The First Step

For your reading pleasure (in case you were interested)… I wrote this for my academic writing and research class. WARNING: Contains no deep theological truths; it’s just good clean fun. I have inserted more paragraphs than were in my AW&R paper.. it makes it more readable.

I was wearing a black Singing Rock brand climbing harness around my waist and thighs. As I waited for James to reach the bottom of the rocks, I barely even noticed the green of the trees around me, the blue of the sky above, or the rumbling from the machinery at the rock quarry across the mountain. All I knew was that Nate had promised I would be safe.

My turn had come. Nate Greenway, who had crew-cut blond hair, was twenty-four, and was my coordinator and my friend, opened the screw-gate on a steel locking carabiner. “Are you right-handed or left?” he asked.

“Right,” I answered nervously. In response to my answer, he folded the thick rope, which ran through two steel anchors that were sunk deep into the rock, to make a bight, or bend, in it. Then he pushed the bight through the wider of two holes in a piece of steel that was called a “Figure Eight” because it resembled the shape of the number eight.

Nate wrapped the bight around the thinner end of the eight and clipped the eight to my harness with the carabiner. “Screw down so you don’t screw up,” he said, reminding me which direction to orient the carabiner.

He closed the screw-gate so the carabiner wouldn’t come open, then started giving me directions. “Take this end of the rope. Hold it in your right hand like this.” He showed me how to hold it. “Don’t switch hands. Put your left hand behind your butt so you’re not tempted to use it. And no matter what happens, don’t let go with your right hand.” I obeyed mechanically.

“Stand there,” he said, “and face me.” He pointed at a spot about a foot from the ledge of the thirty-foot cliff we were standing on. Holding the long end of the rope behind my posterior with my right hand, I turned to face Nate and turned my back to the cliff. “Put your feet square with your shoulders,” Nate said. I squared my feet and spread them a little wider in the tight blue climbing shoes and gripped the rope for dear life. Continue reading “The First Step”


Joseph Garlington once told the story of an Asian woman looking for a house. Everywhere the realtor took her, she would look around and say, “Nice house. No statue.” The realtor, thinking she was a devout catholic, took her to houses with statues of the Virgin Mary, statues of St. Joseph, and every other statue he could think of. Still, everywhere they went, she would go inside, look around, and simply comment, “Nice house, no statue.”

Finally, back at his office, the realtor looked at the lady in frustration and asked, “Ma’am, everywhere we’ve gone, you’ve said “Nice house, no statue. Just what IS a statue?”

She picked up the phone on his desk, held it to her ear, and said “‘Stat you?”

Oh, the places I’ve been these past four weeks looking for church. The first week, a church called “Good Shepherd” (aka “The Well”) visited Huntington University and did church here. The next week, I did church with The Well again. It was nice, but it felt like something was missing.

Continue reading “Statue?”


I was assigned to do a one-page essay in my Academic Writing and Research class. Mr. Cotton gave us 40 minutes to write it. The topic was “Heroes,” and I had to pick someone. I went with Ree, because picking Jesus, though it would’ve been more accurate, just seemed a bit cliché somehow at a Christian college. And I assumed he meant besides Jesus.

Without further commentary, my paper, titled


If I had to pick a hero, someone who I feel has made the biggest positive difference in my life, I would have to choose Ree Enlow. Ree is a forty- or fifty-something-year-old woman whose official title is “Director of Guest Services” at Jumonville, a Christian camp and conference center near Uniontown, Pennsylvania. The group of college-age kids who worked there this past summer just called her “Mom.”

Continue reading “YOU ARE A BUM”

Thief in the Night – I’m supposed to be here.

Oh my word.

I was just doing a google search to see if anyone had made a music video for Rich Mullins’ song called “Thief in the Night” when I made a discovery that let me know that God is in what I’m doing here.

See, how this whole thing started was like this: I had just listened to that song on my netbook up at Jumonville. I walked into Ree’s office and asked if she’d heard it and she asked if I meant the movie. I remembered the movie. “Thief in the Night” is one of the worst “Christian” movies of all time, and that’s saying something.

That conversation got me thinking about about how I’d wanted to make GOOD Christian movies for such a long time but never tried. Later that day while building a tent, I asked God if I could do that.

Through a ridiculous, almost laughable series of events, I ended up as a Freshman student at Huntington University with a Film Production major. But mentioning that title to Ree, and remembering the movie, was really what got me started thinking about this and kinda got those thoughts rolling. And then today I was doing a google search to see if anyone had made a music video for that song.

Turns out that’s not even the right name. It’s called “Steal At Any Price.”


Now that’s irony. And it’s just like God to do something like that.

You’ve gotta be kidding me (or) I don’t WANT to survive, Otto! I wanna LIVE!!

This is ridiculous. I really… yeah. This is just crazy.

The past 3 days have been a crazy blur of activity, inactivity, activity, and insanity. And I still don’t know quite what’s going on. I guess I’ll start with Monday.

Monday, August 17, 2009
I called the place I was gonna rent an apartment from. The apartment I was looking at last Wednesday had been rented already. Crap. But I drove out to that apartment community anyway, to look at a different one they would have available by THIS Wednesday. It was quite ok. I filled out the application, paid a $15 fee, and left.

On my way toward home, I stopped at FedEx Ground, where I’ve worked before. Everyone seemed happy to see me again. I filled out the application, and it was just a matter of getting a DOT physical taken again, and FedEx having my references checked. The job was as good as mine.

Continue reading “You’ve gotta be kidding me (or) I don’t WANT to survive, Otto! I wanna LIVE!!”