Wednesday, September 30, 2009


Spiritual Journal, Entry 3:

Dear Lord,

Please help me not to freak out over the stupid GRE, even though my entire future hangs on my score, and I only get one shot, and I have to do well in math even though I haven't had math in over twenty years and theologians don't need math anyway, and where do they get off...!!

I digress, Lord.

Guide me to the right private tutor, and not some goofball that thinks he's smart cause he has a BA in math from San Diego State and scored in the 90th percentile on the GRE. Cause him to stumble; entangle him because I have not the time for his idiocy.

And Lord, help me to be less sarcastic in my Spiritual Formation class, even though it's so hard not to make jokes in there. Or just give my teacher a better sense of humor. Either way, Lord. I don't really care.

Bless the leftover pizza I am about to eat for lunch. Let it not clog my arteries or bring me to an early demise.

Bless my wife. Bring her favor in her job, and humble her boss so that he might understand his bellybutton is not, in fact, the center of the universe. Thank you for her job.

Thank you, gracious God, that in my recent trip to New York City I did not get mugged, nor did the subway come to ruin, even though I don't think I've ever seen a subway in a movie where something bad did not happen.

Thank you for the hidden blessings in that trip, like the unplanned detour to Coney Island because I got on the right train but headed in the wrong direction.

God bless our puppy. Help me not to beat the crap out of him, even if he deserves it. Help him to understand, oh Lord, that pooping on the carpet is not ok, and that chewing on my nose to wake me up is not ok, and that chewing on electrical cords is not ok, and that sleeping on top of my face is not ok, even though it's cute and makes me laugh.

Bless my friends across the world. Starving children, blah-da-blah, the President, etc., so on and so forth.

Yours truly,

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

David faces a giant

Spiritual Journal, Entry 2:

Dear Lord,



Folks, I'm feeling in over my head again. A few months ago I was put in contact with Donald Hustad. If any of you know who that is, you get a cookie. For the rest of you, I'll explain.

There is a particular branch of theology that deals with the practical application of music in church. My first masters degree concerned itself primarily with this topic, and now in my second, I find I am approaching many of the same issues from a different angle.

Donald Hustad has been the leading figure in the evangelical church's work on sacred music for the last half century or so. He is also one of the primary figures in the global church's study of sacred music. In his spare time, he spent a few decades touring with Billy Graham.

Ok, let's stop right there and just consider that. For years and years, Billy Graham went around the world leading millions to Christ while "Softly and Tenderly" played gently in the background. And the guy playing "Softly and Tenderly?" His name was Donald Hustad.

A few years ago he went into retirement, and now, in the winter of his life, he has taken time to review my thesis.

Cool, huh? Scary too.

After reading my first chapter, he encouraged me to read some of his previous writing and critique it with regard to the thesis topic.

Holy #@&&!
How am I supposed to do that?

. . .

Ok, pointless post. Have a good night, folks.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

My name is David.

Well, reader, if you haven't done so already, go to the bathroom, grab some potato chips, and get comfortable. I have a feeling this is gonna be a long one. As for me, I'm going to try to be coherent, but even as I sit down to this blog for the first time in a long time, I have no idea what's gonna come out.

Let's start at the beginning.

My name is David. What happened to Solid, you ask? He got broken.

A few weeks ago, I went to see the movie "Julie and Julia." I know, I know. But I love Julie. Oh yeah, did I mention I have a wife named Julie? We also have a dog named Zeke, although he also goes by...

Zeke E. Pants
Ezekiel Edward Pants
The Pants
Señor Pantalones
Mr. Pants, sir.
Puppy puppy
Puppy puppy puppy

There may be more. I can't remember. Zeke is a mix between a Yorkshire Terrier and a piranha.

Trust me. He's more dangerous than he looks.

Anyway, we were watching "Julie and Julia," which is a movie about a girl named Julie that blogs about her experiences going through the entire Julia Child cookbook one recipe at a time. And right in the middle of the movie, I started crying.

Let's back up a little.

I don't cry. I do have a strange medical disorder that causes my eyes to leak a watery tear-like substance from time to time (particularly during sad movies), but I do not cry. It's not a choice. I won't fault anyone who does cry. I just don't. I try sometimes and it doesn't work.

And "Julie and Julia" isn't a particularly sad movie. Unless you're a lobster, of course.

Julie (my Julie) asked if I wanted to leave the theater. I pulled myself together and said no. But as soon as we got to the truck, I lost it.

The movie made me remember how much I enjoyed writing this blog. And I'd like to say those tears were for you, dear reader, whom I have missed so terribly, but such is not the case. I was crying because I realized that Solid wasn't Solid anymore.

I still don't really know what happened. Within a period of a week my mother-in-law died and I was laid off from my job. Then there was the pressure of the Ph.D. applications I'm trying to pull together, which... Well, I'll leave that for another day. Let's just say it's traumatic in and of itself. And then one day I found myself in front of a computer, unable to even edit a paragraph in my thesis.

My name is David. I live in San Diego. I don't have all the answers.

There. I said it. I feel all squishy and vulnerable now.

Tonight I started the Fall quarter. It's Spiritual Formation this quarter. We're supposed to keep a journal. My teacher didn't think it was possible to express myself honestly in a blog, but I'd like to give it a shot.

I don't remember if I've ever mentioned this, but two big reasons I started blogging in the first place were my pastor encouraging me to share myself more and a friend challenging me on the fact that I don't readily open up my life to people. I really want to open myself up too.

So let's get started. My spiritual journal, day 1:

I'm a friggin' mess. Even as I write that, I must congratulate myself because friggin' was actually the word I said in my head, and not the other one. Some of my readers have known me for a very long time. Those that know me best will tell you that I don't cuss unless things are pretty messed up in my life.

Let me get judgmental for a minute. Is the rule that I can be judgmental as long as I admit I'm doing it? That should be the rule.

What's up with Christians that say they don't drink because they don't want to set a bad example or give people the wrong idea about them, and then they'll get their picture taken with a glass of sparkling cider? Dude! Didn't you pretty much just defeat your own purpose there?? If you're not drinking because of appearances, then don't appear to be drinking!

That's not really the point though, is it? What I meant to say is why would you use foul language if you're so concerned about appearances??

Let's just save that rabbit trail for another day. And I shouldn't be judgmental like that anyway. Please, drink your apple juice and use whatever words you want. What do I care?

Anyway, I've started cussing again. I'm not exactly a potty-mouth, mind you. We're talking two or three rated-PG words a week. But as I've told many people in the past, my language is a window into my spiritual condition. This is true for no one in the world but me, as far as I know. But if you ever hear me using a four-letter word, I'm probably pretty messed up inside.

And I'm really messed up right now.

I do have to say that it's getting better. I can write again. I can do my work, such as it is. But if my head is above water, it's only barely there.

Oh yeah. Y'know that picture I have of myself swimming in the Caribbean off the shores of St. John? The one that's probably to the left of this very post? Yeah... That was me two-and-a-half years ago. I tipped the scales at about 200 then. Now I'm almost 250.

How's that for honesty? And yes, that's Zeke. As long as I'm being honest, I should admit that I really love that little fluffball. Even if he is part pirhana.