the questions, observations, laments, psalms, classic anecdotes, prayers, & stories of jeremiah aja. enjoy it like a sweaty plastic cup filled with strawberry lemonade & crushed ice.

Thursday, January 24, 2008

rhinos, pricetags, and the church

Another piece from last semester that got a Christmas vote to throw up on the blog – 500 (or a longwinded 513) words about the church as counter-cultural agent in the world. May it ruin you as it is still ruining me for what lies ahead…

A price tag hangs from every man, woman, and child. It reads priceless. We escape the womb, or rather, even before we escape the womb, we adorn these nine letters. We are not the mishaps from the sludge of nitrogen and carbon molecules which once drifted through the black velvet of space. The orphan in Uganda, the suburbanite in Milwaukee, and the 13 year-old prostitute on the crowded, yet lonely, streets of San Francisco - they all bear boundless and bottomless value. This value, an unending fountain of worth, springs from our Creator, The Magnificent and Spectacular I AM.
He has an insatiable desire to love us. No better evidence exists outside the silhouette of the carpenter’s son from Nazareth, yes the Nazareth, named Jesus. During His time on earth, two millennia long ago, He sparked a revolution that changed the entire known world. Starting with two handfuls of unremarkable nobodies, Jesus and the revolution He began swallowed up darkness. The revolution was marked by hope and love for the outcast, forgiveness and redemption for the scandalous, and exposure of the price tags of all those crossing their paths.
Centuries later, I am a part of this movement. You are a part of this movement. This movement, known as the church, still has Jesus at the helm. Stitched into the fabric of our faith, our history, and our future, is something as volatile as a keg of gunpowder next to a summer camp bonfire.
I have heard before that a pack of rhinos is called a crash. Whether charging forward with untamed momentum, or enjoying a nap streamside, the correct term for the group is a crash. I love it. It paints the rhinos as animals toting brute force even if they are sitting under a shade tree. Even while sleeping, they are potent with the possibility of causing a crash to be heard throughout all the desert plains.
What if the church, the revolution began by Jesus to change the world, was thought of like a pack of rhinos? What if, even on our worst days, we as Christians, were believed to love and live generously? What if we truly became more like the movement that Jesus began – something that moves and not merely meets. Things moving turn heads. Things living get noticed. Organisms do more meaningful things in this world than organizations. We are charged by our Creator to be an organism – one that is so potent that it actually crashes the culture around it.
We have it within us to do this. This crash ingredient, in my own mind, we call the Holy Spirit. And He lives and breathes inside all of those who breathlessly follow our Revolution Leader. The crash looks like providing flu shots to some more than it does teaching them about the genealogy of Christ. The crash exposes price tags and becomes big brothers and big sisters to outcast kids. The crash can and will change our culture if we listen to where it is thundering next. Can you hear it? It’s coming.

From Wilmore, with Love.

Monday, January 21, 2008

stories

A friend told me during our Christmas vaca that I should throw this up on the blog. Be forewarned it gets a bit “schooly” towards the end because it had to be. For a class last semester, we were asked to write about why a particular author used stories to communicate techniques. And because for me, most of the time, working MUST involve playing, I simply wrote a fun story to communicate my answer. Hopefully, you’ll enjoy the read and hear the answer even before the end.

As a kindergartener, my slim cut Rustler jeans remained baggy around my gangly legs. The elastic waistband was no match for my non-existent hips. My mom often exited Sears in wardrobe frustration. Behind the curtain of a bargain priced cotton and polyester blend was the saddest pair of scabbed and knobby knees Dallas, TX had ever seen. My maroon striped polo shirt buttoned to my throat and housed my sinewy arms, but just barely. In Miss McKutcheon’s classroom that year, I received more ogles than glue sticks and gold stars put together. In her class, after our naptime was the best part of the day- snack time.
Perforated graham crackers, generic Goldfish, and half slices of white bread, peanut butter painted, waited for us on yellow tables. Apple juice boxes with bendy straws flowed like wine, in the wine for five year olds sense, of course. But, the second best part of the day was story time, which happened after our feasting.
Story time took all of us sleepy eyed and cookie crumbing kids to exciting places five times a week. I cherished it as much as the smell of McDonald’s lingering on the lucky kid whose Dad surprised them at lunchtime. For all of us sitting there on the industrial carpet, we were swallowed into the whirlpool of story. Much like you are right now, I hope.
Stories clutch us by the sleeve of our attention spans and take us for a trip. They reach out and capture us like a school of fish. They may drop us off at a Lamaze lesson, an algebra concept, or a three-point sermon. Stories can pinpoint emotions and concepts like nothing else. They are the exhilarating bus rides to the state capital - half the fun is in the ride there. Great writers know this, Schutlze especially. He will open or close a lesson with a story, solely to deliver us to a truth about communicating. Perhaps all of life and its critical lessons are learned in the process, the journey, the ride. Hop on in, just don’t put your hands out the window.


I cant wait until Feb 6th…dad to a son or daughter?
From Wilmore, with Love.

Wednesday, January 09, 2008

my ode to the guild of striking geniuses

So here it is, The NBC gem “The Office” meets cult classic pearl “High Fidelity”...

What is your Top 5 favorite Office episode openers?
I have a very hard time placing these in any order, but here they are with a few honorable mentions.

Opener from The Secret –
“What’s updog? Nothing much, whats up with you?”
Then Michael trying to stick it to Stanley (the Manley), “Hey Stanley, is that jacket made of updog?”
“I’m on the phone!”

Opener from Product Recall –
Jim dressed and PLAYING Dwight PERFECTLY:
”…a grand total of 11 dollars.”

Opener from The Fight –
Dwight’s desk hidden in the bathroom: ”Where is my desk?”
Jim responds brilliantly with “Calm down, where did you last see it? OK, let’s retrace your steps.”

Opener from Booze Cruise –
Dwight’s office supplies in the vending machine:
“Oh, a pencil cup, I love these!”
“Where’s my wallet?”
“Oh, there it is J1. Here’s some nickels.”

Opener from Back from Vacation –
Dwight recording the meeting while Michael is gone:
“”Let the record show that Dwight is now wearing a baby’s bonnet!”
“Im cutting Phyllis’ head off with a chainsaw! Rrrrrrun nuuuuun niiiiin!”
*awkward stares at Andy*

Honorable mentions:

Branch Closing -
“I send Dwight faxes.
From himself.
From the future.”
The coffee spilling all over Stanley is so aggressive!

Michael’s Birthday -
“Who uses calling cards anymore anyway?”
“How is this not a pyramid scheme?”

Grief Counseling -
“Pam would you like me to get you a pencil from the warehouse? *Dwight laughs like it is the first time he has seen someone walk down fake stairs*
Hilarious!

Your reactions, your disagreements, your Top 5, your excuse for thinking that Jim is actually going to call you to talk about how things went with Pam over Christmas?

From Wilmore, with Love.

Tuesday, January 08, 2008

dedication from a dear friend

A dear friend of mine sent this to me upon hearing our latest, greatest, and 16 week old news. Just one favor to ask as you read, change the word "blonde" to "brown" - you'll see.
Begin tear prepping now...

"Upon Seeing an Ultrasound Photo of an Unborn Child" by Thomas Lux, from The Drowned River. © Houghton Mifflin Company, 1990.

Upon Seeing an Ultrasound Photo of an Unborn Child

Tadpole, it's not time yet to nag you
about college (though I have some thoughts
on that), baseball (ditto), or abstract
principles. Enjoy your delicious,
soupy womb-warmth, do some rolls and saults
(it'll be too crowded soon), delight in your early
dreams — which no one will attempt to analyze.
For now: may your toes blossom, your fingers
lengthen, your sexual organs grow (too soon
to tell which yet) sensitive, your teeth
form their buds in their forming jawbone, your already
booming heart expand (literally
now, metaphorically later); O your spine,
eyebrows, nape, knees, fibulae,
lungs, lips... But your soul,
dear child: I don't see it here, when
does that come in, whence? Perhaps God,
and your mother, and even I — we'll all contribute
and you'll learn yourself to coax it
from wherever: your soul, which holds your bones
together and lets you live
on earth. — Fingerling, sidecar, nubbin,
I'm waiting, it's me, Dad,
I'm out here. You already know
where Mom is. I'll see you more directly
upon arrival. You'll recognize
me — I'll be the tall-seeming, delighted
blond guy, and I'll have
your nose.

From Wilmore, with Love.

Friday, January 04, 2008

for our 15 week old child

Tell Me a Secret

Will you have bows and pigtails or short and spikies?
Will you want the blue balloon or the purple?
Will warts be “megacool” or “ew gross”?
Tell me if you will leave shiny lip gloss on my cup or hog it all with no evidence left behind

Will you break the hearts of dumb boys or crazy girls?
Diego or Dora?
Samson or Queen Esther?
Brownies or Cubs?...please Lord, neither.
Tell me a secret my little one

Will you be Daddy’s little girl or Mama’s little boy?
Train tracks or Easter dresses?
Videogame all-nighters or slumber parties?
Tell me a secret, I won’t tell your mom

Make sure she doesn’t hear your tiny voice, made by tiny lips and a tiny tongue to match the tiny breaths
Cup your tiny hands with tiny fingers and tell me
Prince or princess?
Homecoming King or Drama Queen?
Tell me, I can’t stand to wait

Repeat after me my child
“Daddy, I am your little…”
- JOY.
From Wilmore, with Love.