Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Oh, if life were a musical...

Tuesday was the last day of classes, and a couple of us Navigators decided we were going to have a little fun in the MU basement. Please enjoy:

If you haven't seen the movie enchanted, this is the scene when Giselle (Amy Adams) asks Robert (Patrick Dempsey) how his fiance, Nancy (Idina Menzel) knows that he loves her. She starts singing, and everybody else in the park starts singing with her.

Saturday, April 26, 2008

For those who were hurt

Below, you'll find the video of Big & Rich's song, "Holy Water." This song makes me want to cry thinking about the women out there who are getting sexually abused, and keeping silent about it. It's a really good song, but when you know someone who's gone through that, it puts a face to the music. I have two friends (that I know of) and it's almost as if I can see them hurting. It's so sad, because a lot of these women are told and believe that it's their fault, when they are the victims. A lot of times, they need someone to tell them, "I care." And that's what Big & Rich do with this song.

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

The Resurrection of the Old

So, I used to write poetry, and I used to be pretty good at it (in my humble opinion). I loved how the words would just flow and fit together. I've decided that I'm going to try to take it back up again (and sometimes, that'll be all that my blog will consist of, I don't doubt). Here's my first entry:

The Resurrection of the Old

I am in Christ
A new creation
But the old me returns
Your fire within me
That changed me so deeply
No longer burns
I hate who I was
I hate who I am
I hate that they're the same
Will I tomorrow
Be like I was yesterday
Or will I regain the flame?
Today, I stumbled
Today, I fell
Today, I landed on my face
But You stabled me
You picked me back up
Today, I saw your grace
So though I fail
I turn back to you
For you give me my next breath
And I am in Christ
A new creation
The old me was put to death

"Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come." -2 Corinthians 5:17

Monday, April 21, 2008

From the Inside Out

At church, Justin's been going through 1 John. Yesterday, we looked at verses 15-17. It talks about the things of the world, and specifically mentions desire of the flesh, desire of the eyes, and pride in possessions. It seems like an easily--or maybe simply would be a better word--applied idea: don't love those things. The carnal desires of excess of food, drink, sex. The lustful desires and covetousness. The boasting of what we have and do. But Justin looked a little deeper than that. If you look at all three things that John lists that are of the world, they are all internal.
Desires, lust, pride all start from within. It's easy to see how they manifest themselves in our everyday lives, and condemn that, but really all that does is extinguish the fire while leaving the flame burning.

John is really repeating what Jesus said in the Sermon on the Mount, when he talked about lust being the same as adultery and hatred being equivalent to murder. It all makes sense if you think about it. That act of adultery started somewhere; it didn't just spring up and happen. The lust was where it started. And nobody kills without first hating. The physical acts that we do are only products of the tainted heart. This has really got me thinking about how I pray. A lot of time my prayers follow the template of "Dear, Lord, help me, this person, and that person to stop giving in to this temptation," or "Jesus, help us stop sinning." While it is a good thing to flee temptation and to not sin, that's missing the point. My prayer should be, "God, change my heart and my mind to be like Yours: to hate sin, to want to see people glorify You, to love." Out of these changes will flow the deeds that we desire to do. We need to be praying for the changed heart if we want to see the changed man.

"I the LORD search the heart
and test the mind,
to give every man according to his ways,
according to the fruit of his deeds."
-Jeremiah 17:10

Sunday, April 20, 2008

Stab in the Dark

So, Saturday, April 19, 2008, was the 9th annual Rotary River Rally featuring the Great Cardboard Boat Regatta, aka the Cardboard Boat Race. Basically, people build boats out of cardboard, wood glue, duct tape, caulk, paint, and, in a one rare case, bricks (not part of the structure, but definitely a big part of the outcome of the race). You'd think that cardboard wouldn't make a good boat, but you'd be wrong. If you waterproof it right, it floats like a dream.

The boat we made was a catamaran, which is basically two canoes held together in the middle by some kind of center piece. It took many, MANY,
MANY man hours to complete this. I, and a couple of friends, were working on it Thursday night and finished working Friday at 9am. When I say we finished, I mean we stopped. The boat wasn't finished until that Saturday morning (we brought paint and caulk with us to the lake). It was designed and built by engineers and we all knew that it was going to stay strong.

That Thursday night/Friday morning, we made a caffeine run to good ol' Circle K at 4:30 in the morning, after having been painting for a couple of hours. There we were met by the cashier and someone we were pretty sure was high. He says, "I'm gonna take a stab in the dark. Were you guys painting?" Too tired to come back with a sarcastic remark followed by a "Here's your sign," we ignored him, bought our coffee, and left. It was good that we went. We left with caffeine (or as a friend calls it, Christian crack) and a name for the boat. Thank you, High Guy.

So, we go back on work on the Shot in the Dark, and then some of us leave. That Saturday we took her to the Lake, and waited to figure out when we'd be racing. While we waited, they made announcements, like what the awards were, including the Titanic Award, which would be awarded to the boat with the most spectacular sinking. I heard this and pointed to the boat next to us, which was made up of cardboard and duct tape; it wasn't even waterproofed. The man to whom the boat belonged promptly told me that it would float and finish the race. I didn't doubt that it'd float, but I wasn't expect it to survive very long.

So, we were racing in Heat 7, against other college boats. We and another ASU boat were exchanging the lead for a good chunk of the race. It wasn't until the second turn that things started to go wrong. I was filming and saw the boat tip, and immediately ran from where I was to get a better shot of what was happening. I go and see that the catamaran has split into two by the center piece. But the people manning the boat were troopers, and got back in, after flipping over, and paddled to the finish line.

There was a flaw in the boat that was overlooked in our sleeplessness. We would use bricks to hold pieces of cardboard together while the glue dried. We somehow forgot to take them off, and built around the bricks. This caused a heavy center piece, which proved very badly for the boat. We kissed the hope of using it again next year goodbye. Luckily, we were able to race again in the Collegiate Challenge as a canoe, which took some considerable patch work after the first failure.

As we were patching and painting, the guy who had assured me that his boat would finish came up to me and said, "You know how you thought my boat would win the Titanic Award? At least mine finished!" which was a lot kinder than laughing in my face. Basically, I got told, and I know that I deserved it.

So, anyway, we raced the canoe. Three of the original six got back into the boat, and decided that they didn't want to be that boat that flipped as soon as the race started, so they were going to paddle gently. As soon as the horn blew for the boats to take off, the boat flipped over. But we are a persistent group, and got back in, the water that got into the boat actually helping us to finish. Unfortunately, as we were taking the boat out of the water, it fell apart. All the hard work died to the lake. But it was still fun while it lasted.

Having the boat capsize twice and still finish both times assured us that we would not have a best time, but made us wish that there were a persistence award. We sat through the awards part, listening and pretty much agreeing with the prizes handed out. The Titanic award was the last to be announced, and we were too involved in resurrecting the boat to watch other boats sink. The Stab in the Dark stayed afloat both times it capsized, so we weren't expecting anything. So you imagine our joy and surprise when they announced the winner of the coveted Titanic Award to boat number 59. In hindsight, it was a perfect fit, considering that we thought the Stab in the Dark unsinkable and it split in half, just like the actual Titanic. The only thing it lacked was a love story amidst the tragedy.

So that was the life and death of the Stab in the Dark. It was great fun, minus the whole staying up for a couple of days thing. I'd definitely do it again, and encourage anybody else in the Phoenix area to participate as well.

Monday, April 14, 2008

J-Ra: An Autobiography

Well, since this is the first blog, I thought I'd start out with an introduction to me. I was born early 1986 in Phoenix, the hottest city on earth. I grew up fairly boringly, always trying to stay out of trouble, trying to "keep my nose clean" as they say. I grew up believing that I had to "be good" in order to get to heaven, a belief that many people hold today. I think people like to think about the afterlife because our current lives are so uncertain. I came to a realization about how uncertain life was on September 11, 2001, when about 3,000 people died all of a sudden, with no warning. About a month or so later, my grandmother died of cancer. We knew she had cancer, but nobody plans for that. A couple months after that was Christmas, and that's when I really started thinking. Christmas was the holiday some people use to celebrate the birth of Jesus Christ. Over the year-and-a-half before this particular Christmas, I'd been hearing the gospel, which says why it was that Jesus was born, and ultimately died: to bridge the chasm between man and God caused by our sinfulness and His perfectness. Jesus was the only one who was able to reconcile man to God. That's when I gave my life to Christ.

Over six years later, here I am, trying to tell others about this Man who willingly gave His life as the penalty for what we did/do. If you're reading this, this should be important for you to consider, whether you've heard it a million and three times, are hearing it for the first time, have accepted it already, or has rejected it already. Jesus is an important figure in history. He split time. He is widely accepted as being a real person, despite a total lack of anything from His time period that makes any mention of Him, save the Bible. I've even talked to atheists who've said that, though they don't believe that a god exists, they like the teachings of Jesus (which causes a problem, that I'll probably get into in another blog). He's such a huge piece of history, that I think it's foolishness to not even look at what He said and stood for, and see what He's about. If you haven't thought about that, I would suggest that you give it some consideration.

Well, that's what I believe. A few other random things about me, that aren't very important, but interesting, are

  • I've changed my major 4 times, and am somehow graduating in 4.5 years.
  • The name J-Ra comes from a pun on my actual first name mixed with some Egyptian mythology: My name is Jason, which I once wrote as J'son. Someone saw that, and said that Ra was the Egyptian sun (son) god and so I could be called J-Ra. That's the only nickname that's ever stuck.
  • I've lived in AZ all my life and have never been to the Grand Canyon.
  • My senior year of high school, I didn't want to do a play, so I told the drama teacher that my mom was forcing me to get a job, so I could go play tennis for the team. I told my mom I wasn't going to do a play, so she forced me to get a job.
  • I found out that I was lactose intolerant when I tried the Gallon Challenge. Not a fun night.
  • I've been sunburned once in my life. I didn't understand why my skin hurt and was peeling at first.
  • I had an extended stay in a hospital a few years back. Because of that, I can't eat Jell-O.
  • When I graduate, I either want to become a teacher, or go into full-time ministry with The Navigators.
  • I'm an extrovert, but tend to be quiet in groups.
  • My head was the same size as my shoulders when I was born. Thus, the oversized head.

Galatians 2:20--I have been crucified with Christ; it is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me. And the life I now live in the flesh, I live by faith in the Son of God who loved me and gave himself up for me.