Monday, December 17, 2007

A Christmas Skit

A Christmas Skit

Santa Claus and a Sunday School Teacher are seated in chairs facing the congregation. A Child is seated in a seat between them. The Child stands up to deliver the first speech.

Child: Everyone talks about “the true meaning of Christmas”--the Christmas specials on t.v. say it’s all about giving, and being with your family--but then everyone acts like it’s all about getting a lot of cool stuff and breaking your diet and not worrying about gaining weight, and for me, it’s hoping that my relatives won’t embarrass me too much this year. But what is it really about?

Child is seated. Santa Claus stands up.

Santa Claus: The meaning of Christmas is really quite simple. Christmas is a holiday for making children happy. Especially good little children. Good little children who listen to their parents, follow the rules and act unselfishly deserve a reward. And bad little children--well … we won’t mention them …

Santa Claus is seated. Sunday School Teacher stands up.

Sunday School Teacher (addressing the Child): Don’t listen to him, young man. Christmas is not about deserving presents and getting them. On Christmas we remember that God gave us a present we didn’t deserve and that present is better than any gift imaginable.

Child (excited): [if a boy] Really? Is it a real helicopter with homing missiles?
[if a girl] Really? Is it a pony with rainbow hair?

Sunday School Teacher: (Sigh) No, it’s Jesus.

Child (disappointed): Oh … rats …

Sunday School Teacher: The gift is that Jesus enters into our hearts, just like he entered the world as a newborn baby at Bethlehem. If you have Jesus in your heart, you don’t need any other gifts.

The Child looks shocked and horrified. Santa Claus rises from his chair in anger.

Santa Claus: What do you mean by that? What are you trying to do here, say that I’m somehow wrong because I think giving and getting gifts is the true meaning of Christmas?

Sunday School Teacher: Well, yes. And to be quite honest, I think you’re disgustingly materialistic. (To the Child) Don’t you agree, young man/lady? (The Teacher takes hold of his/her arm)

Child: Well, um … maybe …

Santa Claus: Of course he/she doesn’t agree with you--he/she wants presents! Just like any little boy/girl would. (Addressing the Child and taking hold of his/her other arm) Isn’t that right?

Child: Well … I don’t know …

(Santa and Teacher ad lib insults cast at each other while pulling the Child back and forth)

Enter Jesus from the back of the sanctuary

Jesus (authoritatively): Just a cotton pickin’ minute!

Santa and Teacher drop the Child’s arms and freeze, gaping toward Jesus as he approaches.

Santa and Teacher: (Gasp) It’s Jesus!

Jesus: Yes, it’s me. And it looks like I got here not a moment too soon.

Teacher (shyly): We were just talking about--

Jesus: I know what you were talking about. I am Jesus, after all. And you, Santa, ought to be ashamed of yourself.

Teacher (loudly whispering to Santa): I told you your outlook is greedy.

Jesus: I never said he was making children greedy. Santa, you know what your sin is. You said just a minute ago that you give presents to good little girls and boys, didn’t you?

Santa (sheepishly): Well, yes, I did …

Jesus: And which children get the most presents? Is it the children who are the most obedient to their parents? Is it the ones who are the least selfish?

Santa: Well, no, not exactly …

Jesus: Then who is it? Who gets the most and the best toys?

Santa does not answer; he stares at the floor and scratches his head awkwardly.

Jesus: The wealthiest children get the most and the best toys. And what about the poorest children?

Santa: Well, if poor children are very good I do a special Christmas miracle, you know--I make sure that by my magic, an especially virtuous orphan or abused child will somehow receive just as great of a gift on Christmas as normal middle class children do.

Jesus: Oh, sure, Santa. Come on. We’re not talking about Christmas Specials on t.v. here, we’re talking about the real world. In the real world, on Christmas Day, orphans grieve for their parents even more than almost any other day of the year, and abused children get slapped in the face, or much worse, by their intoxicated parents.

Santa: I know, Jesus, but if we put that on t.v., it would just make people depressed--and who wants that during the holiday season? Holidays are a time for joy and celebration.

Jesus: Oh, yes, I know that--I’m not trying to dampen your holiday spirits--I’ve been known to be quite the “party animal” myself. If you don’t believe me, read Matt. 11:19. So of course I don’t mean to take away any of your joy in celebrating with family and friends.

Teacher: But, Jesus, then you must mean that the joy comes from within, from inviting you into our hearts, with the willingness of the virgin Mary, who bore that precious little baby on Christmas Day.

Jesus: Well, I do have to admit, I was a very cute little baby. And you’re right that, in a sense, I want to repeat the miracle of the incarnation in everyone who follows me. But you guys keep distracting me from what I came here to tell you today.
The Christmas scene I was born into was not one of comfort and security. It was not a warm, cozy middle class household. There was no roaring fire and no mashed potatoes with gravy on the first Christmas day.

Santa: I’m sorry, Jesus--if I’d’ve been around back then, it would have been different!

Jesus: I doubt it. Like I said, Santa, your rare, one-shot Christmas miracles have done very little to help working-class families like mine. And this is the point I’m trying to make here. That my incarnation is more than something to just give you all a sense of wonder and awe at the mystery of it. I came here, I became a human being, so that I could take on the likeness of people you call immoral or sinners: the tax collectors, the drug dealers, addicts and alcoholics, the prostitutes. I came here for the impoverished, broken families pungent with the stink of evil and despair. I was not born an infant so that I could be cute and adorable, but because I was willing to give up everything for people who are in need. And I mean, really in need.

Sunday School Teacher: But, um, Jesus, you said I was right, about welcoming you into our hearts, didn’t you?

Jesus: Yes, I did. And when you welcome me into your heart--that is, when you become part of my body, my church here in the world--that means you will be continuing my work. That means having compassion for the sinners, the outcasts, the poor, and bearing my light and my message of forgiveness and grace to the dark world into which you all, also, were born.

Child: Um, Jesus?

Jesus (kindly): Yes, child?

Child: I’m sorry, but I’m a little lost--what is the real meaning of Christmas?

Jesus: Christmas is about my incarnation. It’s a reminder that I came into this world, and that I am still here, in human form. I was born as a human being in Nazareth, and I am in you when you are in my love. Having my love in you means love for your family, your friends, and also for people you dislike, or are afraid of, and especially for people who are poor and suffering. Christmas is a time for enjoying and celebrating this love and forgiveness as you share it with your family and friends, and also, I hope, with people who are really in need. Does that answer your question?

Child: Yeah, I guess … but it’s still okay if I get excited about presents, right?

Jesus smiles big and gives the Child a hug.

Jesus: Yes, of course!

Santa picks up a sign with the words “THE END” written on it. Characters all stand, bow and walk out.

Saturday, November 3, 2007

Grief [not serious]

My glorious sandals finally bit the dust. I've had them since I was 13. I feel a great sadness--they were like faithful friends over these significant 8 years. And what's more, I've been reduced to wearing the flip-flops I've had since I was eleven. (I admit they are about a half size too small.) They're fine for slipping on as you take out the garbage, but after a while, they chafe.

*Sigh* ... it's hard saying goodbye to old shoes ...

Saturday, October 13, 2007

(Not) Asking Questions

Since I've been in graduate school, I'm not sure if I've asked a single question in class. I do think of questions, but they're always things I'd rather figure out for myself than have the prof. explain to me. I suppose that's kind of the way graduate school ought to be. And also, I'm more interested in hearing what my peers think about subjects.

I do wish the format of these classes was less of the "classic" pattern--prof. lectures, students ask questions, prof. answers. I wish there was more class discussion--with not just profs., but also students answering other students' questions. And brainstorming sessions. And in Family Therapy and Pastoral Counseling, we could practice in small groups the kind of therapeutic exercises we're learning to use with people seeking counseling.

One of my classes is more like that. The first hour and a half is lecture, and then the second hour and a half is small group stuff. (Yes, that's three consecutive hours of classtime. Ugh!)

Well. Now I've just got to figure out how to try to get some changes going ... I doubt the current generation will ever change stripes. But maybe. Who knows?

Thursday, September 20, 2007

orientation week

It's orientation week here at Fuller. One thing I've noticed about orientations--whether for college, seminary or a new job--is that they sure make people act weird. It's understandable. We've all been in some way uprooted. Many have left behind a support network of family and friends. Everyone is nervous, awkward, trying to look good and impress. Many people come off as overly confident, posturing, anxious to find their place in the pecking order.

It may not bring out "the worst" in people, but it certainly reveals an unflattering side.

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

The Mermaid Chair

My grandmother lent me a copy of The Mermaid Chair by Sue Monk Kidd. If it belonged to me, I would have torn it to shreds, gnashed bits of it with my teeth, contemptuously spit on the rest and burned the remains. Like what I did to a couple of the “Left Behind” books--though for different reasons.

My main problem with The Mermaid Chair is that it glorifies the protagonist’s adultery, making it out to be some kind of unavoidable, courageous, live-giving act. The way adultery is portrayed so often in books and movies, it would seem our culture doesn’t consider it to be, necessarily, a bad thing. But it is. And to call evil good is a vile injustice.

If someone were to write a book or make a film wherein the protagonist is having a mid-life crisis, and decides to bravely throw caution to the wind, and allow his desire to overtake him and rapes a 16 year old girl, then slashes her to death, thus freeing himself from the shackles of a monotonous marriage and coming to that wondrous realization that he can do something that will surprise himself--oh, yes, and he has no regrets, because the act made him feel so “alive”--if someone, as I say, wrote such a thing, people would be utterly disgusted. And they would know how I feel about The Mermaid Chair.

Friday, July 27, 2007

it figures ...

So, this afternoon I noticed there was a yellow light on on my laptop that I'd never noticed before. It turned out to be a little switch that enables the computer to detect and connect to a wireless network. As it turns out, all the time we've been living here, we could have connected to a wireless network for free, and instead we've been using a slow dial up connection.

Man. Ignorance is not bliss. Oh, yes, and of course, we are leaving on Tuesday. Well ... 4 days to enjoy wireless internet is better than none.

Saturday, July 21, 2007

idol worship

People often say that idolatry in modern times means “putting anything in the place of God”--and people talk about how their career or their spouse or their own comfort becomes their “idol.” This makes the term “idol” very useful for thinking about sin in our lives.

But I think the original, intended meaning of the term is lost that way. When the Hebrew Scriptures talk about “bowing down to Baals” they mean paying obeisance (praying to, offering sacrifices to, and literally bowing down before) a carved image.

I think the carved images people were worshipping typically were meant to represent some awe-inspiring force in nature--like the cycle of the seasons, birth and death, sex, life-giving rainfall, sun and earth. The idea of worshipping any of those forces is foreign to Americans.

It may be because we are so far removed from the physical processes whereby such natural forces sustain life. The sun, rain (or rivers) and dirt are still responsible for giving us food, but we don’t feel that reality with our hands (sowing seed, turning soil) nor with our stomachs (full in times of plenty, empty during a drought)--instead, we go to the grocery store. We never worry about the grocery store running out of food. We’re not part of the process of food being grown and harvested or slaughtered.

We’ve even separated the act of sex from the cycle of birth and death. Nowadays, with birth control and modern medicine, sex is no longer necessarily an activity which is likely to result in birth and/or death for the woman and/or her child.

So, in 21st century America it would seem that the awe-inspiring forces of nature have been reduced to abstractions, trivialities (“I hope it’s sunny so I can go to the beach Saturday”) and inconveniences (“Oh darn; it rained, and the parade was canceled”). So, we don’t really have a problem with worshipping idols.

Of course, our way of life leads to problems of its own. It seems that part of what the Hebrew Scriptures teach is that instead of worshipping blocks of wood or stone that we ourselves carved into images, we should recognize that the true creator and author of the earth and its fullness--the person who’s actually responsible for sending the life giving rain and the terrifying snow storm is YHWH, the God of Abraham, and of Isaac and Jacob.

So, it would seem if we’re not even inspired to worship of nature, we may have a hard time giving God the worship that is his due. I don’t know. Maybe not. Maybe we just are more inspired by intellectual, interpersonal or cultural stuff that gives God glory, since that’s what our lives revolve around.

I only slept for 3 hrs. or so last night. My insomnia was probably due to anxiety/excitement about our impending move. Ack! So much to do, still!

Saturday, July 14, 2007


This was going to be Blog Sermon #2, but it’s not organized and concise enough for that. So, it’s just my rambling, lengthy thoughts on patriotism.

Independence Day was a little more than a week ago. I had occasion at that time to think a little about patriotism.

Of course, one aspect of patriotism is appreciating what’s good about our country. There are lots of things. Freedom of speech, for example. It’s nice not having to worry about the secret police showing up to murder you because you bad mouthed the current president. And freedom of religion. It’s also nice not having to worry about your Uncle Leo “disappearing” because he was caught trying to convert someone to Christianity. There are lots of nice things like that which (as the cliché goes) we take for granted. Part of patriotism is being grateful for stuff like that. And naturally patriotism may mean, for some, taking up arms to protect the inhabitants of our country from violent invasion. Those two things are the typical version, I think.

But I think the attitude we hold toward the nation we live in (that is, patriotism) ought to take into account not just the good things about our country, but the evil as well. And as I see it, there are basically three attitudes one can adopt toward the wickedness of America:

-We can ignore it, pretending it’s not very important.
-We can wash our hands of it, condemning it as if from the outside.
-Or we can admit that we take part in it and work to change it.

When we talk about it in an abstract sense, it’s easy to see which attitude reflects genuine love for one’s country. But what do these attitudes actually look like?

People who ignore America’s faults may never actually say that we can do no evil, but they act as if it were true. They may decorate their house with American flags, and sing loudly along with the national anthem at baseball games, enjoying the rush of exuberance springing from their patriotic pride, and they may just not happen to think about people who experience a different side of life in America. Neighborhoods ruled by street gangs and children being beaten and treated as slaves by their drug addicted parents--it’s not exactly the “America” which such “patriots” are so proud to be a part of.

And on the other hand, there are people who act as if they are not Americans at all, who want to wash their hands of the whole thing. They may be grateful for the good things about our country--freedom, prosperity, etc.--but bring up the war in Iraq or the over-crowded prison systems and what do they say? It’s all our idiot president’s fault. It’s all because of those bureaucrats in Washington and the ignorant Christian Right and so on and so forth.

I think this can be a step in the right direction toward true devotion to one’s country. God himself certainly “talked trash” about the nation he had chosen and loved. In the books of the prophets especially, God laments, God rages over the sins of Israel and Judah. But God does more than complain. First, God sends prophets; then he disciplines. He does not despair of ever redeeming his disgraced “holy nation”; he does not destroy the lot of them. When he does destroy, it is for the salvation of those remaining.

And of course, after sending messenger after messenger, and using one foreign nation after another to teach the Israelites a lesson, at last God sent his own Son. Again, my point is that God never overlooked the faults of his beloved nation. He never said, “Well, all the idol worship and bloodshed is not what I had in mind, but they’re my country, right or wrong.” Certainly not. But God also never gave up on the nation that he loved. Instead, he actively engaged with Israel, as a nation--he struggled against Israel in order to redeem them.

We have been set an example--not to wash our hands of evil, and not to overlook it, but to charge into the breach. We are to engage with our nation’s political system; it is our duty as devoted and loyal citizens to struggle to overcome America’s evil.

The first step is recognizing America’s faults--saying “Yes, our culture is driven by greed; yes, our economy exploits third world countries; yes, our lifestyle is creating unfathomably gargantuan heaps of garbage. I acknowledge all of these things. And I acknowledge I am part of the problem, but I will work to make it better.”

And again, this is what makes a true patriot different from a mere cynic. Someone who loves their country will not just complain about how bad things are. He or she will acknowledge that it’s not just “America’s problem”--it’s my problem, it’s your problem.

And I am part of the problem. Whenever I wear skimpy or revealing clothing--or if I were a man, ogling at a bikini beach--then I am contributing to America’s sexual addiction. Whenever I turn on the t.v. instead of, say, having a conversation with someone--I am supporting America’s interpersonal isolationism. And when I fondly dream of owning a nice car or getting a new stereo system--as advertised on the commercials, of course--I am buying into America’s culture of greed.

It is my duty, as an American, to be part of the solution. To be informed. To be aware of the portion of the nation who live in fear of drive-by shootings and gang rape, for example. It’s my duty to seek out opportunities to do something about it--to mentor a middle-schooler who lives in Compton. To find “green” ways of living. To support a free clinic for people who can’t afford health insurance- --anything, something, whatever--but the point is to be part of the solution--cause if I’m not … then I’m part of the problem.

Praise be to Christ Jesus, through whom all things are possible, including making a real and lasting difference by living out God’s redeeming love for our neighbors here in the country we happened to be born into. May God be glorified in our struggle to reform and redeem America.

Tuesday, July 10, 2007

Minty Fresh

I don't know if anyone else has had this problem, but more often than I'm happy about, I have accidentally sprayed tiny bits of toothpaste into my eye. It is interesting how the experience of minty freshness translates from the sense of taste to that of pain. The sharply stinging feeling of minty freshness in my eye brings horrible new meaning to the toothpaste manufacturer's invitation to "experience a whole new dimension of freshness." Perhaps I should say "brings meaning to" since ... well ... it didn't really mean anything to begin with.

Experience a whole new dimension of freshness--in your eye! Ha-a haha haha! (maniacal laughter)

Saturday, July 7, 2007

Furniture Store Extravaganza!

Those of you who have been to IKEA are familiar with the idea that going to a furniture store can be an adventure. Jordan’s Furniture takes this experience to a whole new dimension.

Yes, it is a furniture store. You step in the door, and straight ahead is a candy store made of jellybeans, in the shape of Boston’s capitol building. Beyond, a giant fuzzy green monster (Fenway Park icon) is popping out of the wall, eating a manikin dressed as a baseball player. To the left is a burger joint/bakery/butcher shop that would put a little Swedish concession counter to shame. To the right are more jellybean sculptures--giant flowers--and on top of the ice cream parlor, a banana split being assembled by a crane. Across from the ice cream parlor, children swing from a trapeze and beyond that “Liquid Fireworks”--water jets spotlighted in shifting brilliant colors--dance to dramatic classical music and pop hits like “I Will Survive” and “It’s Raining Men.”

My favorite part was the “Sleep Lab”--where customer service representatives wearing white lab coats help you discover your “Sleep Number” so you’ll know how to program your adjustable mattress to relieve back pain and allergies.

We were not there to buy furniture but to take advantage of a couple coupons. One for the burger joint and one for the ice cream parlor--where got two cones, each piled high with 3 big scoops of super premium (that’s 16% or more butterfat) ice cream--for a total of $3.75. I was thinking some new words to that old poem:

Savor ye ice cream while ye may,
Old time is still a-flying;
Before your metabolism fleets away
It’s no time for denying.
Come lads and lasses, munch today
On foods made crisp by frying.

Monday, June 25, 2007

the Lost Blog Posts ...

So, I have not written a blog post in a long time. I have thought about blogging--I've had many ideas, but just never got around to writing. If only I'd had more time, I would have blogged about:

- our trip to New York City
- "Monster House": a surprisingly fun film
- the importance of understanding that churches (like the people who make them up) do all reflect God's glory, but poorly.
- the difficulty of envisioning significant ministry as an introvert, rather than an extrovert--and the fact that introverts don't have to become extroverted in order to minister to their neighbors.
- the sad fact that the American collective psyche seems in some ways to lack the idea of women as unique individuals.

There they are: ideas that might have made good posts--and that may yet someday make good posts--but for the fact that new things have come up and become more interesting to me and I will probably blog about them instead.

Friday, June 8, 2007

The Suicide Months

I'm pretty sure May and June are the months (in the northern hemisphere) with the highest suicide rates. Most people think suicides peak in winter, but THEY ARE WRONG. In fact, it's because of PROBABLY THE SAME REASON that people commit suicide, kind of, kind of the same, THAT I AM WRITING IN ALL CAPS, because I get kind of loony in June.

Increased warmth and sunlight fill the body with restless energy. In a person like me who is not depressed this only results in being spastic and wanting to bounce off the walls and do thousands of things at once and not being able to sleep. But someone experiencing deep emotional problems, who hates life and in the winter was able to escape from reality by sleeping all day, now is forced to stay wide awake and alert to their own miserable condition, not interested in doing anything but also filled with energy and wanting to burst into millions of pieces which can't happen very well, so maybe just kill themself instead.

Anyway, there are too many thoughts in my head to write down tonight. Maybe I will write more.

Thursday, May 31, 2007

movie review: The Apostle

We finally watched a movie Brandon has been recommending to me for ages: The Apostle, starring, written, directed and executive produced by Robert Duvall. It's about this preacher whose wife sleeps with the youth pastor at the church, and he ends up killing the guy and skipping town. The movie is about what he does in this town while he's on the lam. It's a great movie--excellent performances all around, an original story--and very true to life.

I guess I haven't watched a lot of movies, but this is the only one I've seen that portrays the more "out there," somewhat charismatic evangelical church in a both accurate and respectful light, without minimizing or apologizing for the wackiness and sins of the people in the church, but never mocking or judging either. It's one of the very few movies I've seen that I would call both "Christian" and "high quality." In fact, there's only one other movie like that: Babette's Feast.

So: watch these movies if you are so inclined!

Wednesday, May 30, 2007

how much ... ?

Not everyone here has a Bostonian accent--and the people in whom it's strongest are usually:

1. The Elderly
2. The Working-Class

And for the most part, people are no less polite than on the West Coast--most are probably more polite, but less friendly/familiar. More formal, less casual. But this one time we went to the hardware store to get some keys copied and the guys at the shop were shockingly unashamed of being rude to us. I guess at first they just looked and sounded surly. Then, I had to like, fill out some kind of form for the receipt, and I asked if I needed to sign on the place where it said "Signature" or something, and the guy like, sneered, "No, I don't want your autograph." So Brandon and I went away and laughed because it was so crazy and not the kind of thing that happens on the West Coast, I don't think.

Anyway, I wish I could put onto my blog an audio file of Brandon imitating the accent, because he's very good. And knowing how it sounds makes the following exchange funnier.

Brandon, as I write, is on his way to get a haircut. He's been needing it, badly, for a few weeks now. He opened up the phone book to find a place, called one and said "Hello, um, how much for just a man's haircut?" And the voice on the other end said "One million dollahs."

When we move to Pasadena, I will not miss the New England weather, but I will miss the surprisingly sarcastic strangers.

Tuesday, May 29, 2007


Sorry for not writing in a while. I just haven't been "inspired." Not that I'm particularly inspired right now. But I feel it is my duty to write something--for my multitude of adoring fans, you know. (-:

Sometimes I feel like most of my time is spent waiting. Waiting to start seminary. Waiting until we're in a place where we'll stay for a long time so I can start to really feel at home. Waiting to start my career. Waiting for the weekend. And up until recent weeks, waiting for the weather to get warm.

Waiting is not really fun. Sometimes I remember that I needn't think of my time as a long wait. Sometimes I remember to enjoy what I'm doing. Sometimes I remeber that mundane activities--things I'd rather be able to skip altogether--can be celebrated. Taking a shower is not a chore, but a privilege: it feels good to be clean and being able to bathe so often, and with clean, hot water, is a luxury most people can't afford, I think. I do have to remind myself that tidying up the house is not a waste of time. But it is good, and it can be kind of fun, to bring order to chaos and make the place look good instead of "pig-sty-esque," as it usually is ...

Like I said, nothing profound today but I wanted to throw y'all a bone, meatless though it may be.

Thursday, May 17, 2007

Self Check Out at the Grocery Store

So at most grocery stores nowadays they have stations where you can scan, pay for and bag your groceries without the aid of a store employee (well, assuming you don't make any mistakes--not a safe assumption). When I first started using these self service stations, I thought they were *just perfect* for people like me--people, that is, who dread brief, unnecessary social interaction with strangers whom one may never meet again.

Surely I am not alone in this feeling--why else would people be using the self serve station? It would be less work to have someone else scan and bag one's groceries. The self service station is ideal for people who have only a few items, so the line is short and moves quickly--but that's already the idea behind the "10 items or fewer" lane.

And that's just the problem: the line doesn't move that much faster, because people make mistakes and the machine rejects their coupons or crumpled dollar bills, and they end up standing around waiting for a store employee to come and help them anyway. And sometimes they're just slow.

But the worst of it is that you have all the most anti-social people in the store--all the people who, like me, are prone to embarrassment in social situations, trying to escape interaction with the checker, only to end up having even more embarrassing interaction with other customers who are either before or after them in line. This was the case the last two time I used the self check out lanes. So maybe I won't use them again--unless there's no line, I suppose.

Sunday, April 29, 2007

Blog Sermon #1: If Ever I Loved Thee, My Jesus

There is a song--I’m not sure if it’s a modern hymn or something from the Bill and Gloria Gaither era--of which the refrain is “If ever I loved thee, my Jesus, ‘tis now.” If I’m trying to sing some kind of made-up harmony, I do sing that line. But if I’m actually thinking about the words, I never sing it. Yes, I have a beef with that line.

Before I start lambasting it, let me just point out that I don’t mean offense people who find the line meaningful. I understand that not everyone feels the need to pick apart the logic of every line of every hymn or song. I’m sure it is possible for some people to just take the line as a statement of devotion--a statement that one is moved by reflection on Jesus’ sacrificial death and abundant love for us. But me, I’m just so analytical and nit-picky I can’t get over what the line implies.

“If ever I loved thee, my Jesus, ‘tis now,” says the song. And what am I doing right now? Singing a song. Thinking about Jesus’ love for me and feeling pious, devoted feelings. This is what bothers me--the implication that a feeling of love is love itself--and not just that it is love, but that it is the highest and best form of love, or at least the form that we can most confidently point to and say “yes, that is surely love.” That’s what the sentence structure “if ever I loved thee, ‘tis now” implies.

And that’s certainly not true. It’s good to have fine feelings--but that is certainly not how Jesus talked about love. According to Jesus, love means doing as he commanded us. Love means taking care of the wounded Samaritan. Love means getting down on our knees and serving. There is no greater love than to lay down your life for your friend.

I wish that I could change the words of the song to be something more like “If ever I loved thee, my Jesus, it was when I donated more than I can afford to give to the local rehab center.” Or “If ever I loved thee, my Jesus, it was in babysitting for a single mother.” Or “If ever I loved thee, my Jesus, it was when I hired a former gang banger to give him a second chance.” If ever I have loved Jesus, it did not happen while I was singing in church and working up in myself lots of fervor and holy feelings. It happened when I actually did something that helped another human being.

It seems like sometimes people put too much emphasis on saying that God is glorified in people singing songs in church. In many contemporary churches, singing spiritual songs and getting worked up into this emotional state is the only meaning of the word “worship.” I suppose part of the reason this bothers me is just that I was raised Presbyterian and a good old fashioned orderly Presbyterian service, is referred to in its entirety as “worship.” Worship includes the reading of scripture. Worship includes passing the peace. Worship includes the offering. And of course it includes communion.

More than that, though, we worship God when we devote ourselves to him. Presenting our bodies as a living sacrifice to God is our spiritual worship. And that doesn’t just happen at church--or it shouldn’t be just happening at church, anyway! God is not just glorified when we sing his praises. He is much more glorified in our lives when we give up our own pleasures and comforts for our neighbors. God is glorified in our love for fellow Christians and our compassion for the poor.

At Whitworth College, my alma mater, there is a student led and organized service of song and scripture readings held one night every week. It was a thrilling experience to be part of a throng of impassioned young Christian women and men, singing our hearts out in devotion to God. There was one night when the mood was truly electric. I don’t even remember what song we were singing, but, the musicians cut out so it was voices only, thundering, resounding, filling the room. The sheer volume was impressive, and the air charged with emotion. And of course it was glorious, it was beautiful, and I rejoiced, but … not with my whole heart. Because I knew that many of these young people, as soon as they left Whitworth--even just to go home for the summer--would slide back into old patterns of sin, and unbelief and forget completely the ardor with which they said, and felt they would pursue God’s kingdom.

It’s not that I don’t value heartfelt proclamations of devotion--it’s just that I take them with a grain of salt. And above all it’s that I don’t want people to confuse a feeling of love with actual love. Partly because I don’t want people to think too highly of themselves because of their pious feelings. But also because I want to encourage those who are lacking in such fine feelings--I want to reassure people who have “lost that loving feeling,” so to speak, that it doesn’t mean they are incapable of love.

It is my hope that we can be freed up from focusing on feelings of devotion as the sign that we are right with God, that we will not waste energy trying to produce those feelings in ourselves or worrying about our lack of emotion, and that instead we will be focused on what Jesus told us to do: on loving our neighbor through self-sacrifice, through service, and compassion.

Thursday, April 26, 2007

my sense of humor

Before the real post, here's something I was thinking about the other day: Surely fingerprints can't *all* be unique. It doesn't seem like there are enough possible variations of the design for that to be the case. I mean, considering how many people there are in the world, and how many people there were before that are long dead now, doesn't it seem like some of the fingerprints would be the same?

Now the real post:

The woman I work with on Wednesday mornings is something of a character. She's older (than me, at least, ha), has got some gray hair (which looks just beautiful in a single braid reaching down to her waist)--I believe she said she was born in '67.

Anyway, she jokes around a lot and one day said to me something like "Well, at least I can make you laugh," and I said something like, "Yes, you seem to have a knack for it."

As I thought about it, really, just about anyone that's trying to be funny--and sometimes people who are not trying to be--can make me laugh. I laugh a lot. (Though still not as much as Brandon, I think.) And then I remembered how this came about.

When I was a kid or "preteen" or whatever, I sometimes would say things that were meant to be funny but that no one laughed at or even understood as a joke. Partly this may be because I had (have) a somewhat "different" or "offbeat" sense of humor. Another possiblity is that people may not have heard me, since I tended (tend) to be quiet and mumbling. But in any case, I found it painfully embarrasing when that happened and I sort of vowed to myself that, so far as it was in my power, I would not let that happen to anyone else. I made a point of laughing at anything which was meant as a joke, no matter whether I actually found it funny or not.

And it seems I faked finding things funny for so long, I started to actually find everything funny.

And, uh, that's all, folks.

Saturday, April 21, 2007

A Note On The Previous Post

Perhaps my last post was an unfair portrayal of my co-workers. They certainly do not deserve the criticism my brother aimed at them. One of them is the kids' new therapist, and before you say "Well, that makes it even worse," I must point out that it was her first day on the job and that I don't think she's done much work with children. Her last job was in Hospice care.

And as for the other two staff persons, they are so dedicated to the job, they worked many hours overtime in addition to their usual hours during the kids' vacation this past week. I'm sure they were more than tired and certainly not "at their best" at the time those events took place.

I should perhaps also point out that the boy I talked about is skilled enough at other games (most notably, basketball and checkers) that adults do not need to "let him win"; he can often win by his own merit.

And perhaps most importantly, the same boy has some megalomanic tendencies, also. He frequently talks about how much stronger, taller, smarter, more knowledgeable, etc. he is than another child in the program, and heaps unutterably cruel verbal abuse upon her. Earlier that morning he called her an "ogre" because she was "eating like a dog" and said that he himself is "perfect." He seems to have an intense need to rule the roost, and assert his dominance over other children and, if possible, the staff.

I can imagine my co-workers supposing that allowing the boy to win would feed into his megalomanic tendencies. I would have to disagree, though. I would guess that his need to assert himself springs from his lack of self esteem, and that we should try to build his self esteem by all legitimate, age-appropriate means possible, so that he won't have to resort to unacceptable means.

So, anyway, I did not mean for you all to get the impression that my co-workers are bad people, or even that they are not good with kids--because most of the time, they are. But working with children who have serious emotional problems makes it hard to know how to respond to them, at times--not to mention how much emotion it stirs up in the staff--which certainly can impair one's ability to respond appropriately to the children.

Wednesday, April 18, 2007

Last Easter

Today one of the children at work invited, consecutively, four different staff persons to a game of memory. Each of the first three staff persons he played against obviously was much better at the game than he. Then he asked me to play. Now, as a rule, when playing games with children, I play to lose. I think it helps build the child’s self esteem. And besides, winning always leaves a sour taste in my mouth, anyway.

It kind of bothered me that no other staff person had this attitude, especially since this particular boy has recently begun showing signs of low self-esteem (e.g. smacking himself on the head and saying “I’m no good at this,” “I’m so stupid” and “You don’t like me”). He also clearly becomes very upset when he’s losing a game. After three sound defeats, he had trepidations about asking me to play against him. He began by trying to rig the game, by looking at all the tiles as he put them out for gameplay. When I told him this would give him an unfair advantage, he said “But what if you win?” And I reassured him I have a very poor memory. He was delighted to win against me.

Non-competitive games are more fun. And the best games are the kind where players help each other out.

Last Easter, Brandon’s next door neighbors invited all the church people to their house for a little party. It was an interesting mix of people: a couple of lively, precocious little girls from the broken home two doors down; a younger girl who seemed to have some developmental disabilities; her working class single mother; an older man who’s not quite “all there” (and who apparently molested a child many years ago); the host couple (newlyweds/Whitworth grads); me, Brandon, and a few other recent college grads from the ministry house where Brandon lived.

It wasn’t much of a party, but at one point we broke out the Bible Pictionary. In case you’ve never played, it must be pointed out that the Bible Pictionary words are almost all either ridiculously simple and easy, or else so obscure no one would ever guess them, even if the person reading the card could figure out how to depict the word, which many times they have never even heard of.

So, because it’s kind of a lame game, we played it with everyone on a single team, moving one piece along the board. We considered it a challenge to “win” against the makers of the game, all working together to see how many of the obscure words we could guess, seeing it through to the finish line. It was fun. It was really fun. It was just one of those wacky, creative moments, where people forget about social interaction as such, laughing and focused on a silly, but stimulating goal. Uh … yeah. I guess I’m trying to wax eloquent or something, and failing. I don’t know how to describe that kind of moment. It seems like there was a lot of that kind of thing with the original Wilshire Pres. youth group. I wonder how much of that was just because of Deng’s energy … I suppose the world will never know …

Wednesday, April 11, 2007

it's a tough job, but ...

I kind of got in trouble with the kids' therapist at work a couple weeks ago. The kids are not supposed to have CDs containing foul language. I confiscated a CD that had the words "nigger" and "bullshit" because it seemed clear it had not been edited properly. I think "bullshit" probably was mistakenly overlooked, but it seems the therapist (who burned the CD for one of the kids) thought it was okay to leave the word "nigger" in one of the songs.

I understand that within the hip-hop culture, "n-----" is not necessarily considered a derogatory term. But by the same token, other profanities, like "f---" and "sh--" are also used in casual conversation and are not considered "rude." While I know it doesn't *sound* right, a large part of what we're trying to do is to teach these children middle-class values.

Of course, middle-class culture comes with its own vices as well as virtues, but it seems that our vices, by and large, do not cause nearly as much damage to the social structure. From a spiritual point of view, it is true, a stereotypical Soccer Mom may be just as much a sinner in God's eyes as a heroine junkie father who beats his 6 year old son and treats him like a slave--in fact, the Soccer Mom may be even more damned because she would never accept the fact that she's a sinner--but at least the Soccer Mom's kid is probably not going to end up in jail for beating his own children to a bloody pulp.

I'm in a pretty pessimistic mood right now because the whole incident with me confiscating the CD has blown way out of proportion in the mind of the severely traumatized and violent 9 year old to whom it belonged. The worst thing about it is that he no longer directs his aggression against staff (like me) but rather, toward a fragile, abused 9 year old girl who knows just how to play the part of victim, oh-so-perfectly. Ugh. What a depressing job. The only way not become totally embittered and filled with sorrow all the time is to deaden one's heart and pretend that it doesn't matter.

Monday, April 2, 2007

reflections on something said by Mark Driscoll

Mark Driscoll, for those of you who don't know, is the pastor of the evangelical mega-church Mars Hill in Seattle. He's a talented speaker but gets himself in a lot of trouble for saying offensive/controversial things (which, to his credit, he often apologizes for afterward).

Brandon's friend Joshua sent us a CD of a sermon by Rev. Driscoll. On the whole, it was a very good sermon. But at one point Driscoll condemned a particular congregation for inviting a rabbi to come and teach an Old Testament Bible study. Driscoll thought it was ridiculous to have someone who doesn't know Christ teach about a set of books that are about Christ.

I guess I can kind of see where he's coming from, but ...
A. It sure sounded disrespectful toward the rabbi. I mean, really! A rabbi has not only been studying the OT, in great depth, for many years, he's also been living it, repeating every day the heart of the Law, the Shema, and binding it to his body. The OT Law dictates what he wears, what he eats, what he does on the Sabbath--how flippant and absurd it seems to say that Christians have a clearer understanding of the Old Testament.

B. I do agree that (as it states in the PC(USA)'s guidelines for interepreting scripture) that all of the scriptures, including the OT should be interpreted in light of Christ and in the context of the whole Bible. But that has less to do with determining the intent of the author than it has to do with applying it to our own theological understanding. It mostly helps us to avoid a wrong interpretation that would be contrary to what we know of God from the New Testament.

But realistically, I think Christians can benefit immensely from getting a "Jewish" perspective on the OT. I think that because of our knowledge of Christ, we often read things into the OT texts and miss important themes or misunderstand the intention of the authors.

The other day I was reading the passage in Isaiah (often read around Christmas time) about the coming Messiah, who will be called "Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace." And I was thinking: it's misleading to say that his title will be "Mighty God"--which implies the divinity of the Messiah. Probably the title would be better translated "Mighty is God." Not a word for word translation, no, but I would guess closer to the intended meaning.

Anyway ... such are my rambling thoughts. Too bad I'm too lazy to clean them up.

Tuesday, March 27, 2007

can't wrap my mind around it ...

Brandon's parents visited over the weekend (yay! Fun times!), and on their last night in New England, they took us to dinner at a very nice Indian restaurant (not "very nice" in the sense of super expensive--it was reasonable--but "very niee" in that the service was friendly and professional, the food varied and flavorful, etc.).

We were maybe midway through our meal when a young couple sat down in the next booth over. Because of the acoustics of the room, their voices carried pretty well to where I was sitting and I noticed they both were casually using very critical, negativistic intonation. I think the guy was saying something about how he'd been disappointed by the food the last time he'd been there--or he might have been talking about a different restaurant--I don't know.

Anyway, later on, we were finishing up our meal and there was a lull in our conversation, so the words of the lady in the next booth sailed clearly and plainly to my ears. "I finally found a place scripture that proves my point that gays are going straight to hell." I think those were her exact words. I'm not quite sure if she said "place in scripture" or "scripture verse" or something else, but the rest I am almost certain is verbatim. Sounds pretty bad, doesn't it? Well, in real life, it sounded even worse because of her inflection.

So, I started making all kinds of incredulous, horrified faces, and Brandon and his parents remained quiet. The lady went on, saying something about people that challenge her view, or maybe that she has had doubts--questioning, does God really *want* gays to go to hell? But then there it was, plain as day in scripture. "Yes," she affirmed, "God does want them to go to hell. It was like Jesus talking to me."

And the guy agreed. He said something like "You know, people actually *left* my chruch because my father said that gays are going to hell." Can you believe that? I think he went on to say something about how it's what the Bible plainly teaches, etc.

Anyway ... Of course I know lots of people who think it's *very* important and *very* clear in scripture that homosexuality is a sin. And I've met a couple people who are paranoid and borderline hysterical about a monstrous regiment of homosexuals taking over the country, infiltrating the schools and turning innocent little children into budding gays and lesbians. But I really can't imagine any of them saying what that lady at the restaurant said, the way she said it. I think most people who consider homosexual acts sinful are well meaning. This lady just seemed filled with spite--and she was convinced that God shared her hatred of this particular people group.

Anyway, I don't have anything profound to say about it. I don't know what to make of it, since it's so foreign to my own way of thinking. It's a sin I can't even understand because I've never been tempted quite the same way. If I ever have the chance to have meaningful conversation with someone like that, perhaps I will find out what is analogous in my own experience. In the meantime, I'm mostly just horrified and saddened.

Friday, March 16, 2007

thoughts on An Inconvenient Truth

We went to a free showing of Al Gore's movie at the library the other day. It was good. Not good in the sense of being high cinematic quality, but good in the sense it's good that the movie was made and that so many ppl. have seen it and become aware of the seriousness of global warming.

Some thoughts: Mr. Gore may be reimagining himself as an environmentalist now, but he's still a politician at heart. His film is alot like a political speech in that, selling his cause=selling himself. Some of the autobiographical stuff didn't really seem integral to the film. The part about his sister dying of lung cancer was very appropriate, I thought, but not so much the story of his son's car accident injuries or the agonizing events of the 2000 presidential election.

And there were some points he didn't explain fully--for example, there were a few graphs that he didn't clearly explain before talking about their implications. And he didn't really address the objection that the changes we need to make in our way of life in order to slow down global warming will be detrimental to the economy. He just sort of said "Well, if we *don't* make these changes, we'll be *totally* screwed--so there's no need to even discuss whether there will be economic repercussions."

I was also surprised at how optimistic he was that we can "beat" this thing. It may also have to do with his political training--you have to give people hope. No one likes a doomsayer. I'm glad he made it clear that global warming does not spell the end of the world, but it probably does mean further natural disasters which will result in the death and suffering of billions of people.

And it does seem intuitive that the luxurient, comfortable, materialistic American lifestyle is not sustainable. It's intuitive in an abstract sense. Not so much in terms of imagining the destruction of America as I know it within my lifetime. It's almost impossible to imagine that, but it certainly could happen. Maybe it's likely.

Friday, March 9, 2007

comfort from a strange source

So, I've been reading the blog of Fuller's president, Richard Mouw. I am impressed by his thoughtful (=careful, clear headed, sober) and loving way of taking on pop culture and trying to see through the eyes of Christ. But recently I started getting an alarming vibe--something telling me that even though he's a reasonable fellow, he might be coming from a more conservative standpoint than I'd expected.

"Brandon! This is terrible!" I shared my growing sense of panic. I do *not* want to drive all the freakin' way across the country *again*, only to find the seminary is, *again* so conservative I can't respect my professors' understanding of the Old Testament. But, Brandon reassured me, the president of Fuller is only an administrator. I don't know if he teaches classes, too, or not, but it seems true at Whitworth, and is certain at San Francisco Theological Seminary, that the president is more conservative than the profs. So, I went online and found this article:

And I felt *much* better about my choice of school. (-:

It's an article by a fundamentalist who is *way* out there--like, at certain points in the article not even making sense in his/her article about how Fuller is a hotbed of liberal apostacy. He or she sounds like the kind of person that, if he/she hadn't found religion, probably would be talking about how fluoridation of public drinking water is a government conspiracy.

Incidentally, one of my profs. in community college thought that about fluoridation. Brandon, being a Dr. Strangelove fan, particularly appreciated that small factoid.

Thursday, March 1, 2007


I got my acceptance letter from Fuller today! Yay! I would have thought they'd've joined the 21st century by now and sent me an email. Oh well.

I'm excited, but at the same time ... I was just reading a blog of a Fuller student--about some book he's reading for a class--and he was reflecting on the relationship between the Church and the World, and mentioned Niehbur. We went over Niehbur's ideas about "Christ and Culture" in Core 350 at Whitworth. I kind of remember it. But it certainly wasn't life-changing.

It kind of worries me, because I feel like the sorts of theological subjects they teach in seminary can't be "crammed." I would imagine they have to be learned slowly, through practice and experience.

Then again, I probably didn't get much out of the Core 350 class because it was Core. Horrible, horrible Core which everyone has to take, so the classes are huge and the teaching style is mechanized. Ugh. Presumably, that type of experience will not be repeated, now that I'm studying at a graduate level.

Monday, February 26, 2007


When my siblings and I were small, we came into possession of a tape some old person had recorded which was simply labeled "Movin.'" It turned out to be fabulous totally 60s instrumental music.

One day, I told Brandon about this music, and sadly admitted I'd probably never find out what it was, and might never hear it again. But I went on the internet to find out if I could discover the artist. It was a difficult task, but I did find a reference somewhere to an LP of instrumental music created specifically to use with children for interpretive movement and dance. It was copyrighted 1963 and there was a cassette tape of it at one branch of my public library's system. I requested it.

And it was the right one! Yippee! I love happy endings. It really is just titled Movin' and the artist is Hap Palmer. Someday, when I have kids, I'll have to find my own copy.

Thursday, February 22, 2007

Ash Wednesday

Yesterday was Ash Wednesday. According to some tradition somewhere, which some Christians follow, you're only supposed to eat one meal on Ash Wednesday. You are allowed to eat two small meals if necessary for the strength to do your day's work, but even so, this is a concession, and the two small meals combined must be no larger than the one big meal.

I tried to follow this rule yesterday. After a full day's work, I was very hungry. As I walked along the icy sidewalks (not toward home, mind you--but toward the library, to do more work, this time proofreading), I thought to myself:

The one comment on fasting I've heard from numerous people is how much time it frees up. I don't know that I've ever heard anyone talk about how it deepens their spiritual life, or how they learn from it and grow as persons, but I have often heard people say "It's amazing how much time I normally spend on planning, making and eating meals!" True as that may be, I don't think it does justice to the purpose of fasting.

Fasting is one way we can choose to suffer. Character is the ability to choose suffering over comfort. Sometimes the right thing to do means discomfort. Like Brandon quitting his job. We both knew it meant we'd have to put off buying another car, and that we'd be anxious about having money to pay for our next cross-country trip--or, heck! money for paying the rent and heating bills. But the company he worked for was making its money through dishonest means. So, basically, we have to trust in God's provision for us.

Being able, as in that case, to choose the discomfort of a car that doesn't work so well in the winter, not turning the thermostat above 55 degrees, and not knowing how we're going to make it to California this Fall, or make ends meet even before then--as I say, being able to choose those unpleasantries means freedom. It means we are not controlled by our desire for comfort and security.

So, I suppose fasting can help a person to cultivate an attitude that is not comfort-seeking, but always ready and willing to choose discomfort, or even pain, if it be God's will.

my birthday

On my birthday, we went into Boston with some friends from Whitworth (they now live in CT). The highlight of the trip was the New England Aquarium. It was fun. Pretty small, and I would guess they haven't changed their placards in over 20 years, but they had sea dragons! Yippee! And jelly fish. Yay!

We also visited some old Unitarian church which is of historical importance, Boston Common (where people were ice skating--or just sliding around in regular shoes, like us--on a plain old pond outside!), a really old graveyard where some not very well known famous historical people are buried, and probably some other places of mild interest I'm forgetting.

We were walking by the bar where Cheers was recorded and I thought to myself "Hey! I'm 21 now! I could go in there if I wanted to. Oh, wait! No, I can't. I forgot to bring my wallet. I don't have my ID." So we couldn't go out to a bar together and I couldn't order wine with my dinner. On my 21st birthday. (Later on, Brandon and I went home, got my ID and went to a bar. It wasn't very exciting, but we did get some delicious onion rings.)

Tuesday, February 20, 2007

not so preachy blogging ...

Okay, so thus far I have not written any really preachy posts. The one about violence not being a virtue came close. Okay, maybe it was preachy--but not as preachy as I imagined my blog would be.

I was *just* thinking the other day of some preachy thing to write about, but now, gosh darn, it's gone. If I continue at this rate, I'm not sure how I shall ever reach the status of self-righteous hypocrite in time for my ordination. Oh well. Perhaps Fuller has some kind of accelerated program for the pharisaically challenged.

Maybe I'll post some short preachy essays I wrote a long time ago. If any of them were actually finished ...

Wednesday, February 14, 2007

Oh no! I'm boring!

I'm not actually boring. Or maybe I am. But I chose the title because I haven't been entertaining y'all by writing posts. Darn. I've been busy. We went to the New England Aquarium for my birthday. Highlights included the Sea Dragons, of course, and jellyfish. If you haven't seen Sea Dragons, you *must*.

Ummmmmmmmm ... I forgot what I was going to say. Oh, yes. I'm just writing briefly while I wait for the newest version of sister-in-law Stephanie's dissertation to download so I can help her with the proofreading. Oh! It's done. I guess I'll go. I will try to post more interesting stuff soon.

Oh! And if you found my last post interesting, be sure to read Ben's comment. It's very good. (This is not to imply that Miranda and Jaime's comments are not good--just that they are of a more personal nature).

Monday, February 5, 2007

violence is not a virtue

Friend Jaime asked via email a question of her friends: "how do you get to be a man unless you learn how to fight?" This question was originally posed by a professor of hers who believes there would be fewer problems with road rage if people considered it normal to pull over by the side of the road and duke it out.

I was reminded to write a response to the question because we watched a documentary about an Iraqi family grieving the loss of their brother/son in the war. My response to the question is based mostly in my personal experience. The idea of hitting someone is very different from the reality of it. Bloodthirsty rage, as I have experienced it, feels self-satisfied in its own righteousness and potency--it feels like a glorious and even noble thing--the impulse to destroy "evil." I can think of two instances wherein I actually did intentionally physically hurt someone.

There was one time when I was about 12, and trying to get my, then probably 5 year old sister to do her share of cleaning the room. After hours of using every persuasive technique I could imagine, I was beyond frustrated. She preferred to sit on the floor doing *nothing* rather than put away her clothes. I finally got so fed up, I was just about weeping, grabbed her and shook her by the shoulders--just once--but hard. I find it difficult to describe the black, acidic, abyss that immediately began to eat away the inside of my soul. I felt awful. And my sister didn't even make a noise. She silently curled up in a ball and cried. I was so terrified by the horror of what I'd done, I got up without a word and left the room.

The other time I committed a violent act was when I slapped Brandon across the face for something. He deserved it, and I didn't hit him very hard, but it did *not* feel glorious and noble the way my original *desire* to hit him had made it out to be.

I think this is just the way of violence. It *sounds* like a good idea, but the reality of it is just plain awful.

As for how you become a man without resorting to violence: what ought really to be considered "manly" virtues are things like courage and unswerving devotion to justice. These virtues are much better expemplified in the lives of iconic people like Martin Luther King Jr. and Gandhi--as opposed to, say the detestable Brad Pitt character in Fight Club. (Incidentally, I probably just hate that character because Brad Pitt often annoys the heck out of me.)

Friday, February 2, 2007

Oh no! I don't have anything interesting to say ...

So why am I writing in my blog? I now feel as if it is my duty to write regularly in my blog, even though no one is reading it. And even though I have nothing interesting to say. Nothing to say at all, in fact. I just want to waste my time, and waste yours, too.

Do I use too many commas? I definitely used too many commas earlier in life. I used them even when it was not just stylistically, but grammatically inappropriate.

A little bit before Thanksgiving last year, we were having a hard time not prematurely singing Christmas songs in anticipation of that glorious season. So we sat down together one night, (an unspecified "we" refers to me and Brandon) Brandon with his guitar, me typing up the lyrics on the computadora, and we wrote and improvised some real doozies. I wish there'd been a tape recording going. I'm going to come back after putting dinner into the oven and write some more fond memories, I think.

Sunday, January 28, 2007

blog blog blog

This is my brand spanking new blog. I'm not sure what I think about blogging. I have read some really good ones, and I've also been annoyed by the banality of others. Self-advertisement through blogging represents the narcissistic tendencies of our society. The blogger says "Hey, look at me! I'm so great and I have so many interesting, insightful things to say. I'm sure everyone will want to read my blog." Have you ever noticed that "blog blog blog" sounds an awful lot like "blah blah blah"?

Anyway, I shouldn't be so cynical. I guess there are other ppl. out there that just want to keep a journal, and happen to have a secret desire for everybody to see their innermost thoughts and be impressed, rather than repulsed, as their secret fears suggest. Oh, wait--I didn't stop being cynical. I really should, since there are, in fact, some blogs I really like. For example, there's a blogspot one called Thoughts of a Wanderer, and there's the blog of the president of Fuller Seminary.

I better go enjoy the fabulous dinner my hubby is preparing.