I took a deep breath and tried to calm myself.  Thoughts swirled around in my head like the ingredients of a fruit smoothie in a blender.  Lights flashed before my eyes in this dark room.  Sweat seeped off my chest and pooled underneath me.  My feet were icy cold and I couldn’t tell where my hands were.  Pain impulses that should have been sent from my knees and back were ignored as my mind screamed, “God, Help me!”

I turned to look at the clock.  12:14 glowered at me in green fluorescent numerals from across the room.  Five hours til my first alarm alerts me of work.  I hadn’t the energy to think about that.

All I could do was listen as the thoughts separated into their constituent parts.  Thoughts as loud as the storm that would crash in the sky in the future bombarded my mind before making room for the next one.  They were like a disorderly courtroom or the din of quarreling subjects before the throne of a young, untested prince.

What was the circumstances that triggered this, you may ask?  I read a word in a sentence not minutes before and now the possible implications roared through my head.  It’s better that I not repeat the word to avoid a similar episode.  These are thoughts in overdrive amid tossing and turning and silent screams.  I recall writing about a storm of thoughts, which appears in a chapter of my book but this is a little different.  This word might only be heard in the dreaded passages of Gnar-Angrith or the savage evil of Urkkarth.

I don’t ever want to be implicated or associated with this word; it’s a state I can never find myself in.

I tossed and turned and fought and wrestled.  Whispered pleas escaped my lips and fell on a silent dark, empty room. “Help me!”  I know not when total exhaustion overtook me, only that it was the only thing that stopped the madness.  I was jarred awake by the loudest storm I’ve ever heard. Again, I stared at the clock reading 4:49.  The outdoors peered in the tiny sliver of my window, but its noise shook me.

Today, I’ve only sort of recovered and my body stubbornly objects to my every move.  It’s like all the messages of pain my brain refused to acknowledge last night were back logged to resurface today.  I’m running on fumes.


“We are all foolish Puppets who, desiring to be kings, now lie pitifully crippled after cutting our own strings.”  Randy Stonehill


I heard that word a lot, especially during my growth spurt when I was 13 years old that saw me shoot up from about 5’4 to 6-foot and beyond.  I think it’s just a tactful way of saying “you’re clumsy”, particularly because it’s most often used when someone’s body has changed to the point of being foreign to its possessor.  The statement really makes my head feel a lot better when I discover through experience that I should duck when I go down the stairs, or that there isn’t enough clearance underneath the door of the cupboard above the refridgerator for me slip through. There used to be, so why not now?  Yeah, I grew almost a foot, but it should be the same as always, right? 

Nope, I just have to face it.  At 14, I wasn’t comfortable in my own skin.  I had no idea where my body actually was in space, let alone in relation to other objects. I was uncoordinated or at the very least, had a lack of coordination that made me clumsy. It has been a long time since I became more comfortable, more coordinated, even deft, but high objects still invade my headspace and remind me of those tough weeks I spent relearning where my head was in relation to everything else.

To prove myself to be a nerd, I looked up the word “lanky” in the dictionary (As if I was going to find it somewhere else). It has two meanings and when people say I’m lanky now, I anticipate that they mean merely that I’m tall and slender and not that I’m a blundering fool of a clutz.

I can find other ways in which I am lanky, not just my height and body build. I am mentally and socially lanky as well, in the sense that I’m uncomfortable oftentimes, or even feel foreign, particularly this past semeter, which sneaked up on me, if that’s even possible. I limped through the entire semester uncoordinated, not used to the routine that was forced upon me. Normal life became abnormal and that abnormalty has never become familiar to me.  Lankiness usually comes right after a growth spurt, but I struggle to see where I’ve grown. It’s just change.

So I haven’t gotten used to my surroundings, my schedule, my time constraints, yet the semester is a week from being over.  My life will take a very different turn after finals, which will probably just continue the feeling I have now of unfamiliarity and a total lack of coordination.  By the same token, I’m not sure I want to become comfortable with how my life is playing out right now, to make my circumstances feel normal again.  Am I just being nostalgic or is something actually wrong here? In any case, don’t let my deft movements and efficient work fool you.  I’m still lanky.

JA Menter

“…Be strong, therefore, and prove yourself a man.” 1 Kings 2:2b

A HOTP Excerpt

It’s amazing how many possibilities open up for me when I run.  Here is an excerpt from my book that I wrote this morning. (You should understand what “HOTP” means now:D)  Let me know if you require background; I always love talking about my story.

“The stairs came in flights of ten, each ending with a landing, and the flights climbed upward on the right.  The blue glow seemed always to come from the next flight, yet when the stairs were climbed, its source wasn’t there.  Lars and Jhadiz ascended the flights in benign silence.  They didn’t want to waste energy talking when all their strength was required to reach the Great Hall.

They knew not how many flights of stairs they trudged up.  Jhadiz lost count at twelve.  It didn’t really matter because they weren’t going to need to retrace their steps and they were coming from the very bottom of the stairs.  With each step, Lars sensed the presence in his mind grow stronger.  Twice, he’d halted at a landing to quiet his mind and catch their breath.

After about two hours, Lars and Jhadiz came to a landing that ended the stairs altogether.  A door across from the stairs opened into a wide room with a tall ceiling.  Lamps burned in each corner like torches mounted onto the wall with iron brackets.  The stone room was completely empty, but loud footsteps could be heard through the opening in the far wall.

Lars closed his eyes and bowed his head.  The sense in his mind was drawing closer and the presence was almost audible.  He tried to fight back with everything within him, but it began to speak.  The shade was very close.

In the opening of the far wall, a figure appeared.”

This figure was a part of his father’s past and, by extension, his past.  It had haunted Ashur all his life and been the only person to defeat him save the nineteen arrows that killed him. This figure’s voice was inside Lars’ head, limiting his effectiveness and draining his strength.  It was unfinished business that needed to be addressed before it stifled Lars and made him useless.  Naturally, a confrontation like this merits a back and forth battle to the death that Dez can’t help him with, but the figure summons a beast the likes of which Lars had never seen.  His past became a beast he couldn’t ignore.

Guess what, I’m not sharing this just to show off my writing or even to shine some light of the less-mentioned members of my circle.  I’m shifting into the kapu like I have a tendency of enjoying, which brings me to this set of questions.

Do you have a past that’s haunting you? A past that reminds you of when you failed. Has it become a dominant voice that shapes your decisions and leads you astray?  Has it become a monster you want to hide from but can’t?  I must admit, I oftentimes have to answer ‘yes’ to all those questions. Do you?

The good news is that the story doesn’t end there, and it shouldn’t in your case or mine.  You see, Lars has met Nehru (Jesus) and believes in Him. With God’s help, he slays the beast and lays to rest his father’s past. The past that haunted him, hunted him, and laid down the burden of a reputation Lars couldn’t live up to.  Jhadiz has a different past, one of being healed by Jesus, and is constantly reminded of it by a muscle spasming where the miracle took place.

We have been healed of our disease, our sin nature.  Are we always reminded of that miracle?  We can be rid of that beast of a past that haunts us.  Are we willing to let Christ fight for us and put it to death also?  Or am I going to continue to be haunted by the beast, my strength waning, so that it might limit how effective I can be in God’s kingdom?  Are you?

JA Menter

“I am only April’s fool.”

Hold Me Jesus

This song has resonated in my heart this past month. I’ve been burned out by school and the almost 500 pages I have to read weekly for classes. Here it is, “Hold me Jesus” by Rich Mullins.

Well, sometimes my life
Just don’t make sense at all
When the mountains look so big
And my faith just seems so small

So hold me Jesus, ’cause I’m shaking like a leaf
You have been King of my glory
Won’t You be my Prince of Peace

And I wake up in the night and feel the dark
It’s so hot inside my soul
I swear there must be blisters on my heart


Surrender don’t come natural to me
I’d rather fight You for something
I don’t really want
Than to take what You give that I need
And I’ve beat my head against so many walls
Now I’m falling down, I’m falling on my knees

And this Salvation Army band
Is playing this hymn
And Your grace rings out so deep
It makes my resistance seem so thin


You have been King of my glory
Won’t You be my Prince of Peace

JA Menter

The Big 3

I once warned that I had several topics to blog about and intended to tackle them during my spring break.   I thought I had a progression of topics and the order I was going to write them, but nothing has happened on that front. Until now.  I’m skipping my first one to bring you perhaps the most important one I’ve been thinking about.

My Navigator bible study has been going through the books of 1 & 2 Thessalonians and the insight and comments have been quite good.  I don’t think it’s possible to not have a good bible study, I mean, it’s the bible!  Anyway, I digress.

In 1 Thes 1:2-3, Paul writes “We give thanks to God always for you, making mention of you in our prayers, remembering without ceasing your work of faith, labor of love, and patience of hope in our Lord Jesus Christ in the sight of our God and Father.”  Just some quick background, Paul preached in Philippi just before being forced out and then went to Thessalonika (That’s the Greek spelling; it’s not misspelled) You can read about it in Acts 16-17.  The point I’m trying to make, though, is that Paul was only in Thessalonika for 3 weeks or so, and already, the church he planted there came under persecution. (That’s why he had to leave for Berea)

Back to 1 Thes 1:2-3, So Paul prays for them, that’s great, but what does he remember in his prayers?  Their work of faith, their labor of love, and their patience of hope.  This part reminds me of the end of the famous love chapter in 1 Corinthians (13:13) “And now abide faith, hope, and love, these three; but the greatest of these is love.” 

The designer of our study drew our attention to the words that Paul used to describe their faith, hope, and love (Ie work, labor, and patience).  We see these words all over the epistles of Paul, most often speaking of his “labor among you” or a command to ‘be fruitful in every good work.”  We see these same ideas (Work of faith, labor of love, and patience of hope) in the Lord’s messages to the seven churches, particularly Ephesus in Rev 2:2-3.

As the attention was brought to these words, I went to my trusty concordance in an effort to clarify why they were used that way.  The study designer had quoted a Charles Ryrie commentary which went like this: “The word Paul uses for labor in verse 3 means “fatiguing work” and differs from work in the phrase work of faith in that it includes the cost associated with labor.”  Thus, I went to the Greek dictionary.

Work of Faith,  the word “work” in Greek is “ergo” and means ‘toil as an effort or occupation”.  It’s used in John 6:29- “The WORK of God is that you believe…” In Acts 13:2, Paul and Barnabas were commanded to be “Separated to Me for the “ergo” to which I’ve called them.”  1 Corinthians 15:58 uses that word: “…always abounding in the work (toil as an occupation) of the Lord…” Col 1:10 “…Being fruitful in every good work…”

So then it’s the “occupation” of faith.  Faith.  Faith is foundational; by Heb 11:6, “without faith, it’s impossible to please God.” Faith is, according to Heb 11:1, the substance of things hoped for and the evidence of things unseen.” There, it is connected with hope, but I’ll get to that in a minute.  James talks about faith in chapter 2:14-26. Faith without works is dead. So it therefore requires action, just like you can’t do no work and still have a job (occupation).

Labor of Love, again the word labor here is Kopos (the o’s are short, if you want to pronounce that correctly). It means toil, pains, trouble, weariness.  Again, its the same word as in Rev 2:2-3, 1 Cor 15:58, and Heb 6:10 (For God is not unjust to forget your work and labor of love which you have shown toward his name, in that you have ministered to all the saints and do minister.) The most interesting passage it related to, I thought, was Matt 11:28–“Come to Me, all you who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.”

So then this is the pains of love. I think of Romans 12:9-21, 1 Cor 13, and Phil 2.  Those characteristics of love are hard to do.  That’s probably why Paul asserts that “the greatest of these is love.” Even loving God in the way Jesus told us how is difficult. “If you love Me, you will keep My commands.”  There truly is a cost to following Christ.  Paul said he died daily so that Christ might be made manifest.  Jesus Himself said, ” If anyone desires to come after Me, let him deny himself, take up his cross daily, and follow me.” (Luke 9:23)

Lastly, Patience of Hope, The word for patience was Hupomone or cheerful endurance, waiting. Same word as the famous Luke 21:19 quote from That Thing You Do. (I thought you might like that). It is produced by tribulation according to Romans 5:3 and produces character. James 1, the testing of your faith produces patience.  Romans 8:25 says, “But if we hope for what we do not see, (Sounds like Heb 11:1 faith) we eagerly wait for it with patience. ” He was talking specifically of your adoption as sons.

The cheerful endurance of hope, I might know something about endurance, but not this kind.  What is our hope that the Thessalonian church was patiently waiting in?  Perhaps it was written about later in the book when Paul lays out the rapture. Maybe it was the living hope that 1 Peter 1:3-5 talks about.  Maybe it was like Abraham’s hope and belief in God’s promise of a son. But the evidence of this hope, this patient hope, was what they endured because of it. Hebrews 11:32-40 comes to mind and I’ll quote.

“32-And what more shall I say? For the time would fail me to tell of Gideon and Barak, Samson and Jephthah, also of David and Samuel and the prophets: 33-who through faith subdued kingdoms, worked righteousness, obtained promises, stopped the mouths of lions, 34-quenched the voilence of fire, escaped the edge of the sword, out of weakness were made strong, became valient in battle, turned to flight the armies of the aliens. 35-Women recieved their dead raised to life again. Others were tortured, not accepting deliverance, that they might obtain a better resurrection. 36-Still others had trial of mockings and scourgings, yes, and of chains and imprisonment. 37-They were stoned, they were sawn in two, were tempted, were slain with the sword. They wandered about in sheepskins and goatskins, being destitute, afflicted, tormented–38-of whom the world was not worthy. They wandered in deserts and mountains, in dens and caves of the earth. 39-And all these, having obtained a good testimony through faith, did not receive the promise, 40-God having provided something better for us, that they should not be made perfect apart from us.”

Finally, I came across another mention of the “big 3″ as I like to call them, in 1 Thes 5:8. The context is armor, ie the breastplate of faith and love and the helmet of the hope of salvation. It’s interesting that the breastplate guards and protects the heart and the helmet protects the head (mind). This also means that it’s a battle. News flash? Nope, we all know Eph 6:12 and the nature of our enemy in John 10:10. To close, I’d like to composite Eph 6:12, Jn 10:10, 1 Thes 5:8, and certain elements of battle into a statement.

“My battle is not against flesh and blood, but against the robber of hope, the destroyer of faith, the killer of love, where the battlefield is men’s souls and the plunder is their eternal destiny.”

JA Menter

I know I probably took a long walk in the realm of kapu, but it was worth it.

A Blast

I may soon be moving into the never fixed realm of “taboo”, but that’s the way it is.  Last evening was perhaps the most fun I’ve had on a Wednesday evening in memory.  It wasn’t spent watching a movie, partying, writing, or God forbid, working.  I went to Royal Rangers for the first time in over two months.  It’s amazing how much I missed it and how good it was to be back.

I can’t say that it was always like this.  Some days, I didn’t want to go at all.  I wanted to curl up in as many blankets as I owned and sleep for hours.  I wanted to read a book so that I wouldn’t have to right before a class.  I wanted to continue playing a boardgame that takes hours just to set up. 

Truly, you don’t know what you have until it’s gone.  You wake up and find something missing.  I know this is completely clique, but sometimes things become clique because they can’t be put any better way.  I made a tough decision to put my education above Rangers and other things this semester, and I still second guess myself at times, especially when I’m sitting through the most boring coaching class I’ve ever taken.  It happens to be on Wednesday nights and I’m sure that has something to do with it.

So now that it’s gone for a semester, what did I have?  Well, I had boys I’d watched grow up since they were in Kindergarden.  They’d become like sons to me.  I’d had fun with them, played sports with them, taught them bible stories and survival skills, and occasionally disciplined them.  I’d become a important part of their lives and vice versa.  They still mob me when they see me and try to play on me like a jungle gym.

I’m just so glad I was able to return, if only for a day, so that I could “check in on them”.  It turned out the Royal Rangers and Missionettes programs were shorthanded yesterday, so the fact that I could be a blessing in that way was awesome as well.  I probably won’t take that for granted anytime soon.

JA Menter

BTW-> As you can probably guess, this isn’t one of the three posts that have piled up on me. <~_~>

Long Time Coming

When I wrote Kapu last week, I had every intention of continuing to divulge various things as my list of topics and ideas for posts mounts in the absense of time or vivid articulation.  This past week, though, has just been that kind of a week.  I have been looking forward to this particular weekend for probably a month and a half, but the five days before it were brutal, especially when the excitment of “Spring Break” and all I had planned loomed just beyond my grasp.

The “work week” always starts with a Monday of just trudging along, hoping and praying you can somehow make it to the end, and in my case, I would have been happy to get to the next day without totally butchering everything and wasting precious time along the way.  Each day seemed to throw some new curveball my way, which on a continuing basis gets incredibly annoying to put it mildly. 

Monday, I was going to observe a Husker Volleyball practice, since I have to sometime in the near future for one of my coaching classes.  I come to find out, spring practice doesn’t start until the following day and I don’t see a convenient time to cram it in my schedule. I had a light day on Monday, as the days of my week go. Apart from Saturdays, Sundays, and Tuesdays, I spend the least amount of time waiting for things to happen on campus of any day, about 9 hours.  During the week, it doesn’t get much lower than that ever. I’m pretty sure I spent that time trying to read Oedipus at Colonus knowing that I would have a quiz on it that I’d fail if I didn’t read it.

Tuesday was the easy day that I spent reading Antigone and Medea in Greek mythology before I had to be at school for Colonial History class and work.  At this point, I devoted my facebook stati to chronicling what I had to do before the bliss of break was upon me.  That was, at one point, 2 plays->Antigone and Medea, a quiz, a 350 page book, a bible study, a 2 part exercise with about 150 seperate calculations that needed to be shown, a dentist appointment :), 11 hours of class, 11 hours at work, and a volleyball practice.

Therefore, it’s no wonder that I didn’t have a chance to write another blog post or any more of the numerous ideas constantly swirling in my head in relation to my book.  Apart from the late nights trying to stay in the loop for a reading intensive history class and a greek mythology class that I enjoy but also want to excel in, (impossible without reading the material) I also had stressful days, often begun before the sun had risen in the timezone ahead of us, just packed with a smattering of this thing people call “school” and often equate to one big party. Hur hur hur.

Now that it’s all done, I need a extra dose of rest and relaxation.  Nine days might cover it and hopefully, I won’t have some issue cause it to not be as enjoyable and productively inactive.  I hope nothing captures my thoughts to the point of an obsessive compulsion to smolder and grind, as things have in the past.  I hope I’m able to sit down and write intelligently and productively in a world without care and cruise to a healthy finish to a project I’ve undertaken for the past five years. I hope the page total I write this week reaches a square of a non-prime number (16) and progress is made. Maybe I might even post the topics I’ve been intending to for the past month but haven’t had the right words or timing. I have to leave it to you guys to decide if they are kapu or just taboo.


JA Menter


It has been over a month since I last blogged.  The reasons are two-fold. The first reason is a well-documented fall from grace with words.  It is a master-slave relationship, but now the roles are reversed.  I once was able to mold and shape words to display my mind, but now they are unruly and foreign.  The second reason is “kapu”.


Kapu- I ran across this term in my colonial American history class about three weeks ago in a lecture in which I didn’t take notes because the material wasn’t going to be on any tests. It was bonus information I was getting “for free”. (Since when was content in a college class one paid an arm and a leg for free) But here I was, not taking notes, sitting back and biding my time so I could get ready for my track class that night. That actually has nothing to do with what I want to say, so I will refocus. Just Monday, I ran into the word again, in Greek Mythology class.


It struck me, because the Greek Mythology class has nothing to do with the meaning of kapu, or maybe it does.  More importantly, it was a word I remembered from a lecture I had every intention of forgetting, a sign of something else going on entirely.  Now, I have to explain what the word means so this makes sense.


Kapu is a native Hawaiian word; we have a similar word with a similar meaning in English- Taboo.  Over the centuries since John Cook made contact with the native Hawaiians, its English meaning has become diluted, commercialized, and secularized. In Hawaiian culture, things that were kapu were kapu because they were sacred. In other words, the sacred and only the sacred was taboo.  Not a guessing game with cards, not natural body functions, not certain other topics I won’t mention because they are taboo. Lstm J 


The native Americans around the New England colonies had a similar idea.  Not being a scholar in extinct native American languages, I don’t know what word they used, but one chief was ready to go to war with another tribe because someone named his dead father. That was taboo, no kapu in their culture.  So then, everyone must be wondering why I would run my mouth, or rather fingers, to give you a tiny history lesson about a word and then not explain its relevance. (You’re welcome, BTW, if you thought that history lesson a waste of your time and wanted to thank meJ)


There are only so many topics in the broadest sense that one can post on a blog.  In my case, there are really three that I’ve attempted. These are: Narrative, “Thoughts”- usually theologically based, and Poems, also mostly theologically based.  Perhaps you can see where the word “kapu” starts to come in.  I hate writing simple narratives; I don’t know how many times I’ve tried to write one and ended up with what should be categorized as “Thoughts”, Stadium Ruckus springs quickly to mind.  Somewhere along the way though, these subjects became taboo to me, whether they really are or not remains to be seen.  Instead, I get excited about progressing toward an end of a book five years in the making that combines both narrative and kapu thoughts.  Thus, it has taken my time, though understandably not as much as school itself has.


So, my first blog post since the beginning of February is written.  I have probably three more topics to write about in my head, but we’ll see if words and time cooperate. In the meanwhile, I occupy myself with the one area where the words are flowing out of me unchecked.


JA Menter


I sat down to write an entry after what has seemed like forever, but just like all the other times I’ve tried, words elude me.  I’ve thought about summarizing my journal entries or giving a narative of my past weeks, but nothing in those prospects are blog safe.  What I’ve struggled to type so often these past few weeks only end up being what politicians call “mudslinging”.  I don’t want to become that kind of person. 

Everything I am seems all wrong, and there is no way I can explain it in a way that would be accurately understood.  Words and meanings have utterly failed me like never before, yet they can have such mighty power, as I’ve experienced before.  I am ready to make an allusion to one of my favorite book series, but I hold back knowing how little people will catch if I do; they didn’t catch the significance of things before.

Somehow, I’ve been made a more evil version of myself, even than is my nature.  There are thoughts in my head I’ve struggled to take captive to Christ’s obedience and harbored longer than I should’ve dared.  There is a person more real than what you see that is trying to surface, but you don’t want him because both you and I don’t understand him.  The “you” here is everyone I know.  Sometimes, like now, I don’t want to think or speak or hear or do, for fear that it will start all over again.  I don’t want to hear the voices, reinforced by experiences, that tell me just how insignificant I’ve been. 

Even now, I can’t stop shivvering and it’s only partly due to the cold.  I am drawn to the words of Michael Tait’s song “Unglued”.  I’ve listened to that song probably two hundred times this past month.  This is just hard.  I know your first response is going to be to tell me that you’re praying and so on, but don’t just tell me that, show me.

Promise to His Betrothed

Back in December, I published a poem entitled “The Glory of My Sovereign”.  In subsequent comments, I told of possibly a sequel or two.   I since have posted the first one, entitled “The Bride Responds”.  I had a third conceptually in my head but struggled with words to put it on paper.  It seems to be a epidemic with me these days (struggling with words, that is).  Now, a month and a half later, these words come spilling out of me like a river that’s been dammed up for too long.  Though other words perhaps fail me, I trust these won’t.  It’s entitled “Promise to His Betrothed”, hence the title of the post. :)



Come to Me and I will embrace you

My embrace heals; it breaks bondage

The truth of My love clears away the lies

My love buys back; it can not fail

Come to Me and I will mold you


I will make you again the jewel of My crown

I will restore the destruction your old life caused

I too have a great and awesome plan

You will be a weapon in My mighty hand

In you I will work a still Greater Humiliation


As the bought one reflects her purchaser

Like a perfect mirror reflects My face

The life I laid down will be the life you’ll live

Because I still live, though I died

You also will live the new life I give


 Written 1/25/09 by JA Menter