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Wednesday, November 30, 2005

confessions of a lazy mind

it's sad, i admit. it's true. i haven't posted in 9 days or whatever. as always, i have reasons. #1: end-of-semester craziness. it is taking away from more important things like friends and creativity. #2: i've had other outlets, like Andrew P., a guitar to play, a visit home for Thanksgiving, where i had great conversations, wrote some lyrics for song #12, and wrote a new poem (link on the right). #3: life just hasn't thrown me the right mood in awhile.

i'm still here. waiting for Christmas break. procrastinating on some things, but doing well in others. not sleeping, obviously. wishing i could blog.

hi peeps. bye peeps.

Monday, November 21, 2005

answers?!

i was looking through some old blog posts, and i found this one.

The only times I'm not trying to figure life out is when I'm enjoying it, and when I'm asleep. I guess I feel like life is supposed to be good. I'm a problem-solver, and I don't like to give up, so when life isn't good, I assume there's a problem that I am supposed to solve. And then life will be good.

I only put all this together today, when I was out walking. I also came up with some questions for heaven.


i read the first question and realize... 'wow. i think i can actually answer some of these now! these are from January 27th. pretty exciting stuff for me. let's give it a try, shall we?

#1. Is the pursuit of happiness a God-given right, or a mistake I'm making?

the pursuit of happiness is neither a right nor a sin, but rather an integral part of my design as a human being... for i was created to experience God and others, and ultimately that is where the most profound and satisfying happiness will come from. in that sense, i am designed and therefore intended to be happy.

#2. All I know is what I experience. Is my faith based on what happens to me?

yes, but what happens to me is often determined by what i do. the former doesn't preclude the latter.

#3. Does God's consistency of character make it alright for me to validate or invalidate His actions as 'good' or 'bad'?

ooo this one's delicious... so basically, 'if God sinned, could i condemn Him?' certainly not, if i can't even condemn another human (i am the chief of sinners). but there's more to the question, i think. God's character is subject to no one's judgment, but is that because His character is perfect, or because He is Sovereign and Ultimate? or does His sovereignty and ultimate nature rest on his consistent character? would He still be Sovereign if He 'stepped out of character?' is it possible for God to step out of character?

*licks lips and burps* so good...

#4. How do I know what is and isn't from God, unless I know what His goals are?

not only goals, but passions. passions work from within and behind... goals pull at us from the future. discerning what is and isn't Godly is a spiritual gift, and i guess that means there are many answers to this question, most of which God wants me to experience the answers to as i live in Him day by day, choice by choice, thought by thought.

#5. Is my value as a person affected by my choices? What about my importance in the Story?

yes, but not on a choice-to-choice basis except for the choice to respond to God in the affirmative. my value as a person is entirely contingent on my Choice, not my choices, and my Choice ultimately rests on His, and/or on Him. and i think my importance in the Story is the same.

I could think of more, but... I feel like five is good for now.

man... i can't believe i just did that. usually i think of my questions as being unanswerable (otherwise they wouldn't be my questions anymore, they'd be my worldview). this is seriously huge for me. i am LOVING IT.

the only problem is that it's sort of an open forum Q&A tonight at river47, and i was hoping to find some good unanswered questions here in the archives. *shrug* oh, well... the search goes on.

see you guys (some of you) next week!

EDIT: wow. shame on me. seriously... i continued the walk down memory lane, and i find myself criticizing some of the things i said with confidence that should not have been said at all. i actually said straight out that musical instruments serve no practical purpose! and that's just the least of it. man... i have been a fool. alot. call me foolish. alot.

Sunday, November 20, 2005

Em/maj7add9

time, the great healer, and i, on my deathbed, am counting the moments that bring me to life. but why come up for breath, for an incomplete feeling, when all i feel like doing.... is dreaming

Monday, November 14, 2005

six-shooter

i have no inspiration, but i bear glad & bad tidings.
  • andrew and i have been invited to start leading worship for the college group at river47 on sunday mornings. we're headed there tonight to hang with them and work out details and mess around with some worship music.
  • the worship team leader for the adults at that same church invited me to be on their weekly rotation. i haven't received a single compliment for my loud voice (which stands out more in a small congregation), except from the youth, but apparently several people have been suggesting to this leader (Dave) that he check that one guy out. (they go behind my front, those insidious Christians... they have a subtlety and strategy i've not seen before.) unfortunately, he used the word 'audition,' so that kind of cinches that... but it's still a glad (and bad) tiding.
  • on the way to have lunch with those peeps yesterday, a manager at the Starbex across the street noticed me move an acoustic guitar from the bed of andrew's truck to the cab. he ran out and invited us to play there for anywhere from 45m to 120m one of these mon. or tues. nights. doesn't pay, but it should be fun.
  • i finish one of my classes tomorrow... we take our final two weeks early. kind of like a rapture.
  • whoever posted anymousely doesn't know me very well. they don't even deserve to be addressed personally... when i find out who they are, i will be happy. until then, my rule stands: anymice are summarily sentenced to be fed to the anycat of DELETED!!!
  • i came up with a good title for this post. kudos and a smiley-face to whoever figures it out first.
nap-time.

EDIT: good observation, bad conclusion. forcing any blog post, partially or in entirety, is pretty close to killing babies, in my book... i had five tidings and a sixth bullet when i thought of the title for this post, so the sixth conveniently became the "challenge."

consequently, since that sixth bullet was an after-thought, it wasn't meant to be a challenge. it was the kind of thing that made itself known at the last second, rather than something i tried to come up with for awhile before posting. i wouldn'yt expect you or any Ninrabbight not to see the 'joke' right away. =)

all that aside... you still were the first one, so kudos are headed your way. everybody head over to Sir Camiwe's blog. find out what the heck a Ninrabbight is. discover the goal of man... without using Google. ;)

Saturday, November 12, 2005

voices

there's something else you taught me. i forgot to mention this. i never understood the phrase, "afraid to commit."

i see it, now. not only that, i see why i didn't see it. it's because i have never been afraid to commit. quite the opposite, actually... i have pursued commitment as if it were a person! i've longed to understand it, to experience it, to learn it, to know it intimately- but most of all, to live it. and i have. like i said: i'm always the last to give up.

thank you for teaching me how to commit.

it's not that you don't care... it's that you don't commit. see, to me, these two things are the same. caring and commitment are the two sides of the coin, in my mind. but you see it differently. you see commitment as this extreme form of caring. "i don't care that much..." you say, as if anyone could ever truly care without committing.

i am an all-or-nothing sort of person. there's no in-betweens, only pass or fail. if i've worked as hard as i could, i've earned that A. if i gave it less than i could, i've earned a ZERO. that's right... nothing. and that's what you've received, your zero, though you'll never face up to it, or even acknowledge it to yourself, in the privacy of your own heart. if you did, you'd be back. and then my heart would leap at the chance to be who i am again. the best opportunities for me to be who i am are the people who choose to be who they really are.

you're afraid to fail, so you won't try. good luck living.

this defeat, my greatest victory

everything is meaningful when you are emotional. that's why we fall... it's not to learn to pick ourselves up. it's to find out who we really are. that's why people put beat themselves up while they're down (me, at least). it's because everything becomes meaningful when you're hurting.

it's like pain opens our eyes where we were blind before. it's like we are only really here= i mean fully, intensely present in the moments of life- when we're taken away.

feel your spirit pull
feel the flow of pain and pride
open your eyes to your life
until darkness is all you see
it is there you will find me

but there's a wrong way to lose, too. sometimes when you lose, you win... other times, you feel like you've won, and have no idea how much you've lost.

have i wasted these hours away, day by lonely day
have i wrestled with everything i know i could never say
i know a fight is what you don't need
but you know that i would fight for you
you’ve got no idea how much this could mean
you think you know everything

i'm the kind of guy who's always the last to give up. i don't like leaving things unfinished, and i don't like setting my own limits in front of me. i like setting them behind me. because you never know how far you can go until you go farther than you can.

should i try to remember
should i wonder how
so close to so real, something from nothing at all
hoping a little more pain might heal

it's not like cauterizing a wound. that's the kind of victory that hides a deeper defeat. i would rather let it bleed until it stops on its own, than burn my nerves off and pretend it doesn't hurt anymore. there's more to a scar from a cut than from a burn. and that's what i am. cut. what's so ironic is that i would cut myself for others without hesitation... and yet, every time, i find myself being cut for my sake. it's backwards. someday i will understand why, and it will bring to a point all the gifts of joy and sorrow that have ever been given me.

i get so tired of feeling so far, feeling so far away
i hate to, i have to abandon you, to yourself again
wond’ring what should’ve been said
begging the question, oh, would you have cared that i did
does it matter that none of this matters to you
if you’ve stopped caring, then why should i...

because. even as i abandon you to yourself, i'm hoping- such a foolish heartset- that you will realize that the person who has abandoned you to the most harm, is you. your apathy will numb you, sure, but it'll also be your death. you're a wolf in the arctic, and apathy is the dagger sticking out of the snow, with blood frozen at the tip. you draw your tongue against it, bottom to top, and it tastes so good that you can't stop. your tongue goes numb so you don't feel the edge, and soon you're sucking your own life away. apathy.

...try to remember
should i wonder how
so close to so real, something from nothing at all
hoping a little more pain might heal
hoping the you i see can’t be real

but you are real. you've chosen who to be, and you didn't choose yourself. you chose someone like God, Who can create ex nihilo. stop pretending. a little more pain might remind you that you're dying, and memory becomes so much more vivid and significant when you're dying. and if you remember, maybe you have a chance. maybe.

can i walk you away from your fake perfect world
should i show you the lie you’re surrounded by
would the truth understand if you said you’d been blinded
by the world that you love doesn’t love you

how many more times will you show how much you don't care about yourself by pretending to care about others? there's no path that will lead you to nothingness faster than the path of selfishness. someday you're going to end up there, and not even Truth will have the wisdom it takes to make you understand. and what will you say, standing there before Truth? you chose to be blind, rather than open your eyes to your life, and find me.

i’m pulling you out as you dig further down
call back if you hear this sound...

tug-of-war, isn't it? the further you go in your misleading confidence, the louder my shouts become. my anger isn't a sign that i don't care... it's a sign that i do care. if you can't understand that, if you've forgotten it (whether on purpose or not), if you really do want to leave, then i cannot stop you. but because i Love you as intensely and intentionally and freely as i do, i'll not stop calling.

can you hear me calling
how far have you fallen?
find your truth, i’m waiting for you to be free
wondering whether or not you’ll see
what in this world do you think you need?
is this the life you’ve been searching for?

it's not like you can't beat this. it's not like this gap can't be bridged. and even if not all problems have solutions, they all have a reason or a purpose or both. what you're telling me is that you've found your solution... you're giving up. you care, sure, and don't let me get you wrong on that, but that kind of caring's not what i saw when you sat down to talk with me at lunch. who you are now is not you. it's someone else who's taken your place. it's someone who's convinced you that she can handle things better than you can, and because these trials have weakened you, you're selling your spirit for security.

define tragedy.

nothing left to remember
nothing here to see
so close to so real or closer to nothing at all
hoping in someone you’ve never been
hoping we’ll never be here again
feeling so far away.

it's called 'far away.' Andrew and i finished it just now. in some ways, you finished it... but i like to think of it more as you finishing it off. somehow you've dumped all of this incomplete homework here on my desk, persuaded the prof to give you an A (a fake one, but you still get to feel good about it), and left me with the F. normally i would take that from you happily.

but here's the thing. it was our project, our desk, our friendship. take your transcript and frame it on your wall, if you want. you can show it to the next friend that comes along, and use it to pull them in. i'll be right here, putting two and two together.

and when it's all over, when i get an F for all the hard work i've done, i'll be the one who got something out of the class, and you'll be getting your resume rejected at every turn, because you thought you could earn your MA without finishing your GE. yes, i'm bitter, but that's not the reason i'm writing this. i'm writing this because it's the truth.

you know how naive i am? i used to not understand what it meant to turn your back on a friend. i guess it was because no one had ever done it to me. so i thank you now, for teaching me about life. thank you for teaching me how to fall. someday i'll think back on this, and realize that i never could have caught anyone, had i not fallen first.

thank you for every kindness, though they came from a heart that only nodded in passing. don't worry about remembering anything that happened between us... i'll take it all, the pain and the happiness and the excitement and the disappointment. i'll live through it every time i think of it, and maybe that way i can make up for the time you've stolen. or lost.

either way, thank you. i Love you. always.

Thursday, November 10, 2005

yayhoo

i think i've spent so much of my life expressing darker emotions, that i actually don't know how to be happy. first i slapped my desk with both hands... then i rode like 15mph around the school on my bike and got drenched by a puddle. then i sang alot.

now i'm blogging. and all the words i come up with seem stupid. i don't know how to be happy... most look forward to someone teaching them, sooner or later.

i don't even know that i should be here blogging. probably not. wait.

i'm usually a pretty intense person... on the inside, not out. things matter to me. yeah, i know things matter to everyone, but seriously, would you ever describe me as apathetic? uncaring? cold? dispassionate? half-hearted?

one of the ways this comes out is in my relationships. most of you don't see this much, but the number one biggest thing on my list of things that i am intense about is relationships. i worry about alot, but nothing burns me like relationship problems. i get excited about few things... excitement's just not me, usually. but when it is, it's probably about relationships, or at least people i have relationships with.

you know, it's strange... i think about how time's been speeding up since i was a kid. you know how that is. a week when you're 19 is like a day when you were 4... time speeds up as you get older. almost like watching a movie for the second time, it seems alot faster than it did. it's bizarre, but recently that process has been reversing. time is slowing down again. i'm reverting to childhood.

=D

i am trying not to get cheetos and cream soda on my keyboard... say you're welcome, Andrew.

anyways. basically i hadn't heard from Heather L. in like four weeks, since our last argument. i'd contacted her several times, but she hadn't responded, until

don't give up... going through alot...

----------------- Original Message -----------------
From: James
Date: Nov 8, 2005 9:45 PM

should i just give up? at least tell me you've decided to excommunicate me... the feeling's even worse without any resolution. i miss your laughter.

that was this morning. i hadn't danced in my pajamas like that since Camiwe sent me his e-mail about joy. more on that in another post, though... i want to talk about discipleship, youth ministry, theology, and the funnel concept in that one.

but i saw her tonight, and she was in the middle of a deep convo with someone else. she gave me a hug and told me to call her. i saw her smile again.

so i rode like 20mph (c'mon... it has to increase every time i tell it, or else it's not a good story) all over, like i said. wished that i could dance. i probly would never trade singing for dancing, though, and i can't say singing doesn't do the job like dancing does. it's just been an incredible day, with Nick Parsons' concert (Hotel California was A-MAY-ZIIIING), hanging with Jacquelyn (i need to tell that story, too...), finding a recording studio Andrew P. and i can use (Vanguard just built a new one and unveiled it tonight), hugging HL for the first time in months, getting picked up off the ground by Andrew Mundschau, and lots of other things i could list that each deserve a smile and a prayer of thanks.

i'll go get to those.

EDIT: forgot to say... i had the Last Samurai soundtrack on all night, and had three distinct dreams that were all about me as a hero. i remembered all of them vividly when i woke up. i'm going to try it again tonight.

Monday, November 07, 2005

nosce te ipsum

solitude is not being alone, it's being by myself. sometimes we have good discussions. alot of that discussion is fueled by personal, creative thought, in addition to the discussions i (or we) have with others.

self, what do you want to do with your life when you're done with your formal education?

i don't know. i have a very focused goal, but not much in the way of structured plans. i know i'll be loving God and serving others (which overlap), and i've known that for awhile now. but as i told Andrew a few weeks ago, it seems like my vision in life is not only broadening (having the blinders removed... thanks heather!), but also narrowing. it's all coming down to a point, like a funnel or one of those things you put coins in to make them spiral down and down. wow, how awkward... i'll hereafter refer to those thingies by the official technical term, 'coin-spirally-down-things.'

but yeah, i gained a little definition yesterday with one of the servant-leaders at river47 (i'll blog that later). he asked if i wanted to teach (which opens up about thirty pages of blogging, for me), and i told him i had no idea, except i am certain that i want to get people to ask more questions. it's all about learning to think critically, particularly in a world where people think queries such as "why doesn't the glue get stuck to the inside of the bottle?" and "did Adam and Eve have belly buttons?" are profound and clever.

i want to make you ask questions. i want you to stop thinking in the way your life has taught you to. break out of the hamster cage of life (see a post below). stop running the wheel, and start exploring everything that might seem nebulous and philosophical at first, but will be discovered as meaningful and fundamentally significant on the way.

so here are some questions for you, and i want you to answer them (to yourselves is fine, comments are welcome as always) with more questions only. no answers. only questions. i'll give you an example first (kudos to Kevin and Western society for inspiring this example):

Q: why do we think of music when we think of worship?

A: do we only think of music, or is that just the first thing?
A: is 'we' every Christian in the world, or just American churchianity? or just us? just me?
A: why is the desire to worship more important than the act? or is it?
A: is it possible to worship in a new way that's just as valid as any older form of worship?
A: what is the value of music by itself, without worship?
A: is worship a feeling? a longing? a word? a voice? an understanding? a request?
A: if the literal historical definition is "to ascribe to God His worth," what the heck's that mean?!

and of course, each of these "anstions" or "queswers" leads to even more queswers and anstions. you see how i can say that my brain rarely turns off, even as i'm desperate for sleep or enjoying some new music. there are virtually unlimited avenues for our minds to explore, many of them yielding treasure that we could live off of for the rest of our lives! imagine what it would be like to truly know what worship is, and to then live that understanding from moment to moment, in such a way that your every thought, word, and deed could be sanctified and offered to God as something meaningful and valuable to Him who IS meaning and value.

here are some more for you guys to chew on / interact with:

Q: why do we admire and idolize athletes, authors, and musicians, yet forget the saints and heroes of our faith?

Q: is it really a valid expression of our beliefs to say that we can pursue (and find) God on our own, without the help of, guidance from, or even subservience to those who are older and more mature in the faith?

Q: if we can at times be so skeptical of the truths offered to us by teachers and other experienced mentors, why do we so often assume that the conclusions we come to ourselves are so right on?

Q: if the disciples wanted Christ to stay, but He left (and there's more to it), then how do we say that He is in our hearts (which certainly would have comforted the early believers) when Jesus Himself didn't say that?

Q: if we believe God is everywhere, why/how do we pursue Him?

Q: what does it mean and how does it look to let the word of God form us?

Q: if we all desire intimacy with the opposite sex so strongly, why do we throw it out so easily?

Q: would Jesus have ever come if no one had ever sinned?

Q: how can we believe there was no physical death in Eden if Adam and Eve ate fruit?

Q: what, biblically, is the purpose and work of angels?

Q: if Jesus' body went up into the skies, where is it now?

Q: what the heck was going on in Matthew 27:53-54?!? those cheaters got cuts!

thanks for comments... they plant warm fuzzies in my heart-garden.

Saturday, November 05, 2005

change is bad

true sometimes, stupid other times. this time it's good.

Andrew and i are in the process of having our tenth little bundle of joy. goes a little something like this... *sings it* nice, huh? first verse goes like this:

have i wasted these hours away, day by lonely day
have i wrestled with everything i know i could never say

i know a fight is what you don't need

and you know that i would fight for you

you’ve got no idea how much this could mean

you think you know everything

yesterday i went to academic advisement and made plans for spring semester. these are the classes i might be taking:

Christian Worldview
Late Roman-Byzantine Empire
Intro to Christian Leadership
the Corinthian Letters
Ecclesiology and Eschatology (ekklesia = church, eschaton = end times)
Developmental Psychology
Christian Heritage
Primal / World Religions
the Gospel of Mark

obviously i'm not taking them all, but i had to come up with a back-up plan in case of closed classes. i was really sad to see that Spiritual Disciplines isn't being offered till next fall. =(

today i made $40 walking a precinct in Oceanside, passing out literature as a volunteer for the Republican Party in San Diego. Jeremy invited me last night, so i got up this morning much earlier than i had previously intended. we left around 10:30a, lunched at Jack in the... Box, and enjoyed some rather gorgeous weather in a rather suite neighborhood. every house was unique, many of them overlooked the ocean, and the streets had hardly any order to them at all. the area was almost elvish in quality, with all the palms and exotic (to a guy from Fresyes, anyway) plants (which people didn't mind covering their entire property with) and (i use alot of syntactically confusing parenthetical statements, huh?) with the ocean and hills and everything.

still, it was exhausting, and i was up till almost 4a (partly with Andy-pooh and partly online), so when i got back around 4:30p i slept for almost four hours.

i don't understand why naps often leave me depressed. it's like my seratonin leaks out my nose when i'm that relaxed. i don't get it. maybe i just miss everybody. but why would naps bring that out? i guess that's why one of my recent prayers has been, "Spirit, please help me understand myself."

lastly: Jones Cream Soda is suite. get some.

Wednesday, November 02, 2005

i survived survival

if you take a walk backwards with me, to my old-life-house, you'll find the room i stayed in. it's a hamster cage.

i ran happily in it for awhile, amazed by how cool my pad was. i mean, seriously... i had my Owner taking care of me, giving me a new toy once in awhile, cleaning up my sin-poop, feeding me water and milk and sometimes a little tidbit of processed nutrients.

then i started to wonder... what's outside? because it looks like there's this wall here, and yeah. life's starting to seem sort of lame. i am a hamster, it's true, but sometimes i wish i were a lion. why can't i be a lion? this wheel gets boring after awhile. i've noticed no female hamsters have come around. i feel like something's missing in my cage.

flash-forward. my Owner must've turned the light off... like A YEAR AGO. it's been pitch-black for 364 days, and He hasn't been in to feed me. i've been squealing at the top of my lungs for almost twelve months. i'm starting to drown in my own feces. where the heck is He?!

i left that cage awhile ago, to explore the unknown. but i didn't even come here to tell you that. i just want you to look inside the cage, at all the claw marks i left on the walls, where i tried to break out. i want you to see the desperation that drove me, the reminders of silence and loneliness and abandonment and the dark night of my soul. i attacked my own home for months before finally escaping.

keep scratching.