There was a news broadcast the other day about me.  You should totally check it out and let me know what you think!




So I’ve recently been discovering how cool Google is.  I mean, I’ve always used Google for my search engine needs, and I’ve been using Gmail and Google Apps for this sites email for a while now, plus I’ve always preferred Google Maps to Mapquest, but aside from all of that, Google’s got some neat things for it:

Google Calender has been helpful in keeping track of my writing deadlines.

Google Scholar’s a pretty nifty collection of scholarly essays that you can search for free.  I wish I’d have known that when I was in college.

Google Books is essentially just free e-books, and that’s a good thing!

Google Reader has proven to be a much more user-friendly RSS reader than Bloglines.

Google Documents is handy for people who have to shuffle documents around while they move, which is me.

Picasa‘s an easy to use picture organizer.

And, of course, Google owns You Tube.

But recently Google unveiled Google Chrome, a new web browser that offers faster browsing through multiple tabs, simple design, and ease of use.  I downloaded it yesterday and I’ve been using it ever since.  It has a lot of neat features which you can read about here.

My wife Sarah is now officially a blogger! 

Pay her a visit, subscribe, and give her lots of love!

Last year I participated in the grueling writing marathon known as the International 3-Day Novel Contest, and it was probably one of the most enriching experiences of my life.  The unrestricted flow of creativity was just what I needed in order to get past the severe writer’s block I was experiencing (You can read more about last year’s experience here).  I was stoked when I ended up finishing in the top twenty in the whole world, so I decided that I had to give it a 2nd shot.

This year’s experience was quite a bit different than last year’s.  My novel last year involved a man getting to know his dead father, and in a way I poured a lot of my life experiences into it.  As a result, the whole writing process was really weighty and dramatic.  This time I decided to lighten it up a little.  I wrote a novel about a man participating in a reality show novel writing contest, and the result was a lot of fun.  There was a lot of strange characters, false start novel attempts, and a good life lesson about the source of creativity.  

I felt really good about this year’s novel, so hopefully this will turn out very good for me.  If you’re interested in a read, let me know and I’ll hook you up.

I think the title says it all.  I suck at blogging.  Life has gotten crazy and blogging has taken a back seat to just about everything else, which sucks because the amount of writing I do on a daily basis is getting ever smaller.

So, I am going to try and make a more conscious effort to blog more often.  And yes, I know this is the third or fourth I’ll-try-and-blog-more blog, but this time I mean it.  You believe me…right?

So, here are some of the things that have been keeping me busy:

  • Moving.  We just moved out of our sardine can apartment and into a house that we are renting for really cheap from some family friends.
  • We got a dog.  Her name is Gypsy and she is a beautiful Beauceron-mix.
  • Job change.  Same job, different location.  I now work in Oakdale, the “Cowboy Capital of the World.”
  • Traveling.  We recently went to Disneyland…again.

There have been various other events, and hopefully I’ll start getting into the habit of posting more pictures on here of things as they happen.

Today I read a very interesting article in Parade magazine that echoed a similar article I read in Time Magazine last year.  They both had to do with the melting of the arctic glaciers and ice fields because of global warming, and the subsequent race among nations to lay claim to this ever-clearing body of water, the floor of which may contain 25% of the world’s supply of natural gas and oil.  It’s a big deal because a small group of nation, including the United States, Canada, Russia, and several northern European countries, each of have a claim, but exactly how much they have to claim is up for debate.

There’s all sorts of political, economical and social implications for increased activity in the perpetually-melting north: cheaper gas prices for consumer, shorter and less expensive trade routes, international security, the gradual migration on people into previously unpopulated areas due to trading and drilling, and so on, and , perhaps most importantly, the presence of vital resources in a small space are ingredients for potential military conflict.  A few years ago it might have seemed silly to think about this barren wasteland of ice and snow as a new hot-button issue, but as gas prices continue to rise, it makes since that the all these countries would converge on this one area to squabble over the resources.

One of the things that bothered me the most about these articles is the short-sightedness of the people involved.  People are so addicted to oil that they will do anything possible to get their hands on as much as possible without taking into account that ultimately oil is a limited resource, meaning that eventually we will run out.  The politicians and businessmen quoted in these articles seem to care only about discovering and conquering, not about doing what’s right for the long term.

I’ve never been super concerned about the environment.  I do believe the evidence for global warming is convincing and that we do need to be good stewards of creation and so on, but I’ve never been one to fall into the camp of people who think that if we don;t go super green now, the earth will become uninhabitable and we will all die.  I just don’t think that will happen.  It doesn’t really seem compatible with my understanding of God’s plan for the earth.  However, I have come to see that while reducing our dependency on oil is good for the environment, it’s ultimately a moral issue.  In Jesus For President by Shane Claiborne, a book everyone should read before voting this year, the author, who is a pacifist, claims that since the acquisition of oil is a reason behind international conflicts, and since it has the potential to be behind many more conflicts, it is our duty as Christians to find ways to decrease demand for oil, thereby negating the need to fight for it.  It’s a captivating argument that I had never heard before until reading that book.  And it makes sense, doesn’t it?  By supporting research on hybrid, electric, and alternative fuel cars, we’re actually working to prevent armed conflicts in the future.

I know it sounds super-liberal, but this morning I also read an editorial by Larry Bowoto, a Nigerian villager who is filing a lawsuit against Chevron.  In the class-action suit, he and 100 other villagers claim they were protesting the fact that Chevron’s oil production has ruined local fishing and farming industries when Nigerian soldiers hired by Chevron Nigeria Ltd. opened fire, killing 2 and wounding a dozen others, including the author.  Today’s paper also had an article on the United States’ list of countries of that sponsor terrorism, and how Venezuela, which has been linked to Columbian terrorist groups, remains off the list, and thus free from sanctions that might hinder efforts to arm terrorists, because they are the fourth largest supplier of oil to the United States.

The point – oil is a limited resource that is highly prized by the nations of the world, and conflicts over it will only grow worse as it depletes, resulting in unnecessary deaths.  It is our duty as Christians to oppose this.

It’s been awhile since I’ve blogged, so I figured I’d get back into it by doing 25 word book reviews of what I’ve been reading lately.

“Leading With a Limp” by Dan Allender – An interesting, though sometimes repetitive, look at what living out Jesus-style leadership – humble and weak – looks like in the real world of business and pastoring. (4 out of 5)

“The Shack” by William Young – A progressive theological treatise masquerading as a novel, albeit a very touching, tear-jerking novel. The creativity somewhat makes up for the cardboard characters. (4 out of 5)

“Jesus For President” by Shane Claiborne – The book he should have written instead of The Irrestistable Revolution. Creatively designed and thoroughly researched, it’ll change the way you think about politics. *(5 out of 5)

“30 Days With Jesus” by F. Lagard Smith – Though sometimes insightful, this month-long daily devotional extremely oversimplifies the Gospels and often draws stupid, shallow conclusions. (2 out of 5)

“Samson and the Pirate Monks” by Nate Larkin – This excellent book encourages brutal honesty, humility, and brotherhood as the focus of accountability and ministries for men. His personal story is dark, yet hopeful. (4 out of 5)

“Blue Like Jazz” by Donald Miller (re-read) – Superb collection of essays that tackle the basics of Christianity in the context of culture and real life. Regularly insightful, personal, and humorous. (5 out of 5)

“Through Painted Deserts” by Donald Miller (re-read) – Miller steps away from theological essays to show that he is a gifted storyteller as he recounts his road trip from Houston to Portland. (5 out of 5)

“Searching For God Knows What” by Donald Miller (re-read) – Miller takes a more systematic approach to talk about narrative theology, and in this paradox he looses some of the touch that made BLJ a classic. (3 our of 5)

“To Own a Dragon” by Donal Miller (re-read) – Miller’s essays on growing up without a father are touching and insightful, but they seem to loose focus as the books nears the end. (4 out of 5 stars)

“Into the Wild” by Jon Krakauer – Krakauer’s fascinating look at the life of a vagrant American traveler wonderfully mixes a journalistic investigation with good story telling. (4 out of 5)

“Velvet Elvis” by Rob Bell – An Emergent manifesto without using the E-word, Bell poses interesting questions about the Christian faith and poses some very relevant answers. (5 out of 5)

“The Fuck-Up” by Arthur Nersesian – A funny, strange, slightly vulgar, and abstract novel about a perennial screw-up that ends up having quite a bit of heart. (4 out of 5)

“Road Angels” by Kent Nerburn – Like all grade road trip travelogues, Nerburn’s journey down the West Coast is a spiritual quest that is philosophical and highly enjoyable. (4 out of 5)

“Vintage Jesus” by Mark Driscoll and Gerry Breshears – This overview of basic Christological doctrine is informative, but tries too hard to be relevant with shallow stories and almost disrespectful vernacular (3 out of 5)

“Marriette In Ecstasy” by Ron Hansen – This short novel dealing with a nun who receives stigmata wounds occupies ambiguous ground between sensuality and spirituality.  Interesting use of language. (3 out of 5)

“Asphalt Jesus” by Eric Elnes – Disguised as a travelogue, this book outlines principles over a version of Christianity overly concerned with being ultra-liberal and narrowly focused on certain issues. (2 out of 5)

“Grace (Eventually)” by Anne Lammott (audiobook) – This collection of “essays” about grace amount to bitter, angry and morally ambiguous rantings by a menopausal old woman.  Avoid it. (1 out of 5)

“The Meaning of Jesus: Two Visions” by N.T. Wright and Marcus Borg – This dialogue between top scholars in opposing camps is a perfect example of what respectful, well-researched dialogue should look like. (5 out of 5)