The Rock?

Whether or not he was the rock on which the Church was to be built, it’s fairly obvious Peter had an immense assignment and role in launching Christ’s Church. But why Peter?

Isn’t this the same Peter who denied Christ three times? Who lost faith when attempting to walk on water? The rash, uneducated Peter?

Who in their right mind would place all bets on a person who claimed not to know you?

I wouldn’t.

It does sound like the kind of thing Jesus would pull… but really? He really went all-in with Peter. This was the man who was to tend the sheep? To build the Church?

Or was he?

Looking closely, I really see two Peters. There’s the Peter that he wanted to be, and there’s the Peter that he was. There was, at times, a vast difference between the two, but Jesus knew that and was apparently okay with it. At the Last Supper when Peter was told he would deny Christ, he refused to accept that–even if it meant his death.

Then he denied him. And again. And again. But Jesus already knew about that, and he was okay with it. What had happened between the Last Supper and Peter’s denial? Nothing. Peter wanted to be there, but he just wasn’t yet. Yet.

He would be, wouldn’t he?

And after it all went down, what does Jesus tell Peter when he’s still having trouble declaring his devotion? He tells him that he’ll get there. That he will die for it, but he has some stuff to get to first. Tend my sheep.

Even earlier Peter had asked to be called out, to be summoned across the water. It was when he took his eyes off Jesus and focused on the storm he began to sink–but at that point in time, in that moment of panic and faltering faith, what were his words? Lord, save me. Save me. He wasn’t there yet, but he knew where to put his hope meanwhile.

So why Peter?

Because Peter would never allow himself to be satisfied with where he was at. He insisted on being something greater, and he’d rather lay it all on the line for that greatness. Sometimes, many times, he couldn’t do it. But that was the point, wasn’t it? He knew who to fall back on, and he knew he had no choice but to do so.

Examining Matthew 16:15-18 a bit closer I see reference to two different rocks–Petros, a smaller/piece of rock, and petra, a massive rock. Substituting these back in, we would really get:

“But what about you?” [Jesus] asked. “Who do you say I am?”

Simon Peter answered, “You are the Christ, the Son of the living God.”

Jesus replied, “Blessed are you, Simon son of Jonah, for this was not revealed to you by man, but by my Father in heaven. And I tell you that you are Petros, and on this petra I will build my church, and the gates of Hades will not overcome it.

Peter had been named a small part of the rock, and only when that’s combined with the revelation of Christ do we have something truly powerful.

So now, as I sit here at 1:55 a.m. on November 22, 2008, which happens to be my 20th birthday, I’m forced to reconsider a few things. For much of my life I always figured I’d have most things figured out by now, or at least the important stuff. That I’d be that put-together, knowledgeable, spiritual person that I’m not. I’m not at all the person I want to be.

And it’s my prayer that I’ll never be allowed to think I am. If I knew what I was doing, I wouldn’t have much use for faith, would I? And, as it seems, only the truly amazing happens when that revelation of faith gets thrown into the mix.

So when faced with the decision, the decision to either be satisfied or to oversell myself and let God fill in the gaps, I pray that I’ll always take the jump. Furthermore, I don’t want to wait for the obvious assignment, either. The obvious never seems to require much. Rather, like Peter, I pray that I’ll always seek the calling to walk on water, even, and especially when, I’m going to fall.

Note: Comments on this post have been closed, and you can thank insistent spammers for that. Discussion is open here, though.

Forgotten Instincts

He had no idea where he was or where he was going, but he kept that information to himself. He parted the neck-high grasses before him and blazed onward. Leading was his job, and he wasn’t about to let some new guy disrupt that.

It had always been his job to lead, and he knew no other role to play. It had always been that way–either he was followed or he went it alone; he would not follow.

“Shouldn’t we go back? I’m sure there should’ve been a trail back there.” The voice came from behind.

Why, oh why, was he stuck with that voice? He had only known it for a few short hours, and he was glad of that. At least this voice, the owner of which was apparently named Tom, didn’t seem to know much. He hated when people knew things, especially when they knew that they knew things. Jack’s reply was short and to the point. “Let me handle it.”

“I thought you said that you’d been here before.”

“I have.”


“It’s been a while.”

“You don’t seem to know where you’re going…”

“I said let me handle it.” He struck the foliage before him with more ferocity than necessary and hoped that Tom noticed.

“But Jack–”

“I said let me handle it. I know what I’m doing.” He didn’t, of course, but that was none of Tom’s business. This was his business, and Tom was lucky he was being allowed to follow. It wasn’t that Jack didn’t want him following, in fact the company itself was appreciated as long as he didn’t ask questions. It was the questioning that he hated, because questions can only lead to information he did not intend to divulge.

Jack pressed forward as he glanced toward the sky. The sun was high, and the thickness of the air supplied no relief to his drenched body. He thought back to a few hours before, back to when it was still cool and they were about to shake hands before climbing in that little canoe with a couple others, some hot dogs, and about 10 pounds of instant coffee.

Jack had arrived at the river before dawn and didn’t bother stopping in the parking lot but drove right out to the aging dock. As he stepped out of his battered, once-blue pickup he took a breath of the crisp early-morning air. It smelled slightly of yesterday’s catch, or rather its rejects, but he didn’t care. The air was fresh, and it was invigorating. As he walked out to the edge of the dock, he looked around and saw that he was the first to arrive–of course he was, he always was. The whole thing had been Jack’s idea, and the rest of them were to meet there at sunrise. He had wanted it that way; that was how he had planned it. Jack looked out toward the smooth, cool expanse of water as the sun peaked its crown into the sky and flashed its light through the glistening river. Farther out he could just see a small island emerging from the morning fog, and his heart skipped a beat. It was to be their destination, and he was determined this time. With a deep breath he felt his mind clear, and for a moment, however brief, he knew he was meant to be there.

The moment had passed as had he heard a vehicle approaching from behind him. They had arrived. He turned around and tread back to the dusty parking lot to see his two long-time friends emerge from the car with the new guy, Tom. Tom was the last to step out of the car, and as he did so Jack observed him carefully. He bore tattered jeans and a coal-black windbreaker, but his manner remained consciously reserved. Was it fear? Contempt? Jack wondered exactly what untold secrets were hidden under his stoic expression.

Jack was greeted by his friends enthusiastically, but his thoughts were still with the dock and the island. The last time they had been there was long ago, and he did not desire a repeat.


The shout brought Jack back to the present, and for the first time in a long while he came to a halt in the surrounding wilderness. He removed his hat and slowly ran his fingers through the sweaty black hair he was once so proud of, breathing deep the aroma of wild blackberries. He responded without turning around. “What.”

“We really should turn around.”


“Why not?”

“I already told you.” Why couldn’t he just stop with the whining?

“Well why don’t we yell to see if the others hear us?”

“No. I’m going this way.” The others didn’t need to know anything.

“But there has to be a path back there somewhere!”

“Then go find it by yourself, dammit!” Jack pushed forward through the grasses with even greater ferocity but then came to a sudden halt. A distorted tree rose before him, twisted and mangled like a piece of modern art just waiting to be interpreted. It was an unforgettable sight, and had Jack been somewhere else he probably would have taken a picture of it. He’d seen it before, however. Gazing at it, images and feelings he hadn’t felt in a long time suddenly rushed through him like a frigid gust of wind leaving him gasping for air. His lungs were gripped with panic as the memories once again returned.

It was here they had found him last time.

Jack just stared. He couldn’t believe it. Panic started giving way to anger, and he suddenly noticed Tom’s shadow looming behind him. He was probably still ten feet behind at least, but Jack felt his presence as though Tom was reading over his shoulder. He hated when people read over his shoulder.

Jack turned on him. He didn’t know why, but this had to be Tom’s fault somehow. And even if it wasn’t, he could make it. He yelled. “What do you WANT?”

Tom didn’t respond at first. He still wore his stupid, consciously reserved expression, but Jack could see through it. He was scared, and he would crack soon.

“What do I want? I want to get to where we’re going.”

“Yeah, well, you aren’t helping.”

“I wasn’t aware that my help was wanted.”

Who did this guy think he was? Jack turned back toward the tree; he had nothing to else to say. He wasn’t completely sure what he had wanted Tom to respond with. He wasn’t sure why he had chosen “what do you want” as his question of choice, either, because it didn’t really mean anything. He just needed to say something. He just needed Tom to say something, to show that he felt some sort of human emotion. Certainly that wasn’t too much to ask for?

He heard noise from behind and saw before him Tom’s shadow shrink as he sat down. Jack was feeling the effects of their trek as well, but he couldn’t sit down now, not after Tom had.

So he stood there, his hands clenched as he absorbed the surroundings once again. The sun was even higher now, and Jack didn’t think it could get any higher. He presumed it must be about midday. His clothing was beyond drenched now, and as he grabbed a section of his torn t-shirt and twisted it sweat dripped to the ground. It provided little relief to his overheated physique and no relief to his aching legs. He lifted his legs and attempted to stretch in hope of soothing some of the pain, but he did it subtly. As far as Tom knew, Jack was still at his peak, and Jack wanted to keep it that way.

He looked back at the tree not sure what to even think. It’d been so long, but he hadn’t forgotten it. He hadn’t forgotten what it represented. It was here he had failed.

Jack glanced back at Tom. He was still sitting there, still blank. But Jack couldn’t deal with that now; he had to press on. His body wanted to stop, to sit down, to rest, but he would not allow it. Not now. He had to get away from this place.

Jack started again, heading in a direction that he had yet to attempt. He only continued on for a short distance, just far enough to be out of sight of Tom. He stopped for a moment and listened for any movement. The sound of brush crunching under feet grew louder, and upon hearing it Jack proceeded onward. Where he was proceeding to he still did not know, especially now. He’d never been here before–that tree marked the edge of his past exploration, if you could even call it that.

His anger had started to cool, and he was once again aware of the fear. What was it that he feared? Perhaps it was that he had no idea where he was; perhaps it was that he had no idea where he was going. Perhaps that he might fail once again, or, perhaps, that Tom and the others might realize it.

Tom was catching up, and he called up to Jack. “Weird tree, huh?”


“Wish I had brought a camera.”

“You won’t forget it.”

“You never know. We’ll have to tell the others about it.”

Jack felt his stomach turn. “I’m sure there’s lots of weird trees out here; they wouldn’t want to hear about it.” Of course they would, but not because of its artistic value. They remembered it, too; Jack was sure of that.

“Well it’s the first like it that I’ve seen, and you sure seemed interested in it.”

Jack faltered for a second. “What?”

“What’s it mean to you, Jack?”

“What does what mean to me.”

“The tree, Jack, the tree.”

Jack didn’t answer. What did it mean? It meant failure. It meant complete realization that he had no idea where he was. It meant that no matter what he did next or where he went, it was hopeless.

Earlier today, back at the dock, back when he had felt freedom, purpose, and control, he never would have believed that it would come to this. When they had split off from the others and agreed to meet later, Jack was sure this would be it. He was sure this was his chance, his opportunity for redemption. But now he wasn’t so sure. What was wrong with this place? With him? Jack wasn’t sure of anything anymore, and he needed to finally sit down. He needed to rest, to calm the fear in his stomach. He needed to eat.

Jack found a nearby stump to employ as a chair and slowly sat down so as not to aggravate his already aching body. He breathed deep.

Tom stayed standing. Jack watched as he looked around, absorbing it all. He must’ve noticed the change in Jack’s disposition, because he said nothing. Jack was fine with this, and he simply studied Tom as he stood there. Tom was a mystery to Jack, and he was almost envious. Tom seemed to have control over the one thing Jack couldn’t–himself. This whole thing was supposed to be Jack’s plan. It was his chance to finally make it, to conquer this place. Yet there he was, sitting on a stump where the only thing that looked familiar was their footprints.

Jack thought back to where those footprints originated and to when they were still there. Up until that point, they had all been together. The day was still young and cool, but the others had been getting hungry and were considering heading to the campsite. Jack was hungry as well, but only slightly, and this offered him the chance he needed. It was time to overcome. As the others decided to make their way to the campsite, Jack declared that he would continue on for a while and meet them there. He felt confident.

The others looked at each other, and Jack could tell what they were thinking. They remembered the last time, too. Last time, Jack had been certain he had seen another way to get to their campsite, and he had insisted on going after it. He hadn’t been able to remember exactly where it was, but he knew he could find it. He had to. But no matter what he had said, he couldn’t convince them. Neither of them believed him. But he was confident, and he knew he was meant to find it. So he did it alone. How hard could it be? It was getting dark though, and somewhere along the way he must have lost his way. He never made it, and eventually the others found him and had to bring him back.

But that was a one-time mistake. This was a new day, and this was his trip. This was his time. He’d find it. The others still didn’t believe him, but he’d track it down. He knew what he was doing.

Then Tom had spoken up and said he would be going along with Jack. Jack still didn’t trust him, but he knew the others would force him into allowing Tom’s company. Jack pretended to consider it before agreeing.

Then they parted ways. Jack led the way, and Tom followed silently. Jack knew he was in control, and he knew things would be different this time.

But now, hours later, he wasn’t sure how much control he had anymore. And even if he had it all, he wouldn’t know what to do with it.

“Hey, Jack.” Tom was still standing, but he had a reserved tone in his voice.


“Where are you going?”

Jack thought about his question. Why did he need to know? Jack was leading, shouldn’t that be enough? Why can’t Tom just trust him? He replied with the obvious, or at least it should have been. “To the campsite.”

“No, Jack, you’re not. What are you doing out here?”

Jack wished he knew, he really did. Earlier today he had thought he did. He used to always know, that’s just how it was. But now, out here, he wasn’t sure. Things were different now. Jack didn’t know what to say, so he said nothing.



“It’s time to go back.” With a look toward the sky, Tom turned around, and without saying anything more he slowly started to walk back.

Jack watched him. He seemed so calm, so under control. So…reserved. He was starting to walk out of sight now, and Jack slowly rose from his stump. He said nothing.

Jack looked at the sky and the now declining sun, thinking once again to earlier that day. He thought of his determination, of his plan. It had been so perfect. Why couldn’t things have followed it? This was supposed to be his chance.

Jack looked toward where Tom had walked. He couldn’t see him, but he could hear the brush quietly murmuring as Tom made his way through. Jack followed.

My last post before this post which doesn’t really count as my last post was posted a really long time ago.

^ Imagine that. I don’t really know why I stopped writing here, other than I just did. I guess I ran out of things to say. Nah, that’s not it. And I definitely didn’t stop being funny. In fact I’m probably funnier now than ever. I didn’t really stop procrastinating, either…I just furthered the procrastination one more step by procrastinating the procrastinating that took place here. Most of my past posts were either funny or serious, which I guess sums up basically everything a post could be anyway. I already said I never stopped being funny, so as to why those posts stopped getting posted is still up for debate. Perhaps I found better ways to share my funniness with the world and anybody else who would take it, “better” meaning “less work.” Work always gets in the way of stuff like that. As for the serious ones, who knows? Perhaps I stopped being serious? That could be it, or maybe I just stopped being angry about things. Or perhaps I no longer care enough. Either one of those can also kill the comedy. No pun intended–or is there even a pun in there? Hmm.

>> This is a new paragraph, by the way. The one up there probably has too much stuff in it, but I’m going to keep it that way because to edit it would take work, and I’ve already discussed my attitude towards that kind of thing. Besides. This is my blog, and I shall do whatever I please here. Okay? Okay. Then again, lately I’ve been doing nothing here, and that’s somewhat of a problem. Well, probably not much of a problem since nobody really cares, but I like to think it’s a problem–people with lots of problems are generally more important than the people without any problems, unless the people with problems are just unlucky alien-types who decided to heal somebody when other people were around and screwed up their whole cover, in which case they’re probably just from Roswell and don’t have any real importance.

Anyway. Back to the blog…perhaps I’ll bring it back. Perhaps.

To the Annoying Lady in the Annoying Hat

You don’t need a green arrow to turn left. Those green circles work too. That “left turn yield to oncoming traffic” sign means you only have to wait when there’s other cars at least in sight. When there’s a green light, you should probably drive. When somebody honks at you while giving you “move, stupid” motions, you should probably step on it. The very last thing you need to do is sit through an entire green freaking light causing the person behind you to be even later than he would have been because of your insisting to drive 20 miles below the speed limit through the country on lanes too narrow to pass. Glad we could have this talk.

Thank you.

– Elliot

My Personal Linear Hell

I personally believe that hell has a very long line leading to it. You wait. And wait, and wait some more until you wish you could just get there already. Eventually, you realize that you’ve been there the whole time.

Standing in line is like being in bad traffic while chairless and the radio is forever stuck on some reject pop station where the DJ feels the need to interrupt every song with wannabe raps consisting of “Matt, we need a cleanup on isle five. Matt, cleanup on isle five please.”

After about six of these reminders, you’re tempted to go check out isle five. You’re tempted to go check out the mess, to evaluate it, to see exactly what needs to be done. Then when you see an employee approach you greet this poor soul with a knowledgeable, “Hi Matt, I’d recommend immediate mopping followed by extensive bleach. Don’t forget the wet floor sign. Have a nice day.”

But alas, that would require losing one’s spot in line. Everybody’s worried about getting a “good spot.” You take your rounds across the stretching expansion of checkouts, gauging the estimated length of line, speed of cashier, and magazine selection. When one is about to stand in line for a long length of time, these things are important to know ahead of time.

Now once you have that good spot, the trouble is then keeping it. Eventually you run out of magazines, so you start assessing your surroundings. You first take a look at your fellow prisoners, making some vague assumptions as to their character. Next you take a look at their future purchases, weighing these results against your previous assumptions. The skinny kid with all the dairy products is obviously re-stocking after his king-sized roommate, and the body-builder reading People‘s coverage of Paris Hilton’s jail time is no doubt getting snacks for his late night security gig. The lady reading The Enquirer is simply an idiot.

Once you are through with this, boredom hits. As you look into the neighboring lines, you realize that you picked the wrong good spot–if you had been in the other line you would’ve been long gone by now. You consider switching lines, but you’re worried that you might make the wrong choice again. Besides, you’d have to start this whole process all over again, and you’d lose your current not-quite-as-good spot.

After several hours (while your watch may not backup this fact, it is my personal belief that time stops while you are in line), you arrive at the front. With much glee, you turn a full 180 and look into the eyes of each helpless human being still waiting behind you. An innocent smile appears across your lips as you take a look at your cashier’s computer to see what operating system they are using. It appears to still be running DOS.

“Sorry for the delay, thanks for waiting. Paper or plastic?”

Boy, am I glad you asked.

A Portrait of God

God seems to be a big subject for famous works of art, and I can’t help but wonder what He must think of all these.

I imagine there must be an art gallery somewhere in heaven with a special wall reserved for the best ones, and another somewhere in hell for the rest of them. But how is it decided which go where?

There are probably a few main criteria for how these are all evaluated, and the most important is obviously accuracy. For example, did Jesus have a pony tail, or was He more into the curly surfer-hair complete with emo poses?

Other important details would include those such as the color and style of clothes He’s depicted wearing, whether the lighting hits Him right, and whether the artist correctly guessed His body type.

I think these are the kinds of things that have the greatest effect on an artist’s total score.

Hot Dog Confessions

For some unbeknownst reason, I eat a lot of hot dogs and polish sausages. When I tell people this, I always get the same predicable response of, “Do you know what’s in those??! If you knew, you’d never eat one again.”

I’m thinking the answer is ground up bits of animals that nobody would buy, correct? With some spices thrown in?

But let’s get serious, because it’s really not like you vegetarians have it any better…You know where those carrots come from, right? Heavily fertilized and most likely bug-repellent sprayed dirt. First of all, you do know what most fertilizer is, no? To put it lightly, it’s the stuff that our bodies were trying to flush down the toilet. So what do you vegetarians do? Why eat it, of course.

You’re right, that does sound extremely healthy and appetizing.

And now let’s think of what else is done with dirt. People walk on it, die on it, are buried and decompose in it. Pollution, of which the air is full of, is constantly in contact with this dirt. Nor is this dirt being watered with bottled Fuji water.

When we wash our clothes, what are we washing from them? Dirt. You know, the stuff we grow our food in.

In fact, I’d venture to say that there is nothing on this earth more dirty than that which is dirt.

So, to all you veggie lovers out there: You know what that’s grown in, right? I’ll bet if you knew, you’d never eat another one again.

One Year of Accidental Procrastination

I’ve been officially procrastinating accidentally for over a year now, as the first post here came out on May 3rd, 2006.

Here’s what are, in my opinion, the highlights of last year’s procrastinations ordered from oldest to newest:

Here’s to another year of amazing time-wasting activities.

The Minute of Yesterday

In one minute it will be tomorrow; in one minute it will be the future. In one minute, everything–everything–could quite possibly be very different than that which is the minute I am living now. Or, it could just as possibly–perhaps more so–slip right by, unnoticed like those that proceeded it: Quiet, indifferent, and more than likely wasted.

Four minutes have gone by since I wrote my first sentence. It’s tomorrow now, or rather the tomorrow of four minutes ago and today’s today. Nothing has happened, nothing has changed, and iTunes is still on repeat.