here's what i've started to notice:

everyone is hurting, broken up, avaricious, insufficient, insecure, in pain, addicted and/or hopeless.

in response, we look for an emotional healer, a mender, a justifier, someone to make us complete, an unfaltering helper, a physical healer, a renewer and/or a reason to live.

whether true or not, we've gotten it into our heads that Jesus will be these things to us, . And we hope on Him. Any failure that we experience is our fault... or the devil getting in the way. In fact, we are so sure that Jesus is coming through for us, that we ignore the often staggering body of evidence to the contrary.

and that is troublesome. why do i assume that God is backing up my political beliefs, when there are billions of other viewpoints out there?

why would i venture to assume that Jesus supports my country among the other 194 nations on this earth?

why would i think God would heal me from pain or genetic disease, when he alows innocent children to be born every day into a life of constant pain and suffering caused by genetic disease and/or mental disorders?

what makes me think that God will lastingly fill me with a living hope and purpose, when hundreds of millions (and possibly billions) of people have lived an died without of shred of purpose and meaning in their lives, assumedly descending thereafter into the fires of hell?

why would i ask God to bless what i'm doing? isn't it completely arbitrary to think that God is on one person's side or another's?

looking around, it's obvious that someone or something made this planet, its scenery, and its inhabitants. life, the universe, love - these are not just happenstance! but what are we and what are we for? i've found no answers so far.

yeah, i've had some pretty crazy supernatural experiences. but my needs remain, my insecurity remains, and that general sense of hopelessness remains. for all the living God inside me, i feel resolutely... empty.

true, there are success stories of God turning people's lives around in the face of impossibility. but that doesn't make up for all the people like me, for whom God doesn't bring alasting fulfillment or purpose.

like so many people on the tele, in the pulpit, on the streets, i keep trying to make Jesus into the fulfillment of all my needs. but thus far, He doesn't fit; and so far, i've harldy got to know Him at all.

and that's what i think about Jesus.



it is my full intention to publish an article about miley cyrus' new ep. next week. here.

i have a feeling that this will make a lot of people think less of me. i'm told almost daily that her music is worthless trash . i don't know.... can't we all just get along?

i mean, i'm not a miley cyrus fan, but i think almost any chart-topping artist is worthy of having their reviews read (or scanned). at least that. until the future, i remain respectfully unawares of what to type.

- joel



i don't want to let on, but i'm nervous as hell. the cold has claimed my fingers, and is starting on my toes, as i look up at the next car coming along. the driver shoots one glance at me, surveying my shivering body which feebly props up a cardboard “portland” sign before he turns away. speeding up allows him to simultaneously ignore me and california stop the sign beside me.
“five,” i mutter. according to my calculations, five out of ten people run the stop sign that I'm standing next to. i wait, and wait. and wait. after ninety minutes, i get picked by a guy who turns out to be a homosexual escort. he takes me as far as wilsonville, where I have a conference to attend.
but standing there at the northernmost albany exit, i realized that a lot of people don't have the knowledge that they need to navigate the perils of hitch hiking and couch surfing. and this article was conceived.
hit the road!
hitchhiking is a sport for all seasons, although it is considerably more enjoyable in warm weather. to be successful, you need to focus primarily on the location which you are hitching from. are the cars generally headed in the right direction? are they traveling at a speed which allows them to see you and slow down in time? these are valid questions that generally need to be addressed by the hitch-hiker.
once the driver slows down or stops, you have only seconds to figure out whether or not they are a safe person to drive with. a couple years back I convinced a guy in a suit to give me a ride to work after my car broke down. halfway there he started freaking out and talking about how he was off his meds and wanted to stab me! it turned out to be some sort of sick joke on his part, but needless to say, i keep an eye out for the crazies now.
surf's up
as far as couchsurfing goes, the method is more madness in my experience. to be safe, i always try to find friends to stay with in the town i'm crashing in each night. alternatively, if the weather's good and i have a sleping bag, sometimes i'll just sleep in my car if i have it or under a tree. this can be good, but it really depends on the area of town that you choose. cities like ashland are relatively easy to do this in, but for locations like downtown portland, you're gonna want a real place to stay.
to couchsurf is to hit up a house (or apartment) and sleep on one of its couches, preferably with the consent and knowledge of one or more of the legal occupants of that house. You can couchsurf with people you know, but if all else fails, couchsurfing with strangers can be fun as well.
once I had been playing music late in downtown eugene, and came back to find that the apartment which I was supposed to stay at was locked and no one was awake. i kept walking in the campus district until I found some drunk kids trying to take a couch that someone had ditched upon moving out of a house up the street. i talked to them a bit and they said i could in that stay on that couch, soon as they got it in the door. i scored some free pizza and caught some sleep, before heading out in the morning while they were all still hung-over.
one thing that's really important to know is that if you're female you shouldn't couchsurf, hitchike, or pick up hitchhikers alone. it's way too dangerous! lots of girls who have picked me up while i was hitchhiking have heard this bit, only usually after i got out of the car. so have some adventures... but be careful out there!



this is "national de-lurking week." for reals, google it. that means that all of you who read this blog have an invitation (nay, a privelege) to identify yourselves. stop a-lurkin'! just click "follow," and then let me know, so i can follow your blog too.

come out, come out whoever you are! : )

oh, by the way i heard about this from jaclyn at simply reminisce.


three beautiful things - exercise, feast, confusion

today i hitch-hiked to work unsuccessfully. sometimes i think of hitch-hiking without a ride as avaricious walking.

my friend mark (fellow avaricious walker!) and i are currently enjoying a feast at work. there is cheese, crackers, tortillas involved. don miller quotes all around!

mark says that he once asked the baristas to breve an orange. they don't know if they can...