"You can never get a cup of tea large enough or a book long enough to suit me."
-Clive Staples Lewis

Tuesday, July 9, 2013


I recently sat with a few dear friends and enjoyed life with rare beer, wine with my city's namesake and a few fine cigars. As our conversation naturally fluttered about to several different topics and many threads of thought were woven into the fabric of what makes up a really nice evening, the idea of memory and happiness settled upon me. I attempted that night to talk about it but somethings are better left alone after a few glasses of Bordeaux and Guinness Foreign Extra. I have been thinking of where happiness dwells for us humans and how we interact with our experiences that make up happiness or unhappiness. I thought of Siddhārtha Gautama and his teachings of the 4 noble truths. I like the first two. They, I think, present the idea of why there is SOME of pain in this world. Reasons being that we want what we can't have, we try to hold onto things that are not meant to be held onto, etc..(I am grossly paraphrasing). I also thought of C.S. Lewis' second installment of The Space Trilogy, Perelandra. In which a character is meditating on the idea of pleasure, memory and the desire to hold on to the moments in which we find pleasure and happiness. She realizes that life comes in waves. The waves brings all moments of life to us, good and bad. When we attempt to hold on to things and therefore keep a wave in place, we kick against the inevitable and try the impossible. One cannot hold back the waves of life and so in trying to do so we will naturally be swimming against the current sort of speak. Life will be dissatisfying and increasingly frustrating.  Were I will stray from Gautama, is how to deal with not the pleasant things of life but the unpleasant and painful. We cannot delete longings and wants from our being. They are written in our DNA. This is ONE of the things that separates us from the beast. We desire to transcend just daily living. This drive and will brought forth the wheel, the trans oceanic ships, thought up the steam engine, designed the air foil, split the atom(that is debatable if that is good or not) and put mankind in outer space. Ridding oneself of all desires and longings will not give peace to you. It merely buries the head in the sand. There is no life without pain and suffering. I do not want to be presumptuous about this as I have not experienced heavy suffering as of yet and I want to be respectful of those who have, but telling a victim of war and famine that deleting their wants and desires will bring them to a place where nothing bothers them is, I think, flawed and a bit escapist in practice. Rather I call to mind Phil chapter 4. The idea of being content in situations of plenty and of want. Then James chapter 1 and the call to be joyful not happy of course but joyful about meeting trials of many kinds. In further reading, Peter calls people to rejoice and to expect suffering and trials. Now if these were written by men who sat on cushy bums and lived lives of luxury and ease then I would find great faults with these ideas and even question if they even has any idea of what suffering felt like. However each author of these seemingly counter intuitive exhortations and encouragements spent the majority of their lives being thrown into prisons, receiving beatings, alienated from friends, family and their cultures and then all three left this world via a painful and horrible death. I think they had a grasp what suffering was and what true joy and happiness was. 
I am sitting in a coffee shop and the dark clouds and rains have fallen and not the ridiculously blue sky is above me and the sun is shining down. Darkness will continue to return, the rains will be back, thunder will roll again but the sun will come back as well. So we should not hold on to what we cannot grip or dwell on the things we do not have but to live life with the proper respect of each moment that we are in. Not always looking back to what was and therefore being unable to see where we are going or looking too far in advance and missing out on what is happening to us now. I will have moments of great happiness but I cannot try to hold onto them anymore than to enjoy them for what they are, great moments on the passing wave and then to turn and be ready for what He brings me on the upcoming wave. If that be a trial of any kind, then I can rejoice and persevere through it as that wave also shall pass.

Monday, November 19, 2012

morning sickness

a work of fiction by nathan evans
The young man was counting his possessions again. Nervously organizing stacks of playing cards and covers of paperback books. His eyes find the old man staring at him with a combination of revulsion, pity and frustration. The old man spits on the ground and leans in.
"You know that your stacks of crap there ain't worth a damn thing, right?"
The young man is seemingly hit with an invisible sledge hammer. This was quickly, but not too quickly, covered up with indignation and a wrathful response.
"You can take your money and shove it where the sun don't shine! Oiiyeee! Yeah you old bastard, I'll tell you like it is!"
The old man shakes his head. He starts to reply back when it seems that he thinks better of getting into a shouting match about respect at this un-godly hour in a homeless shelter. Eleven years the old man has been coming to the First Presbyterian Shelter and Soup Kitchen. Eleven years he has been passing out wisdom to the young men who come through his kingdom. Every year he found someone to rant to about the disrespect that these young men would heap on him. Him, who had been here longer than anyone else! Him, who could find you anything you wanted, drugs, booze, women, a job, you name it. Give him three days and he would find it for you. The young man has turned back to his stacking.  The old man turns slightly to talk to the person who is not there and whispers out the side of his mouth,
"Damn druggies...mind is probably fried."
The young man is the only person who hears him. He pauses in his stacking almost imperceptibly. He edges to the other side of his seat. He breathes deeply and hums. He knows that he has never touched a drug, except for the ones he was forced to take. Horse pills. They looked like misshapen birds eggs. Big and white. The young man looked down at his hands. No shaking anymore. The voices didn't leave him alone very much but at least his damn hands didn't shake so much that he couldn't hold on to a soda pop. He glanced at the old man who was now sitting back on his hands and rocking gently back and forth.
"Who the hell does he think he is?" mumbled the young man.
"Ole crack bird been here forever. Thinks he can do miracles, never shuts up about it. I'll show him though, getting my stuff together, going to make my nut."
The last phrase throws the young man back to a far off corner of his memory and of a father who incessantly spoke of making his nut. Hitting it big at the casino or finding his numbers have been called on his ticket. When this never happened, which was weekly and daily, the young man paid for it. Paid for that jackpot the father didn't win with a bottle thrown at his head or a cigarette put out on his unlucky hands. The smell of burnt skin and hair found their way into the young man's nose. The voices became slightly louder. The other people in the shelter became more muffled. The old wants and temptations came back. He eyes the old man with a fervous and cold rage. The old man looks back with a face of contempt that quickly vanishes into slight fear as he gatheres in the young man's pain and coldness. The old man's eyes narrowes and his eleven years of rule quickly stymies his fear of this young usurper.
"Don't you think of pulling anything in here, druggie. This is my place and there would be consequences. You remember who saved you. You remember who I am!"
The self doubt morphed into superiority and delusional power. Memories of the young wife and two small children rushed over him like a spray of boiling water. The thoughts almost physically hurt. He knew he was right. She was in the wrong and she deserved it, deserved what she got. Those two traitorous slags deserved it too. Didn't they understand who he was? He gave them life. He gave them food and shelter. Anything they wanted, he got it for them. Then they went and defended her. They did not stand behind he who ruled. They did not care about justice. The long ago want of punishment and retribution filled the old man like poison being injected into a vein.
The loud speaker on the wall crackles, a beyond bored and monotone voice announces that the line for breakfast may now form against the south wall. All desires are put aside as the all mighty stomach is given it's due. After oatmeal and cheap white toast has been eaten, an unassuming young man sits down at a table in the corner and starts stacking and organizing his playing cards and paperback book covers, his hands are not shaking and the voices had muffled and bowed to the real people. Across the room, an old man sits down to offer his wisdom and services to a new face in The First Presbyterian Shelter and Soup Kitchen.

Thursday, November 1, 2012

What is going on?

I am not sure sometimes of what if happening around me. I look and hear about things but they do not make sense to me or maybe I do not make sense. It is one of those things.

I see people driving like Burt Reynolds every morning. They ride my butt, put their brights on in my rear view mirror to speed me up? (idiots. don't they know I have this sweet luxury option of flipping my mirror to darken images behind me?) The honk at me, flip me off and yell things at me that I cannot hear. All this is done because I am going 70 miles per hour in the slow lane. I then see them after the exit at the first stop light. I wish I had a pre made sign that reads, "You have just been Tortoised" What do people think when they fly around like bats outta hell? Really when it comes down to it, they MAYBE will save like 2 minutes off their trip. The Des Moines metro area is not very big. What goes on in their heads?

I heard two people talking the other day. In the same sentence, they spoke of how they hate how Obama promotes the murder of unborn children and then how it is a crime how he wants to pull our military out of countries. I agree that we should not kill babies but what about grown ups? War sucks and why would we not want to stop doing it? How can people promote the death of some but not of others? I know you can "make an argument" about how capitol punishment is for people who have "earned" death but in war soooooo many innocent people are killed. How did pro-life and pro-war get put in the same basket? What is going on here?

An offshoot of that...
Recently read an article that made me have to clean off vomit off of my shoes later, because I puked on my shoes after reading it.
If you do not click on the link and read it, I forgive you. Nobody likes praying to the porcelain god. the main thesis is this, we can literally kill children after they are born because of these reasons.
1. They really are not persons yet. They have not contributed to society yet so then they are not persons. WOW. Can you say slippery slope 5 times fast? I work with mentally disabled people. A lot of them will never "contribute" to society. So we should kill them? Elderly people who stay indoors all day and play pinnacle. They do not contribute to society. Kill them please. Sports commentators tell us things that do not help out our lives or our society. Kill them yes? People who go on the jerry springer show actually make our society regress. Do we chop their heads off? Do you see where I am going with this? A man with an odd little mustache and his cronies came up with this same idea about 80 years ago. They felt that, Jewish people, mentally ill and disabled people, gypsies, homosexuals, and just anyone that didn't fit their Uber Man mold did not contribute to society so it was OK to gas, shoot, burn and well ya...kill all of them.
2. This post-birth abortion is more attractive and better than giving the "unwanted child" up for adoption because a mother will go through so many painful emotions if she knows that somewhere out there is her child that she did not want to raise. However if the child is just killed then her pain will be short and sweet and the mother can move on with life because baby is dead and conveniently taken out back and thrown in a pit. (OK maybe not but there is now vomit on my keyboard and the keys get slick) I do not feel that I need to come up with a rebuttal for this load of shit. I am against killing but I am very much for slapping people.
My favorite part of this is that I heard of another person who promoted this similar thing. He said it was a natural population control since apes do this sort of thing. Oh wow, I did not realize that if we could find some action done by animals that we could also do that and be right. I think I may try to eat this guy if I see him.
"Please stop eating my leg!"
"Sorry man, T-Rex ate other dinosaurs and one guy off a toilet, soooo it is just nature's way of dealing with overpopulation."
"Oh well in that case, do try my back straps, they are delightful with cranberry sauce."
And this guy called people who are not for this, a bunch of fascists. What is going on here?

I am so excited for this stupid election to get over with. I really could care less anymore about who wins. The TV ads make me want to punch my own face so as to knock myself out. Maybe that is the point of all these asinine commercials. They make people so angry and sick that they will just stop caring. Well it has worked. It doesn't help that both men running for the Dems and the Repubs are super liars. Both will put us in more debt. Both will taxes my face off. Both will embarrass the United States in front of the world. Both will ignore one or more of the people groups of this country. What is going on here? A lose/lose situation is what is going on.

I hit several tee shots perfectly straight yesterday. That may be the biggest "what is going on" question I have. At least it does not make my shoes dirty.

Well, enough with the negative waves from me. I am going to go resist the urge to bury my head in the sand now.


Tuesday, October 23, 2012

None is better than one

A short piece by Nathan Evans
 The hungry couple sat down in the cafe. They both looked around with that look of anticipation and excitement that comes with being famished and ready to eat.
"What should we order dear?"
"Well, I do not know what this place has to offer. Let us wait for the menu shall we?"
The waiter brought the menu and placed it in front of the couple. His air was of one who has bestowed a grand and glorious gift upon someone.
"Welcome to Cafe Democracy." he practically shouted.
The stars in the waiter's eyes shown with true brilliance and belief. One could not look long into those eyes and not believe that this cafe was indeed the greatest cafe in the world. The hungry couple fell onto their menu with not a selfish ravenous appetite but with a vigor to impress and solidify that indeed this cafe was all it was stacked up to be.
"Gosh honey, I cannot believe our good luck in stopping in here to eat!"
"Yes we are so blessed to be a part of the greatest eatery in the world."
The waiter smiled his knowing smile and placed his reassuring hands on both of their shoulders
"As you can see on the menu, we have a wide selection of options of your palate pleasing delight. We at Cafe Democracy, believe our choices represent what our patrons want and provide the widest, fairest and truest beliefs."
The hungry couple was overwhelmed with pride and thankfulness. They could not wait to order and put their two cents into the best cafe in the world. Even though it was quite beyond them that they ended up in this cafe, both husband and wife became borderline arrogant about their position in this Cafe Democracy.
"Is it not amazing that we the patrons have choices in what this fine establishment serves us?"
"You are so right. I feel such immense pride in this fact and wish for the world that other cafes did this same thing. It feels so right and good for us that I just cannot believe that it would not be right and good for all patrons of all cafes."
The waiter smiled his knowing smile.
"Now you are becoming true patronetes! I thank god you two are joining us in this process of choosing your food and service. I am your humble servant. Please take a look at these all inclusive options we, your humble cafe workers, have laid out for you."
The menus were as elegant and gilded as a menu could be. Each of them had the Cafe Democracy Logo in bossed letters across the top and then below that there was a paragraph that told of the freedom and choices that each patron who dined at Cafe Democracy was entitled to. At the bottom there was a signed promise by the founder of the Cafe that if a patron was not happy with the service provided that new waiters, cooks and bus boys would be placed. This was followed by the following phrase, "Cafe Democracy, more choices, better choices and did we mention any choice you want?" The couple picked them up and gazed in wide wonder at them. They naturally looked around them at other patrons around the cafe. People were pondering their own decisions and talking with their own waiter. To the untrained eye, it looked as if all the patrons were either very excited about their choices or just very calm. The woman finally open her menu up. A perplexed shadow crossed her face. It quickly vanished as the waiter's grip(it was no longer just a hand upon her shoulder) became firmer. The smile was still on his face but the stars in his eyes had lost a little sparkle and became a little sharper. She looked across at her husband who was very happily whistling the cafe theme song while he seemingly scanned his culinary options.
"Excuse me sir, but my menu must be wrong."
The waiter did not smile his knowing smile.
"And how my dear patroness, is your menu wrong?"
"Well...I am not sure where all my options are. I see the promise of more choices and freedoms than other cafes but I only have two menu items. A cheeseburger and a hamburger."
The waiter smiled his knowing smile but there was a dangerous edge to his voice that was not there earlier.
"As you can see, if you were not so ungrateful, that both choices come with a different freedom fry and soft drink."
The man had now looked up with some uncertainty.
"Oh waiter sir, I do not much care for french.." a quick fiery look from the waiter, "oh...ummm I mean freedom fries, either steak house style or waffle cut. Could I have a side of coleslaw with my hamburger?"
The waiter's knowing smile and starry eyes returned.
"Fellow patron, the choice between two types of freedom fries is a basic right that all Cafe Democracy patrons are entitled to. Please do not order in such a way that is un-cafelike, especially with such un-cafe like food options."
"Waiter, I also am unsatisfied with some options. I do not enjoy any sort of soft drinks, I prefer to have iced tea or just water. That is within my freedom and rights, correct?"
"Yes and I am not even sure I want any sort of burger. I have had so many of those in my life that I think a chicken sandwich sounds quite nice."
"The menu is set by cooks who know, my apologies, quite a bit more about food that either of you will ever know. Please choose your menu option now."
The now less hungry couple looked around them again. The other patrons now seemed to have changed. The excited patrons now looked more angry than excited. The calm and serene ones now looked to be more sad and broken. All had burgers or cheese burgers with one of two freedom fries and an extra large soft drink at their tables.
"I think I have lost my appetite honey. What about you?"
"Yes both options are unhealthy and do not sound or look good."
"I agree. I believe it would be healthier to not choose either option and just have some granola bars that we still have in our car."
The waiter had no smile on his face. He had no stars in his eyes. He turned and waved his arm towards two bus boys that had been waiting in the corner.
"These two people are no longer patrons at Cafe Democracy. Please dispose of their belongings, including their car. They only have it because of our great cooks and fellow patrons."
He turned to the now shocked and outraged couple.
"You will be charged full fare for your meal, now please leave Cafe Democracy and never return. Our menu options are for our paying patrons only."
"But we are paying patrons. You just said that we have been charged full price for the food that we did not order!"
The waiter did not look back at them as the bus boy, who wore a t-shirt stating that he was the practice of democracy, started dragging both man and woman out the back door. He instead went over to a new set of people wandering into the cafe. The people jumped in pseudo fright at his barking voice.
"Welcome to Cafe Democracy."


Tuesday, October 9, 2012

If you feel like it...

Some thoughts I have thought in the last few days...
-The Sahara Desert is hot.
I am serious. It is very hot.
-People around the world are basically the same.
They want respect for who they are. They eat food and drink water but some eat more food and drink cleaner water. Cultures clash but can not only co-exist but refine and enrich each other. I saw an incredible scene whilst on this last trip. A team member received Henna (sp?) on her hands. I could be biffing this up but I believe it is some sort of long lasting ink made from interesting smelling things. They tattoo it on your hands or feet. As this woman waved her bagged hands, under which were apparently obviously Hennaed, a group of 20ish ladies who were sitting under a tree, literally exploded with cheering, clapping and pseudo dancing. These ladies were so excited that this "two bob" (white person) came to their community and participated in something that was part of their culture. I ramble but I was blown away. It is small things we do that make massive impacts.
-Governments and most media are evil(ish).
That may be a strong word but I like to sling words around that have some meat on their bones. Everyday people are lied to by their national leaders and then lied to again about the government lies by the media. I am sick of it. As The Tenant says in Steinbeck's "Grapes of Wrath", "I want to go and shoot the sonuvabitch who is responsible for this but "The Bank" is not a man but is just made of men." I do not want to shoot anyone but this problem we have cannot be traced back to one thing. The human situation of greed, need and hate really makes it easy for the powers that be to keep doing a fantastic job of destroying lives. A great quote from a local man in the country I was in. "I very much like America...ummm I just do not like your government, yes?" Me too...me too.
-Culture Shock is real.
I just came from a place that, at best, the traffic could be called "controlled chaos" to a place here with an plethora of road rules and safety regulations. Where do I feel less safe and where do I get the worst looks and finger combinations? Yes, it is here not there. Boo. I am shocked...culturally.
-Make your meat count.
I have been swayed by a couple of travel companions on the positives of abstaining from the flesh of beasts. This is a, pardon the pun, hard thing for me to swallow. I very much like bacon, hambuuuurgers, steaks, bear and pig ribs, ham sandwiches, pizza and yes all sorts of meats. I am not giving up flesh totally but I think I see the value in not having animal fat constantly course through my blood, liver, heart and where ever else it goes. So I will just have to make my meat intake count. When I do eat it, I will need it to be spectacular. Like grizzly bear or something epic like that. Eating a ram, with my hands, in a tent, on top of a house in Africa works as well. Oh and Taco Tuesday at Zimm's because actually that may not be meat anywho.
-Language is a barrier but not a wall.
I went to a country to "teach English". I put that in quotes because these students, for the most part, could spell better than me and knew more grammar rules than I did. I really just taught them idioms. I digress. The people in this country spoke French and a form of Arabic for the most part. I met a family who spoke no amount of English. They impacted me in so many ways. I connected with them more deeply and intimately than most people that I can understand every word they say. I think it is not the words you say but what you are saying. I do need to learn French if I am to go back there though. It is not flattering to do Charades when needing to use the bathroom. Just tacky.

Well that is enough of my thought vomit. I feel like I have emptied my jumbled mind a bit. Thanks for coming.
P.S. To illustrate my terrible spelling, as I pressed the spell check button, I saw what I thought was a glass of lemonade spilling on my computer screen. It was not lemonade but just many highlighted and misspelled words. Go American education!

Friday, June 22, 2012

Oxes and Morons Run A Muck or Stubbed Toes in Transit

"Administer true justice; show mercy and compassion to one another."     I was driving to work this morning and a swarthy looking fellow blinkerlessly wedged his car in the 11 feet that separated my front bumper and the pick up truck's back bumper. I rained expletives and tirades invoking wanted justice upon the back of his head.

As I cooled down, having realized that I was just coming to a stop light so I should have been braking anyways, I immediately was struck with his obscure passage from... I did not even know really so I had to look it up. It is from Zechariah chapter 7 verse 9, who knew? I pondered this thought. How does one administer true justice and show mercy to others? Now if you disagree with my base philosophical and theological belief, which is that we humans have fallen from grace and are deserving of damnation then we shall perhaps depart rhetoric here and now. I do believe that we have all sinned and rebelled against our maker. This sin is in many forms and shapes but whatever it takes shape as it is enough to separate us from Him. I pray daily that I may not receive my due justice. I also pray daily that I am shown mercy. I find it hard to link the two without them moving in opposite directions. My question is how does one show justice to a condemned populace whilst showing mercy to that same populace? I know this is counter to whatever we have going on in this day and age of self serving, gimme gimme take take society of vultures and ground squirrels who believe that they truly do deserve a ridiculously soft mattress, a shiny car and free health care. Don't stand and yell "Republican Bastard!" at me, I just do not believe we humans have done anything to deserve anything but worms and rotting flesh. (this comes from a person lacking health insurance FYI for all you who were saying it is easy to say that when you have it.)

So what does this look like? I ask it again because as I type I still have not been able to reconcile them. I sure do not believe true justice means frying criminals, no matter what they have done because that is not showing mercy and compassion, and I do not find any place in Christ's teachings where he gives society the right to kill people. On the contrary! He lifts judgements off death in favor of forgiveness and mercy!!! So maybe TRUE justice is the key. Have we fallen away from justice do far that Christ has had to bring the true justice that is only bestowed by Him in the form of compassion and mercy? Is the only way humans can administer true justice is by showing mercy and compassion? Maybe. I am spit balling here. 

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

A Crime against Codex?

    The steady, morose, doom impending sound of Prokofiev's Romeo and Juliet, Ballet in 4 Acts throbs in my ears. My copy of Dickens's "David Copperfield" stares at me with judging and disappointed eyes. I feel as if I have done a dark and dastardly deed. My soul is torn between excitement and shame. I check my online bank statement again. Yes, I did it. It is right there. $79.00 charge from amazon.com.
Sigh...yes I have purchased a Kindle.
I was pushed over the edge. I am a product of this technological age. I had no chance.
When I saw that C.S. Lewis' "Space Trilogy" was nice dollars cheaper to purchase as a Kindle version, plus no shipping, I staggered. When I pushed my computer to block my view of aforementioned Dickens book and secretly clicked the button to see what amazon prime included, I broke. (a free trial of amazon prime comes with the Kindle purchase) I added to cart. I chose my payment options. I verified my shipping address. I then chose my FREE 2 DAY SHIPPING!
I stepped over Rufio's line drawn in the sand.
I am sure people have had this same experience in the past. The day in 330 A.D. when a weeping Roman laid aside his last scroll of "The Aeneid" and started to read from a codex. The day in 3000 B.C. when an Egyptian dropped his stone plates into the Nile and picked up his new copy of "The Mummy" written on papyrus. I am not the first or the last I shouldn't wonder, to commit Literary Adultery. The punishment will not fit the crime. That anti-glare screen will be pretty great.