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.

Wednesday, October 07, 2009

like rippin off a bandaid

I'm just gonna go for it, real sudden-like. This will be the last post on my beloved blogspot, cold turkey quitting my posts here. Not to worry though, head over to a site that has been given a promotion. My tumblr site started out as a sort of blog sidekick. Now he's all grown up and ready to go out into the real world (wide web). Same amount of Love, different look though. I dig it.
Visit here- to stay connected. If you're on tumblr, gimme a follow.
If you're a subscriber here to "fwwL" re-subscribe here.

Many, many benefits for the platform switch and I look forward to the tumblr theme renovation it will get from a talented friend. Thinking about a great namechange too. You'll have to wait. I can barely.

from wilmore, with Love.

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

2 questions for life

Well, maybe. For over 2 weeks now, I've been rolling around in a pair of questions, trying to see if they fall short of situations, trying to live them out in the midst of complexities. Call it a personal hangup, but at this point in my journey I'm not huge on all-encompassing absolutes. I think we as people and life are too big for too many of them- outside of the reality of a perfect-loving and eternal God, His son Jesus, full of grace and truth, and the Holy Spirit dwelling inside of believers healing and guiding believers into all truth.

However. (Remember you just read "too many" all-encompassing absolutes is where I squirm.)

As a communicator of the message of a loving God, one question seems to matter at the end of the day, at the end of our life- What difference does it make? Of course this question matters to so many other facets of life, but stay with me here. The preacher takes his place on a Sunday morning, "This is what the apostle Paul was trying to say to people in Rome." Those listening beg to ask, "So? What difference does it make for my life?" "Look how Moses handled this leadership conflict."
"So? What difference does it make to me now, thousands of years later?"
As a herald of the hope of heaven and the God reigning both here and there, I'm going to continually ask myself in personal study and preparation for sermons- What difference does it make...for me, for others? If it doesn't make a difference in how we live and breathe, then that guy from Nazareth was just a carpenter.


In all of the personal disagreements, pious debates, and prideful debacles one question has made its way into my heart- How can love win in this situation? Not me win. Not the organization. Not the event. How can love win? Perfect love, holy love, selfless love, that God brand of love. That cruciformed love. I've been trying to live this out- "For this situation I'm dealing with right now, how can love win?" Jesus sums up all 37 books of the Old Testament with just two short sentences, both hinging on the subversive power of love. Anyone got Huey Lewis playin in their heads now?
What do you think? Am I missing a couple key pieces here with these two questions?
Open to hearing your answers on all three of those final questions.

from wilmore, with Love.

Sunday, August 16, 2009


Without these words, it still would have been an incredible night, an unforgettable one without question. A man I greatly respect and admire has done this more than once, more than 10 times even. His words, filled with true wisdom and experience, fill my journals. It happened again last week. And since then, here is the sentence endlessly tugging at the shirt sleeve of my conscience. No need for me to comment.

"You can always tell the size of a person's character
by the size of the dilemmas they keep."

from wilmore, with Love.

Friday, August 07, 2009

dishes, moleskine, napkins, & screens

This is the evolution of my ideation.
|ˌīdēˈā sh ən| noun, the formation of ideas or concept
Rarely, like most people, do I get a good idea or great brainstorm shower when the time is right. It happens when I'm standing there looking out the kitchen window, earbuds providing some tunes, doing the dishes. Or it happens when I'm driving on the back roads of the KY, heading to the grocery store.
At some point I may scratch it out in Butkus, to peek at later or to process it a bit more. Then, inevitably, probably late at night with a friend it will come up in great conversation. Surrounded by appetizer plates and coffee cups, scribble covered napkins sprawl the table. The idea is beginning to take its first steps.
Usually, if it was/is really taking shape in big ways it will hit the internetwebs via email and phones via texts, and lots of them. Then maybe some kind of graphic design or word processing app beyond that. Past here, 'scuse me while I kiss the sky cause the sky's the limit now.
I love this process, truly. It's fascinating to see something (or be a part of something) start out as an idea, begin to grow, take a bigger shape, birth, take its first steps, and then fly.
Below is one in midflight, one with the same heartbeat as mine. Almost step for step, syllable for syllable.

Well done Soul City Church. There in Chicago, may you reveal the everlasting Kingdom and its everloving King atop the Throne of Grace.

from wilmore, with Love.

Tuesday, August 04, 2009

a must do summer project

Today, some of my beloved family out on the Westside released their first podcast episode of something they've cooked up called, "The Existence Project." I love the title. Three awesome guys on staff at Arcade Wesleyan Church, Mark, Ryan, and Brennan have come together around a few microphones to wade through the tough questions of why we exist, why an all-powerful and yet all-loving God exists, and what the heck happens when those two beautifully collide. I was honored to get an advance copy last week and trust me, you're gonna want to subscribe. They should be releasing two 35 min episodes a month. Grab them and take the conversation even further with others.
Props to Chad for his Napoleon Dynamite status skills with the graphic and video design. You can begin to subscribe to The Existence Project podcast here. First up is the video trailer on the iTunes Store. Once you subscribe, you will be able to download the first episode. Enjoy.

from wilmore, with Love.

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

kevin vs dave in a twittercage match

Kevin wins, no question.

Thanks to my sister from another mother, Kelly, for this hilarious clip.

from wilmore, with Love.

Sunday, July 26, 2009

what would you say?

Here's the situation. You have a middle school aged boy. He goes off to summer camp with his youth group and has a blast, I mean a really good time. They call you from the Burger King the 15 passenger van stopped at on the way home. He makes sure you'll be at the church in 30 minutes to pick him up. You confirm the arrangement.
The van arrives, some kids are dead asleep, mouths agape for undeniable proof, others are still working on that 64oz refill of Mountain Dew. Kids pile out of the 15 passenger mayhem-mobile. Your child jumps out with a huge smile on his face, excited to see you and still excited after the week of camp. Duffle bag equipped, they come running in your direction. Your eyes light up, eyebrows raise as high as they're able, your chin lunges forward, mouth drops. This is what you see...

What do you say?
*Thanks to a new friend from South Dakota who allowed me to take this shot on the last night of camp. At one point in the night, he comes up to me with a Sharpie in his hand and says, "I just got signatures from 57 people on my head in the last 30 minutes. Now it's your turn!" By the way, his scalp the next morning was covered in blue ink.
Wow. Again, how do you respond?

from wilmore, with Love.

Thursday, July 23, 2009

beyond "good" or "evil"

These past couple weeks I've been enjoying Shane Hippps' The Hidden Power of Electronic Culture. With the precision of a brain surgeon he dissects the use of media within all of life, especially the Church. He has this to say about media-
"[Media has] dynamic forces with power to shape us, regardless of their content. Such and approach invites us to ask different questions, and moves us beyond the oversimplified but common belief that media forms can be deemed good or bad based on how they are used. This perspective is deeply entrenched in the assumption that a medium can be considered "redeemable" if it dispenses the gospel or educational information, but "evil" if it distributes sex and violence. It is imperative we move beyond this paradigm and realize that our forms of media and technology are primary forces that cause changes in our philosophy, theology, culture, and ultimately the way we do church."

Chew on that today. It's the medium that shapes us, perhaps even more than the material it is sending.

from wilmore, with Love.

would jesus use twitter? wwjt?

Mark Batterson thinks so. Pretty cool interview here on PBS he was just on tonight. Scroll halfway down the page, look for this:

and check it out.
What is Twitter? Even more of a reason to watch the video- enjoy.
By the way, more to come round here in the future. Stay tuned.

from wilmore, with Love.

Friday, June 12, 2009

confessions, part 7- the final one

I love to iron; accent on love.

If you've ever provided room and board for me, chances are I've asked you for an iron and ironing board for the next day's clothes. If you'll provide a room in the future, chances are I'll give the same request. I've had a fascination for ironing since middle school, where I would iron my T-shirts on the weekends. I am confident this had nothing to do with the fact that I had few friends during this time. I think.

I have ironed shirts for friends while rooming with them (a la Mike Holmes). I have ironed for Lindsay. I've tried to teach her the secrets of a wrinkle-free lifestyle. I iron denim jeans, on a regular basis. I have ironed shorts, also on a regular basis. T-shirts, dress shirts, and even some tablecloths for one of Lindsay's fab parties, it doesn't matter, I love it. It may just be my hatred for wrinkles, I've considered that as the source of all this. I have a problem, I know.

Who doesn't like to put their arms into a fresh pair of warm sleeves though? Ironing is like mowing the lawn for clothes. There's instant results. Wrinkle there on the collar, oh wait, a few quick iron swipes and its nothing more than a garment memory. Truly, a wrinkle is no match for the searing heat and steam. When you wield a hot iron, you wield unstoppable power over the effects of the hang-dry. Consider it.

It's all quite ridiculous though. There are countless people in the world with 1 or 2 articles of clothes to their name at most. I've reflected on this lately and it's left me with the question "Why do you value the things you value?" Hmmm. More to come on this.

Confession #7, the final one, for now- I love to iron; accent on love

from wilmore, with Love.

Monday, May 11, 2009

what's your guess?

Thanks to our dear friends Dave and Amanda for telling us this epic tale a few weeks ago.

Some friends of ours, the Kearns, set an old 14 inch television, rabbit ears included, out in front of their home in the notorious Nicholasville, KY. Nicholasville is just outside of our lil' village, Wilmore, about 6 miles. Alongside this commonwealth treasure sat a piece of cardboard with the letters F-R-E-E written on it. Before they were both set outside on the curb, bets were taken on how long the TV would be out there before someone drove or walked by and picked it up. The Kearns live in a busy area near downtown. Cars pass regularly. Dogs and dogwalkers frequent their area. No bad weather in sight. The "finders keepers" maxim was in good and full company there.
5 bucks.
Closest without going over.
Winner takes the pile of cash.
Four votes were cast: eight minutes, ten minutes, twelve minutes, and sixteen minutes. Brad, father and husband of the Kearns clan, walked out to place the near twenty year old television and sign on the grass near the curb. Katie, wife and mother Kearns, hit START on the stopwatch in her hand.

How long do you think it took for the TV to find a new owner?


Forty seconds. FOUR-DEE.
*Commence shock laughter now*

"Haaay maaan, does that TV weerrk?"
Brad, still on his way back to the front door, turns around in shock, "Yep, sure does."
By 1:03 it was loaded in the car. One minute and three seconds. Well under ninety seconds and all that remained was a lonely cardboard sign, only four letters and weeds to keep it company.

from wilmore, with Love.

Monday, May 04, 2009

confessions, part 6

I've had the same alarm clock IN USE since 1990. And there she is. She's a byoot aint she?

This came to me on Christmas of 1990. Still rockin it, no lie. I was ten years old (do the math, go ahead) and when I opened this, I was officially a "big kid." I had hit the double digits and now could wake up to an alarm like old people do. There was cool neon pink and green designs on the face and I could even wake up to the sound of music on the FM, or AM radio. This clock has been in over a dozen of night stands since the Christmas arrival. Every time we moved when I was a kid and when I move now, I worry it wont make it. But after unpacking boxes, I plug in the aged powercord, and BOOM- the trusty Soundesign revives again. (On a very interesting note, this company is now extinct.)

As you might guess, Lindsay could part with it pretty easily. For me, notta chance. How can you let go of greatness, greatness with electronic longevity I might add? We have lived in three places since our blissful wedding day seven years ago, and every time she pleads for me to throw it out, donate it, or keep it in another room besides our bedroom. Her attempts are futile in the presence of greatness, in the presence of THAT alarm clock. Sad will the day be when it can no longer be placed on a night stand near my sleeping head. Very sad.

Confession #6- I've had the same alarm clock IN USE since 1990, unashamedly.

from wilmore, with Love.

Thursday, April 30, 2009

sean is right

Take a peek at the comment on the previous post and you'll see why. Sean- I was thinking the same thing this week, but haven't acted on it.

HE IS *NOT WAS* ALIVE. JESUS IS HERE, SALVATION IS HERE, HEALING IS HERE, HOPE IS HERE. No need to search for the living among the dead!

What better way to reveal the other side of the story than by showing you one of my favorite images of a loving God and broken humanity? I originally saw this on the wall in the home of a dear friend- Josh. It has captured me ever since. I hope to own it someday- a copy, not the original. feel compelled. It is a sketch by an amazing artist named Charlie Mackesy. I believe it depicts the anthem of heaven. This, friends, is the rest of the story- one where the once occupied tomb is vacant and the God of the universe makes a way for His beloved sons and daughters to be with Him again. A story where the King dies for his servants, one where the Righteous pursues the rebellious, one where the Champion falls into the grave so that we might rise from it. It's a good one. Have someone tell it to you soon, again. Here it is through the eyes of Charlie. The snapshot comes to us from a story I prefer to call "The Parable of the Unbelievable Father."

from wilmore, with Love.

Saturday, April 11, 2009

yesterday, he died

On Wednesday's chapel I snapped this picture. I have never seen anything or been a part of anything like it- all of the Christ elements in Estes chapel were recessed out the back door and a black cloth was draped over a cross, perched on a naked, cold table. The starkest of stark contrasts of the light though the window cuts to highlight the body bag veiling the cross. Underneath the mystery is etched "This do in remembrance of me."
It has really cut me deep this year. He died. Dead. There was a funeral for him, a shoddy one that ended in somebody else's coffin, but still. Someone whom over the past year I have gotten to know so much better, Someone whom I am now beginning to make sense of how much He loves me, Someone who has walked with me and been with me every stride through a very tough 2008 is dead. Honestly, for the first time it hit me like this, my best friend, truest friend, most amazing companion has been gruesomely killed. Certainly, He's so much more, but for this year it felt like the One that loves me the most died yesterday. He's gone, only pictures, memories, and stories remain. It seems Fridays will never be the same. Maybe tomorrow will be different.

from wilmore, with Love.

Thursday, April 09, 2009

you can never have too much love, right?

Just poppin in here to let you know I have started a new little sidekick blog called "for:the:love."

You may have already seen it sometime in the past couple weeks, but many of my quickhitter posts are being shipped over there now- pictures, quotes, videos, and the funsized youtube wafer cookies. Swing by there, subscribe, and enjoy some more love. Also, to throw in a quick plug- the new blog is from Tumblr. Check them out too- really smooth designs, super easy to use, and it work great with Twitter.

from wilmore, with Love.

Monday, March 16, 2009

great writers CREATE

...and not just describe. Massive difference there. I've heard this before from a friend. Because I truly want to become a better writer, I will be trying to take this advice. Perhaps it will serve as a great help to you too.

from wilmore, with Love.

Sunday, March 15, 2009

sabbath prayer

Heard this jaw-dropping line this week from JD Walt as he told me a story about a friend of his. A monk told her to pray this one-lined prayer. May it unravel something in you today to better grasp the love God has for you, His beloved child.

"Lord, help me to believe the truth about myself no matter how beautiful it is."

from wilmore, with Love.

Saturday, March 14, 2009

guilty as charged

Read this today in our Community Reader. It made me stop and take a deep breath this morning. This needed to be passed along to others.
"Lifted up from the earth"
We are tempted to find, in such language, a method or formula to "draw all people." We warp His words into something we can do- sing, dance, praise, and thus "lift Him high." But there is no mistake what He means; "He said this to show the kind of death he was going to die."
It is not in the safety of musical worship services that all will be drawn to Jesus, but in the agony of crucifixion. It's not in something we can do, some formula we can master; it's something HE did. Only by the cross will all be drawn to Him. And so He does not bid us, "Exalt me in song," but, "Deny yourselves, take up your cross, and follow Me."
*raising my hand sheepishly for warping His words many times in the past*

Journey with me and the Asbury Community with our online reader- check it out here, and subscribe to the blog feed. Yet again, why aren't you with us on Twiturgy? Get on twitter (for a whole MULTITUDE OF REASONS), then search for "twiturgy", click to "follow." Hope to see ya around.

from wilmore, with Love.

Friday, March 13, 2009

your top 5?

These conversations has been going on with a few friends for a couple weeks now. Lindsay and I talked about it last night on our hot date too. Ironically, the team I get work with for chapel discussed it last week at their meeting, and I missed it! So, thought I would unleash these great topics in this space, could be pretty fun.

Your top 5, in no particular order, dinner guests, living?

Your top 5, in no particular order, dinner guests, dead?

Mine so far:
Living- Bill Cosby, Bono, Michael Jordan, Coach K, and Fred Beuchner
Dead- Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., "Pistol" Pete Maravich, John the Beloved, Thomas Merton, Abraham Lincoln

Your turn. Leave in the comments, let's get to talking.

from wilmore, with Love.

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

confessions, part 5

I knew this would happen - the semester would start and blogging would come to nearly a screeching halt.

More to come though, not to worry.
Just thought I would pop in and confess...I just knew this would happen.

from wilmore, with Love.

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

brace yourself

thanks for sending this to me sis!
absolutely amazing...

from wilmore, with Love.

Saturday, February 07, 2009

confessions, part 4

I hate Chipotle Mexican Grill. They're all over Sacramento, CA and I know of one nearby here in Lexington, KY. As a restaurant, it is one that anytime it is mentioned, I must hold back and not outwardly make the cringing disgust face. For about 7 years, I have felt this way; I really hate the Chipotle restaurant. I have many reasons to support this harsh statement, eight in fact. They may seem irrational to you, which is fine, but know that my hatred is not flippant or seeded in some kind of "I had a real bad experience there one time." I didn't at all, which I suppose is a positive.
In spite of my rock solid reasons and loathing, I have gone several times with friends or family. It's pretty hard for me to turn down hangout. Oh sure, I may try and steer the hangout to a different locale, but when the Sacramento masses speak, especially after a Sunday church service, I am ALWAYS outnumbered. In fact, I am perfectly aware that I am in the minority opinion on this one, and it may seem a bit pathetic. And???
Here's the eight reasons, kept for about 3 years on a hard drive, supporting my stance:

1) The indoor tables are bolted to the floor. You can't move them closer together. How anti-community is that?
2) There is not communal salsa bar anywhere. If you want salsa, you have to get it when you order your food. As a low blow, their salsa selection is minimal (I think 3 choices) and not much for taste/spice. Once again, anti-community. The salsa bar convo is almost as much fun as the salad bar convo- both are on the verge of enjoying a great meal together.
3) Chips and salsa cost extra. What?! In a Mexican restaurant you have to pay extra for chips and salsa? Aren't they FREE in every other Mexican food place I've been before??? Exactly. Yep, as if you weren't already overspending. Which leads me to...
4) Overpriced, very overpriced food.
5) Very small portions. They use one scoop of chicken/beef for THREE tacos. Most of the taco ends up being lettuce.
6) They use PURPLE onions in guacamole. Unheard of. Huge Mexican culinary foul here.
7) White rice with cilantro as a side dish? Two horrible things about this- a) if you are attempting a Mexican style of food, steamed white rice is the last side dish you would use. (Cuban, perhaps) Cream corn makes about as much sense. b) that's not cilantro, that's parsley. I am 99% sure of it. You can't smell the cilantro at all, which is a pretty potent leaf. There's nothing Mexican about steamed rice and parsley.
8) Coffeeshop tunes play on an overhead sound system. Distractingly Loud. With a pitiful and puzzling song selection. It really rounds out the whole dining experience. Oh wait, nope. It doesn't.

Confession #4- I hate Chipotle Mexican Grill. I am not sorry about it either.

from wilmore, with Love.

Wednesday, February 04, 2009

spirituality and deli meat

More thoughts on doing and being, a previous post-

The intro to the greatest sermon of all time begins with indicative statements of blessings on people's character, not their actions.
Blessed are those who ARE meek, not those who DO or PERFORM meek actions.
Blessed are those who ARE merciful, not those who PERFORM acts of mercy.
Blessed are those who ARE pure in heart, not those who act purely.
...being before the doing yet again.

The endless rabbit-hole paradox is that because being and doing are in fact interwoven such that performing can move us into becoming. The Ancient Hebrews knew this well. Their faith was a tangible, active, fully engrossed kind of faith. Lauren Winner writes in Mudhouse Sabbath, "...action sits at the center of Judaism. Practice is to Judaism what belief is to Christianity. That is not to say that Judaism does not have any dogma or doctrine."
I think the essence of this formation is to understand that being and doing are actually on the same coin. One for each side, and we should see both sides often.

Making my sandwich for lunch today reminded me of an epiphany I had years ago:

As I got older and made my own sandwiches, I would always wonder why they used to taste so much better when Mom made them. Then it hit me, painfully. The difference was that Mom would always cut them in half. The reason why a sandwich tastes so much better when it is cut in half is because your first bite for each side begins with the BEST bite- one that is in the center of the sandwich.
I cut my sandwich down the middle every time now. Thanks Mom.

from wilmore, with Love.

Tuesday, February 03, 2009

story still matters

How I wish I could be there tonight.
I have the honor and privilege of knowing these guys, late night talking and laughing with these guys, getting beaten to a pulp in Texas Hold 'Em by one of these guys, late night hoopin with the other, and the blessing of being called their friend.
If you are anywhere near Chapel Hill, NC in the near future on a Tuesday night, do yourself a giant favor and be a apart of this. The heart of Justin and Matt is for people to know the God that loves them beyond belief, to know the Kingdom brought to earth by His son Jesus, and to unveil it to all of Chapel Hill through LOVE.

from wilmore, with Love.

Monday, February 02, 2009

confessions, part 3

I have three slightly irrational fears. I have had these for many years and have no plans of being talked out of them. Here they are in no particular order:

#1- jellyfish

They're absolutely gorgeous though, that's the only problem I have with being deathly afraid of them. I loved looking at them at the Monterrey Aquarium several years ago, but that was only because their was 3 inch thick decorative commercial glass between me and the stinging creatures. Half of my thoughts while visiting any beach are, "I hope I don't get stung by a jellyfish, I hope I don't get stung by a jellyfish, I hope I don't get stung by a jellyfish..." One moment you're enjoying the water, being very successful at keeping the salt out of your mouth, waiting for that perfect wave to bodysurf back to shore, and -BAM!- something has just touched your leg with extreme pain for no reason at all and now you're looking for someone to pee on you. From what I have heard, their sting isn't any kind of defense mechanism, not a protection apparatus. It just...happens. You touch it or it touches you and you got scorching pain and a wicked mark for proof. Seems like their could be something you could do to avoid the sting from coming. Nope. "Don't go near them," is all I have heard. Luckily, I try and block all of this out of my mind every time I am at a beach. Usually, I succeed in this. Still scared though.

#2- kidney stones
You have no idea. It's bad. I am deathly afraid of getting these and then having to pass one. I have heard the pain compared to birthing a child and while I will not ever know what it feels like to birth a child, I have been up very close and very personal with one just 7 months ago. I saw how much fun that wasn't.
***quick tangent- Her eyes light up a room--->***

Pain compared to childbrith cannot be good in any way, I don't care where you're from. Additionally, I haven't heard of any concrete reasons why you might develop kidney stones. Which, AGAIN, means that there's nothing you can do to avoid it. They might just...happen. Truly terrifying, is it not? How UNcomforting does this sound?- "Well sir, these just developed over time and what you will go through in the next 2 weeks even while on prescription strength painkillers and muscle relaxers is enough to make the most brutish of men squeal like a schoolgirl that has seen a spider." Possible effective treatment? Having someone pulverize the stones. Is this some kind of joke? I am outrageously afraid of kidney stones.

#3- vomiting/puking/throwing up/gagging or a combination of any of these within the nausea family
This will not be news to many of you. I hate anything to do with puking- sight, sound, smell, or the act of- hate it. I am terrified of throwing up. The last time I threw up was in February of 2002 (which is why lasagna is tough to eat still). Before that it was either '90 or '91. Before that even, I had only 6 recollections of me throwing up and in all of them, I was sobbing. It terifies me. Still today, the second I get nauseous, I try all I can to avoid puking. Every once in a while I will begin to believe it is God punishing me (this is TERRIBLE theology by the way, a total lie) and I remember making many promises when I was younger to read my Bible and pray more if He would prevent vomit from happening -totally not kidding. Still further, I have concluded that if I could be a superhero I would be "Nausea Man" and would cause all evil forces to fold over in excricating and debilitating nausea to foil their evil plans.
This one time in 5th grade there was a girl who got sick right after lunch and ran out of the classroom while vomitting. She didn't quite make it. Other students saw this and it ended up, true story here, it ended up being a full on, real-deal, vomit domino effect. No lie, at one point, there were 4 girls hovering around the teacher's trashcan puking with all their might. A few other students were running out the door, passing the loyal four around the can, trying to hold it until they got to a toilet. Utter abdominal bedlam. I dry heaved twice as I was on the opposite side of the classroom plugging my ears and pinching my nose to avoid jumping on that train.
Wow, I am done talking about this now.

Confession #3- I have three slightly irrational fears, that under certain conditions, almost consume my thoughts. The good thing is, for now, Annabella's spit up hasn't bothered me one bit. Whshew.

from wilmore, with Love.

Friday, January 30, 2009

i love stories

A new project launched at the beginning of this year called Deidox.

Dei = Means “God” in Latin
Dox = Documentary films

Here is some info from their website:
"Do you believe that God is still actively engaged with the world? Do you think He is continually making Himself known? Every day new stories of God’s redemptive and transforming work in and through His people are appearing around the world. But these stories often go untold, their ability to teach and inform lost forever. Deidox brings these compelling stories to life through short documentary films."
The goal of Deidox is to use the films to teach within ministry contexts, to spark conversation amongst friends, and to "highlight and support organizations that are demonstrating God’s love on a daily basis."
I just downloaded the film, "Lindsay" (LOVE the title). Looking forward to watching it after this paper is finally done. The trailers look very good in their cinematography and quality. It's always so great to see people do great quality work, beautiful work, in revealing the Kingdom of God.

Go check these films out and use them to unfurl the grand story of God in all of our lives even today.

from wilmore, with Love.

Thursday, January 29, 2009

confessions, part 2

I have participated in an unique and absurd tradition for over 20 years. My brother and I both actually. There may have been just one time when I forgot to "do" this in all of the past 20 years. Other than that, I haven't missed one time. That's quite the statement, especially after you read what the tradition is. I suppose the origin is a good place to start with this one, rather than just coming out with it, beginning in some kind of shock-value fashion. Otherwise I just sound like a really odd guy with an even more odd mental condition.
When I was around 9 or 10 years old going out to eat at "sit-down" restaurants was quite the treat. "Sit-down" places such as Bennigan's, Tia's, Pancho's, The Alamo, Pizza Hut, or many of the Reno, NV casino buffets is what I'm talking about, not the "white tablecloth" status places. We didn't do this too often when I was especially young, so whenever we did, I remember being pretty excited.
On one occasion as the dining experience came to an end, we all got up to leave. My brother, 7 or 8 years old at the time wiped his mouth with the napkin, waded it up in his hands, threw it down on the table, and remarked quite loudly, "I've HAD IT with this place!" as if to say that the restaurant had greatly displeased him, and he, a 7 year old boy weighing 60 pounds, was leaving in utter disgust.
I don't know where he got this, truly I don't. We both thought it was one of the most hilarious things one can ever say in an eating establishment. Since then, even to this day, at the end of every meal at a sit-down place, I have continued this. I love it- a lot.
Over the years my mom got accustomed to it, but she used to get pretty upset about it, especially if we got a bit loud. She would say, "You might make people think you guys are begin serious!" But who trusts the culinary judgment of a 10 year old when they ordered the cheeseburger, with no tomatoes or lettuce, and the dinosaur chicken pieces?

Since childhood, here are the revised "stipulations" that I go by:
- there must be a server/waiter involved in the meal to whom you tip on the bill
- when everyone enjoying the meal is ready to leave, I stand up, take one last sip of my drink, use my napkin to wipe each side of my mouth, crumple it up, throw it down on the table, and exclaim, "I've HAD IT with this place." Then, leave the table with complete satisfaction.
- I have since added this too- the louder I say it, the more disgusted I look, the more it might be believable, the better the eating experience was. For example, Applebees on a friday night - though nominally tasty, not too much of a fuss is made, and I might say it under my breath. Sushi Main Street in Half Moon Bay, CA with the Lawsons or Melting Pot with the Schrutes - very animated, loud projection, and quite awkward.

This is why for years, I am always last to meet to grab the Starlight mint or toothpick after the meal has concluded. I will be last out of the exit door, at least 8 steps behind everyone.

Confession #2- I participate in, and have for almost 20 years, an absurd dining routine. It is childish and ridiculous. But that will not keep me from teaching it to Annabella.

from wilmore, with Love.

Saturday, January 24, 2009

Twitter + Ministry + Community = ?

Just last week a new E-book has been released by Anthony Coppedge called The Reason Your Church Must Twitter. Coppedge is a pastor, blogger, writer, speaker, and according to his Twitter profile page a "Pastor to the Digital Culture." Check out the book's website here for more info. Twitter, the powerful social networking tool has been reported to have growth of 752% in 2008 and now has over 4.4 million unique visitors- this article here can tell you more of the remarkable growth. With the uncanny ability to enhance relational connections (and by no means replace face to face interaction) and grow a mindfulness towards those within your community, could Twitter be valuable tool for the Kingdom of Heaven in the 21st century context?

from wilmore, with Love.

confessions, part 1

I have named my journal. Further, I have named my last four journals. They have all had the same name. Butkus.
Allow me explain.
I keep a journal with me everywhere I go. Very rare is a time when it is not in my back pocket or in my front coat pocket in winter. I think outside of bathing, sleeping, and walking Jax, it is always within an arm's reach. For the last 2 years most every idea, sermon note, meeting to-dos, & quote that has come through my head has gone into one of these treasure troves. Where I go, Butkus goes.

Change tracks here.

My favorite movie of all time is Rocky, the 1976 original. Beginning in this film and most of the next 5 sequels (*sigh*) a dog is always with Rocky as he trains in the gym, runs, and lounges at home. This dog's name was Butkus- a true sidekick.

On the back of all of them I have placed a picture of Butkus. One time I got carried away on the size. The "canine" inspiration came from a friend that introduced me to the only kind of journals I will ever buy again. Moleskines. He had referred to his as the "Lil dog" as it too was with him everywhere he went. The bigger size cahiers that he owned were referred to as "Big Dogs." I suppose I took it a step further. You can see a story about that relationship over at Asbury's Web Parish.
B-1 through B-4 = Butkus #1 through Butus #4...this is used for the slightly psychotic archive system I am trying to keep. That's for another time of confession.

Confession #1- I have named, and will always name, my journal. My journal's name is Butkus.

from wilmore, with Love.

Thursday, January 22, 2009

doing and being

Within moments of the "first impression" conversation we stumble into familiar territory and ask "So, what do you do?" Happens all the time. That or a comment on the weather in the past week or maybe what you've heard it's going to be like.
As discussed in my Ethics class yesterday, here's something worth mentioning- If you are a full time student and also put in about 30 hours a week over at the Wal-Mart and someone asks you, "Hey, so whattya do?" What's the answer every time?
Right. "I'm a student." Why? Quite frankly, because you don't want to say "I'm a Wal Mart worker."
But why? Because it's embarrassing to say one over the other? Because one is *seemingly* higher on the socioeconomic ladder of prestige? Because you don't want someone to think less of who "you are" because you think what you DO is who you are?
(Bingo in the sense of yep, that's it, but at the same time - EEGGHH! -Family Feud style.)

What you do is not who you are.

Your identity is not completely wrapped up in what you do. It is a horrific trap to think you have to DO in order to BE.

The Scriptures read multiple times "Be holy, for I am holy." The word we focus on in that command is what? Holy. And because we think we get to "holy" by simply DOING a bunch of stuff, we get all wrapped up and tangled in a holiness treadmill headed nowhere at 7.5 mph. We get worn out, complain that being holy is impossible, and wonder why God would call us to something like that. And it's painfully flawed from the very beginning. One definition of holy is "being set apart." Notice there is no verbs of action there. Just one huge stative one- BE.

Don't focus on HOLY. Focus on BE.

Be loved and be loving.
That's it. Those are the commands. Everything in the Law and Prophets hangs on them, as Jesus said in the greatest sermon of all time.
Everything else flows out of these two realities, being loved by God and being loving towards Him and others. Focus on being and live. Focus on doing and die. Allow your being to drive your doing and not the other way around. Don't believe one of the biggest deceptions - "do in order to be."
Believe that you ARE because of what Jesus DID.

from wilmore, with Love.

Saturday, January 17, 2009

faith and beauty making love

Some big claims here. Still stacking and sorting them all out, but this is what has come out so far...

Faith is at the heart of beauty.
Unless rooted in the existence of something bigger than ourselves, something supernatural, there is no reason for beauty. Without God, beauty would be a waste of time, pointless. Faith is at the very core of beauty, true beauty.

God uses images of beauty to speak of our faith in Him. Perhaps because beauty is something all of us, as His creation, respond to. I read somewhere that Someone spoke of the flowers of the field and the birds of the sky to teach about worrying. Those images are still sticking with me.

Two days ago, this canvas was my “Good morning, my child.” As I took out our dog, Jax, early in the morning, it brought me to a breathless standstill.

Later in the day, my eyes read these lines:
(Isaiah 62:1)
For Zion's sake I will not keep silent,
for Jerusalem's sake I will not remain quiet,
till her vindication shines out like the dawn,
her salvation like a blazing torch.

When the sacred intersection of my faith and His beauty meet, a deeper love for our Creator is birthed within me, and hopefully those around me. God, the author of all beauty, is love. Is. Not was. Not will be. Is. How great is the love [and the beauty] that the Father has lavished on us.

from wilmore, with Love.

Thursday, January 15, 2009

I have a problem

It happens so often and I just need to come out with it so that I can be called on it if/when I do it again. Here goes. It's a bit lengthy to explain. Try and follow me here:

Anytime someone aggressively recommends a movie to me,
even loans it to me for an indefinite period of time for me to watch it,
I happen to wholehearted trust their aesthetic judgment
their longstanding record of liking some really cool stuff...

I don't watch it for at least a month, maybe even two months.
I hate myself for waiting that long because the movie was INCREDIBLE and I deprived myself of immense enjoyment for 6-8 weeks.

It happened again with this one, oh man did it happen -
Marilyn Hotchkiss Ballroom Dancing and Charm School
I know, from the title of it, you may want to wait that long too. Don't. Netflix/Blockbuster it immediately. I will give you this in advance, "You're welcome."

- It paints a beautiful picture of redemption like I haven't seen in a very long time. Beautifully written, beautifully shot. Amazing story.

from wilmore, with Love.

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

not 1, but 2

For the 08-09 school year I have been fortunate to be a part of a team of people collaborating to design and direct the worship of Asbury- both on campus in Thrillmore and beyond. Weekly we go around the table during our meal/meeting and give a number from 1-10 on what our "peace" and "chaos" was for the week, 1 being lowest, 10 being highest. Chad, my blogging sensei and our team leader reflects about this back in Nov and even just a few days ago-

"I quit allowing a stressful and busy schedule to identify who I am and to affect the amount of peace that I carry with me. That taught me to slow down when there wasn't the time too, and also to learn to relax very well when I had the time."

I too, have violently crashed into a life-giving epiphany in the past few months. And now, months later, here it is - Peace and chaos are two completely independent realities. Two streams, not mutually exclusive. One doesn't depend on the other- because there is peace, there can't be chaos and the converse- because of chaos there cannot be peace.

Before this, I had looked at life and all its events as just one stream with a mixture of peace and chaos- chaotic waters and peaceful waters. Or if you prefer a more colorful visual, I had looked at life as partly iced tea and partly lemonade, making the result always a mix of the two. During peaceful times it tasted more like lemonade, in stressful times, more like iced tea. Depending on which was one more (or higher on the scale) dictated the amount of peace I could have.
Very wrong.

In the midst of chaos, and I mean right in the thick of it, we are still able to have peace. I had thought they were completely connected, intertwined and dependent.

They don't need to be, and even shouldn't be.
We can read a story in Scripture of a man who is thrown into the living room of some lions. As he is untouched by the beasts- peace in spite of chaos. Or how about, the two men beaten and locked up in a dungeon, shackled, yet signing hymns - peace, pointing and laughing in the face of chaos. And of course, you knew I was heading there, a certain Someone asleep as the storm rages on the sea-
peace, completely unaffected by the chaos all around Him.

Peace is not the absence of chaos, it is the freedom from it.

from wilmore, with Love.

Thursday, January 08, 2009

this is a joke right?

Sadly, it looks like it isn't- the US porn industry is asking for a 5 billion dollar bailout.


On an Jan 7th article from CNN, Larry Flint, publisher of Hustler Magazine (no I am not putting a link to that in here) is quoted as saying--->
"People are too depressed to be sexually active...This is very unhealthy as a nation. Americans can do without cars and such but they cannot do without sex. With all this economic misery and people losing all that money, sex is the farthest thing from their mind. It's time for congress to rejuvenate the sexual appetite of America. The only way they can do this is by supporting the adult industry and doing it quickly."

Wow, as Americans we are looking for Congress to set our moral compasses and our sexual ones as well. "For the love!" as I've heard round these parts (thanks to JB).

It gets even more absurd when both Flynt and the CEO of Girls Gone Wild, Joe Francis, admit that web traffic has continued to grow and that the industry is in no financial danger!

*Insert hours and hours worth of conversational writing of all the reasons why this is completely ridiculous*

I wonder if I should write my KY congressman to ask for a student loan bailout for me and some friends?

from wilmore, with Love.