Religious Studies

September 19 Weekly Reading

Wisdom of Solomon

Chapter 2

12 “Let us lie in wait for the righteous man, because he is inconvenient to us and opposes our actions; he reproaches us for sins against the law, and accuses us of sins against our training.

13 He professes to have knowledge of God, and calls himself a child of the Lord.

14 He became to us a reproof of our thoughts;

15 the very sight of him is a burden to us, because his manner of life is unlike that of others, and his ways are strange.

16 We are considered by him as something base, and he avoids our ways as unclean; he calls the last end of the righteous happy, and boasts that God is his father.

17 Let us see if his words are true, and let us test what will happen at the end of his life;

18 for if the righteous man is God’s son, he will help him, and will deliver him from the hand of his adversaries.

19 Let us test him with insult and torture, that we may find out how gentle he is, and make trial of his forbearance.

20 Let us condemn him to a shameful death, for, according to what he says, he will be protected.”


Chapter 3

16 For where jealousy and selfish ambition exist, there will be disorder and every vile practice. 

17 But the wisdom from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, open to reason, full of mercy and good fruits, without uncertainty or insincerity. 

18 And the harvest of righteousness is sown in peace by those who make peace.

Chapter 4

What causes wars, and what causes fighting among you? Is it not your passions that are at war in your members? 

You desire and do not have; so you kill. And you covet and cannot obtain; so you fight and wage war. You do not have, because you do not ask. 

You ask and do not receive, because you ask wrongly, to spend it on your passions.


Chapter 9

30 They went on from there and passed through Galilee. And he would not have any one know it; 

31 for he was teaching his disciples, saying to them, “The Son of man will be delivered into the hands of men, and they will kill him; and when he is killed, after three days he will rise.” 

32 But they did not understand the saying, and they were afraid to ask him.

33 And they came to Capernaum; and when he was in the house he asked them, “What were you discussing on the way?” 

34 But they were silent; for on the way they had discussed with one another who was the greatest. 

35 And he sat down and called the twelve; and he said to them, “If any one would be first, he must be last of all and servant of all.” 

36 And he took a child, and put him in the midst of them; and taking him in his arms, he said to them, 

37 “Whoever receives one such child in my name receives me; and whoever receives me, receives not me but him who sent me.”

Religious Studies

Faith Without Works is Dead

Book of James

Faith Without Works is Dead

14 What use is it, my brothers and sisters, if someone says he has faith, but he has no works? Can that faith save him?

15 If a brother or sister is without clothing and in need of daily food,

16 and one of you says to them, “Go in peace, be warmed and be filled,” yet you do not give them what is necessary for their body, what use is that?

17 In the same way, faith also, if it has no works, is dead, being by itself.

18 But someone may well say, “You have faith and I have works; show me your faith without the works, and I will show you my faith by my works.”

Intermittent Journal

Personal Log: September 12

One thing I need to learn is to value my time more. I find myself attracted to the ideas of stoicism – “Not to live as if you had endless years ahead of you. Death overshadows you. While you’re alive and able—be good.” (Marcus Aurelius). To value my time more, I will begin to disconnect digitally – beginning with turning my phone off whenever possible. I found a list of practices and techniques that will act as a beginning guide:

  • Strive for improvement and always move forward in some way
  • Be mindful – focus on what I am doing (don’t waste time on distractions)
  • Be reflective and contemplative
  • Nurture loved ones and establish mentors
  • Educate myself – constantly feed my brain, be humble and open to new knowledge
  • Be nonreactive when feeling an emotional response (accept what I cannot change)
  • Minimize emotional responses (think before I speak or act / don’t worry about other people)
  • Avoid complaining (focus on being fair)
  • Use positive visualization

Hand in hand with this idea is the development of daily practice

  • Daily yoga
  • Run / jog 3 times a week
  • Study a minimum of 15 minutes a day
  • Workout 3 times a week

Frequent small doses, relax, and enjoy the journey

Today’s day 1: 5×5, Yoga, leaving cellphone at home or powered off when out with spouse, enjoy reading an entire chapter (Sherlock Holmes), plan by writing an upcoming schedule, focus on presented lecture.

Random Thoughts

Ode to Spot

“Ode to Spot”

Author – Data – Episode “Schisms”, Star Trek, the Next Generation

Felis catus is your taxonomic nomenclature,
An endothermic quadruped, carnivorous by nature;
Your visual, olfactory, and auditory senses
Contribute to your hunting skills and natural defenses.

I find myself intrigued by your subvocal oscillations,
A singular development of cat communications
That obviates your basic hedonistic predilection
For a rhythmic stroking of your fur to demonstrate affection.

A tail is quite essential for your acrobatic talents;
You would not be so agile if you lacked its counterbalance.
And when not being utilized to aid in locomotion,
It often serves to illustrate the state of your emotion.

O Spot, the complex levels of behavior you display
Connote a fairly well-developed cognitive array.
And though you are not sentient, Spot, and do not comprehend,
I nonetheless consider you a true and valued friend.



On May 24, 2019 my friend and I decided to hike to the top of Throop Peak and Mt Baden Powell. This hike follows a segment of the Pacific Crest Trail for a majority of the hike. The Pacific Crest Trail is 2,650 miles of trail that stretches from the Mexican to the Canadian border. Hikers that journey the entire distance are called “thru hikers.” Here are some statistics on the entire PCT:

  • 2,650 – Approximate length in miles
  • 3 – Number of states the PCT traverses through (California, Oregon, and Washington)
  • 6 – Number of National Parks the PCT passes through
  • 35 – Number of National Forests the PCT passes through
  • 48 – Number of Wilderness areas the PCT passes through
  • 60- Number of major mountain passes the PCT climbs and descends
  • 150 – Average number of days it takes to complete a PCT thru-hike (4.5-5.5 months)
  • 489,418 – Approximate elevation gain and loss in feet of the PCT
  • 16 – Amount of times a PCT hiker would have climbed Mt. Everest after finishing a thru-hike
  • $4000-8000+ – Average on-trail expenses, plan to spend $2 – $3 per mile
  • 4-5 – Average pairs of shoes a PCT hiker will go through
  • 60% – Percentage of people who complete a thru-hike on the PCT out of those that attempt it

May 2019 was unusually cold and snow still covered the PCT. Here is a photo that captured the weather:

After reaching the summit of Baden Powell, an individual in a white bathrobe introduced himself to me as “Sloth.” Sloth explained thru-hikers are given names and that was his. He proceeded to produce a box of drumstick ice cream and offered me one. I happily took one and thanked him. I was slightly amazed that Sloth produced the box of drumsticks not unlike a magic trick – the box materialized seemingly from nowhere. The ice cream was still frozen and was delicious.

I don’t remember much of the conversation with Sloth, but I do remember he materialized a weed pipe and took several hits before boxing everything up. As my friend and I started the return route, Sloth, wearing sandals, traveled past at such a high rate of speed that his bathrobe flew behind him like the cape of a superhero.

Approximately one year after this event, I thought about Sloth and conducted an internet search for him. I used Google and pieced together a query of “PCT” and “Sloth.” Sure enough an old Reddit forum discussed Mr. Sloth and had a photo.

Met this cat Sloth in the Cali Sierras while attending Wavespell in August. Wavespell is a 4 day music festival featuring my favorite band STS9 and held in Beldentown on the banks of the feather river. I’ve always loved Beldentown as a venue and in no small way because it is along the PCT so we always meet a bunch of awesome hikers. I had a ton of fun meeting this years crop a trail warriors and it felt good to be the beer fairy passing out cold ones to every hiker that was thirsty. You all are amazing! Sloth is hard to miss being that he hikes in a white robe and has mega Lebowski Dude vibes. Hope he crushes out the rest of trail. It’s def gonna start getting chilly. Something tells me this Sloth keeps a rather furious pace…


Thanks RipCityGringo, that is exactly the Sloth that I was looking for. Thankfully another Reddit user “adamffgghh” posted a photo of Sloth, which was actually quite majestic. I am also thankful the photo captured Sloth in the bathrobe and wearing his unusual footwear.

Sloth – 2019, Photo By: adamffgghh