Monday, November 16, 2009

On the Hunt...

I have noticed over the years that while in polite conversation with Pagans that I seem to be ahead of the crowd when it comes to current events. Whenever talking about religious issues or just hard at work in the rumor mill I just seem to be a wealth of information to others.

Quite often the reply to many of my statements is "Really!?!" which is followed by the Who, what, when, and where conversation. The answer to at least one of those questions has always been "The Wild Hunt."

I have been a long time fan, reader and supporter of Jason Pitzl-Waters, who is a real Jack of all trades within the pagan community, while at the same time being an incredibly professional Pagan. In my relatively limited experience this is incredibly rare and very very appreciated.

The Pagan community has a great need for Pagans like Jason, who provide an invaluable service to us all,for free, because it needs to be done. I just love sitting down at my desk every morning with a hot cup of coffee and clicking in on The Hunt.

This month is the 2009 Wild Hunt Winter Pledge Drive, Which runs from the 16th through the 22nd of this month. When ever possible I look for Pagan vendors to give my business to, and when I see a land mark being built in the Pagan community I contribute, I support, and I pay it forward.

I put my money where my mouth is, how about you?

Friday, November 13, 2009

School Daze

School has been a great challenge, I say great because I am doing quite well at the moment. I've been dreading the "Evangilism 101" class even more than my Bible class, which I passed!

So far I scored well on my first two exams 100% and a 96%. But my greatest success was my written testimony assignment. I had to write a paper on 1. My life before God, 2. the circumstances surrounding my coming to God and 3. My life since then.

Well this kinda poses a problem for a militant Pagan like myself. In all fairness they did offer an alternative writing assignment for non-Christians, write a paper about why your not a Christian. The assignment does include an insistence that you WILL be graded fairly. I don't think so.

I had a problem with the whole thing. I had a hard time believing I would be graded fairly and I had a hard time with the idea of writing a false paper to get the grade I needed, which I am very capable of doing.

So I talk to my wife, my friends and of course my Mommy, and they all agreed. Tell them what they want to hear and pass the class, which I new I had to do. But it REALLY bugged me. And I put off doing the assignment until the very last minute of the very last day.

I once told someone that I have never been a "technically" kind of guy, instead I tend to round life off the closest whole number. But being technical can have some advantages! I managed to answer the questions in the writing assignment honestly, while not actually lying or being dishonest. This is a portion of my assignment about the circumstances surrounding my experiencing "God"

"I served my country with ten years of active duty, during which I was deployed to several countries. My first overseas deployment was to Sinai, Egypt for a six month peacekeeping mission. During my time there I was able to visit many amazing, historical and religiously significant sites such as the Great Pyramids, Petra and the Holy Land. But it was my journey to the top of Mount Sinai that changed my life. I was in an Infantry Unit, well trained and in top physical condition, yet the path was difficult and I wanted to quit several times. But each time I stalled to catch my breath, I felt compelled by an overwhelming urge, I felt myself being called to the top, there was something there I needed to see. What I saw changed my life forever. My first view of the Glory of God’s labor was so emotionally overwhelming that I was brought to my knees. It was there at the door of the Moses Chapel that I knelt in prayer to the Father of Christ for the first time in my life."

Every word of it is true! I received a 96% on the assignment, apparently the truth can be incredibly subjective.

This is a picture I found inline, it is the Moses Chapel at the top. The small iron fence on the right saved me from falling and breaking every bone in my body. Yet another save.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

My Veteran Punch Bowl

We're pretty quiet about what we've done. Some of us have Guilt, some of us have Anger, most of us carry the scars of Fear and we all hear the Echos of Cadence. And as much as it may have damaged us, we miss it.

Last 4th of July was my first time out of the house in celebration since the war. In equal stride today was my first time out in open celebration of my status as a Combat Veteran.

I used to cringe when people thanked me for my service. "Your welcome, just don't ask me to do it again."

But today was a good day. I went to Applebees for lunch, where the Veterans eat for free! I walked in sporting my Operation Iraqi Freedom Veteran hat and my tan Dicky shirt with all my old Army patches sewn on it. As I was lead to my table I was met with eye contact and a nod for every guy in the room, who were all wearing their hats and patches.

Its an interesting exchange, through eye contact. We watch each other watching each other. Looking at patches and pins searching for the one we know, the one we earned, the one that hurt. That's why we're so quiet about it, its like holding a wide open punch bowl filled to the rim.

Always afraid we're going to spill ourselves all over a crowded room.

We keep it pretty simple. On my way out I saw his patch and he saw mine, I wore mine in the last war but he's had his since the second one. I stopping to shake his hand I said "Howdy Sir" and he replied "How'ya doing Sergeant?" There was too much so I just nodded.

I have not been called Sergeant in over six years, it gave my soul goose bumps.

His wife asked if we were in the Army together and I busted out laughing. Until he said yes.

Afterwords I went out to my truck and spilled my punch.