Friday, October 29, 2004

What I did this week . .

Wow. . . a double post . . .

Anyway, first I need to rewind about a week ago. We were coming home from Abigial's parents house. Actually. . . rewind two weeks ago. We got the oil in our car changed. When we did that they did all of their digonostic stuff and part of that said the tread depth was two. Now, when we are at Abigail's house we found out that is not a good thing (in fact they are legally worn out). Anyway we drove back the Entire way in rain, which wasn't fun because that made it really slippery for us. Anyway, tires our expensive sadly. The cool thing is in the week we need extra money, I end up subbing for five days this week which is the first time this semester, and rarity anyways. Though sadly as part of this I had to baby sit a class (because it really wasn't more than that, and the average toddler was in all honesty more mature than some of these teens) that was terrible. There was one kid who tried everything to get under my skin (and I mean everything!) Though the last laugh was mine, because I did send him to the office, but I did so very calmly. Thus he left really mad because he never got me visibly upset. I win! >:)

Fun for the whole (or recently dismembered) family

The games I have been wanting to rent have really been piling up. I guess that is a result of the fact that like half the games that come out in a given year come out in Oct-Dec. Anyway, one game that I knew I would have to try is Mortal Kombat: Deception. As you can quickly read below, Mortal Kombat is a personal nostolgic favorite of mine. This game is really cool, because it is like 4 games in one. It has the typical arcade mode of fighitng up the ladder, but it also has Konquest which is a super advanced tutorial/adventure, rpg type of game. It is really cool because if anything it gives an actual for real story to a fighting game. On top of that, there is also Chess Kombat. Which is cool because it plays on a chess board with Mortal Kombat people and you fight for the squares, with the goal to capture the king. While this is just a "side game" it blows away Wrath Unleashed which has the same concept has the basis for the game. Finally, there is Puzzle Kombat. Imagine, a heavily modified version of Dr. Mario with big-headed Mortal Kombat people at the bottom beating the living daylights out of each other in sequence with how well you are doing. On top of that the game has 400 unlockables. This is really a good couple game for us in my opinion. Because Abigail will be happy because she will get to beat the crap out of me in the puzzle game, and then I return the favor in the acutal combat section. It is a win-win situation.

Tuesday, October 26, 2004

The Nintendo Gospel

I just thought I would share two slightly related things I have done lately:

On Sunday we had the "pilot service" for what will become the contempary service at the church. I did the children's sermon and I did it while playing the original Mario Bros. I talked about how at first I wasn't very good I died a lot (so I ran into a koopa), but I said that as I practiced and that I was persistent. I pointed out that with God it is the same way. He wants us to keep doing things that right even if we mess up. He wants us to be persitent at following him, and if we do then nothing will stop us from succeeding (and I said that I jumped on the flag pole to end the level).

Then today for the Youth group Newsletter I wrote this:

Master Chief Could Be a Christian
Not since the original Mario Bros. has a game been as successful as Halo. I always try to find deeper meaning in everything I do and video games are no exception. In Halo, one of the enemies is known as the Flood. The Flood use little parasites to infect other beings and turn them into mindless monsters. Master Chief, the hero of Halo, is immune to this due to his special suit and shield. When his shield is up, the parasites just bounce off and explode. Believe it or not, this is what it is like to be a Christian. Ephesians 6:16 says “take up the shield of faith, with witch you can extinguish all of the arrows of the evil one.” Like the flood is always attacking Master Chief, the devil is always attacking Christians. Both Master Chief and Christians are protected by a shield. In the game, when Master Chief takes enough damage he temporarily has no shield. During this time he is vulnerable and can be taken out. Likewise, being a Christian is tough we truly are constantly under attack (even though we do not always realize it) and after enough attacks our shield of faith is weakened. In the game the best thing to do when the protective shield is lost is to get out of harms way and rest, waiting for the shield to recharge. Once again, this is exactly what we should do as a Christian, when the shots keep coming and our shield is taken down it is almost suicidal to keep pressing on. We need to instead retreat and be with God, by doing so we can be recharged and then we are able to go back out and face all of the flaming arrows that the devil shoots at us with the sword of the spirit (or assault rifle as the case may be) in hand.

Sunday, October 24, 2004

Finish Him!

When I was growing up, my all time favorite types of games were fighting games. I think that I probably rented just about every fighting game that existed for the super nintendo. In the mid-ninties you belonged to one of two camps. You either thought that Mortal Kombat was the best or that Street Fighter 2 was the best. I believed that Mortal Kombat was the best! I played the original a lot, and I would say that it was the first game that I mastered (on the Sega CD no less!) I really didn't play MK2 that much b/c the bowling alleys I got dragged to didn't have it, and the arcade we went to a few times a year had an X-men game I invested all of my time into when the second one was out. However, when Mortal Kombat 3 came out I was all about that game, and it was the first video game I bought ( I saved and got it the week it came out for the super nintendo). It is also the only game I have ever bought a strategy guide for. Thus, when Best Buy put Midway Arcade Treasures 2 on sale this past week, featuring Mortal Kombat 3. I remember a few special moves and combos but my problem is I really learned them on the SNES so while, I can tell you that Kabal's running attack is <-- <-- --> A or that is energy blast is ---> ---> Y I have very little idea what that translates to on the PS2 pad. Thus I have been getting my butt handed to me over and over again, but it'll all come back to me (though I don't think I'll ever stand a chance of beating Rusty).

Along the same lines, while at Best Buy I got to sample the New Mortal Kombat, which is called Deception. From what I played the game is incredibly awesome. It has been a really long time since while playing a game I have spontaneously yelled "Holy crap that rocks!" and that might be the first time I yelled it while in a public place surrounded by strangers, but I couldn't help it. Without realizing it, I hit my opponent into a week wall to take kill him which autmatically caused him to fall several dozen stories and explode! With all of the Ninjas and gratitous violence, how can one not like Mortal Kombat?

Thursday, October 21, 2004

Still Alive . . .

Or at least I was the last time checked. I don't have a lot to say. The past week and half or so was fairly calm and status quo. However I guess there a few things to note. Last Friday, the church got a new nine-in-one game table to replace the ping-pong table that broke. Thus far the youth really like it, especially pool. I wish that we could get a full pool table, but the room still has to be used for multipurpose. Incidently that same day the church's heating system quite literally exploded (well at least the pipes did). So on Sunday church was in the fellowship hall, and the all church alternative service was pushed back. However, the pastor still wanted me to use the announcement power point that I had made. So I took my computer in to do that, and in the ensuing hijinks the computer got messed up. Thankfully Stephen told me how to fix it. I am actually writing this at Abigail's parents house. She has fall break right now so we are visitng her family. and that is about it.

Monday, October 11, 2004

I thought I was going to a concert

but it turned out to be a worship service. This event of which I speak was a Casting Crowns "concert". For those of you who automatically hate all over-hyped, over played songs (especially over hyped, over played Christian songs) then you no doubt know who Casting Crowns are, and probably don't like them. Well you should, because they are cool. Despite their songs being overplayed, the lyrics are deep and they seem very genuine. Which is why I don't feel like it was a concert. Especially compared to the Third Day concert we went two months or so ago. At the third day concert it felt like the main point was to entertain. However, the main point of Casting Crowns was to share the gospel. Their entire concert led up to that and it was cool. Also considering that the lead singer is a youth pastor and the band feels that it is more important to use their talents for a local church then any kind of record deal really just makes them feel very genuine.

I should mention that the concert was in Evansville and we traveled 100 miles to see them because they are Abigail's favorite band. I should also mention that we went six hours early for a quest to find shoes (which were not found, very typical of the opposite sex). However, it was worth it.

Thursday, October 07, 2004

Because I can . . .

I found a disk that I didn't know still existed and on said disk is a story I wrote that I am farily sure know one has ever read. Now I know that putting it here does not greatly increase the chances of it being read, but if you are interested in a somewhat mediocre fantasy story here it is. I wrote this when I was a freshman at college in about 2 hours.

The Legend of Naomi
There is a world where unicorns run wild, where dwarves mine, and goblins wreak havoc. There is a world where magicians weave spells, where dragons fly, and fairies dance. This world may exist in another dimension, galaxy, a distant past, or in the dreams and imagination of man. It doesn’t matter where this place is, just that it is. This place is a world of great wonder, a place where heroes are made. It is the land of Giam, where the legend of Naomi is still told by good wives at crib side and sung by bards in the taverns at night.
Nestled in the foothills of the Scatyln mountains, far to the north of the city of Ravenport, East of the Great Road, and betwixt the mountains of Yomana and Besuit was the village of Strands. The village was a peaceful place where hardship, famine, and plague were not known. Through fate or providence the village of Strands was blessed. Many old men from the southern peninsula of seamen would desert their native ocean villages and go on a quest for the rustic village of Strands that the merchants of Ravenport idealized. Then darkness fell upon the humble hamlet. The evil came in the form of a corrupt warlord who had been given the name Zhren the Necromancer. Where Zhren hailed from is unknown. Some learned scholars believe that he was from the dark and frozen islands to the far north. Others whispered in the shadows that he came out of the damnable city of Hyviel in the depths of the southern jungle. Much of Zhren will forever be unknown, covered in a terrifying mystery, but what was known is that he was very ancient and very, very evil. A shadow fell over Strands and the surrounding countryside as Zhren and his army of undead warriors swept across the land.
The good folk of Strands tried as best they could to resist the warlord, but they were farmers and not warriors. All that came from the valiant and courageous resistance was a massacre. The once wonderful life in Strands was now nothing but woe. No one could leave the area ruled by Zhren, for his horrid ghouls patrolled the countryside, especially at night. Many travelers, who did not find a place to rest before sunset, were never seen again.
To amuse himself, Zhren would fight anyone who thought they could overthrow him in combat. Many valiant knights and warriors came from all over Zhren’s conquered domain to take up his challenge, and they all died a vicious death at Zhren’s unnatural hands. In a perverted and hellish act, Zhren would not even allow those who had the audacity to face him a final resting. He would use his unspeakable art and make them a member of his zombie legions. Along the hilly path to Zhren’s dark abode, were a flock of sheep tended by a shepherdess, whose parents had christened Naomi. A girl working on the land was a rarity at that time, but not unheard of.
Naomi would watch the brave warriors’ journey to take up the challenge and to become a hero. With a sad heart, Naomi never saw one of those would-be heroes return.
While things seemed bleak for the village Strands and surrounding country, there was a small glimmer of hope. Shortly before Zhren the necromancer came, an Abbot Hurth from the Monastery of the One, made a prophecy on his death bed. The prophecy reads as follows: “In a day of darkness, when evil rules the land, a prophet of our great God, the one and only, will come. The prophet will pick a champion, a champion that will vanquish the evil and then lead the land into a time of prosperity and goodness. Amen.” After uttering the last of those words the Abbot died after 310 years in the land of the living.
On the last day of summer, in the fifth year of Zhren’s reign, the prophet came from the west. The land all around Stands was ablaze with an unquenchable hope. It was the happiest time since Zhren the Necromancer arrived. Zhren could not allow his subjugated masses to have hope. Zhren issued a challenge to the prophet, for the warlord knew hope was a very dangerous thing. The prophet had two choices: fight or be executed. Now, it was the custom of that day when such a challenge was issued, the challenged could pick a warrior to represent them. All the pious people of the land knew this would happen, for the prophesy foretold it. All of the people gathered in the village of Strands that night to hear who the chosen champion would be. There was much speculation as to whom the prophet would pick.
All was silent when he started to speak, “It has been revealed to me in a vision who the champion must be. The warrior shall be Naomi the shepherdess.”
The village was full of disbelief. How could a lowly shepherd be their savior, much less a shepherdess?
The oldest elder in the village stood up and said “Surely, you must be mistaken. It should be Hanz. He is the strongest of our young men.”
The prophet stood unmoving: “No, it shall be Naomi.”
All of the people left with a feeling of dread, they thought they would never see freedom. Everyone had left the town square, everyone that is except Naomi. Naomi sat on the ground, full of uncertainty. The prophet walked up behind Naomi and put his comforting hand on her shoulder. She looked at him and said, “Are you sure I’m the right person?”
The prophet smiled. “Yes, I know you are the right person. Believe in yourself, and have faith in your God.”
Naomi took the words to heart, even though she was still uncertain. Early the next morning, armed only with her staff, Naomi made the journey through the gloomy fog that she had seen many make before her. Naomi walked in silence, trying to keep thoughts of death out of her head. Naomi came to the great gate of Zhren’s citadel. The gate slowly opened and Naomi walked through the portal into the bone-littered commons. The necromancer was waiting.
Zhren’s massive, muscular body towered over Naomi’s lithe frame. Zhren pulled out his broad sword and cleaved at Naomi. Naomi barely lifted her staff in time to parry. She was amazed her simple wooden staff didn’t break under the massive blow. The warlord swung blow after blow, and the shepherdess parried each one with the flawlessness of a master. She held her ground against Zhren’s offensive onslaught, trying to make her own attacks. Zhren was getting annoyed at the child’s persistence not to die, so he lifted his sword high above his head as it charged with an unholy black lighting. Zhren slashed, throwing a deadly bolt at Naomi. Naomi tried to dodge to the best of her ability, but she was smitten. Her body felt cold as ice, yet as if it were on fire at the same time. Naomi lay on the ground, feeling defeated, the hope and courage drained from her.
In what appeared to be her end, Naomi heard a voice. It will never be known if the voice was her own inner will to survive or help from above. In an authoritative tone the voice said “Get up Namoi. Get up!”
Naomi obeyed. She felt as if she was in a surreal dream as she took her staff, pointed it at Zhren, and a fiery-bright ray of light shot out. The ray of light pierced Zhren. It didn’t just pierce him physically, it pierced into his dark soul and tore it apart. Zhren the Necromancer fell that day at the hands of a young shepherdess.
The prophet disappeared that night and was never seen again in all of Giam. The elders made Naomi queen of Strands and the surrounding country. She led the land into a new age of goodness and prosperity. To this day in the now great city of Strands stands a statue of Naomi. The statue serves as a reminder to all who see it how powerful faith and courage can be.

Tuesday, October 05, 2004

How I got in trouble . . .

Well, I didn't really get in trouble, but here is what happened:

At youth group on Sunday I am taking the teens through the book Celebration of Discipline. This past Sunday the topic was submission. As part of this I had them spend the entire time hand-cuffed to another person. In all of the activities they had to rely on each other and help each other, and this demonstrated the discipline of submission because you have to give up part of your freedom to help someone else. One of the mutliple activities they had to do was a trust walk involving blind folds. Now skip ahead a bit to the Bible study part. Instead of just reading to them Bible verses of submission, I had them make posters of certain verses. One group had a verse from the last supper and did not take it to seriously. They drew a stick figure representation of the last supper, and because it amused them they put someone laying on the table. So at the end I am runing a little late, so I gather all of my stuff and just sit on a table figuring I can put it up early in the week, before boy scouts use the room. Thus, I had a on the table five pairs of hand cuffs, bandanas tied as blind folds and at the top of a stack a picture of someone laying on a table and since it is non-detailed stick figure one could interpert that this stick figure is bound, this image is make complete by the word submission written at the top of the page. Anway a pre-school teacher (and why she was in there, I don't know) was concerned. I don't know if she thought some weird S&M parties were going on or what, but that is how I got in "trouble".

Saturday, October 02, 2004

In Training

It is scary to think about but I have been a youth minister for over a year, and I am just now getting formal, specific ministry training! Yesterday I got back from a conference on Worship. The entire ministry staff of Old Capitol went and it was really cool. I unfortuantly was not able to stay for the entire thing but I did get to attend two seminars on Creativity (worship and sermons respectivly) which were both good. The best part though was the conversations I had on the way up with the pastor and parish visitor and on the way back with the pastor and worship cordinator.

And two weeks ago, I got to go to a specific youth ministry workshop in Evansville. That was really cool, and I definatly got a lot out of that. I especially liked because it was structured to create interaction with other youth workers, and out of that I got an idea for a totally sweet summer retreat/camp that I so want to make happen.

Friday, October 01, 2004

In Response . . .

This is in response to the anonymous poster. First of all, think you kindly for leaving a comment and I wish you had signed a name so I know who you are, because even though we will inevitably agreeing to disagree I would still like to talk about the issues. Since I don't know who you are (or if you will ever read here again), this seeems to be the best place to respond. If anyone else reading cares, here is what I am responding to:

First of all I probably don't need to retake a government course since I am cetified to teach said course on the secondary level, so I am well aware of the necessity of checks and balances. However, the supreme court still has to much power. If you search the constitution you will find absolutly nothing about judicial review. The Supreme Court technically does not have the power to overturn laws. The court did successfully establish this power in 1803 with Marbury v. Madison and completly upset the checks and balances. There are the no checks on the supreme court whatever the majority of nine people says becomes the law and the only thing that can change it is a consitutional ammedment. If that is not to much power for nine people, then I would like to know what is. This is further agumented by the problem that the supreme court has zero accountability. The legislative branch and the Executive branch are subject to the people, but the supreme court justices can only be ousted by impeachement. While, I don't think justices should run for office, they still need some sort of accountibility. To illustrate the point of the Supreme Court's (over)power, if one of the liberal leaning judges were to die tonight and a Bush appointed judge would take their place, then woe v. wade would be overturned. The domestic policy for over 20 years and legal precedent can all be changed by one person. Once again, how is that not having to much power?

In response to the second point, I never said I wanted a theocracy. However, I do believe there is such a thing as Truth and I believe that this absolute truth should act as a moral compass. Yes, I realized that this makes me a "close minded" and possibly "religious fanatic" but telling me that I a wrong and that I should not allow my personal conviction to influence my political decisions is just as or more close minded. And I agree with you, I think the legal process should decide the issue of same sex marriage, not the arbitriary power of the Supreme Court. I do think that states should have the right to decide. However, if any of the multiple referendums on the ballots this election do pass, then it will eventually end up as a case in the supreme court. Which if we go back to my original post was my whole thing to begin with.

Finally, for everyone else reading this I still would love to here your opinions as to who I should vote for in the upcoming election, and if you think I am wrong about any of the above, tell me that too.