Thursday, September 27, 2007

Tough Choice: Sex or Baseball? (Part 1)

I've been a Cleveland Indians fanatic pretty much all my life. My mom grew up in the Cleveland area and brainwashed me as I grew up in the MLB-lacking Portland, Oregon.

I loved baseball growing up. So much that it was my idol. I played little league for eight years until high school, when I picked up a tennis racket because I was too small to play on the high school team. But even though I was often the smallest guy on my team, crouching so low at the plate that my strike zone disappeared, I lived vicariously through the Indians.

It was the perfect time to become a fan because they just started getting hot in the mid-90s with Carlos Baerga, Omar Vizquel, Manny Ramirez, Albert Belle, and Kenny Lofton all making it to the World Series only to see their dreams wash away at the hands of Atlanta and Florida in 1995 and 1997, respectively.

In my senior year of high school, God helped me realize the fact that I put idols before Him and that I thought more about the Tribe than I did Jesus' sacrifice for me. So as I pursued a new life focused on Jesus into college, I spent a little less time focusing on major league baseball (although I had still considered myself one of the biggest fans in the Pacific Northwest).

I kept cheering for them through the rough rebuilding years in the early 2000s, and finally... 2007. They are back into the post season. This past Sunday they clinched the American League Central Division, something they haven't done for 6 years, and the Indians will be pushing toward a World Series title for the first time since 1948... almost 60 years!

And I have to say that this is a really great team too. The Indians organization has really brought together a wonderful bunch of guys. They work hard, have great team chemistry, have fun playing the game, and they rarely have bad attitudes. This is a World Series quality team if I have ever seen one, because these guys represent the best things about the game.

What does this have to do with sex, you ask? Well, continue to Part 2 and find out!

Photo from

Thursday, September 20, 2007

T-Minus 30 Days...

In my life, God usually teaches me things in chunks. You know... lots of little lessons within a period of time. Lately He has been teaching me about cooperation and working with others in relationship. Specifically, I have seen the most improvement in my relationship with Jen.

As we are 30 days away from the wedding, I am feeling extremely positive about where we are now. It is NOT because we've completely figured each other out, finally understand everything, and now are the perfect couple. It's because we're learning how to cooperate.

When we first got into our relationship, we both knew that we had a lot in common:
  • A love for Jesus and community
  • A love for kids
  • A love for biology and sociology
  • A love for reading and learning
  • A love for organization and cleanliness
  • A love for long talks on long walks
You'd think that it would be easy to cooperate with someone who is just like yourself! Unfortunately there was something else we had in common. Stubborn hearts. I always wanted to be right and she always wanted to be right. That sure doesn't work out well in a deep, intimate relationship, let me tell you.

Even when times are hard, with lots of arguing and disagreeing, we know it is God's plan for us to work through it. He gives us troubles in our lives so that we can grow and learn from them.

Sure, a few times in the past I doubted whether or not Jen was the right woman for me. When that happened, I turned my thoughts back to Jesus and the fact that He wants me to think about how I can glorify Him the best. Including in my relationship with Jen. Would marrying Jen glorify Jesus more than not marrying her? Yes. Oh, okay. It's that simple. Sweet.

But I remember that every relationship has struggles. Often, making a choice that I think glorifies God the best is actually harder than the other option. There is a purpose for our marriage relationship: His glorification. Jesus will be the glue that holds us together because we certainly can't hold ourselves together.

Right now, we're doing wonderfully! Our arguments are few and far between lately. The Holy Spirit is within our hearts, teaching us the right things to say and convicting us of the wrong things. Jen has been learning more ways to show me respect and I have been learning more ways to show her my love for her. I have to admit... this whole respect/love thing is a great idea. We've been working hard at it, and it works. God sure was thinkin' when He took out that rib.

Jesus has got a good thing going here. He transforms our hard hearts into soft, cooperative ones. Knowing that we have grown this much in our relatively short engagement, I am so pumped to see how Christ will join us together, for the rest of our lives, for His glory, as one flesh.

Friday, September 14, 2007

What If You Shared A Body With Your Sibling?

I watched a show on The Learning Channel about two sisters who happen to be conjoined twins. The show, Joined for Life: Abby and Brittany Turn 16, was a special program that showed us how two twin sisters share not only their body but their lives with each other.

The program showed these two life-loving teenagers doing things that most sisters do. It showed them going to school, teasing with friends, playing softball, driving a car (they just got their licenses), riding their bike, and many other things. They understandably want their privacy, but they agreed to do this program as an update of how they were doing and to show the world that even though this is very unusual, they lead a relatively normal life.

According to Abby and Brittany's article in Wikipedia, internally, most of their shared organs are below their waist line. However, they have 2 hearts, 2 spinal cords, 3.5 lungs, 2 stomachs, and 3 kidneys. This is likely the reason that they are able to function so well physiologically.

Abby and Brittany have control over their respective halves of their limbs (arm and leg) and each cannot feel the opposite half of their body. So everything they do, they must cooperate together in order to complete tasks. It's comparative to you controlling only your left arm and leg, and your sibling controlling only your right arm and leg.

This sounds pretty challenging. Especially when learning how to drive a car: one controls the gas, break, shifter and radio, one controls the blinker and lights, and they both steer. Wow, now that's teamwork! It took them some practice, but they figured it out.
Even though I am amazingly fascinated with the ability that conjoined twins can function biologically, I am more fascinated with how they cooperate. Can you imagine sharing a body with your sibling? How many times did you fight or disagree with your brother or sister?

Sometimes I amaze myself at how uncooperative I am. I mean, come on... I get the ability to control my own body! I don't have to share it with my sibling, so that means that I should have an advantage in being able to share my space, my time, my attention, etc. But no, I often think about how my body belongs to me and how I can get others to do what I want them to.

How much more cooperative would I be if I always remembered that my body doesn't belong to me. It belongs to God. God has given me my body and especially since the Holy Spirit dwells within my body, I'm sharing it with Him! How much more cooperative would I be with my fiancee, my family, my friends, my co-workers, and/or even with complete strangers when I have the mindset that I am sharing my body with Jesus?

These two girls are a great example of cooperation in a selfish world that doesn't know how.

Photos from here, here, and here.

Monday, September 10, 2007

Movie Review: Rescue Dawn

Rescue Dawn
Christian Bale as Dieter
Steve Zahn as Duane
Directed by Werner Herzog

Several weeks ago, Jen and I went on a lovely date. We had a delightful dinner at P.F. Chang's downtown, and then went to... a war movie.

Jen loves war movies. Even more than me. However, this is not your average war movie. It's about an Air Force pilot who survives a plane crash in enemy territory right before the Vietnam War. It didn't even make it up to the top ten in the box office numbers, despite it's great reviews.

It's a true story about Dieter Dengler and his capture as a prisoner of war. The cool thing about this movie is that it's not really a war movie. I'd label it more as "A Day in the Life of a P.O.W.-Drama Psycho-Social War Movie."

There was very little violence. The majority of the movie was how Dieter socialized with the other P.O.W.'s in the little camp in the middle of the jungle. Many of the other prisoners have been there for years and have given up escape. Dieter doesn't accept this attitude and eventually figures out a way they can all escape.

What fascinated me was that once they finally got out, they scattered. Only Deiter and his good friend Duane stuck together. One of the prisoners was all alone in the jungle and you could tell that he wasn't going to make it. He was certainly going to go crazy without the normal routine with his fellow captives.

Why didn't they stay together? If they worked together in order to break out of prison, they certainly should have worked together to find their way out of the jungle. God created us to be social beings and to work together in relationship with others. Even before creation, God was together in a perfect relationship: God the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. We are designed the same way.

This movie helped me remember how important it really is to work together in relationship. We can't overcome life's obstacles by ourselves, otherwise we'd go crazy.

4.5 out of 5 stars.

Image from

Friday, September 7, 2007

Huge Spider Web

Last week I read an article about a huge spider web in northern Texas. It covers about 200 yards of trees, bushes, and ground along a trail. The spider experts in the article say that the web "may have been constructed by social cobweb spiders, which work together..."

I found it interesting that some spiders actually work together to better their community.

How much more impactful would Christians be if we worked together instead of being critical and divisive?

Monday, September 3, 2007

Through A Tunnel: Hold Your Breath!

Jen and I decided to go hiking this weekend since we have been doing lots of wedding planning and not enough exercise. So we hopped on I-90 East, and came upon a tunnel that digs right under the hill on the embankment of Lake Washington.

"Remember to hold your breath while we are in the tunnel!" I said eagerly as we approached the dark entrance. Other people do this too, right? I know lots of people that hold their breath through tunnels, but I don't really know why we do it.

Seeing the rays of light beaming in at the end of the tube, we are both thinking, Drive faster! I can't make it! Must have oxygen! When we finally reached the bright light and the edge of the lake, we gasp for air loudly and I exclaim, "Wow! I almost didn't make it!"

We thought nothing of that little experience at the time. We continued on our trip to Rattlesnake Lake, hiking up to Rattlesnake Ledge. It's a pretty steep hike for 2 miles uphill, and if you haven't been exercising like us, then you'll probably have to take a few breaks on the way up to enjoy the scenery. We got to the top, enjoyed the view, and made our way back down to the beautiful little lake.

But the point of this post is on our drive back. When we crossed the floating bridge on I-90, preparing ourselves to hold our breath under the tunnel again, we were ready for another long time without oxygen.

We both took a deep breath, entered the dark hillside... and then we came out the other side! "What the... that was so much easier than this morning!" I was surprised to say to my fiancee. She agreed and we concluded that it was likely the good hike expanding our lungs that allowed us to hold our breath through the tunnel with ease this second time around.

Just a little exercise helped us with something we found difficult earlier. What other parts of our lives would be much easier if we just exercised ourselves? How much easier would it be to have faith in Jesus if we exercised ourselves by investing our time into what is really important?

Satellite image courtesy Google Maps