Wednesday, November 30, 2005

CONTEST!!! Help the Cubicle Reverend Come Up With A New Title


I do not like "Gaurding My Joy Among The Thorns" as my title. And quite frankly I do not feel like going through the time to think up another one. So I am going to leave that to you to come up with a new title for the blog and you have to explain why you chose it and what it means. Please keep it clean. I am a Cubicle Reverend after all. But they can be funny, serious, whatever. What are the rules? Keep your explanation relatively short and they have to be in by 12/09/2005. Include your e-mail so I can contact you to let you know you won and to get mailing information to get your prize. And what is the prize:
1st place gets my 3 CD set, The Cubicle Reverends Favorite Songs. A copy of Mike Yaconelli's Dangerous Wonder. and my undying gratitude.
I'll pick 3 runners up and they'll get the CD's as well.
Anything I like I'll publish on the blog.
E-mail all entries to cubiclereverend@yahoo.com.

posted by Out Of Jersey | 2:25 PM | 16 comments

Boring, Boring, Boring


I try to avoid the discussion of politics on this blog for the basic reason that too many Christians have replaced the true faith. And quite frankly I am finding the whole subject a little boring. It is the same thing over and over again between the right and the left. I've listened to both sides and have not found much in the way of serious thought. And at Shakespeare's Sister is the article lacking any sense of irony entitled Breaking News: Bush Full Of S*** . Is it just me or have the American public become a bunch of whining babies. I've dealt with the public for over 15 years and see this as a matter of fact constantly. Don't believe me? Listen to someone order at Starbucks. I worked in a cafe for a few years. They proudly order their cafe mocha with pride, but when you ask them what size they want they look at you with the dumb expression like the little hampster stopped running in the wheel. I am blessed beyond measure for the good things God has given me in my life and one of the greater joys is to share those blessings with others.

And I admit I am writing this out of anger. A dangerous thing for me to do. I do not have that gift of subtlety like my esteemed colleague Millinerd. Unfortunately Shakespeare's Sister has gotten the brunt of that frustration. It could have just as easily been a conservative blog as a liberal one. I've been down both the roads and found they both lead nowhere. I either became legalistic or soft on my stances of sin, helping the poor, or whatever. I too want peace in Iraq and for our boys to come home. But the fact of the matter is they are there and people are dying. What are our options? Leave too soon and those who wish to destroy us think we are becoming weak and soft. Leave too late and we look like we look like we are trying to take over the country. I too can yell peace, or freedom, or any other noble virtue. I've been hearing it very loudly from a lot of corners. But I wonder if we really know what it means to have these virtues or what it costs to retain them?

posted by Out Of Jersey | 12:58 PM | 0 comments

What The Cube Heads Are Talking About


Don't Call Me Veronica explains the rules of the Christian Marketting game and gives highlights of the bloody mess that comes in the aftermath.

Millinerd looks at the Bod and righteousness. Does this shirt make me look fat?

My favorite Lutheran Pastor Burr In The Burgh gives a vampires look at Jesus.

Winterr's Words has issues with the death penalty.

And Consistent Inconsistencies raises his glass.

UPDATE!!! I do not know if this interview is for real or not. It seems like a joke, but considering the world we live in I'm not really that supprised that someone feels this way. What am I talking about? Click here to find out. I don't want to spoil the suprise, it more than speaks for itself. Big props to Necrotic Matriculation for bringing this to my attention.

posted by Out Of Jersey | 6:05 AM | 0 comments

Tuesday, November 29, 2005

Early Morning Prayer


I am not a morning person. Ever since I started working a second job at night I am lucky if I get to bed by 10:00 PM. So when I was asked to attend a mens prayer meeting on tuesday mornings at the ridiculous hour of 6:00 AM I missed a few times. OK, up until today I missed every time. My pastor was in the army so he's used to bounding out of bed full steam ahead. So this time I willed myself to come. I willed so hard that I had a serious bout of insomnia. So in to church I march, at 6:30. At least I made the effort to get there. From the chapel I hear these pleas and cries that I knew weren't coming from the men in the prayer group. So all throughout prayer I am fighting to stay awake and asking myself who was that man crying out so passionately for the father? I come to find out it was the Korean pastor whose congregation meets in our church. On top of that he is there every morning at the same time crying out passionately for God. This is a practice common to Korean christians on account it is a devotional practice of Budhists and they want to show that Christians can be just as devoted. Every morning, rain or shine. And I come in grumbling because I do not have any coffee.

posted by Out Of Jersey | 5:09 AM | 7 comments

Saturday, November 26, 2005

My Breakfast With Dan


I first met Dan at a poetry reading. Even though there is a good twenty years age difference we formed a quick bond. For as long as I’ve known Dan we’ve joked about someday leaving New Jersey, heading down to Mississippi and disappearing into the wilderness to write. After ten plus years we are still here in NJ. I love getting together with him on the rare occasion. As we sat eating the massive breakfasts that New Jersey diners do we get down to talking about our lives. Both of us have gone through several job changes and are hoping we can move on to something else. Both of us wants to write more but have come to a stand still. Not writers block, but a feeling we weren’t coming up with anything significant. We are poets, aren’t we supposed to write something significant? I think the question we want to ask is, “Aren’t our lives meant to be significant?” A good question. If I were to rely on poetry for the answer I’d realize that life has the potential for significance. Where ever I turn there is the spectacular!!! Didn’t Thoreau tell us to suck the marrow out of life? No. That isn’t the case. I found while leafing through my copy of Milton a note my grandmother sent me. There was no special occasion for it, she was just thinking of me. Not a very significant gesture. Much like my breakfast with Dan. An insignificant conversation made special by the fact I do have someone to have breakfast with once a month. Instead of seeking the significant out of the moment I think it’s far better to thank God and look forward to the next time.

posted by Out Of Jersey | 9:08 PM | 2 comments

Seeking the Lost


I found an interesting web sight fumbling around focussing on Christian Goths. There tons of kids out there who feel they do not fit in with Church and wind up avoiding it like the plague or going to the wrong types of churches. It's something that has always upset me about the church. Mike Yaconelli once said, "I'd rather have the kid that looks kind of scary than the kid that looks normal and really is scary." Amen to that.

posted by Out Of Jersey | 8:54 PM | 4 comments

Friday, November 25, 2005

Peter Pan Complex


You Are 17 Years Old
Under 12: You are a kid at heart. You still have an optimistic life view - and you look at the world with awe.
13-19: You are a teenager at heart. You question authority and are still trying to find your place in this world.
20-29: You are a twentysomething at heart. You feel excited about what's to come... love, work, and new experiences.
30-39: You are a thirtysomething at heart. You've had a taste of success and true love, but you want more!
40+: You are a mature adult. You've been through most of the ups and downs of life already. Now you get to sit back and relax.
What Age Do You Act?


How sad is that? I act the same age as the kids I work with.

posted by Out Of Jersey | 8:19 AM | 2 comments

Wax On, Wax Off


One the 80's beloved characters has passed on. Farewell Pat Morita. What will we ever do without Mr. Miyaghi?

posted by Out Of Jersey | 8:07 AM | 2 comments

Thursday, November 24, 2005

Zizek, Millinerd, The Cubicle Reverend, And a Dream




When Millinerd invited me to go to a lecture given by the social critic Slavoj Zizek I was more than curious to see what his reaction in comparison to mine. Though we are a product of the same youth group and our lives have paralleled in many respects there are two major differences. In our perspective as Christians we share a passion for art as an expression of faith. His focus has been visual art which looks at the big picture first then draws you in to the details. My discipline poetry which uses details to draw you to a bigger picture. He devoted a lot of time to academia which gave him access to many great minds and works. I, on the other hand, have attempted college on multiple occasions (no person should have more than one associates degree), but have spent a majority of my time in the working world. I try to use my free time to study the things I have a passion for making me a journeyman at best. Millinerd did not disappoint on his big picture analysis. I’m not going to lie, I had no clue what Zizek talking about for the most part. Fortunately Millinerd was there to explain it to me afterwards. There were two things I did understand which Zizek called the two big shocks relating to faith.

People are shocked when you say you believe in Jesus, and really do believe in Jesus.

When the new pope was named Zizek said many of his Colleagues were surprised how he believed what he said he believed. Ever have someone surprised that you area a Christian? I found out from a friend of mine that many mutual acquaintances we share were surprised to hear I was a Christian. Their reasoning being that I wasn’t in their face about it and acted inoffensively. This concerns me a bit. Am I doing something right by not acting in a stereotypical fashion? Or am doing something wrong like hiding my light under a bushel? How do people know I am a Christian? Thanks to Christian T-shirts companies I can wear my faith literally on my sleeve. Or I can take a cue from a highschooler who said that everyone in her youth group was going to carry their bibles around them at school so there’d be no doubt they are a Christian. God bless their naïve passion!!! Outside of the visual cues what shows the world we are a Christian? If we were to take the word of God seriously it’s because of our love. Not the typical love of hugs and kisses and making boo boos feel better, but a radical love that manifests itself in us through a real touch of God in our own lives. A love that is so natural and honest people will be able to see the love of God as a reality.

Shock For A Religious Person That It Really Works

These are the miracles we try to explain away. The prayers answered we attribute to coincidence. How sad is it when God does an incredible work in our lives and we either ignore it or explain it away. I was shocked at how easily I forget that when I pray God does hear and God does respond. I had been praying about the financial troubles I had been having for a while. Recently, my fortune had subtly been changing for the better. I began to attribute it to recent success. I completely missed the fact God has been hearing my prayers all along and answering them. What a novel concept. What I believe really does work. My faith is real and my prayers get heard. Wrestling with fear all this time I was talking to the wind. In fact, God has heard everything! When I told my pastor about Zizek’s believers can be shocked what they believe really works my pastor replied, “I hope it’d be a shock of joy.” Amen to that.

posted by Out Of Jersey | 7:36 AM | 4 comments

Wednesday, November 23, 2005

Congratulations For Surviving


This was sent to me in an e-mail. Though it should include at least the earlier part of the eighties as well my friends and I often wonder whether our kids will have the same fun or experiences we have. It also makes us wonder what the next generation will be like when they come of age? Makes me miss the 4th of July when we were allowed to play with fire crackers and shot off air rifles.

TO ALL THE KIDS WHO SURVIVED the 1930's, 40's, 50's, 60's and 70's !!

First, we survived being born to mothers who smoked and/or drank while they carried us. They took aspirin, ate blue cheese dressing and didn't get tested for diabetes.
Then after that trauma, our baby cribs were covered with bright colored lead-based paints We had no childproof lids on medicine bottles, doors or cabinets and when we rode our bikes, we had no helmets, not to mention, the risks we took hitchhiking.
As children, we would ride in cars with no seat belts or air bags. Riding in the back of a pick up on a warm day was always a special treat.
We drank water from the garden hose and NOT from a bottle. We shared one soft drink with four friends, from one bottle, and NO ONE actually died from this.
We ate cupcakes, bread and butter and drank soda pop with sugar in it, but we weren't overweight because WE WERE ALWAYS OUTSIDE PLAYING! We would leave home in the morning and play all day, as long as we were back when the streetlights came on. No one was able to reach us all day. And we were O.K.
We would spend hours building our go-carts out of scraps and then ride down the hill, only to find out we forgot the brakes. After running into the bushes a few times, we learned to solve the problem.
We did not have Playstations, Nintendo's, X-boxes, no video games at all, no 99 channels on cable, no video tape movies, no surround sound, no cell phones, no personal computers, no Internet or Internet chat rooms........
WE HAD FRIENDS and we went outside and found them!We fell out of trees, got cut, broke bones and teeth and there were no lawsuits from these accidents. We made up games with sticks and tennis balls and ate worms and although we were told it would happen, we did not put out very many eyes, nor did the worms live in us forever.
We rode bikes or walked to a friend's house and knocked on the door or rang the bell, or just walked in and talked to them! Little League had tryouts and not everyone made the team. Those who didn't had to learn to deal with disappointment. Imagine that!!
The idea of a parent bailing us out if we broke the law was unheard of. They actually sided with the law!
This generation has produced some of the best risk-takers, problem solvers and inventors ever! The past 50 years have been an explosion of innovation and new ideas. We had freedom, failure, success and responsibility, and we learned HOW TO DEAL WITH IT ALL! And YOU are one of them!

You might want to share this with others who have had the luck to grow up as kids, before the lawyers and the government regulated our lives for our own good. Kind of makes you want to run through the house with scissors, doesn't it?!

posted by Out Of Jersey | 6:35 AM | 6 comments

Tuesday, November 22, 2005

The Rapping Hasidic Jew


I seriously thought this was a joke. When I first heard about a rapping reggae Hasidic Jew I thought someone created another rapping Jew gimic for a little comic relief. How wrong I am! Not only is Matisyahu not a gimmick he's a legitimate talent. After hearing him perform live on the radio I was blown away by his performance. He is serious about the craft which comes out very clearly in his music. His lyrics are tight and instead of just mimicking a musical style he makes it entirely his own. He isn't a poser, he's the real deal. Which is seriously lacking in most Christian music these days. He didn't try to piggy back onto modern culture to make himself relevant or cool (which tends to fail miserably) he used the music to reflect his culture without worrying whether he's relevant or not. The music speaks for itself and does very well to stand on its own. I do not know if he'll become a mainstream success or if people will be able to look beyond him being a novelty act. Hopefully he'll be taken seriously as the artist he is leading to a strong career.

posted by Out Of Jersey | 6:52 PM | 4 comments

Two New Cube Heads


I am pleased to announce the newest members of the Cube Head team:

  1. Consistent Inconsistencies - Hailing from Florida he is new to the blogging world. Besides having a cool tatoo, he hates to write, yet he has a blog, and hates to talk on the phone, yet has a job answering them. I'm interested in getting his view on faith.
  2. Winterr's Words - A young woman from Australia I appreciate her perspective and addiction to doing surveys.

They'll be getting their T-shirts which read: Cube Head's, We Aren't Squares, in the mail shortly.

posted by Out Of Jersey | 4:18 PM | 3 comments

Monday, November 21, 2005

Does This Mean I Need To Buy A Piano?


Schroeder
You are Schroeder!

Which Peanuts Character are You?
brought to you by Quizilla

posted by Out Of Jersey | 12:30 PM | 2 comments

Thursday, November 17, 2005

Welcoming A New Cube Head


After the recent exchange between myself Notiraglass I just had to add him to the list of the few, the proud, the faitful Cube Heads on my blog roll.

But Cubicle Reverend, you hunky stud, (you may ask) How can you allow him to become a Cube Head? Because in this uptight world we live in it helps to have a little spirited debate.

So how do I become a Cube Head? There are many ways this may occur:
  1. You drink more coffee than water.
  2. You spend way too much time reading.
  3. The people who work at the Chinese Buffet, Diner, and/or coffee shop know you on a first name basis.
  4. You have watched countless hours of Doctor Who and/or Professional Wrestling.
  5. Crammed yourself into a 2 door hatchback with 7 other people. (or any similar sized car to person ratio)
  6. Went to college on 3 seperate occassions and collect associates degrees like they are baseball cards.
  7. Work in a government job for more than one year (added bonus if you manage to get fired from that job).

But if you don't feel like doing all that stuff then write something that catches my eye whether I agree with it or not.

So welcome Notiraglass. You'll be receiving your commemorative T-shirt which reads "I'm A Cube Head, Why Aren't You?" in the mail shortly.

posted by Out Of Jersey | 5:24 AM | 2 comments

Wednesday, November 16, 2005

Binding Up The Shorts of Humanity


Why are people so sensitive about everything? Have we lost all sense of irony? I thought South Park and Chris Rock cured us all of our over sensitive natures. Nope, I'm wrong. Here's what I learned from this sight:


  1. People Have No Problem At Making Fun Of Others, But When They Get Made Fun Of It Becomes An Outrage. I think we as Christians sometimes deserve to be made fun of. We ask for it. When someone jokes around with our beliefs we take it so personally. A friend of mine who is a comedian does a joke about how he looks like a disco Jesus, not to blast Christ, but because He does look like a Disco Jesus!
  2. The Intention of Those Shirts and Threadless T-Shirts Are Completely Different. Of course Those Shirts have a more vitriolic message because that's what they want! They don't want to be cute and be artistic. They want to be hard hitting and push the button. Quite frankly, even though I prefer T-shirts like Threadless, I have to admit I find Those Shirts to be quite funny.
  3. I Have Been Taught That The Best Way To Stop Teasing Is To Ignore It And Take It Like A Man. 'Nuff said there.

Sigh. We should learn to laugh out ourselves. My friends who aren't Christians (many of whom are professional stand up comedians) tease me all the time and I tease back. We don't take it so personally. If anything by being able to tease each other it makes it easier for us to discuss these things more seriously when the time comes. When it comes to politics I do take my friends words seriously to heart:

We don't talk about politics in this family.

posted by Out Of Jersey | 1:42 PM | 4 comments

To What Middle Earth People Do You Belong To?


Entish
Entish

To which race of Middle Earth do you belong?
brought to you by

posted by Out Of Jersey | 4:35 AM | 5 comments

Monday, November 14, 2005

RIP - Eddie Guerrero


I had been able to watch his career progress in professional wrestling over the years from his American beginnings in ECW. A consumate performer and athlete he always gave the business %100. Though he struggled with personal demons he struggled over the last few years to keep them in check re-devoting himself to his family. He'll be sadly missed.

posted by Out Of Jersey | 7:07 AM | 0 comments

Sunday, November 13, 2005

Be Careful What You Ask For


When I bouth a house I made a promise to God that I'd open it up to anyone in need. If they needed a place to crash, a good meal, or just a place to get away I'd give it to them. God gave me what I wanted and more. For over a week I have been over run by troubled teens who tried to take advantage of my generosity. Didn't take them long to realize that I wasn't going to be an easy pushover that would give them anything they want. Perhaps I should have thought this all the way through. Where I used to only have to worry about myself and my room mates, now I have to worry about a group of kids who try to sneak in beer and come from broken homes. I worry about what I am going to say to them, how am I going to share the love of Christ with them? Besides coming up with a list of rules of conduct for being in my home that is only a temporary solution. I have been agonizing on trying to share my faith, keep them from drinking in excess or jumping into bed with each other just because they can....

....Is it always this hard? Serving others? Service? Trying to get them to seek Him? It seems so easy to the Apostles and other fathers of the faith. They just did it. No. It wasn't as easy as it seems. They struggled with all the doubts, worries, and insecurities I did. They got more than they asked for. They asked to follow God and were given the opportunity plus a few extra added spices for flavor. I got what I asked for, but I shouldn't worry about how to serve them. Jesus promised the wisdom in that area.

posted by Out Of Jersey | 3:35 PM | 5 comments

Friday, November 11, 2005

How Do You Solve A Problem Like T.O.?


Having grown up outside the city of Philadelphia I am always interested in what is going on with the local sports teams. So as the drama which is T.O. began to unfold I watched on with a lot of interest. You have to admit the guy has talent. But that isn't enough in a town that pelted Santa Clause with snowballs. So The Eagles have bid their little princess a fond farewell and one sports castor offers some career advice that may do T.O. well to heed.

posted by Out Of Jersey | 8:48 AM | 0 comments

Thursday, November 10, 2005

Book Review: Martin Luther's Small Catechism


Martin Luther’s Small Catechism” is an extremely dry read. That is the only way I can describe it. Unlike most modern works on faith there are no jokes, no stories, or any other form of poetic license used to keep the writer interested. It’s a straight forward book of theology intended to give a basic introduction to the Christian faith. In spite of that it was a quicker read than I expected. He relied on a question and answers format to get his point across on subjects ranging from prayer, grace, and the various creeds. There are a few things that struck me about this book. First, his heavy reliance on scripture. Once again in modern books writers a lot of writers rely own words and very little quoting of scripture. If you were take out every scriptural references I’d be surprised if we were left with 20-30 pages of things he actually wrote. Second, I thought he rejected all things catholic, but I saw some influence of the Catholic Church by his use of formulaic prayer, genuflecting, and confession. It doesn’t detract from the basic principals of a grace based faith and our need to rely on Christ for salvation. This book is extremely forward thinking for its time that still impacts the church to this day. You can see how his ideas have shaped the movement of the church into modern times. It can be an extremely important read to help us remember what it means to be a Christian. In fact, his discussion on confession made me take a look at how little confession of sins there is in the church anymore. Luther recognized how we needed to be able to share of our burdens and sins with each other as believers. Unless you are a patient reader I would not necessarily recommend it to people. A friend of mine once said, “He should have just stuck to thesis.” I can’t say I disagree.

  • If you feel so inclined you can download it here for free.

  • And here is a more extensive listing of his work.
  • posted by Out Of Jersey | 6:14 PM | 2 comments

    An Appreciation


    Yet another reason for me to respect Dennis Quaid. Here is a lesser known movie of his that didn't get much notice, but is well worth it.

    posted by Out Of Jersey | 6:42 AM | 2 comments

    Thursday, November 03, 2005

    Top 5 Thursday - Movies That Move


    1. The Big Kahuna - Everything I learned about sharing my faith was from this movie. There is a right time and place for it and sometimes the best way to get started is by asking about their kids.
    2. The Station Agent - Compassion, love, and friendship can help you through difficult times.
    3. Smoke - Everyone has a story to tell and they can be worth listening to.
    4. LOTR - You life can take unexpected turns and require you to go beyond what you think you are capable of.
    5. To Kill A Mocking - It is hard to stand up for what you believe in.

    As always this was started by my esteemed colleague at Caffeinated Adventures.

    posted by Out Of Jersey | 5:35 AM | 1 comments

    Tuesday, November 01, 2005

    Journaling


    What is it with everyone and this fascination with journaling? Something that was done in the private comforts of a bedroom has come out into the open. Partly because of blogs, but I have even seen classes on how to properly journal. Add to that the cost of pens and journals these days it's amazing to see how many people have gotten involved with this. I started doing it as a writer wanting to improve my writing skill. I have almost always bought composition notebooks because they are cheap (between fifty cents and a buck) and tend to be durable. And pens were anything I could either grab from a bank or wherever. When I bought them I got bics. Cheap. I suppose I am glad people are journaling more. Eccliastes was a journal after all.

    posted by Out Of Jersey | 6:44 PM | 1 comments