Wednesday, December 16, 2009

cold evenings.

Twenty minutes until I leave for my last Hebrew class this semester. Sad day. It's been incredible to crawl, scrabble, desperately claw at, and try to devour as much of this deliciously difficult language for a semester.
Hebrew is like learning how to swim in a beautiful sea. I mostly played near shore this semester, splashing along the sand only a few times venturing out to where I couldn't reach, but the more confident I became in venturing out, the clearer the water, the more beautiful the fish, and the more refreshing it became. It also required more language "muscles" to swim with all the currents and undertow of grammar waves and shifting tides of rules.
Ah, George Winston, my memories of you playing on our old early 90's massive 5-disc Kenwood speaker system throughout our house at Christmastime when I was young, seasoning our fall and wintery Hawaiian holidays with beautiful piano serenades.
Your music is synonymous with emoting, family, and relaxation.
Seattle, here I come.

Friday, December 11, 2009

A catered meal

Jason and I went out to the dollar theater tonight to watch a "MAN MOVIE." We picked this movie: This film was produced by Gerard Butler (featured above), who also played the main character, a vengeance-driven vigilante for "right" who kills many, many in the Philadelphia justice system to make a statement of vivid social commentary: the United States' justice system is broken. Several things stood out in this film, setting it apart from the drama/intense thrillers I've seen. First of all, despite brutal imagery and a deft, complex plot, and unrealistic chain of events, the film's message by some miracle of the cinema, remained intact. Our justice system is in fact, broken. Ending on a "the bad guy doesn't win" note, the point of this film was never redeemed. Our justice system is broken with no possible hope of being fixed. Jason and I walked out of that theater, our minds buzzing. A twenty-minute car drive later, and we had reached a conclusion, a point we agreed on (which for him and I can tend to be few and far between.) Aye, our justice system is shattered, marred, corrupted and anything but it's name. But aside from God, there is no answer. Our position in life of hopelessness, sinning our way through life to unavoidable and eventual eternal damnation exists because God is Just. But would we ever want a God who wasn't just? A God who cheated, who didn't follow rules and was changing all the time "because He loved us?" No. No one wants a God who isn't perfect, who isn't just. And so I am broken, shattered, marred and corrupt beyond redemption. Save from the grace of that same God. This film pointed irrevocably that we as people, humanity as a whole, can never, never hope to create a justice system that is actually just...apart from God. While that is sobering, it is not hopeless. It is not hopeless because we as humans are given Jesus. Grace from a loving and just God who sacrificed His son. Tonight's film was startling, vicious, and true. But it wasn't complete. Today I again recognized that without grace from a just God, I am no better than a man who murders a family, or his avenger that destroys an entire Philadelphia justice system. No, apart from God I am Clyde Shelton. I'm so thankful for my Savior. Romans 2:1-4 *Note: the dollar theater, where you don't have to have actual money to watch movies anymore, is pretty sweet. Who cares if Jason and I were the lightest people by a difference of at least 200 lbs? ---

Thursday, December 10, 2009

I'm losing control and it tastes yummy.

God is so good.
This Christmas it was going to be that I would be here in Denver, staying at home, and spending Christmas evening with a local family I feel very much a part of. *Insert disclaimer. But it wouldn't be my family. Enter me, at my reluctant submissive stage I find myself at startlingly often. (Talking to God)
"Alright. I'm going to be here. If that's what you have for me, I'll be thankful for my amazing Denver friends and realize that this is growing up. I'll enjoy finding out about someone else's Christmas, and still dive in to what it means to be your child."
End of conversation, and I still have a slightly sinking feeling in the pit of my stomach. Growing up isn't always as fun as I imagined it. Enter God. (Paraphrased)
"*Sigh. Hi James. Finally. I've been here, waiting for you for...eternity. (God smiles) I knew you'd show up eventually. Cause I'm God! I know that stuff. So let's talk about Christmas, I have plans for you. Oh yes, I have plans. See, I needed for you to submit it to me and realize that it was completely out of your control, now I get to do my thing and encourage you, lift you up and show you that I love you. You know I love you, but I get to show you again! This is one of my favorite parts about being God you know, showing all my kids how much I love them. This time of year sometimes it's tough, but I still love it. Mkay, ready?"
James checks his facebook several weeks ago. On it his sister mentions that she is getting rid of her car and that there's someone in Denver who'd like it. James starts to hope, then stops and picks up his phone instead. Fifteen minutes later he's even more hopeful. Maybe he'll get to drive the car back to Denver for the family interested in it. Enter today. James wakes up, yawns, and starts his day. Several hours later, God smiles. It's all done, everything is worked out. James will be flying out to Seattle and spending Christmas with his brother-in law and sister and niece and nephew. I have a lot to learn. In Genesis 12, God gives His first promise to Abraham. That's not a very long time, twelve chapters. And then in chapter 22, He repeats it to Abraham, only ten chapters later. God has been more than faithful in my life, whispering and showing me His promises for me, then repeating them only chapters later. Today I recognize that this Christmas will be different, very different, because I have a God who waits patiently for me. Psalm 139 1-10 1 O LORD, you have searched me and you know me.

2 You know when I sit and when I rise; you perceive my thoughts from afar.

3 You discern my going out and my lying down; you are familiar with all my ways.

4 Before a word is on my tongue you know it completely, O LORD.

5 You hem me in—behind and before; you have laid your hand upon me.

6 Such knowledge is too wonderful for me, too lofty for me to attain.

7 Where can I go from your Spirit? Where can I flee from your presence?

8 If I go up to the heavens, you are there; if I make my bed in the depths, a]">[a] you are there.

9 If I rise on the wings of the dawn, if I settle on the far side of the sea,

10 even there your hand will guide me, your right hand will hold me fast.

I decided I feel like a shirtless baby making a funny face. -I'm excited about this Christmas.-

Tuesday, December 8, 2009


It's cold today.
And I found myself complaining about having so much laundry to do?
Really? Really.
I don't sleep outside.
1 Timothy 6:6-8

and so it begins.

In no order, organization, reasonable train of thought or purpose I will write.
Hang on.
If perhaps you lose grasp of what you're reading and fly off into space, not understanding what just happened...
I'm not going to promise something I can't deliver.
You could wear gloves, that might help.
Let's get started.
Today, I wrote on my arm. Why? Because I was texting Jessa and decided it would be creative. And also because I can. Growing up, I'd get in trouble for writing on my arm, and I spent much of both middle and high school not allowed to touch permanent markers.
It wasn't anything artistic or incredible looking...I just wrote. It felt strangely liberating. Like I'd finally taken that final step into adulthood.
Or something.
Tentacles of childhood worm their way into the lives of adults in surprising ways, sticking with them for years and years.
Like my favorite cookie is still Circus Animals.
After almost twenty-two years, still can't get enough of them - they are a delicacy to me like live eel is to people in a country that doesn't use English characters to write (formerly known as "Cleveland, Ohio."
There are rare occasions when a rebellion of some kind results in a positive tagline for society...namely, that the proponent realizes it was pretty dumb to begin with, and the deed is entirely de-romanticized. That happened for me today.
Today I wrote on my arm because I thought it would be kind of cool.
Which is not what it ended up being.
Lame sauce.