Archive for February, 2015

When God Made Girls

Recently, every time a certain song comes on, the women in the trucks immediately demand that the station be changed. As a result, some of the guys refuse. And what little peace was present is broken for the time being. Actually, I think the only reason some of the guys like this song is because the girls are so adamantly opposed to it.

The song in question: God Made Girls, by Rae Lynn.

Honestly, I’ve never really paid attention to the song. I think it’s kind of a joke. And I don’t think it was ever meant to have the impact that it does on the Feminist movement.

This being said, I do think this is a funny song due to the reactions it receives each time it is played on the radio.

No, I don’t think girls (women) were made by God to wear skirts, flirt, and give us (men) reasons to do things. God made girls to be the companion that man needed to be in communion.

You see, God made girls for a reason: to live as the equal, opposite, and other half of man. God made girls to that both boys and girls would know what it means to love. To fight for someone. To live together as one. God made girls so that mankind (both male and female) would be in His image.

So God created human beings in his own image, in the image of God he created them; male and female he created them.
– Genesis 1:27

When God made man, something was missing.  He needed a helper (Gen. 2:18).  And after all the wild animals of the fields and the birds of the sky failed, God took a side of man that he did not know that he possessed and made woman.  And when he was her, he knew in an instant what it was to live in communion with someone.  He saw her, and his heart was filled with love, joy, and all the unspeakable emotions of pure bliss.

You see without girls, boys would not know how to truly live.  God knew what He was doing.

So we can laugh and smile about a song that irritates the [edit] out of people, but we know that God made both man and woman for a purpose: to live together as one.  To live together in communion with one another, and the world around them.

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Art, Photography, and Fire

Life has been crazy. It always has, I just sometimes forget to ignore it at times. You see, today (well, yesterday) was Valentines Day. It was also the Mardi Gras Celebration here in Soulard (the second largest, right after Batton Rouge and NOLA if you believe the internet these days). As usual, it was a [edit] show with tons of drunk people, loud music, and yeah, that’s about it. Other than that, the adventure has been “uneventful.”

Uneventful. Yeah, right. If you can believe that, I have some ocean-front property in Kansas that I’m also trying to sell.

You see, life is not, nor will it ever be, a tamed animal within a cage where you can look at it from a safe distance and proclaim, “that’s nice.” No, life is an adventure and a jungle full of surprises, fears, hazards, and joys. It is comprised of the most extreme highs and devastating lows. It will build you up just as quickly as it will tear you down.

Barbarian Lover Barbarian Warrior

As before, I mentioned that yesterday was Valentines Day.  The Hallmark season of love and affection.  And lets not forget the roses and chocolates that come with that profession of love.  You may be wondering to yourself why the above paintings are just hanging out up there, staring at you.  Well, the simple reason: Love.

Several years ago, I stumbled across the idea of the Barbarian; the Lover and the Warrior.  You cannot have one without the other, just as you cannot separate the two.  The passion runs to deep.  So, we have the warrior and the lover, two distinct characteristics of the same individual (the Barbarian).  Ever since that day (way back when I was still attending Anderson University and attempting to discover what I truly believed) I have done my best to live the life of the Barbarian; a life that is full of living and loving.

This progressed into my life motto: We Live, We Love.  It is tattooed on my wrist, a daily reminder that no matter our struggles, nor the chaos that surrounds us, to fully live, we must learn to love.  And to fully love, we must learn to live.

You see, we must be constantly learning or we die.  It’s that simple.

On a side note, the above paintings will be showing at the 33February show hosted by MySLArt.org, and although I will be unable to attend the gallery reception, I hope that if you find yourself in the St Louis area, you go support these amazing artists.

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A couple weeks ago, I got the opportunity to attend a huge event.  An event like no other.  It was a night full of the Holy Spirit.  Surrounded by inspiring music, some amazing praise and worship, and thousands of individuals seeking out God in their individual journeys, I felt the love pour over me once again.

This was Winter Jam.

For a while, I felt lost.  I felt as if nobody could understand the chaos that was happening in my life.  Like a ship lost at sea, with no way to guide itself home.  And as I sat there, beside people that I had met minutes before, I knew that I was home, no matter where I found myself to be.  That’s the power of love.

I met some amazing individuals that night.  High School students.  Their parents.  College students.  Wanderers.  Thinkers.  All lovers and warriors willing to take a stand for what they believed.

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Oh, I’ve also been keeping myself busy with AmeriCorps St Louis Emergency Response Team.  We’ve been having adventures all across the state of Missouri, all of us eagerly waiting to respond to the next disaster or wildfire.  We’ve been doing a lot of Glade Restoration projects; cutting out cedar and burning them in piles to open up the natural areas where native grasses and wildflowers thrive.  It’s been interesting to see the difference between how MDC does it in the SE part of the state and then wander on over West with DNR who does it differently.

Neither are wrong, they just do it differently.  It’s an interesting perspective on conservation.

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We’ve gotten close to wanting to kill one another (you may think I’m joking about this, but who really knows).  We bicker and we go back and forth at times with complaints and opinions, but truly, we all love one another.  We are all about that love, y’all!

In all seriousness, every group is going to have it’s issues.  This is what happens when you put 37 individuals together for an extended amount of time.  Yes, it’s not perfect.  Yes, we screw up.  But in the end, we must ask ourselves if it is really worth it.  I already know the answer to that question.

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So, if you take anything out of this post, let it be love.  And even though I am up at all ends of the night/morning assisting at the Emergency Warming Shelter (all you Second Years owe me!), I love what I do.  I love the life that God has put before me.  Even with the struggles, heartaches, and pain that often accompanies the adventure.  And what I love most are the lives that I have crossed paths with, those friendships that span across the nation and around the globe.  May God continue to bless you and pour out His love upon your life.

Heroes in a Culture Where Heroes Don’t Exist

I was reading Matthew Desmond’s On the Fireline: Living and Dying with Wildland Firefighters this past week and came across a couple passages that struck me as odd, unfamiliar, and surprisingly understandable.  It was in a chapter about the mentality of how wildland firefighters assess and face risks each day.  Within his firecrew, Desmond asked if they were ever afraid on a fire, if they ever experienced fear.  Their conclusion:  No.  There is no risk on fire.

They believe that if you follow the 10 Standard Firefighter Orders and the 18 Watch-Out Situations, the risk associated with their profession will be mitigated and no harm will come to them.

The passage that struck me the most was after one of the crew members received a note from Arizona Diamondbacks player Matt Williams in which was scribed, “To the Elk River Fire Crew: Keep fighting fires, saving lives, and being heroes.”  The crew member framed the napkin and posted it in the conference room, then the story continues as follows:

When they saw it, crewmembers keeled over in laughter because Williams actually thought wildland firefighting is a dangerous profession whereas my crewmembers didn’t see it that way at all.  Whereas those outside the firefighting world believe firefighters “put their lives on the line every single day,” that they are “paid for their bravery,” as William Goode expressed it, most of my crewmembers conceptualize their profession as devoid of danger.  To them there are no heroes, for there is no risk.

Wildland fire is full of its hazards, its risks.  Some would even go as far as saying that it is one of the most dangerous professions, and yet, the men on the line truly believe that heroes cannot exist among them.  Oh, they see the risks, we all do, but we take steps to mitigate them and then shove those thoughts that tell us “we could die today” into the back of our heads.  They are a distraction.  And we know that one moment of hesitation could mean death.  Or worse.

Just over a year and a half ago, 19 members of the Granite Mountain Hotshots lost their lives to the flames.  We remember them as heroes who paid the ultimate price.  They were in the wrong place at the wrong time.

Wildland firefighting is extremely dangerous (sorry, mom!).  In an instant, situations can change, the fire can blow up on you, and that moment of hesitation can kill you.  Or a member of your crew.

All wildland firefighters know that risk.  So do our military forces in the midst of conflict.  Police officers who walk our streets.  Structure firefighters who rush into burning buildings.  And so many others who face dangers each day.  It’s part of our profession.  Part of our calling.

We don’t consider ourselves heroes.  We are just doing what we are called to do.

In the aftermath of the Joplin Tornado (2011), I met a man who people called a hero.  His actions saved a handful of nurses and numerous patients in the hospital after it received a direct hit from the EF-5 vortex.  An ordinary, messed up individual.  Just like you or me.  A hero.

He told me one night that he was no hero.  He didn’t deserve to be called a hero.  He just did what he knew was right.  What he hoped someone would do for him.

There are no heroes.  Only broken people who do the right thing when the world needs it most.

And yet, heroes surround us.  Individuals who possess the courage to take a stand, even when their strength fails them.

As one of my favorite bands, Superchick, puts it: “Heroes are made when you make a choice.”

A friend of mine asked me before I hot here, just when we were all shipping out, he asked me “Why are you going to fight somebody elses war? What do y’all think you’re heroes?”  I didn’t know what to say at the time, but if he asked me again, I’d say No.  I’d say there is no way in hell.  Nobody asks to be a hero.  It just sometimes turns out that way.
– Black Hawk Down