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Blogity-blah-blah-blog: June 2009

Tuesday, June 30, 2009

July 2009 Introduction

Two months, wow! I never thought this blog would actually last this long. I usually start something new and then get bored with it, but this blogging thing is different. If you told me a few months ago that I would be a blogger, I would have said "You're crazy!" But look at me now mom, I'm a bloggin' fool!

Ahem...anyway, I started this blog to entertain others who read it, but I've also come to find out that blogging is a good way to take memories and thoughts and put them here so I don't forget them (I guess that's what a blog is for, duh). Sometimes I think of something and then I'll forget it later, so this really helps.

I want the readers of this blog to interact with it. I want comments, constructive criticisms, your thoughts and ideas. I'm hoping to make this blog your blog too. That's why I've set up an e-mail account just for this blog. E-mail me at, I've left out the blahs' so you don't have to type so much. Write your own blog post and e-mail it to me. Do you know someone who inspires you, do you have a story, an artist or art form you enjoy, a deep thought, or something funny? Send it to me and I'll make it into a blog post. I'll become the Andy Warhol of the blogging world, I'll just have everyone else do the work for me. Just kidding, you will definitely get the credit for any blog posts you send me.

I want to give some shout outs to some people that I know have been reading this blog: my girlfriend April, Jesse, and Matt (Plural Form rocks!). Some of my friends over at Nobody's Listening, concertpianist, SamyxCracker, MotherUnit, and HatchettMom. Some of the other blogs I enjoy reading and bloggers who have inspired me to write this blog, Jon Acuff (Stuff Christians Like), Jen (Cake Wrecks), Stacy (Stacy from Louisville), and Jason Boyett (Jason Boyett: author of the Pocket Guides). And one more shout out to the podcast, Chicken Pop Pod for allowing me to take an audio clip from one of their podcasts so I could play it below.

I'll give a little background on the clip before you play it. Chicken Pop Pod usually has a segment on their show called "Aw, I Freakin' Remember That" (AIFRT) in which fans of the show can e-mail or call in with something they remember preferrably from the 80's, such as a toy, TV show, or a breakfast cereal and try to stump the hosts of the show. So go ahead and listen to the clip now.

Below is a picture of what I was talking about:

Okay, let's get started with July!

June 2009 Wrap-up

Here is an overview of June's posts:

6.1.09 - 6.5.09

IHM! ~ Honk for Peace!: A post about protesters.

STT ~ The Breakdown: A story about my car breaking down on I-80.

AFW ~ Mufreesboro: A look at the band Cool Hand Luke

DTT ~ Mind Boggling: Fate vs. Free Will or Fate + Free Will?

FFF ~ CCE: Jesus Junk: A look at the junk that's made just to make a buck off God.

6.7.09 - 6.12.09

IMM ~ charity: water: The introduction of Inspiring Minds Monday, we start with a look at the charity organization called charity: water.

STT ~ A Collection of Shorts: Shorts stories that happened during different periods of my life.

AFW ~ Hello Dalí: A look at surrealist painter, Salvador Dalí.

DTT ~ Just Be: Sometimes people try too hard to be something they're not.

FFF ~ CCE: Jesus Junk 2: Electric Boogaloo: The sequel to Jesus Junk from the previous Friday.

6.15.09 - 6.19.09

IMM ~ Spurlock: A brief look at some documentaries by Morgan Spurlock.

STT ~ WWWE: Ink, Paper, and Rubber Bands: The first of the Work, Work, Work, Edition. My first job, a paper route.

AFW ~ Ad it Up: A look at some creative ads.

DTT ~ Gimme, Gimme, Gimme: Selfishness, it's not a good thing.

FFF ~ Justice is More than Blind: Dumb laws, dumb laws, and more dumb laws.

6.22.09 - 6.26.09

IMM ~ Claiborne: A post about Shane Claiborne and the Simple Way

STT ~ WWWE: Softball Doughnuts: My second job, working in a bakery.

AFW ~ Caught in a Webb: The music and philosophy of Derek Webb.

DTT ~ Hidy Ho, Good Neighbor!: A look at what true community could be.

FFF ~ I'm Not Bad, I'm Just Designed That Way: Bad logos, horrible photoshopped images, and ironic ad placements.

6.29.09 - 6.30.09

IMM ~ Gumbel: A look at Nicky Gumbel, vicar of Holy Trinity Brompton, and what he has done with the Alpha course.

STT ~ WWWE: Playing with Knives: My third job as a cutlery salesman.

Story Time Tuesday ~ WWWE: Playing with Knives

Job #3 was a job I took on while I still worked at Weis Markets. While looking in the paper for a new job, I saw one that looked good. Little did I know I was getting roped into a door-to-door sales job. Well, it wasn't really door-to-door, but I did have to set up my own appointments by calling people. What I was selling was cutlery, it was very good cutlery and they had a good guarantee, but they were expensive. I think the main set was $1200 and that was about 13 years ago, I don't know how much they cost now. It came with about 8 different knives and then 8 steak knives in a big wooden block. You may have seen this set of knives given away as a door prize on the gameshow, The Price is Right for the three contestants at the end of the show that don't make it on stage.

The deal was that we were paid $10 dollars per appointment and we made 10% commission on whatever we sold. Once I sold a certain amount, it would move up to 15% and so on. So when I received my first check I thought I was going to be making some big bucks. But I was wrong. My first check only had my commission on it. So I went to our weekly meeting and I brought it up. My supervisor told me that I had to do at least 40 appointments in a month to get the $10 dollars per appointment. He had neglected to tell me that earlier. So basically I would have had to quit my other job and devote my life to selling knives to make any money. It was such a scam. I didn't do it for too long after that. I found out a few years later that they dropped that rule and they paid people for every appointment, no matter how many they had and it's close to $20 per appointment now. Jerks!

We had to do some weird stuff to show how strong the knives were during our demonstrations. We used one knife to cut through a rope, and another to slice through a stack of hard leather. Seriously though, it went through it like butter. Another thing we had to do was make what was called a corkscrew penny. We had a pair of shears and we would actually cut around the edge of a penny so that the edge we cut off would corkscrew. Here, watch this video if you don't understand what I'm talking about:

No, that's not me in the video. That video was posted by a YouTube user called Larlarz. Thanks Larlarz!

Now I'm pretty sure that defacing money is a federal offense. In fact now that I remember it, one of the other sales people brought that up at one of our meetings and our supervisor told us that since we are cutting around the edge of the penny and not into Abe Lincoln's face we weren't "technically" defacing it. Hardy har-har. I think the corkscrew penny is stupid anyway, you'd have to be the Incredible Hulk to get a cork out of a bottle with that thing.

I decided to make my first appointment with my dad for practice. When I tried making the corkscrew penny, I was about halfway through and it flew out of my hand and whizzed past my dad's head. Needless to say I didn't make the corkscrew penny at any of my other demonstrations, so I just made one and showed it to people after that little incident. Also at my first demonstration I wondered just how sharp the knives were so I picked up the chef's knife and just barely touched the blade with my thumb and it cut me. It wasn't a big cut, but it was like a paper cut. So yes, they are sharp.

So I set up appointments with family members, friends, and some other people I knew, but after that I thought it would be a little strange to go into someone's house I didn't really know and show them a bunch of knives. Plus I'm not really much of a salesman. I couldn't sell a bucket of water to a man who's on fire. So that job just kind of fizzled out. I stopped making appointments, I stopped going to the weekly meetings, and I made just enough money to pay for the kit that I used to do my demonstrations.

Within the span of time that I was selling knives I quit my job at Weis Markets and got another job which I will talk about next week.

Monday, June 29, 2009

Inspiring Minds Monday ~ Gumbel

I know what you're thinking, "the picture above doesn't look like Bryant Gumbel." No, it doesn't. That's because it's a picture of Nicky Gumbel. Nicky Gumbel is the senior pastor, or vicar, at Holy Trinity Brompton in London. Growing up, Nicky considered himself to be an atheist and he encouraged his friends to stay away from Christians because he thought they were dangerous people. It wasn't until his first year at Trinity college in Cambridge that he started reading the New Testament. It was then that he started following the teachings of Jesus Christ. Nicky said "I was enthralled. It was as if I had found what I had been looking for all my life." I learned about Nicky when a course was offered at my church called the Alpha course. I was intrigued, so I signed up.

The Alpha course is an introductory course to Christianity and it is presented in a very relaxed, low-key way. But it is definitely not presented in a bait and switch kind of way which is a tactic I'm afraid is used way too often when trying to present Christianity to others. I think I had mentioned the bait and switch approach in an earlier blog post. What I mean by that, is too many times Christianity is presented in a way that says "Give your life to Jesus and everything will be hunky-dory." (Does anyone still say hunky-dory?) Then somebody decides "Yea, sounds good, sign me up!" Then when they find that things aren't always hunky-dory, they drop out like a college freshman. Anyway, after the first meeting at the Alpha group, I was hooked. I remember thinking "That is one witty, straight-to-the-point, British dude." Even though Nicky didn't start the Alpha course, he took it over in 1990 and made it what it is today. The Alpha course is presented on a set of DVDs featuring messages by Nicky Gumbel and is shown all over the world. Like I said before, the Alpha course is an introductory course to Christianity, but it's also designed for people who have been Christ followers for a long time as well.

After taking the Alpha course once, it was offered again at my church and I came back as a helper/co-leader. I don't remember all of the details of this, but one of the most memorable stories Nicky told on one of the Alpha DVDs was about the time he was in college and he was renting an apartment which was above a bank. He had some friends over one day and they decided to do an experiment. They wanted to know how many people would have to jump on the floor at the same time before it would be noticeable to the people downstairs in the bank. There were about ten people in the apartment and they sent one down to see how long it would take before the noise was noticeable. They started off with just one person, then, two, three, and so on. They didn't hear anything from their friend so then they started jumping off chairs and then a table. Finally, their friend came back up to tell them to stop. The fact was that the noise was noticeable when the first person jumped the first time. The friend who went down into the bank decided not to go running out the door and back up to tell them because he didn't want to make it obvious that he was a part of it. But he felt he needed to go up and tell them to stop when parts of the ceiling started to fall to the floor. I did a horrible job of telling that story, Nicky tells it better.

One thing someone in our group noticed was that he wore a blue shirt on every single talk that he gave. The rest of us hadn't really noticed. So the following week, that person said, "I wonder if he'll be wearing a blue shirt again" and he was! We all started cracking up laughing, ha, ha, ha...uh, I guess it was one of those "You had to be there" moments.

I've mentioned this before, but one of my favorite Nicky Gumbel quotes is "When people say 'Christians are such hypocrites' I say 'Duh!'". That quote is not only funny, it's true. I like how Nicky doesn't present Christians as some kind of polished squeaky-clean group of people. He doesn't sweep the dirt under the rug.

You can listen to Nicky's messages by searching for HTB Sunday Talks in the iTunes podcast directory. Nicky doesn't always give the message every week. Many others on staff at HTB are also given the oppotunity to speak and I've heard some great messages by them as well.

When I was taking the Alpha course, I noticed on one of the messages he had mentioned that he and his wife, Pippa, were married in 1978. I was born in 1978 so I knew they would be celebrating their 30th wedding anniversary since I was turning 30 the year I took the course. Yup, I did the math. So I went out and bought them a really nice anniversary card and I had everyone in the group sign it. I later received an e-mail from Nicky which said:

Dear Daniel

Thank you very much indeed for your kind and thoughtful Anniversary card. Pippa and I were delighted to hear about how God is working in people's lives. Please pass on our thanks to all of your team who signed the card.

With very best wishes

If you ever see an Alpha course being offered in the area where you live, I suggest you check it out. It helped me take a look at my faith in a different way and it got me interested in learning more about God again when I was going through a dark time. It helped me to focus on God and start figuring out what my life should be about.


Hooray! I almost won. I entered a contest over at Jason Boyett's blog. Jason Boyett is the author of a number of books combining pop culture, spirituality, and humor. These include Pocket Guide to the Bible, The Pocket Guide to the Apocalypse, Pocket Guide to Adulthood, and A Guy's Guide to Life. He lives in Texas. He has been interviewed on the History Channel for his expertise on the Bible. (Yes, I lifted that straight from his Wikipedia page.) I also know that he has written for Relevant Magazine. Anyway, like I was saying, he had a contest over at his blog to name a movie based on a toy. Even though I didn't win, I almost did and my submission was given an honorable mention. The winning submission definitely deserved the win though. Check it out here.

Also, my phone call with Christopher and Jamie at Chicken Pop Pod appeared on their AIFRT:Special One episode (AIFRT stands for Ah, I Freakin' Remember That). I'm going to e-mail them and ask if I can play the clip on my blog. But for now you can go to iTunes and listen to it for free. I come on around 11 minutes and 30 seconds into the show.

Okay, I'm finished gloating now. We will now return to the regularly scheduled blog.

Friday, June 26, 2009

Freakin' Funny Friday ~ I'm Not Bad, I'm Just Designed That Way

Typos, poor photoshop skills, unfortunate ad placement, and just overall bad design are things that can get a graphic designer fired. Well, the designer doesn't really have any control over the placement of the ad, but when these things actually make it into print, it becomes enjoyable for the rest of us. You've seen blooper reels on DVDs I'm sure, well today we will be looking at the bloopers of the graphic design world. We'll start off with some bad designs.

One of the most notable bad designs out there right now is the logo for the 2012 Olympics. There's really not much to say about it, it's just horrible. *Blech* Okay, next!

Busy, busy, busy. There is just way too much going on with this. It looks like they randomly stuck a contact sheet on the bottom. I have no idea what's going on here. It hurts just to look at it.

Okay, let's see, I'll make a spiral and give it a dark blue outline and a gradient fill. Next I'll do the same thing with the type and turn it all at a 45º angle, voila! Bad, bad, bad!

First of all, readability is one of the most important things. Second, don't take an already existing well-known logo and use it for your own, just don't do it.

Personally, I don't think there is anything wrong with the new Pepsi logo, but somebody decided to have fun with it. (No, it wasn't me)

That's pretty funny. Hey, doesn't it kind of look like Strong Sad from Homestarrunner?

Here's another variation.

Somebody has way too much time on his hands. (Again, not me.)

Oh, here's a doozy:

Spacing is very important, always remember that. I'm not sure where one word ends and the other one begins. I'm gonna go out on a limb and say it says "Kids Exchange" and I hope I'm right.

Okay, we're going to move from those to some ads placed in some unfortunate places. Let's take a look:

Mmmmmmm...garbage receptacle.

Aww, how cute, the kitty wants to be like Jesus.

Now we'll take a look at some ads that have conflicting ideas that have been placed near each other.

Viacom has a sick sense of humor.

Is it just me, or does this coffee taste a little ironic to you?

I can't handle peer pressure!

Ewwwwwwwwww! It's funny, both ads have the same color background so it looks like they're part of the same ad.

Alright, now we'll move on to some poorly Photoshopped images. I sto...a-hem, borrowed some pictures from another blog called Photoshop Disasters.

I can see why she has to carry her bike.

Perspective, people, PERSPECTIVE!!!

Is that a hand or a baseball mit?

I've always wanted a house with a lawn that has that clone stamp look to it.

I hear it's really nice in ECINEV this time of year.

There's something very René Magritte-ish about this.

Dude, I think your left leg is leaving without you.

She's either very hungry or very tired.

AHHHHHHHHH! AHHHHHHHHH! WHAT IS THAT?! AHHHHHHHHHH! Was that the first thing that you thought when you saw this? Honestly, it looks like she could devour a small village.

Oh, boy...

...are you ready for this one?

Brains! Brains! Zombie Condoleezza hungry! It looks like she could have been in the Thriller video...oh, sorry, too soon, too soon.

It took me awhile to find enough pictures to put up on today's post. I kept finding the same pictures over and over again. I started to get a little frustrated and I mumbled to myself "It's all the same recycled cra..." and before I could finish saying the word "crap", I realized I was doing the same thing, recycling the same old pictures. So to finish up this post I'm going to show you some original pictures that me and some of my friends made of each other a few years ago. We displayed them on a myspace page called 5 Minute Gags. It was a fun way a group of friends could poke fun at each other by using Photoshop. Here they are.

I took the poster for the movie Trainspotting and put me and some of my friends on it and changed it to Photoshopping.

One day I posted a picture of Rick Sprinfield (who had the hit song "Jesse's Girl in the 80's) on my friend Jesse's myspace page and I said, "Better watch out for him, he's after your girl." After Jesse's girlfriend (now wife) saw that I posted the picture, she took it and merged Jesse's face with Rick Springfield's face.

Jesse and Natalie as Gumby and Gumby's little sister.

Yes that's me as the Quaker Oats guy.

I'm funny how, I mean funny like I'm a clown, I amuse you? Well, I hope I do.

Chuck and Jesse go way back.

Natalie the butter churner.

Jesse, the ostrich jockey.

Perhaps she's not the fairest of them all.

Here are some loose definitions of some of the graphic design lingo I was throwing around for those of you who don't know what I was talking about.

Photoshop: A computer program used to touch-up and/or manipulate photographs that have been scanned or uploaded/downloaded digitally.

Contact sheet: Used by both photographers and designers. If you still get film developed, you'll usually get one of these when you pick up your pictures. It's one sheet of paper that has smaller versions of the photos you took.
Thanks for stopping by, see you next week!

Clone stamp: This is a tool used in Photoshop to sample part of a picture and then "clone" it in other areas of the picture to cover an area. If done carelessly it looks horrible.

René Magritte: (21 November 1898 – 15 August 1967) was a Belgian Surrealist artist. He became well known for a number of witty and thought-provoking images. His intended goal for his work was to challenge the observer's preconditioned perceptions of reality and force the viewer to become hypersensitive to their surroundings.

Hope you enjoyed this weeks posts. Come back next week when we'll wrap up the month of June and move on to July. Have a great weekend!

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Deep Thought Thursday ~ Hidy Ho, Good Neighbor!

On Monday I had talked about Shane Claiborne and the Potter St. community. Today I want to talk about what community could look like. Not everyone is going to have neighbors that would want to cooperate, but I think community should be all about sharing possessions. It would cut costs for everyone. I touched on this a little on Monday when I was talking about sharing a lawnmower. Share your food, vehicles, time, abilities, etc. To live this way we'll need to avoid issues such as greed and jealousy. If vehicles are going to be shared it needs to be discussed how things will be handled if a vehicle gets damaged. The same should go with other shared things to avoid placing blame. Get to know your neighbors well enough that you could trust them enough to babysit for you if you need a night out. Be sure to return the favor in some way. It may be difficult to live this way, but personally I think it is a better way to live and build relationships with others. It will take a lot of trust and patience to do this, and no, it's not a perfect way to live. At times it may seem inconvenient, but life isn't about convenience.

On Monday I said that Shane Claiborne chooses to live a life that many of us cannot. My friend Jesse commented:

In all reality, I think many of us CAN live this way, and will have to before long. The cold hard fact of the matter, in my opinion, is that we are going to have to live like Shane, the question is, are we going to do it now, on our own, or be forced to do it later?

He brought up a good point and what I meant by saying many of us cannot live this way was that many of us would rather not choose to live this way. I know I can't, not right now anyway. It would be difficult to jump right into living the kind of life Shane does. I've been taking baby steps though and it's been a process of focusing less on me and focusing more on others, by trying to be a little greener, and finding more opportunities to serve God. I still have a long way to go though. Jesse also commented:

Think about it. With the recession supposedly getting worse and worse lasting well into next year (I doubt this will be the last one in our lifetimes), population out of control, famine, water shortages, war...the world seems pretty unstable and scary. What I mean to say is, as Shane puts it, the world can't afford the American dream.

The so-called "American dream" has become such a nightmare for so many people. The American dream has become something that's all about the self, about getting everything you've ever wanted by stepping on others. I'm not saying people who are financially wealthy are all self-centered and greedy, but many are, and they've gained their wealth through selfish and unjust means. Then there are people like Rick Warren who I don't know much about, but I do know that he gives away 90 percent of what he earns. That's amazing! Sure, he's rich he can afford to do it, right? I'll be honest and say that I'm not at that point in my life where I feel I can give 90 percent away, but I don't think that being rich has anything to do with that kind of generosity.

Think about it, we were born completely naked, we came into this world with absolutely nothing except for two eyes, a nose, and 1,998 other parts (according to Lever soap). Everything we have has been given to us by God, it all belongs to him. Some might say "Nuh-uh! I work for my money! I've earned it with my own two hands!" Who gave you those hands, who formed you in the womb? God gives us everything we've ever had and doesn't demand we return anything to him, but he does encourage us to take what he has given us to use it for his kingdom. Our money, our time, and our talents. That's where the sharing and giving comes in to play. And let us not give just because God says it is good to do so, but let's feel good when we give. Give cheerfully, because even if you give and then complain about it, it still means you're selfish. Yes, harsh but true. I've been there, and I still go there sometimes. There are still times when I give reluctantly and I need to get over it.

I watched a film by Akira Kurosawa called "Dreams". It was a collection of eight short films, each about 15 minutes long. I'm going to show you the final story in that film. I found it on YouTube in two different parts. It's called "Village of the Water Mills". Turn down the lights, get some popcorn and enjoy!

Part One

Part Two

When I watched this film I thought to myself, "What a peaceful place, I want to live there." I think it's appropriate that the film is called dreams. Perhaps what was shown in the film should be the new American dream. I don't know how long I could live like that though. I've grown up in a culture with too many unecessary convieniences. My favorite part of that film is where the traveler makes the point that it gets very dark at night and the old man points out the obvious, so funny. I really do want to learn to live like that but it will take time and I don't know if I'll ever quite get to where the old man in the film is, but like I said before, I'm taking baby steps. By the way, if you watched the clips, how many of you have the song from the funeral procession stuck in your head? Good luck getting that out of there. Come back tomorrow and we'll finish up the week.

To end this post I want to challenge people who think being alone and doing everything on your own is the best way to live by reading this:

There was a man all alone;
he had neither son nor brother.
There was no end to his toil,
yet his eyes were not content with his wealth.
"For whom am I toiling," he asked,
"and why am I depriving myself of enjoyment?"
This too is meaningless—
a miserable business!

Two are better than one,
because they have a good return for their work:

If one falls down,
his friend can help him up.
But pity the man who falls
and has no one to help him up!

Also, if two lie down together, they will keep warm.
But how can one keep warm alone?

Though one may be overpowered,
two can defend themselves.
A cord of three strands is not quickly broken.
(Ecclesiastes 4:8-12)

Wednesday, June 24, 2009


Hey everybody! Last night I had the opportunity to chat with a couple of guys on the phone named Christopher and Jamie. They host a podcast called Chicken Pop Pod. Our conversation will most likely appear on one of their upcoming shows. Chicken Pop Pod is a podcast that mostly covers 80's pop culture; the TV shows, the movies, the toys! Go to iTunes and check it out and hear me talk like a dork on one of their upcoming shows!

I also wanted to take this time to tell you about a new segment that I'm adding to Blogity-blah-blah-blog called "Random Post". They won't be restricted to a certain day like my other posts, they could show up on any day, at any time. Anytime something random *pops* into my head and I have access to the internet, you can be sure that it will end up here. Some will be funny, some will be thoughtful, and some will just be stupid, I guess it all depends on your point of view. So here is my first random post:

Imagine you are at a restaurant where they offer free refills. You finish your drink and get your first free refill. You drink that and want more. Shouldn't the second refill be called a re-free fill?

Artsy Fartsy Wednesday ~ Caught in a Webb

Poverty is so hard to see

When it’s only on your tv and twenty miles across town
Where we’re all living so good
That we moved out of Jesus’ neighborhood
Where he’s hungry and not feeling so good
From going through our trash
He says, more than just your cash and coin
I want your time, I want your voice
I want the things you just can’t give me

So what must we do
Here in the west we want to follow you
We speak the language and we keep all the rules
Even a few we made up
Come on and follow me
But sell your house, sell your SUV
Sell your stocks, sell your security
And give it to the poor
What is this, hey what’s the deal
I don’t sleep around and i don’t steal
I want the things you just can’t give me

Because what you do to the least of these
My brother’s, you have done it to me
Because I want the things you just can’t give me


I thought I would start out this post with a song by Derek Webb. I thought I would put it first as an introduction. I have to confess that the first time I heard this song I wept. Sure, call me a sissy, but it made me realize how selfish I can be sometimes. I admit I didn't go right out and sell all my possessions that day, but I definitely have a better understanding of what Jesus really wants. He could care less about our money, not that we shouldn't give it away, but what about our time, our talents and gifts as well? We shouldn't treat God like a teenage kid that want's to bum money off us from time to time, but I think that's how many people feel when the give, when they tithe. God want's out time to be well spent and he wants us to use the talents he has given us to do good to others.

I believe this song somewhat goes along with what I was talking about on Monday. I first found out about Derek at Purple Door in 2007. He was playing the Gallery stage. He was just some background noise as I was talking with my friends and I wasn't really paying attention to the music. But then he started to speak and all of a sudden, Derek Webb became the most memorable person to me at Purple Door that year. He had a lot of great insights and he even quoted something Tony Campolo (who I mentioned on Monday) said in front of many Christian audiences: "I have three things I'd like to say today. First, while you were sleeping last night, 30,000 kids died of starvation or diseases related to malnutrition. Second, most of you don't give a shit. What's worse is that you're more upset with the fact that I said shit than the fact that 30,000 kids died last night." Wow. What's appalling about that is not the fact he said "shit", it's the fact that the statement is, for the most part, true about many Christians.

So that was my introduction to Derek Webb. I was hoping he would be at Purple Door this year, but he's not on the line-up. I'll get the chance to meet and talk with him some day I'm sure. After listening to his podcast I found that we think a lot alike on many issues, mainly art. I took a few audio clips from the Derek Webb podcast and posted them below so you can hear what Derek has to say about certain issues. The first one is about 12 minutes, the second is about 3 and a half minutes, and the last one is about 13 minutes. If you want to hear more of Derek Webb, subscribe to his podcast at iTunes. It's been well over a year since he's done any, but I recommend listening to the ones he has. There is even a four part series of a conversation he had with Donald Miller. Enjoy these clips.

I'm going to end this post with a video and the lyrics to the song "Wedding Dress" which is the song he mentioned in the last audio clip. See you all tomorrow.

If you could love me as a wife
And for my wedding gift, your life
Should that be all I'll ever need
Or is there more I'm looking for
And should I read between the lines
And look for blessings in disguise
To make me handsome, rich, and wise
Is that really what you want

I am a whore I do confess
But I put you on just like a wedding dress
And I run down the aisle
I'm a prodigal with no way home
But I put you on just like a ring of gold
And I run down the aisle to you
So could you love this bastard child
Though I don't trust you to provide
With one hand in a pot of gold
And with the other in your side
I am so easily satisfied
By the call of lovers less wild
That I would take a little cash
Over your very flesh and blood

Because money cannot buy
A husbands jealous eye
When you have knowingly deceived his wife

You can find Derek's website here. However, it seems there is something strange going on there right now.

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Story Time Tuesday ~ WWWE: Softball Doughnuts

I spent some time unemployed between my paper route and my next job, but that's okay since I was still in high school and living with my parents. My second job was at Weis Markets which is a grocery store chain here in Pennsylvania. I'm not sure if it has branched out into other states but I'm sure there are a few in the surrounding states. It was my job to clean the bakery after all the bakers had left. Sugar, flour, and hardened dough were everywhere by the time I arrived at work.

It was my job to scrape and clean off the tables. Wash all the trays, utensils, and huge 40lb. steel mixing bowls, and sweep and mop the floors. Once a month I had to clean the walk-in cooler, so I had to move everything out, hose the place down and then move everything back in. I liked it when the hot hose water hit the cool floor of the cooler and the place would become full of steam, it was like being in a sauna. So those were my job duties for the most part. Once in awhile a customer would ask me to write on a cake for them. These were people who weren't too picky since I wasn't very good a writing with a bag of icing. But at least it was readable, and Cake Wrecks wouldn't be around for another ten years or more, so I was safe. I also took cake orders as well.

One time I took a cake order for a deaf couple. I don't know sign language, but they were very patient and we were able to communicate pretty well since they were able to point at what they wanted and were able to know what I was saying since they could read lips. I have an uncle who is deaf, so that helped too since I was used to being around someone with a hearing disability.

In addition the the walk-in cooler, there was also a walk-in freezer, and on oven that was big enough to stand in. The oven would still be warm while I was working. So if I needed a break and I was too hot, I could stand in the cooler and cool off. If I was too cold, I could stand in the oven, which kind of freaked me out a little, but it was nice and toasty.

One day I bought a can of Coke and it was warm, so I stuck it in the walk-in freezer for a few moments to let it cool. I forgot about it though and it wasn't until the next day that I remembered I had put it in there. I thought I was going to be in trouble when I went into work, but nobody said anything. I looked in the freezer under the rack where I put the can of Coke. The bottom of the can had gone from concave to convex and the Coke had exploded out of the can all over the wall, but just underneath the rack so it wasn't a huge mess and no one must have noticed. So I cleaned it up and made sure never to do that again.

I called this post "Softball Doughnuts" because a friend of mine who also worked at Weis's used to come back to the bakery and we would make our own doughnut creations. The one we liked best was when we took a doughnut and filled it with cream until it was about the size of a softball, hence the name, softball donut. It probably had about four times the amount of cream as a regular filled donut. Yummy. Something like that would probably make me really sick now though, blah.

My favorite memory of working there was the time I played a prank on a friend who came to visit me at work. I gave her a tour of the bakery and then I showed her the walk-in cooler. When she wasn't looking I shut the door and acted like it shut on its own. Then with a panicked look on my face I told her that we couldn't get out from the inside once the door had shut and that we'll probably have to wait until morning to be let out. She bought it for a few minutes until she realized how dumb it would be do design a walk-in freezer that didn't have a way out, so she opened the door. I was such a dork back then. Sometimes I still am.

Come back next week when I'll talk about job #3. Tell me about things that happened at your jobs in the comments.

Monday, June 22, 2009

Inspiring Minds Monday ~ Claiborne

Shane Claiborne chooses to live a life that many of us cannot. To simply put it, he lives...simple. He is the author of books such as "The Irresistible Revolution: Living as an Ordinary Radical" and "Jesus for President".

He is also a founding member of the Potter St. Community, formerly known as The Simple Way community. Even though he chooses to live a simple and humble life, living well below his means, he is a revolutionary and a radical. There are a couple of events I would like to share with you that Shane has been a part of.

Jubilee on Wall Street: At
approximately 8:27am Monday morning (October 21, 2002) on the steps in front of the statue of our first president taking his oath of office, a man dressed in black, holding a megaphone, stepped out. He proclaimed news of another way of doing life, in stark contrast to the example shown on Wall St. As he proclaimed, “Let the Celebration begin!”, a Shofar, or ram’s horn, was blown, ushering in the ancient Torah tradition of Jubilee. Seemingly out of nowhere, bills began to fall and three banners were unfurled reading: “Love.” “Stop Terrorism… Share” and quoting the forefather of the nonviolence and alternative economics movements, Gandhi, “There is enough for everyone’s NEED, but not enough for everyone’s GREED”. At the same time, about two-dozen pedestrians emptied their pockets and bags of thousands of dollars of coins. Both homeless and professionals alike scrambled for nickels, dimes and quarters while others stood back and watched astonished that thousands of dollars were littering the corners of Broad and Wall Streets. You can read the rest of this article here.

$100 Dollars to 100 People: I read a book by Rick McKinley who is the pastor of Imago Dei community in Portland, Oregon. The book is called "This Beautiful Mess" and he writes about Shane in part of his book. This isn't how it was written in the book exactly, I'm just remembering what it said from memory. One day, Rick received a $100 bill with the word "LOVE" written on it. It was from Shane Claiborne. Shane had sent 100, $100 bills to 100 people and Rick was one of the recipients. Rick carried the $100 in his wallet, waiting for the right opportunity to use it. He went to the store to buy some things one day, but all he had was the $100 bill. He thought about paying for his stuff with it, but because Shane had written "LOVE" on it, he knew he couldn't use it just to but a few things for himself. He ended up giving it to a single mother. I'm not sure what the other 99 people did with their $100 bills, but I hope they were as thoughtful as Rick.

It's obvious to see that Shane could be living a comfortable life, yet he chooses to live in what many of us would call poverty. I had seriously considered becoming a part of the Potter St. community at one time, but then a bunch of my friends started talking about getting something like that started here in our own area. We want to take a trip down to Philadelphia to check out the Potter St. community and see how they do what they do, living as a true community. By that I mean getting to know your neighbors, treating them as family, borrowing things from each other. For example: why should so many people who live so close to each other each need to own their own lawnmower? Why not own one together as neighbors. Yes, it is easier said than done. But that's why we need to get over our greed so that there is enough for everyone's need. What if the lawnmower breaks? Everyone can chip in to get it fixed which would be much less expensive than owning your own lawnmower.

There is a DVD called $imply Enough. It is a study/action guide and it covers a variety of topics such as money, food, lifestyle, and justice. We went through this study last year at Valley Mosaic. It features Shane Claiborne and Tony Campolo discussing these different topics. Tony was one of Shane's professors at Eastern University. Below is the trailer for $imply Enough.

You can find out more about Shane and The Simple Way here.