Although it would be better if a certain special someone were here. Oh well... just a couple more days.

My mom visited yesterday. She was on her way down to Florida to spend a week with some family members. So it was nice to get to spend some time with her, since I haven't been home all year. Literally. We hung out, went to my softball game (we lost, dang it), and then had dinner with friends/coworkers of mine. Good times.

Alright... I think I'm gonna try to get some real work done for SHIFT tomorrow night. It's the last one of the season, and I need to organize my thoughts.

And then I'll probably kill some more stuff. But only on my PS2.


Thursday, May 17, 2007

Ain't no sunshine when she's gone...

I'm such a sap. Jill's out of town for a few days, and I'm just sitting around my apartment. Kinda sad. Missing her. Bored. Etc. I suppose there are plenty of things I could be doing, but instead I'm sitting here dwelling in my malaise. She'll be back in a few days, but man, it's just not the same without her.

Now that school is finally finished (yes, I did finish that last paper. Sort of. I kinda ran out of time, but it wasn't totally horrible. But the best part is that it is finished), I have time to breath again. To enjoy life again. To hang out with Jill, with friends, with all my friends at Briarlake, etc. To read for fun. To rest. To watch movies. You get the point.

And now that I have this free time, I've been feeling kinda weird lately. Not like health-weird, more like a-lot-on-my-mind weird. I find myself locked up inside my head, even when I'm hanging out with Jill or other people. Odd. It happens every now and then, I suppose. I remember times like this in the past, where I would spend more time thinking things over with myself instead of talking to other people. I guess that's just how I roll most of the time. But I need to learn to talk more to other people. To seek their advice, to bounce ideas. We live in community- be it our friends, the church, work, family, whatever. People are communal. I *know* this, I just find it hard to really do. I've always been rather private and more than comfortable keeping to myself. Note to self: open up sometimes- you have someone who will listen.

I don't even know why it happens, why I get lost in my own head. There's not that much there. I guess recently I've spent a lot of time looking toward the future, trying to get my plans set up for next school year, and then after that.... ominous... It's a daunting task, staring "the real world" right in the face and trying not to blink. Come this time next year, I will be a graduate of Candler with a Master's Degree, and trying to find gainful employment. And on a more important, personal level, I'll (Lord willing... seriously. Please?) be with Jill and figuring out where we're going to be and what we'll be doing. All my adult life (so far), I've been able to make decisions based on what I need/want to do. But I'm at a point in my life where I need to think not only of myself, but how those decisions impact others. Not saying that I haven't tried (or should have) to do that in the past, but when it came down to it, I had the final call.

Now things are different. It's a new challenge, and I'm just getting into it. I guess that's why I've been lost in my own thoughts. This whole "thinking bigger than myself" thing is a newish development. Hopefully I won't mess it up. Life is pretty spectacular now, and things are going really well. I just need to step up and be the person I can be. Be the best boyfriend, youth minister, friend, son, whatever, that I can be. And that's probably going to involve me opening up and giving a bit more of myself. Something at which I have not always been the best. So, I guess by writing this out, I'm pushing myself to step up to the challenge. Let's see how this all works out.


Friday, May 04, 2007

I am Jack's complete lack of brainpower

Yes I haven't posted in months after repeated statements saying I would. Sorry.

It's the end of the semester, and one stinkin' final exam stands between me and nearly 4 months of freedom. And I can't write. I haven't had writer's block this bad ever. 6 single spaced pages gets me to freedom, and I can't make myself write.

I am completely tapped out, mentally.

This has been a vicious semester for me, school work-wise. Everything else outside of school has been incredible- I've got an amazing woman who loves me, I've got a job working with an awesome group of kids, I have great friends who make me laugh, etc. But school just sucked this semester. Despite my typical complaints, I've always kind of enjoyed school. Not this semester.

And so instead of forcing myself to type, I am sitting here updating this blog. This paper is due Monday at 5pm. A little under 3 days from now. That's way too much time. I work so much better under pressure. Perhaps that is why I can't write. I actually feed off the pressure and it forces me to focus. I've always been that way. Some people hate it, and I seem to need it to write. But I want so badly to be done. And this is the quandary.

I think I understand now what Paul was saying in Romans 7:15, "I do not understand what I do. For what I want to do I do not do" Such is my life. I want so much to just be done, and yet I do not write. I suppose I should learn from this. At the very least, I'll have a personal story should I ever preach on Romans 7.

I need to write. Let's hope I can power my way through this writer's block and reach that blessed land of freedom.


Friday, February 09, 2007

Okay, so it's been awhile... but let me explain

Yes, I realize it's been almost 2 months since my last post. Yes, I know I said I'd start posting more often. Yes, I realize I am a liar. My apologies... but let me present my case.

It's been a really eventful and busy couple of months. First there were finals. Papers. Exams. Projects. School, school, school. Then, I went home for Christmas. Family time, presents, all that jazz. Came back to Atlanta. A few days of rest. Then, I had to meet with the pastor at Briarlake. I thought I had done something stupid (though I couldn't think of what it might have been). Turns out, I hadn't done anything stupid. Instead, they wanted to hire me as the interim youth minister. So, I got a job that I've felt called to do. It's an incredible feeling, being right where you feel you should be (more on that later...) Then school started. Now it's back to class, reading, writing, studying, busy-work, sleep, go to work, etc. It's a bit hectic.

Of course, I'm leaving something out. Something big. Something rather incredible. Before I get to that, allow me a brief (yet relevant) tangent.

A while back, I wrote here a little soul-baring reflection on dreams. I talked about how so many of my dreams (perhaps the term might be better read as "plans") had changed or not come true.

But on the other hand, sometimes dreams do in fact come true. It's strange how things work out.

Have you ever had someone enter your life and just completely floor you? Someone who you just couldn't get out of your mind? Well, I have.

I remember the first time we met. My entering class at Candler was doing the whole orientation thing, and we were at the Martin Luther King, Jr. Center for a field trip. I remember meeting her, and being pretty much enamored with her from the start.

She was brilliant. She was mysterious. She was beautiful.
She was completely out of my league. I mean, just absolutely stunning. And she was talking to me, which is a shock in and of itself. I don't really remember what we said (I probably said something ridiculous; it's what I do), but I know that I couldn't get her out of my mind.

Not just for a day or a week. For a year and a half. We became close friends. She was actually my closest friend here. Yes, my best friend.

But now... well, now things are different.

Now, after nights of dreams and days of waiting, now I can say something I've wanted to say for a long, long time. Now, she's my girlfriend.
By the way, all the attributes I listed, and probably a million more, still apply. Yeah, yeah. Cue the sappy, romantic stuff. Hey- it's my blog, I'll write what I want. Ha.

It's funny. All after all this time, we're now a couple. There was always some weird undercurrent, some weird tension between us. It made things kinda awkward sometimes, to be honest. But now, it feels normal. Right. It feels perfect to say, "Oh, this is Jill... my girlfriend." It feels like we're right where we should be. Together.

Life is absolutely incredible right now. I'm sure I've begun to annoy a few people with my ridiculous levels of happiness (sorry y'all). I've been giddy for nearly two months now. Absolutely crazy. I think it's funny how, sometimes, dreams really do come true. I spent a year and a half waiting for this to happen. And now it has. And I couldn't be more... well, I don't even have the words for it. I can't describe it. I've been trying to for weeks now, and I cannot sculpt any sort of expression that is adequate. It sounds all Hallmark-esque, but that doesn't change the fact that it's honest. My life is spectacular. And if you're reading... it's mostly because of you, Jill.