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Friday, December 12, 2008

reposte: why i won't vote on prop 8 at all

my boss and i were discussing laws and ethics one day. i told him i was not a voter, and had no plans to be one. the following quotations are not his; i made them up to summarize the point of our conversation.

"why? don't you care about what happens to the society you live in?"

yup. i wish people would be responsible enough to make good decisions about marriage.

"then shouldn't you be voting on issues related to marriage?"

nope. i don't care whether it's illegal in the U.S. for someone to make bad decisions about marriage.

"but if it were illegal to, say, get divorced, maybe less people would jump into marriage without really thinking it through first. then there would be less divorce."

there might be less divorce, but nobody's character would improve as a result. those people who live by greed, anger, and fear, would still live by greed, anger, and fear. it just wouldn't come out in their married life because they probably would avoid marriage. of course, they might still have romantic, intimate relationships with people, and those would be just as effed up as before any law was made, so... what was the point?

"don't you want less broken families in the world?"

yes, but broken families are a symptom. i want to deal with the causes.

~ ~ ~

we can pass a million laws against a million "bad things" a million times a day, and no one will ever become more loving, more peaceful, more passionate about worthwhile things. if we were to make education about gay marriage illegal, how would that improve anyone's morals?? the media has more influence on the average kid today than that kid's teachers, or even that kid's own parents-- if that kid even has two parents. and even if that kid has two loving and nurturing parents, the media may still have more influence in that kids' life! not to mention the kid's friends.

(for those of who are already forming comments in your mind-- that is, for those of you who are about to defend homosexuality in some fashion, and especially for those of you who are non-Christian, and extra-especially for those of you who are Christian and in favor of gay marriage / education about gay marriage-- i want to save you some time & effort by saying that yes, Jesus does love gay people. please do not assume that Jesus' love automatically disqualifies a person from being critiqued on any level, whether that be a moral level or a worth level.)

i speak to everyone in this blog, but i want Christians especially to take note of this: we are not arguing over the broad path or the narrow. we (as a voting society) are not deciding whether to pursue right or to pursue wrong. we are not going to improve the true root of suffering (the pitiful human condition, which is a disease and not a symptom) by local, state, or federal legislation.

we are not choosing our destination. we are simply choosing which route to take.

if and when you vote, remember this: there is no 'salvation'* from anything evil apart from the work of Christ in the hearts and minds of those to whom He calls. as you work to end the suffering of others, remember that the driving force behind suffering is not something you or i can conquer. your vote may change a law, but it will not change a person.

* by 'salvation' i mean the transformation, the renewing (Rom12), the gradual & dramatic saving of someone's life here and now from the corruption of sinfulness.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

reposte: briefly

i must make this quick; sleepy-time is nigh.

this post, many of you will not understand, either because you've subscribed to society's 'Think Like We Do and Stay Inside the Box' magazine, or because you've already made up your own individual ideas about how these things are supposed to work.

Caleb and Evan, and of course Katie and Lisa and a few others, are most likely to understand what i'm about to say. Stephanie U., Fred, Brandon, you'll get it too, i think.

the rest of you... good luck. it's hit-and-miss with me sometimes. we'll see how it goes. i think perhaps there are only a few people who need/want to hear this. the rest of you, disregard.

'but ij, how do i know if i should disregard?'

well, one of the best ways to figure that out is this: how much of what i'm saying do you automatically criticize? or, by the time you finished reading, was your initial reaction closer to 'i'm not buying it' or to 'very interesting' ?? that should help clue you in.

=) onward.

about romance
if a girl asks you out, and you don't want to go out with her, but you want to develop your friendship with her, but you don't want her to be disappointed, but you feel confident in being a tiny bit annoying, here is what you do.

girl: will you go out with me?
guy: nope. but i think there's something else you want anyways, and as you know, anything i have to give is yours to request. *bow*

(if you can flourish, do a flourish, too... but if not, a bow will do, because ladies deserve that kind of honor)

girl: i'm not really sure what you're saying.
guy: what i'm saying is, there's something more that you desire in our relationship. what is that something more? forget societal stereotypes and pre-packaged relationships for a moment. what is it that you desire?

girl: uhm... i dunno... i guess to spend lots of time with you?
guy: granted, and joyfully. =) anything else?
girl: wow. that was easy.
guy: like i said... anything i have to give. but is that it?? just time?
girl: well, okay, a long hug would be nice, too.
guy: granted. *hug*

: and a kiss.

this is the part where you kiss her hand. man, the knights of legend were so cool... i know we mostly get the sort of 'hollywood' versions of these stories, but whatevs, they're cool.

guy: anything more than what i just did is probably unhealthy for us at this point.
girl: how come???
guy: 'cause we're not married.

it's really simple that way: you're not married yet. kissing isn't some casual way to have fun. it's an act that involves your whole self. what you do with your body affects YOU. not because you have a body, but because you are a body. (you are also a heart and soul and mind and whatnot; that's exactly the point. you can't separate your parts so easily as some might tell you.)

girl: but we could get married...
guy: that's true! but it'll be a few years before that's something to think about.

okay, at this point the conversation is getting kind of farfetched, but you see the point. let me be even more ridiculous, for the sake of being clear:

girl: well... then can you buy me stuff, like a bf would?
guy: what is it that you need? i love to give friends what they need.
girl: nothing really, i just want you to make me feel special.
guy: granted... but you realize that everyone is special to me.
girl: what?!

yeah, it sucks... sorry, but you're special just like everyone else. a person who wishes to truly love must anchor that love in himself, not in others. someone who loves selectively doesn't have true love. they might have true romance, but not true love.

guy: i love you, as much as i love my other friends, or family.
girl: then that's what i want. i want you to love me more.
guy: wouldn't that mean i would have to love others less?
girl: yup!
guy: can't do that.
girl: why?!
guy: 'cause we're not married.

simpler and simpler and simpler. i'm imagining two teenagers here, by the way, so marriage isn't really the greatest idea. and they both know that.

what's the point of this strange exchange? this weird imagining? the point is, this might be one of those times where you need to go against the flow. romance is WAY over-valued and pretty much rampant in American teenage culture (at LEAST in that context).

guy: don't get me wrong; something in me strongly desires to love and be loved in a special way by one person. the thing is, i can't pursue that desire right now; circumstances just aren't right.
girl: i understand... that makes alot of sense.

that last sentence there is probably the most unbelievable bit of this whole scenario... but once again, the point, the bottom line, but rephrased this time: bf/gf relationships are socially constructed. they are not always insubstantial, and they are often very true and beautiful- but at best, they serve to point to something even more true and beautiful.

at worst, they can ruin things. eventually.

so the next time your heart leaps for someone, know that you don't have to get all makey-outey, as Strongbad would say, in order to satisfy that desire. know that there are ways to love people honorably and truly, of either gender, that secular, popular society would never come up with.

relationships are gifts to be treasured and nourished. treat them with the utmost care and devotion, and understand what each one is, and can be, and should be.

Friday, November 07, 2008

i need a guitar.

not being able to proficiently play an instrument while singing = musically-creative constipation.

Tuesday, November 04, 2008

an addendum to an embarrassing post... how embarrassing!

given my condition in this chapter of my life, i feel like i should just give up on trying to spend enjoyable time with friends.

it's the same as if i'd just had my wisdom teeth pulled, except that friends spending time with me won't comfort me. i can't do anything except hold gauze to my bleeding, slobbering mouth, and watch movies. people can't enjoy me when i can't enjoy life.

alright, i admit it; i'm looking for justification to give up, so that i can avoid the pain. well that admission changes nothing since i've found the justification i need. i'm actually a better person this way. i would know. i've been this way before. that change that took place, the me who left me behind, the me whole stole me from me, the me who left his cave behind.

whether it was primarily my environment that changed me, or else God, or my natural development (vs. nurture), or something else entirely, i am only a step or two away from making a very sudden, very dangerous, second 180°. i can already feel myself looking forward to it. as John Eric's Lost, Found, Lost (how apropos!) plays in the background, near midnight, i remember who i was, and wonder if that's who i am. and i feel ashamed for becoming someone else.

i just realized, nobody asks the someone else i am about him anymore; i hardly listen to those songs which once comforted me, and i spend very little time with myself.

the problem is that going backwards means leaving some of my new travel-companions behind. or perhaps it means them leaving me behind.

~ ~ ~

and once again, i'm up too late blogging. how long has it been? (i'll spare you the appropriate cliche at this point.)

i hope one of me knows what he's doing.

high maintenance

disclaimer: i'll feel better about whining if i don't address anyone in particular.
realization: i am attracted to high maintenance people partly because i am one of them.
confession: i have deep psychological issues.

all the things i want most in life-- to be aware of God's presence in general and in my life, to have strong & fulfilling friendships that i can enjoy on a regular basis, to fulfill my potential musically, to share my joys with people around me, to discover & decide on a career that fits my skills and personality, to not be so tired all the time, to be a good or perhaps even a great husband, to be as generous with others as others have been to me, to become someone whose character resembles Christ's --are the things which elude me most. i feel hopeless. i see no way of ever reaching these goals. the obstacles hindering me, i don't even understand. i'm not sure i can even begin to conquer them. the people closest to me don't understand me. in fact, i'm not sure they can. they don't know why i'm depressed, stressed, apathetic, non-energetic... and neither do i. there's no one who can help me (no one i can afford), and even if they could, i don't have enough time or energy to go through that process. i feel alone. i don't have time or energy because i have to work this early-morning 10-hr/day construction job, and i have to work this early morning 10-hr/day construction job because i chose to major in an academic field without considering what career options that major would offer me. i wish that i could regret my choice, but i can't, because i made it for the right reasons, and the choice itself paid off the way it was supposed to.

my deep psychological issues offer evidence of themselves through symptoms such as: the inability to turn off the music/thinking in my head; my habit of changing my mind about something several times in the space of a split-second; my obsession with mentally correcting every grammatical mistake i make when speaking out loud, and beating myself up about it; my inexplicable feelings of depression, experienced on a daily basis; my inability to enjoy those things in life which i love most; and finally, my lack of patience with and affection for my wife.

i don't blog often enough.

Saturday, August 30, 2008

dear repo-man

if you would just give me one more chance, i swear you'd never have to knock on my door again.

oh who am i fooling.

Thursday, July 31, 2008

my blog is in love with me

have you ever woken up and wondered, "when did i decide to take a nap??" and then answered yourself, "i didn't consciously decide to. i must have been so tired that i automatically stopped what i was doing, got up, searched for and found a comfy spot, curled up, and conked out in a matter of seconds..." ?

have you ever accidentally fallen into a good habit?

have you ever finished explaining & expressing something very important to you, only to realize that you just spent a great many breaths rambling on and on, to someone who never asked you about any of that stuff?

~ ~ ~

much of my recent blogging material has been hijacked.

my train of thought left Limbic City at 2:10 a.m., destined for the outer blogosphere, but it took a wrong turn somewhere in OC, and completely missed its last-chance stop at the ACCX terminal. it ended up leaving my body completely, via the Parapraxis highway.

then, it did it again... and again... and again.

today's post has only made it through by some miracle. or fluke. or both, depending on your perspective and your values. (yes, you... the reader.)

the good news is that i am still myself. especially when i am alone, as i am now. i have not, nor will i ever, abandon my self completely. we'll always be friends.

Saturday, July 19, 2008

epiphanies are overrated

now i know why i have disdained the whole "make new friends" deal, and why other people do it without questioning it.

now i know why my monthly blog count dropped to zero or so.

now i know how i lost my confidence, my ability to live life alone, my power over life, my iron heart, my inner strength, my solid sense of self.

...and all of that knowledge helps me not at all, because it's too late to change any of it.

Friday, June 27, 2008

fixing me

sometimes i feel like i'm not even worth my own effort, let alone anyone else's.

i need you...

to maybe just read this?

i felt like calling you tonight. the grace you've extended to me, the genuine, passionate friendship, the wisdom you've developed over the years... i look up to you for these and many other reasons. for most of my life i've been the one people leaned on, but these past few years i've become so weak, it seems. it feels wrong to "boohoo" all over you, but i don't know who else to go to. you're the first person i thought of to lean on. and now that i think of it, you're not just my first choice... you're my only choice. i have other good, close friends, maybe even one or two i look up to, but none of them love me the way you do. they do love me, but they don't quite know the best way to love me. it might be a spiritual gift you have.

i feel like i am being paid back for all the emotional damage i've done to others all my life. it hurts a little bit less when i think of it as punishment, because i can convince myself that i deserve it, and it can't be wrong to get what i deserve, and if what's happening to me is right, then it doesn't hurt as much. but at the same time, i think about the world the way it was supposed to be. i think about relationships the way they're supposed to be, and even while i'm confessing my undeservedness and my own evil and the ruin i've caused, at the same time i'm begging God to redeem not only my own character, but the character of those close to me, so that i don't have to be hurt anymore. is that selfish?

nothing hurts me worse than people who are supposed to be kind to me, choosing instead to be hostile. i guess that means i am self-centered after all. maybe the lesson in all of this is to stop caring so much about my own pain.

i don't know. i wish you were here to hug me.

i love you. thank you for listening.

Saturday, April 05, 2008

an old friend

i remember you now, as i sit alone in my house, burning incense, listening to Ryan Adams' haunting rendition of Wonderwall, and deciding who to invite to my wedding. i haven't been alone with you like this in many weeks. it feels good to be fully with me. i buried you when Valerie & i became close. i'm glad you survived.

it was good to be with you again.

Friday, February 15, 2008

one more fortune

last chapter, and perhaps even the chapter before that, i realized that one of my primary lacunas is discipline-- as a character trait. i think i've discovered one of the many reasons i failed to improve in that area.

i have this theory that character traits (personality non-specific) have complementary traits. for example, one can be either cautious or bold-- or, ideally, one can be both. i think that, in order to learn discipline, one must first learn how, when, and why to rest.

hard work, when it yields anything of value or quality, comes out of rest. i am always telling people to shut down their computers at least once a day, so that the pagefile can be refreshed, caches can be emptied, heat can dissipate... etc. yet i've completely missed the life-lesson metaphor thingy.

i couldn't properly learn how to work hard because i had no idea how to take care of myself! from night one of my college education, i slept little, sacrificed often, and had little regard for my own well-being. King Andrew once expressed his astonishment that my old, old, old laptop was still running so well. he said his newer PC was crappy compared to my machine, and confessed that he was to blame. "i don't know how to take care of it," he said.

well, no wonder i run crappy.

i've known for a long time that i don't take care of myself, and i've known that i'm lazy... but i've never made such a clear connection between the two as i do now. i need to learn- in mind and in habit- how and when and why to rest.

i need to learn rest & discipline because my mistakes in life do not always affect only me. i thank God for the intense, all-surpassing pain of hurting other people, because it pushes the limits of my good character.

~ ~ ~

...because being responsible for a family will gradually make me a drastically better person. just as Christians are God's method for accomplishing His will in this age, so will my family be His method for accomplishing His will in me.