Saturday, November 14, 2009

Stream of consciousness and a conversation with oneself.

Sometimes we sit there, our hands held, yours warm and smooth and mine, rough from wringing. A little clammy in late in the evening.
The only real lines I've drawn have been crooked and almost always circle back to me. Nothing real or permanent and no canvas to paint. I cannot paint if I do not leave, but still, I have several books to write and no more than several sentences. A world that celebrates potential is a world that stops and starts with the impetus of genius. That sentence is meaningless.

These geneses of genius.

And perhaps we too were fiction, don't go back and add commas. She lived a story written beautifully, perfect grammar and structure. There was no plot or capture, no story or support. She was endlessly edited, and I, all painted self and broad strokes, I'm overdrawn and indebted.

Oh God, with what great oneness you've designed us, that we would compass this globe in all of our errant ways and still, to find bits of you swimming like small magnets in all of our blood. And when, upon encounter with another, we feel drawn - some mad electric swell that tells us that we're made of the same stuff. No more digressions, and close your mouth when writing.

Now, look away from the screen.

Don't tell them anything, says the bad man. But my hands are clams, clodding away at some kind of computer and compulsion towards half-hearted alliteration. Sometimes, I just try to conjugate words and leave it to Mr. Macintosh to tell me what's what. That's how I discovered "didacticism." What a stupid word for a first year college kid. But it worked, didn't it? Getting A's was never hard for me, it's all about focus, but I had none. So, I would memorize big great words and ask important ancillary questions so the teacher would think I was really on to something.

And, indeed I was. I was wondering why the steel on the side of the chair felt so cold in such a warm classroom. And I was hot on the wild trail of speculation. See, the woman next to me was married and I heard her make mention of a few kids at home. But she leaned in real close to the guy next to her when they spoke. Now, there was nothing illicit, I understand that, but maybe things weren't great at home. Or maybe, she misses the attention of men, or maybe they were just in the long boring afternoon of their marriage.

So, to compensate, for thinking about everything in the classroom (everything but the lesson.) I memorized good words. Great words that I'm now embarrassed to know, and all of them I won't mention here. I've always cared more for the question than the answer. Sometimes writing is too honest, too base and too cold. I wish self-actualization had more tact.

That's how I maintained a decent GPA despite learning almost nothing.

Monday, October 12, 2009

Who is Jesus?

Napoleon asks "Who is Jesus?"

Well then, I will tell you. Alexander, Caesar, Charlemagne and I myself have founded great empires; but upon what did these creations of our genius depend? Upon force. Jesus alone founded His empire upon love, and to this very day millions will die for Him.... I think I understand something of human nature; and I tell you, all these were men, and I am a man: none else is like Him; Jesus Christ was more than man.... I have inspired multitudes with such an enthusiastic devotion that they would have died for me.... but to do this it was necessary that I should be visibly present with the electric influence of my looks, my words, of my voice. When I saw men and spoke to them, I lighted up the flame of self-devotion in their hearts.... Christ alone has succeeded in so raising the mind of man toward the unseen, that it becomes insensible to the barriers of time and space. Across a chasm of eighteen hundred years, Jesus Christ makes a demand which is beyond all others to satisfy; He asks for that which a philosopher may seek in vain at the hands of his friends, or a father of his children, or a bride of her spouse, or a man of his brother. He asks for the human heart; He will have it entirely to Himself. He demands it unconditionally; and forthwith His demand is granted. Wonderful! In defiance of time and space, the soul of man, with all its powers and faculties, becomes an annexation to the empire of Christ. All who sincerely believe in Him, experience that remarkable, supernatural love toward Him. This phenomenon is accountable; it is altogether beyond the scope of man's creative powers. Time, the great destroyer, is powerless to extinguish this sacred flame; time can neither exhaust its strength nor put a limit to its range. This is it, which strikes me most; I have often thought of it. This is which proves to me quite convincingly the Divinity of Jesus Christ.

Sunday, October 11, 2009

Straight from Wild at Heart Notes

"I want grey hair and a well-worn ring on my left hand. I want a brood of boys living lives unbroken - lives whole and complete and initiated. I want a wife of character and beauty - a deep well of discernment. And I want to rescue her everyday for the rest of my life."

Friday, October 02, 2009

Wild at Heart - 2009

Why is it so easy to ignore my heart? Life functions normally, mechanically - safely, but in it I find no life at all. I construct a safe workweek filled with obligations and the occasional celebration but each day I ignore my heart.

Truthfully, I don't need wisdom, I need the will to move boldly in the direction of faith.

I'm still processing as my thoughts and experiences are bucking their way into my long-term as I try to corral them. It's tough this time, the fog is thicker.

If the theme to last year's trip was "Name" - knowing my name, understanding my name, believing that God even has one for me beyond the one I've created on my own - this one was "Family." It seemed that each quiet time, God was dragging the lake of my family convictions. Fragments of my own family experiences made their way into almost every quiet time. I saw experiences I had completely forgotten about (repressed?) both good and bad and I'm starting to allow myself to believe that growing up straddling two lives in two different states isn't normal.

What I'm beginning to process is something on the edge of profound. I hope to unpack (maybe publicly) what that means for me and I'm hoping God feels the same way. Who knows, maybe I'll post something straight from my notes. But that might be too personal.

Wednesday, September 02, 2009


We would rather be ruined than changed,
We would rather die in our dread
Than climb the cross of the moment
And let our illusions die.

— W. H. Auden

True on so many levels.

Monday, August 17, 2009

Finding Truth in Alien Movies

For reasons I'm still digesting, 'District 9' might be the most important movie of the year.

I'm an amateur critic at best, but I know what makes a movie. 'District 9' combines all of the right elements to fashion something wholly true out of something wholly alien. Although the movie draws from a deep well of traditional action-movie standards (see: cursing, vaporizing aliens/humans, screaming) it reads like a moving war documentary, one you know is simultaneously indecent and incredibly true.

The actors won't win awards, but not because they weren't great. They were. Mostly because, (with the exception of the chinstrap-sporting badguy) throughout the movie, you really forgot they were actors. There were no dramatic monologues or one-liners agonized over by geniuses in the writing room. They were human (and alien) extensions of our reality. I think this is the central theme to the film.

The movie is terrifying, but not because of the aliens. I'm used to the alien antagonist, the inexplicably blood-drunk extra-terrestrial hellbent on human eradication. Those kinds of evils are safe, distanced. This movie was not. The evils in 'District 9' were found not unlikely futuristic circumstances, but in the truth of ruthlessness, which is far more transcendent.

This was a "drive home in silence" kind of movie. If you saw the movie with a few people, you might note the deflated sighs and general "it's hard to talk with a 50 pound weight on your chest" vibe 'round the auto.

I didn't dare reach for distraction.

I realize this is a vague and spotty review at best. But like I said, I'm still processing the movie; still digesting. It's like I prayed for 2 hours while eating the largest meal of my life. The 50 pound weight is getting a little lighter, but much of it is still there. And for some reason, I'm not ready for it to go away.

Wednesday, August 05, 2009

High Coup

Pathetic poems
Tough to do well, works in pinch
Learned in seventh grade

Tuesday, August 04, 2009

Tonight's War

Each of these
Small, sweaty soldiers,
bruised and battle-worn
All anxious and subject to deletion.

At the mercy of their boy-general
Drunk on his own idealism.
He pushes them into battle,
Untrained and unarmed.

But If they could peel themselves from the page
They would
gather their own twelve-point uprising 99 soldiers strong
All these letters, with hyphens drawn
And small period grenades.

Would launch themselves upon me
For my misdirection and brazen indiscretion
A mutiny upon me, their battle cry echoes quiet and clear
"What did you think this would take?
Ambition alone does not a poet make!"

Monday, August 03, 2009

The Artificial Heart

Busy beats the artificial heart
Calculated and perfect
Efficient and profitable

Thank god we've replaced
the One he was born with.
What with all of its inconsistencies

Soaring and racing and sinking
Like mad water birds
The kind you watch for hours.

Busy beats the artificial heart
No longer flesh
Now, strong, even and cool.

Saturday, August 01, 2009

The Old Man

There is an old man singing
Singing to no one and also everyone.
He's as blind as lady justice
And probably just as old.

He might have been strong once,
Before the music
And his incessant talking

But now, he sits stooped over bourbon
Singing and singing and singing
To no one and to everyone and to me

He might have been strong once
But probably never this happy.

Sunday, July 26, 2009

Dancing Toward Bethlehem

"Dancing Towards Bethlehem"

If there is only enough time in the final
minutes of the 20th century for one last dance
I would like to be dancing it slowly with you,
say, in the ballroom of a seaside hotel.
My palm would press into the small of your back

as the past hundred years collapsed into a pile
of mirrors or buttons or frivolous shoes,
just as the floor of the 19th century gave way
and disappeared in a red cloud of brick dust.

There will be no time to order another drink
or worry about what was never said,
not with the orchestra sliding into the sea
and all our attention devoted to humming
whatever it was they were playing. "
Billy Collins

Wednesday, July 01, 2009

A lover neglected.

I have twelve followers. Twelve people who have chosen to be notified of whenever I update.

To you, I apologize for my tenuous relationship with writing. Truthfully, it's a lover neglected in lieu of employment, it's the friend who's let too much time creep in between visits. It's the tough phone call I've been meaning to make.

I need prayer, I do. Blogging (and the internet in general) has a propensity of increasing the melodrama, but truthfully, I need prayer. It's so easy to lose our heart in the day-to-day. I don't think it's ever a sudden loss of heart, but the sudden realization of it's loss. Like, one day we wake up to find a mirror full of wrinkles and and resume full of excellent references.

But, the heart is the matter isn't it? It must be found and fought for and protected. I truly believe that it's there where hope is and it follows that it's there where the greatest assault must be. Consequently, it's there, in that assault where I find myself.
I need prayer.

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

On Teaching.

Today marks my last day with students in the classroom. I've resisted the impending last-day nostalgia so far, though I suspect in a month or two it will creep in and I'll spend four days in continuous cringing at memories of lame jokes and accidental culturally insensitive remarks. But, there will be far more to be proud of.

Starting a new job on Monday feels like I'm getting divorced on Friday and remarried to an entirely new woman next week. I'll have the weekend to process and grieve. Really though, she's not new. She's who I've known and thought about for the past few years, it's a comfortable fit, though I'm still a little nervous; I wonder if our hands will still fit together the same way.

Teaching, for me, has transcended traditional connotation of "employment." It's been a vacation from the social expectations of "job." I can say without hesitation that there hasn't been a day I've dreaded coming in.

To be sure, I probably haven't been a real teacher, something more of an observer getting paid and treated like a real teacher. I'm much more interested in conversation and inspiration than curriculum and grading. Probably not the stuff of real teachers.

I think I've cheated the system. I know honestly that I've learned more than I've taught. When I think about it, most of the past two years flashes before me like a movie-montage set to bad (Read: Awesome) 80's music. I'm going to work on capturing as many memories as possible before they're stolen by time and coming priorities.

Some of the most profound realizations:

They're smarter than me. Any teacher would be amiss to think that students are the only ones learning. I learn from 150+ people a day. Each student has a story. Some good, some bad but these stories are, for the most part, true. To not learn from that would be an exponential waste of time.

They Remember. I remember halfway through last year, a student repeated a phrase I used on the first day of school. That moment changed me. He never knew the impact, after all, he was just being a good student, but it was defining for me. God used that moment in ways neither I nor that student can fully understand. Our words matter.

Teaching is hard. Teaching is freaking hard. Teaching is seriously hard. But it's big and it's good and it's worth it. I honestly feel that after this, I'll be fine anywhere.

These memories are mine. They're my story now. I've been in excellent company for the past two years, and it's tough to put words to exactly how undeserving I am, so I'll be quiet and thankful.

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Durham Range of Emotion

If this were my group therapy session, what insights would you offer?

Friday, April 24, 2009

One is Not Bold in an Encounter with God.

One of the most beautiful quotes I've ever read. I teared up cried the first time I found this in 'The Ragamuffin Gospel' by Brennan Manning. Coincidentally, one of the best books I've ever read.

The quote is from Richard Selzer, a doctor who wrote a memoir called 'Mortal Lessons.' Manning uses the quote to metaphor our own palsy in relation to our God, and how he twists his lips to kiss ours.


"I stand by the bed where a young woman lies, her face, postoperative, her mouth twisted in palsy, clownish. A tiny twig of the facial nerve, the one to the muscles of her mouth has been severed. She will be thus from now on. The surgeon had followed with religious fervor the curve of her flesh; I promise you that. Nevertheless, to remove he tumor in her cheek, I had to cut the little nerve.

Her young husband is in the room. He stands of the opposite side of the bed and together they seem to dwell in the evening lamplight, isolated from me, private. Who are they, I ask myself, he and this wry mouth I have made, who gaze at and touch each other so generously, greedily? the young woman speaks

"Will my mouth always be like this?" she asks.

"Yes," I say, "It will. It is because the nerve was cut."

She nods and is silent. But the young man smiles.

"I like it," He says, "it is kind of cute."

All at once i know who he is. I understand and I lower my gaze. One is not bold in an encounter with God. Unmindful, he bends to kiss her crooked mouth and I am so close I can see how he twists his own lips to accommodate to hers, to show her that their kiss still works."

Sunday, April 19, 2009

Knowledge is useless.

"The gap between ignorance and knowledge is much less than the gap between knowledge and action"

In my limited experience, this truth has been consecrated through thousands of repeated examples (very rarely my own, of course.) As I adjust to living on the wrong side of my 20's, I'm beginning to understand that knowledge is basically useless. Theories are little more than conversation fodder or mental exercise.

Though it has long decorated the halls of academia, upheld as the highest virtue, fought for and stolen like the breath of a beautiful woman- it's essentially useless.

-When it's naked.

In order for knowledge to bring about the promised fruits of the labors of cultivating and tending to it, it must be married to action. Knowledge cannot be alone. The very nature of action brings experience, and when action is one with knowledge, the resulting experience is always perfect (Note: The outcome or result of said experience is not always pleasurable, but it is always perfect; always usable.) My knowing how to perform CPR means very little to the choking man at the restaurant. My knowing how to subtract only takes on meaning when it is time for me to perform subtraction.

Rock climbing is composed of tons of intellectual and physical partnerships. The beta and the meta. The two are inseparable, (Think: peanut butter and jelly, Lawry's and grilled cheese) you cannot have one without the other. In order to physically assert strength against a rock (meta) you must first know what happens when you clasp your fingers around a hold (beta.) While the two are not exactly mutually exclusive, if you want the experience of reaching the top, a perfect marriage must be made. Standing at the base of a rock trying to know your way up will get you nowhere. Having the strength of Samson without the cognitive understanding of gravity (and your relationship to it) will yield similar results.

Knowledge is lazy. Knowledge wants to hang out on the couch, action wants to move. Knowledge wants to talk, action wants to work. Knowledge wants to read, action wants to write.

I don't mean to say that knowledge or wisdom are not worth pursuing. I'm just wondering - What would happen if we got it drunk, took it to Vegas and married it to action? What would the kids look like?

--- With that, here's a screenshot of a little chart-based motivation I've constructed for myself. The idea was borrowed stolen from Demetri Martin. I'm posting not for accolades (My total for the week was 12, yes twelve) but for accountability. I figure if I post this, you will all know what I suck at. This is this week's way of moving from knowledge to action.

Thursday, April 02, 2009

Eldredge and Perspective.

Great Eldredge quote.

Have you ever had to literally turn a lover over to a mortal enemy to allow her to find out for herself what his intentions toward her really were? Have you ever had to lie in bed knowing she was believing his lies and was having sex with him every night? Have you ever sat helplessly by in a parking lot, while your enemy and his friends took turns raping your lover even as you sat nearby, unable to win her heart enough so she would trust you to rescue her? Have you ever called this one you had loved for so long, even the day after her rape, and asked her if she was ready to come back to you only to have her say her heart was still captured by your enemy? Have you ever watched your lover’s beauty slowly diminish and fade in a haze of alcohol, drugs, occult practices, and infant sacrifice until she is no longer recognizable in body or soul? Have you ever loved one so much that you even send your only son to talk with her about your love for her, knowing that he will be killed by her? (And in spite of knowing all of this, he was willing to do it because he loved her, too, and believed you were meant for each other.)

All this and more God has endured because of his refusal to stop loving us. Indeed, the very depth and faithfulness of his love for us, along with his desire for our freely given love in return, are what give Satan the ammunition to wound God so deeply as he carries out his unceasing campaign to make us into God’s enemy.

The Sacred Romance
, 106
So often I minimize my own role in Jesus' life/death. Even as I type this (and it's hard to) I sit justifying myself. Measuring myself against the actions of "far worse sinners." Here I sit, polishing my pride.

In all of my attempts to run from him, every time I've shouted hate into the sky, every time I've wanted to disbelieve, he's purchased me.

God, save me from the times in my weakness that I fall into my enemy. Save me from the times that I am strong, and weaken myself to join my enemy. May your enemies be mine. And give me the eyes to know who they are.

Friday, March 27, 2009

Ceaselessly into the Past

I think about The Great Gatsby a lot. And by a lot, I mean that I could probably read and reread this book only and have a fine understanding of the entire world. Fitzgerald was one of the great ones; his insecurity and brokenness gave him the insight to write the perfectly imperfect character.

I don't know what it is about the last lines of the book, but since reading it for the first time in 12th grade, I haven't been able to shake them.

I think it captures the spirit of the book in perfect prose. For the few hundred pages before these lines, Gatsby had been crafting and destroying himself, trying to regain his past "Beating against the current." I love the wind-out-of-your-sails brand of hopelessness it evokes.

"Gatsby believed in the green light, the orgiastic future that year by year recedes before us. It eluded us then, but that's no matter--tomorrow we will run faster, stretch out our arms farther.... And one fine morning-- So we beat on, boats against the current, borne back ceaselessly into the past."

What's the best paragraph you've ever read?

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

On Sunglasses

I have diagnosed myself with a moderate-to-moderate case of "Photophobia." Which, according to my vast research (Wikipedia) and medical experience (WebMD) means that I'm either part vampire, or I have slight damage to my Oculomotor nerves.

Basically, when it's bright, my eyes hurt. Probably sounds like common sense to most (doesn't everyone's?) But for me, when it's even semi-bright my eyes try to commit ocular-suicide via hari-kari.

Fortunately, God has invented a solution: "Sunglasses."

The problem with sunglasses is that no matter who you are, no matter the style, brand or quality of sunglass, anyone who wears them looks like a jerk. Millions of sensible citizens have been unfairly prejudged in the hundreds of years since the invention of sunglasses.

Maybe it makes sense that the blooddrunk tyrant, Nero, was one of the pioneers of wearing them. After all, burning Christians is difficult in the bright Italian sun. Also, turns out Hitler was a big fan.

Bottom line, please accept my psycho-biological excuse for looking like a jerk.

Thursday, March 19, 2009

You are not your job.

At what point in our youthful idealism have we outgrown the need for knowing someone? When did it become standard to evaluate a person based on their economic occupation? How did I become so lazy as to reduce someone's entire life into four easy, monosyllabic words?

"What do you do?"

Hang out with anyone 25 years old or older and I guarantee it's among the first of three (at most, three) introductory questions. Usually the newcomer's name will be offered, followed by some obvious commentary: "Crazy night, huh?" "How do you know John/the groom/my brother?" etc.

But invariably and inevitably the question comes.

"What do you do?"

For some, the question is met with pride and relief. Finally, you've been given opportunity to announce your station in life. Maybe your job connotes some prestige or respect or earning power and you're now allowed to bask in the validation afforded by your job title.

For others, the question is met with sheepish indifference, usually followed by some kind of qualifier. "I work in a warehouse, but I'm going to school to be a teacher" or "I'm a teacher, but I'm starting a small business." The question we've asked has now placed an uncalled-for burden of anxiety on the person, all in the name of "getting to know someone."

Since when has a person's job title been enough to know them? When has the way someone converts time to money ever been a sufficient peek into their lives?

The truth is, I cannot know someone by knowing their economic occupation. You cannot know their heart or their passions by knowing where or how they spend 8 hours of their day.

There are times when someone is genuinely interested in knowing your job. But, I would submit that most often the interviewer is simply too casual, too lazy to ask the hard questions.

It is always wrong to assume that someone's reply to the question will tell me who they are. At this point, all we're doing is sharpening our stereotyping skills (I call it discernment) by measuring them against our imagination. A losing game, for sure.

"I'm a lawyer"
"I'm a teacher"
"I work in a warehouse"
"I work in a restaurant"

It's the ultimate question in failure, there is never a right answer. Essentially, we're asking a new person to play some sort of mind-reading trivia game against all of our past experiences. Any answer the person gives is immediately measured against your unique and distinct emotional history with that occupation. We've got it so wrong. I have it so wrong.

And every assumption is never fully accurate and always fully unfair.

These four words have irretrievably and indiscriminately reduced someone to the answer of your careless line of questioning.

How disappointing it would be to realize that what you do for 8-10 hours a day has become your identity, your single identifying trait worn proudly/humbly/begrudgingly as a badge of introduction.

I think the offense goes beyond the laziness of the person asking the question. For so long we've supported the idea that our validation comes from our occupation. Our business has become our business card, our mutual link to the understanding of another. I've traded passion for pretense.

What if we chose never to ask the question? What if we decided that the value and estimation of a person is found in his passion or in her heart. There's too many proving this wrong. I know guys in "noble" occupations who aren't noble people, and I know just as many who carry mundane tasks with the heart of an adventurer. You are not your job.

I know teachers who "do it for the money," and lawyers who wish they were teachers.

What if we responded to the inevitable question by answering in passion?

What do you do?

You are not your job.

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Longing for the Sea

  • I want to go to Nepal
  • I want to fly to London, alone, for a three-day weekend.
  • I want to climb any one of the world's major peaks.
  • I want to be a lawyer.
  • I want to be a doctor.
  • I want to be a teacher.
  • I want what God wants.
  • I want to hike the long way up Machu Picchu.
  • I want to write something that inspires someone.
  • I want to act in a small, sparsely attended community theater.
  • I want to shepherd a few sheep.
  • I want to bale hay.
  • I want to breathe deeply and sleep.
  • I want to sail a boat.
  • I want to write a book.
  • I want to stand tired and worn before a merciful God.
  • I want to feel the cool spray of redemption.
  • I want to drive my kids to school.
  • I want to listen.
  • I am no longer a boat longing for the sea and yet afraid.

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

God does not love the bottom of the ocean.

I don't like scary things. I most definitely don't like Oceany-scary things.

I'm well aware of the beautiful correlation between both the earth and our bodies being composed of 2/3rds water. I'm pretty sure it's one of God's profound metaphors for deep, worldwide connection.
I love that all of us are connected to the earth and each other, bound and branded by beautiful and purposeful design.


God does not love this creature.

Maybe He does, but I hate everything about this shark. I hope he's swimming on the opposite side of heaven and we happen to "just miss each other" for all of eternity.

I hate the Goblin Shark.

Also, almost every other water-breathing, bottom feeder.

Monday, February 23, 2009

Freshwater Streams

Where do we draw the line between sanctity and sacrifice? Between commitment and compromise? How much compromise is healthy? How far do I run with idealism before it starts weighing me down? On what wings will I fly? Whose promises will I believe?

Sometimes it seems I'm working for Greenpeace while dumping oil in secret freshwater streams.

Lately, it seems marriage is for everyone else. That it's something true and good for them but not for me. Not because I wasn't designed for it, but because of my oil-dumping, you see.

A good friend told me that "a woman's heart must be so taken by God that I have to go to Him to get it."

What a beautiful metaphor. for everyone else.

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

America and the American.

America is changing. Collectively, independently, completely. With it, the American is changing.

For me, the most heartbreaking change has not been the economy itself, but what we're finding in the wake of such a massive splash.

The American landscape has suffered a Pangea-sized economic earthquake and will be changed forever. The outlook, whether eventually positive or negative, is inarguably and radically alien.

The American ideal, once fortressed by pages of historical success stories is being crashed against; wave, after wave of desperation. Now, the country built on hyper-idealism is having it's head dunked in it's own ice-cold water.

But still, I think the most heartbreaking blow has been to the average American spirit. Each of us, for all of our lives have been told that we can be "anything we want." Selfish-ambition praised as virtue. Self-sacrifice praised as necessary. Owning your own company has long been termed the "American ideal." We're a nation built on small-business owners. And most of it, whether deserved or not, has evaporated.

Maybe our egos have too-long been as inflated as our credit limits. Our security has been in home equity and our anxiety tempered by the ease of withdrawing from it.

Everyday I wake up to a different news piece chronicling a different national collapse and the subsequent lament of the average American tax payer. Honestly, it's scary; I think for the first time we're all tasting the bitter taste of our own blood.

I think the one cloudbreak throughout this storm is that, for better or worse, we're seeing the widespread and very public failure of so much greed. We're all lined up watching the American balloon lose air.

We wanted to be the guy in the Mercedes until we realized he's been falsifying our investments and draining our retirements.

We wanted to be the guy neglecting family and friends to grow his construction business.

We wanted to be the guy in the movies, until we realized he wanted to be us.

I'm predicting (and praying for) a return to values. Where we save money competitively. Where our lives are defined by friendship rather than ownership. Where our popularity comes from our simplicity. Where meals out with two people become meals in with 10 people. Where passion replaces ambition, and its intensity raised exponentially.

The shallows are drying, leaving us exposed. We have to dive in, and we have to dive deep because the next wave is coming.

More to come. Thoughts?

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Our Real Selves

"Well, it's rather like that with Christ. When you've completely given up yourself to His personality you will then, for the first time in your life, be developing into a real person. he made the whole world. He invented it as an author invents characters in a book, all different men that you and I were intended to be.

Our real selves are, so to speak, all waiting for us in Him. What I call my "real self" now is hardly a peson at all. It's mainly a meeting place for various natural forces, desires and fears, etcetera, some of which come from my ancestors, and some from my education, some perhaps from devils. The self you were really intended to be is something that lives not from nature but from God."
-- C.S. Lewis

Sunday, January 04, 2009

A Coffeeshop Conversation

I thought they were having an affair, but it's much worse than that.

Affairs always end one way, but this is much worse.

She's beautiful, her hair, while once en vogue, is styled, but no longer stylish. An oval face with nearly perfect skin, probably late-thirties, early-forties.
I've never seen such an intense look; she hasn't broken his gaze once. He's handsome but not too much so, someone out of an older soap opera; dated clothes and matching hair.
"After this, you're going to be a better mother." He says.
She plays with her hair, and apparently thinks Radiohead "sounds a lot like Neal Young."
"The place is real nice, the judge is real nice." She says.
They've each removed their reading glasses and placed them on the table on top of loose papers. He has a accordion file-folder, she has water purchased elsewhere and a tall coffee.
"I would never mess up a 'seven and seven'" she says. "There's a very real way to make those, and I'm the best."
She gazes, he returns. His face doesn't match his voice, sounds like he's missing teeth, but I looked at him, he wasn't missing teeth. She plays with hair, studies her water bottle, spins her reading glasses and returns his gaze. God, I wish they were just having an affair.
"Step three is giving it to a higher power. God, Jesus, Buddha, Dionysus, you can make one up if you want to, but you've got to give it to a higher power."
He starts telling a story; animated and convincing. She smiles a weak smile and buries her head.

He stops the story.

"Do you think I'll get my daughter back?" She asks, her voice surprisingly composed.

"I don't know. You have to stop drinking" The man says.

"I really hope so."

"I hope so too."

I wish it were just an affair.