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The Documentary

Today was another exciting day in my life. I went to Walmart two or three times. I almost jumped out my window while preparing for our first century worship service, and I managed to make my first major mistake of the semester. True, not having the book was actually a mistake made many times over, like each time I thought about the report and didn’t actually start reading. But as far as my homework planning goes, the mistake goes on today’s record. Maybe some grace since the bookstore is an accomplice?

The Documentary: Wednesday

Not to make any comments about our school internet being the worst technological mishap to ever waste space on the earth, but currently my photos are uploading at 0.4 kb/sec. That’s about the speed of a 300 baud modem. So if the pics don’t work right now, come back tomorrow. I promise, they’re uploading as fast as 1985 technology will let them.


Ryan Brosius and I presented our 1st century worship service this morning. We brought in some food for the agape meal, and decorated the ‘house’ with a rug, a tree, and candles. It went really well.

This was our “clay carpenter’s cup” for the cup of eucharist. Obviously, Walmart was a little shy in selection.

Directing Class
Another fun day in Stage Directing. It’s a good class, and I like the people who are in it.

What would this documentary be without Dan Ankney?

“The grumblecakes shall be mine!”

Josh and Allie
27 May, 2006. Back in black (we already have enough black suits… let’s get something else).

You’d be amazed how many pictures I have of Eric with his fingers up there.

Christmas Carol
The Orphan’s Christmas Carol. Awful, terrible. One of the funniest songs ever.

Steve Leonard in his joshmorton.com debut. I’m not really sure what he’s doing here, but I do remember him telling us the difference between a flask and a beaker. NERD!


I don’t have a wide angle lens, so just pretend this picture is on the end of the next one.

The rest of the dinner crew. I’m not sure exactly how it all started, but as soon as I pulled out the camera, things went crazy and I remember Dean Moffitt saying something about alcohol…


Boom Stand
When I got to work this morning, we needed another boom stand, so I went to get one.

Boom Stand
Actually, we didn’t need another boom stand.

Dr. Syswerda
Dr. Syswerda is in charge of music for chapels this year. He has a great heart and truly desires to worship the Lord. He’s also a lot of fun to work with.

Sheila is nice. I like working with her, a lot.

It’s not a day at the PAC without a venture up into the catwalks. They’re about 35 feet high, but it feels a lot higher when you fall off of them.

I think Katie was tired this morning.

Sound Board
My office.

The view from my office.

After lunch, I came back to the room to find this. Mind you, there’s a perfectly good couch 3 feet to the right; but sitting in the Ab Lounger makes you feel like you’re not getting fatter.

Life doesn’t stop because of school, so I took the day off of classes to take care of other things…

…like getting my sister a birthday card.

…and floss, of course. Ten dollars if you can guess which kind of floss I like best (family and roommates not eligible).

I stopped by to see Mom for a while.

Kristen is the receptionist in Academic Affairs. I’m pretty sure she never stops smiling.

This picture is completely fake. Alleta wanted to look like she was working… and she didn’t like my first picture very much.

I have a book report due tomorrow. If you’ll notice, the bookshelf is empty. This presents a rather unpleasant scenario.

The usual scene in the hallway before Chorale.

This is Elyse. She hates sneaky pictures of her, like this one.

Deep Thought
Getting your first Chorale tux can be a time of questioning and deep thought.

Jaala and Yankey. This picture was imediately followed by Scott Brady saying, “I love awkward pictures.”

Ryan Brosius
Ryan and I are presenting a first century worship service tomorrow in class. Shown here just minutes before we both went completely insane.

My Photo Self-Documentary

Well, I promised it and here it is… the already famous photo self-documentary. For the next six days, you’ll be right there next to me as I take pictures of pretty much whatever I want to, whenever I feel like it. Of course, it’s not every day that people bring cameras to class, so I had to explain many times over why I had my friend Kodak with me, but in the end I believe the idea was greeted with lots of laughs and warm reception. I have decided that my reason for doing this is simple: I’m already really bored with school, and tired of it, so this is my way of escaping for the week. So enjoy the pictures, the commentary, and the general life of me.

There are a lot of pictures, so I’ll create a separate page for each day of the documentary. Click below for today’s pics:

The Documentary: Tuesday

If you’re using the internet here at the WU, you may have to try looking during the morning or afternoon, before the student body clogs up our pathetically worthless internet.


Remember you can always click on a pic to see the full image.


Mike Sansburn. He and I have three classes together on Tuesdays and Thursdays.


Jon Bell is one of the coolest people I know. We traveled together this summer, and have some really great memories…like throwing Snuggles in the lake.

Staff Meeting

Every Tuesday at 11, the PAC Tech Staff gets together for our little meeting. Usually the following half-hour is filled with chaos and lots of dirty looks.


I told you so.


Tim Munger’s great. Always good for a laugh–sometimes because of him, sometimes at him.


Sheila is our new Office Manager. Shown layin’ down the law.


Dirty looks for everyone!


Of course, no day is complete without seeing friends at good ol’ Baldy. Here Aaron reads Newsweek and waits for Steve to get his lazy butt to the table.


Handing in some late homework. First time it’s ever happened in four years.

Black Box

Sneaking in the back door to class.

Stage Directing

Principles of Stage Directing with Prof Edwards. He lets us call him Kurt.


You don’t want to know.


Everyone has to go to the bathroom. This includes aspiring documentary makers.


Tom Hall.


Kent Perkins.

Dan and Aeron

Dan Ankney up to his usual antics. This time with Aeron.


I had dinner with Jarred, and then chatted in McConn for a while.


Jesse and I traveled together this summer, too. He won a servant leadership award last week, and knows all about Snuggles in the lake.

A week in the life

I decided tonight, for no particular reason at all, that I’m going to carry my camera around with me this week and take pictures as I see fit. I don’t know why, or what I’ll take pictures of, or if I’ll even remember to bring my camera with me tomorrow. But hopefully this will be something a little different…something not quite as heavy and just a lot of fun to look at. I know I’m looking forward to it, and just to wet your appetite, here’s the first pic of the week (nomally there will be more than one):


Josh Yankey: the roommate math-ing it up

Separation of church and state

I’m sorry that I’ve been so politcally minded lately… but then again this is my website, and I’ll write about whatever I feel like :)

I read somewhere that a case in Pennsylvania is coming before the courts which would allow teachers to teach the theory of “intelligent design” for the origin of the Universe. It seems as though people are finally starting to realize the absurdity and absolute illogicality of the big bang theory, Darwin’s claim to fame. Of course, critics of the bill just pass it off as Creationism in camouflage, and the proponents of the bill say it’s just a more accurate scientific theory of what happened. The whole debate goes back to 1987, when the Supreme Court ruled that the teaching of Creationism is violation of the separation of church and state. So apparently since Atheism isn’t a religious viewpoint, the Big Bang theory must be the only account we can teach in school.

I’m so sick of the American way. Our lawmakers and leaders claim to be giving ‘freedom and justice for all’ or whatever crap they proclaim, and end up giving more of a ‘freedom for the sissy crybabies who are too stupid to know better’ feel to our country. If we decided to teach Creation in public schools, then all sorts of rights movements would come out of the woodworks crying foul play, and eventually win their viewpoint and narrow us back to evolution again. Who loses in this case? Everyone. So we decide that since we don’t like a particular theory or belief, it’s better to just not think about it; and proceed to culture generation after generation of ignorant morons who have no ability to formulate understanding because they’ve never been forced to think for themselves. Unfortunately, this is not limited to public schools. Private schools do it just as much, only there things are approached from the other end of the spectrum.

I guess what it boils down to is being tired of people who become adamant in beliefs they have no way of justifying or proving. ‘I’ve always been told this, so I’ll just believe it even though I don’t know why.’ It’s true of almost all Christians as well–they believe things without having any sort of rhyme or reason to believe them. In the end, our ‘magnificent’ country continues to get lazier, fatter, and more ignorant than ever before. Smart countries like Japan, Korea, and the Netherlands pull ahead of us and leave us in the dirt (and for a lot less tax money than us). And I blame it all on a founding principle which has been misinterpreted since pretty much the time it was written. Well, that, and the fact that Americans are lazy.

Sorry to waste your time, but I felt like ranting and raving for a few minutes.


I was humbled today to be elected as male chaplain this year for Chorale. And while I am excited about the opportunity to serve the group in this capacity, I must admit it scares me a bit, too. I don’t know if it’s the fear of giving worthless devotions, or the fear that I can never speak my thoughts the way I can write them, or the fear that there are glaring blemishes in my walk that make me feel unworthy of being in such a position. All three of them are definite issues I am worried about, and I know all I can do is rely on God and draw from his strength…cliche, I know, but still true.

One of the things you may see frequently posted on Sunday and Tuesday nights will be my devotion as I am preparing it. I feel more confident if I write out things first before I just get up and talk about them, so hopefully I will get into a routine of writing my thoughts down, so they will be more organized and insightful the next afternoon in front of the risers. I know, some of you who read might actually see the devotion before I give it, but I’ll try and find some clever way to keep that from happening (or you could just not read it until later).

So here goes…
Genesis 12:6-9 says:

“Abram traveled through the land as far as the site of the great tree of Moreh at Shechem. At that time the Canaanites were in the land. The LORD appeared to Abram and said, “To your offspring I will give this land.” So he built an altar there to the LORD, who had appeared to him. From there he went on toward the hills east of Bethel and pitched his tent, with Bethel on the west and Ai on the east. There he built an altar to the LORD and called on the name of the LORD. Then Abram set out and continued toward the Negev. ”

One of the things we fail to see in our cultural context today is what it meant to actually build and altar in the Patriarchal time. To us, we think of the altar as the place we go to kneel and pray, or maybe the table in the front where we put the big Bible, or the communion, or the offering plates. In our minds, the altar is a piece of furniture which already exists and rests in the sanctuary of the church. And there’s nothing wrong with that, for God instructed the Israelites to build a permanent altar that was a part of the tabernacle courtyard, and traveled with them wherever they went.

But before God established the sanctuary for his people, building an altar was a physical commitment that required the majority of a day, if not more. For Abram to build an altar to the Lord meant that he first searched out an appropriate location for the altar. Once he found one, he then set out to find stones large enough to be used in building the altar. Of course once he found one, he would pick it up, lug it all the way back to the hill which the altar was at, and set it in place. This went on for hours, while the stones slowly accumulated until Abram had built the entire thing.

While he most likely worshiped the Lord after the altar was built, the majority of his worship actually came in the work he was doing! Hauling stones is no easy chore, and by the end of a day it can be rather tiring and even painful. So Abram was not spending all day preparing for worship, but actually spending the entire day in worship. Abram’s hard work and his physical sacrifice was the offering he presented to the Lord.

There will be days in this room when you, quite honestly, will not want to be here. You may be sick, or tired, or preoccupied, or just have a bad attitude about the whole thing. I know, I went through a long spell last year where I was frustrated with Chorale every day. But it’s important to remember that while we’re in here on the risers, this is our worship. Each hour we spend in rehearsal is another stone on our altar. When we sing in a church, people will see that performance and tell us how wonderful it was, and how it ministered to them, and how they saw us worshiping while we were singing, and that is the goal we’re striving for as a choir. But as an individual, or worship happens every day, right there on the risers. So when this may not be the place you most want to be, just remember that we’re building our altar, in worship of the almighty God.

There was a time…

Today in Theology we rather briefly discussed Arianism, which is a belief dating back to the 3rd century AD, when Arius began to preach a message that Jesus is not eternal, but rather that he was created by the Father at a certain point in time. They get this from at least one passage (I know they used scripture, but I can’t find which parts) mentioning something of the Son being conceived, or brought into existence sometime after God… thus making him not eternal. Arianism had a slogan of sorts: “there was a time when the Son did not exist.” Obviously I don’t agree with this, and historically neither has the church, as the notion died for a thousand years before it ever surfaced again within the church. But when I first heard the slogan, I originally heard, “there was a time when the sun did not exist.” Which is pretty easy to do, being that the two words are homophones, and sound exactly the same.

In case you don’t know yet, you should know that God’s creation amazes me, and especially his creation outside of our diminutive planet. The Universe is an incredible, wonderous thing, and often God reveals himself to me through it. When I originally misheard the Arianist motto, God revealed to me just a small portion of exactly how large he is. Because while the actual saying isn’t true, the misheard one certainly is. God existed before the Sun. God existed before the Universe. God existed before there was time.

I don’t know about you, but I can’t even fathom what it means to exist outside of the Universe. I mean, to humanity that is the bubble within which everything exists. To be honest, I know that when I think of God, I almost always think of Him inside the Universe. We get caught up thinking he’s got the whole world in his hands, and we forget he’s got the whole Universe there, too. But how can there be anything outside when there is no outside? What is it like outside of creation? Is it just a big, black nothingness where God exists, and watches the Universe like a chess game on the table? If not, then does God exist within some other creation? And if that is the case, then must we assume there is an even higher power? I don’t even know where to begin with those thoughts!

Or, say we forget the physical and think in terms of time! How is it possible to exist outside of time? My life has a finite beginning, and will come to a finite (although quasi-finite is a better term) end. I do not have the ability to change my movement down the timeline of existence. I can only look backwards and walk forwards. I am limited by the clockwise ticking of the second hand, and I can only perceive existence in such a manner. Yet for me to comprehend God, I would have to be able to see creation as a storybook. There was existence before I picked up the storybook. Once I picked up the book and created the beginning of time, then I am free to roam about it as I so choose. To the characters, the story still happens in a sequential order–page two still comes after page one–but existing outside of the story, I am free to flip to the back and read the ending before the timeline actually gets there.

I can’t grasp that!

The funny thing is that by learning more, I feel like I understand even less. Yesterday I was (unknowlingly) content to view God as contained within his own creation, and now I am forced to view him only outside of these human boundaries. Yes, of course I knew academically that God existed outside of these two limits, and I would have told you that if you asked. But there is a difference between knowing He does, and knowing he does.

Wow. And to think I have the nerve to think I’m something special. Without God, I am nothing.

The WU

If you’re looking for a response to my last post, don’t expect it in the very near future. I raised a lot of issues I am still deep in thought about, and Nate raised some more to make me think even longer. So I will eventually clarify my feelings on the issue, but not tonight. However I do have something pressing on my mind I want to share with whomever is reading, which unfortunately is probably not the people these particular thoughts should be read by.

I’m now starting out my fourth year at the WU. I’ve been here for three full years now, and if you consider the fact I was loosely tied with the college for 5 years before that, I’ve been around the campus a long time. I remember things like Bill hall, the campus before there were townhouses, and even a few roads that no longer exist in the bubble. But since I wasn’t a student until 2002, I’ll only base my feelings on the last three years, and how much things have changed since then.

In 2002 when I came to school, there was just over 2000 students in the traditional program. My freshman class of 600-some was the biggest ever, and we were starting to run out of room in the dorms. The atmosphere on campus was decidedly spiritual, and without question the #1 reason people came to IWU was for the spiritual atmosphere, which then was ranked best in the country by Campus Life. As a freshman I was pretty oblivious to the junk that goes on, such as drinking and sex and all those things you pay twice as much to not have at your school. But even though I know now that those kind of things happened, I still feel as though the vast majority of people here were serious about their spiritual walk, and came to find a place where they could–I can’t believe I’m using this phrase–integrate faith and learning.

Last year I had the chance to work chapels, which included a lot of hours spent up in the balcony at the sound booth running sound for chapels. Of course, it’s no secret that the balcony is the place to be if you don’t want to actually participate in chapel, and I saw my share of computer users, homework doers, music listeners, and even nap takers. Now in my Junior year, we were up to almost 2500 students, and there was a noticeable change in the atmosphere. There were finally enough students here that didn’t care about God that the ratio had been thrown off enough to change the overall atmosphere.

Now the word is we’re around 2700 students for this current year, and I feel worse than ever before. I can not only see, but I can actually feel the apathy that is coursing through the student body. I watched in amazement as 2700 students failed to worship in chapel on Wednesday because it was less than perfect. I’ve now counted four consecutive chapels where at least one cell phone rang during the message, or even during prayer. I am watching as more and more students use iPods during chapel, laptops abound, and groups have separate conversations with no regard for what is happening around them. And the worst part of it all is that not a lot of people really seem to care.

I don’t like to use my website as a place to blast leaders and tell them they’ve made bad decisions. I prefer instead to pose hard questions and instigate deep thought, first for myself and then for you. But I want to voice my opinion on this one. The decision to grow IWU beyond its capacity is the worst decision that could have been made for this school. First of all, our continued growth has only led to ridiculously high student to faculty ratios, which has served to make our academics even less reputable (as if it had any repute to begin with). Secondly, the campus has now lost any sort of that “well, you at least recognize faces” value it used to have, that is to say it’s lost the majority of it’s community feeling. So by growing just that much, the atmosphere of the campus has completely changed, and that was just from 1700 to 2700. Imagine what it will be like should we reach 3700. 4700. 5700. Sure, that will put us on the map as far as prominent Christian schools are concerned, but by that point who really cares? We already are experiencing the ‘mega church’ phenomenon; how much more will the WU experience it in future?

And besides all those things, what about the fact that a lot of people are drawn to the size of the student population as it is (was)? I loved my Freshman year, because it was just big enough to feel big, and still small enough to be small. Now it feels simply ‘too big,’ and if I was going to pick one word to describe how it feels now, that word would be “crowded.” But a campus has only a four year memory, and the days of ‘feels big but still small’ will soon be forgotten, as will the days when, on any given day, you could actually feel God moving through the student body.

It seems to me that a bunch of old rich people and disconneted pastors got together and decided on your standard American value of “bigger is better,” and then filled growth plans with grandiose visions of fame. Maybe the pastors were vicariously living out their mega church dream. Maybe the rich people saw it in terms of dollars and cents. I dunno. All I know is I am firmly rooted in my belief that it was the wrong decision.

But what do I care? I’ll be gone in 8 months. Besides, I’m too young to possibly know what could be best for the school. Better leave that up to rich donors who’ve earned a spot on the board by virtue of their capacious bank accounts and commiserable awareness of the WU. That sounds like a good idea to me.