Linkage Buuuddy (see Pauly Shore in Encino Man for pronunciation)

Here are three links that you should check out; one that scares the crap out of me, another that brings me hope and another that is just a really cool idea. Thanks Josh for two of the links.

Can you match 'em up (it's kind of a no brainier)?

WOOFF: Worldwide Opportunities On Organic Farms.

Jesus Camp.

Blueprints For Church.



After The Disconnect

There is this unhealthy habit I have developed over the years of becoming extremely passionate about something for a period of time and then suddenly and unexpectedly becoming disinterested in the subject all together. The speed at which the disconnect comes is in itself very frightening.

The latest “disconnect” I have experienced and been a bit saddened by is from photography. Its seems like within the period of a few days (although I’m sure it had been in the works for a few months) I went from being extremely dedicated and overjoyed by the stories I told and the pictures I shot too having zero desire to even pick up my camera.

I have thought about the many reasons that may have led to this most recent disconnect and they range from personal struggles to the fear that to move any further into photojournalism would have meant working for a newspaper or starting my own business, two things which I have no desire to do.

But as recently as yesterday I started thinking about picking my camera back up (after a 2 month break) and finishing the story about Jeff’s battle with cancer or at the very least just taking some pictures of the last days of a fading summer in the city of Seattle.

Until that time comes, I wanted to share a couple of photos from the last day I spent with Jeff. In these shots he was preparing to go to his friend Johns house (his A.A. sponsor) for the first sober barbecue he has been to in many years. There is a shot of Jeff shaving (he loves looking “sharp”) and another of him rolling his own cigarettes.

I love watching the guys at the Bread of Life Mission roll their own cigarettes, it seems more like an art form than a habit.


Living In Community

Sometimes your spirit is spoken to in such an unexpected way that it calls to remembrance a need for relationship you had almost forgotten about.

Tonight, for the first time in over 9 months, I attended a church service of sorts. The scary part for me was that I actually enjoyed the setting, the feel and the people (the highlight of the evening was when the "worship team" played a Pete Yorn song!). This is not a normal occurrence for me. My past history with church has always come off as forced, awkward and very out of place. My friend Parker told me about this church that was trying to live missionally (i think that means a church that is more outward focused than inward) within the community that surrounded them. They had bought an old church, renamed it The Abbey, held candlelit services and allowed two or three guys to live on premises to take care of the church and follow a semi monastic life (daily prayers, weekly meal together, etc.).

The thing that first peaked my interest was the fact that the guys who live in The Abbey don’t have to pay rent. Because of my current living situation this sounds like a good deal (I have to move out on the 1st of September). Obviously they want you to do work around the building in exchange for your free room and board but its something like 9 hours a week, not a big deal.

Now I have to tell you that when I moved up here from Seattle last June I had pretty high hopes for living in a solid, Christ focused community of believers. Unfortunately my time with YWAM did not become what I had hoped it would. My expectations of community were not shared by most of the staff. Not to say that they were unrealistic expectations, I just came to the wrong group of folks with the expectations I had.

So now I have an opportunity to not only have a good living situation but also be involved in a community of people that are committed to living in community. I will be sitting down to speak with the pastor (he goes by the title of Father Travis) sometime this week and I hope to share my expectations and see what his are for this community. This could be an amazing group of people to live and work with and I’m quite excited at the prospect of it.

I also wanted to share something a guy named Phil told me tonight. Phil lived at this monastery in Oregon for a month and while there was intrigued by the hermit that lived on the hill. The hermit had lived on the hill alone for over 20 years. The monks told Phil that they all aspired to attain this life of devotion and solitude but that you couldn’t even be considered to live that way until you had devoted at least 20 years of service to the monastic community.

Phil then went on to explain how when he had arrived back in Seattle he saw how living in an urban setting could be very much like living the way the hermit lived but without the healthy sense of self derived from a lifetime devoted to a community. Phil told me of the importance of community and how we become very unhealthy and lonely without it.

As I walked to the bus stop I thought back on all of the times that I have tried to live life outside of a community with the hope that things will be better on my own. It’s a lot easier to deal with 1 than with 10. Understandably community will take many forms as your life progresses (marriage, family, friends) but the fundamental part that I often struggle with is the fact that we are made to be in community. We are made to be encouraged and brought into question by those that care for us and know us.

The myth of the self made man (woman) who needs no one is just that…a myth.


A Step Back

I was reading a blog kept by a major church leader here in Seattle and my heart sank. To be honest, along with my heart sinking so did my spirit. I held back tears as I made my way home from the YWAM office (the non profit organization I work with).

The entry that had brought so much pain was written by a man I assume deals with a good bit of hurt himself and has built walls and put people in boxes in order to try and preserve his own heart. In this entry the man spoke of other believers from a haughty place that I believe exists only in his imagination.

Why did this affect me? For the simple reason that I have struggled so much with the church in America in the last few years and feel so out of place because I have chosen to take a step back and not form opinions on the “hot” issues that surround evangelical circles from Seattle to Atlanta and every where in-between.

I don’t have an answer for homosexuality, war, democrats, republicans or any of the other million issues that seem to divide and polarize Christians and in turn make them irrelevant and irrational to an already skeptical world.

Is it the worst thing in the world to NOT have an answer for everything? Everything I see around me screams a resounding YES!!! You must have a position for everything. And not only must you have a position and opinion on everything but you must also vocalize and publicize that opinion to everyone, whether they ask for it or not.

I’m not much into movements, revolutions or anything like that but I would like to say that the Emergent Church has some very good processing going on in a lot of the areas I am struggling with (oh crap, now I’m promoting a movement I don’t even know that much about, Lord save me from the comfort of piddly answers to unanswerable questions!). One of these Emergent fellows (its funny that I use a capitol E to denote the “importance” of this movement) named Brian Mclaren (I think he’s one of the main guys behind this whole conspiracy) said something along the lines of how the church has plenty that it disagrees on and how we should be known for what unites us and not what divides us. Well said Mr. Mclaren (sorry I cannot find the source for that quote, you'll just have to trust me on this one).

This entry is a bit of a milestone for me as I have not to a large degree publicized much of anything in the way of my feelings or thoughts on the church in America. I used to hide behind pat answers to life’s hard questions but I don’t find comfort in those answers anymore.

A lot of my answers went out the window that February day in 2004 when I stood in front of a tree in a Cambodian orchard and read a sign that told of how Khmer Rouge soldiers took babies by their feet and swung their helpless bodies headfirst into the trunk of that tree until they cried no more. It made it very hard for me to think of explaining to the mother of said baby that it was in Gods plan for her baby to die that way, maybe that’s because she wasn’t their for me to tell her that since she had been beheaded and thrown into a mass grave only a few feet from the tree where her baby had been murdered.

I think that God has an answer for all of this; I just don’t want to pretend to know what it is.


What I Am Not

There’s this scene in Fight Club where Tyler Durden is preaching to the audience about how the things they own don’t make them what they are and in short, spastic bursts he blurts out “You're not how much money you have in the bank. You're not the car you drive. You're not the contents of your wallet. You're not your f*ckin' khakis!”

I’ve been thinking that maybe he should have added that you’re not your superfluous blog posts.

A few months back I met a girl who knew more about me from my blog than she did from real life interactions and conversations. The funny thing about blogging is that you can present things, topics, arguments, whatever with all of the pomp and pizzazz that seems to be lacking from your real life interactions. I can create a world that I have complete control over. Words are spelled perfectly, sentences structured and restructured to sound and evoke the emotions I am trying to make you feel.

Writing can be a very manipulative thing and maybe that’s why I am drawn to it. In a world of uncontrollable circumstances I find solace behind my keyboard. They Y key will always produce a Y on the screen when I push it. Don’t mistake what I am saying with a kind of demonization of writing. I love to read other peoples writing and I love the way it can twist and manipulate things into something larger than what it is or was.

My life is not as eloquent as my blog might lead you to believe and I like that. I like that I can articulate things on here that I have a hard time presenting in person. A blog is very therapeutic in that way.

Therapy or not, its important to me (I wont call it a value of mine but its close to that) that I not live vicariously through my blog or anything else I do. I know that nothing I have said here is earth shattering (I’m past the stage of trying to write on “original” content) but it’s important for me to say it. There is something about writing a thought down and sharing it with a group of people that brings a certain validation to it.

Sometimes I have this fear that I will meet people who have only known me through my blog and find our meeting to be a complete letdown, lacking all of the witty, articulated, and well put together statements that seem to make up who I am in blog form. So if you chance to meet me offline and in the flesh, please be gracious and patient with me.

I am not my superfluous blog posts.


For the Future

I just finished watching Design E2 on my local PBS station so green design is on my mind.

Tonight I learned that a building in lower Manhattan, the Solaire, has been made to process the air it puts out to be cleaner than the air it takes in, and that absolutely baffles me.

We can recreate the things we make in ways that not only enhance and enrich our lives but also the planet on which we exist.
No, this is not fantasy, science fiction or a Hollywood blockbuster film. The concept of Green design is a real and practical answer to the problems of pollution and energy use we have faced since the Industrial Revolution began.

Its funny but even as I write this I ask myself why I should care about all this environmental stuff. I mean aren’t these things very trivial in the grand scheme of things?

You know the Jesus-is-coming-back-tomorrow-so-let-it-all-burn scheme of things?

Seriously Corey, you only care about this hippie stuff because you live in Seattle, a city known for its laid back West coast liberal attitude towards life, politics and the environment. You’ve just been brainwashed by the romantic ideals that come from being surrounded by a large body of utopian dreamers and out-of-touch burnt out leftovers from the 60’s “love and peace” generation.

These are all things I ask myself on a weekly basis, and are answers too which in varying degrees may be truer more often than I would like to admit. But even with all of those variables being thrown into the stew of my thought process I still don’t see the harm in being a “forward” thinking individual. Is it really so bad that I explore and wrestle with the idea that we produce, consume and waste in ways that have great potential to effect life on this planet for not only my generation but many generations to come?

I see more harm in choosing to do nothing with the information I’ve found than to try and figure out better alternatives to the way we live our lives. I mean it’s hard to mess up what’s already been destroyed.

I pose this question to you: What is our responsibility in this generation to the generations of tomorrow?

Any thoughts? Any answers?


Bikes 4 Indonesia

Michael Wong is, no joke, one of the most intriguing and inspiring guys I know. Amongst his many accomplishments he has successfully created and converted an old Mercedes Benz from running on diesel fuel to a veggie oil machine (he even soldered together the 15 gallon aux tank that fits quite nicely into the back of his trunk).

Mike wont toot his own horn so I am going to do it for him.

A recent trip to Indonesia took root deep enough in Mikes soul that it has prompted him to journey over 4500 miles across America by bike in an attempt to raise money for various non-profits operating in Indonesia, the main one being Bikes 4 Indonesia, the organization he created after he saw the deplorable and unsafe conditions of one of the most used forms of transportation, the bicycle.

Mikes idea is to have folks sponsor him per mile (2 cents a mile+4500 miles= $90.00) in an effort to buy and ship over the much needed replacement bicycle parts. Just 30 bucks will buy the needed parts to make one bike safe enough to ride on. The Bikes 4 Indonesians vision statements reads, “Bikes 4 Indonesia wants to assist other organizations with relief efforts, as well as repairing the simple machines, bicycles, that we would have put at the curb 5 years ago.” This is a simple and practical way to restore community to Tsunami ravaged areas.

So please spread the word, link his site and pray for his trip. He is here with me right now in Seattle and will be leaving out tomorrow morning to begin the first leg of his 2-month journey. I recorded a small “interview” with him and in it he explains his vision much better than I can.

Click below to listen to the interview and check out his site, www.Bikes4Indo.com. He’s a good guy riding for a great cause.



You know what, writing blog entries uses up a lot of energy for me. As of late, my energy supplies have been a bit taxed so my blog posts have been further apart and less in depth. Bear with me though. I'm working to get my boundaries (alone/quiet times) set back up and once I do I’ll have the energy required for me to articulate what I want to say.

It’s amazing to me how much of my energy is used up by doing seemingly simple things. For instance, you wouldn’t think that attending two get togethers (a pancake feast and Katie's birthday party) on the same day would absolutely drain me, but it did. I took the opportunity today to jump on the bus and spend the half the day walking around Discovery Park alone. It was great!

I'm still working through all the ins and outs of being an introvert in a totally extroverted world. Living in a city does not help. The sound of loud cars and fire engine sirens still annoys me after hearing everyday for a year straight.

I'm moving out of the townhouse I’ve been living in for the last year and am currently praying for a quieter, more laid back atmosphere to become available for me to rent. I love the city, but why are humans so loud!

Look for something more substantial (as far as writing goes) in the next few days.


A Little Of This And A Little Of That

The following items were read in a book, heard in a movie or processed in my mind over the period of the last few days. They are as follows:

1). Intergenerational Remote Tyranny: our tyranny over future generations through the effects of our actions today (an extreme example of this would be the plutonium form of nuclear waste that has a half-life of 24,110 years, a decay of ten half-lives is required before a sample is considered to be safe. That’s a lot of crap for future generations to look forward to.) The brilliant William McDonough in his book Cradle to Cradle coined this term.

2). “And we will probably be judged not by the monuments we build, but by the one’s we destroy” said Aida Louise Huckabee of the destruction of New York’s magnificent Pennsylvania Station.

3). Rarely is their anything custom about products made for “customers”. For the time being, consumer is a very fitting term.

4.) “Daddy, what were forests like?” Saw this one attached to the bumper of a car parked in front of my house.

5.) In a discussion with Pat about war he pointed out that war is the norm with peace being the unfortunate exception to the litany of violence in the world. We then explored how this concept plays out in our relationships with the various people in our lives. Maybe the real question is not how to stop conflict or even war, but to learn to interact and grow within the turmoil. I know, that sounds defeatist, but then again you cant always have victory over everything.

6.) For those of you following the progress on Jeff, I heard through the grape vine that he has been diagnosed cancer free! Amen.

A “normal” post will be forthcoming.


To Us.

I know, I know. I should keep to a blogging schedule. At least that’s what all the online blogging “how-to” manuals suggest…hold on.

Stop. This post will not be what I intended it to be.

It’s an illusion. Our lives. The things we wear (or the things that wear us), the car we drive, the God we follow (maybe I mean to say the way we follow Him, because you do understand we are conditioned to worship Him the way we do).

Why is it that something as simple as someone squatting behind a dumpster and urinating on the asphalt brings everything back into perspective for me? Why does it take someone else’s degradation to remind me of the thin veil that separates my actions from theirs?

Does anyone else struggle with this stuff or is it that everyone has struggled with their own humanity, come to grips with it and moved on, leaving me to figure this one out on my own (well that sounded very self deprecating).

Some people run to the city in an effort to lose themselves, hoping to become something they simply couldn’t become living around people that they had grown up with and knew them all too well. I came here and unintentionally ran headlong into myself.

Where others saw a hiding place I saw only the darkest corners of my life being illuminated by the darkness of others.

End post.


Josh Brown On War

I would suggest reading through my friend Josh Browns recent posts on war. I found it very intriguing and provocative.


The Next Industrial Evolution

Löb Strauss, a German born New Yorker who took on the more English name of Levi and started a clothing company that would go on to become a hallmark of the American image, said this of building a customer base before consumerism had taken a hold in the psyche of the American population, “The problem is not to know how to produce the goods, but to know how to produce the customers.” A historian in the 8-part PBS documentary called New York quoted this as he spoke of the beginnings of culture as we know it today. This fascinating documentary put together by Ric Burns covers New York City from when it was nothing but an island inhabited by three to four hundred Manahata Indians to the fall of the Twin Towers in 2001.

In this particular part of the series World War 1 had just ended and the industrial revolution was rapidly gaining strength. Consumer goods were beginning to be marketed on a mass scale with the advent of the assembly line. The relatively unexplored realm of advertising was being delved into with new advances in radio broadcasting technology. The Age of the Appliance was coming to fruition. Electric irons, washing machines, refrigerators, freezers and a plethora of other household items that today seem indispensable simply didn’t exist in homes until as recently as the 1950’s and 60’s.

Hearing all of this prompted me to start thinking about how in less than 50 years an entire planet had been radically changed. The effects of technology, good and bad, had impacted every corner of the globe in some way. I was talking to my friend Mike about how society has changed more in the last one hundred years than in all the centuries that have preceded it. We live in one of the most exciting, scary and overwhelming times humanity has ever seen.

Along that same vein, it has appalled me to see the way our insatiable appetite for technology and all that powers it have devastated the earth in ways that we didn’t think was possible. Entire mountain ranges leveled, forests that stood for thousands of years wiped out in less than a decade, entire societies brought into a crazed and degrading form of slave labor simply to save a few pennies and turn a bigger profit for someone down the line (and I mean way down the line).

It wasn’t until after a few days of wrestling with how we came to be the society we are today that I found some hope (because as a human I am prone to try and find light in the blackest of nights) in this a simple yet profound thought; the same power that started this culture of consumption could also be the thing that is used to reign it in and change what we use and how we use it. The same advertising agencies could “propagate” a different message to the masses, one that teaches us how to use what we already have to accomplish what we thought could only be done by this product or that.

I have begun the research process
of looking into already existing ways of bettering the relationship between consumables, consumers and everything in between. Please, feel free to dialogue with me as I work through this process. All comments, suggestions and thoughts are more than welcome (Actually, I believe they are needed, especially to have a well rounded perspective of these issues).