About Me

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I have a beautiful wife, an infant son & a schnauzer. viva la tex-mex. Words that describe or excite: Missional, Glocal, Lead, Innovate, Initiate, Create, Risk, Community

Friday, November 25, 2005

blog is such an ugly word, i prefer 'typing'

"I have no idea to this day what those two Italian ladies were singing about. Truth is, I don't want to know. Some things are best left unsaid. I'd like to think they were singing about something so beautiful, it can't be expressed in words, and makes your heart ache because of it. I tell you, those voices soared higher and farther than anybody in a gray place dares to dream. It was like some beautiful bird flapped into our drab little cage and made those walls dissolve away, and for the briefest of moments, every last man in Shawshank felt free." --Ellis Boyd 'Red' Redding (Morgan Freeman's character in Shawshank Redemption) after Andy Dufresne (Tim Robbins) breaks into the Warden's office and plays an opera record from the prison library over the loud speaker system for every inmate to hear.

"An encounter with a great work of art is a demand to change your life." --poet Rainer Maria Rilke

Art, music, beauty, creation all call out to the deepest part of our humanity, they all move in us in varied and infinite ways, but one thing that is certain, is these mediums communicate to our soul what words cannot. Deep within us we sense, we know, something somewhere has gone wrong. Aesthetics, the beauty of things create a tragic longing within our hearts to find wholeness, to desire peace, to want to be at rest. Do you sense it? Do you hide from it, run for cover? Does it overwhelm you?

Beauty points to an artist, a maestro, the creator, will you seek the source of beauty and the answer to what aches inside you with me? Go on a journey with me as I seek to find the source of truth and beauty. Along the way, I think we will discover all that our soul is longing for and so much more.

I like cotton candy, unique sodas, southern fried foods & chinese buffets. I enjoy the occassional fine cigar! I have a beautiful wife & 2 schnauzers. I love tex-mex.

...I believe the children are our future Teach them well and let them lead the way Show them all the beauty they possess inside ...and since i am a youth pastor i did it all without cussing or falling off the wagon ...maybe!?!?

Friday, November 11, 2005

it's a hard way to fall and it's an easy way down.

Today as i sat here at the computer i was listening to the new Ryan Adams & the Cardinals CD 'Jacksonville City Light.' The third track is a beautiful, remorse filled song of love lost and seeing that former lover with the 'new love.' Adams remembers the little things that he took for granted or perhaps caused him to love her in the first place. The chorus begins "And it's a hard way to fall and this ain't the easy way down."

Oddly enough I misheard the lyrics and the misinterpretation of those lyrics led me to this thought process I am about to share with you. At first because I was half-working, half-listening I thought the song was about cheating. And so when it got to the chorus the way I heard the lines were "And it's a hard way to fall and it’s an easy way to get there." That struck me as profound. On the service it seems contradictory and beyond that is seems a moot point since that is not the intention of the song neither the correct lyric. But bear with me if you will. If you are still reading at this point you might as well, right? Otherwise where is the reward?

This struck me as profound because I try to live as a Christ follower and a devoted husband in this sex-saturated, over-indulgent American consumerism we dare to call life I struggle, as any man, with impure thoughts. As a leader, or as a player-coach, as I think of myself I work with students and I walk with them in their struggles as well. Let me tell you why (misheard or not) this lyric struck me so. It rings true, in the context that I originally thought it was in when I misinterpreted it, which was a song about cheating.

"It's a hard way to fall," think about that. Is there anything as hurtful and destructive as adultery? As cheating on your spouse and the ramifications that has on your soul, on your partner, on your children, and on your family? We are in an America where it is so common that we take the consequences as just a happenstance of everyday life. That is so ridiculous to my mind to think that we have fallen so low. It is a hard way to fall. It is hard on everyone involved. It is hard on the soul and the psyche and the conscience and the kids. Does it stop there? How about beyond the immediate family? Has there ever been a father or mother who sees their own child’s marriage fall apart because their child was the adulterous spouse, who said "Now there is a son I am proud of," or "I raised her to cheat just like me."

No, of course not, but now we couch it in new terms so as to disguise the disgrace and shame with a false system of priorities. We say, "Well they just weren't happy," or "They weren't getting what they needed," and "They might as well have, they weren't in love anymore, anyway!" What? Huh? Where in the wedding vows does it say "until I fall out of love?" Where do we recite the lines, "until my needs are not met because it is all about me, until my happiness is not derived from this relationship any longer?"

Marriage is a covenant, love is a choice. Love is not an emotion, not merely an emotion. It is deeper and more meaningful then an emotion. Happy…sad…mad…love. Just reading those four words it is clear in my mind that one of the four stands out as different. Love does not even fit in the same category of our mind when we read the word on paper. Love…grumpy…annoyed…surprised. Again, which one doesn't fit? We categorize these words and love just doesn't fit. The others are moods. We know in our minds and our hearts that love is not a mood. We may think of it as an emotion but we still know that it is more than that.

"And it is a hard way to fall." We know this, we never set out in a relationship and say "This is beautiful, I love this person and I am gonna love them with all my heart until I get bored and fed up and have the opportunity to destroy the intimacy that we created together." No, we don't say that because we know that brings pain and anger and hurt and guilt. We know that when we fall, we fail. And a hard fall it is indeed. It is hard to get back up. Who will trust us if anyone? Can we even trust ourselves again?

"And it's an easy way to get there." This is so true when it comes to cheating, but not at first. We work ourselves to this point. We never enter a relationship looking for the way out, not usually anyway. Commitment-phobes, will have to wait for another misunderstood song to propel me into rhetorical prose. No, we always intend to make a relationship last but more and more these days we are failing. There are many reasons beyond the issue of adultery, but these two garbled lines of song have their limits. The fall is hard, but it comes easy, eventually.

We enter a relationship, hopefully more concerned about the happiness of the one we love over and above our own happiness. Otherwise what person on the other end of that commits? I am not so naive as to think no one ever gets together under false pretenses or false assumptions, but can it really be the majority? We get to the point where over time something draws our focus back to ourselves and our own needs and wants and desires. We begin to pour time and thought into these little fissures of expectation. They grow until our commitment if full of cracks and all crumbly at the edges. Our perceptions skewed and inwardly focused we think it is our love, our relationship that is broken.

In reality it is our lens of commitment that is tattered and torn but since our focus is on ourselves we don't see the difference. We decide to seek ways and means to get our needs met because they are so glaring and obvious to us now. If we were ever to be able stop at that moment, collect our thoughts and ask ourselves if our spouse feels the same way. What needs am I not meeting very well or even at all. But no usually by this point we are far beyond thinking of "the hard fall," and we are to the "easy way down" part.

For by now we have rationalized and done a fair job convincing ourselves that it is too late for a repair job. It is too broken, to tattered and torn and worn out, not worth fixing so why not just replace it. Men do this quite obviously in going for a newer, younger replacement.

For men, we can't help it right? We are dogs, pigs, animals. I can not help but see the obvious direct correlation to our American consumer-driven, evolutionary informed worldview, secular humanism degenerated to the point of nihilistic animalism. We are just animals. We are gonna do what animals do.

In one fail swoop, of little more than a hundred years, we have uneducated ourselves from rational, morally conscious, ethically capable human beings into soul-less animals in a dog-eat-dot, screw-or-be-screwed-over world. Am I touting a return to modernism and all it's trapping (for those who will even think to ask this question), no, certainly not!

I am fully and functionally a post-modern individual. But with the relativism of postmodernism there is still room for common sense and common decency, arguably more now so than there ever was during the height modernism. I reject that tired way of thinking. That way of thinking has created a Jerry Springer culture that is not based in reality. It basis in an evolutionary worldview that dehumanizes humans, devalues value, and elevates non-thinking creatures to have control over the thinking. How is it not based in reality? Reality can not be self-refuting. However, ill-formed, unreasoned, biased human opinion can and very often is self-refuting but that doesn't seem to stop us.

Evolutionary thought and teaching is the wide spread basis of the typical American worldview. Just awhile back Bill Mahr (who apparently is a well credentialed scholar and intellectual giant) was on Leno and he basically stated that evolution is a proven fact so for anyone to dissent they must be idiots. Wow, I guess I missed that major news flash that would have reverberated around the world until the roar was deafening. Evolution has become fact by default somewhere along the way so why are scientists still trying to prove it and find the first piece of evidence to support it. Not more evidence to support it, the first piece of evidence.

Evolutionary teaching is self-refuting for many reasons but here is just one very clear reason that everyone can understand. It denies the existence of entropy which is a proven law of physics to show that everything is moving towards chaos and disorder, everything is breaking down, getting worse; not evolving. Look at the ridiculousness with which evolutionary thought so succinctly is disproving itself. The more and more time passes in which evolution is taught to the masses and embraced by the majority, the more rapid social entropy progresses. The more and more society embraces the idea of evolution the faster and faster society as a whole unravels. One might argue that what I define as entropy is really just survival of the fittest. Come on do you believe that. The destruction of values and families and lives by evolutionary practices is not survival of the fittest. The fit aren't the ones surviving. Marriages are not surviving, kids are not surviving, no one is surviving.

The longer and deeper the evolutionary worldview penetrates our society and culture the faster society, culture, family, government, everything is disintegrating. It is right before our very eyes and everyone can see it. Well, everyone except for Bill Mahr. The fall is hard, but it is easy. It just takes time, time for entropy on a full blown molecular scientifically proven scale to flesh itself out. It just takes time to also reveal itself in a socially, relational test tube called a marriage and a family to see that entropy not evolution is being proven on a daily basis.

Saturday, November 05, 2005

I'll Take Blue Light Special to Win in the Fourth, Please.

I used to work on the south side for a charitable organization. Our offices were in the same shopping center as a K-Mart. On windy days we would all gather by the water cooler at the windows to place our bets.
Now we did a lot of good for a lot of people; a whole lot of good. We had a food pantry, we helped people with bills, we even offered counseling. And we weren’t choosy either. We helped anybody and everybody, once or repeatedly. We offered all kinds of counseling for all kinds of people too. I am talking about crisis counseling, family counseling, suicide counseling, dependency and addiction counseling, crisis pregnancy counseling, premarital and marital counseling, relationship counseling, spiritual counseling, financial counseling, teen counseling. You name it-we offered it.
In fact there was one case in particular I remember was sort of a mixture of quite a few areas. I didn’t counsel this person myself, but of course I can’t reveal his name. This particular guy was lived in government subsidized housing for psychological reasons. His apartments were near our offices. Every day I would see him walking back and forth to K-Mart five and six times a day. Often times driving around, I would see him at various bus stops all over town. Apparently he spent his nights alone in his apartment or with some of his Section 8 buddies in the complex listening to dark metal and smoking large amounts of weed, or “the dope” as my mother-in-law would call it. Finally the day came when he came to us for help. He was convinced, and quite terrified I might add, that Satan had been entering his room at night and making more and more aggressive sexual advances. Well these advances had progressed to intercourse and now he was pregnant with Satan’s love child. Or would it be hate child? Anyway, this guy was freaky. Really freaky. Believe me, if Satan was going to spawn a half-human, half-fallen-angel seed it would not have been with this guy. I think even the Lord of the Air has hygiene standards. The real Satan would have surely chosen someone like Ashton Kutcher or the Dali Lhama or Adolf Hitler, almost anybody else.
Now I don’t really do counseling. My work with this organization focused more on the community outreach side of things. I don’t “counsel” people that well. I can give normal common sense advice. I can speak to groups, organize events, come up with creative solutions to certain problems, strategize and cast vision. But let’s just say I don’t really have much mercy, or patience with people that are in chronic need of help with the same emotional issues. We had this one counselor, actually two counting his wife, they both had a gift for mercy. This couple, it was sick really, they had mercy oozing from them like extra-virgin olive oil does off the chin of that always way-too-fat-guy in the mob. You know the guy, usually he is called something like Tiny, or Little Sal - like, what the freak? Who is that kidding, is that suppose to be a friggin’ joke? Friggin’ hilarious, wise guys, who gave ‘em that name? Sorry. Actually, we have counseled some of these local goombas, too, believe it or not. Of course it will be along time before you catch me writing about them. Maybe after I know they are all sleeping with the fishes. I ain’t friggin’ kidding yous! Anyway I don’t have mercy, as I was saying, at least not in large endless supply as those gifted in counseling do. I had it in mind to tell the boy carrying Satan’s seed to go to Planned Parenthood because they are better at pushing people towards abortion.
Or take “Mary,” as we’ll call her. A short little white lady in her mid-fifties with paranoid schizophrenia. She got the main number to our offices and after that it was the lottery from hell just answering the phone. Sometimes she would have this really horrible Caribbean accent which immediately elicited only one response from me. I would put her on hold and she would talk until she was finished with whatever she was rambling on about, or maybe switched to a new person in her head or whatever, and eventually she would hang-up. Sometimes it would take the line 30 minutes or longer to clear. Other times were more interesting to say the least. The city bus drivers were always out to get her. Apparently, the evil, dastardlies were backing a bus up to her apartment at night, sliding her window open ever so slightly, and piping in the exhaust fumes to kill her in her sleep. Every morning about 8:30 I would see her shuffle in front of our offices to K-Mart and I’d sigh a sad sigh that the bus drivers, once again, had not succeeded. I wondered why they didn’t just use a pillow, but thought better of actually saying it aloud. Guess that means I do have just a little bit of mercy.
Anyway, we would line up on windy days to watch the cart races. Not just any cart races. I am talking about the unmanned K-mart shopping cart races. Sometimes they would weave and bob in and out of parked cars as if they were bats equipped with incredible sonar capabilities. Most of the time however, they would just cream whatever was in their wind-driven path. Often they were really past most of the cars which remained on the western half of the lot, the K-Mart side. Our side had fewer cars and so exposed these shopping cart chariots to many other options and wide open track to gain speed and run wide open. Sometimes they would fly across the lot to the edge and hit those parking barriers that always scrap the under side of your bumper if you pull in too close. Man when they hit those things, whoa Nelly! It was always fun trying to decide whether or not they were going to do a Triple Salkow, or a McTwist 180 Heelside, or a clumsy summersault. Once I saw one weave though several rows of cars only glancing one or two, opening up and gaining speed to go right out of the drive way of the K-Mart parking lot, across two lanes of minimal traffic, into the Burger King entrance on the opposite side of the street, jump the curb at Burger King and crash into their big cedar bushes out front. That was my lucky day because I had called it. Of course I didn’t call it out loud ahead of time because that was just too big a gamble, but I called it. I don’t care if you believe me. Man those carts would really cream those cars though. Oh man the laughs we had watching a cart take on the paint job of a brand new Escalade. What are you doing driving an Escalade going to K-Mart, anyway? Isn’t Target more to your liking? I have seen on some very rare occasions, a cart go between the little parking bumps, across the 3 foot wide gravel strip next to the sidewalk, onto the sidewalk and off the curb into the street narrowly being missed by an oncoming motor vehicle; or to cause two cars to narrowly avoid hitting the cart whilst also barely miss having a wreck themselves.
Man I miss those days, standing at the water cool, with a little upside down dunce cap of a cup, looking out the window, watching those chrome and plastic wind propelled consumer chariots race like stock cars on their own blacktop demolition derby track.
The department I was head of there at those offices once organized over 200 Christmas presents for kids in a low income apartment complex and we gave away 22 turkeys and twice as many bags of groceries to those same families.
Only that wind coming from the west, down off the mountains, being heated up by the hot desert floor could set those carts blazing a path for Burger King and beyond. Place your bets.

Friday, October 14, 2005

The Wild Boys Are Calling On Their Way Back From The Fire in August Moon's Surrender

About 6 months ago I found myself unemployed, after being in the same field for 12 years. Life is interesting to say the least. Since then I have done many things to make ends meet. My wife is an 8th grade English teacher so her income is steady, but we are still a two income family. Back to the point, I've had some interesting jobs over the course of the last few months. My main source of income has been with a fundraising organization that works with school clubs, boy scout troops, church youth groups, and other organizations to help them raise money. We supply all the forms, flyers, etc. and they go door to door, or over the river and through the woods to grandma’s house-or hizzee, as the kids say- to sell her cookie dough, fudge, cheesecake, pizza, coffee and cocoa, just to name a few. I have driven all over the state of Colorado, been to towns at the tops of purple mountain muddiness, the base of intertwining, shimmering ski slopes and at the bottom of the lush green valleys with weaving, waterways flowing with what could only be milk and honey. Though I can't really say for sure about the milk and honey because I am always in a rush to get the cookie dough delivered on time, so I've never stopped to check the validity of the story hitherto. But I love my job. I still get to work with kids even though it is in a much more limited capacity than my former career, which I am still pursuing but with out much luck momentarily. I drive a pick-up truck pulling a refrigerated trailer that, much to my embarrassment, has a sticker on the side emblazoned with a 4 foot tall man holding a chocolate chip cookie covering his torso. If that is not enough to insure my embarrassed state, the oversized delectable declares me to be "The Cookie Dough Man." Every gas station I enter, I hear some gruff voiced rough-neck call out to me, "Where's the cookie dough man?" I never answer. Honestly, it is out of fear of the unknown that I don't answer. That and I am ashamed to say a little judgmental on my part. It is never a guy in a suit or a soccer mom or even a teenage couple giggling at the moniker. No one, my mind reasons, who would be a suitable or viable client making a legitimate inquiry. My mind reasons they can only be trying to steal my cookies; either out of the back of the trailer after they have knocked me out, hog-tied me and thrown me out back of the gas station; or even worse still - desiring to "steal my cookies," a euphemism I once heard in a skit about sexual abstinence at a church camp, much in the same scenario, knocking me out, tying me up and stealing my cookies in the back of their trailer. It is silly I know; strange I admit; homophobic probably; but truly what I think, most assuredly. But other than that part of my job I enjoy it immensely. We've helped cheerleading squads afford new pom-poms and be able to have the money to travel to cheerleading competitions so they can shout "Bring It On," as in that one movie, so that they can tumble, and so that they can spell, "R-E, R-E-B, R-E-B-O-U-N-D, Rebound!" They are cheerleaders so apparently they have to get a running start at spelling, but who am I to judge. I can't spell phantasmagorical with out double checking with Daniel Webster to be on the safe side. We have helped band nerds raise the 'dukkets' to go on trips to parades and prestigious competitions where they impregnate each other in the backseats of "yellow dogs" and argue for hours over who was better in a position of leadership, Picard or Kirk, or which had a more profound impact on the Pentegon, Star Trek the television series or the original Star Wars trilogy, or coming up with inside jokes that they will later put on a t-shirt (“there was this one time, at band camp“ ) so as to chronicle their lack of adventures and bore the rest of the school to tears with later. I mean we are making huge political and social progress by helping these organizations fill their cash boxes. But I just like to eat the cookie dough raw rather than cooking it first. Chalk another one up for instant gratification.