Tuesday, June 30, 2009

For no real reason...Summertime Blues?

Having a great time wandering around and looking at the new Boise Public Library on Ustick and Cole.
I came down here for no real reason, mostly just to spend my summer afternoon in someplace other than my basement. And as I sit here, some kind of summertime blues are casting shadows over my heart. Could it be because I've been gone the last few weeks away from mcoupled with the darkness that hit my family almost four months agoy hometown and friends? Could it be because I'm leaving once again on Monday for a new adventure that will once again take me from home? Or is it something less complex? The death of major celebrities this last week, coupled with the darkness that hit my family almost four months ago? Is it the depressing song I'm listening to on Pandora?

I really am not sure. And yet, some kind of elusive and abstract Summertime Blues simply won't leave. I feel somewhat 'thought constipated' and I really do feel that writing this all down will help.

As I enter into my senior summer I've gotten a glimpse at this Process People Call Life. Why do things happen when you least want, ask for, or choose them? On a perfectly bright and cheerful day, why do I insist on being held back by this invisible feeling?
So many questions! So few answers!

"Welcome to being a grown up" is the most common response.
Screw that.
I refuse to let growing up hold me back. Life may not be all chocolate waterfalls and candy-cane trees, but I won't accept that the very act of growing up sucks the joy out of life.

"I don't want to fall away from
Gravity is pulling me on down
I don't want to fall away from You

Gravity is pulling me to the ground

This world keeps making me cry

But I'm going to try, going to try to fly, going to fly high
Don't want to give into the sin, want to stay in You ‘til the end

Don't want to lose my sight of You

Don't want to lose my sight"

-Shawn McDonald, Gravity

Perhaps I'm looking at it the wrong way. After all, even Solomon said that there is a "season for everything" Can there be true happiness without some kind of definition for pain? Darkness in a room makes light that much more evident. What about love? How can I truly love someone wholeheartedly without knowing what the absence of love causes?

"I know why you're here, Neo. I know what you've been doing... why you hardly sleep, why you live alone, and why night after night, you sit by your computer. You're looking for him. I know because I was once looking for the same thing. And when he found me, he told me I wasn't really looking for him. I was looking for an answer. It's the question that drives us, Neo. It's the question that brought you here. You know the question, just as I did.

What is the Matrix?

The answer is out there, Neo, and it's looking for you, and it will find you if you want it to."

-Trinity, The Matrix

They say high school is the time when kids ask questions. If this blog post is any indicator, 'They' are correct. I've asked so many questions in the last four months, I don't even know what to do with myself. Most come back unanswered, but I know Jesus is there. Some answers will only tcome with time, some not at all. What I do know is that the only constant in this quagmire of thought, processing, pain, and questions is Jesus. He is my rock, and when I have no where else to go, when I run out of breathe for questions, and even when I'm throwing a temper tantrum, He is there.

Maybe some Arizona Green Tea, Zelda, and Talladega Nights will brighten my day. :)

Thursday, June 25, 2009

What darkness means

CNN, MSNBC, and Time have all confirmed that Michael Jackson has been pronounced dead. Such a sad day...

Some twitter quotes:
@JesusNeedsNewPR "Gen X's "Elvis" is dead..."
@Jackalopekid "The news today should remind everyone that life is short and that none of us are invincible"

My heart breaks for the Jackson family, and my prayers go out to them. What a painful time. Words cannot express the amount of grief they must be going through.

Just three months ago my family was in a similar position the Jacksons are now in. Again, my prayers go out. Grief is the opposite of what God intended- pain was never his plan.

Great talent has been lost today. I'm saddened.

Let God's love shine through this madness

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Burning the Dust Jacket

"We're nothing more than dust jackets for books, of no significance otherwise"

As Wikipedia puts it, "Fahrenheit 451 is a dystopian speculative fiction novel authored by Ray Bradbury and first published in 1953.
The novel presents a future American society in which the masses are hedonistic, and critical thought through reading is outlawed."

Guy Montag is a fireman--one who starts fires. Actually, that's the role of all firemen ever since houses became fireproof. So, what do they burn? The source of free thought, that which births sadness, depression, anger, rage, and ultimately war. They burn books.
TV rooms now contain a full four wall panorama of full-sized screens. People constantly have earbuds, or "seashells" in their ears, and because of this are fed a never ending tidalwave of of the government-controlled media's perspective. They connect with their "family" via the TV's and because of this have little interaction with people face to face. Their world has turned into one of control and stability, and because of this, a facade of laughter, fun, and a care-free lifestyle.
This is the setting of Fahrenheit 451, a book that critically plunges into the depths of a changing society bent on satisfying their need for hapiness.

When I started reading this book, I really wasn't sure what to think. A friend gave me this 165 page paperback novel, and with it a note saying this was his favorite book, and that he had deemed me worthy of reading it. Because I have a great deal of respect for this friend, I decided to push through its thin pages no matter the cost, and no matter how hard it may be. Long story short, it took me about half of the book to get into it. That being said, once I got it, I GOT it. I simply couldn't put it down! The pages flipped effortlesly as I wrestled with the concepts presented.

It was like wrestling with giants.

The book's main concept is easily understood and easily presented as a simple math equation:

Society - critical thinking + total media = mindless, thoughtless, numb creatures.

This, although intriguing in and of itself, is but one of the concepts introduced. The concept that really pulled at me- really got my gears turning, is that of being a dust jacket.
There come a point in the book where Guy is running from the government and happens upon a band of would-be-scholars who now live as hobos due to the current situation. Up to this point Guy has been dealing with books that have been burned and how their contents will never, ever be recovered. The cast-off scholars, however, introduce the concept to Guy that the book itself is of little importance. Rather, it's the ideas, concepts, and emotions inside these books that make the difference. These hobos hold onto the belief that if you read something once, it's inside your head.
"All of us have photographic memories, but spend a lifetime learning how to block off the things that are really there."

I believe this same concept can be applied to my relationship with Jesus. Once I get to know Him, there's no getting rid of that. I've asked him to become a part of me, I've asked him to make my heart his throne room. The amazing part about this phenomonon is that when this happens, I merely become a dust cover for Jesus. My attitude, appearance, speech, manerisms- these are all the first things anyone sees. Within this dusty shell, however, lies that which really matters. To extend the metaphor, the more you destroy the dustcover, the more the contents are revealed.
I'm not sure this metaphor is complete or 100% there, but the concept makes sense to me.

Fahrenheit 451 is a book I know I'll read many times through my life. Intriguing, thought provoking, and beautifully crafted, this book pulls no punches in the issues it deals with. If you like censorship, you'll hate this book.

What about you? What are your thoughts?


-- Posted from my iPhone --

Monday, June 22, 2009

The last day of my NY trip

I don't have much time, as I need to hit the sack ASAP (6am flight, 4am wake up). These last two weeks have produced amazing friends, renewed relationships with family, and awesome experiences! It has been a trip to remember.

That being said, below are some pics from today: my last day in NY!

Feel free to follow my journey tomorrow at http://twitter.com/ColinMansfid


-- Posted from my iPhone --

Saturday, June 20, 2009

The Mansfields visit Niagra Falls

Everybody, please keep your hands and feet inside the vehicle at all times. Now, brace yourselves!

Friday, June 19, 2009

Questions on Church

This past week I've been with my aunt and her family in Buffalo, NY. They go to a quant Baptist Church, and when I first walked in the door on Sunday to attend service one thought went through my head:
"I'm not in Kansas anymore."
The service went about as expected. Sunday school was decently thought provoking, worship was less then engaging (hymns) and the overall message was pretty good. My post today has nothing to do with this church or the way it is run. Rather, I want to bring up the topic of denominations.

My observation of church denominations is that they don't work.

I think denominations are started by people who think of the church (building) rather then the church (people). This goes back to the whole issue of relationship. Is the goal of church to teach certain things, have a message, then go home to watch football? Actually, football may be closer to the actual purpose of church. I believe the purpose of church is to bring believers in Christ together as one body to worship Him, and to encourage each other. A "Sunday message" may or may not be ideal for this purpose, and the same for for worship and Sunday school, etc.

What if the "rules" of Church (denominations, common practice, tradition) simply don't work. Where would that leave us? What if what we call "church" is but a shadow of what God wants the Church to be?

What about you? What do you think?
Is church necesary? Is it mandated? Is it working?


-- Posted from my iPhone --

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Today's journey

Life is a journey, isn't it? Every day, a new step in some direction; every moment a choice that affects life. Many times I get caught up in the bigness of life: future, future, future. Where am I going, what is my career going to be, what's my time frame for (insert important goal). but what about today's journey? Where have I been today, who have I related with, and how has this influenced me?

So, without further ado: today's journey (as told through uncaptioned photos)

PS that last pic is a welt from a paintball game I played today. It drew blood.

-- Posted from my iPhone --

My dad, the man who knows everyone

My dad is an amazing man of God. I admire his witty sense of humor, his ability to connect people and projects, and his awesome problem solving ability. Something else about my dad that has always fascinated me is his ability, no matter where we are, to know someone. I've been in the most obscure of places, only to be delayed by my father stopping to talk to that guy he met back in whatchamacallit doing that thing with that dude.

So, yesterday we decided to test this theory: does my dad indeed know people no matter where we are? The test location designated was the Buffalo, NY airport.


Tuesday, June 16, 2009


Israel is near and dear to my heart for two reasons: first off I am a Christian. Whether you believe that the Church has taken Israel's place as God's chosen people, or that Israel remains the chosen ones to this day, Israel's place in the Bible is one of significant weight. They are the one's God originally chose as his people. They are the ones we make our Christian movies about, they are the source of our bumper stickers and our car Ichthys', and they are the reason felt graphs even exist. They are the same people today that lived, ate, drank, and slept in the Promise Land, and they are the same ones who helped crucify, and stand by, Jesus Christ. They've gone through near extinction, living without a nation to call home, and then the one-day-birth of that nation in 1948. Whether you like it or not, Israel has always been a big deal.

The second reason I have a special place in my heart for Israel is because I've been there- twice. I've walked the streets of Jerusalem, woke up to the beautiful sight of the Sea of Galilee, and floated in the buoyant waters of the Dead Sea. I've talked with, haggled with, sat with, and even ate with Jews and Muslims alike (my favorite dish is a falafel with unleavened bread and humus). I've been to the Church of the Holy Sepulcher, The Garden Tomb, The Church of the Holy Nativity, and the location where the Last Supper is believed to have been held. I say all these things not to brag, but merely to establish context of where I'm coming from.

As of late Israel has been shed in different light. Depending on your political and social views, you probably hold a different opinion from the guy sitting next to you. Simply watching twitter and facebook during Netanyahu's recent speech showed me how varying opinions are. Some are calling it an act of "peace" and others that of "defiance." I'm of the former opinion, because I believe Netanyahu's terms are decent, and his heart is in the right place. Israel has fought long and hard to not have constant pressure from enemies. Imagine if Canada and Mexico were both sworn enemies of the US, and wanted to invade and take over our land, kill our civilians, and destroy our way of life. That's scratching the surface of what Israel has had to go through since it was birthed as a nation. It's no wonder the IDF is one of the greatest fighting forces in the world.

But what about you? What do you believe? And not just what, but why?


Pelham 123: Hairspray and Remember the Titans? Not so much.

Saw 'The Taking of Pelham 123' tonight. Go check http://Twitter.com/ColinMansfield for my 140 character review (or even http://facebook.com/ColinMansfield). Read on for the whole enchilada.

I believe every movie that is worth seeing has one thing in common. They suspend your disbelief; they make you forget your in a cold dark room watching a 20ft screen. Some of the best ways films do this, I believe, is by appealing to the underdog, by relating to the normal joe. Not everyone can dress up in tights and fight crime, but nearly everyone will, at some point, face a moral or ethical dilemma. Good movies often capitalize on this fact (think Die Hard or any Disney Sports flick.)

Pelham 123 had a simple enough set up (I

think it was a remake, actually.) Bad guy (John Travolta) hijacks a New York subway and demands hostage money. Rather than speaking to police, however, he insists on talking to the subway controler who first answered his radio (Denzel Washington). The movie is well written, well acted, and well executed.

Going back to my earlier thought, Pelham did a fantastic job of giving the Average Bob the spotlight- and man does he shine! Each moment-by-moment decision gives his character room to grow; so much so that by the end of it I felt as though I was making the decisions.

Was this movie perfect? No, not even near it. I could have done without the swearing, that's for sure. That being said, it's hard to spot blemishes when something moves as fast as Pelham 123. Might take a few more viewings ;-)

Overall: go see it! If you can sit through cussing, you'll be more than entertained!


-- Posted from my iPhone --

Sunday, June 14, 2009

A conversation about love

So, what if I don't wanna be?

Well, that's only gonna make things harder later.

Well yeah but Do you always have to think about tomorrow? What about today: here, now, the present!

They're gonna suck even worse in anticipation of what the future holds.

What happened to smiling? Can't I just smile even though I feel like shouting?

Well you can, I just really don't think that's gonna work any better for ya. Smiling when you're happy is one thing, but keeping that smile past its welcome is quite another.

I know, I know. I know what I should do, have to do, want to do. Why is it I don't do it?

That's the question then, isn't it? That is the greatest question scientists and theologians have given huge amounts of thought into. The magnificint "why?"

Then what's the purpose? Jesus? God?



Love. We love because Christ first loved us.

My Christian mind gets it, my normal mind is fumbling.

And that's faith.

Faith so I can love and love so I can have faith.

But I digress.


-- Posted from my iPhone --

Saturday, June 13, 2009

Jesus and Link

After such a crazy (yet amazing) time last week, these last couple days have been a total breeze! Hanging with family, lounging, and laughing have been the orders of the day.

Tonight, however, a journey of epic proportions has started. Two people will traverse a fictional kingdom in a variety of ways, using many weapons, tools, and maps to guide them. No, this isn't national treasure. My cousin and I are having a Zelda Marathon!

Don't know what Zelda is? Here's the premise: a bad guy is wreaking havok on a land and it's up to you, a complete badass elf-guy who wields a sweet sword, to vanquish this darkness. Still not with me? Wikipedia it.
My cousin Jake and I are both Zelda connesours of sorts, so this was a natural way to exchange our cheese and wine, if you will. Our game of choice to start such a lofty expedition is a classic: The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time. This game is jacked full of memories for me: hours of gameplay with my brother, friends, and going solo. Such an amazing game.

That being said, even as I restarted a file and went through the motions of beginning the game, some interesting parallels began floating through my brain. Thoughts like "Link is Jesus" and "Zelda is the Holy Spirit." so, I began examining closer to find the root of such skewed logic.
In the game, Link holds a section of the triforce, a section which gives the bearer enhanced courage. Other characters, Ganondorf and Zelda namely, hold the triforces of power and wisdom, respectively. Link and Jesus struck me as the biggest parrallel though. Link is summoned in the greatest hour of need to save the day. And yet, he doesn't do it flying around in tights and a cape. Rather, he slays the darkness one monster at a time, and moves through his life one step at a time; and each step is important and has an outcome on the entire mission. Jesus, I believe, fights for me and you in the same way. The difference is, he already knows the enemy doesn't stand a chance.
Rough parrallels? Sure. And yet, after doing nearly a week of nothig but thinking constantly, I find it hard to just overlook things and take them for granted.

Link and Jesus? Even video games need their chaplain...

-- Posted from my iPhone --

Thursday, June 11, 2009

Final day of SLS

Today was spent doing military training! Unfortunately because of the rainy weather, I thought it best not to bring my camera :( activities included weapons handeling, ground work/grappeling, meeting the corps of engineers and even playing dodgeball (with PT)!

Tonight we did room cleaning and dinner. I took some pictures of friendlies and those activities:

This experience has truly been amazing in that I've built some of the strongest relationships with people I didn't even know going into it. I will never forget SLS!

And now, time to hit the hay. Fast paced morning ahead of me.


-- Posted from my iPhone --

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Day 4 SLS

Today went awesome! I took a "Leadership and Ethics" class (write more about that later) and had a good time playing basketball tonight!

It's very interesting to have conversations with my friends and roomates here...they all remind me of me! If you are familiar with the DISC test, all the kids here are all high D's and either high I's or high C's. Convos go from philosophical to political to humorous in a matter of seconds!

In any case, this trip has so far been very instructive and informational.

And with that, I should be getting to bed. Early PT is coming fast.


-- Posted from my iPhone --

Monday, June 8, 2009


We are the Fifth Platoon!
And we like to party!
P-A-R-T-Y party harty!
H-A-R-T-Y party harty all night long!


Stop, recover, beat your face!
Fifth Platoon's gonna rock this place!
Say what? Check it out, check it out
Say what? Check it out, check it out
Smooth, we are so damn smooth! So smooth!

5th platoon
4th squad

-- Posted from my iPhone --

Sunday, June 7, 2009

SLS: Day 2

Day two of West Point's Summer Leadership Seminar, or SLS, was very tiring but went well. The day consisted of many things including a virtual weapons training session, a tour of West Point's exterior, the CFA (candidate fitness assesment) and a vicious game of dodgeball to top it all off.

Here are some pics of the day's events:

Tomorrow is the first day of our workshops/classes. My first workshop is English, and I'm really looking forward to it!

Better get to bed, PT early in the morning!

PS follow my day at http://twitter.com/ColinMansfield

-- Posted from my iPhone --

Saturday, June 6, 2009

Processing, the beginning of SLS

Today was alot of things.


Don't have time to give a full review, but I will say I think this week will stretch me in ways I didn't anticipate. Bring it on!

Tomorrow: Candidate Fitness Assesment (CFA), touring, dodgeball.

Time for sleep! 5am wake up.

Colin Mansfield
5th Platoon/4th Squad

-- Posted from my iPhone --

Friday, June 5, 2009

To SLC, and beyond!

Well, my flight from SLC to Newark got delayed two hours due to weather on their end =/ after doing a fair share of tweeting (http://twitter.com/ColinMansfield) I thought doing a blog post might kill some time :)

I was doing some thinking as I walked/paced around SLC's airport earlier. As I would look into peoples eyes as they walked by they would glance back at me then away. I realized this would probably be the only time I would see many of them. Each of those people has their own family, boyfriends and girlfriends, likes and dislikes. They each have their own life, and each of them holds that life near and dear, just as I do mine. And yet that one glance is the only time their life and mine will ever cross.

It really made me appreciate God. He loves each and every one of us, even if we choose to not let our life intersect his. It's just nuts how filled with love God is!

Well, back to twitter and more time killing!


-- Posted from my iPhone --

I'm leaving on a jet plane...

Well, today has finally come! At 1pm I will be boarding my plane and taking off for Newark airport! Reason: going to the Summer Leadership Seminar at West Point! The SLS goes from Saturday to Friday (one week.) I'm not 100% what to expect, but I do know it will be demanding. My college of choice is West Point, and because of that I'm doing all I can to get in. I'm treating this as a competition going into it--I'll let you know how that works out ;-)

Meantime, time for breakfast and packing!

Feel free to follow my journey, or just stick around here for periodic updates!


Thursday, June 4, 2009

Change of Shades

A couple months ago, Kona Estes and I started up a blog. Why? We're going to Europe this summer, that's why. When we started it we weren't sure how, when, or why, we just knew we were going. As the date of departure now draws near, it's become clear that Papa's hand has been on us, every step of the way. First planning, then brainstorming, now fundraising, and soon going. Please give the site a visit, and feel free to follow our journey.


"Change of Shades is a way of tracking the journey of Colin Mansfield and Kona Estes as they venture to Europe this summer as Student Ambassadors for the United States through People to People. Through pictures, video, information, and good humor, this blog communicates the heart of who Kona and Colin are."

"Colin and Kona enjoy traveling, building relationships with others, listening to music, playing the guitar, riding bikes, going for rides in beautiful sports cars, and being loved on by Papa. Kona attends Capital Senior High School, and Colin attends the Vineyard Christian Homeschool Co-op."