On To Life

Prayers, blessings, words of encouragement and kisses on the cheek have been abundant this last week as my time at the Fremont Abbey and Seattle has come to pass. Its not an end though, just a new path, a trail that is a little less worn than the one I’ve been walking.

Seattle has changed me.

I came to this city with the hope of changing it but instead was changed by it. The people, the land, the history, the fog-laden winters and the sun drenched summers all cumulated to make this city a faithful companion.

I am leaving behind a lifetimes worth of solid relationships. The people here have loved me and welcomed me in like a brother or a long lost son. When I look back now I see that coming to Seattle was like coming home.

Thank you to everyone in this gold rush city. Thank you for loving me, for taking me in. Thank you YWAM and the good folks at the Fremont Abbey, I wish both of these organizations the best. If I did not visit with you this time around know that it is only because my time was short and the to do list was long.

And now it’s on to growing gardens, camping in wooded valleys, and building houses. On to Orcas Island and new friendships. On to living for today and loving what is in front of me at this very moment.

It’s on to life for me.


Wood Splitting Thoughts

As the logs split left and right under the heavy blows of my dull axe this thought came to my mind: is the term “freedom of speech” a contradiction?

I’ll expound. In conversations where I am criticizing the government of this country I often hear the defense that, “well, at least we have freedom of speech”, as if that single fact is supposed to make this country better than any other.

Imagine this scene: two women are talking about their husbands and how they are treated by them. The first woman tells of how her husband beats her and only allows her to leave the house twice a week, and only then to go and buy groceries. The other woman then says her husband also beats her and only allows her two trips out a week as well. But then she says she is very grateful to him, almost indebted, because he allows her the freedom to speak in his presence.

The second woman has this feeling of gratitude not because of what her husband had done for her but for what he had allowed her to do.

Here is how I see it, if you have to rationalize government’s actions with what it allows you to do than we have a problem.

Do you need to be allowed to speak? Do you need a government to be grateful to?

The fact that we are “allowed” freedom of speech is frightening in itself. I do not need to be told if I can speak, when I can speak, or what I should say when I do speak. Upon reading this you might say, “well, it is because of that freedom of speech that you are allowed to write this blog post and share it with the world”. My response to that would be that while a government in a more media oppressive society might limit my access to the Internet and the means with which to publish this entry they could not stop me from freely speaking my mind.

While the consequences for what I spoke might be different than those in America, namely I could be arrested or put to death, that still wouldn’t void that fact that I have the freedom to say what I want to say.

So when Americans say, “at least we have freedom of speech” what we are really meaning is that the ramifications within this government system may be less than those under other governmental systems.

The simplicity of this thought floored me as I mulled over its implications. I am not advocating for a change in governments, I am advocating for the abolishment of government in itself.

What Would Jesus Buy?

Last week I watched a documentary film called Black Gold. The film is about Ethiopian coffee, which companies buy it and how much the grower receives. Many of my friends have heard me rail against starbucks and most of them think it is a "cutesy" pseudo revolutionary action by me to refuse to buy any products they sell.

But when coffee is the second most traded commodity in the world you can begin to understand how important it is that the coffee grower receives a fair wage for the coffee he is growing. In the West, where consumerism rules the day, one of the most effective means of letting a company know you have no faith (or that you think they are destroying peoples lives) in them is to refuse to buy their product. For the most part, corporations are only roused from their greedy slumber by having their life source cut off. A corporation exists for one reason only, to make money. When money does not come in at the rate the corporation expects it to then and only then will it bend an ear to hear what its former consumers are saying.

So it is with much excitement I share with you that today the Ethiopian farmers won a small battle in a larger fight. Starbucks has agreed to a licensing deal for Ethiopian coffee growers that will put more into the pockets of those who grow the beans.

And trust me, starbucks did not do this because it has a heart and really cares for the plight of the Ethiopian farmer. No, starbucks changed their ways the only way real change can come about; through grassroots movements and direct action protests like the ones Reverend Billy and the Church of Stop Shopping have been heading up. Here is a video of him and his “church” storming a starbucks where you can bet there was much weeping and gnashing of teeth from the upper management:

Through the Rev. Billy site I also found out there is a new documentary coming out this summer called What Would Jesus Buy. It’s directed by Morgan Spurlock, the same guy who brought you Supersize Me and the television series 30 Days.

I cannot begin to tell you the power I believe documentary films have displayed in bringing awareness to the masses on social issues that most folks might never been made aware of.

I say be informed, it’s a wonderful way to live life.



I found this old picture on the cover of a Ric Burns documentary about the how the West was won (for the white people) and lost (for everyone else that wasnt "white"; namely the Native Americans).

It's frightening to see how Americas foreign policy appears to have this one thing in common with it's christian god; that it is the "same yesterday, today, and forever."

White man on mountiantop with American flag draped over his shoulder, gun pointed forward. Sad.



Larph has this cool "qoute generator" on his blog that I have been eyeing for some time now. Today I finally sat down and figuired out how he set it up. Now you can refesh my page and get a new qoute (well, up to the 5 I entered in). Thanks Larph.

In Response To...

Kelsey asked me in a letter “how do you fill the day?” in reference to my time on Lopez Island. Another friend of mine said he would go out of his mind if he had all that spare time on his hands.

If you’ll allow for it I’ll let you in on a little secret; inside of my mind there exists another world. Oh yes, its true. No, I have not been eating mushrooms harvested from the tops of cow turds. I simply have such an intense inner monologue going that most interactions I have with other humans almost always feel like an intrusion into this inner world.

It goes a bit beyond just being an introvert. Most conversations, blog entries, or other various forms of communication are nothing more than an extension of the vast world that exists solely in my mind.

So to answer the question of “how I fill the day?” I would reply that I do not fill it, I simply let it happen. I wake in the morning to a head full of thoughts. I lay in bed, stare at the ceiling and mentally prepare myself to face interactions that could encroach upon my inner world. One of the things that make my time on Lopez so enlightening is that I can choose to sit inside the house all day, by myself. I can sit and do nothing or everything. I usually have one or two “sit-ins” a week.

I am a homebody. This is true of me as far back as I can remember. As a child my mom would have to coax me outside to play with other kids and for many years spending the night away from home was next to impossible. I liked my home and I liked staying at home. I knew the people in it. I knew the stains on the walls, the wrinkles in the carpet, and the tinkering sounds of the heater turning on downstairs.

It is important for me to have a relatively safe, semi predictable environment to live in. The space in my mind is greatly affected by the space around me. I find it hard to live inside my head when the space around me is in constant transition. You may say “then why do you move around so much?” and this would be a very logical and fitting question to ask.

Over the years I have learned how to adapt to the various environs I find myself in. In a new place the first thing I tend to do is familiarize myself with my surroundings. I start with where I will be sleeping and work outward. Where I sleep at night is the first thing I want to know when visiting or moving to a new place. I believe I could exist in nearly any place if I knew I had a safe place to sleep at night. You are at your most vulnerable not only physically but also spiritually when you sleep.

Here is an example: I will be moving to Orcas Island for the summer to hike and camp and work a construction job on the side. The one thing that has been concerning me most about my move over there is where will I sleep? I will be staying with a family who I don’t know that well and I have no idea where they will place me. It could be on their living room couch or in a tent outside by myself. I assure you that upon my arrival one of the first things I will do is ask where I will be sleeping.

Once my sleeping spot is establishedI try to assess what noises I might hear at night, which might be sleeping near me, and the general layout of the space. In a sense I am trying to predict what I should expect to encounter at night while I am asleep.

I do this same process as I am introduced to the rest of my new environment. I do this with people as well. As a result of traveling and moving about there are very few people I feel uncomfortable around. But if I cannot get a bead on someone shortly after I meet them, on their motives and their intentions, than I usually steer clear. Most of the people I come across in life are an open book. But there have been a handful that has put me ill at ease and as a result I am wary of most everyone when I first meet them.

So there is a glimpse into how I keep myself occupied throughout the day. There is no shortage of interesting thoughts to mull over and as this is the first time I’ve ever lived alone I am cherishing the unhindered time I have to process those thoughts.

I also fill the day with baking bread, hiking and biking the island, and visiting with my next-door neighbors. Sometimes I just sit and stare out the window at the way the wind bends the tree limbs. Other times I lie down on the grass and let the warm spring sun wash over my body.

Today I went to Luke’s (one of the four boys who live next door) soccer practice. While there I sat and talked with a woman who lives on a small island of the coast of Lopez island and has to boat over here everyday to take her son to school. She told me about how they are experiencing growing pains as a result of all the vacationers who are building houses on the island. After talking with her for a while I ran across the soccer field and played king of the hill with some of the boys who were to old to play soccer.

If there is one thing I have realized from my time spent up here it is that I am a fairly simple guy who allows his life to become way to complicated by the problems of others.

If you read this entire post than I laud you and applaud you. I would also admonish you to get a life and stop reading all of the drivel that I post here.



Remaining Cognizant

Wet wood does not burn well. I know this because for the last week I have been trying to burn logs that are greener than I would like them to be. But I am man and I know how to burn water from the log. I stack small dry kindling on top of a bed of crumpled paper. Paper is lit and prayers are muttered for a greedy flame to find purchase upon a dry piece of tinder, chasing away the last vestiges of a Sunless night.

These are my morning prayers. That flame would burn quick and bring warmth to a still cold and waking world.

The blown over apple trees in the front yard bloomed last week. They smelled delicious. I stood close to blossoms and allowed their fragrance to enchant me. A small bird poked its head from the birdhouse that hung onto these crooked limbs. He chattered a warning at me, something about leaving him and his family be I think.

For the past two nights now I have heard the distant thunder of huge military planes laboring beneath the weight of their unholy cargo as they struggle to take off from an installment not far enough away from this island.

It’s only taken one month to nearly forget the life I left behind in the city. Soon enough I will return, give away my things, and leave again for another adventure. I’ll not be spending the summer months in Seattle this year. It’s off to another island not to far from the one I'm currently on. The woods have reminded me of a long lost love who I would be a fool not to follow.

It’s time for sleep now, time to let the lullaby of warplanes serenade me past this world of cognizance and into a dream state.