I have been absent from this world for a while. I am preparing to leave Missouri and head to Illinois for a year on a vicarage assignment. I am hoping through the nest year I will be more faithful in corresponding what is transpiring in Staunton through this medium.

Friday, March 31, 2006

Love, an exposition

In the short amount of time that I have to get this out of thought and onto a more tangible medium I will try at some kind of length issue a statement about love, and more to the point the love of Christ that he has given to me, making it my love, but not just to me but to all people even those that would reject said love and walk on it as if it were the mat infront of a swine bathers home.
Love, as it were, can be made into whatever one person is looking for. As a friend was so saying at another place and at another time. You can find what you are looking for when you want to find it and you can label it what you want. That is the beauty of the freedom of the mind and thought in most places that are still abiding in, or newly introduced to... Democracy? Would we call it the Democracy of the mind?
Love as it has been made in several cases is a cruel thing, we see it in relationships with abusive Husbands and Wives, Mothers and Fathers, Daughters and Brothers, extending to all realms of nuclear and extended family, and in fact transcending family to schools, offices, and other surroundings. Love has qualifications in itself, it (Love) can not be all encompassing and total, at least one kind of Love. Right? Lets take a look in brief.
Philios, a love of brotherhood, i.e. Philadelphia: the city of brotherly love. Is certainly not the same kind of love as Eros (love) as we will discuss in later parts. Philios is plutonic love that can exist between anyone, man and woman through age and nationality; Galactic Love. Most of us would share this love with a high school or University friend that you were of like mind and constitution with. You share stories and tales, nowadays you email regularaly or not regularly makes no difference. This type of love is evoked on warm summer afternoons around a BBQ or a pool, where a neighborhood can come together and take part in fun and activities. Enough examples? OK lets move on.

Then there is of course the ever growing in popularity Eros kind of love. This is of course the love that is only naturally shared between a man and a woman in the bonds of marriage, but throughout time Eros glides over to adulterous and homosexual relations. Eros is a physical love that is displayed in a relationship, this kind of love is not fulfilled on an intillectual ground like what Philios is, this kind of love is filled by the physical consumation of a relationship, Sex and sexual activity, no sense in dubbing anything down now.
Eros is prevalent now as a naturally fun and zesty part of any relationship, marital or non marital, but in fact it is only reserved by those that are bound by a love that is greater than Philios and Eros this love is of course Agape.

Now of course there will be someone to ask the question at some point after running across this entry. Can one have a long term loving relationship based soley on Eros or Philios, sure, why not. I am sure there have been a ton of relationships in our time and in times past and in fact many in future times that will be based on things other than the love I am getting ready to expound at brevity on. The next few paragraphs are slammed with the word sacrifice, sacrificed, and self sacrifice. Go into them with whatever mindset you want, like I said my friend said, you can find what you want where you want when you want and there is nothing this entry will do to stop that. But know this, without this third love, a relationship is an empty vessel, as much as is pains me to tell the truth so bluntly and anger I am sure someone. A marital relationship and, well...any other relationship that you want to expand past the afforementioned loves, needs Aqape.

Agape a third kind or love, and the end all, as it could be called, of love. What sets agape apart from any other kind of love? It is a self sacrificing love that is relentless in its sacrifice. Of course now we must further explire the realm and word, the actual defenition of sacrifice. Sacrifice I should say in this case is meant as a self sacrifice, a sacrifice of everythign that the present age has told us to value above anythign else, the Self. Self study, self help, Self has become the obsession f a generation and it has swept from Eurpoe to America and now to other reaches of the globe. Self sacrifice though, this is an idea that was ever so popular thousands of years ago, and it was not sacrifice to another human (something else I should say, in your mind are you viewing a bloody style of sarcrifice? Something out of the pages of a Cortez exploritory journal of the Aztec lands and customs sacrifice. Or more to the point a Roman turn of time sacrifice that was perfomed time in and time out after conquering a new land of the trial of a (so called) criminal?) but to a being that trancended understanding then and today, God. Most likely people who read this will not shutter at the mention of God and love and their hand and hand walk.
All love is divine, coming from God, but like many other perfect-at-one-point relationships man has corrupted love in his search of elightenment in the darkness.
Agape came later, after a long prologue fulfilled over the course of a short lifetime and shown to a world in the dark. Agape was given at the expense of life to show us the sacrifice necessary for life and love and the hopeless nature of man to fulfill this love that is the end all. Agape is a kind of love that even now is unexplainable in its entire nature and that yes is controling over the mind and body of those that are Enlightened, from light, to its truth. Agape which has a name, Christ.


Sunday, March 26, 2006

uarg;iub;piubIUEWRNUN is all I can think

How about this. The enlightenment of those that are slaves. Can this really happen? Slaves becoming elightened even though their every movement is controlled by the one they call Master. It does happen, in fact it is happening in me. What is the fear in man about control? Is there a fear, well of course their is. The fear of control has stemmed many revolts and reforms over the course of the recorded history of this world, but what is the stigma and negative conotation given to control all about? Number one reason. Man is the source of most all the control in recorded history. The reason for the negative conotation, because all man is sinful, yes even Christian man. Now what of the control of God?
Once there was a place and a time when all things were perfect (this also perhaps to some people is not historical and therefore doesnt apply to their self prescribed "truth" or life which is solely dependant on the realms of human reason and logic, but man in his history has never had more reason and logic than, well man). Nonethless since this is my entry and anyone is free to disagree (edit) they can. In this perfec ttime and place there was an absolute lack of suffering, a time when all people were draw to their magnificant, the God. In this time the slaves of God were absolutly obidient to God and controlled by Him and they were enlightened by Him. There was no fear of this control, because they needed not fear to stay controlled they were controlled by God, but without fear, without any reasoning they were controlled, unbelieveable this truly is. But the same it is, in some parallels for sure these days. We, humans, are controlled by two masters, one more than others in certain cases, and flip flopping. Sinful and Divine natures. This is what all human existance can be lumped into. If you like, the regenerate and unregenerate being, unborn and reborn.
If I am in an unregenerate state I am unconcisous to the things of this life that are divine because I know not what they are nor what they will bring. I am happy in my folly and non understanding of the light, and in fact think I am in the light but it is the light of my own mind and I rest in my undersatnding thinking it is the end all of what walks on earth. I am happy in my findings and curse those and think of them weakminded beings they are anyone who has to believe or have faith in something supernatural to, "cleanse" them. I can laugh heartily at those men and women that do not cling to their undersatnding but flock to the teaching of a "greater" being in their mind.
Regenerate beings are not controlled by this unregenerate mind, but instead are contolled by the spirit of God, and wrestle endlessly with the evil that is scorched into the flesh of all man, how can we be totally freed of what man is until the day we are dead and released of the flesh? Indeed it is not until death that the regenerate man has his final victory in life. Alas we are doomed to struggle with the evil that lurks in the shadows of our heart, this evil pushes us to do terrible things, but these things are forgiven by the master, wiped away. This leaves some men to say I will sin always and always be forgiven, but this is the thought of an unregenerate man. For the mind of a man controlled, and elightened by the spirit cannot stand the sight or deeds of evil but is constant tension with these actions and feelings.
These of course are not new thoughts and anyone that reads the bible everyday would know them. Infact even a person that has read the Bible few times is capable of drawing such conclusions from it. We are all just simple folks here though (edit) and we have few thoughts of anything higher than God, because there is nothing higher.

Wednesday, March 22, 2006

Slippity Slop Flip Flop

I really cannot explain the title, but it is fun to say and who needs more. In the seriousness of study and mental preperation that these kids are going through all around me I am starting to realize why I never was a real nose in the books guy. Granted I was not the worst student and out of all the male DCE's that came out of my class I think that I was the only one that actually finished all of the course requirments in four years. I was always average in classes, never blowing the doors off the bell curve or the minds of professors when they read my responses on exams. But I was an A, B student and always had a lot of fun in whatever I did.
When I come here though and see the ways these kids study it makes me wonder what my grades and life would look like now had I put a tade more effort into my studies. I do not regret in the least the way I have done things, but I certainly will look at future education in a different way now that I have been here and observed what it (education) means in other countries. I plan on going to a university again sometime and getting a Masters, whether here or in America I do not know, but somewhere and sometime it is going to happen. When I go I will be sure to have a little more nose in the books and not too many feet on the basketball court, or arms in the weight room, or beers in the bar...

Now on the extremem other hand from my lack of nose booking in college I need to tell everyone that reads this to pray for me, for strength and encouragement and a clear mind for me, and for the Men and Women I am praying for pray that their hearts and minds will have the veil of Satans lie lifted or ripped away from in front of their eyes and lives. Every night I have committed to go to the LDS ward that is right down the street and pray my guts out for all of the people that are in there. SO many of them are young Taiwanese mena dn women that are lured in by free English and then indoctrinated with the "gospel" from my LDS friends. Ladies and Gentleman for as much as I see God, THE GOD, at work in this place there is 50 times as much work being done by Lucifer the Angel of the Morning. He has captured the entire mind of this island locked it away in a small box made of iron, clasped a great lock to seal it tight, and just as it is beginning to rust to the point of being able to sneak a peak inside, he fills the gap with ehse men and women here to spread a different lie.
With the LC-MS firmly establishing that they are pulling their efforts out of Taiwan for the time being, because even though we are supposed to be Ablaze in telling people about the Christ, it is apparent they want numbers in the church and not just to tell the word, at least in my humble opinion. Should I rant? I must not.
What is happening every night when I walk up to the frint steps of that building. Sometimes there will be people standing in the hallway that I can look down from one end to the other like a spotting scope on the deck of a great sea faring English ship of war Captained by Jack Aubrey.
I get there and say a preperatory prayer before I really pray, that my mind will be clear and free from the temptations and traps of the devil. Then I launch into my petitions for the changing of the hearts and minds of all people that are gathered under the roof. I need help from you, say these prayers for them.

Sunday, March 19, 2006

Another weekend gone...

Opening up these blogs is always a tricky thing. Shoudl I try to be cute and clever, mysterious and wordy? Oh crap who cares, it was another weekend like many in the past, filled with this and that and a bunch inbetween it all. This however is the last weekend that Matt and Dee Dee Wasmund will be two people in their home. That is right, God is Faithful and Just and He has answered the prayers of His faithful people Matt and Dee Dee and blessed them with a baby that they are bringing into their home within the week. This is such good news that our handsome pastor at Salvation Lutheran Church could not stop smiling. And for some reason as I am trying to upload these pictures it is not happening so I will have to go in a little later and bring his smiling handsomness to this site, and therefore a mouse click away.(It seems as through the night the good people working hard for free have fixed whatever problem it was, so here is that smiling handsomness).
A game of Ultimate Frisbee is just what the doctor ordered for this afternoon. As the days are getting longer, warmer and more humid it is getting to be the time when I want to be outside until the sun is starting to go down, and now I have the terrific option of having a beer or two when I am done and sitting watching the sun fall below the horizon.
This week coming up is going to be a week of studying and exams for the students at CMS. Monthly tests are upon us and that means that we are already 1/3 of the way through the second freaking semester. How does that happen so quickly? I do not feel like we have gone through anything in my classes, and with my Senior 3 kids sleep walking into and out of my class because of their all night preperations for their University entrance exams that are coming up in another 2 months, I feel like even less is being accomplished. Even though I feel like nothing is getting done I am having more meaningful conversation with my students in these classes. I seem to be a great time for them to release from the mono rhytmic echos of the teachers voice from behind the podium. Many times when I walk by their classes meads are down, drool on desk, phone in hand, ipod in ear. In my class where sleepers get wet willys and ipods are confiscated, there is a lot more attention placed on where Sam is moving too and what is he going to ask us to do. We talk and play a few games, we dance sometimes, and do those ridiculous Su Doku whatever they are, I am not smart enough for them anyway.
When this site begin cooperating I will get moer comentary on the weekend, and I am sure the week to come. I will also spend a little more time talking about the Bible verses that I am reading ever day. Perhaps we can have some mutual insight and reflection or something, who knows.
Peace. just going and going just to the brink, falling...

Thursday, March 16, 2006

On my mind

I have been thinking a bunch about this time of year in the church calendar. Lent, the season in the church that has historically been set aside for those faithful to walk with their Lord in the desert and feel the temptation and sin that pulls their living flesh from their bones. I am finding it more difficult this year however to get into the "mood" of Lent this year. Seeing as how we are called by tradition to observe this Lententide atmosphere there are a great deal of questions that arise in my head.
Number one, not negating the Law of course, but how am I to focus on my sinful self especially now more than any other time when I already do that more than any person should. My minds eye is not ever satisfied with anythign that I have done becasue there is always a taint of the BLACK that haunts my body. We are supposed to examine our footsteps, trace our sinful path, I have a road map that I add to each second of my life, it is long and detailed and I spend too much time mulling over it as it is, so why now? Why Lent? Is it because there are so many other people taht are blessed the other 325 days in the year. They can go this distance without thinking of their sinful path? I certainly think not. There are always those small occurences, or large ones, that are called out in the mind and spirit of all faithful and God presses their soul toward repentance. Ok, enough on that.
Next, what about the bloody cross, huh? Are we just supposed to forget about that thing? The saturated fibers of cedar, or oak, (whatever that cross was made from) amde full with His blood. Am I supposed to shut the door on that great sacrifice during this time? I would say certainly not, because if I did then I would be losing the reason for trying myself in the desert WITH my Lord. I would deny the fact altogehter that HE is MY Lord.
(Sam has just run himself into a circle of undersatnding and like a Buddhist he is going to try to become enlightened and throw himself off the ring.) We can call that inner commentary.
Shall I sacrifice, what has been so great for many faithful for so long, in my life because I am too focused on the cross at this present time to be led into the desert of my God, which in fact I live in many days pre and post Lententide? I know that this time is certainly a time of struggle leading to a sweet victory that is awaiting, but that victory has already been won, the sweetness like honey is already on our lips, but now we are to stay the sweet taste for the taste of gall. If you taste gall more than honey, how much sweeter will that honey bee...when you are tasting it while remembering He who was "lifted up" for you after those forty days of gall.

Monday, March 13, 2006

Good weekend

It is the beginning to another week and the tail of the weekend, and what a weekend it was. Saturday morning I got up after trying to force myself to stay in bed for a few minutes longer than what my body wanted too. I went out and wlaked around a little, got some grubbage, and then headed over to the home of my chinese teacher, Yule is his name, and we headed out to help the pastor at the local English worshiping church move from one home to another. I was indeed happy to help in a more physical way, BUT it was a scary occurence to see just how freaking skinny and non muscularly massive I am these days.
I spent a great deal of time trying to get order of what was supposed to happen, and then, by the time I figured most of it out, we were finished and eating our lunch in preperation to return home. Most certainly not the longest day of helping someone move I have ever had, (Mike and Naomi from Austin) but it was fun none-the-less. I got to meet some of the other missionaries in the area that are working in the area and listen to a few of their opinions and suggestions for ministry in the area. End to the Saturday segment.
Sunday was a great day, number one because of the warmth of the day in the morning and then the change to chilliy weather towards the end of the day. We had missionary worship at Concordia Middle School which was minus the usual crowd, at least from the ordained clergy segment of missionaries in this country. I was asked to put the service together with the help of many other peoples and then share the message with everyone gathered. I was of course honored and nervous to see how it would all play out and what I was going to share.
It went off without too much of a hitch and a few tears, but for the rest of the day and evening I was on a spiritual high that has carried over to this morning. I hope that all of you are doing well and I will have a few more clear thoughts about the weekend and different things that happened. For now enjoy the pics that I will put up here.

Wednesday, March 08, 2006

On the verge

Yesterday was perhaps one of the most trying and long days I have had in a while. I love the mornings on my Tuesdays. I get to wake up early and get to school and start the day with an independent study session with two students who sought me out to help them with their writing skills. I would like to think that my writing skills are better than my conversation skills, even though I am not really trained in any way to be a writing teacher (which I would love to change) but I do like to help students here expand their vocabulary and creativity in writing. Joanne and Lucy came and went and then so did my time for relaxation or breathing for that matter. Three more classes after my one hour session early in the morning. By the time I had a chance to say hello to another non Taiwanese I was 4 classes down and 2 more to go.
As I said earlier I love my mornings here at the school. The reason; I get to glide into the mornings now instead of rolling into them. There is something about that 15 minutes prior to walking through the doors of this office that I now sit in, and rolling out of bed 15 minutes before I am needed in class. What is it about time that you have to get mentally ready for a day of mental exhaustion, wait a second...
Then the afternoon comes on Tuesday, which is not the most unpleasant thing everyday of the week, but today there was somethign in the lunch that made the students nuts-O. My seventh period class was a failure for trying to teach anythign new, which is what I really needed to do, but in respect to the title of the class we achieved the goal, we had tons and tons of English conversation. We talked about, well anything that got brought up, sang some songs, learned a little Taiwanese, and talked a little about what will happen to them next year. All in all not a total failure but surely a test in patience seeing as how I was a tired puppy and nothing was going to plan, at least my plan, for the period.
Then to have another class that is split between students that take my class seriously and others that do not, and yesterday the minority of the serious and studious struck a crippling blow into the heart of the lax attentive. Electing Grace, a meek girl, to be the official president of the class and striking a little fear with her address that mentioned she wanted her classmates to be more serious about their studying. So during thr course of the class I had 6 students try to slip "ass" by me in a presentation, adn then they tried to slip through punishment by saying they did not understand it was a bad word which I knew was a lie because of the reaction of the class and the group when the word was said. So 30 sentences for each student standing outside the class for the remainder of our time together was the punishment, and a declaration of, "now you know it is not a word to use." Spilt feelings each students had, some pissed, others actually a what seemed a little delighted they were caught, like they had been waiting to see if I had a backbone of discipline. The day ended with 6 students peering in from the outside, 2 others in the teachers lounge nose to nose for sleeping in class without anything in their possesion, nothing just in class sleeping.
To cap off the day, a round of Basketball that turned into something unlike basketball. A vitories fist pump for a kid that will remember that game for his whole life, which is something I love to see, a bible study and extreme prayer time for myself for personal strength, and another 15 minutes to glide.

Saturday, March 04, 2006

The other day I snapped this picture as I was walking through our campus. This shot should wait for about another month, but seeing as how I have a new photo manipulator and was playing around with it I thought I would share it. Again another picture that is very striking for me. For some reason I do not like set pictures where someone is telling you, "hold your hands here, chin up, chin down, turn left or right." I would much rather prefer having somone snap a picture in a candid moment.
That is why I like what I am calling my "street series" of photos that are soon going to be making there way on here. A preface to the series is here now. Today I decided that instead of being chilly inside our apartment, because we have a rather cool place, literally it is always below 70 in here. I drove to a very active part of the city and then just started letting loose. I did not go around looking like a tourist, at least not like what Hollywood displayed for a while. Because my camera is small and my paw is rather big it works well for me to have that thing, the camera, at waist level (which someone will joke is at eye level with all other Taiwanese). Around this area I went, click, and capture all the time. In all about 140 pictures in less than an hour, and this I do not feel is the cream of the crop but it sure is a nice way to start.
What do you see when you look at this picture? If you could describe this in one word what would it be? How has this picture been a part of your day because of that word? Posted by Picasa

A piece I will call, "Mans walk on this Earth."

There is something that has been eating at me, now maybe not as much as I lead on but still nibbling. I am here in Taiwan, most of you should be aware of this by now, and I get to see much of this Island and how it interacts with itself, the Human to Nature aspect that is. Recently I was in a conversation which brought this observation to the table, "This is a used place." Rightly said. What a used place I walk on everyday. There is almost nothing on this Island anymore that can be claim as Natural beauty. The hillsides have been litered with Beetle Nut trees because they grow quickly and spread all over. Once off a reserve they take over hillsides. Every dit of land is used for soem sort of money making scheme in this country except in a few areas that are too unreachable or just plain un-usable. This is of course not a Green Peace cryout, just another observation I have while I minister here. Am I only a minister to people?

Thursday, March 02, 2006

Someone is watching

Here is an image that tell me what I need to be doing at this time. I am turned around, looking at the path I have walked, seeing what has happened and repenting and being contrite for that which has been done in Sin, which is everything. As you walk, remember what you have done to get to this point and do not forget to fall on your knees.
Contemplate your path, see where you have walked and fall on your knees. You cannot look to the top of the mountain at this time, you cannot see the top. What is waiting for you is hidden behind a vail, you are blind, you are unworthy to see what lays ready for you. Posted by Picasa

Somber mood of Lent

If you could love me as a wife,
and for our wedding gift, your life.
Should that be all I'd ever need,
or is there more I'm looking for?

And should I read between the lines,
and look for blessings in disguse.
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 run down the isle, run down the isle.
I'm a prodigal with no way home
but I put you one like a ring of gold
and I run on down the isle 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 so less wild,.
That I would take a little cash
Over your very flesh and blood.

Because money cannot buy
a husband's jealous eye.
When you have knowingly decieved his wife.

(Derek Webb, Wedding Dress)

There is a perfect feeling to these words. As we proceed forth to the coming Crucifixtion of Christ we must first stop and realize Sin. In my time here I have become more intune with my sinful side and how to combat that which I hate. This is the time that I break apart what I thought was a righteous life, I delve into the Law and curse the sinful flesh that I choose to follow more than the Spirit of Adoption and Righteousness.
I hope in this time you feel the impending suffering that you put Christ through because of your sin. I hope you dwell on the Anguish he felt, the Crushing Weight that Broke all the bones of His body. I hope you meditate on the beads of blood that fell from the Puncture wounds Torn into His brow with unrelentless pressure. Breathe in a deep breathe as the weight of your cross is raised onto your shoulder and dropped with bone shaking force, and you realize it is outside of your strength to carry such a load, and find yourself on your knees, now and for the next 39 days.