Life Musings

Still Alive.

It’s been a while, yes, but I’m around. Since the last post, I’ve gotten married and Christmas 2008 has come and gone. I have some plans for this blog, fear not. Stay tuned.

Life Musings

Quick Thoughts on Writing, Looking Back, and Pressing Forward

Today I learned a lesson in perspective, the benefits of distance, and just how little I knew and understood about writing when I was younger.

In the course of doing something completely different, I ran across a LiveJournal blog I started sometime in high school, I think. Oh, the memories.

At the time I created the site, I had deftly mastered using AOL’s website builder and, despising it’s limitations (and the grotesque HTML markup it generated), I searched for greener pastures. Hope exciting; a page on the World Wide Web all to myself, outside of the shepherding crook of America Online. I wrote journal entries and blog posts, and thought myself rather clever. I eventually lost interest in LiveJournal and went elsewhere for my blogging needs; I think I actually posted entries manually using a text editor to my UVA webspace for a while before using ModBlog and then graduating to WordPress.

Anyway, the last time I posted to this LiveJournal page was in 2001, the year of my high school graduation. Curious, I looked to see if I could identify a progression in how I thought and how I conveyed my ideas to others over the course of posting.

My prognosis?

Oh, my. Horrid. How did I ever manage to get into UVA, writing like that? 😛

When I actually sit down and make the time to write, I consider myself a careful writer. I strive for clarity and search for the right words: why add superfluous words to get my point across when a handful of well-chosen ones will do? Now, in light of this glimpse back in time of the state of my writing as I entered the University of Virginia, it’s quite humbling to see where you’ve come from.

I look back at much of the poetry I wrote in high school, the stuff I was so proud of, and now see clumsy, cheesy phrases and awkward idea constructions. These are problems of execution, of course, not imagination – it’s like watching a small bird make its first feeble wing flaps before it trips and totters awkwardly out of its nest. Even so, I had some good ideas, and it felt great to get them out on paper.

I wouldn’t consider myself a master of the language now, by any means. It is encouraging, however, that I can look at the same pieces and writings now with some perspective, see what was wrong, but also see what was right.

I guess, if anything, it shows that I’m always growing. Where I came from shapes where I am now, and it eventually leads me closer to where I want to be.

…But it’s still somewhat embarrassing. 😉

Faith Life Musings


Verse of the Day

You forgave the iniquity of your people; you covered all their sin. (Psalm 85:2, ESV)

I’ve had a pleasant afternoon, full of quiet and reflection. I got home from the Fellows Initiative retreat about 1:30 PM, and I’m still sifting through all that was talked about there. It’s been a while since I’ve really had time to sit down and think. I make myself so busy with things that ultimately don’t seem to matter. I worry a lot about things that have less value than I put into them. I dull the edge of the creative streak God has instilled within me. I’m still trying to get my head aroud the things that really matter, realign the priorities in my life to coincide with the things I profess to be true. It’s no easy feat, and it won’t happen overnight, I’m sure. One thing this weekend really reaffirmed for me was the strength of the friendships that have fallen out of my experiences with the Fellows Program. A lot of wise council, affirmation, and correction has resulted from the 12 other individuals I chose to spend a year with and those that committed themselves to help us grow. I wouldn’t give it up for the world; It’s become so apparent to me how God puts us places for a reason. I don’t know what I would do without these guys, these brothers, sisters, teachers and friends. It gives me hope.

I’m a work in progress, a traveler on the road of the already-but-not-yet. There are many miles to go, and I’m often not sure exactly how I’ll make it or what it will look like, but what I do know is tied up in the that passage from the Psalms. So often I forget it or sweep it under the rug in the midst of my business, but it stays the same. I’m going to be ok. It’s all going to be ok, and I can sleep at night with the knowledge that while there will be valleys amidst the mountains, I’m going to be fine. For the first time in a long time, I feel covered. It’s refreshing.

Our lives are played out between the bookends of Love and Thunder, and God is found equally amidst both, constant and true.

Come, love.

Come, thunder.


Music Musings

Switchfoot: Looking Back

Switchfoot - Oh! Gravity.This January I was lucky enough to acquire a copy of Switchfoot’s new album, Oh! Gravity. I’ve given it a few spins, and it’s not bad. With that being said, I find myself missing their old stuff. New Way to Be Human, Learning to Breathe, even The Beautiful Letdown all have a markedly different sound and feel to them in comparison to Nothing is Sound or Oh! Gravity.

You won’t find the guitar distortion typical of Switchfoot’s current sound in these previous albums, but you will find beautifully crafted rock with inventive, quirky instrumentation and catchy hooks. I recently grabbed New Way to Be Human off of, rediscovering an album that is solid from cover to cover. It’s interesting to see a band meld music that’s fun to listen to with lyrics that make your head spin. “Amy’s Song,” “Only Hope,” Let That Be Enough,” even “Something More (Augustine’s Confession)” — there’s a depth to the words Jon Foreman pens that leaves you breathless. Off of Learning to Breathe, check out these lyrics from “Economy of Mercy”:

These carbon shells / These fragile dusty frames / House canvases of souls / We are bruised and broken masterpieces / But we did not paint ourselves / And where will I find You?

That’s one of my favorite lyrics out of any song I’ve heard, and I bought this album back in high school; it’s poignant and paints a vivid picture of the human condition. Words like that don’t just fall out of the sky. The Beautiful Letdown also doesn’t disappoint with its content, though there are a few songs I feel were hit-and-miss. That album was Switchfoot’s first taste at mainstream success, and the world hadn’t heard anything quite like them before.

Personally, I think Switchfoot deserves all of the acclaim it’s received thus far – there are few songwriters today that can craft songs the way that Jon Foreman can, especially in the arena of rock and roll. I do feel, however, that Switchfoot has lost sight of their roots, lost sight of part of what made them such a wonderful band – the accessible …. you see it in “Dare You to Move,” you see it in “24,” you see it in “Beautiful Letdown,” and you see it in their live shows. But, to a degree, on the last few albums their poignant art has found itself somewhat obscured by the overpowering nature of the rock and roll sound they seem to be developing. The words are still there; they’re just harder to see through the noise.

I still have high hopes for Switchfoot and their messages of hope and redemption in a world found lacking. I’m sure Oh! Gravity. will grow on me, but if you’ve never heard Switchfoot’s older fare, you’ll be doing yourself a huge service by grabbing a copy of Switchfoot’s retrospective The Early Years: 1997-2000 over at You won’t be disappointed.

[!] Faith Musings

Calvinism Cheat Sheet

Ever wondered exactly what Calvinists believe, and why? If so, here’s a cheat sheet.