Wednesday, December 27, 2006
Wednesday, December 20, 2006
Saturday, December 16, 2006
1. Went to see Mel Gibson's movie Apocalypto. While I do respect Gibson's willingness to take risks in his filmaking choices there is just too much running around in the jungle and "lack" of historical context and character developement to win me over. Some have hailed this film as cautionary reminder of what happens to a society that losses it's moral compass but I suspect this is only true for the viewer who already strongly believes this to begin with. For most folks who see the film I am afraid it will only contribute to their interest and thirst for violence. I wasn't moved by the film and had a similar emotional response when I saw The Passion.I guess I just don't get it...Here is my suggestion to Mel. Give me Braveheart II before you take on another potential earth shattering project.
2. Spent some time looking for houses and found two houses that I "really", "really" liked but they both fell through. The one guy decided to stay put and the other house was rented the previous day by a couple moving here from Texas who had not even seen the house, except for some small photo on the internet! I was deeply disappointed because I want to move out of my current living situation so bad...I have decided to stay put during the holidays and wait until after New Years to start looking again. There are a ton of houses to rent on the market, but too many of them are way overpriced, imo, and I am picky about the kind of house I want to live in...In the meantime, I am trying to make a home for myself in "my heart" whether I am at work, travelling, or in my bedroom.
3. I have reacquainted myself with "enchanting" music and literature. I am currently reading William Morris facsmile Kelmscott Press Edition of "The Wood Beyond the World"...Morris founded Kelmscott Press in 1890 and his production company has produced some of the most celebrated and beautifully illustrated books in history. I own a facsimile reproduction of the Kelms Geoffrey Chaucer's Works which includes over 87 mind blowing illustrations. It is the most valuable book I own and the limited originals are considered some of the most valuable books ever published. As a writer Morris is not in the same league as Tolkien or Lewis but the few books he has written are enchanting and worthy of reading if one is a fantasy buff like me....On the music front, I recently purchased two C.D.'s by Loreena Mckennitt. "Mckennitt is a Canadian singer, composer, harpist and pianist most famous for writing, recording and performing world music with a new-age/Celtic feel". I have known about her for quite some time but have never purchased anything by her until last week. She is often compared to Enya but after listening to her new album "An Ancient Muse" and her live performances in Paris and Toronto I feel her music has more depth and variety than the music of Enya. It has been said of Mckennitt that "before McKennitt composes any music, she engages in massive research on a specific subject which forms the general concept of the album. Before creating Elemental and Parallel Dreams she travelled to Ireland for inspiration from the country's history, geography and culture. The album The Mask and Mirror was preceded by research in Spain where she engaged in studying Galicia, a Celtic section of Spain, along with its abundant Arabic roots, thus creating an album including elements of both Celtic and Arabic music...and...according to the liner notes of her latest album, An Ancient Muse was inspired primarily by travels among and reading about the various cultures along the Silk Road."....She is probably best known for her pop hit, "The Mummer's Dance" back in the 1990's but my current favorite is a song called, "The Lady of Shalott", a beautiful enchanting nine minute song about "a magical being who lives alone on an island upstream from King Arthur's Camelot"....Her most recent release An Ancient Muse is her first release since 1998. She has not produced any new music since the death of her fiancé Ronald Rees and two others close to her drowned during a boating accident. Apparently this event had a profound effect on her life, as expected, for the past eight years. She has an incredibly beautiful voice and her music has alot of variety which is something you often don't find in some of the other popular "New Age sounding" musicians. It's worth a spin and a few bucks if you like some New Age enchantment from time to time....
4. Yesterday was my last day at work for the next three weeks. I won't be around much this holiday season. I am going camping next week and then my sons and I are going to Tucson Arizona for a week before I head off to San Diego to finish up my vacation. I will be home for a couple of days near Christmas and will be home on New Year's Day to watch USC crush Michigan and demonstrate "once again" why midwest football is always overated.
Saturday, December 02, 2006
In the weeks to come and until this little reading project runs it's course, I'll try to pass along a few quotes, comments, and ponderings as time and motivation allows...so for now... I'll leave you with the following quotes from his book "The Re-enchantment of Everyday Life, for you to ponder.
"The Soul has an absolute, unforgiving need for regular excursions into enchantment. It requires them like the body needs food and the mind needs thought. Yet our culture often takes pride in disproving and exploding the sources of enchantment, explaining away one mystery after another and overturning shrines, dissolving the family farm that has housed spirits of civility for eons, or desecrating for material profit a mountain or stream sacred to native residents. We have yet to learn that we can't survive without enchantment and that the loss of it is killing us."
Enchantment is tinged with play and eros,...elements that are suspect in culture of extreme ambition, and it always implies an escape from logic, one of the prized tools in a society bent on understanding...enchantment is often colored by at least soft hues of absurdity, which is only a sign of it's saving distance from excessive rationality"
"I'd rather be a dysfunctional soul than a well-adjusted robot"
The tendency of reason and science to take up too much room in modern life is just another symptom of disenchantment. The root problem is not science. It is religion...
Many people define their religion as a belief, and they pin their hopes and understanding on a provisional understanding of life. But there isn't much room for faith in a religion that is reduced to belief, and there isn't any place for an open-minded appreciation for the world's sacredness. In a disenchanted world, for all its concern for morals and social action, religion separates itself from everyday life and becomes obsessed with its own brand of belief and moral purity. In this kind of setting, the people who pollute our rivers and oceans and exploit workers and famililies may go to church and profess strong moral values, and yet they don't have any concience about the water, the earth, or human community....There is something dreadfully wrong with this kind of religion, which creates a kind of psychotic dissociation. A person feels morally pure because he is blissfully adhering to ideas of moralilty that have little to do with the world in which he lives, and at the same time is committing heinous sins that are not cataloged in his disenchanted morality."
"The first step in enchantment, then, is to recover a beginner's mind and a child's wonder, to forget some of the things we have learned and to which we are attached. As we empty ourselves of disenchanted values, a fresh, paradisical spirit may pour in,and then we may discover the nature of the soul and the pleasure of being a participant,and not a master, in the extravagance of life"
Monday, November 27, 2006
1. A greater sense of self awareness regarding my short and long term goals...and...a greater self awareness about the areas in my life that need attention and devotion of my time and energy.Self awareness is not an end into itself but it is difficult to pursue one's needs, passions, and desires without some self awareness.
2. The relationship with my two sons. I am very proud and grateful I have been able to maintain a strong and growing relationship with my two sons since my divorce over four years ago. It is not easy to keep close to one's children when one does not live with them but I am very grateful that we have what I believe to be a good and growing relationship.
3. I am grateful for my health. I am more physically fit at this time in my life than I have been for over ten years. I am eating better and exercising at least four days a week now. Not bad for someone pushing 50 and has sustained some of the bike and car accidents I have over the years.
4. Emotional stability. I feel like I am at a better place emotionally than I have been for a number of years. Emotionally stability is a fickle thing since we do not have control over many of the variables in our lives but I feel I have grown stronger in a number of areas over the years and feel more confident to pursue some things I was not able to in years past.
5. Am grateful for where I am in life. Being divorced, single, and pushing 50 is not easy at times but I feel content where I am in life and do not envy my friends or the more "normal" living circumstances of others. It has not been easy to get to this place where I am at but I do not regret the twists and turns my life has taken over the years.
There are many other things that I am grateful for this past year but they are more personal in nature and thus I'll leave it with these five things....During my week off I also got in some great hiking and mountain bike riding. I visited a new California State park on this trip and had a great ride through a beautiful Redwood forest near Santa Cruz. There aren't too many places I haven't been to in California but I was pleasantly surprised by the discovery of a new place I can now go riding and hiking.....Not much to report about Thanksgiving day. Spent a quiet meal with my mom and aunt.I don't get too many home cooked meals these days so I am always grateful for a hot meal with all the fixens. The meal was great and I took my mom for a walk around the block before we sat down to eat some Turkey. My mom is amazing. She is almost 92 and still is motivated to walk around the block once a week... I left the next morning and came back to Bakersfield where I spent Saturday putting up my Christmas decorations before I watched the USC Trojans stomp the Irish of Notre Dame and move one step closer to their fourth consecutive National Championship game. It was sweet....Yesterday I went to see the movie The Fountain after being intrigued by the comments of my friend Dave who saw the movie earlier in the week. What a trippy movie, the music, the images, and the storyline all blended together to form a unique mosiac of the past, present, and future. But, it is the kind of movie alot of folks probably won't appreciate, especially if one likes their movies linear, logical, and an ending that is neat and tidy. Personally, I found the film emotionally satisfying and intellectually stimulating. While the film probably provokes questions about death and dying for most people who saw the film this is not what I found particularly interesting or intriquing. Death is not something I give much thought to because I figure there is nothing I can do about it and what I believe or don't believe about death and what happens after one dies is not going to effect what "actually" happens when a person dies. Of course, I may be singing a different tune when the time approaches for the grim reaper to visit me....What intriqued me about the film is to what great lengths people will go to find a solution or formula to the problems and challenges we all face in this life....and....the film reminded me that there is so much in this life that is out of our control, ultimately, and no matter how intelligent, hard working, and passionate we are there are many things we will never control or master for one reason or another. I doubt this is the point the director was trying to make but this is what I got out of the film. If one goes into this film looking or searching for some kind of deep philosophical meaning I suspect one will be disappointed....but....if one just absorbs the sights, sounds, and emotional energy of the movie without thinking too much or trying to figure out some deep meaning than I think one will appreciate the film for what it is.....
Saturday, November 25, 2006
Sunday, November 19, 2006
Saturday, November 18, 2006
Thursday, November 16, 2006
If we are displaying sex with unseemly exaggeration and preoccupation, then we have not found the heart of sex and made it a fully integrated part of the individual and social life. Given our obsession with sex, we need to get more of it, not in quanity but in quality. It's like a person addicted to junk food. He eats as much as he can because there is nothing there. If he eats real food--unprocessed, close to it's earth origins, wonderfully prepared--he might leave the addiction behind. We need more sex, not less, but we need sex with soul.
Lovemaking is a ritual that, like all religious rites of the world, tries to make present the spirit that will make the human activity magically effective. Like all ritual, too, sex requires art, attention to details, and a devoted imagination.
Sex is a kind of gnosis or holy knowing. In sex we get to know a person in a way that is more than special. Sex reveals much that is unconscious to both people, and so the unveiling that goes on at the physical level is mirrored as the soul sheds its protective covering.
At the very heart of sex lies a profound affirmation of life, giving us a reason for living, optimism, and energy. At every step, this process can be wounded and weakened by a fear of vitality and a failure to trust life, in others and in oneself. Everywhere we are told to set limits on eros, to be careful that we are not lost in its' passion. But if we listen to these worried cautions, we may end up with only a modicum of self possession purchased at the cost of life's passion. Eros may go underground as seething, dark desire, and the surface of life turn mechanical and controlled, cheerless and humorless.
Why not extend the idea...that sex can be healing? The display of each other's bodies and especially the private parts, the organs usually veiled, may help heal a marriage or keep each person lively and vibrant as the Greeks would say, in touch with immortality.
It might help many people to allow themselves their sexual shyness, not discounting it as a personal inadequacy but recognizing that indulgence and abandon are not the only kind of sexual liberation.
The rush of vitality we find in sex can make us feel in our bodies that life is meaningful--one reason why sex has such powerful attraction and why, when sex is lacking or unsatisfactory, life seems dull and empty...Sexual vitality also helps keep couples together, because sex can give daily lives the optimism they need to carry on.
Sex eases us away from the intellectualized life and places us in a different position where intuition, emotion, and physical sensation take on special importance.
A married couple may not feel terribly affectionate at times when they make love, but as they make love they may bring each other loyalty to their marriage, to their home, and to their children.
Lovers who are also friends will have something to say to each other before, after, adn during sex. They will be aware of their deeper ties as they make love, and their lovemaking will be tightly woven into other dimensions of their intimacy. Their friendship will give sex a loving context that is more stable than romantic love or physical attraction.
Modern society's combined moralism against and obsession with sex indicates that we have yet discovered the deeper meaning of sexuality...But, like all powerful elements in the soul, sex needs to be manifested. Otherwise we suffer not only from the sudden return of the repressed--sex breaking our repression in negative and uncontrollable ways--but also from diminishment of life and vitality. Sex gives life color and vivacity. When we hide it out of fear, our personal lives and our social life become flat.
If we see the physical world as one of lifeless objects and mechanical functions, a great portion of our time love lives will be lost. We are willing to spend much of our time in a loveless, sexless environment, but if the working hours of our days are not enlivened by the nymphs of sex and spirits of eros, now can we suddenly and without context fall into lovemaking? How can we divorce sex from life and expect it to season our lives?
Your sexual imagination will never grow weak or stop working, no matter how old you are and no matter what the circumstances of life...Sexual desire still goes on when there is little or no chance of contrete satisfaction.
In marriage good sex goes along with a full life, because sex gives to the emotions and to the sense of coupling a sensation of fullness....It's difficult to have good sex on an empty heart or in impoverished home. By impoverished I don't mean a home without money, but rather a home without the spirit of abundant life, a spirit that can be evoked in a poor home as well as in a rich house
Sex can become routine in marriage, especially if all the acouterments remain plain and familiar, but if sex is seen as an art rather than mere self-expression or duty ,then the whole of one's life can prepare for it and at the same time be carried on in the afterglow of sex.
Sex doesn't have to be perfect or done in any particular way. As long as it lies at the heart of marriage, it does the soul task of mediating between worlds, between the daily concerns of living and the eternal concerns of meaning and the heart. Even when people sense a contradiction in their marriage between good sex and bad communication, they can be certain that sexual passion is not meaningless.
Wednesday, November 15, 2006
1. At this particular time in our country's history a significant number of people
seem particularly threatened by homosexuality, yet, from my current vantage point
heterosexual promiscuity seems much more of a threat to marriages and families. I
personally know three women who were molested by their fathers who were deacons
in their respected churches.
2. Sexual addiction is generally not just about sex, but rather, it is most often a
coping strategy people use to deal with emotional pain.
3. I suspect alot of people fear sexual passion because maybe they fear they will
4. I suspect a significant number of people do not see themselves as sexually
attractive and thus do not feel comfortable with their bodies.
5. I suspect a vast majority of families, ever talk much about sex.
6. Alot of people's tone of voice changes when they talk about sex.
7. Most adult conservations seem to be short and to the point.
8. The schools specialize in talking about the mechanics of sex while the church
specializes in the morality of sex...and...the sex industry fills in the gaps.
9. People who have been sexually abused need healing and alot of support.
10. If sexual abuse is swept under the rug the consequences may be passed down
to future generations.
11. Sexual repression is like keeping King Kong chained. It may work for awhile but
eventually Kong is going to get out of his cage.
12. Sex and good food go hand in hand.
1. Tonight I rode home after dark with my window rolled down.
2. I am still hiking and riding my bike at dusk in my shorts and a tee shirt.
3. I have yet to turn on my heater.
4. I have yet to wear a coat or even a light jacket in the morning or after dark.
5. It's the warmest November I ever remember.
6. Only a small handful of trees are turning color. Usually, by this time of the year all of the trees have turned color and some have even lost most of their leaves.
7. I am sleeping with only one lightweight polar fleece blanket on my bed.
8. I still sleep with the window open at night.
9. I'm going camping next week even though it is the middle of November because
the evening temperatures are still in the mid forties along the coast.
9. It was the hottest summer I ever remember. Thank God I was gone for three weeks
when it was between a 110-115 degrees for about two weeks.
10. It was the warmest January and February on record in Bakersfield last year
which means the heat wave has extended for four season's running now which is
something I never remember in the past...usually, in the past, if one season was
above or below normal the next season would be cooler or warmer than than
It's beginning to feel like winter is never going to arrive.
Southern California is known for their mild winters, but it is generally much
colder in the Central Valley where I live because the surrounding mountains trap
the cold air and fog for much of the winter...but...not this year...yet...
and...it just seems so strange going to a high school football game at night in
November and not needing a coat. If the weather doesn't begin to cooperate soon
than I expect Santa to arrive in Bermuda shorts and a surf board this year...
and...the beard will definitely have to go....
Tuesday, November 14, 2006
1. Why do we prefer to use scientific terms like penis and vagina when we talk about sex, both in public and in private...and...why is the vernacular sexual vocabularly considered dirty or obscene?....at least with a significant number of people in the middle class?
2. What are the sexual options, if any, for the reported 77 million adults who are not currently not married?
3. Why is masturbation such a hush, hush topic,especially, especially when one considers that everyone does it or has done it?
4. What do we make of a husband or wife who continues to masturbate even though they are married?
5. What is erotic sex and why do so few married couples experience erotic passionate sex?
6. If sex is such a private matter to discuss than in what context is it appropiate to talk about sex?
7. Why is it so hard for so many couples to talk about sex?
8. Why is it so hard for so many couples to express their sexual preferences/passions and desires, with each other?
9. Why does the average married couple only have sex about one and a half times a week...especially, when one considers it is one of the most pleasurable of all human experiences....and it's free!...
10. Why do so many churches, generally, give lip service, to the beauty of sex...and spend so much time mentioning the negative aspects of sex....
11. Why does the Catholic church continue to "insist" that their priests be celibate and expect abstinence?
12. Why doesn't repressing our sexual desires work, for most people?
13. Is sex between consenting non-married adults always wrong?...no matter what the age and circumstances?
14. Why are a significant number of hereterosexual adults more offended and repulsed by homosexual behavior between two men than two women?
15. How realistic is it to expect engaged couples, in our day and age, to remain abstinent until the day they get married?
16. What does God "really" think and feel about people who struggle with their sexual identity or sexuality in general?
17. Why do so many Christian women seem repressed regarding their sexuality?...this question is based on my antidotal evidence taken from various discussions with many of my Christian friends over the years...
18. And finally....Why is so much shame and guilt associated with something so pleasurable?
Sunday, November 12, 2006
Yesterday I attended a local Congregational church and in the weeks to come I intend to visit the local Methodist and Presbyterian churches. I have attended all these mainline churches before but I want to give them another look. Mainline churches in my neck of the woods are a dying breed but I just don't see myself going back to mainstream evangelicalism anytime soon. The Congregational Church is the current front runner because I enjoy the pastor and the spirit of the services. The pastor is a woman who generally encourages the congregation to get involved in community service without heaping on guilt or shame and she has yet to bad mouth or bash other Christians or the culture at large. Over the years I grew tired of the constant barrage against the culture and left leaning politicians and theologians...and...later grew increasingly disturbed by what I feel was an unfair characterization of those folks who didn't see the world from a conservative Christian perspective. I came to this conclusion after reading for "myself" what the various non evangelicals had to say for themselves and felt there was a significant amount of distortion being distributed on a regular basis....All of the mainline congregations in Bakersfield are smaller than I generally like but maybe I can get to know some of the folks more on a personal basis....My recent decision to explore some of the local churches is based on a personal need. At the present time I don't have much of a social network outside of work and family therefore I feel the need to build some relationships with adults who are like minded. I don't know where this is going to lead, if anywhere, but I will give it a whirl. It's not easy trying to establish adult relationships when you are divorced and pushing 50 but I figure it is better than just sitting around and doing nothing....
Monday, November 06, 2006
U2's Vertigo Tour may soon create a real sense of vertigo among moviegoers as the band is planning to release its first 3-D concert film next year. The untitled feature is being directed by Catherine Owens and Mark Pellington. In conjunction with the film's anticipated mid- to late-2007 debut, U2 also might take part in the first live 3-D performance projected in theaters nationwide.
For the film, Owens and Pellington shot more than 700 hours of footage with the band in seven South American cities during February and March. Trekking across Argentina, Mexico, Chile and Brazil, the film's 3-D director of photography Peter Anderson ("T2 3-D: Battle Across Time") used nine pairs of Sony Cinealta 950 cameras to capture the band with swooping camera angles and kaleidoscopic imagery. The director of cinematography for the film's 2-D footage is Tom Krueger.
3ality Digital Entertainment, the project's producer, put together of the largest assemblages of 3-D camera technology ever used for a single project. A representative for the band called it "the first-ever 3-D multicamera live shoot."
The feature is being edited in New York by Olivier Wiki and readied for a summer or fall release. Discussions are underway with several major studio distributors. It is expected that the film screen nationwide using the Real D technology in place by theaters screening the digital 3-D release of "Tim Burton's The Nightmare Before Christmas."
Real D unveiled the first theatrically projected live 3-D event last week at ShowEast in Orlando. It is planning a live 3-D concert presentation next fall, and sources said it might be a U2 concert.
Owens has been the creative director of screen visuals for U2 on several of the band's world tours. Feature director Pellington ("Arlington Road," "The Mothman Prophecies") began his career by directing U2's "One" video.
The soundtrack is produced by Carl Glanville, who also produced the concert DVD "Vertigo 2005/U2 Live From Chicago." Wiki edited the U2 video "Original of the Species," which was nominated for two MTV Video Music Awards.
Sunday, November 05, 2006
As I listen to this story from a variety of different angles ranging from bloggers to the national media I can't help thinking about the circumstances that contribute to such tragic situations. I don't mean to imply that Haggard doesn't bear personal responsibility for his actions but I also personally believe that behavior does not happen in a vacuum. Why do people who seem to have everything together and such prestige take such great risks?...and...what role if any, does society play in creating an environment where people risk everything that is important to them for momentary pleasure?...and...what role, if any, does the Christian sub-culture play?...I have felt, for some time now, that the Christian sub-culture makes it very, very difficult for people who struggle with sexual identity issues, and sexuality in general, to get the proper help and perspective on sex that they need which is why most Christians within the sub-culture generally go "underground" with their struggles....I make no assertions about what may have caused Haggard to risk it all but I suspect there may be many layers that need to be peeled back in the days,weeks, or years to come before Haggard experiences the healing and peace that he apparently needs and is probably seeking...Postscript...I know that much of what I have said may sound too empathetic for a man who was leading the charge for a law that was opposed by the homosexual community which makes him a hypocrite...and...that of course, cannot nor shouldn't be swept under the rug...but as I said at the beginning, I have such mixed emotions about this story because "it is" a tragic story on a number of different fronts and I can't help thinking about the paradox between mercy, forgiveness, judgement, and taking personal responsibilitity for our own behavior....and....how we all will at one time, to one degree or another, find ourselves in a situation where we will "hope" for mercy, rather than paying the price for what we probably deserve....
Monday, October 23, 2006
Saturday, October 21, 2006
Wednesday, October 18, 2006
Sunday, October 08, 2006
1. Martin Luther King
3. Any world leader who is always cautious to use force and never when one is not provoked.
6. The music of Michael Jones
7. The music of the Cambridge Singers
9. A good therapist
10. Friends who unconditionally love you.
11. The ocean
12. A gentle breeze on an autumn or spring day.
13. Photo Albums
14. A hug
15. A phone call from a friend
16. The peace movement
17. Dali Lama
19. An infant who is sleeping in their crib
20. Patience and perservance when one is provoked
1. Listening to talk radio.
2. Listening to the President of the U.S.
3. Listening to the Vice President of the U.S.
4. Listening to and accepting the false guilt and shame of others.
4. Travelling to L.A.
5. Allowing the negative self talk tape recorder in my head to stay on too long.
6. Trying to do too much in a given day or moment...
7. Doing too much of a good thing.
8. Giving unsolicited advise.
9. Thinking too much.
10. Thinking too little.
11. Not paying enough attention to my intuition.
12. Seeking approval from those who don't know me, or don't care.
13. Eating too much sweets.
14. Enabling others.
15. Visiting Las Vegas...once is enough...
16. Watching Bill O'Reilly
17. Not taking a stand out of fear.
18. Assuming the worst before I know the facts.
19. Allowing others to define me.
20. Listening to my sons music in the car.
1. Make peace a priority in your life. Slow down, for starters. Do whatever you need to do to remove yourself from the rat race that we all find ourselves in way too often.
2. Try to live in harmony with those you live, work, or spend time with. Don't manipulate, belittle, condescend, neglect, or snubb, those who you love or spend a great deal of time with. This can be challenging because some people may feel hurt or rejected no matter what you do. Go the extra mile. Listen to others without waiting for a rebuttal. Ask questions of clarification, if needed, and don't return fighting words back. Violence, hurtful words, and violent actions always begets more violence. Get help if you are in a relationship that is falling apart before the hurt and pain turn you against each other.
3. Support those who also are committed to peace. Vote for candidates who are looking for ways to solve the worlds problems without threatening or using confrontational measures to solve the worlds problems. Warmonging, nationally or individually, may bring initial stability, but most often creates such anger and hostility in the other that resistence or open warfare will generally follow. "He who lives by the sword will die by the sword"....
4. And, finally. Do whatever you need to do on a regular basis to bring peace in your life. Meditate, pray, spend time with people who bring peace to your life, go for a walk, listen to peaceful music, relax, take a vacation to a peaceful place each year, work on your relationship with those you live with, and love your enemies.......
Thursday, October 05, 2006
Tuesday, October 03, 2006
Friday, September 22, 2006
Since the price of going to the movies has reached seven dollars for matinees and ten bucks for the evening shows in my neck of the woods I have cut back going to the theatre. After all, if you have a watchful eye you can now get many DVD's for as low as 5 to 7 bucks, if you wait about six months after their release....but..... Recently, I got the movie bug, broke down, and payed the big bucks to see three films which I would like to highly recommend. Just something magical about sitting in the dark staring at a sixty foot screen that keeps me coming back again and again. The three films are the Illusionist, Little Miss Sunshine, and Jet Li's Fearless. Of the three, I liked Little Miss Sunshine the best. It was absolutely hilarious watching this, bust the gut, roll on the floor, must see, Indie film. The film is kind of a hybrid between the Royal Tenebaums and Sideways but better, imo, because of numerous "out of left field" episodes which keeps the viewer on the edge of their seat once the family heads to California for the big beauty pagent contest. This film came to my attention after reading the reviews on Rottentomatoes. It received a 93 % approval rating on the tomatometer which is almost unheard amongst the critics at Rottentomatoes. Return of the King received 94% by contrast. It's not critical one see this film on the "big screen" but it is a must see film once it is released to DVD.......The Illusionist is a period piece which stars Edward Norton and Sideways Paul Giamatti. One has to suspend ones logical sensibilities to accept the ending but it is entertaining and the performances and production quality are all excellent and I liked the unique peak into the world of magicians.....I went to see the film Fearless yesterday because I am a sucker for the Hidden Dragon, Hero, and House of the Flying Dagger, martial arts films. I must admit, I didn't much care for the first half of the movie where Li is presented as an obnoxious kung fu narcisstic fighter but the second half of the film is excellent. I don't want to give anything away but I will say that the moral and personal transformation underpinnings of this film are admirable and worth the price of admission.....So, I am currently on a hot streak of three for three in the movie department and thus I don't feel quite as bad for laying out the big bucks over the past three weeks....
Thursday, September 21, 2006
Wednesday I bought one of those flashdisks and decided to download all my stuff so I could take it back and forth to work....and....while going through all my floppies I found some old yahoo discussion group entries that I had kept...which...in turn, inspired me to go back to the various discussion groups archives and download some of the more memorable entries and discussions. This is going to be a big project but I think it will be worth the effort since it will give me an opportunity to reread some of memorable discussions I have encountered over the years. I also intend to go at a slow pace so it won't be a burden or additional stressor which is something I don't need at this time in my life.....I have decided to start with the old Postmodern Christian Archive discussion group which I found is still listed. The group is no longer active as far as I can tell but this is the first group I joined back in 1999. I have many fond memories of this group and found the discussions incredibly stimulating, in large part, because it was the first time in my adult life I had ventured outside of my conservative Christian sub-culture to "engage" folks who saw the world much differently than what I had grown accustomed to for the past twenty three years. And, at times, the whole experience was surreal and sometimes overwhelming as I tried to keep up pace with a group of folks who were often more educated and informed than I was on numerous subjects. I soaked it all in though and it marked a radical new beginning in terms of what I thought and how processed information. It will also be interesting to go back and reread some of the discussion threads now that I am at a different place in my life.....Well, that's it for now. If I can get motivated I would like to do a series of blog entries on the topic of Jungian archetypes. I have been reading some books on the subject over the past couple of months and find the whole subject fascinating and relevant to my current situation in life. But, we will see. I don't want to start the series if I don't think I can finish it. I have done that too many times before......
Friday, September 15, 2006
A critical examination of the past, particularly a hard, honest look, at one’s life, family, and relationships with various institutions can be a mixed bag, especially if one has experienced a significant amount of abuse, neglect, rejection, etc. It’s can be a mixed bag because even in the midst of abuse or mistreatment there are generally examples of love, care, support, or acts of kindness by those who may have been abusive or neglectful. Imo, self awareness of one’s past is potentially a good thing…but…it can also result in temporary or sometimes long term rejection of those individuals or institutions who may have been abusive at times. I have no desire to suggest or judge how people deal with their past but simply to point out that a critical examination of one’s past will generally lead to a growing self awareness that may potentially lead to a significant amount of cognitive dissonance and or rejection of one’s past…
For many people religion and our relationship with a religious community is a very important aspect of our lives and thus effect us on a very deep and profound level…..and….for many, if not the majority, our experiences with our religious community may swing back and forth between the positive and the negative…but…. for some…ones past experiences with the Christian subculture may now, in hindsight, border on the abusive, manipulative, and even cultish…..and thus…..one may understandably be tempted to throw the baby out with the bathwater or chuck religion altogether. I suspect for most of us the experiences with our religious past may not be so extreme so we may just become critical to the point where it either rubs people the wrong way or creates questions of doubts about our standing with God and the Christian community with our fellow brethren.
Over the years I have done my fair share of criticizing this or that regarding my Christian past and, the Christian subculture in general, but today I want to acknowledge and pay tribute to some of the positive contributions of my religious past. I came up with the idea for this tribute while teaching one of my classes earlier this week. While I was teaching I was reminded how my teaching style and the fact that I was a teacher to begin with was predominantly and positively influenced by the Christian subculture.....In an effort to not sound too long winded I'll limit my acknowledgements to the major influences. Here is my Cliff note version the people, communities, and authors who I am forever indebted for positively influencing my life.....
Beulah Nash: For, taking me under her wing when I first became a Christian….and….for her generous hospitality.
The Charismatic movement: For, modeling that "experience" is an important part of our lives and a legitimate and equal partner with science, reason, and logic....and....I don't need to suppress my feelings. It's o.k., to have feelings, even the dark emotions.
Maranatha music industry, Keith Green, Phil Keaggy, and the Second Chapter of Acts: For, revolutionizing the Christian music subculture and providing millions of young Christians with something relevant to listen to.
Dan Bushy and Glenn Calkins: For, being such great Christian friends. I wish I knew where you guys were today.
Francis Schaeffer: For, teaching me that "all" of life is spiritual and rescuing me from the world of religious dualism....and....opening a window to the world of art, culture, philosophy, environmental issues, and classical music at a time when I took great pride in being a cultural barbarian.
Franky Schaeffer: For, risking his career and reputation by engaging the culture, on it's terms, at a time when most evangelicals were steeped in a pietism that made them culturally irrelevant...and...for later following his conscious to become Eastern Orthodox which took alot of guts.
Susan Schaeffer Macaulay: For, inspiring me to become a teacher and introducing me to the educational philosophy of Charlotte Mason who influenced my teaching style and methodology.
Jacques Ellul: For, opening the door to the dialectic method of thinking which helped provide a critical corrective to my black/white, either, or, thinking….and….for stimulating my thinking in regards to the role of technology, pacifism, and neo-orthodoxy.
Vernard Eller and the Christian Anarchist community: For, helping break the bonds of my political and theological leaning ideology.
C.T. McIntire Jr., George Marsden, Herbert Butterfield, and The Christian Institute of
Calvin College: For, producing professors and writers who stimulated my thinking for almost ten years on the relationship between culture and Christianity…and….teaching me that Christianity could make important positive contributions on such topics as science, pop culture, technology, war, the environment, music, literature, etc.
Barry Lily and Al Wilson: For, accepting me and not judging me during some of the darkest days of my life.
Marcus Borg and Dominic Crossan: For, helping me understand and accept that one can maintain the “essence” of the Christian faith without agreeing or accepting all of the particulars…and…for modeling a spirit of religious tolerance.
Pomoxian, Faithmaps, and other Christian Postmodern leaning discussion groups: For, providing a safe place to interact with others while continuing learning…and…for, probably helping prevent me from throwing out the baby with the bath water in regards to my faith…..And thanks to all of those people and communities that also made positive contributions but were not mentioned due to limits on time and space.
Wednesday, September 13, 2006
Sunday, September 10, 2006
Thursday, September 07, 2006
Thursday, August 31, 2006
Monday, August 21, 2006
discussion group. At one time I had my heart set on becoming a L'abri worker and eventual staff member but that dream came to a screeching halt when L'abri's founder Francis Schaeffer was diagnosed with cancer. It was a painful time in my life emotionally on several fronts and I do sometimes wonder what "might" have happened if I had chosen a different path at a number of points along the way in the early 1980's. Generally, I don't think too much about the past but at the moment it seems to be on my mind. I also sometimes ponder how much control I really have regarding the choices I often make. I admit I fluctuate back and forth....because..... I can't really live with the implications that we have no choice yet it seems very clear, to "me", that there are so many variables, that are not in my control, that influence my choices which implies I may not be in control of what I believe and do as I think I might. Bottom line....it's a quandry.....a mystery....and....a paradox...and.....that's what makes life interesting and makes faith, as defined as hope, a prerequisite for daily living...because when we lose hope in ourselves, our future, God as we understand God, than despair is bound to follow. And, I can't help thinking that so many people in this world have lost hope and the loss of hope breeds desperation and is the trigger to many of our problems in the world. I am not blaming the folks who have lost hope in the world because loss of hope ought to be seen as a human tradegy....but...unfortunately, so many individuals and world leaders don't seem to understand the plight of those who have lost hope thus they cannot empathize and thus often take advantage or blame the people who need our help the most.......Although we may choose to not think about the past most of the time, our past, is always with us. We may not acknowledge it, like it, or even give it the time of the day but it lives in our soul.....and.....we can never change the past which is why we should never ponder too deeply or too long about those aspects of our past life we wish we could forget.....but....ponder and reminiscence we must from time to time and think about what could of, wish would of, orwonder why life didn't turn out the way it did. It turned out the way it did because of who we were at a particular time in our lives and the variables that were out of our control manifested their own destiny which most of us will never understand in this life, or perhaps even in the next.....Life goes on, choices must be made, and unexpected variables will always come into play. That is the nature of life and their doesn't appear to be a damn thing we can do about it....so....accept the life that is given to you...do the best you can with the gifts, talents, and wisdom you possess.....hope and pray....and eat and be merry.....for someday.....we all will return to the ground.....no matter who we are.....rich or poor....