Friday, December 21, 2007

Jeff Tatarchuk: An Apology

I have deleted the post that previously appeared under this image. I was recently contacted by a reader who kindly informed me they were offended by it.

I apologize to everyone who was embarrassed or offended by it--that was not my intention. What was intended was a satirical/humor column about my admiration for a friend and nothing more. Apparently it did not come off that way.


Anh Pham

Thursday, December 20, 2007

Have you forgotten...

Like a moth to a flame
burned by the fire
My love is blind,
can't you see my desire?

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Heaven... not really, but you know what I mean

I'm sorry for my strange posts lately that haven't made much sense (perhaps including this one). I've been in a funk and somehow posting has helped get it out of my system.

My friend, Christy Kurtz, made a good point yesterday that in theory its good to be transparent—avoiding the facades, pushing past the posturing—but in reality it's not good living in a glass house. Not everyone will understand what someone is trying to say or intend. In addition, sometimes the message I'm trying to convey is only intended for the moment and doesn't necessarily reflect my usual situation. This post sort of falls into that category.

When I first started this blog it was my intention to be real with it. To show both the joy, sadness, and confusion I'm experiencing in my Christian walk. Right now I'm experiencing all three.

Heaven by Bryan Adams

Heaven (a cover version)

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Glass Vase Cello Case by Tattle Tale

Breathe into my hands
Or cup them like a glass to drink from;
Are you still,
still breathing
Are you still,
Are you still,
still breathing
Are you still,
Breathe into my hands
Or cup them like a glass to drink from...

The song (sorry I couldn't find a better video with appropriate images).

The song on piano without lyrics.

Monday, December 17, 2007

Saying Goodbye...

It’s hard to believe that I’m saying goodbye.

Last night I sat on the steps of Wright Hall, shivering in the freezing cold, knowing it was all over.

I waited for my two friends, Thomson Paris and Christy Kurtz, to arrive so we could go downtown and study the Bible with a friend.

Almost 18 months ago we began a journey together, knocking on doors in neighborhoods and apartment complexes, seeking a soul desiring to know God with us.

Thomson was the president of Southern’s Bible Workers Club, wise and determined. Christy was the extroverted sanguine who easily disarmed and befriended the people we came across. I was the shy introvert who—after years of running from God—finally broke through my shell with a desire for sharing Jesus’ love with others.

I first met Thomson in the school library, several days after I joined the Bible Workers Club. I was sitting at a table when I saw him approach me. Thomson flashed his magnetic smile and shook my hand.

“I’m your partner,” he said, grinning. “We’re going to have so much fun.”

I wasn’t quite sure if that was true, wondering if he was a Jesus Freak or a crazy zealot.

The following Sunday I was waiting for Thomson on the steps of Wright Hall so we could begin our first outreach together.

Before he arrived on that sunny afternoon, I met my other partner, Christy, who had an equally sunny personality.

We made small talk until Thomson arrived late in his Honda and picked us up.

I was a little uncertain what lay ahead.

We settled into a routine: Meet at Wright Hall. Thomson arrives late. Group prayer. Christy asleep in the backseat.

Eventually we found ourselves breaking the routine. Christy stopped taking her naps. We would talk during the journey. Little by little knowing each other better.

We found ourselves spending time together outside of Bible work. Eating in the cafeteria, attending parties, socials, functions, vespers, and church. Long conversations in the car, school newspaper office, over meals and the phone became the norm.

It got to where we could communicate without speaking. Thomson would give me a slight nod and I knew he was empathizing with someone we were visiting. I would glance at Christy, raise an eyebrow and she knew I found a situation funny. Christy could intuitively discern Thomson and my motives with a glance.

But I knew it was all ending.

We’re all going our separate ways. Thomson is graduating and preparing for medical school. Christy is finishing her nursing degree. I’m expecting the birth of my first child. I’m uncertain what lies ahead.

Last weekend I drove us back from Bible work, feeling unsettled. It was the first time we didn’t talk on the way back. Instead we listened as Christy sang soulfully as she had never done before. Her beautiful voice hung in the night as the glow from the laptop, playing music, eerily washed our faces white. Christy’s songs of praise somehow seemed like laments. As if the moment knew something we didn’t.

The following Thursday night Thomson called and told me he couldn’t be our partner anymore. Life was getting too complicated—too hard for him to keep working with us. Thomson, our rock, our glue who held us together, was leaving us to keep himself from falling apart.

I heard a voice crack and realized it was my own. My eyes got wet as my mouth turned salty.

So there I was last Sunday night. Trying to hang onto memories by sitting on the frigid steps of Wright Hall instead of my warm car. I was surprised when Thomson called and said he was coming—Christy needed a ride there. He arrived late as usual. I wistfully glanced at Thomson as Christy emerged from the shadows.

“Are you coming with us?” I asked, already knowing the answer.

Thomson gave me a handshake and before he said, “No,” I knew our family was breaking up at Wright Hall where it all began.

It’s only a memory now. We can’t go back. There was a time I didn’t think it would end. I thought endings were something you only found in books.

Thursday, December 13, 2007

Thomson Paris: On Fire

Meet Thomson Paris—my brother from another mother.

I once told him he was a good looking guy with the best smile I'd ever seen. He gave me a weird look.

I'm secure enough in my manhood to recognize a fine looking man. On a scale of 1 to 10 Thomson's smile alone gets an 11 on the hotness scale.

But what makes him such a great guy is the fire that burns inside. I've never in person seen such boldness and consistency from someone who loves Jesus without the pretension, posturing, and self-righteousness that usually accompanies such qualities until I met Thomson.

Thomson and I were at a meeting once where an evangelistic/community service project we supported got lambasted by a couple of people. They didn't think the souls we were trying to help were worth our time. Too much liability they said. Too much danger in helping drug addicts, the mentally deranged, etc. who were just a step above homelessness on the bad side of town. But it wasn't totally what they said that bothered me, it was how they said it. They didn't seem interested in our view. After they spoke they sat with scowls. 

Facing such unexpected venom I responded in my typical way:
1. I sat in stunned silence.
2. I got angry.

Not wanting to make a scene and undecided on how I should tactfully respond, I bit my tongue and waited for a change of subject.

However, Thomson wouldn't let it go.

Instead of getting down in the trenches and playing dirty, Thomson countered their presuppositions by being gentle as a dove, yet boldly standing by his convictions for the project. He cited examples of Christ's actions from the Bible. Thomson spoke of how Christ came to the most dangerous place in the universe—Earth, the only place stained by sin—on a search and rescue mission. 

It got me thinking of how Jesus chose to grow up in Nazareth (Can any good thing come from Nazareth?). The Messiah spent time eating, drinking, and socializing with prostitutes, tax collectors, and might I add—drug addicts, the mentally deranged, and the homeless. Jesus did these things because He wanted an intimate love relationship with them and know them, if possible, for the rest of eternity. 

Nothing was formally resolved between our differing groups, but a lesson was learned by me: Anything worth doing is worth fighting for.

A day later I vented my frustration about the meeting. But Thomson wasn't interested in rehashing the past. He wouldn't be drawn into denigrating anyone.

Never have I learned so much from a friend just from observing him.

That's why I call him, "Thomson the Bold."

Monday, December 10, 2007

Jeff Tatarchuk: Wake up and blog!

Shhh... not too loud people. Jeff's sleeping...

Jeff must be dreaming up a fantastic blog to impress all his fans. Then again, his last post was eight months ago. Maybe he's forgotten about the joys of blogging. If Jeff keeps sleeping he might become the Rip Van Winkle of bloggers. Oh dear...

Brother Jeff! The Bridegroom cometh!

Awake! Awake!

Wednesday, December 5, 2007

Flame On

I loved comic books when I was a kid. One of my favorites was the Fantastic Four—comprised of superheroes Mr. Fantastic, a scientific genius who could stretch his body, The Invisible Woman who could also project force fields, and The Thing who possessed superhuman strength and endurance.

But my favorite was the fourth member of the team—Johnny Storm, better known as the Human Torch. A regular looking guy when he was incognito, he could immediately transform himself into a fiery flying crimefighter by the mere mention of the words, "Flame On".

Jesus wants us to Flame On

In a world of increasing wickedness, the love of most is growing cold.

But, Jesus desires to baptize us with the Holy Ghost and with fire (Matthew 3:11).

The Church of Laodicea is rebuked for not being hot. Today many young people are trying to be cool. The Devil wants us to be cool. But Jesus says, "I want you to flame on. Be the Human Torch of My Love." When you flame on, the Devil can’t come close, he can’t stand in the presence of God’s fire. There is nothing more exciting than a Christian on fire. The world sees too many Christians who look like regular human beings. We need supernatural Christians who are covered in fire.

There is a promise that if we cry out, humble ourselves, and seek God's character we will become as hot as flames of fire.

Today we may respond by either being thermometers or thermostats. Thermometers reflect the temperature around them. Thermostats affect the temperatures around them.

The choice before us is either hot, cold, or lukewarm.

Flame On...

Monday, December 3, 2007

Why another blog?

Why add another voice to the choir of the bazillions other bloggers posting mostly meaningless drivel that 99 percent of the free world doesn't give a rip about?

I figure if my unborn baby has a blog, rated at genius level, how hard could it be?

Also my blog will show the other Anhs, Phams, and Anh Phams how blogging should be done.

Flame On.