"Above all else guard your heart, for it is a wellspring of life." - Proverbs 4:23


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Patrick Ryan Kolstee

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:: 2012 20 March :: 2.43 pm
:: Mood: chipper
:: Music: Everything Good by Ashes Remain

So, got some idea where I'll be going in a few years... don't know exactly when, but maybe starting building contacts in December....
Russia. I feel God is leading my wife and I to Tula, Russia to minister to others.
From the ministries I've heard of that have gone on in Russia, I've heard that most of them, the missionaries don't live among the people... they either build up walls around their house or their lives to protect them from everyone else outside of them... and that doesn't come off as something right or good to a culture that is heavily relational and personal.

My intention is Russia be the headquarters of all the missions that Chelsea and I want to do: See a need in a place we end up in, meet that need among the community, leave the ministry to a Timothy, and move to another place when we feel we are felt let to move.

Tula is a very cultural area in Russia, you get heavy WWII history on Russia's part (they were the ones making all the guns and ammo for the Russian army at the time, and helped fend off an attack headed toward Moscow). Other than that, it's kind of the meltingpot of a lot of culturs that will be very interesting to experiance, and plus you can hop a train or tram, and a half an hour to two hours -or so- you're in an area that needs help, or really anywhere in the western half of Russia.

Chelsea and I are so excited to start this ministry work through our pastor's orginization -Open Arms International Ministries (OAIM); spreading the love and self-worth of Jesus Christ to those who are looking for more in life, and needs due to them because they are human (food, shelter, human relationship, and love).

I love what we are being called to do, and I want so much to get started. Chelsea and I have the Youth to work on within our church, but I believe that's the stepping-stone to get our orginization fine-tuned and under our belt in experiance and such so that when we do go halfway around the world, we can be reliable, dependable, responsible, and effective when we do have greater responsibility on our shoulders.

Those who are reading this, please keep my wife and I in your thoughts and prayers as we travel and just love people, here in the states and elsewhere.

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:: 2011 9 November :: 10.51 am

Sucks when you know you dreamt, and you rack your brain trying to remember what it was about; you don't even know bits and pieces... Then all of the sudden, latter on in the day, you remember every single bit of the dream... And it was nothing you ever wanted to remember.

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:: 2011 13 July :: 11.47 am

Am I really a toxic person in your eyes because I told you embarrising and regretable actions that I am now trying to reconcile?
Am I really not worth your friendship because I've made mistakes in my life and I recognize them?
Am I really worth being dropped in probably one of the most emotionally unstable, intimidating, and uncompromising periods of my life?

Thank you... for not being there when I need you the most.

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:: 2011 13 May :: 4.04 pm
:: Mood: awake
:: Music: I Will Follow by Chris Tomlin

This is my anthem
I'm making strides to You. I'm doing the best I can to be the best that You want me to be. I'm not letting my choices decide where I go in life... that's the desires of my heart and Your job, now.
Proverbs 16:3 "Commit your activities to the Lord, and your plans will be achieved." Finally I see that ALL my plans may not be Yours, but when I seek you; when I commit everything I do... when I trust in you alone, it will be through You that my plans become achieved.
You are awesome and powerful... beautiful and just.
It's in your name I praise, Jesus. Amen.

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:: 2011 11 May :: 12.13 pm
:: Mood: drained
:: Music: Anna Molly (Acoustic) by Incubus

It's been a few days:
I'll be better, I know I will. I just need to focus on God and on myself. I don't feel great about my decision, but I know that it was the best decision I have ever made in a long time.
Just need lots of prayer.

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:: 2011 5 May :: 11.33 pm

Are my desires of my heart paving my future, or are my choices?

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:: 2011 20 April :: 11.44 pm

Radical by David Platt
"We are not saved from our sins because Jesus was falsely tried by Jewish and Roman officials and sentenced by Pilate to die. Neither are we saved because Roman persecutors thrust nails into the hands and feet of Christ... All God's holy wrath and hatred toward sin and sinners, stored up since the beginning of the world, was poured out on Jesus... This is the gospel."

I paraphrased his words, and sorta ran them together a little bit... but damn it he's right: We are not saved from our sins because of what Jesus did on the cross, we are saved because of what he took on our behalf. God's anger and wrath and just judgment was poured onto Jesus in that moment, and that's what saved us, because Jesus Became sin; moreover, that is why God turned his back from Jesus. David Platt can say it better than I.

"Picture Christ in the Garden of Gethsemane. As he kneels before his Father, drops of sweat and blood fall together from his head. Why is he in such agony and pain? The answer is not because he is afraid of the crucifixion. He is not trembling because of what the Roman soldiers are about to do to him.
"Since that day, countless men and women in the history of Christianity have died for their faith. Some of them were not just hung on a cross; they were burned there. Many of them went to their crosses singing.
"One Christian in India, while being skinned alive, looked at his persecutors and said, 'I thank you for this. Tear off my old garment, for I will soon put on Christ's garment of righteousness.'
"As he prepared to head to his execution, Christopher Love wrote a note to his wife, saying, 'Today they will sever me from my physical head, but they cannot sever me from my spiritual head, Christ.' As he walked to his death, his wife applauded while he sang of glory.
"Did these men and women in Christian history have more courage than Christ himself? why was he trembling in that garden, weeping and full of anguish? We can rest assured that he was not a coward... Instead he was a savior about to endure divine wrath.
"Listen to his words: 'My Father, if it is possible, may this cup be taken from me.' The 'cup' is not a reference to a wooden cross; it is a reference to divine judgment. It is the cup of God's wrath. This is what Jesus is recoiling from in the garden...
"What happened at the cross was not primarily about nails being thrust into Jesus' hands and feet but about the wrath due your sin and my sin being thrust upon his soul. In that holy moment, all the righteous wrath and justice of God due us came rushing down like a torrent on Christ himself. Some say, 'God looked down and could not bear to see the suffering that the soldiers were inflicting on Jesus, so he turned away.' But this is not true. God turned away because he could not beat to see your sin and my sin on his Son."

Wow... Changes everything doesn't it?

This Easter, really think about what it means to be forgiven... and what it really means to be saved from sin and death.
This Easter, question your salvation in the sense to test it, tried and true.
This Easter..... really know what it means to be a Christian, take up your cross, and do something.

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:: 2011 6 January :: 12.52 am

I've made a lot of changes: in belief, mindset, mentality, and passion.

The point of faith is not the war, but about the hearts, minds, and lives of the people around you; to help others any way you can -and not because you should, but because you want to.

Love is what holds everything together. God has sent His son, Jesus, to die for our sins not to win a battle, but to show His love for us.

The resurrection is just as much for us as the death was.

My passion should not be to rally troops, to fight a war, or to defeat the enemy... that's God's job, and he already has that covered. My passion should be to help the community around me, to show just how much God loves each and every one of us, and to show everyone that there is value in them. You can throw, step on, spit on, smash, and run over a gold brick, but at the end of the day the gold brick is still worth $1500 an ounce (give or take based on the price that day).

Reading past entries... I don't know who reads this any more; I don't even know if I'm talking to anyone but myself, but I just want to say for whoever this may concern: I am sorry for how I have treated all of you through my belligerent faith of Spiritual Warfare. It's not a right thing to be offensive for God, and I realize that now. My drive is to break down those types of walls... because I see that in the past I was no better than any other judgmental Christian out there that doesn't give the rest of the world any sort of grace shown to them; I will work to change that. Jesus said that the greatest commandment was to "love your God with all your heart, mind, soul, and strength, and the second is like it: Love your neighbor as yourself," and I look to take that so much to heart it becomes second nature.

I am not the same -it's almost like a breath of fresh air.

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:: 2009 31 August :: 11.31 am

What can be said? What can be told that hasn't already been uttered before for the sake of knowing that things aren't right, and that change, nay... revolution must commence for the sake of love, mystery, and fellowship?
Government promises change, individuals promise change, yet no one offers revolution, because it's too drastic.
Things are getting complicated now in this day, lines are being blurred, and even hard truth is being pulled into question every single day about things that we once strongly believed to be true and right and fair.
Don't get me wrong, however: Questioning is something needed and should be accepted by any sex of religion, organization, and government, but when the questions begin to loose their humility, when the questions begin to be less and less raw, and more and more about trying to prove a statement wrong that you are either tired of or you don't think is right, then what is the point of questioning if it's only for selfish gain? How does it better anyone else but the questioning individual, and as a matter of fact I wouldn't even call what the person is doing a questioning individual. I'd go as far as to title them a demon, because all they are doing is making others doubt so that they loose sight of what is true and right, to see a view that really only the individual believes is right just because it looks good and it's different from the other view that they don't even understand why they don't like in the first place. Because it doesn't make sense? That's a cop-out, and here's why:
In school, if something didn't make sense, you would question the teacher, right? If your parents say something that doesn't sound right or they say something that you don't understand, what do you do? Just say "Screw you," and go off doing your own project or chore? No, you question the teacher or parent or whoever... because you don't understand; because it doesn't make sense to you. Why is this scene any different in the topic of God? If something doesn't make sense, people question in any other facet of life besides this one, and that amazes me.
A revolution needs to take place. A drastic change needs to happen to change how people view God, church, and their spirit. Churches today have painted a grotesque picture of what Jesus looked like, believed, and did. They sculpted a horrible representation of God in their million dollar buildings that are only to be used to the congregation, and built a fellowship that you have to gain membership into the body of Christ. This "Christdom" if you will has become overweight, too powerful, and it overshadows what should really be seen in terms of what Christ did, believe, and tried to show the world. God is seen as a guy waiting to strike down anyone who comes in his path. Christ is seen as a pretty neat guy that people would like to get to know... as long as you hate gays. Both of those depictions are things that the church in general has fed us with, and I'm surprised so many have taken it for this long.
What would it look like for a church to give out half of what it gets in in offering.
What would it look like for a church to not be confined by walls or a building?
What would it look like for a church to help its community any way possible?
To cloth and feed and house the needy?
To love anyone who walks through the doors or what have you?

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:: 2009 5 June :: 4.22 pm
:: Mood: I don't think there's a justifyable word for this.

Is this my legacy?
I know that church has gotten a bad rap for having hippicritical people in it. People that do nothing but break down others, using the church, so that they get -in some sick and twisted way- who they want in their church.
I haven't had this personal... until now.
A friend of mine at Real Life church in Spring Lake, North Carolina, has made mistakes in her past that she isn't proud of. Some people found this out, and by a involvement of her through their children, decided to do everything they could to turn everyone against her.
These people are the ones in the church that are suppose to be protecting her, showing her an example of Christ constantly, and yet they take up their rocks, not caring who is without sin, and letting them fly without any reguard to her continuity.
Jesus came and made himself nothing for the continuity of the people that were on the other end of the rock; to show people not that the laws in the Old Testiment were wrong, but that they were lived out like this -hints Jesus' life.
I've always known that pharisies were in any church you go to, sneeking around, planning the perfect time to make their move at someone, ready to condemn with stone and tounge... I just never would have thought that these pharisies were peopole so involved and deep in ministry of a church, of whos' purpose -above all others- is to protect the young from the stones themselves. Lets call them "Sleeper Pharisies".
All the while of listening to this and seeing this young girl get torn apart by the ones that she did nothing to but love and respect, people that she poured hard-earned comfort, love, and joy into, I think of how the pastor is going to react to this... because this will eventually get back to Darrell in some manner.
I know for a fact that Darrell doesn't know anyhting about any of this that is going on within his congragation right under his nose, and when he does, it's going hurt him bad. Darrell has been so proud of his congragation for all the things that we have involved ourselves with to help the community without any promise of reward from anyone but God himself, and not for the sake of recieving, but for the sake of giving to others in need; to hear this story of lies, decete, emotional murder of this young girl... it's going to break his heart to know that this is happening right under him, and he didn't even know it.
And all this time I'm thinking: Is this my legacy as a pastor? To have these toxic people right in the midst of leadership within my church and not even know it until they decide to tare apart a young girl in public?
Yes, yes it is. And I accept it as my legacy whole-heartedly and with tears in my eyes and pain in my heart... I accept this legacy to look forward to.

Things need to change.
Church is viewed of a collective of peopole that have a "I'm more holy that thou," persona; you'll find that with SOMEONE in ANY given church, but the sad part of it is: this persona is beoming adopted more and more as I see even Real Life -my home church- progress.
The foundation of Real Life is to live real life, showing a real God to real people. We try and meet people at their needs, and to show the love of Christ through what we do and how we do it... and to see all this happening to my friend makes others -outside looking in- think what is really taken to heart and taught over at Rea Life.
God works in mysterious ways, and so does Satan.... I just pray that love really does win every single time.
However, something needs to change. Meeting real people with real problems with a real God in their real lives leaves room for real people to make real problems. Something needs to change about how a real God helping real problems for real people is approched.
Christians and the church today -the American church and the American Jesus- has become somewhat of a marketed, segragated (not in race but in spirituality and beliefes.... even about the same thing) community. Real Life tries to break that, and this toxin has infiltrated on somewhat of a deep level. I guess it was only a matter of time, but it still hurts to know that this happened.
Darrell will take care of things when this gets back to him, and he will sort it out. I have enough faith in Darrell that this will not go further... and I'm not expecting a church to be completely immune to any of these problems, but I guess it's jsut the innitial explosion of this whole situation that hit hard.
Something needs to change... because I'm not inheriting this preconseved, marketed, segrigated community as my community of God like other churches have in America, and even the world. Real Life will prosper and take care of the situation... but this is something that has to and will be addressed, by not only Darrell, but when I plant my church.

Love wins

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:: 2009 25 January :: 1.00 pm
:: Mood: enthralled
:: Music: My Savior My God: Aaron Shust / Go (I wana send you): Newsboys

[Church name under construction]
Part of the fruit of the spirit is to have patients. It's to wait and not only see what God is going to do, but it's to wait and see what's in your heart for the works of God himself.
Patients, this part of the spirit is something I've always had since I can remember... except now.
It's hard to wait for something that you are not only wanting to do with all your heart, but to do something that you feel God is calling you to do to spread his love to the nations.
I know I need to be patient, and I will, but it's just so hard when I have this vision of what must be accomplished not only for God, but for community's sake... wherever that may be.

The Vision/Rant:
I want to make a church that cannot be contained in a building, within a physical infrastructure or on a physical location.
I want to make a church that breaks down, to the core, what church should be: A community of people that meet together to fellowship with each other, learn, and grow spiritually and physically under the banner and love of Christ Jesus.
What church has become today is a place built on worship of a God that is hard to understand, lives to condemn, and wants you to be perfect to receive his attention, approval, and love.
This is sick. This is not what Jesus intended at all; this was not our example, in the book of Acts, of how a church should function, grow, and affect the community.
I want to create a community that does nothing but grow, expand, and deepen the love of God to anyone that chooses to accept it... who may or may not accept Christ himself, his love then.
We serve a God that we already have approval from, whom we already have love from, and whom we already have attention from. So why do we, as followers of Christ, act like we don't? Why do we perpetuate the idea that we need to ask for it?
Why do we ask to bless food when it's already blessed by God, because it came from the Earth, and the Earth was created by God himself?
Why do we treat God like he didn't commit suicide to save us from sins punishable by death... which is any sin really.
You break one commandment and you break them all, so in all seriousness we are all murderers, we are all rapists, we are all honoring other Gods... but we are forgiven from all of this... so why does the church insist in proclaiming that not only we are not, but also that we must be perfect to achieve reward from God in Heaven?
Why are we following the phrases when Jesus himself called them "Sons of Hell?"
Church must be evangelistic, to it's inner structure; it should be a place where people can not only come HOW they are... but WHERE they are in life/in their walk with God/in their life with themselves and others.
Church must be a servant of the community in ANY way that it can be, and it should not just be one church organization over another, but in conjunction with other church groups. The church down the street and the church out in the middle of nowhere and the church downtown should work together for the good of the community, despite their differences of what color the carpet in the sanctuary should be or if you should drink alcohol or nix all forms of alcohol from any type of consumption in your life completely.
That is ridiculousness... and pretty much sad.
Not only that, but it also causes others that don't believe in Christ to see the ridiculousness and have the ability to ask, "Do I really want to be apart of that?"
I wouldn't!
It turns people away from what is most important, and it's important because it gives hope for your life and it gives you the ability to say, "I don't have everything together, but it doesn't matter, because I have hope, love, and assurance in my life."
How many people can say that now, today, with how things are going in the world? How many people can say that they don't need things in their life to make them happy, because they have joy, and that's all they need?
How many people can look at their life and say, "I don't need anything else."
People may paint with a broad brush what Church is... and to an extent, they are right.
However, I feel it is partly my obligation as a follower of Christ to take that brush and attempt to brake it... or at least have it find a place that it can't paint.
My vision... or I should say God's vision for my life and my future is to bring life back to any given community. To plant not a church, but love into a community and let the roots take hold of the area and not let go.
This vision is more than what I can explain with words.
It's taking all I get in offering and tithe and splitting it down the middle: Half of what I take in, I give out to the community, and the reason for this comes from the greatest commandment that Jesus told us: "Love your God with all your heart, soul, mind and strength, and the second is like it: Love your neighbor as yourself."
"...love your neighbor as yourself." If we loved our neighbors as ourselves, wouldn't we feed them just as much we do us? Would we cloth them just as much as we do our own bodies? Wouldn't we spend just as much money on them as we would on ourselves? What would that look like? What kind of effect would that have on any given community if people, or a church had that mentality?
This vision of what I am describing is more than anything I can explain... it has to be shown, because it's going to be a movement that will take hold of anyone that notices and wonders about it.
This is not my vision just as well as the moon is yours, or anyone's. This vision is owned, breathed, fixated, and motivated by, from, on, and through Jesus Christ, the son of God the Father, and giver of the Holy Spirit, who died on the cross to our sin, and rose again for our salvation.
Now don't get me wrong: I do not claim to know exactly what God wants, and I know it sounds like I'm painting church myself with a broad brush, but I assure you I am not. I am apart of a church that is doing just his right now as I write this, called Real Life Church in Spring Lake, North Carolina, and I am fully aware that there are other churches that are doing this as well... and then some. However, I am speaking for and to those who have this preconceived notion of what church is, and the churches that have proved these notions with judgmental colors.
People see church this way, and it's for a reason, and I'm looking to paint a different picture of church starting years from now.
My generation/Our generation is the one that is more spiritual than their parents in over 150 years in America alone. What we are spiritual about is another story, but constantly I see teenagers of my generation and younger going to church not because their parents go or make them... but because they want to. Because they are searching, and because they want more and know there has to be more out there.
Times are changing, people are growing, ideas are blossoming, and we need to act accordingly.
There are people that need help, there are people that need much, there is a looming fear of everything crashing down again in terms of society, and there's this ideal that is spreading around. The ideal that there is more than just what we see, the ideal that love is more of an act than a feeling. The ideal... that community may be all of what some have to any extent of the imagination.
What will you do in this day and age? Will you paint a broad brush over all you see and give in to giving up hope in church... if there was any? Or will you take up a different brush, a brush that is easy, and it's paint is kind. A brush that will bring burden, but a brush and paint that will ensure you assurance through the rough surfaces of the canvas?
May you love your God with all your heart, soul, mind and strength... and may you love your neighbor as you love yourself.

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:: 2008 4 November :: 11.01 am
:: Mood: confused

Some stuff going on:
Ok, so, I've been having conflicted ideas about my future, but I will give an update before I go into what's going on with me personally right now.

I'm no longer on my way to Liberty University. I just don't think that's where God is leading me and so therefore I am headed to Campbell University... but not immediately.
Right now I'm a student at FTCC (Fayetteville Technical Community College), and I'm doing alright I guess.
I've been the Youth Worship Band leader at Real Life Church for a while now, and I'm loving every minute of it.
Again, I'm very involved with my church and I'm doing alright at school and such.

What's going on with me now:
Alright, now down to the whole point of this post.
I've been in deep with my church and such. However, I'm very deep and near the end with this semester in school... and it seems the closer I get to the end of the semester, the more and more school seems to get in the way of all that I want to involve myself with in church.
Now, I want to tell all of you straight up: I may take a year or so off of school it self (I'm not going to stop going to school... but I think I may need a break from that), and I have heard a lot about the peace corps and how the people involved can get college credit for the work that is done... so I may be looking into involving myself in that and then going back to school after serving some time there.
I am just having to go through a lot of stuff in my life right now kind of finding myself (for lack of a better term), getting over some past experiences... kind of digging up everything and healing from all of it (which may mean me going to another counselor or something), and all that good stuff.

I have a lot of decisions that need to be made within me, and I have a lot to go other emotionally so that I can become as a clean slate for God so that he can make me how he wants me to be/how I should be in his sight.

Just pray for me... that's really all that anyone can do for me at this time.

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:: 2008 12 March :: 12.10 am

The Revelation: What is a Christian?:
The things that we use to explain what a Christian is, is more or less what a Christian does or believes. The question I beg is: "What IS a Christian?"
-A follower of Christ
-A light to the world and salt of the Earth
-A warrior for Christ
Yes, we are the followers of truth; the people of The Way, The Truth, and The Life, but more important, we are the soldiers of Christ's army/warriors in God's name. We (Christians and non-Christians) have to face the facts:
-We are at war
-We need to fight
If you ask someone what spiritual warfare is, most will either ask you/someone else what it is, or guess. What this "term" is, is the reality of our lives, Christian and not. There are things going on beyond our senses and understanding all of the time. Even the Bible addresses this, in Ephesians 6:
"... For we are not fighting against people made of flesh and blood, but against the evil rulers and authorities of the unseen world; against those mighty powers of darkness who rule this world, and against wicked spirits in the Heavenly realms." –Eph. 6:12
Even the Bible says we are at war/that we are fighting. See, we aren't looking at this war through a television screen... but through chain-mail and a helmet. That's the thing, in itself, that most see this war as... like we are seeing the war in Iraq: We tend to think that we aren't directly affected... but we are. We have been disillusioned to believe that sense most aren't in a position in our churches that's revered as leadership/authority, we think that we're cheering on our team... but we are in the frontlines, taking the hits like EVERYONE else. Now, don't get me wrong, this isn't the churches' fault or anyone else's. Facts and parts of reality are usually pushed out of the picture, in every fraction of life; we can't help what has happened, but we can decide what will happen, to a point.
My generation is the most spiritual generation in the world since two hundred years ago. Now, my question is: What are we so spiritual about? What is this rising generation on fire for? What are we willing to fight for... or even to die for? We, as a generation, have to constantly fight in our lives. I know that this seems like just another thing we need to fight and all, but if you think that then you aren't seeing the importance of what is really happening. This is your life, and it's ending one minute at a time... so what are you using this time for: glory of God, or transgressions of Satan? Who are we fighting for: Death or life?
War is a horrible thing; this isn't any different. I've seen people with the devil in them... literally. I've known people that have gone through exorcisms and change... even down to what they look like. Hell is real; most would agree with me, but this war is real too, and (Christian or not) guess what we are up against?

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:: 2008 5 March :: 11.24 am

Too Late in the End
Hope is gone, fallen out, dead... My dear friend.
Love was there, and then it went like a flame.
This wound isn't one to easily mend.
The price you pay for playing in such game.
Determined I was; too late in the end.
I can't believe this ended like it did.
This is the place where sutch and sutch are bent.
On the road of my life this marked as: "skid".
"Determined I was; too late in the end."
this is a constant thought of my own mind.
A note to self I would go back to send.
Guess this shows how I was through all this: blind.
"Determined I was; too late in the end."
I didn't loose just my mate... But a friend.

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:: 2007 8 August :: 8.39 pm
:: Mood: calm
:: Music: Guardian Angel: The Red Jumpsuit Apparatus

I can feel it. I can feel it in my heart; in my soul. Something that will truly put all of what I have been taught, all that I have built up in my mind to believe, all that I have known to be true to the test.

Something is going to happen that will push this little war to its outer limits and show me a fragment of what I have been fighting for, for the past three and a half years.

It makes me excited, afraid... but excited. It is going to change a lot of things, but I know it's going to be for the better.

It makes me wonder, though, why He lets us build these things up just so He can break them down. Makes me wonder why it is, exactly, He lets us go on our own just so He can bring us back to Him. I know we have freedom of choice and He isn't going to intervene that much until He decides it's The End, but still.

"He is good... unsafe... but good."

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:: 2007 27 June :: 8.13 pm


"False Pretense"

Oh, it's time to let it go

The world's got a funny way of turning 'round on you
When a friend tries to stab you right in the face
Losing faith in everything I thought I hoped I knew
Don't sweat it, {it was} set on false pretense

Betrayed but not gonna be willing to change
And it doesn't seem likely to fade
Betrayed but not gonna be willing to change
Cu-cu-cu-cuz you know...

It's sacrifice
False pretense you'll hurt again
Stop pretending to deny
False pretense you'll hurt again

All along you know you thought you got the best of me
{But} you were wrong and I'm laughing right in your face
I cannot believe you claimed you were my family
Don't sweat it - it's set on false pretense

Betrayed but not gonna be willing to change
And it doesn't seem likely to fade
Betrayed but not gonna be willing to change
Cu-cu-cu-cuz you know...

It's sacrifice
False pretense you'll hurt again
Stop pretending to deny
False pretense you'll hurt again

Oh, it's time to let it go

I can't seem to understand it how you turned out to be so cold
You tried but were caught red handed, are you happy with your role?
It's funny to me how you've turned into such a joke...

It's sacrifice
False pretense you'll hurt again
Stop pretending to deny
False pretense you'll hurt again

So play the game until you run out
And play the game into my hand

"Seventeen Ain't So Sweet"

Well she never was the best
Yeah at following the trends
Stayed one step above the rest
And even though it seemed

Like the world was crashing on her
Didn't let it hold her down
Didn't hold her back oh no

Don't worry you'll show them

There's a fire in your eyes
And I hope you'll let it burn
There's a scream in your voice
And I hope you will be heard
There's a fire in your eyes
And I hope you'll let it burn
Until you're heard, you're heard

Seventeen is just a test
Yeah and I would recommend
That you live with no regrets
And even if it seems

Like the world is crashing on you
You shouldn't let it hold you down
Shouldn't hold you back oh no, woah oh

Don't worry you'll show them


Relax girl, turn down the lights
No one can see you shining
Relax girl, it'll be alright
No one can stop you if you try

Point of rhythm is to follow it in time
To listen to the beating in your mind
Remember if you seek then you shall find
Woah oh

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:: 2007 7 May :: 7.04 pm

An altered quote from Fight Club to fit my needs:
Man, I see in church the strongest and smartest men who've ever lived. I see all this potential, and I see squandering. In fact, an entire generation pumping gas, waiting tables; slaves with white collars. Advertising has us chasing cars and clothes, working jobs we hate so we can buy junk we don't need. We're the middle children of history, man. We have a purpose and a place... but no one doesn't really understand it all anymore. We think we have no Great War; Great Depression, but our Great War's a spiritual war... our Great Depression is our lives. We've all been raised on television to believe that one day we'd all be millionaires, and movie gods, and rock stars. But we won't. And we're slowly learning that fact. And we're very, very ticked off about that. No one wants the face the truth that the world has nothing to offer us. That the world has nothing to do with our salvation because the world is a place that we have grown acustome to calling 'home', and we are like kids in the back seat of God's car calling out, 'Are we home yet? Are we home yet? This car smells weird; I have to go to the bathroom; I'm hungry!'. We don't want to hear that we are at war because media and society say that war doesn't serve a purpose, like the lyrics of that song, "War, what is it good for? Absolutely nothing...." And most overlook what Ephesians says: 'For we do not fight against flesh and blood, but against the authorities, against the cosmic powers over this present darkness, against the spiritual fources of evil in the heavenly places.' We don't see who or what we should be fighting because who or what we should be fighting has hidden himself behind the junk that we buy, behind the advertisements telling us to buy the un-needed junk. 'The greatest trick the devil ever played on mankind was making them believe he doesn't exsist.' We are fools to say that there is no war because there is, in front of us every single day of our ever-ending lives here on earth. We aren't looking at this war through a television screen, but through chainmale and a helmet. We aren't on the sidelines cheering our team on but in the frontlines taking all the hits just like everyone else; whether you want to believe that or not is your perogitive, but to really understand what it means to be a Christian you have to let everything go. You have to drop your friggin' khakies, your American Eagle and Abrocrombie and Fintch merchindice, your dinner plates, your outdoor projects -that will never get done anyway, your furniture, your computers, your phones, your everything that you believe defines you as a person and take to heart what the bible says that we don't want to pay attention to. And I mean really take it in... because if we don't then we really do become the middle children of history and the label that they put on our generation -Generation 0- will live up to its name.

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:: 2006 10 December :: 4.23 pm

Civil Disobedience by Henry David Thoreau
I heartily accept the motto, "That government is best which governs least"; and I should like to see it acted up to more rapidly and systematically. Carried out, it finally amounts to this, which also I believe--"That government is best which governs not at all"; and when men are prepared for it, that will be the kind of government which the will have. Government is at best but an expedient; but most governments are usually, and all governments are sometimes, inexpedient. The objections which have been brought against a standing army, and they are many and weighty, and deserve to prevail, may also at last be brought against a standing government. The standing army is only an arm of the standing government. The government itself, which is only the mode which the people have chosen to execute their will, is equally liable to be abused and perverted before the people can act through it. Witness the present Mexican war, the work of comparatively a few individuals using the standing government as their tool; for in the outset, the people would not have consented to this measure.

This American government--what is it but a tradition, though a recent one, endeavoring to transmit itself unimpaired to posterity, but each instant losing some of its integrity? It has not the vitality and force of a single living man; for a single man can bend it to his will. It is a sort of wooden gun to the people themselves. But it is not the less necessary for this; for the people must have some complicated machinery or other, and hear its din, to satisfy that idea of government which they have. Governments show thus how successfully men can be imposed upon, even impose on themselves, for their own advantage. It is excellent, we must all allow. Yet this government never of itself furthered any enterprise, but by the alacrity with which it got out of its way. It does not keep the country free. It does not settle the West. It does not educate. The character inherent in the American people has done all that has been accomplished; and it would have done somewhat more, if the government had not sometimes got in its way. For government is an expedient, by which men would fain succeed in letting one another alone; and, as has been said, when it is most expedient, the governed are most let alone by it. Trade and commerce, if they were not made of india-rubber, would never manage to bounce over obstacles which legislators are continually putting in their way; and if one were to judge these men wholly by the effects of their actions and not partly by their intentions, they would deserve to be classed and punished with those mischievious persons who put obstructions on the railroads.

But, to speak practically and as a citizen, unlike those who call themselves no-government men, I ask for, not at one no government, but at once a better government. Let every man make known what kind of government would command his respect, and that will be one step toward obtaining it.

After all, the practical reason why, when the power is once in the hands of the people, a majority are permitted, and for a long period continue, to rule is not because they are most likely to be in the right, nor because this seems fairest to the minority, but because they are physically the strongest. But a government in which the majority rule in all cases can not be based on justice, even as far as men understand it. Can there not be a government in which the majorities do not virtually decide right and wrong, but conscience?--in which majorities decide only those questions to which the rule of expediency is applicable? Must the citizen ever for a moment, or in the least degree, resign his conscience to the legislator? WHy has every man a conscience then? I think that we should be men first, and subjects afterward. It is not desirable to cultivate a respect for the law, so much as for the right. The only obligation which I have a right to assume is to do at any time what I think right. It is truly enough said that a corporation has no conscience; but a corporation on conscientious men is a corporation with a conscience. Law never made men a whit more just; and, by means of their respect for it, even the well-disposed are daily made the agents on injustice. A common and natural result of an undue respect for the law is, that you may see a file of soldiers, colonel, captain, corporal, privates, powder-monkeys, and all, marching in admirable order over hill and dale to the wars, against their wills, ay, against their common sense and consciences, which makes it very steep marching indeed, and produces a palpitation of the heart. They have no doubt that it is a damnable business in which they are concerned; they are all peaceably inclined. Now, what are they? Men at all? or small movable forts and magazines, at the service of some unscrupulous man in power? Visit the Navy Yard, and behold a marine, such a man as an American government can make, or such as it can make a man with its black arts--a mere shadow and reminiscence of humanity, a man laid out alive and standing, and already, as one may say, buried under arms with funeral accompaniment, though it may be,

"Not a drum was heard, not a funeral note, As his corse to the rampart we hurried; Not a soldier discharged his farewell shot O'er the grave where out hero was buried."

The mass of men serve the state thus, not as men mainly, but as machines, with their bodies. They are the standing army, and the militia, jailers, constables, posse comitatus, etc. In most cases there is no free exercise whatever of the judgement or of the moral sense; but they put themselves on a level with wood and earth and stones; and wooden men can perhaps be manufactured that will serve the purpose as well. Such command no more respect than men of straw or a lump of dirt. They have the same sort of worth only as horses and dogs. Yet such as these even are commonly esteemed good citizens. Others--as most legislators, politicians, lawyers, ministers, and office-holders--serve the state chiefly with their heads; and, as the rarely make any moral distinctions, they are as likely to serve the devil, without intending it, as God. A very few--as heroes, patriots, martyrs, reformers in the great sense, and men--serve the state with their consciences also, and so necessarily resist it for the most part; and they are commonly treated as enemies by it. A wise man will only be useful as a man, and will not submit to be "clay," and "stop a hole to keep the wind away," but leave that office to his dust at least:

"I am too high born to be propertied, To be a second at control, Or useful serving-man and instrument To any sovereign state throughout the world."

He who gives himself entirely to his fellow men appears to them useless and selfish; but he who gives himself partially to them in pronounced a benefactor and philanthropist.

How does it become a man to behave toward the American government today? I answer, that he cannot without disgrace be associated with it. I cannot for an instant recognize that political organization as my government which is the slave's government also.

All men recognize the right of revolution; that is, the right to refuse allegiance to, and to resist, the government, when its tyranny or its inefficiency are great and unendurable. But almost all say that such is not the case now. But such was the case, they think, in the Revolution of '75. If one were to tell me that this was a bad government because it taxed certain foreign commodities brought to its ports, it is most probable that I should not make an ado about it, for I can do without them. All machines have their friction; and possibly this does enough good to counter-balance the evil. At any rate, it is a great evil to make a stir about it. But when the friction comes to have its machine, and oppression and robbery are organized, I say, let us not have such a machine any longer. In other words, when a sixth of the population of a nation which has undertaken to be the refuge of liberty are slaves, and a whole country is unjustly overrun and conquered by a foreign army, and subjected to military law, I think that it is not too soon for honest men to rebel and revolutionize. What makes this duty the more urgent is that fact that the country so overrun is not our own, but ours is the invading army.

Paley, a common authority with many on moral questions, in his chapter on the "Duty of Submission to Civil Government," resolves all civil obligation into expediency; and he proceeds to say that "so long as the interest of the whole society requires it, that it, so long as the established government cannot be resisted or changed without public inconveniencey, it is the will of God. . .that the established government be obeyed--and no longer. This principle being admitted, the justice of every particular case of resistance is reduced to a computation of the quantity of the danger and grievance on the one side, and of the probability and expense of redressing it on the other." Of this, he says, every man shall judge for himself. But Paley appears never to have contemplated those cases to which the rule of expediency does not apply, in which a people, as well and an individual, must do justice, cost what it may. If I have unjustly wrested a plank from a drowning man, I must restore it to him though I drown myself. This, according to Paley, would be inconvenient. But he that would save his life, in such a case, shall lose it. This people must cease to hold slaves, and to make war on Mexico, though it cost them their existence as a people.

In their practice, nations agree with Paley; but does anyone think that Massachusetts does exactly what is right at the present crisis?

"A drab of stat, a cloth-o'-silver slut, To have her train borne up, and her soul trail in the dirt."

Practically speaking, the opponents to a reform in Massachusetts are not a hundred thousand politicians at the South, but a hundred thousand merchants and farmers here, who are more interested in commerce and agriculture than they are in humanity, and are not prepared to do justice to the slave and to Mexico, cost what it may. I quarrel not with far-off foes, but with those who, neat at home, co-operate with, and do the bidding of, those far away, and without whom the latter would be harmless. We are accustomed to say, that the mass of men are unprepared; but improvement is slow, because the few are not as materially wiser or better than the many. It is not so important that many should be good as you, as that there be some absolute goodness somewhere; for that will leaven the whole lump. There are thousands who are in opinion opposed to slavery and to the war, who yet in effect do nothing to put an end to them; who, esteeming themselves children of Washington and Franklin, sit down with their hands in their pockets, and say that they know not what to do, and do nothing; who even postpone the question of freedom to the question of free trade, and quietly read the prices-current along with the latest advices from Mexico, after dinner, and, it may be, fall asleep over them both. What is the price-current of an honest man and patriot today? They hesitate, and they regret, and sometimes they petition; but they do nothing in earnest and with effect. They will wait, well disposed, for other to remedy the evil, that they may no longer have it to regret. At most, they give up only a cheap vote, and a feeble countenance and Godspeed, to the right, as it goes by them. There are nine hundred and ninety-nine patrons of virtue to one virtuous man. But it is easier to deal with the real possessor of a thing than with the temporary guardian of it.

All voting is a sort of gaming, like checkers or backgammon, with a slight moral tinge to it, a playing with right and wrong, with moral questions; and betting naturally accompanies it. The character of the voters is not staked. I cast my vote, perchance, as I think right; but I am not vitally concerned that that right should prevail. I am willing to leave it to the majority. Its obligation, therefore, never exceeds that of expediency. Even voting for the right is doing nothing for it. It is only expressing to men feebly your desire that it should prevail. A wise man will not leave the right to the mercy of chance, nor wish it to prevail through the power of the majority. There is but little virtue in the action of masses of men. When the majority shall at length vote for the abolition of slavery, it will be because they are indifferent to slavery, or because there is but little slavery left to be abolished by their vote. They will then be the only slaves. Only his vote can hasten the abolition of slavery who asserts his own freedom by his vote.

I hear of a convention to be held at Baltimore, or elsewhere, for the selection of a candidate for the Presidency, made up chiefly of editors, and men who are politicians by profession; but I think, what is it to any independent, intelligent, and respectable man what decision they may come to? Shall we not have the advantage of this wisdom and honesty, nevertheless? Can we not count upon some independent votes? Are there not many individuals in the country who do not attend conventions? But no: I find that the respectable man, so called, has immediately drifted from his position, and despairs of his country, when his country has more reasons to despair of him. He forthwith adopts one of the candidates thus selected as the only available one, thus proving that he is himself available for any purposes of the demagogue. His vote is of no more worth than that of any unprincipled foreigner or hireling native, who may have been bought. O for a man who is a man, and, and my neighbor says, has a bone is his back which you cannot pass your hand through! Our statistics are at fault: the population has been returned too large. How many men are there to a square thousand miles in the country? Hardly one. Does not America offer any inducement for men to settle here? The American has dwindled into an Odd Fellow--one who may be known by the development of his organ of gregariousness, and a manifest lack of intellect and cheerful self-reliance; whose first and chief concern, on coming into the world, is to see that the almshouses are in good repair; and, before yet he has lawfully donned the virile garb, to collect a fund to the support of the widows and orphans that may be; who, in short, ventures to live only by the aid of the Mutual Insurance company, which has promised to bury him decently.

It is not a man's duty, as a matter of course, to devote himself to the eradication of any, even to most enormous, wrong; he may still properly have other concerns to engage him; but it is his duty, at least, to wash his hands of it, and, if he gives it no thought longer, not to give it practically his support. If I devote myself to other pursuits and contemplations, I must first see, at least, that I do not pursue them sitting upon another man's shoulders. I must get off him first, that he may pursue his contemplations too. See what gross inconsistency is tolerated. I have heard some of my townsmen say, "I should like to have them order me out to help put down an insurrection of the slaves, or to march to Mexico--see if I would go"; and yet these very men have each, directly by their allegiance, and so indirectly, at least, by their money, furnished a substitute. The soldier is applauded who refuses to serve in an unjust war by those who do not refuse to sustain the unjust government which makes the war; is applauded by those whose own act and authority he disregards and sets at naught; as if the state were penitent to that degree that it hired one to scourge it while it sinned, but not to that degree that it left off sinning for a moment. Thus, under the name of Order and Civil Government, we are all made at last to pay homage to and support our own meanness. After the first blush of sin comes its indifference; and from immoral it becomes, as it were, unmoral, and not quite unnecessary to that life which we have made.

The broadest and most prevalent error requires the most disinterested virtue to sustain it. The slight reproach to which the virtue of patriotism is commonly liable, the noble are most likely to incur. Those who, while they disapprove of the character and measures of a government, yield to it their allegiance and support are undoubtedly its most conscientious supporters, and so frequently the most serious obstacles to reform. Some are petitioning the State to dissolve the Union, to disregard the requisitions of the President. Why do they not dissolve it themselves--the union between themselves and the State--and refuse to pay their quota into its treasury? Do not they stand in same relation to the State that the State does to the Union? And have not the same reasons prevented the State from resisting the Union which have prevented them from resisting the State?

How can a man be satisfied to entertain and opinion merely, and enjoy it? Is there any enjoyment in it, if his opinion is that he is aggrieved? If you are cheated out of a single dollar by your neighbor, you do not rest satisfied with knowing you are cheated, or with saying that you are cheated, or even with petitioning him to pay you your due; but you take effectual steps at once to obtain the full amount, and see to it that you are never cheated again. Action from principle, the perception and the performance of right, changes things and relations; it is essentially revolutionary, and does not consist wholly with anything which was. It not only divided States and churches, it divides families; ay, it divides the individual, separating the diabolical in him from the divine.

Unjust laws exist: shall we be content to obey them, or shall we endeavor to amend them, and obey them until we have succeeded, or shall we transgress them at once? Men, generally, under such a government as this, think that they ought to wait until they have persuaded the majority to alter them. They think that, if they should resist, the remedy would be worse than the evil. But it is the fault of the government itself that the remedy is worse than the evil. It makes it worse. Why is it not more apt to anticipate and provide for reform? Why does it not cherish its wise minority? Why does it cry and resist before it is hurt? Why does it not encourage its citizens to put out its faults, and do better than it would have them? Why does it always crucify Christ and excommunicate Copernicus and Luther, and pronounce Washington and Franklin rebels?

One would think, that a deliberate and practical denial of its authority was the only offense never contemplated by its government; else, why has it not assigned its definite, its suitable and proportionate, penalty? If a man who has no property refuses but once to earn nine shillings for the State, he is put in prison for a period unlimited by any law that I know, and determined only by the discretion of those who put him there; but if he should steal ninety times nine shillings from the State, he is soon permitted to go at large again.

If the injustice is part of the necessary friction of the machine of government, let it go, let it go: perchance it will wear smooth--certainly the machine will wear out. If the injustice has a spring, or a pulley, or a rope, or a crank, exclusively for itself, then perhaps you may consider whether the remedy will not be worse than the evil; but if it is of such a nature that it requires you to be the agent of injustice to another, then I say, break the law. Let your life be a counter-friction to stop the machine. What I have to do is to see, at any rate, that I do not lend myself to the wrong which I condemn.

As for adopting the ways of the State has provided for remedying the evil, I know not of such ways. They take too much time, and a man's life will be gone. I have other affairs to attend to. I came into this world, not chiefly to make this a good place to live in, but to live in it, be it good or bad. A man has not everything to do, but something; and because he cannot do everything, it is not necessary that he should be petitioning the Governor or the Legislature any more than it is theirs to petition me; and if they should not hear my petition, what should I do then? But in this case the State has provided no way: its very Constitution is the evil. This may seem to be harsh and stubborn and unconcilliatory; but it is to treat with the utmost kindness and consideration the only spirit that can appreciate or deserves it. So is all change for the better, like birth and death, which convulse the body.

I do not hesitate to say, that those who call themselves Abolitionists should at once effectually withdraw their support, both in person and property, from the government of Massachusetts, and not wait till they constitute a majority of one, before they suffer the right to prevail through them. I think that it is enough if they have God on their side, without waiting for that other one. Moreover, any man more right than his neighbors constitutes a majority of one already.

I meet this American government, or its representative, the State government, directly, and face to face, once a year--no more--in the person of its tax-gatherer; this is the only mode in which a man situated as I am necessarily meets it; and it then says distinctly, Recognize me; and the simplest, the most effectual, and, in the present posture of affairs, the indispensablest mode of treating with it on this head, of expressing your little satisfaction with and love for it, is to deny it then. My civil neighbor, the tax-gatherer, is the very man I have to deal with--for it is, after all, with men and not with parchment that I quarrel--and he has voluntarily chosen to be an agent of the government. How shall he ever know well that he is and does as an officer of the government, or as a man, until he is obliged to consider whether he will treat me, his neighbor, for whom he has respect, as a neighbor and well-disposed man, or as a maniac and disturber of the peace, and see if he can get over this obstruction to his neighborlines without a ruder and more impetuous thought or speech corresponding with his action. I know this well, that if one thousand, if one hundred, if ten men whom I could name--if ten honest men only--ay, if one HONEST man, in this State of Massachusetts, ceasing to hold slaves, were actually to withdraw from this co-partnership, and be locked up in the county jail therefor, it would be the abolition of slavery in America. For it matters not how small the beginning may seem to be: what is once well done is done forever. But we love better to talk about it: that we say is our mission. Reform keeps many scores of newspapers in its service, but not one man. If my esteemed neighbor, the State's ambassador, who will devote his days to the settlement of the question of human rights in the Council Chamber, instead of being threatened with the prisons of Carolina, were to sit down the prisoner of Massachusetts, that State which is so anxious to foist the sin of slavery upon her sister--though at present she can discover only an act of inhospitality to be the ground of a quarrel with her--the Legislature would not wholly waive the subject of the following winter.

Under a government which imprisons unjustly, the true place for a just man is also a prison. The proper place today, the only place which Massachusetts has provided for her freer and less despondent spirits, is in her prisons, to be put out and locked out of the State by her own act, as they have already put themselves out by their principles. It is there that the fugitive slave, and the Mexican prisoner on parole, and the Indian come to plead the wrongs of his race should find them; on that separate but more free and honorable ground, where the State places those who are not with her, but against her--the only house in a slave State in which a free man can abide with honor. If any think that their influence would be lost there, and their voices no longer afflict the ear of the State, that they would not be as an enemy within its walls, they do not know by how much truth is stronger than error, nor how much more eloquently and effectively he can combat injustice who has experienced a little in his own person. Cast your whole vote, not a strip of paper merely, but your whole influence. A minority is powerless while it conforms to the majority; it is not even a minority then; but it is irresistible when it clogs by its whole weight. If the alternative is to keep all just men in prison, or give up war and slavery, the State will not hesitate which to choose. If a thousand men were not to pay their tax bills this year, that would not be a violent and bloody measure, as it would be to pay them, and enable the State to commit violence and shed innocent blood. This is, in fact, the definition of a peaceable revolution, if any such is possible. If the tax-gatherer, or any other public officer, asks me, as one has done, "But what shall I do?" my answer is, "If you really wish to do anything, resign your office." When the subject has refused allegiance, and the officer has resigned from office, then the revolution is accomplished. But even suppose blood shed when the conscience is wounded? Through this wound a man's real manhood and immortality flow out, and he bleeds to an everlasting death. I see this blood flowing now.

I have contemplated the imprisonment of the offender, rather than the seizure of his goods--though both will serve the same purpose--because they who assert the purest right, and consequently are most dangerous to a corrupt State, commonly have not spent much time in accumulating property. To such the State renders comparatively small service, and a slight tax is wont to appear exorbitant, particularly if they are obliged to earn it by special labor with their hands. If there were one who lived wholly without the use of money, the State itself would hesitate to demand it of him. But the rich man--not to make any invidious comparison--is always sold to the institution which makes him rich. Absolutely speaking, the more money, the less virtue; for money comes between a man and his objects, and obtains them for him; it was certainly no great virtue to obtain it. It puts to rest many questions which he would otherwise be taxed to answer; while the only new question which it puts is the hard but superfluous one, how to spend it. Thus his moral ground is taken from under his feet. The opportunities of living are diminished in proportion as that are called the "means" are increased. The best thing a man can do for his culture when he is rich is to endeavor to carry out those schemes which he entertained when he was poor. Christ answered the Herodians according to their condition. "Show me the tribute-money," said he--and one took a penny out of his pocket--if you use money which has the image of Caesar on it, and which he has made current and valuable, that is, if you are men of the State, and gladly enjoy the advantages of Caesar's government, then pay him back some of his own when he demands it. "Render therefore to Caesar that which is Caesar's and to God those things which are God's"--leaving them no wiser than before as to which was which; for they did not wish to know.

When I converse with the freest of my neighbors, I perceive that, whatever they may say about the magnitude and seriousness of the question, and their regard for the public tranquillity, the long and the short of the matter is, that they cannot spare the protection of the existing government, and they dread the consequences to their property and families of disobedience to it. For my own part, I should not like to think that I ever rely on the protection of the State. But, if I deny the authority of the State when it presents its tax bill, it will soon take and waste all my property, and so harass me and my children without end. This is hard. This makes it impossible for a man to live honestly, and at the same time comfortably, in outward respects. It will not be worth the while to accumulate property; that would be sure to go again. You must hire or squat somewhere, and raise but a small crop, and eat that soon. You must live within yourself, and depend upon yourself always tucked up and ready for a start, and not have many affairs. A man may grow rich in Turkey even, if he will be in all respects a good subject of the Turkish government. Confucius said: "If a state is governed by the principles of reason, poverty and misery are subjects of shame; if a state is not governed by the principles of reason, riches and honors are subjects of shame." No: until I want the protection of Massachusetts to be extended to me in some distant Southern port, where my liberty is endangered, or until I am bent solely on building up an estate at home by peaceful enterprise, I can afford to refuse allegiance to Massachusetts, and her right to my property and life. It costs me less in every sense to incur the penalty of disobedience to the State than it would to obey. I should feel as if I were worth less in that case.

Some years ago, the State met me in behalf of the Church, and commanded me to pay a certain sum toward the support of a clergyman whose preaching my father attended, but never I myself. "Pay," it said, "or be locked up in the jail." I declined to pay. But, unfortunately, another man saw fit to pay it. I did not see why the schoolmaster should be taxed to support the priest, and not the priest the schoolmaster; for I was not the State's schoolmaster, but I supported myself by voluntary subscription. I did not see why the lyceum should not present its tax bill, and have the State to back its demand, as well as the Church. However, as the request of the selectmen, I condescended to make some such statement as this in writing: "Know all men by these presents, that I, Henry Thoreau, do not wish to be regarded as a member of any society which I have not joined." This I gave to the town clerk; and he has it. The State, having thus learned that I did not wish to be regarded as a member of that church, has never made a like demand on me since; though it said that it must adhere to its original presumption that time. If I had known how to name them, I should then have signed off in detail from all the societies which I never signed on to; but I did not know where to find such a complete list.

I have paid no poll tax for six years. I was put into a jail once on this account, for one night; and, as I stood considering the walls of solid stone, two or three feet thick, the door of wood and iron, a foot thick, and the iron grating which strained the light, I could not help being struck with the foolishness of that institution which treated my as if I were mere flesh and blood and bones, to be locked up. I wondered that it should have concluded at length that this was the best use it could put me to, and had never thought to avail itself of my services in some way. I saw that, if there was a wall of stone between me and my townsmen, there was a still more difficult one to climb or break through before they could get to be as free as I was. I did nor for a moment feel confined, and the walls seemed a great waste of stone and mortar. I felt as if I alone of all my townsmen had paid my tax. They plainly did not know how to treat me, but behaved like persons who are underbred. In every threat and in every compliment there was a blunder; for they thought that my chief desire was to stand the other side of that stone wall. I could not but smile to see how industriously they locked the door on my meditations, which followed them out again without let or hindrance, and they were really all that was dangerous. As they could not reach me, they had resolved to punish my body; just as boys, if they cannot come at some person against whom they have a spite, will abuse his dog. I saw that the State was half-witted, that it was timid as a lone woman with her silver spoons, and that it did not know its friends from its foes, and I lost all my remaining respect for it, and pitied it.

Thus the state never intentionally confronts a man's sense, intellectual or moral, but only his body, his senses. It is not armed with superior with or honesty, but with superior physical strength. I was not born to be forced. I will breathe after my own fashion. Let us see who is the strongest. What force has a multitude? They only can force me who obey a higher law than I. They force me to become like themselves. I do not hear of men being forced to live this way or that by masses of men. What sort of life were that to live? When I meet a government which says to me, "Your money our your life," why should I be in haste to give it my money? It may be in a great strait, and not know what to do: I cannot help that. It must help itself; do as I do. It is not worth the while to snivel about it. I am not responsible for the successful working of the machinery of society. I am not the son of the engineer. I perceive that, when an acorn and a chestnut fall side by side, the one does not remain inert to make way for the other, but both obey their own laws, and spring and grow and flourish as best they can, till one, perchance, overshadows and destroys the other. If a plant cannot live according to nature, it dies; and so a man.

The night in prison was novel and interesting enough. The prisoners in their shirtsleeves were enjoying a chat and the evening air in the doorway, when I entered. But the jailer said, "Come, boys, it is time to lock up"; and so they dispersed, and I heard the sound of their steps returning into the hollow apartments. My room-mate was introduced to me by the jailer as "a first-rate fellow and clever man." When the door was locked, he showed me where to hang my hat, and how he managed matters there. The rooms were whitewashed once a month; and this one, at least, was the whitest, most simply furnished, and probably neatest apartment in town. He naturally wanted to know where I came from, and what brought me there; and, when I had told him, I asked him in my turn how he came there, presuming him to be an honest an, of course; and as the world goes, I believe he was. "Why," said he, "they accuse me of burning a barn; but I never did it." As near as I could discover, he had probably gone to bed in a barn when drunk, and smoked his pipe there; and so a barn was burnt. He had the reputation of being a clever man, had been there some three months waiting for his trial to come on, and would have to wait as much longer; but he was quite domesticated and contented, since he got his board for nothing, and thought that he was well treated.

He occupied one window, and I the other; and I saw that if one stayed there long, his principal business would be to look out the window. I had soon read all the tracts that were left there, and examined where former prisoners had broken out, and where a grate had been sawed off, and heard the history of the various occupants of that room; for I found that even there there was a history and a gossip which never circulated beyond the walls of the jail. Probably this is the only house in the town where verses are composed, which are afterward printed in a circular form, but not published. I was shown quite a long list of young men who had been detected in an attempt to escape, who avenged themselves by singing them.

I pumped my fellow-prisoner as dry as I could, for fear I should never see him again; but at length he showed me which was my bed, and left me to blow out the lamp.

It was like travelling into a far country, such as I had never expected to behold, to lie there for one night. It seemed to me that I never had heard the town clock strike before, not the evening sounds of the village; for we slept with the windows open, which were inside the grating. It was to see my native village in the light of the Middle Ages, and our Concord was turned into a Rhine stream, and visions of knights and castles passed before me. They were the voices of old burghers that I heard in the streets. I was an involuntary spectator and auditor of whatever was done and said in the kitchen of the adjacent village inn--a wholly new and rare experience to me. It was a closer view of my native town. I was fairly inside of it. I never had seen its institutions before. This is one of its peculiar institutions; for it is a shire town. I began to comprehend what its inhabitants were about.

In the morning, our breakfasts were put through the hole in the door, in small oblong-square tin pans, made to fit, and holding a pint of chocolate, with brown bread, and an iron spoon. When they called for the vessels again, I was green enough to return what bread I had left, but my comrade seized it, and said that I should lay that up for lunch or dinner. Soon after he was let out to work at haying in a neighboring field, whither he went every day, and would not be back till noon; so he bade me good day, saying that he doubted if he should see me again.

When I came out of prison--for some one interfered, and paid that tax--I did not perceive that great changes had taken place on the common, such as he observed who went in a youth and emerged a gray-headed man; and yet a change had come to my eyes come over the scene--the town, and State, and country, greater than any that mere time could effect. I saw yet more distinctly the State in which I lived. I saw to what extent the people among whom I lived could be trusted as good neighbors and friends; that their friendship was for summer weather only; that they did not greatly propose to do right; that they were a distinct race from me by their prejudices and superstitions, as the Chinamen and Malays are that in their sacrifices to humanity they ran no risks, not even to their property; that after all they were not so noble but they treated the thief as he had treated them, and hoped, by a certain outward observance and a few prayers, and by walking in a particular straight through useless path from time to time, to save their souls. This may be to judge my neighbors harshly; for I believe that many of them are not aware that they have such an institution as the jail in their village.

It was formerly the custom in our village, when a poor debtor came out of jail, for his acquaintances to salute him, looking through their fingers, which were crossed to represent the jail window, "How do ye do?" My neighbors did not this salute me, but first looked at me, and then at one another, as if I had returned from a long journey. I was put into jail as I was going to the shoemaker's to get a shoe which was mender. When I was let out the next morning, I proceeded to finish my errand, and, having put on my mended show, joined a huckleberry party, who were impatient to put themselves under my conduct; and in half an hour--for the horse was soon tackled--was in the midst of a huckleberry field, on one of our highest hills, two miles off, and then the State was nowhere to be seen.

This is the whole history of "My Prisons."

I have never declined paying the highway tax, because I am as desirous of being a good neighbor as I am of being a bad subject; and as for supporting schools, I am doing my part to educate my fellow countrymen now. It is for no particular item in the tax bill that I refuse to pay it. I simply wish to refuse allegiance to the State, to withdraw and stand aloof from it effectually. I do not care to trace the course of my dollar, if I could, till it buys a man a musket to shoot one with--the dollar is innocent--but I am concerned to trace the effects of my allegiance. In fact, I quietly declare war with the State, after my fashion, though I will still make use and get what advantages of her I can, as is usual in such cases.

If others pay the tax which is demanded of me, from a sympathy with the State, they do but what they have already done in their own case, or rather they abet injustice to a greater extent than the State requires. If they pay the tax from a mistaken interest in the individual taxed, to save his property, or prevent his going to jail, it is because they have not considered wisely how far they let their private feelings interfere with the public good.

This, then is my position at present. But one cannot be too much on his guard in such a case, lest his actions be biased by obstinacy or an undue regard for the opinions of men. Let him see that he does only what belongs to himself and to the hour.

I think sometimes, Why, this people mean well, they are only ignorant; they would do better if they knew how: why give your neighbors this pain to treat you as they are not inclined to? But I think again, This is no reason why I should do as they do, or permit others to suffer much greater pain of a different kind. Again, I sometimes say to myself, When many millions of men, without heat, without ill will, without personal feelings of any kind, demand of you a few shillings only, without the possibility, such is their constitution, of retracting or altering their present demand, and without the possibility, on your side, of appeal to any other millions, why expose yourself to this overwhelming brute force? You do not resist cold and hunger, the winds and the waves, thus obstinately; you quietly submit to a thousand similar necessities. You do not put your head into the fire. But just in proportion as I regard this as not wholly a brute force, but partly a human force, and consider that I have relations to those millions as to so many millions of men, and not of mere brute or inanimate things, I see that appeal is possible, first and instantaneously, from them to the Maker of them, and, secondly, from them to themselves. But if I put my head deliberately into the fire, there is no appeal to fire or to the Maker for fire, and I have only myself to blame. If I could convince myself that I have any right to be satisfied with men as they are, and to treat them accordingly, and not according, in some respects, to my requisitions and expectations of what they and I ought to be, then, like a good Mussulman and fatalist, I should endeavor to be satisfied with things as they are, and say it is the will of God. And, above all, there is this difference between resisting this and a purely brute or natural force, that I can resist this with some effect; but I cannot expect, like Orpheus, to change the nature of the rocks and trees and beasts.

I do not wish to quarrel with any man or nation. I do not wish to split hairs, to make fine distinctions, or set myself up as better than my neighbors. I seek rather, I may say, even an excuse for conforming to the laws of the land. I am but too ready to conform to them. Indeed, I have reason to suspect myself on this head; and each year, as the tax-gatherer comes round, I find myself disposed to review the acts and position of the general and State governments, and the spirit of the people to discover a pretext for conformity.

"We must affect our country as our parents, And if at any time we alienate Out love or industry from doing it honor, We must respect effects and teach the soul Matter of conscience and religion, And not desire of rule or benefit."

I believe that the State will soon be able to take all my work of this sort out of my hands, and then I shall be no better patriot than my fellow-countrymen. Seen from a lower point of view, the Constitution, with all its faults, is very good; the law and the courts are very respectable; even this State and this American government are, in many respects, very admirable, and rare things, to be thankful for, such as a great many have described them; seen from a higher still, and the highest, who shall say what they are, or that they are worth looking at or thinking of at all?

However, the government does not concern me much, and I shall bestow the fewest possible thoughts on it. It is not many moments that I live under a government, even in this world. If a man is thought-free, fancy-free, imagination-free, that which is not never for a long time appearing to be to him, unwise rulers or reformers cannot fatally interrupt him.

I know that most men think differently from myself; but those whose lives are by profession devoted to the study of these or kindred subjects content me as little as any. Statesmen and legislators, standing so completely within the institution, never distinctly and nakedly behold it. They speak of moving society, but have no resting-place without it. They may be men of a certain experience and discrimination, and have no doubt invented ingenious and even useful systems, for which we sincerely thank them; but all their wit and usefulness lie within certain not very wide limits. They are wont to forget that the world is not governed by policy and expediency. Webster never goes behind government, and so cannot speak with authority about it. His words are wisdom to those legislators who contemplate no essential reform in the existing government; but for thinkers, and those who legislate for all tim, he never once glances at the subject. I know of those whose serene and wise speculations on this theme would soon reveal the limits of his mind's range and hospitality. Yet, compared with the cheap professions of most reformers, and the still cheaper wisdom an eloquence of politicians in general, his are almost the only sensible and valuable words, and we thank Heaven for him. Comparatively, he is always strong, original, and, above all, practical. Still, his quality is not wisdom, but prudence. The lawyer's truth is not Truth, but consistency or a consistent expediency. Truth is always in harmony with herself, and is not concerned chiefly to reveal the justice that may consist with wrong-doing. He well deserves to be called, as he has been called, the Defender of the Constitution. There are really no blows to be given him but defensive ones. He is not a leader, but a follower. His leaders are the men of '87. "I have never made an effort," he says, "and never propose to make an effort; I have never countenanced an effort, and never mean to countenance an effort, to disturb the arrangement as originally made, by which various States came into the Union." Still thinking of the sanction which the Constitution gives to slavery, he says, "Because it was part of the original compact--let it stand." Notwithstanding his special acuteness and ability, he is unable to take a fact out of its merely political relations, and behold it as it lies absolutely to be disposed of by the intellect--what, for instance, it behooves a man to do here in American today with regard to slavery--but ventures, or is driven, to make some such desperate answer to the following, while professing to speak absolutely, and as a private man--from which what new and singular of social duties might be inferred? "The manner," says he, "in which the governments of the States where slavery exists are to regulate it is for their own consideration, under the responsibility to their constituents, to the general laws of propriety, humanity, and justice, and to God. Associations formed elsewhere, springing from a feeling of humanity, or any other cause, have nothing whatever to do with it. They have never received any encouragement from me and they never will. [These extracts have been inserted since the lecture was read -HDT]

They who know of no purer sources of truth, who have traced up its stream no higher, stand, and wisely stand, by the Bible and the Constitution, and drink at it there with reverence and humanity; but they who behold where it comes trickling into this lake or that pool, gird up their loins once more, and continue their pilgrimage toward its fountainhead.

No man with a genius for legislation has appeared in America. They are rare in the history of the world. There are orators, politicians, and eloquent men, by the thousand; but the speaker has not yet opened his mouth to speak who is capable of settling the much-vexed questions of the day. We love eloquence for its own sake, and not for any truth which it may utter, or any heroism it may inspire. Our legislators have not yet learned the comparative value of free trade and of freed, of union, and of rectitude, to a nation. They have no genius or talent for comparatively humble questions of taxation and finance, commerce and manufactures and agriculture. If we were left solely to the wordy wit of legislators in Congress for our guidance, uncorrected by the seasonable experience and the effectual complaints of the people, America would not long retain her rank among the nations. For eighteen hundred years, though perchance I have no right to say it, the New Testament has been written; yet where is the legislator who has wisdom and practical talent enough to avail himself of the light which it sheds on the science of legislation.

The authority of government, even such as I am willing to submit to--for I will cheerfully obey those who know and can do better than I, and in many things even those who neither know nor can do so well--is still an impure one: to be strictly just, it must have the sanction and consent of the governed. It can have no pure right over my person and property but what I concede to it. The progress from an absolute to a limited monarchy, from a limited monarchy to a democracy, is a progress toward a true respect for the individual. Even the Chinese philosopher was wise enough to regard the individual as the basis of the empire. Is a democracy, such as we know it, the last improvement possible in government? Is it not possible to take a step further towards recognizing and organizing the rights of man? There will never be a really free and enlightened State until the State comes to recognize the individual as a higher and independent power, from which all its own power and authority are derived, and treats him accordingly. I please myself with imagining a State at last which can afford to be just to all men, and to treat the individual with respect as a neighbor; which even would not think it inconsistent with its own repose if a few were to live aloof from it, not meddling with it, nor embraced by it, who fulfilled all the duties of neighbors and fellow men. A State which bore this kind of fruit, and suffered it to drop off as fast as it ripened, would prepare the way for a still more perfect and glorious State, which I have also imagined, but not yet anywhere seen.

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:: 2006 30 November :: 10.58 am

A failed experiament:
I took it upon myself to test if there were actually people other than me that were willing to fight this present darkness and actually take a stand in society to say, "Yeah, I am a warrior of God and I will fight against anything that stands in between me and my fellowship with the Lord." I guess I was wrong. Yes, it may seem like a minute test with not that great of a formulated conclution based on the only evidence I obtained in a small amout of time... but I mean serisoulsly, what do people usually do on Myspace? They look at their profile constantly, they look at other's profiles constantly, they read the bullitents people foolishly put up, and they think of how to optimize the look of their Myspace. That's about the extent of time spent on that sight... and yet all the people that accepted my invite into the CHQ community only looked at the bullitens and topics I posted up once, if that, when they could easily be more involved due to the lack of productivity on Myspace.com. I don't know what to do anymore.
I'll pray for all of you, and my everyone be blessed by God himself. Take care all of you.

Patrick Ryan Kolstee / Vincent Peter Benidict

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:: 2006 6 November :: 10.54 am

An HQ needs to be organized for Christians who have a passion to fight this present and ominant darkness. A base of operations has to be formed for the sake of the fellow followers of Christ/fellow vigulanties out there who are acting on what the bible says... but alone, and without support from others. So, Here am I, starting up a website that does just that... and no one out there to help me with this. How sad is that?

Yes, that's right, I'm starting a "base of operations" in the midst of this war. It's still in the process of being usable and such... but I think I'm going to call it, "http://www.CHQ.com/" (CHQ = Christian Head Quarters). I haven't nessearially started the construction of the website, but if anyone has any ideas of what could be put in there, please, give me some feedback. Also, I'm going to be starting a group on Myspace called, "CHQ- Christian Head Quarters" so everyone check that out if you get the chance.

May God bless you all and I hope that all of you stay safe, healthy, and keep your passion for the Lord, because that kind of passion to fight in this war is very rare and precious in these hard and trying times.
I love you all and I will be praying for each and every one of you. Take care.

Sincerely, your fellow brother in Christ:

Patrick Ryan Kolstee A.K.A. Vincent Peter Benidict

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:: 2006 17 August :: 11.59 am

Ok, let's all face it: We're all struggling with life. I mean, life is so long, and what do you get out of it? An eternity six feet under. There's very little hope in this life anymore. I mean, what's the difference in dying tomorrow, or thirty years from tomorrow? You aren't going to make it out of this life alive anyway!
Well, let me tell you something: You are so much more than you realize yourself to be, but you must have hope that you are. Yes, you may have faith that you can do something magnificent in this life, to have your name be remembered so people can say, "Yeah, he did that." But... without hope, what is faith rather than just anticipation that something will happen? What is faith without hope rather than just... another emotion? But with hope... with hope that desire becomes more than just an emotion; more than just a drive to do your best. It becomes that much more to fight for. It becomes that much more to die for. The hope that you can change a person's life forever, or hell, even your life forever... isn't that worth dying for, people? Isn't that worth going six feet under for? To hear God say, "YEAH! YOU DID THAT! AWESOME! HI-FIVE!" Isn't that worth ninety plus years of suffering, knowing that you changed someone's life for the better? Just because of your hope interwoven in faith, you gave someone else just that much more hope that they can do something magnificent with their life! I don't know about you, but I call that a miracle!
If you have the hope that you can be better than you really are, that will not only change your life, but it will change the life of others. Have hope, and you will make it! Yet, anything else -with the exception to love- is just another emotion. It's just something you feel for that moment; not really much else to it than that!
Have hope, and you will astonish even the bitterest of people in the world!
Hope can make a man drop to one knee holding out a wedding ring to a woman; hope can make the strongest man in the world fall to his knees and cry. Hope can even make the difference between life or death in a person; hope, in it's purest form, -like love- made a man let the people he came down to save put him on a cross to have him die. Hope made a follower of the greatest man in the world walk on water for a moment. Hope... helped people to write a thousand page book about how much a God, that created you, loves you so deeply.
You are so, so much more than you realize, but you have to have the hope that you are. If you don't, then you are missing out on the greatest feeling you will ever have in your life: The overwhelming feeling that you have something to look forward to; that you have something to fight for just that much harder. Don't believe what society tells you, because you can make it through this life feeling accomplished. You can be laying on your deathbed and feel that it was all worthwhile! But, you have to have hope that you are more than what others tell you; you have to have hope that you are more than what you tell yourself you are.
Have hope, and you will accomplish things that most only dream of accomplishing! And, maybe, your accomplishments will give someone else the hope to accomplish what they dream of accomplishing.
Though there's only one reason for hope, it's something we all need: More reason to fight. More reason to hold on just a second longer. Hope gives more reason to fight just that much harder in your life for what you set your heart on achieving. Hope is the foundation of your beliefs; without it, children in terminal sections of hospitals wouldn't be there right now, because they would be among the others in the graveyard just up the street. If little children don't have hope, then what hope is there for us to have the hope we need to believe in what we want those children to accomplish? I mean, don't we want them to get better? So here's a challenge for you: Visit a hospital's terminally ill section; find people that don't have hope... and give them some! And that's only the start. There is so much more that you can do to give hope to people, but whether that's how you start, or that's what you work up to doing, make sure you do that sometime in your life. Life is short, and without hope, it's even shorter.
Have hope, and you will make it through this life feeling it was all worthwhile. I guarantee it!

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