Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Rolex 2008

We went down to good ol' Kentucky this past weekend to watch the Rolex Three Day Eventing. We went before in 2005 and I loved the weekend. I wrote about it twice, once here and another here... This year I went with Kate, my mom and sister. It was a change from last time as Puppet Nuts wasn't with us, although he was missed.

I really love Rolex. Lexington is a beautiful city, the land is breath taking, and the food is top notch. My sister lived down there as she went to UK. It's great driving in a city with someone who knows the in's and out's. we ate at Gumbo Ya-Ya and Warring Station... Cajun and awesome panini's delish!

Time with family is great. It is tense and hard sometimes as your dealing with ppl who've known you all of your life and have certain expectations of you to follow. When you break out of these expectations it can be traumatic and there will be some who will try to put those expectations back on to you... force you back into that box. My family has dealt with this and is still dealing with it on many levels i won't get into... but aren't all families having to deal with this? what junk does your family attach to you, dear reader? i'm sure you have plenty of examples.

i write this to say that not only am i the victim of this but also the perveyor as well. i wear both hats equally. what this weekend has shown is the dangers of this... of not really listening to one another, of just hearing what you expect to hear, not what is actually said. my family works to actively listen to one another, but it's a hard row to tow. it takes a lot of work.

what boxes are we being stuck with because of our gender, sexual identity, race, and ethnicity? we all get hit with this. as soon as i said KENTUCKY i bet some images popped into your head. even some that would say "of course he can go to Kentucky, he's a white, straight, middle-class male, he'd have no problem." that is boxing. so what boxes do you work to overcome? what challenges are you facing due to expectation?

i ask, and i really want to know, because i think what boxes we face have an affect on how we view God. i've been discussing with a fellow blogg'n seminarian about the pronouns we use for God. is it fair to God, that when i pray to God i picture a white male with a beard and call God "He"? How spiritually mature is this practice? I'm well aware that all the pronouns in the bible are "He" for God, but how fair is that? Are we boxing God? Are we putting labels on God that shouldn't be there in the first place?

I would say the answer is yes, we are. not only do we do it to ourselves and the ones we love... but we do it to our Creator as well. True love is seeing the other for what they are and responding to them out of compassion and empathy. expectations can be good as it's great to have goals... but they can be equally restraining. so just consider this... ask yourself what boxes are you using, and see if some of those would be better placed in your attic.

looking forward to your responses.

Monday, April 21, 2008

Waterboard your Friends for Fun and Profit!

this past two weeks have been busy-busy! first my buddy Brian and I plant a garden.. of course we did it all manly and junk with beers, cigars, and punk rawk music! then someone steals my flower pot... so i contemplate on the meaning of life and find meaning it impermeance... then i go to a Washington Capitals game with my buddy Jim and watch them lose to the Flyers... ugh.

so then i return and take Sonny out for a walk and LOW AND BEHOLD!!!! THE FLOWER POT HAS RETURNED! Well this prompts me to spiral into a existential crisis. what does this mean? i prayed and found meaning in the loss and now it's back! does this mean i start preaching a Joel Osteen "pray and get rich" style prosperity gospel? now my suspicions are up and i figure it's an inside job... so i decide to politely question 5 of my closest friends using a technique that the president says isn't torture. You can really have fun with waterboarding!

the problem with this is that all 5 friends confessed to taking the flower pot. it's a small pot, so that doesn't make any sense... and those friends have ceased returning my phone calls...umm... wonder why.

maybe i have a quantum flower pot that blinks in and out of existence. sweet! the moral of all this silliness is that never live close to a friend whose wife likes to "borrow" things when she's a little tipsy. ;-)

i've completed my new testament paper on John 14 (the way, truth and life passage) and found some cool conclusions. I'm finishing my Jewish Scriptures paper on Jonah and will report back on that.. should be fun! Yesterday, Kate, Jim and his theive'n wife (;-)) and I went and saw Barack Obama make a stop at the Lancaster train station on his whistle stop tour. I really hope he gets the nomination. I like his policies and his positive and inspiring speeches. we need change from the same ol' same ol' and i believe he's the candidate to do it.

The LTS Silent Auction is going on this week as well! If you're in the area, please head to the second floor of Mayer Commons and check it out! Thanks to Brian for helping me set it up! RAWK!

This weekend Kate and I are gonna see my family at the Kentucky Horse Park in Lexington to see the Rolex 3 Day Eventing. I LOVE eventing. Same horse has to compete in Dressage (control and precision), Cross Country (endurance and courage) and High Jump (athleticism). It's really quite something to watch. I'm really excited for it.

What are you all up to? What other lessons can i get from the flower pot? how about these flower pots? hope all is well with you dear reader! Blessings!

Thursday, April 17, 2008

Wright or Wrong?

In 1961, a young African-American man, after hearing President John F. Kennedy's challenge to, "Ask not what your country can do for you, but what you can do for your country," gave up his student deferment, left college in Virginia and voluntarily joined the Marines.

In 1963, this man, having completed his two years of service in the Marines, volunteered again to become a Navy corpsman. (They provide medical assistance to the Marines as well as to Navy personnel.)

The man did so well in corpsman school that he was the valedictorian and became a cardiopulmonary technician. Not surprisingly, he was assigned to the Navy's premier medical facility, Bethesda Naval Hospital, as a member of the commander in chief's medical team, and helped care for President Lyndon B. Johnson after his 1966 surgery. For his service on the team, which he left in 1967, the White House awarded him three letters of commendation. What is even more remarkable is that this man entered the Marines and Navy not many years after the two branches began to become integrated.

While this young man was serving six years on active duty, Vice President Dick Cheney, who was born the same year as the Marine/ sailor, received five deferments, four for being an undergraduate and graduate student and one for being a prospective father.

Presidents Bill Clinton and George W. Bush, both five years younger than the African-American youth, used their student deferments to stay in college until 1968. Both then avoided going on active duty through family connections.

Who is the real patriot? The young man who interrupted his studies to serve his country for six years or our three political leaders who beat the system? Are the patriots the people who actually sacrifice something or those who merely talk about their love of the country?

After leaving the service of his country, the young African-American finished his final year of college, entered the seminary, was ordained as a minister, and eventually became pastor of a large church in one of America's biggest cities.

This man is Rev. Jeremiah Wright, the retiring pastor of Trinity United Church of Christ.

thanks to Cathi for the find!

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

What Is Emerging?

The New Religious Landscape:

this is from the blog over there in the bar called Emergent Village, a great source. Tony is a great source and expert on all the different types of "emerging." I really enjoyed this. Tony asks his own stunning (rhetorical) question: “What do we do with the robots when they show up at the church doors?!

I consider myself a emergent. Get the context and then dialog with others about. Gather around the tribal fire and tell stories and try to figure out one another's lives. Great video! Check it out!

Saturday, April 12, 2008

Life Lessons in a Flower Pot

thanks to all the pollsters who want to hear more personal experience... great suggestion! i'll have to start covering that more in my blog posts. now i shall begin my third post for this week, sorry if i'm overwhelming y'all out there...

i operate on the assumptions that there is no such thing as secular and there is no such thing as coincidence. i'm really into synchronisity. being attuned to the ever transmitting divine help you see the world as illuminated.

here's personal experience that highlights this: Last night someone stole a clay flower pot that i had decorated. i painted it and dremelled out a design in the clay and WOW was it awesome. i spent a lot of time on it and now it's gone. well such is life as well. you spend a lot of time in life only to have it be gone all too soon. i miss that pot. i storm off and pray and then start to feel strangely humbled that someone else saw the beauty in it! i'm sad that the person couldn't ask me to make them one but will be happy to offer that if i ever find out who took it.

a traditional route would be to declare that person a sinner and a thief and actively hunt them down for retributive violence.. directly ignoring the life and teachings of Jesus. this is mimetic theory in action, the retributive violence that only perpetuates and reciprocates, never solving anything.

now as i walk around i am looking for this pot. i'm noticing a lot of cool stuff too! the trees in bloom, the layout of garden'n, and other ppl's pots (OPP?). I'm out noticing God's good work, how people beautify their environment, and i'm considering the lilies. i also recognize that i had a pot to plant it in the first place (Just read Jessica's post about those who don't even have that!)

hope this rant is of some light and some coherence on how i see the world. i hope this helps you, dear reader, to recognize that the water in which we swim is divine.

;-) keep rawk'n out!

Thursday, April 10, 2008

I Serve no Priestly Role

Kate's family has been going to the Flying ~E~ ranch since the late-70s.
This year was my 5th venture forth and it was just as awesome as the others.

but it was different. why?

we usually go the week after easter, but because of seminary, i had to go the week before.. so our family and friends weren't there as in past years. PLUS it was the first time at the ranch as a future pastor.

i didn't think it would have been as big of a deal as it was. people came up to me and would ask me about what i believed about this or that. what they really wanted to do is talk about what they believed, so i wouldn't answer and pose the question back on them. this worked great as they already had the answer! now most of these answers were the exact OPPOSITE of what i believed.

but i wasn't going to tell them that.

i listened nicely. added where i could, questioned where i should, and then let it ride. i learned that when it comes to meeting people, it's best to listen and be mush.

there's a King of the Hill Episode where Hank (the Dad) sends Bobby (the son) to Cotton’s (the crazy grandpa who was WWII) old military academy, where Cotton tries to break the boy’s spirit.

HANK: I told you it wasn't easy. You didn't believe me, did you?
COTTON: I guess he was just born a pile of mush.
HANK: Well, I guess you could say that, but maybe mush isn't so bad. You can keep stomping on it, but it's all give. It just stays mush. You can't build it up, but you can't break it down either. In a funny way, mush has the edge.

mush gets all the chicks.

Mush also doesn't have stress nor does it judge others for holding particular views. Mush bids its time, listens, and if people want to actively investigate their theology, tell ask you. Kate and I made some great friends who did just that. they bid their time and asked as well and didn't get hyper or offended.

imagine a world that didn't get hyper, didn't draw boundary lines, that listened to each other's wisdom and views on the world. imagine, it's easy if you try.

Monday, April 07, 2008

Mimetic Theory in Action

Hey y'all, remember that scary Mimetic Theory i talked about in this post and this other post?

Well since I will now point out daily applications of what i post about, i figured i'd start here. The best instance of Mimetic Theory can be found the best show on TV today... BATTLESTAR GALACTICA!

Remember when Lee gives an empassioned speech in defense of Baltar? That's Mimetic Theory!

Lee points out a string of incidents, some involving himself, where people were forgiven for serious crimes, and defends those decisions, arguing that humanity is not a real civilization anymore. Adama thinks that executing Baltar for actions that he couldn't really prevent is not justice, and that Baltar is just the Fleet's scapegoat for everyone's misdeeds and failures on New Caprica. The speech plays a major role in Baltar's subsequent acquittal.

I couldn't find a video of Lee's speech, but you can listen to it here!


Friday, April 04, 2008

The Wife Says...

i need to write shorter posts. sorry for the long one's y'all... i have a poll up on the site here to the left of your screen, let me know what you want to know more of! or if you have a suggestion, email or post a comment here on the blog.

i look forward to your suggestions, dear readers. i'm thankful for the dialogue we've generated and hope you all are as enriched as i am.

thank you from the deepest chambers of my heart.

Tuesday, April 01, 2008

The New Testament Class

Dudes.. seriously.. you gotta get a book called The New Testament; A Historical Introduction to Early Christianity by Bart D. Ehrman. Bart also wrote "Misquoting Jesus" which i also highly recommend. why do i loooove this book/class so much? well it really helps bring into focus the historical world of Jesus. Here are some thoughts from the book:

Many christians today think that there was once ONE christianity in the first century and that the splits (i.e. the many denominations) of christianity are a modern invention. NOT so. There were at least 4 types, if not more. we had the Jewish-Christian Adoptionist that thought Jesus was not himself divine but his message was. Calling Jesus God was a blasphemous lie. They liked the gospel of Matthew and thought Paul was a heretic.

The Marcionite Christians on the other hand LOVED Paul and thought that Jesus was Divine and NOT human. Marcionites believed that the Jewish god was evil and Jesus came to save us from this god. Marcion (the leader) actually went further and put together a "canon" or standard books. Their bible was a shortened version of Luke and ten truncated letters of Paul with NO Hebrew Scriptures.

There were the Gnostics who believed that there was a special knowledge that is necessary for salvation. Salvation meant escaping from this material world. Jesus was fully human but yet was entered into by another entity known as the CHRIST at his baptism. therefore jesus was two beings. Gnostics were also polytheists believing that there were at least 32 different gods and some even believed there were 365 gods and each one controlled one day. They had their own writings, namely the Gospel of Thomas, Gospel of Mary, Gospel of Truth, and the GOSPEL OF JOHN. Yes, that's right, John is a Gnostic gospel.

Proto-Orthodox christians claimed that it's views had always been the majority position and that it's rivials (meaning all you've just read about) were heretics. They later became the dominant form. They accomplished this by taking everyone else's major gospels, namely matthew, mark, luke and john and claiming that these held the real authority. these christians argued that jesus was both divine and human and was one being instead of two. by accepting all scriptures as authorities they were able to claim that both perspectives were right and showed their emphasis was correct and that argue'n that Jesus was ONLY human or ONLY divine was a perversion of the truth.

so that's how the New Testament emerged, namely out of conflicts from these groups. and we've been debate'n the acceptance of what books should be in the bible ever since. there were some popular ones like the shepherd of hermas that didn't make it. Revelation was the MOST disputed book, but somehow made it in. It was not until the year 367 C.E. (almost two and a half centuries after the last n.t. book was written) that the 27 book N.T. canon was accepted.

another thing to think about is the gap between writing. Mark was prolly the first Gospel written about Jesus... it was written 30 to 40 years after the death of Jesus. This would be like having the first written record of the Eisenhower presidencey appear today. There is also NO written reference to Jesus or his followers in pagan literature toay from the first century of the common era.

crazy facts for a crazy world. now we don't have to say "i wanna go back to that one time christianity" when we never had it. even the early church set up was split between 5 major ancient cities. gotta love history, it's so crazy interesting!

Who did I see this past Monday?

you betcha!