Monday, January 14, 2013

a new blog!

Shalom friends,


I have had a website in various stages of (dis)repair for over a year now.  Finally, over the winter holiday season, I have been able to get it to a point where it is presentable.

Along with a polished website comes a polished blog.  So, if you'd kindly do so, redirect your feeds to the following:

In addition to the blog, you'll also find a link to the homepage, podcast, and photos.  So much goodness.

Grace and peace,

-Steve g

Saturday, October 13, 2012

one time I ran 19.2 miles

if you're like the bulk of our population, you've likely never endured the joyous, excruciating test of one's body that is the "long run."  the staple of the marathoner's diet, this will often culminate with an 18-20 mile run three weeks before the race.  yesterday was mine. 

i was reflecting post-run (ibuprofen and Papa Johns coursing through my veins) on how eventful these runs often turn out to be.  there are always things which i notice when running a course that i don't seem to notice driving or even on a bike. 

"Take us behind the curtain!!" the masses scream.  "We want to know what it's like to ground your joints to powder whilst listening to NPR podcasts!"  as you shall discover, i am here to please.

below is a very brief recap, then, of yesterday's run:

Mile 0:  ignoring the oddly comforting thought that the next 3.25 hours of my Friday night will be spent running. 

Mile 0.25:  trying to convince myself that the pain in my left knee has nothing to do with any actual physical problem.

Miles 4.5 to 6.75:  on the Poudre Trail just past College, encounter very fast high school running team.  they sprint past me.  the rational part of the brain, the one which carefully regulates speed and energy reserves during a 19 mile run, soon loses out to the testosterone-infused animalistic (and VERY STUPID) part of the brain which exclaims, "It's ON!"  Finally they turn around, and I realize my pace is 2 minutes per mile faster than it should be.

this...may not end well.

Mile 7.25:  smile at attractive stranger as we pass on the trail.  no response.  no friendly acknowledgement or polite social gesture. 

i become sullen and annoyed.  does she not respect how hard i am working here?  because i guarantee you, missie, that your run pales in comparison to mine.  PALES.  whatever happened to common social decency?  what have you done with your life that's so great that you feel the right to thoroughly disregard a fellow human being in this way???

Mile 7.33:  realize that this reaction is quickly becoming psychotic, and turn attention back to This American Life episode on mp3 player.  running does tend to inflame emotions (see below).

Mile 10:  north of town and heading back south, I realize how many people own horses.  call out to horses as i pass by.  wonder why i do not own a horse, let along several horses.  forget that i live in an apartment in the middle of town, not a ranch 5 miles outside of town.

Mile 11:  it is raining.  mp3 player turns itself off and refuses to turn back on.  i have listened to 2 This American Life's, but was depending upon The Moth and Radiolab to get me through the next 1.5 hours.  grrrr.

Mile 11:6:  retrieve Gatorade which i stashed earlier in the day and refill water bottle.  slightly amazed that no animal or person has drank/peed in/thrown bottle of Gatorade.  rejoice and drink sickly sweet nectar.

Mile 12:  as I am running against traffic in the bicycle lane, oncoming car swerves into bike lane and veers off at the last moment.  i yell and flip off the car.  immediately feel bad about looking like a psychopath in running shorts.  console myself with rationalization that running does tend to inflame emotions (see Mile 7.33, above). 

plus, i don't like almost getting hit by large moving objects whilst exercising.  really, anytime.  i rebel against those that would attempt to put me in this situation, apparently, by behaving much the same way those living behind dumpsters behave.

Mile 12.7:  see 6 bucks (the deer, not the paper money variety) in the front yard of a house on Overland Trail.  they are mowing his grass for free.  wonder aloud why i never have bucks in my front yard.  forget that i live in an apartment in the middle of town.

Mile 14.6:  ok, not proud of this one.  i am running on the sidewalk as a car pulls up from a side street waiting to turn.  driver is looking the other way.  do I continue to run forward, knowing that i will be running right in front of a car that may just decide to turn straight into me?  i do continue to run.  driver does, in fact, turn. using super-human skills, i am able to evade left bumper of said car (you should be picturing Neo in the Matrix if Neo was fond of long runs).  driver rolls down window as he speeds away and says, "sorry."  i let loose the fires of hell from my mouth. 

again, something about not liking almost getting hit by large moving objects whilst exercising.

Mile 15:  mp3 player begins working again.  and there was great rejoicing.

Mile 16.2:  Spring Creek trail, heading slowly towards home.  i pass yet another attractive stranger, who does indeed understand the subtleties of basic human interaction.  we smile and wave.  now am the opposite of sullen and annoyed.

Mile 17:  legs are doing this weird burning thing, which is their polite way of saying they'd like to go home now.

Mile 19.2:  run into parking lot.  well, "run" might be a very generous term.  stumble up the stairs into apartment (which has neither horses nor deer out front) and immediately place Papa Johns order.

Sunday, June 17, 2012

A Postscript to Don Miller's blog

Perhaps you've never drunk-dialed. 

This is the rather recent (historically) phenomenon whereby, in course of a lively evening involving dubious amounts of alcohol (and yes, one drink for some is plenty dubious), you feel the cellphone beckon from your side pocket.  "I should call _____ - right now!" says the evil leprechaun in your head. (Why is he dressed like a Spartan?)  The _____ often are ex-girlfriends or boyfriends (or soon-to-be ex's, after this call you're about to make), though past employers and close relatives also easily fit the bill.

Why spend time describing something I've never experienced (ahem.), flies against wisdom given in Proverbs (23:35 among many), and certainly don't suggest you try?  Only to make a point about human behaviour.  Our inhibitions get lowered, and things we've only been thinking about saying are suddenly said.  The filters fall away, decorum goes out the window, and then it's..."wow, did I really say that?  To all those people?"  Alcohol may make this much more likely to happen, but it happens in moments of seriousness and sobriety as well - perhaps these moments are more worth paying attention to?

Donald Miller was undoubtedly not drunk when he wrote this post.  Miller suggests here that scholars lead the church, and have in essence hijacked the church by making it into an intellectual institution.  According to his post, the disciples were not academics but were tradesmen - fishermen, tax collectors, revolutionaries.  In regards to Jesus' disciples, Miller writes:

    "I wonder what they would have done if they had been professional scholars?  My guess is they would have talked the command (The Great Commission) into a tailspin, dissected it into a million pieces, then divided themselves into different intellectual camps, and built a bunch of schools to teach their various interpretations."

Miller concludes by expressing his frustration at academics and their endless posturing.  Doctrinal fights aren't helping us do anything.  Intellectual discussions led by proponents of the ivory tower don't feed the hungry:

    "Is it worth it that you are divided against other denominations because scholars picked up their ball and stomped off the playground?  If you are tired, then be the church.  I'm not kidding; you don't know everything, but you know enough.  Be the church and be united.  Let the academics go to an island and fight about the things that matter to them, and we will be united based on the things that matter to us."

Now.  What say you?  The volume of rebuttals or responses online to the original post is staggering, some supporting Miller's admonitions but most seem to be critical of his stance.  For reasons unknown, the original blog post (originally found here) has since been removed from Don Miller's official blog.  Was this done due to a change of heart?  Or perhaps the buzz and critical response was simply too great?  Some have suggested that Miller wrote this piece after the response to Rob Bell's Love Wins got out of hand, and it was Don's way of expressing his frustration with the negative tone of the conversation.

I'll keep my comments brief.  At first I was incredibly angry with Miller's post, as an aspiring Biblical scholar might well be expected to be.  I think that now my anger has turned to confusion, though.  Scholars don't lead the church - many of the most influential voices in modern Christianity don't come from the proceedings of the Society of Biblical Literature conferences but from mega-church pastors and pop-culture book writers of Don Miller's ilk.  While I appreciate his opinion on the matter, so many statements in his blog post are simply wrong.  It's difficult to interact with an opinion when the facts behind the opinion are incorrect. 

I am among the first in a discussion to agree that intellectualism can go too far, in the church or elsewhere.  The schools of Pharisees in Jesus' day were prime examples, but we make a mistake in thinking that intellectuals and scholars do not have a prominent place in the church simply because education can be abused.  Lest we forget that Paul of Tarsus was highly educated in the Law and Prophets and was undoubtedly fluent in Hebrew and Greek and possibly Aramaic, maybe even Latin.  (Miller's lack of discussion on Paul in his post is unfortunate in this regard.)  God chose to use Paul to spread Christianity in fulfillment of the Great Commission in ways no other apostle was able to accomplish.  Paul was uniquely qualified as a passionate intellectual sold out to the service of Christ.

I'm not sure what motivated Don Miller to write this post, but something about it pushes me to believe that he really believes this anti-intellectual bent should be practiced in our churches.  This disappoints me greatly, not least because Miller has a large voice and influences many.  We need intellectuals as we need nurses and plumbers and janitors and pastors and coffee shop baristas in the Church.  Our intellectual pursuits should drive us towards good works and internalization of the Word, and I agree that scholarship simply for the sake of scholarship can lead down some murky roads. 

But this anti-intellectual stance provides its own problems.  Serious problems.  Misapplication of God's word due to ignorance or an incomplete understanding of the cultural and linguistic contexts can be as dangerous as a pastor or teacher twisting God's word to their own manipulative ends.  God's word is too rich and too complex to be disregarded in regards to further study. 

Sunday, March 25, 2012

Hunger Games and Mockingjays.

his face is earnest, smiling but intense. he sips his tea quickly and checks me into the hotel. something's off, though.

he wants to say something. he nervously shifts.

is he searching for the words? no, I don't think so. he knows the words, but he's cautious. a lifetime of knowing the walls have ears will breed cautiousness.

finally, it comes:

"we would have freedom, one day. as you have."

a Rebellion was growing. Syria, 2009, and he couldn't have been a day over 20. but he was not alone. in my short 2 week stay, i met man after man, all college age or slightly older, who at any opportunity would speak of what i had, and what they wanted to share.

i had no way of knowing what was growing, what resolve was coursing through their veins, their anger at an oppressive man and his government ready to spill over into the streets.

i could not visit my young friend now if i wanted - yet i think often of that place, and of those men.

i do not pretend to know Suzanne Collins' inspirations in writing her Hunger Games trilogy. i very much should like to someday. finishing the 2nd book this afternoon, Catching Fire, i realize that the horror of the Hunger Games has been repeated time and again.

In Real Life.

for example, how could Mrs. Collins' choices in naming key Capitol residents of Panem not be coincidental? Seneca. Cinna. Octavia. these are classic Roman names, from the days of the Emperors.

in 1st century Rome, gladiators were corralled from all corners and provinces of the Empire. some were violent criminals, though many more were unwilling participants in the cruel spectacle of Imperial might. it is well-attested, for example, that Christians who refused to worship the Emperor found themselves in the arena, fighting off wild animals or, perhaps worse, each other, in a Battle Royale. all this to satiate the bloodlust of the citizens in the stands.

the worst, most exploitative reality TV has nothing on the gruesomeness of the Gladiatorial Games.

Panem, the wealthy and oppressive power centre of the Hunger Games, has existed many times over. Rome is but one example. human sacrifice has often been used as a method of control over a populace, to manipulate would-be insurgents into submission.

a spectacle, a reminder of the powerlessness of the people, and the might of Empire.

bread and circuses - keep the populace barely above starving, give them spectacle. give them blood. give them distraction as they are oppressed.

yet, the Mockingjays always surface, don't they? (my apologies to those not yet ingratiated to the Hunger Games mythology. go do yourself a favour, grab the book, and clear your schedule.) in Rome, they surfaced many times. Spartacus rallied his fellow slaves, escaped from captivity, and led an insurrection thousands strong. his story has been a rallying point for countless uprisings since. or think of Leonidas, who led his 300 Spartans against the might of the Persian Empire, sacrificing every last man on the beaches of Thermopalaye as an affront against Empire. or the account of Daniel and his 3 friends, thrown to the fire when they stood against a tyrannical command.

and today...we have the Arab Spring. Egypt, Tunisia, Syria. our own country, the U.S.A., of course had its very beginnings as Mockingjays tossed tea from British ships and penned the framework of a new civilization deep into the night.

stay with me - this is going somewhere.

i submit that our common consciousness has the blueprint of the Mockingjay written upon it. Mrs. Collins' story, her themes, for all their entertainment value are hardly original. rather, I believe she gives us a version of an Eternal Burning which each of us is stamped with.

what other of our stories tell us of unlikely heroes or heroines, rising from obscurity or powerlessness to take on Empire? to give injustice and tyranny a run for their money. Star Wars (the good ones), Braveheart, Gladiator, 300, The Princess Bride, The Matrix, Lord of the Rings...perhaps you've heard of these.

and go back thousands of years through our collective literature, our common stories...this story in particular is told again and again.

to be sure, not every revolution is noble. not all rallying cries are as well thought-out as some. revolution often fails, or morphs into something less than its potential. but we are pre-programmed.

we come out of the box, some assembly required, but ready to fight tyranny and to stand for the oppressed. if we obey the deep calling within, our wiring, our imprint. we are born ready.

if we pay attention to our stories, we are ready.

to be sure, there will always be evil - until there isn't. there will, also, always be those who would grab power for their own and twist those under their "control" with their own version of the Hunger Games. until there aren't.

but there will also, always, be those like my young friend in a shelled, bullet-ridden, terrifying province of Empire. those who see what is on the horizon and decide before it happens to be ready to stand.

may this brief media sensation, Mrs. Collins' books, the movie, be a reminder for us all. to search for the Mockingjays in our midst and to push them forward, to encourage them with bringing Heaven to Earth by ending oppression and giving a voice to the voiceless.

this Eternal Burning is sometimes accomplished through violence - only a fool would ignore this. but, far more often as the true stories are told, the pen indeed is victorious. wit, courage, and resolve often succeed where threats would fail. a small gesture may contain the spark that ignites an unstoppable change towards redemption.

long after the book is closed, and the movie comes out on DVD - i for one am thankful for the reminder to tend to our Mockingjays.

Saturday, November 5, 2011


respect can cripple you.

i respect great writers. Chuck Palahniuk. Malcolm Gladwell. Mark Twain.

i respect great teachers and storytellers. Rob Bell. Garrison Keillor. My professors.

i respect those who create great songs. household names, friends, or anonymous. they are there bringing things crafted and purposed to this world.

through print, through movie, through podcast, daily their voices are felt.

i find lately, though, that my respect for these has kept my voice from being felt. why unfold myself onto the page, why divulge my thoughts and act upon inspiration, when someone else has already said what i came to say, and said it well?

yesterday i walked into a bookstore. a large one, here in NYC. thousands upon thousands of books. did any of these authors doubt that they had anything new to say? did they for a moment think that their book in-process would end up on the discount $3.99 pile, likely no more than the cost of the binding and the ink and the paper?

but there it was, the discount pile, actually several of them. someone's work clearly didn't make it to the finish line.

but does this negate their voice?

i am not sure if everyone fears anonymity, but i sure do. or did. it's one thing to be unknown when you haven't tried. it's quite another to have tried, very hard, and to still be anonymous.

if the above strikes you as cowardly, let me assure you that it is exactly that.

i am beginning to think that inspiration is not necessarily unique. many of us must be inspired by the same things. the genius of some of those i mentioned above is that they can take a common inspiration and craft its expression. they can give it a voice. and when they do, the rest of us cannot help but resonate with its truth.

i have resolved to shed this cowardice of respect that sometimes convinces me that it's all been said and done. because it is right. and it is also absurd that this would keep any of us from creating.

Saturday, April 9, 2011

wrestling with Rob Bell (as seen in Boulder) and Love Wins (part 1)

just back from hearing my friends Mr. Dillard, Phil Waggoner, and various men of impeccable and unreproachable character playing very good music and living out their passion,

i now find myself with a 15-yr Glenmorangie (say Glen-MOR-angie, like saying "orange" with some extra phoenetics) whisky in hand, lightning in the background, and Chopin's piano concerto no. 1 in the background. i am compelled to write, because certain ideas have slapped me across the chest today. they grab the scraggly back of my head and force me upward, to inhale all manner of questions and confusions and wild tensions.

this may take a while. feel free to come and go as you please.

walking up the stairs of the Boulder Bookstore, albeit an hour early, chairs are still being set forth. very few chairs, it turns out - the space is small, intimate. we find a row of three, just a couple rows back from the "stage," really just little more than a step up with a folding table.

the first time i saw Mr. Bell, he had packed out the Paramount Theatre in Denver. just yesterday, he spoke at Denver Seminary - the one and same institution where God himself has brought me for this season in my life - as it went, the doors opened at 9, and I am told, the entire university's chapel room was at capacity by 9:05.

now, the same voice, the same man, joins us in a room of 50. in the sweltering hot upstairs of the bookstore we steep, and then Rob is in front of us...not exactly "sitting" (the chair, "a throne" as Ally would later refer to this tall, uncomfortable, posture-correcting apparatus, was not once occupied during the entire session), but more bouncing with fervent energy as he perched upon the edge of the table, legs sometimes swinging wildly. it reminded me of one of those ventriloquist puppets...

questions began. questions were answered, though for one to attempt to reconnect an answer to a specific question would be to attempt a maddening exercise indeed. this is a man who clearly has more to say than he feels need to restrain.

so, rather than make the attempt, i will endeavour to provide you with succinct notes from my fervent scratchings which i made within a Norwegian children's book (to explain this would take more time and room than i am willing to devote at this juncture):

(also, please understand that my use of quotation marks is highly liberal here. i only provide them to indicate my best summation of Mr. Bells' comments.)

1. "We are in the midst of a Historic Reclaiming of Christianity. People are beginning to realize that what Christianity has turned into is not what it was intended to be in some fundamental ways. There is this toxic straining and striving for that which we've had the whole time. Some of us are, in a sense, Returning to Roots."

i remember my Hebrew professor, Dr. Dallaire, saying not long ago that she believed it was a move of the Holy Spirit that Christians are now rediscovering and celebrating the Jewish roots of our faith. the phrase "Historic Reclaiming" strikes me a bit funny, as no doubt there have been many such movements during 2000+ years of Christ followers, and we know for sure of the reforms during Josiah's reign and later under Ezra and Nehemiah in the Old Testament.

still, i cannot help but resonate with his statement. as i continue to be challenged in my understanding of the Jewish'ness of the scriptures and of Jesus' teachings, i begin to feel great humility and awe at the move of God that would allow me to be some small part of bringing that joy, that feeling of

"OH, so THAT'S what this means!"

every time the Spirit of God illumines a passage for me in what may be closer to its original context, and connecting dots from that, and just falling to my knees (usually figuratively, but not always) and being like,

"no way is that what this is really saying! why has no one told me this???"

2. "Fear is an awesome fundraiser."

this one is still permeating and steeping within me. Hell House comes to mind.

3. "Luke 8:10, 'To you it has been granted to know the mysteries of the Kingdom of God...' for Jesus, knowing, knowledge, was a Flesh-and-Blood Real Thing. It is not simply information to rearrange into your mind."

Rob seemed to be saying here that "knowing," in Kingdom language, meant acting. it is not some purely intellectual pursuit, but a holistic integration of Kingdom values, Kingdom logic, Kingdom grace and peace, into our daily lives.

4. Rob was asked about his overall motivation for writing the book (Love Wins). was it addressed primarily to Christians, to non-Christians, etc? his response was, "both, and more. the point is that God has thrown a party and everyone is invited. the book has two parts of a tension: first, that Jesus issues an URGENT invitation to be part of this thing, but while also acknowledging the REALITY of God's love/grace, which seems to leave that invitation open for as long as it takes. when someone comes along and claims to have resolved that TENSION which is created by these two aspects of God's message, that one has likely missed the deeper truth which the tension was created to illustrate."

5. i'm not sure if this even followed from a specific question, but i ABSOLUTELY LOVED this: "i don't Google my name. people will tell me what other people are saying about me, and i'll be like 'oh.' criticism WILL shape you - but you choose if you, after receiving criticism, just throw it back in the other person's lap....or, you can choose for it to reshape you by refining you.

"I get up in the morning, make breakfast with my wife, then we might walk the dog for a little bit. And then when I sit down, whatever I'm working on - a video, a book, a sermon - I just start to let it come out. i don't think about what other people might think of it - all I know is that there is this FIRE in me to make it, and if I don't make it, I'll spontaneously combust."

i love that he said this. in fact, it may be THE DEFINING THOUGHT that i took away from this afternoon. i feel that fire. i just don't always know what to do with it. and, sometimes i don't feel up to the task, when someone like Rob Bell can so competently vocalise or illistrate what my fire is putting on my same mind.

the thought has been with me lately, 'why even do this? is there a need for me to continue on when someone else has already put all this out there?'

but hearing him talk about that FIRE, the same fire which burns in me, i see that God gives Rob Bell that fire the same way he gives me that fire. just as he must create with it, so must i. it is not for me to decide whether or not to use the fire...

just HOW.

6. "I love my wife, and decided to marry her, because I couldn't imagine another day without her. But I didn't marry her because I didn't want to be with Sheila. Or Linda. Or Joan."

he was illustrating the absurdity of presenting relationship with God, or heaven, in terms of "it's either this, or Hell." basically that Hell is a horrible motivation for someone to "choose" Christ, because they haven't chosen Christ at all then. they've just chosen one destination over another.

7. Rob was asked about the phrase, 'everything happens for a reason,' especially when used as a source of comfort for someone going through difficult times. Rob's answer:

"This might be one of those phrases, one of those things we throw out there, that is better as a rear-view mirror than as a window. I have performed tragic, heartbreaking funerals, where people will offer platitudes from scripture like, 'all things work together for good' or, 'there is a reason for all things.' And I'm left thinking, perhaps we should save these thoughts for later - maybe we should refrain from this kind of thing in the moment and let the moment play out. Let the grief, the healing, the actual experience of tragedy, guide us to greater wisdom.

"My dad was 8 years old, when an uncle put him in the car and they began driving towards the funeral home. When my dad asked why they were going to the funeral home, he was told that his dad was dead, but that this was a time to celebrate his dad's passing. It was expected that he not cry, as this was a happy occasion - after all, he was now with Jesus. The same happened a few years later, when his high school-aged brother died. There must be a time to grieve and to allow the natural ebb and flow of our humanity to surface."

8. "We should hold onto God's justice and judgment - after all, we CRAVE justice. We cry out when we see or hear about injustice. Sex trafficking, those who prey on the weak, 300,000 people in Africa who have HIV, but for $2 could get antiviral medications that would greatly reduce the mortality rate, millions who go without clean drinking water. We want justice.

"When Heaven and Earth come together, there will then be a sense of 'you can't do THAT here.' This is what is meant in Revelation when John says that all these things will pass away."

9. "If we LOSE the tension of our faith, of the words of Jesus, this is tragic. Many feel the need to 'take a stand' on one side of an issue of faith, or the other. when, really, the STAND we should be taking is to embrace both sides and to embrace the tension."

this one i need to think about a little bit more. i agree that there are many aspects of the faith which require a tension to "work." i agree in the sense that nothing should be "off the table" in terms of conversation or discussion.


after hearing Rob today, i am left with the overwhelming impression that he wants the CONVERSATION to happen. the dogmatic ways in which so many have approached faith, the lack of willingness to question or be questioned, has led us far from the roots of knowing YHWH the God of the Old and New Testaments.

though my review of Love Wins will have to wait for a day in the near future, i am greatly encouraged, partly for altruistic reasons, and partly for blatantly selfish reasons.

The altruistic: this book has raised some KICKIN' conversations over the past few weeks. people are talking about some sacred cows. people are leaving room for tension and debate, and seem to be at least making some room for these tensions to form in their walks with and towards God. my deep, honest, and tired (perhaps also slightly tipsy as i've had now more than 1 whisky) prayer is that this will permeate and grow in the weeks to come.

The selfish: now that these things are floating out there, i now know that My Fire is not mine to ignore. i wake so often compelled to just CREATE and read and record and listen and especially and most definitely CONVERSE about all these things and more.

this gives me the most wonderful hope that my voice will be heard, and that there are many, many things to say.

so i see what started as a post with poetic metaphors and illustrative language has morphed into tired but joyful ramblings. i bid you good night.

Friday, October 9, 2009

A Montana Musing

Shane Carruth has this theory.

Now hang with me on this one:

Let's say it were hypothetically possible to go back in time. As in, enter a box or machine or whatever at point "A" and re-emerge at point "B".

Now, point B just happens to exist in what we call yesterday, or last week, or maybe that day you really screwed your life over. And now you want to go back in this box starting at point A, the aftermath, to get out again at point B.

I call Do-over.

So you sit in this box, and you're being transported from point A to point B. But it's not instantaneous, like in the movies. If you want to go "back" 48 hours, then you have to sit in the box for...48 hours. It's a 1-for-1 relationship, Shane says. There is a cost for going back.

And here's the tricky thing. When you get to point B...well, "you're" already there. If you truly want to re-live that moment, change something, you're going to have to dispose of the variable. And he's "you".

Folks who dwell in sci fi will notice the appearance of the paradox. What happens if you meet yourself? Will the universe cave in? Will time cease to have meaning? No, says Shane, probably the only thing you're really going to screw up is your sanity and the lives of people you choose to surround yourself with. Anyway, he made a movie about this, called Primer. It won Sundance. Netflix it.

See, people fantasize about time travel thinking they can go back and change something they don't like. Nostalgia to the extreme. But even time travel, following this logic, doesn't "change" anything. Traveling...switching locations, switching times...doesn't change anything. What happens somewhere never stays there - you always take it with you.

I've often wondered why I travel, why it makes me come alive like little else can. So the reason I bring all this up, is while I haven't necessarily time-traveled (other than forwards at a slightly relativistic time-dilated rate having driven so far at high speeds), I did get into this Chevy Cobalt-sized box yesterday morning. 9 1/2 hours later, I exited this box almost exactly 650 miles away from my previous location.

So here I am...hoping for inspiration, hoping for change, hoping for insights. And I get them. I think I used to travel because I wanted to escape. I wanted to run away, to become someone else, to start over.

But up here in this chilled mountain air, I'm thinking a bit differently. See, now I'm thinking that maybe I travel because I know who I am. And every so often, I must allow myself to be transported somewhere unfamiliar to see myself, as I have become, from the outside-in. To search fearlessly within that soul of mine with the searchlight of Truth framed in self-denial and the relentless slap-you-across-the-face passion of Eternal יהוה.

To meet myself, and to converse with him. But this version of me doesn't get disposed of...I get to take him with me.