Mealtime Musings: What is Metal?

Some of you may know that I eat lunch with a group of eight guys from work. Everyday, A pair of us will make a lunch for all of us to share and we’ll sit together sharing in fellowship. The conversations we have during our lunch hour are pretty lively as is wont to happen with that many people sharing a meal together. The topics have ranged from starting our own Olympic handball team to discussing the existential subtext of Adventure Time.

One of our favorite topics is attempting differentiate different musical genres. Since one of our group members is a huge fan of metal, we often attempt to answer the question, “What is metal?”

I present to you the findings to this question after one such discussion. You can read the entire conversation below.


  • Feeling deathly ill to fine in less than 24 hours
  • The phrase “deathly ill”
  • Things that cause pain, death, and/or suffering
  • Conversations that end in the death of millions
  • Doge, Lord of Darkness
  • Aric, but just a little bit

Not Metal:

  • Wood
  • Being good at spelling
  • Arguing Semantics
  • Arguing what is and isn’t metal
  • Being hardcore just for the hell of it
  • None of the rest of us

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Why Context Is Key–and What to Do about It

I recently wrote a blog post for Logos Bible Software on an exciting project that my department is working on–The Bible in Seven Acts. The project is designed to shed light on the historical and cultural background of the Bible so that you can dig deeper into the Word. Here’s an excerpt:

In The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring, Peter Jackson devotes the first seven minutes to the story of the creation of the One Ring and the war against Sauron. Without this historical perspective, the audience would have no background for any of the events in this epic trilogy—context matters.

God’s story of redemption spans thousands of years, from the beginning of civilization to the destruction of the Second Temple and beyond. The Bible in Seven Acts brings the Bible’s historical and cultural context to life. Each volume provides comprehensive, in-depth analysis of biblical history’s most important people, places, and events.

You can read the rest of the post here. Enjoy!

A Week in Workplace Fashion

A while ago, some friends of mine, Joey and Davielle, encouraged me to write a blog post about workplace fashion. I dismissed that silly idea rather quickly. What could I write about fashion that wouldn’t be the most ridiculous farce on par with The Onion? Sure, I could talk about the clothes I wear and why, but the silliness would be too overwhelming.

Then, a few weeks later, another friend, Aaron, asked me for some fashion advice. He wanted to know what to wear to an interview at Logos. I gave him some pointers and tips—you can overdress, wear something that fits into the culture of the company, etc.—and sent him on his merry way. Well, Aaron also happens to be an excellent photographer and wanted to thank me for my advice (he got the job). We came up with a plan to take some portraits every day of the week, showcasing all of my wardrobe choices. Slowly, this ridiculous post was coming together.

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Take Me or Leave Me: Shame, Sexuality, and Spider Man

In the past few weeks, we’ve had two high profile celebrities decide to publicly declare their sexual orientation. First was Michael Sam, a All-American football player from the University of Missouri. Sam joins a number of professional athletes who have outed themselves–joining Robbie Rodgers of the MLS and Jason Collins of the NBA–and is poised to become the first openly gay player in the largest, most popular professional sports league in America. The second was last Friday, when actress Ellen Page outed herself during a speech at a conference in Las Vegas. Page is primarily known for her roles in Juno and Inception. Both of these announcements are interesting case studies of the intersection of the public and private.

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How Fantasy Baseball Got Me a Job

That title might be a bit misleading. I probably would have gotten the job if I hadn’t played fantasy baseball anyway. No, this post is about how I went to school for one thing and ended up doing a completely different thing. I am a project manager at a software company in a department that just established itself as an academic publishing imprint for biblical resources—that seems even odder when I type that all out. I have a degree in history and a degree in education, neither of which lends itself to the type of work I’m doing now. So what happened? How am I able to thrive as a project manager when my education did nothing to prepare me for my career? Fantasy Baseball.
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Into the Mess – Excerpt

The January-February issue of Bible Study Magazine features an article written by yours truly titled “Into the Mess.” It’s my first written piece to be published in print! Here’s a brief excerpt from that article. Enjoy!

“Cookies are not treasure!” Max’s shrill voice rose over the din of the cafeteria, causing every head to turn. “Treasure is permanent!” he wailed. I had to summon all my strength to keep a straight face in front of the infuriated 8-year-old. Max was one of 96 kids attending a summer day camp for at-risk youth, and his class had just discovered cookies at the end of their afternoon treasure hunt. I tried to convince Max that the homemade cookies were a desirable prize, but despite my best efforts, he screamed, “It’s not fair!”

Each of us has our own personal sense of justice that helps us discern right from wrong, fair from unfair. But what happens when our sense of justice clashes with God’s?

Jonah’s life demonstrates what can happen when we’re at odds with God. Nothing goes the way Jonah anticipated as he reluctantly made his way to Nineveh. When God spared the city it “seemed very wrong” to Jonah (Jonah 4:1). You can almost hear him crying out, “it’s not fair!” His idea of justice for the Assyrian city was destruction—fair punishment for their sins.

Sometimes we’re unable to muster compassion for those who have acted sinfully. God does not respond to Jonah or Nineveh’s sin with punishment and destruction, but with compassion and mercy. God’s grace extends beyond mere justice. He brings healing and restoration.

To read the rest, check out the latest issue of Bible Study Magazine or you could ask me for a copy.

Rethinking Blessing

This Thanksgiving I’ve been thinking about what it means to be blessed. On Thursday, so many of us expressed our thankfulness for the things we’ve been blessed with in our lives. Then on Friday, the Christmas shopping season began with the biggest day in retail sales. When we think about blessing, we often think about material possessions or physical things. “God has blessed me with this house.” “I’m so blessed with this awesome car.” These things certainly are blessings and they should be celebrated but our culture sometimes twists our perspective. When we don’t have the awesome vacation or the latest device, we feel like we haven’t been blessed or that God has forsaken us. American materialism and entitlement has seeped its way into the language of blessing. This line of thinking, if it’s allowed to run its course, leads us dangerously close to the prosperity gospel. Blessing should never be confused with physical wealth.

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3 Lessons I Learned from a Year of Blogging

Exactly one year ago, I made the decision to establish this blog and start writing on a consistent basis. Since then, I’ve written 83 posts on topics ranging from the Seattle Mariners to Les Misérables. I know I’m not an expert on blogging after a single year but as I reflect on these first steps into a larger world, there are three things that come to mind. I’ll call them lessons but they’re more like thoughts about writing and blogging that were shaped into a coherent list.

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Feet for the Path

I love hiking. I’ve been on my fair share of hikes over the years, some casual, some pretty grueling. There’s one in particular that comes to mind. A few years ago, during the lingering days of summer in early September, I was set to climb up into the highest reaches of the Earth. I started up the mountain as the bright morning sun was beginning to peak over the Cascades to the east. The air was crisp and cool, there were a few clouds in the sky to the west, and a cool breeze was running through the leaves above. The weather was looking like it would cooperate for an amazing day of fall hiking. This particular trail starts off with a number of switchbacks as you quickly make your way up the mountain. The side of the mountain was shaded by evergreens dropping the temperature by a few degrees. Every once in a while, through a break in the tree line, I could see the valley below awash with sunlight.

There’s something therapeutic about getting out of the hustle and bustle of the city and into the wilderness. The coolness of the shade under the evergreens. The majesty of mountains overhead. I believe getting out into creation grounds me and helps me to connect with God in a way that is unlike any other. On my cross-country road trip, we spent the majority of our time driving through the plains of the Midwest. While I was in the midst of cornfields and sprawling grasslands, I felt uncomfortable with the flatness. I have been comforted by the mountains that surround me in the Northwest for my entire life. They are a reminder of the power and glory of God. The permanence of the silent sentinels of the Cascade Range keeps things in perspective.

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Trendy Social Justice

There is a post I’ve noticed that has popped up on Twitter recently. It appeared after the bombing in Boston and after the tornado in Oklahoma. Every month or so, there’s a new variation. It’s a post that is disguised in altruism but has roots in our consumer-obsessed culture. It usually looks something like this:

I just donated $5 to [insert popular cause here]. Click here to show your support! #sogenerous

On its own, this tweet isn’t very harmful. In fact, it’s probably effective at both raising awareness of certain causes and monetary support for those in need. A post like this becomes dangerous when it becomes co-opted by someone to appear compassionate or, even worse, popular. Has social justice become trendy like the newest fashions or the latest Jay-Z album?

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