Desert Parents and Stolen Bicycles

From Geez Magazine:

Abba Isaac said that Abba Pambo (304-373) used to say, “The monk’s garment should be such that he could throw it out of his cell for three days and no-one would take it.”

I had not heard this quote before the last two times my bike was stolen, but I’d say this summarizes well my feelings. When my bike was stolen my initial thought was that I owned something that was better or nicer then others had and I had been keeping it for myself. Now, I understand there is a good chance the person who took it did not take it out of need for a bicycle, they might have simply taken it to sell it for some money. Regardless, I find myself uncomfortable with the need to put locks on my things.
The very act of locking up my possessions seems to say “this is mine and you can not have it.” This attitude is not how I want to live my life. Locking up my things acknowledge’s that I have in my possession something other’s desire and I intended to keep them from it. If I truely love my neighbor as myself, how can I withhold from them and keep for me?
I want my life to be one where I see another’s need and I do everything within my power and resources to meet that need. If I leave my “garment” out for three days and someone takes it, then it is a good sign to me that I probably should have already give it to them.

And, yet, I use my bike to get to and from work, which makes it possible for me to have the resources to provide for others needs. I bought a bike and I’m torn about it.

Is Abba Pambo’s words challenging advice? Or are they too radical?

Initial thoughts on the Da Vinci Code (the book)

The Da Vinci CodeI figured I could sneak in after all the hype and talk and get my hands on the Da Vinci Code to see what it was all about. I put it on hold at the library and it came surprisingly faster then expected. I’ve started in and I’m only a few chapters through, but I am already struck now by one of the major premises of the book. It seems the deep dark secret that is being kept has a lot to do with the elevation of the feminine and the fact that the church forced a patriarchal rule over society that was not originally there.
There are a lot of “facts” mentioned in the book that might or might not be true, but they are interesting nonetheless. I think, true or not, this book should at least challenge folks to think a little about the church and women.
If anything, I would hope the book and movie, and all the talks going on in churches and elsewhere are acknowledging that women have been oppressed and mistreated and put down in a way that is not Christian at all.

I say all that having only read a few chapters and I really have very little idea what turns the book will be taking later.

Life is Fragile

Thursday, April 27th, was an intense morning for a lot of people. People close to me whom I know experienced very clearly how amazing and fragile life is in two very different ways. Here is how the morning went for me.
Sometime a little before 5 am on Thursday morning our phone rang. It was a call we’d been eagerly expecting, our good friends where going to have a baby. Our role was to come over and watch their three year old while they went to the hospital. We went over and they headed off to the hospital. I took a short nap and then dressed and headed to work.
At work I settled down at my desk and briefly checked my email, when a news headline caught my eye. I opened the news article just as the phone rang and Mindy excitedly shared with me some other news.

In one moment, I heard the announcement of a new life and read a tale of lost life.

Whitney Cerak, a girl I had met only briefly a few weeks before, died in a fatal car accident. I can remember her sitting in our living room talking about what her interest where and what she would like to do with her life in the future.
Roman Franklin was born at 7:00am on April 27th. A new life I have had the joy of watching grow from unnoticable in his mother’s womb to a quickly growing one month old.

That day was especially sombering for me as the joy and sadness mixed together in my heart and reminded me that each life is important and fragile. I don’t know what words or thoughts can explain the heaviness one’s heart feels as they recognize these truthes. There is a feeling of regret and shame for how flippantly one has treated life and relationships and you finally realize how sacred it all is.

There are no ordinary people. You have never talked to a mere mortal. Nations, cultures, arts, civilizations–these are mortal, and their life is to ours as the life of a gnat. But it is immortals whom we joke with, work with, marry, snub, and exploit–immortal horrors or everlasting splendours. This does not mean that we are to be perpetually solemn. We must play. But our merriment must be of the kind (and it is, in fact, the merriest kind) which exists between people who have, from the outset, taken each other seriously–no flippancy, no superiority, no presumption. And our charity must be real and costly love, with deep feeling for the sins in spite of which we love the sinners–no mere tolerance, or indulgence which parodies love as flippancy parodies merriment. Next to the Blessed Sacrament itself, your neighbor is the holiest object presented to your senses. -C.S Lewis, The Weight of Glory

I leave you with this saying, which my good friend Ashley (who introduced us to Whitney) started saying with me sometime 7+ years ago in high school.

How Goes the World?
The world goes not well,
but the kingdom comes.”

A “weekly” update podcast of Trying to Follow

Unfortunately, I haven’t done this in a while. I try to summarize the last two weeks post in this podcast, and you can see the long list below. Take a listen and if you like anything then find and read the link to the article below.

or download here.

  • What a church should look like… (0)
  • Writing can be hard to do (0)
  • 24: Season 2: This show is darn addicting. (0)
  • In the news today… (1)
  • I bought a bike… (1)
  • An explanation of that magazine’s name (1)
  • Anyone own access 2003? (0)
  • Laptop’s for the developing world (2)
  • Why most guys should read Ms. Magazine and B**** (1)
  • Longest Night (0)
  • Gentrification: a Case Study of Cabrini-Green (1)
  • Quick thoughts on gentrification: It’s not good. (2)
  • Podcasting might be returning… (0)
  • I like free stuff. Music downloads are a treat. (0)
  • Statcounter doesn’t seem to be working… (1)
  • Landmines: More serious then you might think (0)
  • The New Iraq (1)
  • a Biblical and Christian Approach to Immigration (0)
  • Save Darfur (0)
  • The “What if?” of Cinderella Man (0)
  • GTD: The first step is getting to Ready (2)
  • Google Notebook: you clip the web (0)
  • If your cool you’ll check out slickrun.exe (1)
  • Why go to college when you can blog instead? (2)
  • Download your Facebook friends with Profilicious (1)
  • What’s happened to “Women’s Rights”? (0)
  • I’d go bananas if life was without bananas (0)
  • File folders and Paper vs. My granola soul (2)
  • Free Phone Calls from your Computer to a landline (1)
  • Question: What is with “Grills”? (0)
  • The Constant Gardener: there’s truth in it. (1)
  • USANA is worth considering (1)
  • Question: Why do most people at the DMV appear to be low income? (0)
  • Logo design contest (0)
  • No Gas Day 2006, May 22nd (0)
  • Socially Conscience Children’s Books (4)
  • Testing a new look (1)
  • Questions series… Coming soon (0)
  • It’s cheap, but is it legal? (1)
  • Have I encouraged you? (0)
  • What a church should look like…

    A while ago I asked a number of people for topics to write about. One of them asked me what I thought “the church should look like…” I have been procrastinating on posting about this for a long time. It’s not that I don’t have an opinion and ideas. I think, rather, it’s that I’m not quite sure how to begin articulating those ideas.
    I’ve been thinking recently that it would be neat for me to try (this is Zach’s idea) to write a fiction story about a church that embodies the values and lifestyle’s that I think are so central to the teachings of Christ.
    Needless to say I’m still not quite sure how I should go about this. But I guess I just need to start.

    My first thought about what any given church should look like is that it should be representative of the community it is in. Far too many people commute to their church and thus the church, the community, and the homes of the members are all complete spread out and seperate entities.

    If you want to know what I think your church should look like then go to this link. Type in the address of your church and look at the statistics that come up for the surrounding community.

    When you look at the statistics you see, do you feel they are accurately represented in your church body? Why or why not?

    Writing can be hard to do

    You know when I’m having a tough time if I spend a few post a week doing some self-loathing about my inability to write. It’s odd that I’ll be able to spend a paragraph or two writing about how it’s difficult to write and then when I try to begin typing something with worthy content, nothing seems to come out. I’ve been thinking about going back and reading my old post and maybe editing and reposting some of the writing I thought was really good. I’d love to hear if there are any highlight post in my readers opinions…
    Also, I’m thinking of sort of scheduling in writing time and trying more experimental writing. I’d love to try my hand at fiction, I’d imagine it’d be good for stirring my imagination and challenging my current writing style. Who knows, any good writers out there got any tips?

    Well, my hands are moving fast enough to try and spew out some post I’ve been wanting to write for a while, so hopefully you’ll see some decent content this week.