Matt's blog

The story of me, an American in Edinburgh, Scotland finding my place as a musician, a husband, a father and a Christian.

Coloring Book Fun-Stegohorsus Style!!!

Return of the Stegohorsus

One Year!

That's it for now. I may post again later in the day, or Jeni and I might be busy celebrating. Hooray for being married! I highly recommend it.


Hola to everyone from Montana! Jeni and I left Spokane a few days ago to come out for a wedding where she will be a bridesmaid (bride's maid?) (brides' made?) (bri desma' de?) and I will be providing the music. Right now I'm posting from a little side trip to visit my friend Seth up near Flathead lake. We did a little geocaching, so look for a new post over there as soon as I'm back in Spokane to upload the pics.

Oh yeah, and Jeni and I are fast approaching our one-year anniversary this Sunday. Crazy for being married!!!

Losing My Religion-Sacraments

I was raised in a household that thoroughly embraced the Reformed tradition of the Christian faith. When my father was my age many of his friends started down the road to careers in the church while he became something of a lay theologian. He taught adult education classes at our church usually with the aim of speaking truth to those who believed we are all reincarnated animals or that we turn into angels when we die. Hence, I grew up with a very traditional reformed theology. This post, and a few others occasionally after it, will be about how I am coming to a deeper understanding of Reformed theology and how I feel myself pushing at its boundaries. gives a good definition of “sacrament”, one that I believe most Catholics and Protestants would agree with:

“The Latin word sacramentum means "a sign of the sacred." The seven [or two in the Reformed tradition] sacraments are ceremonies that point to what is sacred, significant and important for Christians. They are special occasions for experiencing God's saving presence. That's what theologians mean when they say that sacraments are at the same time signs and instruments of God's grace.”

The Catholic Church before the Reformation, and to this day, regards seven spiritual rituals as sacraments. Those are Baptism, Eucharist, Reconciliation, Confirmation, Marriage, Holy Orders, and Anointing of the Sick, formerly Last Rites. When the Reformation rolled around, Luther ditched all but two sacraments, Baptism and Eucharist. As I understand it, his reasoning was that we should only consider as sacraments those rituals which Jesus himself participated in while he was here on earth.

I think another way to define a sacrament is as an act that helps us along the path to sanctification. (Sanctification essentially means being made like Christ.) Baptism, whether infant or adult, serves as a sign of God’s promise to all those who witness it and as an instrument to sanctify the one baptized, through their own promise to grow in Christ and through the promises of others who desire to help the baptized grow in Christ. The Eucharist, or Communion or the Lord’s Supper, serves as a sign of the unity of the church and acts as an instrument of sanctification setting our minds, hearts, and tangibly our mouths on the sacrifice of Christ. Marriage acts as a sign of a covenant made in love between God and man in the same way as between a man and a woman, and acts as an instrument for sanctification as those who are married learn in a deeper way what it means to live in the bounds of a covenant in a Christian community.

I could go on, but I think you already see the point I’m getting at here. I firmly believe all of the sacraments held by the Catholic church are sacramental in nature, and on top of that one could add sacraments of worship, prayer, fellowship, or any other mundane action that is made holy and useful for the growth of believers through the Spirit. I’m not a total nut-job suggesting this. In a class I took at Whitworth the professor discussed the concept of sacramental living, in which every aspect of life can be transformed though the Spirit into a sanctifying experience. Before Jeni and I got married our pastor, at our Presbyterian church, counseled us on the sacramental properties of marriage.

Reformed ministers, at least in the Presbyterian tradition, are called ministers of the word and sacrament. Anyone who has spent much time in a Reformed church knows that usually there is much more focus on the word than on the sacraments. I have already seen this lopsided tradition become more balanced in churches which are embracing the sacraments more firmly again without fear of being ritualistic or overly mystic. There is a certain X factor in the sacraments. The Word (at least the written version) can be broken down, analyzed, and organized into a systematic theology. Sacraments have an X factor because they act upon the individual, making indelible marks on that person as they are chiseled into the image of Christ. So personal an act cannot be broken down in a rationalistic way and ultimately does open us more to the unknown, to the spiritual, to the mystic.

So there you have the first way in which I am straying from my Reformed background, or perhaps just looking deeper into the possibilities of Reformed faith. The sacraments, both the official ones and the ones which permeate our lives when we are filled with the Spirit, are of great importance when building a relationship with God and becoming more like His Son. The Word is still of great importance as well, but when you are empowered by the Spirit to come to know God more though His Word, well, I think there’s something sacramental about that.


Today Mary, Jeni and I, along with a few other people, went out to the Coeur d’ Alene Wooden Boat Festival. Ok, if that sounds like lame rickety wooden sailboats, you're mistaken. We got there late in the day, but there was one owner still giving rides in his V-10, 550hp 26' all wood powerboat. He was nice enough to take us out on the water and, man, that is quite a rush. This'll be a short post cause I'm about to head off to bed, but check out some of the pics of these beautiful boats. In case you're wondering, the boat we rode in starts at $200,000 and this one starts at $300,000.

Hidden Treasure

On a recent (actually, not so recent) trip to L.A. Jeni's dad gave us a box full of stuff: old books, cds and the like. This box has been shuffled around our apartment un-unpacked for the last several months doing little more than becoming a constant hindrance underfoot. So finally this week, we decided it was time to clean our apartment, return our spare bedroom to an office after its use by various short term roommates, and finally unpack that box. Some of the stuff we found in the box wasn't really worth the suspense of letting the box age for months before unpacking (like Tiffany's Guide to Proper etiquette and the Holiday Songbook 4-disc set of the world's favorite Christmas Carols) but some other stuff was a pleasant surprise, like Frank Sinatra and The Who box sets, some Stephen King, the Smithstonian Earth coffee table book (not quite as cool as Google Earth) and the Tiger electronic Star Trek: TNG handheld LCD video game.

The game is surprisingly accurate to the show. You use your warp drive to fly through an asteroid field while shooting down Romulan ships each with a single shot from your phasers. (Did I mention this was all at warp speed?) At the end of the flying levels you use the Transporter button to beam down to a planet as Lt. Worf where you shoot Romulans who pop up from behind rocks. I can get to halfway through level 4 in the game's 5 levels.

I looked on Ebay to see if Tiger games have become anything of a collectors' item so I could pull down a few bills for this thing, but much to my dismay they have not. Well, if I can't make any money off of it, perhaps I could start an old-school handheld games addiction at about $5 a pop.

It's True


I know you are!

Half a Secret

First, read this comic:

Secrets are a funny thing. I've gone through a lot of stages in my life, and you can break up my life for easier categorization and manipulation through several methods. One method is to observe how willing I have been at particular moments in my life to let people "in". For a stretch early on in high school, my life was an open book. For the first time in my life I had things to say that other people thought were interesting, and nothing felt better than to talk for hours, laying on the table everything that I had. Perhaps I felt betrayed by some of the people I spilled my guts to, perhaps I just got cynical as time went on like people tend to do, but in either event I started to close myself off. I went through a stretch of time when there was nothing to me below the surface, or at least it didn't matter if there was because no one was going to get at it. Fast forward to today.

I am more comfortable with myself than I've ever been. That's a lie. That is a total and complete lie. I know who I am now more than I ever have before. That is the truth. I'd like to think that I'm comfortable with who I am to the point of being willing to share myself completely with others. However, the opportunity simply doesn't come up. Much like T-rex, I have gathered up an impressive bag of secrets not by withholding things, but simply by not going out of my way to divulge things.

This is the middle of this post, but I may never finish it. I am simply tired of writing right now and I don't really feel the need to go on. If you are reading this then you probably know my 'secrets' already so there's no reason to divulge them over again. Jeni wants me to come to bed. I think I'll go tonight instead of staying up 'til some unfortunate hour pouring precious time down the gaping sinkhole that is the internet.

Goodnight, all!

On the Road Again

Jeni and I are heading out of town for a semi-spur of the moment trip down to Boise. We may come back with a new snake! We'll be back in a day or two.

For Anyone Who's Wondering...

...being married is very hard but very (bold and italicized) worth it.

A Mixed Bag

I love that phrase! What's in the bag? Who knows?!? It could be anything! And you know it'll be more than one surprise because it's mixed! That's what 'mixed' means! All sorts of at least two things which could be completely unrelated but which will no doubt be cool! Huzzah for mixed bags! Huzzah for exclamation marks!!! Huzzah for exclamation/question mark hybrids?!?!?

4 Lamp Chili

I am currently simmering a batch of 4 Lamp Chili as inspired by my brother. Our version has no beans, is made with london broil and uses not one, not two, but three bottles of Pyramid Heffeweizen!!!(?)! One to marinate the meat overnight, a second to pour into the chili itself, and a third to cool off heat of those 4 lamps when you partake in the chili-y goodness.

My First Thought on the L.A. Trip

One thing, one of the few things, I love about L.A. are the people there. I am very fortunate to know some incredibly awesome people down there. Two in particular are Ryan, who just returned from a year in Kenya, is about to head to seminary, is an amazing artist and an all around colorful guy, and Bill, who is just about to finish seminary, leads music at my home church and fronted the band I played bass in a few years back. Through these two guys, who have had drastically different experiences in the last year as well as all though life, I got to see one of the huge benefits of being a dedicated follower of Christ. Often people associate Christianity with conservative ideals and the deification of the status quo. "We do it that way because that's the way we've always done it," is a phrase that is often associated with Christians. However, I've experienced the opposite observing the lives of Bill and Ryan. Both guys are about six years older than me and at a point in their lives where they might be expected to settle down and shake youthful ideals. Instead, they are both at points where they are growing by leaps and bounds through their faith in Christ. And I don't just mean they can pray longer or talk like pastors. (In fact, I think someday Ryan will pastor at Our Lady of Holy $*%!) What I mean is that their lives are not static, but are growing and expanding. They are choosing life goals and directions that they wouldn't have considered several years ago. They both seem to know more about themselves than I'd have thought possible.

Well, I'll quit rambling on about Ryan and Bill (seriously, if you like 'em so much why don't you marry them!?!?(Huzzah!)) and get to the point. The point is that for me, when I feel like that age when I'm supposed to be responsible and mature is closing in rapidly, it's good to see an example of people staying dynamic and being led down exciting roads by Christ even after college. This whole section of the post didn't end up as well written as I wanted it to, and I realize it may all sound kind of cheesey, but alter it in your head however you have to so it's not cheesey. On that note...

The Cat

Don't let it out!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

A Pic

Here's a picture from our honeymoon. Anastasia's been putting up great pics of Greece and some recent ones reminded me of this:

Wow, mixed bags are great. We should do that more often.

Out of the Loop/Fun with Demographics

What's your birthday?

Ok, when I was down in L.A. I realized that when it comes to things like parties, events, birthdays, etc., I'm not really on the ball. I just tend to go with the flow of the people around me. Part of the problem of being in WA is that there isn't a flow to go with, so I realize I'm missing out on a lot of stuff that a more organized person than myself would be in on. So, to start the process of getting back on the ball, I'd appreciate it if y'all'd tell me your birthdays. If you don't want to leave it in a comment you can shoot me an email at

Back From L.A.

I'm back! I have mixed feelings about being back in WA. I love the people in L.A. but I can't stand the lifestyle, the pace, or the abundance of Ford Excruciators. Perhaps a more serious post will come out of that trip, in fact I know at least one will, but now is not the time for that. Oh, no! Not the time for that at all!

I wrote a new song tonight and recorded it just for all you, my faithful blog pals. Go to The Matt Show Myspace site to check it out. Seriously, I think this is some of my best songwriting ever. It also features my first ever attempt at vocal harmonies, so consider yourselves forewarned. Today I bought a new mixer for recording music and I figured how better to innagurate it than by writing a song about the event. Ok, so maybe this isn't my best songwriting ever, but it's kind of fun anyway. Go listen!

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