Inner Dialogue...  

Posted by Matt

...posted to the web.

I'll be fleshing out my thoughts on my blog for a while here, at least, regarding the process I'm going through--that is, trying to figure out if I want to remain a high school English teacher, or find something else to do.

Feel free to provide feedback, but don't be offended if I don't comment on your comments. If I do, I'll probably email you. Otherwise, I'm trying to let people respond to me on my blog without much risk / pressure.

Anyhow, you'll see me waffle, think aloud, say some stupid, misguided, or confused sounding things--that's me, right now. All of the above. About as retarded as Hellen Keller in a sharp shooting contest.

So...anyone know any professions where I can talk, say things that I find important, get paid to learn and read and create a blog, make some phone calls, think of interesting things to get people to do, talk about Jesus, do what I can to help people live better lives, and be up in front of an audience a lot to entertain them and offer cool thoughts?

Good Day...  

Posted by Matt

...a looooong day.

Some highlights:

--the last full day of regular school this year;'s been quite a year!

--had a really tasty and filling dinner with Shannon and Maggie at Shane's Rib Shack; I've totally grown to love their hot sauce--opens up my sinuses!

--my final organizational meeting for the Ireland/England tour I'm leading this summer ran much longer than expected, but was more fruitful, as well. I'm learning WAY more that will help me prepare for any future trips I take.

--played a nifty card game with my doodz at Kenny's office. I think the table-top gaming industry has tapped our Ventrilo, cell phones, and emails, because there are now several card games that are: a.) really quirky b.) somewhat sophomoric c.) intensely geeky d.) require a great sense of strategy e.) teach you to REALLY screw over your best friends, just as they are about to win and f.) did I say intensely geeky?

--had a long, excellent, and crystalizing convo with Kenny; there are friends God provides you for all sorts of things--there's nothing like having someone you trust to talk openly with and you know they'll construe and understand you to be trying to be your most candid and honest.

--some interesting, thought provoking, scary, and exciting times in my life these days; if you're interested, I'll keep you fact, if you aren't, I'll keep you posted. If you aren't interested, why are you still reading?!!!

Filipino Soulja Boy  

Posted by Matt

If I were a missionary to a different country, I think that a good idea, along with bringing them food and medicine and Jesus, would be to teach them the wicked dance moves that our culture has to offer.

If I'm Going to Keep This Up...  

Posted by Matt

...I'm going to have to take a long, hard look at this.

In asking for heart-life change, keeping up a blog has been a project/product/habit I'd like to develop.

I've been praying over the youth ministry at Avalon, as well as for Kirk, Charles, and my best friend, Kenny. I hadn't thought to pray over my blog, since, as of now, I've only got like...three people who read this intermittently (I'm counting way back three years ago when I had another blog someplace else).

So, if you're the praying sort and want to pray for me, I'd appreciate your thoughts and prayers on my blog.

Connecting would be a big desire I have for this thing.

What do you think? What are some blogs you read (or wish you read) on a regular basis? What makes them so provocative, so interesting, so addictive?


Posted by Matt

(Want To Buy)

...a broken heart.

I've been in the church all my life (with the exception of my sorry excuse for "wild times," consisting ofthree years of not going to church and drinking too many wine coolers [so ghey...] and engaging in one or two forays into awkward premarital sex), so coming by awe and inspiriation and fire and passion for Jesus seems pretty tough sometimes.

If you, a friend, are reading this and you pray--pray that God will impart to me even a small portion of the love He has for me. I just want to fall in love with God.

I've been praying for some sort of life change--ministry? speaking? teaching? Something besides public education? No idea. But I know it's exciting and scary to contemplate, mostly because I'm praying for something new and possibly insecure and unstable, which means I'd have to rely on God more.

So, if I want to rely on God, I want to love Him. If I want to rely on Him more, I want to love Him more. I also want to love Him because I can rely on Him.

It's not my birth-nature to love God. I love me. I get nowhere loving me. I can go anywhere loving God.

I love you, friends. I know God loves you...and I know He loves me. I just really, really, really want to learn to love Him.

...that's all He really wants for me, anyhow.

Sleeping In...  

Posted by Matt


I don't sleep in often and I'm reminded why, this Saturday morning.

My back and neck are killing me.

The sunlight isn't slanting across my office in glorious beam-like fashion.

The good early morning news isn't on.

I can't get any pvp honor points in WoW because since by now, all the moronic Alliance teeny-boppers have awoken and signed on (spastically hitting all shiny objects and not employing strategy and team work to win).

Said nifty slanting light from the sun is not slanting and therefore isn't highlighting the altogether Foldger's-esque vapor whisps rising from my coffee cup.

I lost a good three hours of my Saturday to being oblivious.

Not like I get up at the butt-crack of dawn to get out there and mend the fences, feed the chickens, run seven miles, plow the back forty, and read the newspaper...but I do like to be awake and aware for three hours more of my one, truly free day of the week.

I like sleep, just like anyone else, but I don't want to sleep my life away. I'll get enough rest once I'm dead.

Time to get going--meeting Kenny for Waffle House and then Iron Man (yes, 2-3 weeks late seeing it).

I Want to Kick...  

Posted by Matt

…ass. There. I’ll go ahead and say it. Ass.

I say I want to kick ass on a Christian blog (intemperate though it may be) because saying “I want to kick butt,” while more polite or inoffensive to people’s sensitivities regarding vulgarity is…



I say “kick ass” because I intensely mean it. I want to kick it hard, enthusiastically, and in a way that changes not only myself, but those around me.

I don’t want to kick ass in a bad way, but in a good way. I want to melt face. I want to rock out. I want to be great at something.

Furthermore, I want you to kick ass. In a good way. Hard, enthusiastically, and life-changingly.

That’s why I teach. That’s why I like to talk in front of people and sort of perform for them. It’s true, I want to do an awesome job of teaching, telling stories, and providing information—but in doing so, I’m trying to offer my audience—my students—a way to consider their problems and their strengths in such a way that they realize the immense amount of hope and opportunity ahead of them.

I believe Man, while in fallen state and sinful, is capable of amazing things because of the Power God imbues him with. I believe God built you to kick ass in your own way. He didn’t build you to be mediocre, especially not in the area of your talents and skillset. He’s not looking for people made of margarine. He doesn’t want Diet Human Beings. He wants full-on caffienated, full of flavor, overflowing with soul Humans. People who are the antithesis of Splenda (c’mon, folks…it’s a substitute for good tasting sugar; do not try to convince me that it tastes the same or as good as sugar).

God wants people. He wants men and women. He knows just how imperfect you are, but not only does He love you, nonetheless, He wants to build you up to a great purpose. What do all the products in the paragraph above have in common? While they’re great, they also have their drawbacks, their inherent health risks.

The greatest health risk to Mankind today is Mankind. By the way, the greatest cure and preventative of spiritual death brought on by the horrendous scourge of Mankind is…

…Jesus, employed, enjoyed, and demonstrated by imperfect Mankind.

Back to teaching—I want to kick ass. I want to kick ass so you can kick ass. I think Jesus kicked ass (in His own, very holy and spiritual and glorious way). God, in His infinite wisdom and very poignant timing, has kicked my ass quite often in life.

How to learn to do this “ass kicking” of which I speak?

Learn. Do. Teach.

Learn, better yourself, equip yourself, arm yourself with knowledge.

Do, act, practice, try, fail, get back up, rub some dirt on it, fix the failures, try again.

Teach, help, assist, show, instruct, encourage others who are in the midst of their own trying, prepare for those who are just now starting to learn.

I’m sold out on the idea that we’re all teachers. I suck at some stuff. You rule at some stuff. It’d be great to get together so you can show me and guide me and encourage me in an area I don’t kick ass in. I’d love to do the same for you.

…rather than pulling each other down because your/my pastor has tattoos, we/you wear jeans and listen to rock music at your/my church, and you/I swear or say “sucks” or watch/read secular television/movies/books.

We all have something to learn…
…so that we can kick ass.

I’d Compliment Him, But…  

Posted by Matt

“…but I’m afraid he’d get a big head.”

That’s a lame excuse to not focus on and compliment someone on his strong areas. Trust me, everybody, including those who strut around thinking they’re all that and a bag of chips, knows they have weaknesses. Most people are insecure in some way. In fact, I’d bet that most often, the braggart is bragging because he’s insecure. He’s got to publicize just how awesome he hopes people think he is.

So…what? You’re going to be an encouraging Christian, a great leader, empowering others, mirroring the love of Christ, improving the performance of those around you…by making someone who could be freaking amazing in a particular area more insecure because they’re already insecure enough to be a swaggering braggart?

You know what really gives people “big heads?” Complimenting them on something they’re not good at. When you flatter people (aka lie to them to make them believe they possess some talent or asset they don’t actually possess), they get an inflated, or false sense of accomplishment, which creates what we think of as a “big head.”

When I work with my peers or with high schoolers, and they complain about how hard it is to get along with So-and-so, I suggest they buy that guy a Coke, smile at him, and find something authentic to compliment him on—then they’ll see if he’s really all that hard to get along with. Often, So-and-so is hard to get along with because we treat him like he’s hard to get along with.

Compliment him? Am I crazy? That jerk already has a big head as it is! I think anyone who’s afraid to pay someone else a compliment for any reason is the one with ego problems.

And what if someone is actually a sour-puss and is hard to get along with? Are we going to make it a more pleasurable working environment by labeling and treating So-and-so like a jerk?

What? Are we really, actually content to: not help him become likeable, treat him like he’s a jerk, complain about how jerky he is, and hope the jerk finally leaves so this place will finally be bearable?

That’s about as retarded as electing Hellen Keller to drive for your carpool.

If you have any hope of making your environment bearable with So-and-so around, it looks like you’re the one who needs an attitude adjustment. Again, buy him a Coke, smile at him, and find something to authentically compliment him on. I’ve yet to meet anyone (though I’m sure there’s someone who can prove me wrong) who stays a jerk to me when I treat them nice—especially when they’ve been outrageously jerksome.

The whole “more flies with honey” thing totally applies. I’ve gotten way more free drinks from grumpy waitresses than from the already-in-a-good-mood waitresses (hint: make someone’s day better by treating them awesome, and they’ll pay you back in kind).

What’s more, I’ve become more useful as a leader, often because I’m the only one who invested myself in So-and-so, the jerk. I’m the only one who can get him to do something because he trusts me and likes me for some weird reason.

Maybe because I’m the only one who doesn’t treat him like a jerk!

Believe me, I’m not perfect in this way (or any other way) and I’ve regretted many times before irreparably losing what could have been a future ally.

…oh yeah…and treating people nice is Biblical, not just pragmatic.

A list of verses where we’re commanded to love and treat one another in neighborliness:

Ephesians 4:2 Hebrews 10:24 1 Peter 3:8 John 13:34
Last thought: you are commanded by the Bible to love one another. That doesn’t mean you have to be best buddies with everyone. Some people are just a little hard to get along with than others. So-and-so might just be that rare jerk that’s a jerk no matter what. Fine. Love him from far away. Treat him kindly and patiently in the interactions you have to have with him and still buy him a coke every now and then. If he’s a jerk to you, no skin off your nose.

I Swear...  

Posted by Matt

I cuss.

I do and I think I should.

I teach English and I LOVE language. I'm not a grammar-phile, or anything, but I love the versatility and multiplicitous quality of phrase and meaning.

That love extends even to low down, dirty vulgar words.

A few things upon which my proclivity towards cursing is predicated:

1. swear words carry extreme emotional weight
2. swear words are meant to be used when you mean to voice extreme emotional weight
3. swear words are weakened and therefore cheapened when overused for less than extreme emotional content
4. swear words shouldn't be used by lil'uns because they barely understand their own emotions to figure out when to use such intense terms
5. polite conversation has very little place for swear words because they sound impolite (and most polite social situations have very little place for expressing intense cuss-worthy emotional it for personal conversations)

When you walk barefooted through your house in the dead of night in the dead of winter and crush your toe on the wooden leg of your need a cuss word. Nothing else will truly capture the intense pain-rage you're experiencing.

When you want to really tell someone to do a good job--get them pumped; push them to get hungry (not Ethiopian-hungry, more like Rocky Balboa-hungry)--telling them to kick butt is okay. Telling them to kick some ass turns on the internal fight-movie soundtrack and they will, most definitely, get in there and scrap.

***I don't think you should use swear words to hurt people. I like to try not to hurt people's feelings. You can't help doing it much of the time since you're human. But calling people names or using swear words in unkind ways is also a mis-use of verbal power.

***I've told my wife that if she's at home with no gun and someone's trying to get in, to bust out the filthiest cuss words she can at the felonious ass-munch and shout about how she's going to get her glok and bust a cap in his damned lame-ass (while calling 911 on the cell).

***The F-bomb is called the F-bomb for a reason. It's the most extreme word there is and it's become the most cheapened, sadly. People should gasp when you say it. People should get pissed when you aim it at them. You should feel a little giddy and naughty when you express that it's what you want to do to your spouse. We should keep it behind a glass plate with a little red hammer hanging on the wall next to it. I try not to use it (and fail from time to time) because it's the cuss word nuke. When you bust it out, you have no word tougher, nastier, or more extreme to use. When you bust it out, it's like playing the first that point, everyone fires all nukes.

***Don't take the Lord's Name in vain. It's a commandment, which makes it pretty danged clear. I won't argue that cuss words aren't dirty or filthy, but I don't feel much like dragging the AO's (Alpha & Omega's) name through my filth.

Hey, be a freaking human a Christian. You know when you should and shouldn't use cuss words--who is likely to be uncomfy with them and who isn't. If you realize you've offended, say sorry (but don't prostrate yourself, sheesh). Cussing doesn't make you a bad Christian. I'm fairly sure that, before my final spiritual merging with the Alpha and Omega and my vocabulary is still limited to my terrestrial imperfections, I'm more likely to say "HOLY SHIT" and then quake in fear and awe when I see my Glorious, than say "Wow! Amazing! Remarkable!" and break into some dusty hymn written in King James' English.

Main thing: we all have our problems. Some Christians gossip. Some hurt their bodies with drugs. Some argue too much. Some judge others. Some lie. Some cheat. Some steal. Some lie. Some don't pray. Some masturbate (too much? not enough?). Some cuss...doesn't mean you're crap or that God will disown you.

Maybe you think I've over-thought this and should just either cuss or not. Well, I like to have my reasons so when the world asks, I have an answer. Take my reasoning or leave it. /shrug

By the way, I'm not really much of a cuss-face. This entry has seen more cussing from me in one day than probably most of last week combined. Just making a damned point.


Intemperate Blogging  

Posted by Matt

Intemperate. Basically, we could go two routes with my self-imposed description:

1. excessively using / enjoying alcoholic beverages


2. extreme; lacking temperance or moderation

Well...the World sees Christians all over the place. Clean Christians. Sweet Christians. Blessed Christians.

...and plenty of other types of Christians, whose noses I'll probably tweak in the future.

I am an imperfect Christian. I'm a human. I sin, have sinned, and will, sadly, sin more in the future. I'm in FULL-OUT need of salvation, forgiveness, mercy, patience, and grace.

I'm intemperate.

Thank God for Jesus. Literally.

I'm not glorifying my fallen state. I'm not excusing it. I know it will seem like I often celebrate it.

But those aren't my intentions. My intention is to openly admit that I'm imperfect and therefore the kind of person that needs to be and wants to be in church.

I want to be in love with Jesus. I want to have my heart broken for my fellow fallen Man and help Jesus win their hearts.

I'm sure as H - E - Double-toothpicks not going to win hearts by : a.) acting holier than thou b.) acting perfect [which I ain't] c.) pretending like I have no idea of the forgiveness that Men and Women need.

I hope to do what I can in the name of God to show folks that I'm just as real as they are and that if God can love me, He can love you, too.

If you like what I say, woot!

If you hate what I say, I'll pray for you. I hope you pray for me (I need it)...but you probably won't because you're too busy telling me I'm going to Hell.

If you are disturbed or provoked by what I say, even more woot!

I'm just glad you're reading and I hope God grabs you by your spiritual *junk and doesn't let go until you give him your heart.

*spiritual junk = your nutsack

Raise Your Hands  

Posted by Matt

I'm intemperate!

Right...I'm a jellyfish, honestly. I think being faceless maybe helps me speak up and say some things here I might not say aloud in front of people--my friends and family are thinking, "Yeah, there are things you wouldn't say in front of people."

Well...critical things. I'll say weird things, silly things, and often, wrong things in front of people. But I try not to be critical.

So, my first target is nobody and everybody, including myself.

Dude...what is up with hand-raisers in church? They just shoot that fist in the air, tilt the head back, close the eyes, and rock out. They seem so peculiar to me...and I'm jealous of them for it.

I've raised my hands spontaneously in worship once, at Passion On the Hill in 2002, the first time I ever saw (or heard of) David Crowder.

I guess I'm just uptight...and it's annoying me. Don't get me wrong, you can worship just fine without clapping, snapping, stomping, dancing, or putting your hand in the air. But dammit if it doesn't look like I'm missing out on something.

See, the music and worship staff at Avalon Church pretty much melts face. Considering how little time they spend rehearsing compared to other praise bands, and your collective jaws will drop. Andrew Pray is really energetic and talented and Dusty has a voice that could land him the front man spot in just about any ass-kicking band out there. The dude can wail.


Beyond that, I really believe that the worship portion of church is integral to a Christian's development. It's a time to reflect, pray, participate, and get your emotions in tune with loving and being passionate with Jesus. Not too long ago, I would have sneered at the "emotional manipulation churches execute by playing flashy music." That moron had forgotten to read the part in the Bible where God commands us not just to love Him with all of mind, but also with our heart and soul.

So, I really wish I could forget about the people around me for long enough to allow myself to raise my hand and close my eyes and just let the song raise my hairs.

But, see...part of what keeps me from doing it most of the time secret holds me back.

Do you want me to tell you my secret? I think I may be ready to share it...

...I see dead people...

The peeps at Avalon rule SO much. But when I look around in worship services, get pumped by the sick-wicked tunes, feel adrenaline and happiness start to work the muscles in my jaw...and see sooooo many people staring and, at most, clapping mechanically...I want to shout WAKE UP, PEOPLE!!!

I just want people to be able to (or let themselves) access the awe God wants us to have in Him. Being caught up in awe will look different for everybody, but I know it sure as heck looks different than a comatose person staring blandly at the mega-projector-screens.

I'm okay if you don't raise your hands, if you don't clap, if you don't dance...but...but...c'mon! The music! The screens! The lights! JESUS! The Man...The Son of cutting a rug in those celestial, rugged jeans of His right there in our midst. The Holy Spirit is pounding His metaphysical fist to the beat. God Himself, wrapped in His terrifying, holy, and endless glory is headbanging that flowing silvery mane of God-hair of His....and we stand there like zombies.

Dude...worship service is practice for what we're going to be doing nonstop for eternity. We have so much going great for us at Avalon. I'm going to try and do what I can to practice my Eternal Roll (worship) better. That will likely mean I start raising my hand (whoa...crazy, I know) and singing louder (sorry in advance to those who can hear me).

Dudes, I want to light the place up with our awe. What do you think would happen if we came to church with awe in our hearts? Real OH MY GOD awe?

So...if anyone reads this before Sunday. Keep an eye out. I'm putting my hand in the air. Like I just don't care.


I'm just a suburban guy. I wish I were hardcore, I wish I were tougher, I wish I listened to cooler music, I wish I weren't a lush, I wish I had big muscles, cooler hair, and some rad tattoos, I wish I were smarter, cooler, and sexier, I wish I knew how to play guitar. Instead, I'm just a band geek, power-nerd wannabe, WoW gamer, 30 year-old dad and husband. I play french horn, I read the Vampire Chronicles as well as the Chronic-WHAT?!-les of Narnia, I like movies, but not all the snobby-artsy ones I'm "supposed" to see, and a good meal to me is Miller Lite with chicken patties topped in barbecue sauce. ...oh...and I have a big mouth.


My Inter-Web Small Group

I'm totally pumped you stopped by. Please, I urge you to comment on the blog postings here. Obviously, do what you can to be polite to your fellow inter-webbers, but also feel free to be as honest as you can.

Honestly--this is a true statement--I pray for you, my friends/readers. Whether I know your name or not, whether I know you actually read today or not, I talk to Jesus for you.

Subscribe to the "Intemperate RSS" so you can find out what we're talking about here, computer or not.

I'm sharing with you stuff that God's put on my heart and stuff that I know my mom and dad are probably embarrassed to see me write (trust me, they trained me to be farrrrrr better than this!).