I will be taking a brief break from blogging. I'm not sure if that means a few days or a few weeks, but I need a little bit of time to gather my thoughts. Thanks.


Engaging the Beautiful

"...Blake, the next time you're at a big social event, I want you to walk right up to the prettiest girl in the room and say, 'I've come to talk to you in spite of the fact that you're the most shockingly gorgeous woman in this room.'" --Watch out beautiful girls, I've been given a charge and I'm not going to let my dear friend Peter down!

Actually Peter is right. There are a lot of times that the victims of so-called discrimination actually become the discriminators themselves. It is easy for many groups to feel that it is the world that owes them the time of the day, the red carpet, the best bagel in the shop all because they feel that they have been oppressed so long.

While I won't push the gender or the racial card tonight (believe me Ann, I'd love too), I will instead focus on a group of people I feel intimately in touch with -- short people. Too long have I looked up to my taller counterparts and thought, "Well aren't they something special because they can stuff me in a game of hoops" and not even given them the time of day. Ok, just kidding, but indeed it is true that I tend to shy away from actually mingling with what could be considered the social upper-class, the beautiful, the guitar-playing, the Hillary Clintons.

And I think this is unfortunate. While I sit around and think of them as shallow, I have neglected the fact that they are real people with real problems, as much if not bigger then my own. I have avoided getting to know people who perhaps would be quite interested in speaking with someone who loves DOS as much as they secretly do. And why? Because I have reverse discriminated against them and put them on a pedestal that is out of reach.

Thank you for that reminder Pete. I needed it! :)

Be Scared Lord Voldermort - We Are Proud, We Are Strong, We are HP Fans!

Last Thursday night was the Harry Potter premiere. Unstinking-believable. I have been to many premieres in my life but this is the first one where the theater actually broke out in sports arena type cheers. The upper half would yell out "Harry" while the lower would echo "Potter." Wow!

Harry Potter with the Magic Spoon


Oh to be a Monk

...A monk is supposed to give up the idea of possessing anything, and, in this culture, that includes women. Ideally, in giving up the sexual pursuit of women, the male celibate learns to relate to them as human beings...I've seen young monks astonish an obese and homely college student by listening to her with as much interest and respect as to her conventionally pretty roommate. (The Cloister Walk)

Being single isn't easy. But particularly for a Christian young man who wants to exude the spirit of Christ in all his relationships. As I was reading a chapter in The Cloister Walk I was astonished by Norris's candid remarks on the differences between celibate monks and your average Joe. Monks come off as genuine, concerned, and interested whereas average Joes come off as seeking a goal, be it a long lasting monagamous relationship or more likely, sex.

You see, the thing is, its easy to be like the Average Joe. If you walk into a group of people, you most naturally are going to gravitate to the most engaging or attractive person and want to join their conversation or become a part of their group. It is more difficult to seek out the hurting, the emotionally needy, or those who don't seem quite as exotic.

My desire is to be more like the monks, who are easily approachable and refreshingly enjoyable no matter who engages them, or who they engage in conversation. I continuously try to make an effort to talk to everyone, no matter their appearance or popularity. Yet that isn't always easy, and it is something I have to continually battle everytime I am in a group of large people. However my natural inclinations feel amazingly transparent when I do try to talk to everyone.

The thing that is difficult about monks is that it appears that they have actually controlled their inner desires and stripped away the superficialities in their hearts and minds. That is a point I have yet to achieve, and something that will take a long time to arrive at. But it is a battle I want to win and one I will continually be actively engaged in. Tarry on!


Wooing the Ladies with the English Language

Language took on a whole new dimension once I went to Japan. I now can almost visually see words and sentences coming together, much as if I was regularly partaking of LSD. I also had plenty of downtime while waiting to go to work, so I read some fairly decent novels including Brothers Karamazov and Great Expectations. Both of these books convinced me that peasants in Russia and England respectively have far greater vocabularies then I do, not to mention a firm grasp on poetry and being bi or trilingual to boot.

So anyways, in an attempt to advance myself, or at least prepare for the GRE, I attempt to use the best possible word I can muster when ever talking to someone. Generally this probably makes me look like I am a bit slow rather than remarkably brilliant, but perhaps diction proficiency only improves with time.

This got me to wondering, at 5:45 this morning, does this impress females? Will I be able to woo them with my firm grasp of vernacular? In a time of sadness would they rather hear "I am so sorry" or would they be much better soothed with words like, "Woe is you in this hour of dark despair." Personally the latter would send me in the throes of the dashing young gentleman who used such words, but alas, I am not female and certainly not Lizza Bennett.

Ladies, please, provide me with some insight into your minds so I will know how better to sweep you off your feet!


The Cloister Walk

This month the MRCC Singles' book club is reading a book called The Cloister Walk by Kathleen Norris. Norris was the inaugural speaker at the McBride faith and literature lectures and she was unbelievably good. There are times that words almost seem to take visible form where they are just floating around the room and connecting together in pleasing and easily comprehensible structures. Listening to her that night was one of those experiences and thus fellow book clubee Melissa Shumate and I decided that she would make a great read.

And indeed she has. Amongst other things she has inspired me to become a monk! Ok, well I probably won't become a monk but a life that's day to day moments are dedicated to living and experiencing God and His son is inspirational. I really do think that if I find myself single at around 35 I will join a monastery for a few years just to gain the enlightenment that comes from that experience.

One of the things I've learned from a mere sixty pages of reading is that monasteries aren't self-encased safe havens that totally remove an individual from the world. Monks, and nuns for that matter, are truly trying to live lifes separate from worldly pleasures yet they still make an evangelical impact on those that come to contact with them. I think too often in the past I have written them off as living in a bubble and not in touch with the world they live in. However I think this is great ignorance on my part, and there is more to this lifestyle then I originally thought.

I sometimes wonder if those of us who live in the world try to have the best of both worlds. Work with me because this is an idea still in development and not fully thought out. But we are blessed with so many worldly pleasures in America and become so busy and distracted with entertainment, technology, and activities that we spend less and less time actually focusing on God. Yet we at the same time try to bring God back into those crowded spaces and attempt to be "spiritual." I'm not sure you can actually do both.

Perhaps thats why we try to impose spiritualism on our society and why we focus on things like morality so often as opposed to a relationship with God. Morality is not always tied to righteousness, or for that matter, spirituality, but we figure that as long as we are doing right then we are being spiritual. And if we lead others to have to live by our moral code we are fighting the war against the evil powers that exist in this world all the while forgetting to focus more and more on God and less on ourselves and this world.

More rambling will ensue from this book, but as I'm just starting it I wanted to give you some insight into what Kathleen has to say. If some of these thoughts seem strange or off the wall, remember, she's a poet! I blame it on all these artistic people for being not so systematic in my theology!