Monday, September 29, 2008

Economic Eschatology

It's the end of a long(ish) school day, I'm sitting drinking my popcorn-flavored coffee (I swear Orville Redenbacher brews this stuff from the grave) reading economy speculations from a variety of news sources.

At my school (a VERY conservative institution) the opinions on the country's situation range from the consequences of consumer gluttony and corrupt and greedy banks all the way to End Times theology and impending Armageddon.

I have no idea where the answer lies, and I would sooner advocate U.S. secession from North America than turn and point fingers at our fine country, but truly, to quote a Jack Nicholson classic, "something's gotta give."

Who's to blame? Greedy banks passing out dubious loans like business cards at a networking convention, or the wide-eyed borrowers who know they cannot afford them?

Who's to blame? The banks that facilitate such transactions? Or the government that facilitates those banks. The chicken or the egg? Where does personal responsibility come in?

Why is it OK for John Q. Homeowner to lose his house, ruin his credit and likely his family, while banks are given a just-in-time last minute parachute.

The greater good I suppose. I just hope the good is great enough.

Wednesday, September 24, 2008


For as long as I can remember, my life's compass has been set by assessing my projected future. I've smoothed-over present situations by focusing on my "inevitable" success in the future. I don't think it's harmful to have goals, I think they're necessary. But, I know that much of my pride and my self-assessment and comfort came from understanding that the future will be better.

C.S. Lewis in typical form, delivers me punishing blow in his essay "Learning in War Time." In the essay (actually a lecture) he's speaking to a group of military graduates; scholars who are battle-ready and understandably apprehensive. He encourages them to find security in the present, rather than in the potential.
"Never, in peace or war, commit your virtue or your happiness to the future. Happy work is best done by the man who takes his long term plans somewhat lightly and works from moment to moment 'as to the Lord.' It is only our daily bread that we are encouraged to ask for. The present is the only time in which any duty can be done or any grace received."

Don't we celebrate those who have embraced the day they're in? Don't we admire those who seem to exist inside every present moment, those who are changing their lives today, not tomorrow?

As usual, I think he's right. I need grace today, because truly, "tomorrow has enough worries of it's own."

Friday, September 19, 2008

I am a liar.

I am a liar.

I lie everyday, and more as I get older.

I tell people it's because I'm too young, or that I don't have time.

I tell people that I don't want to, or that I don't even think about it.

Sometimes I condescend them. Sometimes they believe me; often they do. Sometimes, I'm especially convincing and they're even jealous.

What I don't tell them is that I'm scared. At my core, I'm terrified of commitment. I'm scared of not being enough. I'm scared of her not being enough. I'm scared of settling and I'm too prideful to be that open. I'm scared that my novelty will wear off, or that I've made too many mistakes.

The problem with lies though is not that others believe them, it's that over time with enough consistency you start to believe your own.

Thursday, September 11, 2008

On Love

A thought sparked by last night's discussion.

Can you love someone who doesn't love you back?

Not in a parental kind of love, not in a general "love for well-being's sake" love, but a true and romantic love. Can someone be "in love" with someone who doesn't love them back?

I don't think it's possible, here's why.

Love at it's core is a reciprocal event. It requires the willful emotional trust of two participating parties. It means that you've given complete emotional power to someone else and you trust them with it. You trust that they will not only not be irresponsible with it, but that they will keep it, cultivate it, grow it.

Return it.

I don't believe that you can offer this level of love to someone without understanding that they are doing the same thing. There's no small beauty in the mutual offering of that trust. And it can't be gone alone.

Unrequited love does not exist. It assumes the appearance of love, yet suffers the inability to assume it's definition. In our limited human capabilities, true love has no jurisdiction where it is not returned. God alone suffers the heartache of this exception.

Now, can someone love someone and fall out of love with someone? Say a couple grows apart over time; does there exist an exception for my theory? Not necessarily, while to remain "in love" with someone while he/she no longer returns the sentiment is acceptable, it does, however require that there was once a true and mutual offering of love.

Simply, I believe that romantic love of this kind exists in human form as necessarily a two-way street.

If someone tells you they love you, and you do not love them, gently let them know that they do not love you, but an idea of you. The love they are expressing will never be fully and officially endorsed until you can love them wholly in return.

Feel free to disagree

Tuesday, September 09, 2008

Mo' Money Mo' Problems

Interesting statistics:

Washington D.C. leads the states in teachers' salaries with California close behind.

Washington D.C.'s public education is abyssmal; with 88% of 8th graders failing to read and 92% far below proficiency in math, they are at the bottom of the list for student performance.

What's the correlation? Throwing money at inadequate teachers obviously isn't the solution, so lets throw money at students.

This link shows the new D.C. "Chancellor of Education" working in a new plan to pay students for academic performance.

I mean, it obviously works so well for teachers, it makes perfect sense that they would try their luck exploiting and patronizing underperforming adolescents.

Wednesday, September 03, 2008


There's something about eating fish. It feels so right, so... biblical. Sure it's probably processed and canned by small-limbed indentured immigrants from Albania working 16 hour days in the humid Florida heat, but seriously, think of all the protein I'm getting. Great!

Back to teaching this year. It's been good so far, two days in, two days down. Classes and students seem to be a bit more manageable. I find myself sleeping at night, which is a step forward.

Speaking of steps forward. I've made it a mandate upon my life to each day move forward, or at least to move. Following college, it's becoming increasingly easy to find comfort in routine. It's easy to fulfill my own expectations if my expectations are limited to what I know.

It's cyclical, we do what we expect and we expect to do what we do. It's as redundant as it is asexually incestuous (I am nuts.) But if we adventure to live a life outside of what we know, we find security in understanding that God wants excellence from us. It's taken me awhile to understand that God wants us to be the best at what we do.

It's not a pride issue, it's not a strike against our humility, but why shouldn't we work harder than most? Why shouldn't we rise up as leaders in every field?

I keep repeating the maxim "Wrong action is better than inaction," and it's every bit as powerful and sobering and confronting as it was the first time I heard it.