Monday, July 30, 2007

Lusts and loves of this week.

There are a couple things this past week I can't get enough of. The first is the few VW commercials that feature Wilco songs. Even if I am in a different room and I hear one or two notes I know that one of these commercials are on. Of course you know i love this band. Here are a couple of their commercials I just love.

I love also this book, The Rum Diaries from the late great Hunter S. I think it was smart, funny, sad, and elegant. It had sense and class and yet a late twenties early thirties writer trying to figure out who he was and what he wanted. It is interesting what life can bring when you rely on others and choose to live a life that's single and at some times lustful. It was brillant and there were some lines that blew me away....

"I was never idle enought to do much thinking, but i felt somehow that my instincts were right....At the same time, I shared a dark suspicion that the life we were leading was a lost cause, that we were all actors, kidding ourselves along on a senseless odyssey. It was was the tension between these two poles---a restless idealism on one hand and a sense of impending doom on the other--that kept me going." (5)

I also love the cool breeze after a hot day.

I love white wine lately. It cuts the heat like an ice cube on the back of your neck.

I love random encounters and random friends.

I love random poems and random opportunities.

I love body theology and the opportunities to understand what that means.

I love these beautiful men that help me through my day to day even though they don't need to but they do because of a word and action called love:
Even though these boys are basically taken I am grateful for their friendship and support.

I miss my best friends Wendy and Erica. I miss my family but through it all I have still soft moments that breathe truth on me on a daily basis. I am still actively tired on a regular basis. I think last week and the week before wiped me dry. I need to save up and store. I love life and what it provides. Let us see what tomorrow brings.

the ability to hear.

I lost my hearing in my right ear this weekend. It wasn't a drastic accident, just a misuse of a q-tip. I was a miserable person to be around and I hated the fact or even the thought of what it might be like to not be able to hear for the rest of my life. I am not the type to panic but a flood of horrible thoughts went through my head, dreams were lost, and my future became uncertain and shaky. I regained my hearing but those quick visions have not faded. Between hearing loss and the reading of Hunter S. Thompson's novel, The Rum Diaries, I feel like I have been challenged to look outside of my everyday life that I have choosen and at times feel are quick fixes, and look at the big picture.

I had to ask myself some big questions, what would my life be like if I couldn't hear?
What would my life be life without fully hearing and experiencing music?
What would my life look like without the ability to interact without something I rely on, on a daily basis?

The questions before this seemed a bit trite or empty. Yet this little loss made me look straight into my face and ask what I really want. I know I want to teach and I know I want to study culture. I know that what I love needs all of me and not just a part. I know that I what I want is attainable. I recognize that what is in my life I have attained. The what isn't is a little stickier to communicate. some things aren't there for a reason and others are what is wide open for the taking.

I don't know what the next parts of my journey is open for me. But what I do know is that it has to include music. It has to include me writing about it or critiquing it. It could include supervising. I don't know quite yet but the search is on and the questions need to be asked. The pain produced beauty. It was really worth it. The pain seems always to be worth it. It slaps you in the face and makes you asks the questions you were afraid to ask.

I am tired of sitting by and not making the effort to take a chance.

Tuesday, July 24, 2007

Taking a deep breath

Sometimes when you need it the most you realize what matters are the small i love yous from friends. Friends that love you no matter if you pass a class or not. Friends who see outside your own created limitations and boundaries. Friends who see you even when you can not.

I love that small glass of wine.
The ringer of my text message.
The little mail box that says that someone was thinking about you.

Little of my life is sure.
What I do know is love is needed and love is real.

every moment can offer beauty.
what eyes am i using to see?

Quick thoughts

Well I finished the Potter book. My love for Harry Potter has never been a silent love but something that i have loved for a long time (see previous post). But i continually realize that life is a process. This is not a spoiler I promise you but I realize that love and friendship are all so important. Love is something that brings you closer to not only to your identity but to the identities of others.

I am tired. I am in a class that his way bigger than my current understanding. In some ways it is about understanding. It is towards understanding a text and how that makes meaning or value. Understanding our traditions and prejudices through this new understanding. In seeing this I have now realized how much I don't know about living. How much I have left to learn. What I bring is broken. i am not perfect and in this quest will never be perfect. That quest is silly, pushing in the wrong direction.

There are things in my life I am meant to do. Philosophy is not one of them. But getting to understand this will come one of these days. It is humbling to get a large swift kick to the ego.

This book is not like Harry Potter. In the day and a half that I read Harry it takes me hours to get through a couple of pages. This is not east nor fun reading. It is about interpreting the text. It seems overwhelming at time but there are moments where it makes sense. Just a few more days and it will be over. I know I am gaining knowledge but it hasn't clicked yet!

I burned myself with coffee today. It was all worth it for the comment that was made by Josh Martinez. I hate light coffee it is to acidic. The acidity is gross and it hurts my stomach and i told Josh that it tasted like ass. His response was priceless and made me laugh really hard...."ass is acidic, huh?".....or something like that!!

I am tired.

I am overwhelmed.

My thoughts have been pretty muddied lately. I will have a better post when this class is over and i am actively involved in life again....

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

The beauty of love through the world of Harry Potter

My undergraduate experience my sophomore year was quite a stressful one if I remember. As a way to deal with all that was going on I decided from a friends recommendation that I would pick up the Harry Potter books and give them a shot. In such a short time I found myself entrenched in the world of wizards and magic. I loved the world I was transported to and forgot all the bullshit of my as I escaped into the world of Hogwarts.

I can say with no shame that I am SO excited for this next book to come out as well as my recent screening of Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix. The movie left me with a few thoughts that tie directly to the church and my theological experiences.

The first thought I had was regarding the horses Harry and Luna encounter after one has encountered death. This is really ecclessial to me. It reminded me of when I saw Little Miss Sunshine with my parents. If one has avoided pain or has not experienced death or the loss of someone the jokes may have not been funny. With Harry Potter it was a reminder of how necessary pain is to experience. Without it we only see what we want or need to see. Once pain is encountered we see life with different eyes. We see life that isn't so visible but there is an underlying understanding to see beauty with a completely new perspective. Beauty needs pain. Life needs pain. We can not avoid and nor should we.

The second was the dual nature of tradition and the essence of truth. So often history or tradition dictates the meaning of life rather than life showing up and letting it be a whole new way of being. What happens to me may not necessarily happen to you so why do we want a universal truth for everyone to have the same, if not similar experiences? The movie (and book) is based on the rejection of the idea that Voldemort could have returned. All these rules and laws are set into place to keep this new truth hidden and the nature without this truth to stay in place. It is very modern in it's nature, trying to claim an absolute when really no absolute (other than God) can exist. I think this whole concept really mimics the church and the problems the churches are facing. We are working out of old paradigms that we are trying to make work in our present day post-modern culture. In the end it fails and we have to face the new truth and move our understandings to the new revealed truth.

The third is the good vs. evil language that is based on the understanding that love wins. Love is so important within the framework of Harry Potter and something that Dumbledore pushes on a continual basis. I think the cultural understandings that we emphasis evil rather than the good. The fact that they call Voldemort "He-who-must-not be-named" gives power to something that really is powerless and ultimately at the end of this movie is rendered powerless because he has never known aspects of love and friendship, something that ultimately holds power. Wow...this sounds quite familiar. The biblical text pushes understanding in community and above all love is the most powerful commandment and the lens faith is often viewed from.

i think Harry Potter is excellent correlation of love and the church, especially the brokenness. I think J.K. Rowling has Christian roots. I know that i might be wrong in this but I know that these things are inherently biblical and if she is not a Christian what does that say about God and how God reveals her/himself throughout our culture. Wouldn't that be a great conversation to have in the future about what it means by revelation, illumination, and common grace.

Tuesday, July 17, 2007

Love and Service

When I was in undergrad I had the opportunity to work at a church's high school youth group (after a couple of years it was also the middle school program as well). The first spring break trip I went on was to Colorado to go skiing and be a small group leader on the church's trip. It was this year when I first met Luke, Kyle, and Brian, boys that I mentored throughout the rest of their high school career. This trip was the beginning of our friendship where there was many outings to Applebees and any show that was in Grand Rapids, Chicago, and/or Detroit. We were always doing something and it was a time where I heard what was happening in their life as well as walking along side them in the growings up of life.

I had the amazing opportunity this weekend to give the message portion of the marriage ceremony of Luke and his now wife Mindi. Luke was there the longest and we went to so many shows, bought so much music, and turned his little white sneakers into black Chuck Taylor's. I was really honored when they asked me to be a part of this day and was willing to share whatever wisdom I might be able to share with a communion of people on my wisdom (haha) on love. It took me awhile to understand what this task was going to be and then I read the verse from Song of Songs they choose.

for love is as strong as death,
its jealousy unyielding as the grave.
It burns like blazing fire,
like a mighty flame.

7 Many waters cannot quench love;
rivers cannot wash it away.

At the moment of reading this verse as a whole I was blown away. What a love that is that could be as strong as death. I am not aware of this kind of love. I don't know what this love is that it burns and cannot be quenched by even water. It made me sit back and think about the importance of love and the meaning and values we attribute to it. When we have a love this strong are there limits and boundaries that are added? When a love this strong exists is trust so foundational that all previous boundaries are removed or pushed back? Why are we so ever needing and ever grasping after love?

If this verse helps us to express or explain love why is it that we so often want to cheapen love? Why as an American culture we have become so infatuated with the beginnings of relationships rather than the fight to be inside the relationship? What is it about love that is so hard to get to? If it is worth fighting for then do we fight?

It's been a long time since I have been in a relationship so I believe these are questions that I know I need to ask. I think for awhile I was afraid of love. Maybe because deep down somewhere I knew that love was strong and that I would have to sacrifice myself for someone else. I think as much as I would fight for love I think I was really just fighting to be wanted and needed in a way that my culture told me only a love relationship could provide. I think love is the most important value i have in my life. I hope in the future I may find someone that I can love as strong as death and that it's not as simple as a love song or a teen love story.

Tuesday, July 10, 2007

let the music play....worries for another day

If you haven't been able to tell i thoroughly enjoy memorabilia and memories of my childhood. I think there is just something so innocent and fun about being a kid, having no worries or cares. When I returned home there was a gift on my dresser. This dresser has been mine since I was a little kid and has held many important artifacts throughout my life and as I am 26 this is no different from when I was about 6. This time it was a throwback to the childhood and was a Gobo doll from the show Fraggle Rock. I LOVED this show. I don't know anyone who watched it and didn't like it...

This was the show that would make me stop dead in the tracks and sit and watch. There was something about the Muppets that have always intrigued me. I think they act like humans but they are not they are puppets.
There was a lot of significance to the beauty of my childhood when I touched the doll. I automatically tucked it under my armpit and walked down the stairs to tell my parents what I had found upstairs. It was automatic response and all I wanted to do was hug it. It's funny that this was my response because I hate stuffed animals. I never really liked them as a kid but when it comes to Fraggle Rock the aversion is subsided and a full embrace is encountered.

Today my sister came over to my parents house and my mom forgot that she had bought us a birthday present and came down with a gift. The Red doll. This was my sisters favorite character. She loved it and if memory serves me correctly we had the doll as well as Gobo. I believe we wouldn't let them go. Somehwere along the line we lost the dolls, as sad is that is to say. My dad says it was lost in the flood, an accident of water gushing into our basement for a week when we had left for vacation to the East Coast.

I love this show. The dolls came with a DVD with two episodes. I am a little aprehensive to watch them since I know there are a lot of other things I loved as a child that coming back to it as an adult lost some of it's magic...I don't want that to happen. Yet I am sure there is some magic to the muppets of Fraggle Rock. There are probably messages that are so engrained in me that I missed them but probably (like everything else that I loved) had some sort of message of about love, consumerism, or the effects of being mean. I mean there were Doozers for goodness sakes that would work and work and work and then the Fraggles would come in and eat their work. That has to symbolize SOMETHING! right?

Sunday, July 8, 2007

michigan, michigan...

I graduated high school in 1999, that fall I moved with all of my belongings to the other side of Michigan and began the new chapter of my life in Grand Rapids. Since then I come and go as I please the east side of Michigan as much as I can or when it was necessary to visit the family and those that I love in the area. Since moving to California it has been quite hard to come home as much as I want. Late on the 4th I jumped into a plane and flew back to the mitten state. I am amazed at some of the moments I have had in just the few days I have been home.

My trip has included a trip to Charlevoix which is at the tip of the mitten on the Lake Michigan side. It was a beautiful drive full of trees, trees and more trees. i would make a similar drive when I would drive myself to camp. There are just so many trees. They are all green but on they are all different. They have different quirks and characteristics, and at the end of the day I was never bored and I just wanted to look at more. There were also clouds in the sky. Not the ones in California that are little streaks but big, beautiful puffy clouds. Also living in California it rarely rains. The two times it rained this year I turned off all inside noises, grabbed a book, and read in the rain. Since i have been home it has rained a number of times. So of the rain was little, some of it poured. I love when you can hear the rain on the top of the roof, you can see the lightening, and hear the thunder. I miss the smell of rain and I miss how it feels on a hot day or it would make the sidewalks steam in the middle of summer. I miss camp when it rains because nothing is better than working in the woods when it rains. It made everything slow down for just a moment and stop and take in kids running to buildings or other kids (or friends) slip and sliding through the grass.

I found this little clip on youtube. It's quick. I love it. I used to watch the rain drops like this coming down the window thinking that the big drops was Pac Man and it was eating all the little drops.

Being home has been fantastic. My family makes me laugh on a regular basis. Everyone is free to be themselves and are huge on the love and touch. My best friend Wendy was also around for the whole weekend so it was full of laughter and of course dancing. If I stop being lazy I will download pictures and post them in the next couple of days. It will be a great time now that I am back in Detroit and then off to Grand Rapids. This is the best vacation a girl can get while being poor and in graduate school.

Tuesday, July 3, 2007

our created nature and a rat

I am fully aware that the television and movies I watched as a child affected who I was to become. I can only look back with a smirk and I know that this helped play into the ideas that i hold so dearly now as an adult. My friend Harris and I went to see Ratatioulle on Sunday with the full expectation and understanding that we would morph into our child like states, hold off on all the school work we were doing, and immerse ourselves into the world Pixar would create for us.

i was amazed at how good the movie was. I saw previews for the movie on abc where they raved and raved about the film. I don't buy that hype often but I knew this would be a good time or at least the animation would be worth seeing. It offered us/me more than I was bargaining for. There were scenes where they showed the Arch de Triumphe at night and all the light was being prismed through the individual stain glass, and that was less than two seconds of a shot. A cartoon again brought up the desire to go to Paris. What a beautiful city with so much to explore and encounter. I must go one day and sit inside a beautiful rustic cafe and sip espresso while watching people passing by.

Back to the movie...the story was even better. It really played on the idea of who and how we are created. I believe it again plays on Marxist ideals that wanted to erase the dividing lines between classes and what makes something better than another. It also played on the ideas of truth and how we can be expanded by encountering something that exists outside of our limits or perimeters we give truth. I was really moved by the ideas presented. That a movie towards children could really play on the ideas that truth is what we make of it. The spiritual realm can be found in this film. The matter of creation and why we are on earth is a question some children ask after they see this movie. I hope that we all are aware of what's around us. I hope that when we are presented an idea that moves our core, that shakes all that we know to be true we can regroup and refocus on ability to reevaluate what we know to be true.

I adored the movie and all the thoughts and discussions I have had post watching. I went to get my mind off school and left with new ideas that I know will impact how I think and perceive my knowledge for years to come. i am impacted by the fact that there is something in us that burns and aches and all we know is that we need to follow that path. Sometimes it is so crazy to follow that path. It doesn't make sense and for all intensive purposes it doesn't. But in the end that's how i ended up here in southern California. I would not settle to be a counselor or a youth pastor (great professions but I knew somewhere I was pretty miserable if I would have chosen these roads). I knew there was something greater to run after and I feel like I am just finally finding my potential. That doesn't mean I stop running it just means I have stopped running either in circles or the wrong direction. I am grateful for the opportunities to be moved and challenged by my culture. I think it's so lovely and my faith above all is strengthened by these creative avenues.

I think there is something to be said about embracing your child like nature and running towards things that will make you laugh. That's why I have nerf guns......and at some point during the summer have a full fledged water balloon fight. I think that might have to take place in between the philosophy and classes in the old testament. I think that's what this heart will need during a hot summer in Pasadena.

Monday, July 2, 2007

all those creepy crawly things...?

Lately I have been faced to face with Marxism and Socialist thought. No, I am not a communist and don't really seeing myself put a label or moniker that I will be using anytime soon. But I appreciate the ideas and the theory. I find myself engulfed in the ideas because in some ways they have many similar points that line up with Christian community and wholism, and looking out for more than just myself. I think we always have a long way to go but I am glad i am choosing a path that is filled with the goal of togetherness than of personal achievement and power.

I say all of this because I joined a little book club with some friends at Fuller. We are choosing to read classics as well as some new ones that I have been wanting to read. We started yesterday with the Metamorphosis. A VERY short story from what I gather 1915 that really dealt with the transformation of a man into an insect. It shocked me that this man transformed was not bothered that he one day couldn't get out of bed and no less make it to work yet questioning the very nature of what makes us human or valued within our Western culture.

I walked away last night asking some questions that I believe are raised in the literature. How do we take care of those less than ourselves? How do we listen and interact with those that are disenfranchised? How do I now listen?

My friend Dave mentioned how this is really tied into Socialist ideas and beliefs. I thought it was lovely and it really continued to pull on the little heart strings that show and reveal how we put ourselves into class systems that limit people into entering. We show and pursue power in this state. We hold onto whatever power we have and use it to make ourselves feel comfortable and/or unique. I think our love is limited in these states. I think how we open our lives, trust, home, and food pantry is subjected to how we view what's right or normal.

What really is normal and how do we deal with people who are different than the life we (I) have taken so long to built. With Christ how is our lives different? How do we see with different eyes and hear with different ears?