Wednesday, September 28, 2005

Picasa test

This is a long exposure shot I took of a tree the other night, I'm trying out google's Picasa photo organizing software, it works great. It lets you blog right from the program. Posted by Picasa

Tuesday, September 27, 2005

I'm it.

I've been tagged.

THE RULES: List five songs that you are currently loving. It doesn't matter what genre they are from, whether they have words, or even if they're any good, but they must be songs you're really enjoying right now. Post these instructions, the artists, and the songs in your blog, then "tag" five other bloggers/friends to see what they're listening to.

1. I'm Gonna Be (500 Miles) - the Proclaimers
2. Vespertilio - Hans Zimmer and James Newton Howard (Batman Begins)
3. Drive Away (End Title) -Thomas Newman (Lemony Snicket)
4. Deliver Us- Hans Zimmer,etc (Prince of egypt)
5. La Parade - Yann Tiersen

I tag:
1. Carrie
2. John Jackson
3. Stacy
4. Tim
5. Susan

Monday, September 26, 2005

A new book

While looking for books at half price to buy and resell last Thursday, I found a great book (which I had never heard of) on Christian Aesthetics by Leland Rykan. It's called Culture in Christian Perspective.

Leland Rykan was the literary editor for the new ESV translation of the Bible, and he also edited the book I talk about in this post.

I often judge a book by how many times it references or quotes all the cool authors. So I flick back to the index:

Let's see
Augustine , good,
Calvin several times,
Dante, Da Vinci, *nod*
Dostoevsky 5 times, good
T.S. Eliot a few times, good
Lewis about 40 times, excellent
Eric Liddell, 2 eprops
Milton, about 20
Flannery O'Conner, 25, this is looking good
Rookmakker, cool
Sayers, 20
Schaefer, 25
Shakespeare, a decent number of times
Tolkien, 6 times
and top it of with Van Til, Vieth, and Wolterstorff!

So according to the Stephen-Index-Scale, it should score pretty close to 10.

I got it for 6 at Half Price, but you can get it for 2.10$ on amazon:

Sunday, September 25, 2005

I can't sleep.

Maybe it's because I had a cough-drop as a went to bed;
maybe it's my thoughts;
but more likely, my internal clock is screwed up.

The last several days I've slept something like 3am to 12noon, sometimes waking up for a class at 8 and returning to sleep. Homework keeping me up? Not really. Anyway, I need to change that habit.

Speaking of habits, this week was a great week for me as far as Bible reading goes. I read my Bible everyday of the week. That's rare for me, but praise God. Habit's aren't to hard to form. I've been reading 2 psalms, a proverb and 2 or 3 chapters from Isaiah a day, out loud.

Reading outloud is a great because your eyes read the words, your mouth forms the words and your ears hear the words, so it's like getting "300% more free". But seriously, I've heard silent reading is a modern thing, words are meant to be heard.

I started reading Life Together by Dietrich Bonhoeffer, It is excellent, very convicting.
More later, maybe I can sleep now.

Thursday, September 22, 2005

meaning in a handshake

I once met a guy here at A&M who refused to shake anyones hand, he was above that somehow. He was what I've heard referred to on the internet as a 'Randroid', or a devout student of the so called objectivist Ayn Rand. They are a sect of atheists who want to hold that there is an objective morality, namely egoism. Whatever is good for the self is moral.

Anyway, back to my story. Today, riding my bike back from class, I saw him for the fist time in a year. Immediately recognizable, riding on an electric scooter. I was on my bike, so I had almost passed him when he hit a bump in the sidewalk and fell over his scooter.

I dropped off my bike immediately, and went over to help him. He was fine, only a few scratches.
But he immediately recognized me, and to my surprise, shook my hand! Now, that handshake was very meaningful. For someone I had known over 2 years, and had never shaken his hand. I had heard countless awkward conversations with people he met, that "he didn't do that".

Also, once, when some of us were going to Silver Taps from a Bright computer lab, he explained that he 'didn't need that sort of thing.' He was always so arrogant, and yet so lonely.

So, today, it was nice to shake his hand.

Wednesday, September 21, 2005

Urban Exploration

I explored an abandoned Albertson's today.
And it was awesome. More photos later.

Tuesday, September 20, 2005


  • I've added a few old photos to my Flickr account:
    Old Drain

  • Today in class our teacher asked us if choose was spelled with 1 'o' or 2. And I thought I was bad.
  • My roommate Caleb is a limitless source of cool links:
  1. is a great digital photography podcast.
  2. is an awesome way to find and share favorite books.
  3. is one of the most original and fun puzzle games I've seen.

Monday, September 19, 2005

Library damage.

Today, after I was tired of doing homework in evans, I decided to go eat lunch.

I attempt to get up out of my chair, and the wooden arm-rest breaks off in my hand. I didn't even put all my weight into it, I just used the arm rests to push myself out of the chair.

At least it provided the people around me a good laugh. So I push the chair into the corner and let a student-worker know.

This isn't the first time this has happened to me.

A few years ago at Del Mar Community College, I was just about to exit the library,

I walk up to the door, and pull the handle that's obviously designed to be pulled,
and it breaks off in my hand....just as a friend of mine walks by.
"Stephen, what are you doing?"
I was standing there with a metal door handle in my hand, so I go turn it in as if I was returning a book.

Saturday, September 17, 2005


Face Drain Reflections Balloons Vent
Leaves 1 Rust 4 Godrays More Leaves
Lights in Motion Flowers Flyer Staples Rust 1
Railing Squirrel Rust 3 Rust 2


I said on another post that I was moved by Les Miserables.

There is a scene where Jean Valjean is taken in by a bishop after being released from prison. Jean Valjean steals the bishop's silver and escapes, but he is quickly caught by the police who bring him back to the bishop to return the silver. But the bishop tells the police that he gave Valjean the silver, and dismisses them. Then he lets Jean Valjean keep the silver "to become an honest man."

It's a very moving scene.


On thursday I discovered that my three packages of hot pockets and a pot pie that I was keeping in the walton common refrigerator were stolen.

I got angry. Had I walked in to catch someone eating the last of my hot pockets, it would not have been pleasant.

Had one of my room-mates eaten one of my hot-pockets it would have been different, but to have a stranger take an tied HEB bag full of hot pockets, that was different.

I remember ranting about the "Aggie code of Honor" (an aggie does not lie, cheat, or steal).
How ridiculous, what kind of utopian humanism is that? OF COURSE aggies lie, cheat, and steal. Why do we lock our bikes, why do teachers have to watch the students while they take tests?, etc.

Anyway, now that I've cooled down I've come to see how petty I am. Yes stealing is wrong, and yes the Aggie Code of Honor is lame compared to real morality.


I say I'm moved by Les Miserables. What does that mean?

Having warm fuzzies in my bossom?
Walking across the room to listen to it?

Or changing the way I live my life in light of the grace displayed in it.

When I said a few posts ago that I was moved by Les Mis., I didn't mean it. Or I meant that I had warm fuzzies, I didn't mean I was going to try to love my room-mates more, or be more gracious to someone if he wrongs me, or forgive and forget the times friends have wronged me.

How light and meaningless our words are sometimes.

How dark and selfish our hearts are sometimes.

Friday, September 16, 2005

a chapter from the story of my life

Along time ago a bike wreck happened that damaged the front tire on my former room-mate's bike.

A while after that, I was late for work at the Library, I left my bike unlocked.
My bike was stolen. My room-mate sold me his. I rode it for months a few months.
Then the same room-mate found and returned my stolen bike to me.
I rode it for months, then it broke down.

I then continued to ride the bike he sold me for the past year. The tire was slowly wearing out.
Yesterday riding home from class, the tube finally popped, I walked the rest of the way back to my dorm.

Because I was not riding my bike, I didn't park it in the normal place, I put it elsewhere as I wouldn't be riding it too soon.

because I parked my bike in an abnormal place, I went in the wrong ramp of Walton, E ramp. I walked passed what I thought was the closed laundry room door, wondering why it was closed and people could be heard playing poker in there. When I got to the second floor I realized I was in E ramp instead of F.

This morning I got up and washed my laundry, but I couldn't take a shower as my towels were in the wash. So, I didn't take a shower until 11:30 which means I couldn't return my checked out Camera to the Architecture dept. until 11:43. The Camera was due at noon.

And of course I was walking, while walking, I past an interesting pipe that was letting steam out by the chemistry building. I had to stop and take pictures.

I would not have seen if it if I was on my bike.

So I get to Langford, I try to log on to a computer to get my steam pictures off the camera, but I can't login, so I got to the help desk, on my way I set the two library books down on a table. At the help desk they reset my password, after a while I am finally able to log in. I return the camera. I go back to get my books, but they are gone.

I ask the man standing in the hall next to the table. He doesn't know. I look around, and then go to the Arch. Library. Someone had picked them up and brought them there. They are from Evans library.

So I walk towards evans library, on my way I run into a guy I've not talked to in a while.
I stop and talk for a few seconds. We plan to meet again.

If my room-mate had not been in a bike wreck so many years ago, this would not have happened, or if my tire hadn't popped, or if my bike wasn't stolen, or I hadn't put my towel in the wash, or if I didn't stop to take pictures, or if my password hadn't been reset, or if I hadn't lost my library books, this would not have happened.

And story goes on...

Life if full of stuff like that.
I'm anxious to see where God's story will lead.

Thursday, September 15, 2005

Doug Jones on the Trinity

"They say that giraffes have never become terribly endangered because people are afraid of them. It's not the fear of attack that we gain from lions or alligators but the fear of otherworldliness, of, say, encountering a tree as a living person- slow, silent, sublime, alien, comic. Giraffes in documentaries and zoos had always seemed to me to be manufactured for those media, simple special effects. But when, as a boy, I saw giraffes in the wild, standing on a southern African plain, rivers of heat reaching to the horizon, with all fences and narrators absent, I lost all sense of balance. It seemed as if I had shifted planets and had nowhere to place my feet. Six foot necks, tapering. Bodies patterned in white nets. Eyes two rooms above ground. Clownish knees. Antennaed heads. And each giraffe still succeeded in giving a noble stare. I was ruined somehow, in a way I didn't realize at the time. The terrain explained that these giants were normal; they really belonged here, and I was the alien. I did not live where I thought I lived. What kind of world could be home to such sublime, elegant monsters?

I was ruined because secularism became so drab and boring from then on. Secular norms have to compress and hide that sort of experience. As a modern culture, huffing, puffing, and trying as we might to find secularism convincing, I'm afraid we're all too spoiled by the Trinity. Even secularists are closet Trinitarians, living as if the mysterious dance of the ancient creed were true, "For there is one person of the Father, another of the Son, and another of the Holy Spirit. But the Godhead of the Father, of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit is all one, the glory equal, the majesty coeternal."

But what is the Trinity? Attempting to talk about the Trinity is like standing too near Niagara Falls-fascinating but terrifying, clear but deep, life and death uncontained. The Christian Church through millennia has recognized the revelation of the Trinity as the Waterfall of Life, Life personalized by Beauty, Wildness, Loyalty, Nobility, Gift, and Love. The Christian God is not some set of rigid ideas or an impersonal force or a sentimental old man wanting to banish all pain. The Trinity is who we would all naturally long to be connected to, an intriguing, brilliant, playful, frightening, intoxicating God. "

-Doug Jones in Spoiled by the Trinity: A Primer for Secularists

I can't get enough of Doug Jones. Here is a collection of his essays:
Most of them arlooselyly on Imagination and Theology.

Movies I want to see

Biking with music.

Well last week, I got an Mp3 player/Usb drive. Thankfully, one of my classes I'm taking required me to buy a usb drive, so I had good excuse.

Anyway, I love listening to music while I ride my bike around campus.
I've always been amazed how music emotionally "colors" your view of what you see.

If I'm listening to exciting music, the people, trees, sidewalk and building flying by me seem to be the essence of adventure.

If I'm listening to depressing music, those same people seem to be monotonously drugging along, the buildings seem stark, the side walk plain.

If I'm listening to beautiful music, the world seems beautiful.

It always seems the aural sets the mood for the visual.
Why is that?

But regardless, listening to music and moving (like biking) seem to fit together. The all the temporal repetitions and sequences of notes seem to fit with the patterns of light and shade as I ride under a row of trees or my pedaling or the crowd of people walking around me. It's so fun.
It's odd that this only became possible to do in the last 100 years. Before that if there was music you watched the musicians play. But then wait, that is watching movement. Or you danced, which come to think of it is like riding my bike through a bunch of people. Maybe it hasn't changed so much...

Tuesday, September 13, 2005

Christianity and Culture Discussion Group

For those of you in College Station:

This is something I've wanted to do for a while, but never got around to it. If you're interested email me at

Loosely, the plan would to meet every week or every other week and Listen to a lecture on and discuss a Christian view of Culture, Philosophy, the Arts, literature, etc.

We would is to listen to the lecture first (45min to an hour) and let it spark discussion

Unless we have more then 10 people or so, we can meet in the Commune living room (Walton F-6)

I'm thinking for the first meeting we could listen to "The Importance of Play"
by Douglas Jones. In this lecture he tries to show how playful God is in the Bible and in how he made the world, and why we would do well to live in light of this.

Anyway, I have a whole lot of audio on the general subject, and there's a lot on the internet. If anyone else has something good we could listen to that to. Or we could just discuss a certain topic.

I'm thinking maybe Thursday or Sunday evenings/nights. But let me know what yall think.

Friday, September 09, 2005

Internet Fast

There are so many other ways I'd like to spend the free time I have, and so many things I need to do. So...

I'm going on an internet fast this week end.

See you on the other side.

Thursday, September 08, 2005


I like the word coincidence (coincide -ence).
I dislike the word rancid.
Both are very evocative for me.

Thinking Biblically

Greg Wilber has an excellent post on how Augustine, St. Patrick, and others thought and spoke about the world in terms of the Bible:

"These men knew Scripture. These men breathed Scripture. These men thought in patterns and in syntax derived from the Word of God. As such, the very manner and structure of their thoughts reflected the thoughts of God. The modern method is to add on a Biblical text that was found through a concordance which matches up what we were trying to say as a means of sanctifying the content. What a difference to have the thoughts themselves directed by the flow of words that came from the very mouth and mind of God!"

Enough time wasted on the internet! Time to read my Bible.

Wednesday, September 07, 2005


So, I have a face book account: here
And so, I don't have several hours of my wednesday afternoon and evening.

How did people waste time 100 years ago?

Tuesday, September 06, 2005

Silver Taps

Thousands of people outside at night.
Stillness. Darkness. Silence. Time passes.
Distant bells begin to ring. Slowly recognizable as A Mighty Fortress is Our God to those who know the tune.
Then another hymn, then Amazing Grace.
I am so thankful for those songs.
"...the Ross Volunteer Firing Squad marches into the plaza and fire a twenty-one gun salute. Buglers then play a special rendition of Silver Taps by Colonel Richard Dunn. Taps is played three times from the dome of the Academic Building: once to the north, south, and west. It is not played to the east because the sun will never rise on that Aggie again."

The Gothic Enterprise

This is the book on gothic cathedrals that I've always wanted to read, but didn't know it existed.

I found it a while ago in the Faculty Favorite section at New St. Andrew's. (the college Doug Wilson and company started)

I added it to my amazon wishlist , and forgot about it, until one day I was going through my wishlist looking for what the Evans library had. And they had it. Unforunatly for me some professor has checked it out till mid-november, but thankfully they have a virutal copy that seemingly can be read from any computer: here

Here's a quote:

"Awe. Inspiration. Humility. These words just hint at the powerful
responses evoked by the great Gothic cathedrals of Europe. The visionaries
who dreamed them command our admiration and respect,
and the audacity of those who actually built them elicits disbelief.
How, we may wonder, did ordinary people manage these feats of
tremendous physical and creative effort during a time, to quote
Thomas Hobbes’s Leviathan (1651), when life was "nasty, brutish,
and short"?
Technology in the twelfth to sixteenth centuries was
rudimentary, famine and disease were rampant, the climate was often
harsh, and communal life was unstable and incessantly violent.Yet
communities with only a meager standard of living managed to
make the immense investment of capital demanded by the construction
of these great edifaces. They mobilized the spiritual and
civic determination needed to sustain building projects that sometimes
spanned centuries. And they created buildings whose exquisite
beauty continues to amaze us today.
Why did people build these great structures? How were
they built? What were they used for? Attempting to answer these
questions forced me to move beyond the study of any one building
and to think instead about the cathedral as an idea, in an effort to
understand the fundamental notion embodied in it. This book explains
what I have learned."


Today I ate a good lunch for about 90 pennies:
-Chicken pot pie
-a Lime Coke
-and some Java Chocolate Chunk Icecream

Also, my 4 hour class got out 3.5 hours early today. Yay

Sunday, September 04, 2005

Bike ride and thoughts.

This evening I rode my bike over to west campus and drew my shadow as I rode, then I chased interesting birds around the parking lot, then I went in the Rec Center and drew people sitting down or waiting in line at the climbing wall. Then I rode my bike around and prayed, which was nice. I ended up riding around the golf course just after the sun set. It was odd, because I had never been there, and it was dark, so it felt like I was somewhere else, not at A&M, merely because of unfamiliarity. But it was a great prayer bike ride, I'll probably ride there again.

As I was riding home, the words of a familiar song came to me, and they were foreign because they were so familiar. They meant Christmas, and Caroling, and Christmas Lights, and Christmas trees, and winter. But oddly enough they did not mean to me what they said. How odd that is. They are profound words, and I want to hear them anew and tell them anew:

Joy to the world, the Lord is come!
Let earth receive her King;
Let every heart prepare Him room,
And Heaven and nature sing
And Heaven and nature sing,
And Heaven, and Heaven, and nature sing.

Joy to the earth, the Savior reigns!
Let men their songs employ;
While fields and floods, rocks, hills and plains
Repeat the sounding joy,
Repeat the sounding joy,
Repeat, repeat, the sounding joy.

No more let sins and sorrows grow,
Nor thorns infest the ground;
He comes to make His blessings flow
Far as the curse is found,
Far as the curse is found,
Far as, far as, the curse is found.

He rules the world with truth and grace,
And makes the nations prove
The glories of His righteousness,
And wonders of His love,
And wonders of His love,
And wonders, wonders, of His love

Saturday, September 03, 2005

Leithart on story and life

Well, the Library at A&M has a Leithart book. They have this one:

As I have not yet read all the plays he discussed, I'm only reading the introduction for now. But it's worth checking out just for that. The Introduction is subtitled "A Christian Approach to Literary Study."

Here's a quote:

"There are theological reasons why we think of life as having a narrative structure. Though everyone naturally arranges the events of his life into a narrative pattern, Christians have particular reasons for doing so. God has a plan—that is, a story—for each one of His children. Strictly speaking, we do not shape the facts of our lives into stories; we try to discern the pattern of the story that God is telling with our lives. The story is built into the web of life; it is not a figment of our imagination. More generally, we believe and confess that history is the story of God’s plan for mankind. The whole history of mankind and the creation has a beginning, a middle, and is moving toward an end. The history of the world began with creation and the fall of man; the center of history was the coming of the Son in human flesh to redeem us; and the end will come when Jesus returns. It is not just that we arbitrarily impose narrative patterns on life. Real life is sovereignly shaped and arranged by God into a story. History is not just His-story; it is His-story.

Thus, it is a mistake to suggest that literature and life are completely different from one another. They are not the same, but they fall into similar patterns. This means that learning narrative literature can enhance our understanding of real life... Literature abstracts from the complex events of life (just as we do all the time every day) and can reveal patterns that are like the patterns of events in the real world. Studying literature can give us sensitivity to those patterns. This sensitivity to the rhythm of life is closely connected with what the Bible calls wisdom."