Monday, February 26, 2007

On This Date...

In honor of my very own birthday I will post another chopped/rewritten/reformatted speech. The assignment was a speech concerning an event that occurred on my birthday. Unfortunately, as a result, I will never be able view this date in quite the same light.

On February 26 in 1993 I was turning 6 years old. My mom probably brought birthday cupcakes to my second grade class to celebrate. We most likely went to fun factory after school to play games with a couple of my friends. I was probably on top of the world though completely oblivious to the events occurring across the country.

About 2 years prior to this a man name Ramzi Yousef entered American with a forged passport. Yousefs accomplice carried multiple immigration documents, among them a crudely falsified Swedish passport. Providing a smokescreen to facilitate Yousef's entry, his counterpart was arrested on the spot as bomb manuals, videotapes of suicide car bombers, and a cheat sheet on how to lie to U.S. immigration inspectors were found in his luggage. Because of overcrowded holding cells, Yousef was given a hearing date and allowed to take residence in New York for which he would use the next 2, and funding and advice from his uncle, to prepare for the events leading up to my 6th birthday on February 26.

On this day Yousef drove a rental Ryder van, packed with three red metal cylinders of compressed hydrogen, four large containers of nitro-glycerine and cyanide thrown in for good measure, and parked it in the garage under the north tower of the World Trade Center. At 12:18pm the van exploded blowing a 30 meter wide hole through four sublevels of concrete. Six people were killed and at least 1,040 others were injured. Thankfully the cyanide which was intended to fill the stairwells of the building is assumed to have been burned in the explosion. All being said, Yousef must have been supremely displeased with his work because his intention was to bring down tower one collapsing it ion tower two. The architects of the world trade center would later reveal, if the van had been left closer to the poured concrete foundations, his attack would have been successful.

Yousefs disappointment with his first attack led to dedicated planning of a multi-pronged terrorist attack in which 11 airliners would be destroyed, the assassination of the Pope and President Clinton, and planes would be crashed into the CIA headquarters, the Sears tower, the Pentagon, the Washington capitol, and the white house among other. This attack was presumed to take place in 1995 if it were not for the Pakistani Intelligence and U.S. Bureau of Diplomatic Security agents who captured Yousef 20 days shy of the 2 years anniversary of his first attack in 1993. When Yousef was brought back to America in 1995, he was flown over the twin towers and made a statement to the FBI that he regretted not having enough explosives to bring down the WTC towers and adding that his fellow terrorists would try again to destroy them.

8 years and 7 months later from my 6th birthday I have a very vivid memory of the eery silence on the bus going to high school my freshman year, sitting in the cold classroom for German glued to the television that my teacher had brought in, and coming home in a daze sitting down in front of the tv with the rest of my family because my dad came home early from work. I'm sure many of you have your own story of the events on September 11th. Although there is so little that I remember about the day of the first WTC bombing in stark contrast to the september 11th attacks, the two are very much connected. Yousef's uncle, the one who gave him the advice and the funding to see through the first attacks on the WTC, is often times referred to as being the principle architect of the 9/11 attacks. It is also believed that, although unsuccessful, all of Yousefs effort that when into planning his 1995 attacks provided the necessary lessons from which the 9/11 terrorists could see their attack through to completion.

As you can see, history does repeat itself, but it is a hopeless endeavor to make things how they were before. What good will it do for us to live in an idealistic longing for yesterday? If terrorists can learn from the past in order to more effectively cause death and destruction, we surely can learn from the past. It is my prayer that this generation will wake up to history, learn from our mistakes, and look up to a new better tomorrow with open eyes.

David Knepprath

Friday, February 23, 2007

Under the Burnside Bridge

Through my speech class I was provided a venue in which to have the captivated audience of 30 of my peers. God put it on my heart to be sincere in my speech topics. Not simply to take the path of least resistance to get the grade, but make an attempt to impact there lives, reveal how God is working genuinely in my life, and ultimately to glorify Him. The experience greatly opened my eyes to the inherently exciting nature of glorifying God through means that are not, in the words of our world, "shoving Jesus down their throat".

It first must be said, that many of my peers know I am Christian. And for those who didn't, I was also able to hand out fliers advertising the "Blanket Drive for the Homeless" that Campus Crusade for Christ is sponsoring on campus. There was no doubt of who I was and what I believed, and the response was overwhelmingly positive.

With no further ado, here is a chopped/edited/reformatted version of my speech for your reading ease:

The city of Portland has the 4th most homeless people in the nation.

Over 20,000.

There are countless numbers of shelters that serve peoples basic necessities such as food and clothing. One of these homeless shelter I have had the opportunity to volunteer at the last couples months is called Bridgetown Ministries. They serve the homeless and needy in a number of ways, but the one I am most familiar with is they set up underneath the Burnside Bridge every Friday night, also known as Nightstrike. It is here under the Burnside bridge that along with providing such necessities as food and clothing; we wash peoples feet.

Now I know many of you probably have a repulsion to feet, and I hear ya, I think they are disgusting. But really, this is very much a cultural mindset that has been ingrained into the western mind.

For a long time in the west, feet were the most neglected part of our body. Civilization and weather caused us to wrap them in leather or fur, and clad them in plastic or rubber. Out of sight and out of mind. it was not until the last few decades that foot care and feet in general have started to receive more attention.

For centuries Eastern cultures treated the feet as objects of health and beauty. Chinese acupuncture doctors over four thousand years ago treated bodily ailments through nerve endings on the soles and feet. Ancient writings from India and Egyptian papyrus scrolls contain foot massage techniques to heal various bodily ailments.

Yet it is only today that podiatrists are coming into great demand in America, and with good reason. Problems with our feet can be the first sign of more serious medical conditions such as arthritis, diabetes, and nerve and circulatory disorders. Years of wear and tear can be hard on our feet. So can disease, poor circulation, improperly trimmed toenails, and wearing shoes that don't fit properly.

But any number of specific complications can plague ones foot, such as fungal and bacterial conditions, dry skin, corns and calluses, warts, bunions, ingrown toenails, hammertoe, and spurs. Poor foot care can also lead to problems throughout your body in that bacteria can creep into the blood stream through small cuts or abrasion in the skin that are not visible to the eye.

All this being said, washing ones feet cleans more then just the physical aspect of their body. In the case of many of the people who come underneath the Burnside Bridge on the cold wet Portland Friday nights, they have scars emotionally or physically that run very deep. It is because of this never-ending list of heartbreaking stories - stories of hate, betrayal, greed, addiction, and war - that they are on the street. It in this situation in life, when they need love and compassion the most, that society often times casts them aside or literally steps over them not even acknowledging their existence.

They are stripped of their humanity.

But by receiving a simple foot washing they are returned a sense of dignity.

By receiving a simple foot washing one can feel human again.

They leave not only walking on feet, but with a heart that feels refreshed and cleansed.

David Knepprath

Monday, February 19, 2007

Always put a lid on...

...scalding hot drinks when you are driving.

2nd degree burns on your inner thigh are not particularly delightful.


Saturday, February 17, 2007

Apple & The Emerging Church

It's official, if you want to be a good post-modern Christian in the emerging church you must own an Apple. Read on in the following excerpts from...

Sex God by Rob Bell:
"My brother just got a new Apple computer. Several of us were there when he opened it, and we were so into it that we were actually handing the various parts around the oom. If you have taken part in this particular ritual, then you know that Apple ships everything in white and silver bags and liners that would make dirt look attractive. We were passing the power cord around the room, admiring its design.

Were we losing our minds? The power cord?

The designers at Apple understand something significant about what it means to be human: we are hardwired to appreciate sensory experience"

The Forgotten Ways by Alan Hirsch:
"Most effort at change in the church fail to deal with the very assumptions on which Christendom is built and maintains itself. The change of thinking needed in our day as far as the church and its mission are concerned must be radical indeed; that is, it must go to the roots o the problem. Perhaps a way of conceiving this is the reflect on how computers and software interrelate. Following the approach taken by the developers of Apple computers, if one seeks to constantly create a better computer product, systematic development has to take place on three levels, namely those of the machine hardware, operating system, and end-user programs.

This illustration points out that it's no use developing great software when the operating system and the machine language, or hardware, won't or can't cope with it. Great user-programs are limited to the extent that the rest of the system remains underdeveloped. There are underlying systemic issues that need to be addressed. To create a successful, world-leading product, development must be attentive to all three levels to be effective. Hence, Apple advances as an integrated whole."


Wednesday, February 14, 2007

My Violent Heart

Some of you might be suprised to see that I have an appreciation for some good Industrial Rock. Oh yes, it's true, and I can not believe I left Nine Inch Nails off my Music of 2007 list!

And it appears NIN is doing a bit of viral marketing. My Violent Heart, off their upcoming album Year Zero (April 2007), was found on a flash drive in the bathroom during their recent concert in Lisbon Portugal.


Monday, February 12, 2007

A Boundless Ocean

If you want to build a ship, don't summon people to buy wood, prepare tools, distribute jobs, and organize the work, rather teach people the yearning for the wide, boundless ocean.
Antoine de Saint-Exupery
When I put this in the perspective of my faith, I saw a drastic shift in how I view my faith and the manner in which I share it. It becomes so much deeper then simply arguing doctrine and theology and it morphs into an exciting opportunity to dive into the glorious depths of a boundless ocean who is our Father.

Hope everyone has a great National SAD (Singles Awareness Day) tomorrow!


Sunday, February 11, 2007

Pan's Labyrinth

Pan's Labyrinth is beautiful and horrifying all in the same breath. An engaging movie visually whose story overflows in its demonstration of the power of love, the destruction of war, the moral dilemma of doing wrong to overcome evil, the comforting reassurance of hope, the horror of death, and ultimate sacrifice. It is properly labeled as Horror/Suspense with its decent portion of nerve wracking, tear jerking, and gut wrenching scenes.

I plead that you would not pass on this movie because of its appearance as a children's fantasy story. It is a very powerful movie that was thankfully released December 29th 2006 or else my "Movies of 2007" post would have lost all credibility.

Just a heads up, the movie is subtitled. It is in Spanish (good practice for me!), being that it takes place in the 1944 repression of Franco's Spain.


"Do stop behaving as if you are God, Professor Dawkins"

Interesting snippets from an article about Dawkins:

"For instance, Dawkins often compares belief in God to an infantile belief in Santa Claus or the Tooth Fairy, saying it is something we should all outgrow. But the analogy is flawed. How many people do you know who started to believe in Santa Claus in adulthood?"

"The God Delusion is similarly full of misunderstanding. Dawkins simply presents us with another dogmatic fundamentalism. Maybe that's why some of the fiercest attacks on The God Delusion are coming from other atheists, rather than religious believers. Michael Ruse, who describes himself as a 'hardline Darwinian' philosopher, confessed that The God Delusion made him 'embarrassed to be an atheist'."


Saturday, February 10, 2007

Lost: Not In Portland

Check out this audio clip. It is taken from the brainwashing scene and played in reverse. Start listening closely at 27 seconds.

"Only fools are enslaved by time and space".

Also, something else I missed watching the episode through the first time. In the final seen in the morgue, Ethan comes in to "give his condolences" and he is wearing a BUS DRIVER NAMETAG! Did we expect anything else though, I mean really.

Sorry for the lack of postings, it definitely isn't because of the lack to post about! This next week should let up a wee bit so I will try and make up some lost time.

God. Is. Good.

David K.