Sunday, May 07, 2006

OPEN LETTER to all speeding impaired drivers

Dear slow driver,
So after this weekend I have decided the icthus is about to come off and the middle finger is about to go up. You can keep that from happening with a few minor changes in your driving. I have no intention of asking you to drive any other speed than that which you are comfortable with (although I question the masculinity of guys I know who drive so freaking slow), my frustration is your unwillingness to allow me to drive my desired speed while on the highway. What you don't understand is that some of us actually have somewhere to be, and people who actually want to see us there. The fact that you have neither of these does not mean you need to steal my precious time.
In reality, it is less about the time and more about winning the race. You ask "who with?"- it's pretty simple- the car that is about 50 meters ahead of me at the time. Nevertheless, my beef still remains...
Here's the list of my grievances:
1- When I was younger and being taught by one of you (a fellow speeding impaired driver, who happens to be my dad), one of the basic rules of courtesy on a one lane road was to slide over to the shoulder when someone was clearly wanting to pass you. I must have missed the memo where there was some sort of change to the rule; people now days prefer me to risk my own life by sliding into oncoming traffic than simply sliding over 6 feet while losing no speed of their own.
2nd grievance- why do two people driving the same speed get in separate lanes and drive next to each other? I don't care what speed you are going, you can get behind one another and have a merry game of follow the leader- trade off being in front if you both have control issues.
3rd beef- why drive in the left lane when you know you are clearly not one of the faster drivers on the road. In fact, all you rule followers who will complain to me about driving the speed limit- follow the law and stay in the right lane except for passing.
If you do this, I might just leave my little fishy on my car and keep my finger to myself... Please help me help you.

Curt Steinhorst

Tuesday, March 21, 2006

the nature and frustration of time

A few months ago I posted a blog about how some memories can be treasured so much that they leave me bitter and frustrated that I can't get them back. I took a lot of hell from a couple of roommates who are complete asses, but it wasn't enough to get me to stop thinking about it. While I was in Asia, I started thinking about the fact that God is outside of time and how that related to me and specifically the struggles with past memories. How can I get my mind around something so other from my existence? How can God be different than everything I define my life by?
My last blog was all about my past. The incredible thing, both for better and for worse, is that I can't change my past. I have the ability to look into my past and think of some of the true high points of my life with so much joy, and no fear that it can ever be taken from me. What a gift from God. The problem with my past is much the same; those moments that provide so much joy and excitement are there, but I can't have them back. As good as my years as a camper at Rio Vista were, they will never be again. That's the problem
Then we have the present, which is all we really ever have. Even my thoughts of the past that are so sweet or so bitter can only be felt in the present. All of the pleasure that can be had in life can only be experienced now. The single ambition of every person at every moment is to maximize pleasure right now, in the present (and we are far too easily settled on what we think will make us happy, it would seem if God created us for pleasure, he would know the best way for us to get it). So the present is great because it didn't happen and it won't happen, it's happening. The problem is that it lasts for only that moment before it hits the past and leaves me with the problem I just talked about. Also, sometimes I hate the present, like when my closest friend from high school called to ask me to pray for his family because he was staring at his dead younger brother on the pavement of a highway. I didn't like the present then, I wanted it to be so far in my past or my future, anything but my present. The present can really hurt.
That leaves the future. The future leaves me to dream of all that can be. I love the possibilities of the future, so much so that at times having to moving beyond possibilities of the future and into the present that solidifies life ruins the joys that I had about all of the different possibilities that could be. There is so much hope to be had in the future; that I will make a difference in thousands of lives, that God will create a beautiful painting on the blank canvas that is currently there, that my wife will be there waiting for me. What joy. Unfortunately, it isn't there. It's in my dreams, but it hasn't hit reality- which is where life exists. All of my joys about my future exist simply because they have the possibility of becoming my present.
Okay, so what's this have to do with God being out of time? It seems that the presence of God is filled with all the great facets of these parts of time without the downfalls of each. In God's eternal presence, which we have named heaven, I get the security of memories that bring so much joy, I have the fullness of pleasure in my present, and I have the complete hope that every great possibility will reach the current (and it already has in that moment that I hope for it). I get this without the bitterness of great memories I can never experience again, without the brokenness and suffering that can ruin the present, and without the fear that my dreams might be dashed and ruined by making one choice over another. That makes me excited about heaven, and want more of God.
Maybe I just sound stupid to you, but to me that is pretty exciting.... also so if that is what heaven is like, what does that mean about hell and it's relation to time... all of the bitterness of all my worst memories without the hope of a future. anyway, just some thoughts, let me know if you think I have been smoking something or if I make any sense.

Sunday, February 19, 2006

when will we wake up

I've been thinking a lot about the triviality of life. It seems we dedicate so much energy towards doing a thousand things to keep ourselves busy, to look cool, with absolutely no thought of whether it matters at all for life and eternity.

Case and point: I went to a bar in Uptown/Yuppieville this weekend with some college friends (first time since I was in dallas to do this). It's kind of a funny thing when you step back and look at what's happening. Hundreds and hundreds of people literally pack themselves like sardines into a little area where they can overspend for a drink that will help them escape reality, then they proceed to walk around for one reason- to find some person of the opposite sex that they can get with (or if they are "moral", just get with in their hearts)… For some reason it is okay in a bar for a guy to put his crotch on a girls ass and for a girl come up and rub her entire body up against any guy she wants- that's okay in this world. Anywhere else, we're talking lawsuit. It really is fascinating. You think that at some point everyone would realize how ridiculous it is and just get in a big line, partner up, and go have sex. Put a bag on their face if you don't like who you got assigned to, and realize you will get someone else the next night...

Now… I realize that people in the church immediately can differentiate themselves from "those" people because we are pursuing God's plan for sex and marriage- which really is so much satisfying. But my question is this, are our lives any less trivial? Really…Are we any less focused on ourselves, getting our needs, and desires for entertainment and popularity met than those at the bar ? Do our churches have any less a consumer mentality than everything else in our culture?

I started thinking about this because I just spent an extended amount of time being completely broken before Jesus. It started by me watching clips of and commentary on the movie Tears of the Sun (how accurate it was)- it's a great movie. I was weeping before the Lord over the evil and pain and brokenness that's happening all over the world, and even more so over how little I'm doing about it. Really, people are being gruesomely tortured and if they are lucky dying right now all over the world. People are being imprisoned because they believe in Jesus, children are being murdered as I am typing this because they were borne into the weaker tribe. So I am asking God why he lets this happen (because I know He is completely sovereign), and I feel him respond to me with a reminder of the resources he has given the United States. The church in the US has more resources, (finances, man power, technological and medical advances, education, and transportational means) than any other group in the history of the world. So…what is it going to take to get us out of this self centered trivial life we live? When will we as the church, the representative of God in the earth, rise up and start meeting the arms of oppression in the earth- in Sudan, Morocco, Iraq, China, South Korea, Tibet, in Mexico, and the United States. What will it take for me to stop thinking about how much I lifted yesterday at Lifetime Fitness, or what this guy or that girl thinks of me? What can I, Curt Steinhorst, in Dallas Texas do about the injustice and oppression occurring right now? Answer, I don't know.

I know that whatever it is, it won't be safe, it won't be easy, and if we as the church- not the institution, but the people- will rise up and work towards accomplishing our God ordained purpose, people will die- US citizens, maybe even members from my church, will die (nevermind that for every one of us that dies, there will be at least 1000 natives). I guess the whole taking up the cross and following me deal might be closer to our hearts…What a great adventure we have the chance to be a part of: binding up the brokenhearted, proclaiming liberty to the captives, beauty for ashes, and the year of the Lord's favor…

Thursday, November 24, 2005

Thanksgiving and my grandparents

There are about a million reasons why I should be thankful today. Here's the one I hold most dear right now: This last weekend we celebrated my grandparents 80th birthdays by bringing the entire family together, taking pictures, going to On the Border (where we had too much to drink), and then ending the night with a gift giving event at our house. My mom spent weeks organizing this event where each family member presented Mammaw and Pap with a gift, which served as a symbol of some memory we had of them growing up. It began with my mom giving her father a crousage to remember how he gave his daughters one every year on their birthday. We covered things such as my grandmother's incredible and sacrificial cooking and my grandfather's randition of the old fairy tale, "Little green walking hood." We rewrote the lyrics to these are a few of my favorite things, and also wrote a really long poem that was framed and handed to them at the end of the night. We all laughed at old stories, and my grandparents cried. It truly was a night I will never forget. While we were sitting with our family, I realized the blessing of my grandparents and my whole family. Words can't give justice to the example they have set for the rest of us, they really can't. My grandmother has always said that I was just like Pap. I carry his name, his hair color, his personality and overall temperment. I just hope people can look at me when I am 80 and say I lived like he did. Here's what I mean:

My grandfather is a wonderful husband- he loves my grandmother with everything he is. They were high school sweethearts, and it is clear by the way that he looks at her even today that he is completely captivated by her- a fairy tale story of love, faithfulness, and service (the way Jesus called husbands to love their wives).

He is the best father anyone could ask for. My mom and her sisters put him on the highest pedestal. He never raised his voice (although he does regret spanking my aunt once for sticking her tongue out at him- but if you knew my aunt, it was deserved), was patient and gentle and loving and kind toward them. They never wanted to disappoint Dad.

Lastly, he is the ideal grandfather. From coming to our sporting events when we were young to taking us to Sea World to always being in good spirits and laughing rather than yelling when "boys will be boys," he has always been there. Here's the whole point of me sharing this: The blessing that I have enjoyed of a healthy and loving environment (which has made me who I am today) is a result of the faithfulness of my grandfather towards his wife and children (because of his faith in Jesus). For this I am thankful, "The righteous man leads a blameless life; blessed are his children after him. - Proverbs 20:7 " Thank you Pap (and mammaw, which I could have written something very similar about my grandmother).

Sunday, November 06, 2005

Opening the floodgates...

It's official, I finally figured out that there is a feature that allows people who aren't members of blogger to post their comments- mainly because a couple of my friends kept saying they had things to say, but couldn't post. So...it is official, you now have no excuse for not sharing your thoughts...

Wednesday, November 02, 2005

The Illusion of the Adventure

My friend Sommer wrote this blog about wanting life to be about more than the mundane, and how she wishes she didn't let the busyness of her schedule get in the way of experiencing, tasting, touching, breathing in all of life. It got me thinking about that stuff. I find that I have this longing to live a crazy adventure, to experience more than other people. A nightmare for me would be getting sucked into a 9 to 5 and sitting in the same town forever. I guess I relate living all of life to seeing the whole world, living in a tropical paradise, on a mountain the rockies, in africa, australia, or any other place far away. The problem I keep realizing is that every time I have tried to settle on one place to start this crazy journey, I eliminate all of the other experiences that I could have and will thus be missing out on. So...even if I was living in the Rockies right now- which was my plan up until about 2 months ago, I would be dreaming of some other experience that I could be having at the time. In truth, there is never an adventure that would really satisfy this desire for another adventure (maybe if I had Solomon's life (harem included))
Then I start looking at what everyone in the world is doing, each with his little job, doing it to his best, paying bills, going home, waking up the next day to start it over. Maybe I have to just find life in the mundane, and realize that I am not made for being in 1000 places, and one person's adventurous location is another's hometown that breeds nothing but contempt and a longing for elsewhere. So...how do I find life in Dallas texas? I guess the same way everyone else does in every other place in the world- being known by others and knowing others deeply. While trying to avoid the cliche sound of "knowing (and being known by) Jesus," I really think this has to be the root and essence of all of my satisfaction and peace and contentment- if there is another answer, then I haven't come anywhere close to finding it. I don't mean knowing Jesus as if it is a one time prayer that ends with an amen and a one way ticket to heaven, but about seeking to really know the man, the Creator, the loving and kind Daddy whose name is Jesus- not the american christian subculture Jesus who doesn't look anything like the friend and father I love so deeply.

Tuesday, October 25, 2005

hippies and a balanced budget

I recently received this email from a really good friend who realizes that I am probably closer to being a hippie liberal freakshow than I like to admit and certainly more than most people believe. Here's the article followed by some thoughts about the debate that occurs within me when I read this article:

"Today, Senate Agriculture Committee Chairman Saxby Chambliss
(R-Ga.) and other committee members did the right thing by
removing more than $500 million in cuts to the federal food
stamps program that existed in earlier budget proposals. By
resisting cuts to vital nutrition programs, they chose the
well-being of America's most vulnerable working families over
partisan politics.

But other critical programs - health care, student loans and
more - for low-income families are still at risk this week!
Legislation is still being finalized in other Senate committees
that will determine future funding for Medicaid and other
domestic safety net programs. Meanwhile, Congressional leaders
still plan $70 billion in new tax cuts for the wealthiest among
us.

The change in course by Senator Chambliss and his Agriculture
Committee colleagues shows that our voices are being heard in
the halls of Congress! E-mail your senators and representatives
now and urge them to follow the lead of the Senate Agriculture
Committee. Urge them to vote NO on cuts to food stamps and other
critical anti-poverty programs.

Take action now:
http://go.sojo.net/campaign/moral_budget2?rk=P7LJqf61oRXYW
"
So here's my problem...wouldn't a moral budget first and foremost be one that isn't spending billions in deficit? I guess my question with this stuff (without only reading groups like this that hunt and peck and take random budget cuts out of context without looking at the bigger picture of the budget) is always how do we get to a balanced budget if we don't cut anything? Easy answer, keep taxing the rich, but I have trouble believing that stat about 70 billion without more information. Where's the balance between helping the poor and still being fiscally responsible (and not being a communist where it doesn't pay to work for your money because the gov will just take it.) Last thought, if you don't take into account issues like the disadvantages of coming from a poor situation, minority race, or anything else that leaves your network with a distinct disadvantage, then you haven't thought through this enough and your opinion is on par with an ignorant bigot. Also, if you just want to blame Bush and call him a dumb racist that creates hurricanes to intentionally kill the poor- then I have even less use for you. Have a nice day:-)