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.