Thursday, May 31, 2007

25 Going On 80

My aging began last night. I prepared for the next day and had set my alarm to wake up early so I could go running. I even told my friend that I had to sign off the internet so I could get my 40-winks in. I went to bed feeling healthy and excited that I had motivated myself to turn in so early.

At some ungodly hour I woke up and felt a cramp in my foot. I changed my sleeping position and went back to dreamland. When I woke up at my scheduled time to go running my little cramp had turned into intense pain. I knew a) I would not be running b) I needed find a podiatrist to see me before the closing bell. I found one to see me in the afternoon so I limped to work. Work sucked because not only was I in pain but now all my co-workers wanted the skinny on what happened. "Rhino stepped on me" was popular substitute for "I'm not just gritting my teeth in pain so take a hint and buzz off." Advice: offer to get a hurt person a cup of water or find a way to help before you get a good story. It is more likely to come off like you care.

I hobbled into the doctor's office (you know it is bad when an elderly man offers you his walker. I promise I did not make that up), flirted with the 40+ year old nurses, made jokes with the doctor, and found out I have Gout. Mmm fun. For some reason reminds me of tiling. Got a prescription for arthritis medicine, left the doctor, blamed my parents for bad genetics and the worlds problems, picked up lunch. When I got home I found that I could use my golf putter as a cane. Sat around with my feet propped up trying to decide if I was too hot or too cold.

Eventually I mustered up the strength to run to the drug store using my new found putter-cane to walk around. I found it would only take 10-minutes to get my order filled so how did I kill the time? Blood pressure machine. Got my meds and complained about prescription drug costs. I somehow eased my way into my car and leaned over the steering wheel to take pressure off my foot.

When I got home I reflected on how I had aged. Pain, flirting with 40-year olds to make me feel young, taking arthritis medicine, used a cane, checked my blood pressure while waiting for a prescription, and then leaned over the steering wheel while driving. So while I am 25 I had the behaviors, mannerisms, and aches of an 80 year old and the maturity of a ten year old. I think the only thing I did not do was make a grilled cheese sandwich and yell at the raucous youth. Can't wait to see what tomorrow brings.

Sunday, May 13, 2007

Nightline: Atheism vs. Theism

Recently there was televised debate between Atheists and Christians on ABC's Nightline. It was very worth while watching. You can catch the debate in broken up segments at:

I think both sides made very good and well thought out points. I think both sides failed to directly answer the questions or arguments posed to them and both sides failed the other to respond effectively. While I think Ray Comfort and Kirk Cameron are well meaning and good hearted individuals, I do not think they were the best for a scientific debate on God but at least they rose to the challenge and I do think their love of Christ was shown compassionately and not fundementally.

If you have read my blogs before you know I think atheism is the most foolish venture because absence of proof is not proof of absence and I have had an experiential relationship with the living God.

That being said, my heart was broken by the attitudes of the atheists making the arguments and the people in the crowd. Kelly violently chose the possibility of Hell over the possibility of one day with a "megalomaniac" for a God. Now I understand Kelly could speak that in ignorance because a lack of belief in God is also a lack of belief in Satan. But she said that statement when asked what would happen if she was theoretically wrong. If she bought into the theory of there actually being a God and Satan, why would one chose to reject God in favor of Satan. She spoke of injustices attributed to God but if God is a "megalomaniac" and called good how much worse is Satan? Why ever choose him?

I was hurt even more by the mocking and jeers from audience members. I was not hurt because I was offended or I found it rude, I was hurt because I know they are lost and broken and the one thing that can pull them out is the one thing they reject.

power. Biochemist Michael Atheists put so much stock into re-workable scientific theories and tend to believe that Earth and life was created out of a succession of remarkable chances. However, the random probability of life being simply born out of chance requires a lot more faith than belief in God. Mathematically, for one protein molecule to randomly form is a chance of one in 10 to the 65thBehe said that the possibility of linking together enough amino acids properly to create just one of many protein molecules to sustain life would be comparable to asking a blindfolded man to find one marked grain of sand in the Sahara Desert. Three separate times.*

I don't know exactly why atheists are atheists. Perhaps it is because they have been so hurt or wounded that they do not want to believe there is a god that allowed something to happen to them. Perhaps they are so turned off by the admittedly messed up system religion has become. Perhaps they are like I was and do not want to believe a god is holding them accountable for the actions they know are wrong. But I do not think it is safe for any atheist to say that science out rules the chance of there being a creator and God.

I am not a great debater or an expert but if you have any questions please feel free to ask them and I will do my best to answer them. Grace and Peace.


Sunday, May 6, 2007

Dr. Lock?

I have had ambitions to get to get my PhD or PsyD for quite a while. Back in January I received my MA in Counseling and swore I would not being going back to school for a really long time. The list of things I want to do before 30 is quit extensive and truthfully getting a PhD or PsyD was not on there. I wanted to get married or turn 30 before embarking on that small adventure.

But recently I have grown discontent with my current situation. I am still working at the ethical complaint call center I was at in grad school while looking for my first paid counseling job. Because I am not doing any counseling I cannot make any great strides towards getting licensed and because I am not licensed it makes it more difficult to get a counseling job. I am single, so marriage is not in the real near future. Furthermore, over half of the books I read now pertain to some aspect of counseling or psychology.

As a result of where I am in life, I have begun to seriously take a look into going back to school and get my doctorate. I have started to look at various programs as well as talked to people who have recently completed their doctorate or are currently working on it. If I wanted to get started, I probably couldn't until Fall 2008.

Part of my motivation to get my doctorate right now is that I am really not doing anything else so I might as well be making pathways in my future. But I am torn. Part of me believes I am running away from the current hum drum of my life to something that would at least keep me busy. I think I should try to get some more work experience and make headway into my career before going back to school. The other part of me worries that if I wait, I will miss out on a window opportunity and later on in life I will want to get my PhD or wish I had it. Unfortunately I may be at a point in life that does not give me the time or resources to complete my degree.

I think it is going to be a crap shoot either way and at some point I have to roll the dice. I would be interested to get your thoughts. I am not looking for you to direct my life but maybe to just hit me with some thoughts I currently can't conjure up.

Wednesday, March 28, 2007

Planet Earth

If you have not been made aware, the Discovery Channel started an eleven episode series called 'Planet Earth.' Take note, it comes on Sundays at 8:00 pm. It is quite possibly the most amazing nature show I have ever seen in my life. Just a quick plug.

Watching the show reminded of how often I forget to see God's majesty in the little things. To my knowledge, the show was not created by Christians or with any sort of religious angle but I could not watch it and not think about God.

One of the first thing the show points out is how perfectly the planet is placed in the universe. It is not to close to the sun, where we might be using a lot more sunscreen, and it is not to far away, where we would have to robe ourselves in a dead Yeti to stay warm. Perfectly placed. Because God had a plan for this planet. Of all the other planets in our universe, there is no other sign of life and yet here on Earth we find it abundantly.

Romans 1:20 says "For since the creation of the world God's invisible qualities - His eternal power and divine nature - have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made, so that men are without excuse.

I think people may still be permitted to argue about the nuances of religious thought but I look at the world around me; the perfect placement of Earth, the cycle of life in the seasons, the tiny formed micro organisms and cells that build and maintain life; and I say, how can one not find reason to believe there is a creator who orchestrated all of this?

May you, in your search, find Him. The Author of Life.

Monday, February 19, 2007


Over the weekend I had bunch of random thoughts that would would take too long for you to follow but the end result was how much the face of America has changed and is portrayed in American cinema.

I am a proud child of the 80's which was a decade full of terrible fashion, worse haircuts, and the dawn of the computer age. But one thing the 80's was also fraught with was the Cold War. Now I was very young and at the time did not understand the dynamics of it but I do know this: Russia and the Soviet Union were some bad mama jamas who Reagan helped to instill national pride for America by showing how much better we were and how many more nukes we had.

You can find no better time capsule of this than in American movies where you had movies like Red Dawn, Rocky IV, Invasion USA, Rambo III and others. In Red Dawn America is invaded by the Commies from the USSR and Cuba. A group of Colorado teenagers flee to the mountains and like the Maccabees of Judea, rained hell fire in the form of guerrilla warfare. In Rocky IV the Italian Stallion Rocky Balboa takes on an entire country by fighting their biggest baddest dude and pounding the sickle out of him. Lil' Stallone takes down the towering Dolph Lundren and conquers the hearts of the Soviets. Invasion USA has the Russians once again blindsiding our borders and Chuck Norris ( takes them down one by one ending with shooting a rocket up the bunghole of the evil mastermind. Do I need to explain Rambo III? Insert Rambo into a Communist Regime, people die. The end result, if the Soviets try anything, America will still lay the boot to their A. We saw a threat and faced it head on.

Today is a different story. We are in a whole new fight. A deadlier one that has already seen American casualties in both civilian and military sectors. But there is not a movie in recent years I can think of where a hero goes ape-sh-t on a bunch of Muslim terrorists. The closest thing we have is Jack Bauer in 24 and even that tiptoes. Instead we have movies showing how it is all America's fault so we should hang our head in shame and instead of fighting to defend our way of life we should instead learn to understand them.

Right about now there are so many rants I could go on but I don't want to go so political here just yet (a hint though, political correctness has run amok). My point of this is that I believe America has lost its pride in itself. Instead of banding together, we are so divided. My question for anyone who want to play along it this: What do you think America needs to do to become the jewel of our eye and the pride of our hearts? Are you already there? What is the furthest you would go to defend it if you had to?

Tuesday, February 13, 2007


Welcome to my new blog. If you are looking over to the right and notice it looks like a long web page, please do not be intimidated. I transferred my previous blogs onto here from only recently, this way you do not need any sort of account to engage in my blog. So take your time and enjoy.

To begin with I did not start this blog with the intention of having a spot for any sort of egotistical rant. Rather I hope that if nothing else you will stay updated on my life or thoughts, make comments, and in turn I can make stay up with you. I hope it will be a chance to share thoughts and ideas with people you have never met as you read their comments. I hope it will create a small community (as you will soon see is a running theme in my blogs). So I highly encourage you to post any thoughts you have with anything that is on here or that gets posted in the future.

I think my last major update went out about two and a half years ago. After that if you were not living in Charlotte I probably for the most part lost touch with you. So I will quickly bring you up to speed:

The reason why I have been out of touch for the last little bit is because I got hid over the head with a major task called grad school. On January 12, 2007, I graduated from Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary with a MA in Christian Counseling (don't let the label fool you, I am just as qualified to psycho-analyze you if you believe in Shiva, Allah, or nothing at all). And for those keeping record at home I am officially MasterLock.

I completed my degree a full semester faster than most people do on a fast track at a school where the average age was 35. I also did it while graduating Cum Laude (3.63). I do not say all that to congratulate myself, but with the exception of my Eagle Scout Award, it is my proudest accomplishment to date.

And that was pretty much all I have done in the last two and a half years. During that time I did various internships, worked at Department of Social Services (insert political commentary and expletives here), and bottomed out on my finances and energy twice. Now I am looking for a job doing counseling hopefully with Marriage and Families or with adolescence. When I find that job, I will work on getting licensed in the state I am working in. I am looking, so if you know anyone...

I am still single, no kids, I don't think I have any nieces or nephews. My parents moved out of Atlanta after 17 years and are now living in New Bern, North Carolina as the proud owners of an AAMCO franchise.

Please check back in regularly as I hope to get at least a blog out each week with an update or my thoughts on something. I like to pretend I am the know-all to end-all so please humble me with your own thoughts on anything I might talk about. I know human personality will be discussed but I hope to get some controversial ideas out just get conversation stimulated. Also if you have any ideas, shoot me an email and I will try to post my thoughts.

The idea here is to journey deeper, not just into my thoughts but below the surface, to draw each other out like water from a well.

Hope to hear from you soon.

Sunday, February 11, 2007

Self-Help, Self-Sized Hole

Yesterday I found myself perusing the aisles of my local bookstore. I decided to wander over to the Psychology section of the book store to see if there were any new books I wanted to check out to advance my learning now that I am no longer required to anymore. Not surprisingly, the Psychology section is right next to the Self-Help section. As I browsed through my section and then moved onto to other more entertaining sections in the store, my gaze was constantly drawn back to the Self-Help aisle and I watched person after person pick up various books.

The Self-Help section is a curious thing in itself. On the shelves one can find help on anything from dating to weight loss to counseling to becoming better leader, lover, friend, or parent. Each author claims to be at the forefront of the field and many boast a PhD. There are so many troubling things here I don't even know where to begin.

I should start by saying that nobody is beyond the Self-Help section and almost everyone has bought a book from there or took advice from someone who got it from there. But who are we trusting to tell us how to lead our lives. John Gray? For those unfamiliar with this class act, he wrote Men are from Mars, Women are from Venus. I know some of you are thinking that I should shut up because his book sold over a million copies. P.T. Barnum has been quoted as saying, "there is a sucker born every minute." John Gray is metaphor spitting crackpot who I would not be surprised to learn may have ruined more marriages than he saved. Have you read his junk? I have. His big break down of marriages is that they are in trouble simply because men and women communicate differently, which as true as it is, does not set the bedrock for improving a failing marriage. He has taken a good concept and turned it into the end-all to be-all. And that PhD that give him credibility is from a school that you get your PhD through the mail by writing a paper. Little Billy in the third grade could get his PhD from there. And John Gray is just one example in the Self-Help section. If he is at the top, think about what else you are reading from there.

Despite my critical analysis of the credibility of the Self-Help books, I think my problem with them goes deeper. I think my problem with Self-Help books is that they are made available to someone with a legitimate hurt or need and convinces them that their book is the solution. I kid you not when I tell you that I once met someone who was reading a book on leadership because people did not listen to him. The book was giving him advice on asserting himself and creative ways to present himself. The problem was if you were around the guy for more than two seconds you would find him to be bossy and over assertive. He did not know how to lead people because he was listening to a book instead of the people who needed him to be a leader.

Which actually brings me to my next point. Self-Help books imply that you can do it yourself and you don't need any help from the people you interact with on a daily basis. But that is not how God created us to be. God created us to be relational, community oriented people. In the Scriptures, God is the ultimate source of counsel and counseling. But God also places people in our lives to convey a message. Whether it is a message of hope, inspiration, leadership, purpose, or goals God will give you answers directly or through someone else. I cannot stress how important I believe community is to healthy functioning. Even if community consists of one other person in your life, it is better than being alone with an author who does not know your past and proclivities. We have been trained like Pavlovian dogs to turn away from community in times of despair instead of allowing community to embrace us. We have become embarrassed to show weakness and insecure in our selves. But God and community are the very things that have the chance to set us free in our struggles

So in closing, put down the book. It does not know you and has created a blanket answer that does not take your specific circumstances into account. Instead of running to the Self-Help section, take a moment, humble yourself, and realize you were not meant to journey through this life alone. Pick up the phone and call a friend, or email someone you trust. Share your struggle with them and listen to what they have to say. Hit a wall with one friend? Try another. Just don't give up. Talking to people builds up the community and support. Try getting the author of that book to call you once a week to see how you are doing. And if you run out of personal resources or are not getting the help you need, get some counseling. Most Counselors are trained to help you lead a better life and aid you through the tough circumstances you are dealing with.

My prayer for you:
May God be your source of comfort and peace. May He direct you in your ways and place the people in your life to be wise sages. May He provide you the answers in your searches or the contentment when you are not ready for the answer. May He guide you to fulfillment in Him and give you a restful heart. Amen.

Monday, January 29, 2007

My Journey to Hell (aka the Mall)

I should start this off by saying that on an average year I only visit the mall once. And that one time is either spent buying a Christmas gift for my mom or taking care of turning in cable/internet components. In both cases I have looked online, pulled up a mall map and planed my trip out to avoid minimal parking lot traffic, perfume counters, and teenie boppers.

Last week one of my friends bought me a gift certificate to a designer shoe store for my graduation. I sorely needed a pair of brown shoes and Wal-mart did not have anything (yes, sadly I looked there first). While the gift was really nice and thoughtful it has recently thrown my life into a materialistic free fall. With the exception of a pair of jeans, a pair of khakis, some socks, and some underwear, I have pretty much avoided buying new clothes for roughly five years.

This weekend my roommate dragged me to the mall to look at some shoes I could get and see if there was anything he wanted. It was ok. At least I had a guide. The kid has some good fashion sense (and if you stand next to him long enough he will tell you all about it). I feel bad for the guy because I don't reflect him well with my simple wear (probably actually magnify him a bit). I found some shoes I like but even with the gift certificate I would still have to shell out some big bucks and I wanted to sleep on it. Matt found some designer jeans.

Today when I got off work I was thinking about getting some coffee but was too worn down for caffeine so I got the idea to go get those shoes I had checked out. I had the pants I normally wear to work so I could make sure they went together. I went tot the mall. By myself. On the way into the parking lot the two cars in front of me nearly killed each other as one wasn't paying attention turning in, the other swerved around and nearly took out an entire median. I was alive. So far so good.

I quickly found the shoe store (mapped it) and asked to try on the shoes I had found over the weekend. Uh oh. While the shoes looked great and went well with the coloring in my pants, my pants were to short and could not be let out. So if I bought the shoes, I would need new pants. My roommate has also put me in the mentality of if I get the shoes I have to get some shirts to complement them.

So I sadly returned the shoes to the box and began to go to try to find some pants. Lesson one: malls are expensive. Lesson two: the longer you stay in one, the longer you want to dress like the pale motionless folks who willingly stand in a store window.

I went around to a few stores starting with department stores because I figured I could knock out a few items at once and they would be cheaper (myth). To begin with, to get to the men's section (oddly placed at the back) I had to walk through the dreaded perfume/make-up counters. I felt saddened as I passed woman after woman being smeared with paint looking more like Ms. Potato Head than Marilyn Monroe.

On my journey to one store I passed a girl giving out samples. I kindly refused thinking she was offering food, which my expanding gut did not need in a building of skinny people. She quickly put down the tray and wanted to ask me a question. Hoping it was trivia (because I love that type of stuff) I foolishly agreed. She asked if I took care of my hands. Thinking it a strange question and not quite catching the cut of her jib I informed her that I was clearly a male, poorly dressed (so not gay or metro), and like camping, so conclusively not. She took my hand and began scrubbing one of my fingers with some spongy thing. She then began to tell me about ridges causing broken nails (never been a problem) and dead cuticle skin (nothing teeth can't solve). Before I knew what had happened she had finished her speech and I could see my reflection in my nail. She then began to ask about my face and began to walk away fearing I was going to get make-up put on me next.

I eventually got out of the mall after being there almost an hour and half which is one hour and 28 minutes longer than I have ever been in a mall by myself before. The end result: no shoes, a new need for pants and shirts, lowered self esteem, and one finger nail that looks ready to go to prom. Oye Vey!