And so it began

A year ago about this time it began. I was reminded of this in two ways yesterday. First, I had a bad dream. I occassionally have dreams about my mother many which include images of the last few weeks of life with her. Last night was of a different variety in that for a period of time I believed my mom was still alive and I got to talk to her again. While this is pleasant during the dream, waking up is another matter. The second reminder was from my mother's best friend who emailed us to send us her sympathies since it was June 28th that she was first told that my mom had level three ovarian cancer.

I won't retell the roller-coaster summer that was the summer of '05. I'd like to spend this next portion of my blog reminiscing of how I've grown and life has gotten back on track, and everything is now coming up roses for me, but I won't. God has, however, blessed me in numerous ways, and I'm extremely thankful for His help in the last year.

No, I'd like to just be honest and say that things have changed. While I've always had a jovial disposition, I at times am quite sad. I feel my own mortality daily, and am fearful of my own death. Even more I'm afraid of the death of my family and friends. Somehow this mortality deeply affects my outlook on life and how I view the world. I can't quite place my finger on it, but the things that are considered trivial seem even more so now. Gone is my joy of being continuously goofy, flippant, and silly - replaced by a measured sobriety tempered with somberness.

I love God. I believe in God and always will. However, I have a hard time being like Paul in his zeal. Perhaps I will grow more and more into the stature of his ways where I can one day say "To live or die, all is but gain for Christ" [paraphrase]. And maybe like James I can count it pure joy when I am tried. But I feel more like David who got frustrated, depressed, and even felt desserted by God. Like David though ultimately I believe that God is good and just and will praise His name all of my days. Lord, come quickly.


More Like Sugar Than Salt

Being cool. It's what we are all about.

Wait, I'm sorry. You are above being cool. In fact you are the salt and the light of the earth. Being cool is nonessential to you, instead seeking and serving God is your purpose and you have no need to get caught up in the ways of the world.

Then why do I feel we are very similar, if not a tad nicer, than our worldly counterparts? Why do we sit and watch hours of reality television that primarily consists of people plotting, bickering, and making meager attempts to prove Darwin's survival of the fittest law applies only to them? Shouldn't we be reading and memorizing scripture instead? Why could we readily rattle off pop culture facts much easier than the listing of the twelve apostles? Why do we associate only with people that look and act essentially like ourselves. Do not even the tax collectors do that?

Being cool. It's what we are all about.

You see, I don't think we're that much different than the world we live in. I'd like to think we are but I think many of us desire to appear tolerant, even "loving", foregoing our call to be different. We have thus made idols of things like not using curse words and abstaining from alcohol to prove that we are different. Maybe we won't even smoke, but what child with a D.A.R.E. education would?

Please excuse me. I need to go watch Gray's Anatomy.


A Bobo's LIfe

A few years back a good friend called me a bobo. I had no idea what he meant at the time, although when he explained the term to me it made sense and mostly fit my situation. Recently I've been reading the book Bobos in Paradise: The New Upperclass and How They Got There which defines the term. A bobo, you see, is a combination of the words bourgeois and bohemian. These words have historically stood in stark contract of each other. Bourgeois stands for "of, relating to, or characteristic of the townsmen of the social middle class" while bohmeian is defined as "a person with artistic or literary interests who disregards conventional standards of behavior." Up until the past four decades, it was impossible to be both rising middle class and nonconformist at the same time.

Yet that is not the case today. Today's bobos struggle with their affluence, increasing work demands, and societal concerns. They want to be depicted as carefree, yet often they are moderately wealthy and materialistic despite their despise for wealth and over-involvement. Coming after the age of baby boomers, when excessive work and busyness was valued, bobos want to generally have a good time despite their position in society.

This peculiar circumstance is one I am all too familiar with. As a Christian my despise for worldly (i.e. materialistic) concerns increases the struggle between my bourgeois and bohemian tendencies. I am deeply aware that it is "easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle, than a [wealthy] man to enter the kingdom of Heaven." Yet I enjoy my job and situation. How do I balance the ways of being a bobo and a Christian? What impact does living in perhaps the richest nation of all time have on my ability to know and love God? As society places labels and terms upon our generation, how does tha affect how I view Christianity, and moreover, God?

So there you go. Possibly a new term; perhaps some interesting questions to ponder. Think it over - I'm going to go enjoy a bobo's life.


Bronte Makes My Knees Go Weak

Now this is good writing:

"Arraigned at my own bar, Memory having given her evidence of the hopes, wishes, sentiments I had been cherishing since last night--of the general state of mind in which I had indulged for nearly a fortnight past; Reason having come forward and told, in her own quiet way a plain, unvarnished tale, showing how I had rejected the real, and rabidly devoured the ideal;--I pronounced judgment to this effect:-

That a greater fool than Jane Eyre had never breathed the breath of life; that a more fantastic idiot had never surfeited herself on sweet lies, and swallowed poison as if it were nectar."

Jane Eyre, Charlotte Bronte (Ch. 16)


Post-Bloggism or Exercising My Free Will

Peter's dad, in a spurious attempt to send Peter and I out of blogging retirement quipped, “Of course post-modernism eclipsed modernism, but I believe a new age has dawned – post-bloggism.” Yes, it was indeed said that eloquently because, well, he’s Peter’s dad. The boy came from somewhere you know. (My apologies to those of you who don’t know Peter – I’d give you his facebook ID but I’m opposed to such things and I imagine he is too. His blog however is: Http://peterrice.blogspot.com.)

However, it is my brother, not Peter’s dad who is forcing me out of retirement – at least for tonight. Apparently my lack of blogging has slowed down traffic on his site. So this is my meager attempt to generate more revenue for him

My topic tonight is the age ole question – free-will vs. determinism. Since I just had surgery and I am oddly obeying doctor’s orders and have the faculties of one arm, I’ll keep it short and say nothing of consequence on the subject at all.

Let me say this. It is a vitally important question. The reason is because by defining our viewpoint on the issue we identify our understanding of the nature we have with our creator. This comes across in how we speak of God, our prayers to Him, and even how we evangelize. So without giving you any insights – dwell on this issue for just a bit. It will do you good.

WC: 240
1A: 13 min, 18.5 WPM
2A: 3 min, 80 WPM