Thursday, November 15, 2007

Sigma Tau Delta

Well, it's been crazy. Half of my inter-library loan books are already late (I'm going to have a hefty fine to pay, and I'm sure Tamie Willis will be mad at me for not getting the ILLs back in on time), and I certainly haven't done near enough research to turn them back in. It sucks.

So, my college search is narrowing, and I think I have the six schools to which I will apply:

University of Wisconsin - Madison
Rice University (Houston)
Washington University, St. Louis
Abilene Christian University

I'm still debating on OSU, because their program isn't very theory-heavy, except in "Screen Studies," and I'm not sure I want to get a degree in film, however interesting it may be.
I might add University of Minnesota to the list, or I might run across something else.

In any case, some of the deadlines (UW, for instance) are early December, so I really need to get on the ball with this. I'm a little nervous about my writing sample being good enough for UW or Rice, but I'm not nervous about not going to grad school, because I'm certain that, no matter what, Abilene will probably take me in :), which is certainly not a bad thing.

Anyway, auditions are underway for our 10-minute plays, and I've been given my own play to direct. It's exciting watching people audition and compete for MY play in an audition - it's fascinating to watch your text come to life in front of you. I love directing!!

Finally, I mailed out my submissions for Sigma Tau Delta's Louisville conference yesterday. I submitted both poetry, and an analytical paper, and I'd love it if both of them made it again this year, like last year. I hope we get a good crowd going to conference, too!!!

Tuesday, November 6, 2007

Grad School search continues...

Last week I was lucky enough to be able to tour two graduate colleges - those at OU and OSU. Unfortunately, I didn't truly understand how to handle a college visit until after the first one, so my experience was better prepared for at OSU than OU, and I had more questions answered. But now I'm in what I would like to refer to as a "cesspool": a nice, large, foul-smelling dilemma.

Upon visiting OSU's campus, and getting to know several of their students (which I was not lucky enough to do at OU, aside from the fabulous Kristina... whom I of course already knew), I had the opportunity to pay a visit to the theatre department. This was not something I was lucky enough to do at OU, since I was distracted by the IMPRESSIONIST PAINTINGS in the ART MUSEUM ON CAMPUS (words capitalized for emphasis and ecstasy). When I walked into the theatre office, completely impromptu, they told me they were re-printing promotional materials for the grad program, and didn't have any new ones - but lo and behold, a grad advisor walks in at that very moment!

Only a few minutes later, and I find out that, coincidentally, this grad advisor is also the head theoretician of the department (my main interest in theatre studies) and that (insert drum roll here), she and I went to the same high school... in Richmond, Virginia. That was probably the craziest moment of this semester, if not the year. Talk about a coincidence.

Needless to say, after talking to her and about bridging the gap between the theatre and English programs, I'm much more interested in making sure the school I apply to offers an M.A. in Theatre, with classes I'll be able to take to supplement my graduate studies in Literature (the school also needs to have a strong program in critical theory). This ruled out more schools, and now I'm having to format a completely new list.

Some potential schools I may add to my list:

University of Wisconsin in Madison
University of Minnesota in Twin Cities
University of Missouri in Columbia
OSU (why not?)

Schools that (I think) remain on my list:

Rice University in Houston (though it's a terminal PhD program)
Washington University in St. Louis, MO
Abilene Christian

Of course, if I didn't care where I went, I'd be applying to Cornell, and to Berkeley, or Duke, or Notre-Dame... but I'd like to stay within the midwest (and I certainly don't know if I'd be accepted into those prestigious schools with any sort of Assistantship or Fellowship).


Sunday, October 7, 2007

Living word.

For the first time I realize these words
are cognizant of their own corporeality
These words know they are spoken
they know they transmit meaning
and they lift themselves from the page
and dance silently, boldly through the air
into my eyes, my ears, my nose, my mouth
and I taste their power
and smell their reverberations -
Commanding, unseeming
An open book becomes a heavy stone
a weapon, to be hurled
to be absorbed
to be defended.
A book that knows itself
and knows that I will soon
digest it.

Thursday, September 27, 2007

I'm not your buddy.

"Hey, buddy." Smile in passing. Keep walking. Ummm... hi?

There's a trend on campus, or rather, just about everywhere, to call me "buddy." I don't have a problem with my friends calling me "buddy." I accept it as a term of endearment, and I allow certain people to get away with calling me that. But for the rest of the world, I have a question for you:

Do you just not know my name?

"Heyy, buddy!" As if to say, "I think you're important, too! See? I'm talking to you!"

Why is it that only certain people exude this "vibe" that almost seems degrading? Oh, surely, they only mean to be uplifting and friendly, and maybe it's not their fault that they really think they're being uplifting. I mean... really think it. As if my day relied on it.

It seems that I get this certain vibe more from those certain students who consider themselves in high-ranking positions. Either they work for Student Life, or for Admissions, or are just in general full of themselves in some social service club leadership role. The mentality that radiates from these individuals is more along the lines of "Hello, young student on whom my guidance may be blessed," rather than "Hey, friend!" Which one would think to be the typical meaning behind the term, "buddy." If you work for Student Life, that's wonderful, but don't look at me like one of those students that you are "helping" with your job, as if I'm somewhat lower than you. Am I one of the hoi polloi, a dullard peasant in your eyes merely because I don't understand that the inner workings of what you do somehow affects my everyday life?

I don't buy it. Just as I didn't buy that Student Government Association meeting I attended when the president swore up and down, multiple times (for emphasis) that it was he, and the association, that encouraged OC to begin a nursing program. How they came up with the idea that they, the majority of whose majors were far removed from science, were the first ones to contemplate our university having a nursing program in the face of many interested students and a culture deplete of workers... I'll never know.

But again, some of them are apparently my "buddies."

Also, if you're last name is as popular an OC chain as McDonald's is a food chain... that also doesn't make you my "buddy." I wouldn't care if your grandparents built the Bible building itself, that doesn't make you my "buddy."

If you don't know my name, learn it. Don't smile at me in passing and call me "buddy" and think you're cute and mature, because more often than not, I'm three or four years older than you.

And I've probably experienced a lot more.

Again, several of my friends call me "buddy." They can get away with it, because I am their "buddy." But if you don't know me? Don't call me that, because chances are, you're not my buddy, and probably don't even want to know me anyway.

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

He's Coming

He's coming.
Splashing through the hills
like muddy waters parting
peace stepping lightly from clouds
like sunlit rain
falling on the thorns and the flowers;
He's passing through the thickets
and every bramble that catches his ankle
is an old woman touching his cloak
and he bleeds out a smile and a blessing
until there's enough blood
to run down in rivulets like the wind
through the leaves
as I sit in the trees, absorbed
and ready to receive him.

Friday, September 21, 2007

Distraction II.

I run my fingers through you
like coarse hair,
tugging with anticipation as I
try to blend, to consider,
to understand,
why that graspofyourgreen
in my fist revitalizes me -
coarse, smooth, you fit right between
my fingers and
I let our bodies connect
as I lounge with you in the
amber light of our sunset
next to our gurgling fountain.

Mild and Fanciful Distraction.

How seamlessly my colors blend into the earth;
the same palette of browns,
as if from the same acrylic tube
or maybe watercolor,
if God used water to form me from birth,
but I can't paint the feeling
of the bristled grass in my fingers,
or the pop of the weak greens
that stand out against my hand,
my hand, strangely muscular, almost foreign
as if after twenty-three years of life I only
just realized I was a grown man
with the pop of iridescent blue glimmering
underneath my tanned skin,
veins a phlebotomist would enjoy.
I can't paint this feeling, or even
capture it into words,
gracefully lowering the sunset onto
my parched notebook paper
quenching its thirst
that plagues me into trying, anyway,
as grass, the browns and my tans,
the greens and pricks of fall and
sunset air
fold themselves between the margins,
before I set my pen down
and once again take up my book -
a mild and fanciful distraction from my reading
put into writing once more.

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Integration of Faith and Learning?

As a senior, the English department of OC demands I write a cohesive essay on the topic of "The Integration of Faith and Learning," and express my feelings on the two ideas, and how they do or do not function together. This is the revised draft of my response:

As a Christian, it is impossible, and perhaps misleading, to write an essay on the “integration” of Faith and Learning. To use the word integrate, or “coming together,” would reveal that we’re talking about two things that we consider separate, that only for a time are “coming together” during our education, when, in fact, as Christians, what we’re talking about are two things that are completely blended together from the beginning of Creation.Hebrews 4:12 states, “the word of God is living and active. Sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart.” If we, as Christians, do believe what the scriptures say about the living, breathing, word of God, then how could we possibly be able to separate the ideas of “Faith” and “Learning”? To denote any sort of separation would reveal doubt on our part to understand that we, as communicating, sentient beings, are made in the same communicating, sentient image of God. Even if read metaphorically, the beginning of Creation, in the book of Genesis, relates a God who “spoke” the world into existence: “And God said, ‘let there be light’” (Genesis 1:3). Likewise, God asks us to communicate to Him through language, perhaps correlating one of the aspects of His image, in which we are created, to be that power, or mastery, of language itself. The idea of an integrated Faith and Learning emphasizes the importance of language as God-given in our world of communication, and our world as a “text.”

We live in a world of symbols, and signs, and each radiates a different meaning. Post-structuralists such as Barthes, and his work on cultural sign-systems, and Louis Marin’s examination of space as a “text” in his Utopics, truly underline the importance of the written word, not just within the pages of a book, but as a living, breathing entity that extends beyond syntax and grammar to include semantics on much larger-scale levels. Our contemporary world is coming to grips with what most consider “cultural studies,” in which the text, as we know it, has exploded outward to include a closer study of how large groups of people relate within the context of a given text, such as the schools of Gender Studies, or Queer Theory. If there is room for these groups of people to have their interpretations, or views, of different texts, or “texts,” than why not Christians? The scripture from Hebrews, quoted above, also denotes the idea of a “living” text. The Word is alive, and not merely being left on the pages of the book itself. If Paul can write to the Hebrews and reveal this extremely postmodern idea, relating to things many contemporary linguists and literary theorists have related to within contemporary texts, how could we possibly see the idea of “text” any differently, than working hand in hand with our Faith, or with the power of God through words?

Faith and Learning, as a cohesive unit, have helped me grow tremendously to understand the world around me. The education I’ve received at Oklahoma Christian University has allowed me to see the different inspirations of God through different texts, and has helped me see each text as “alive.” The philosophies of other authors have helped me view the world from several different angles, and I’ve appreciated the guidance of the faculty in pointing out the different points of view of the world we live in, and how to harness those views to enhance our own. Exploring texts such as the Baghavad-Gita, or the Chuang Chou, in World Literature, has certainly enhanced my appreciation for the world at large which God has created, and the different cross-references I find in each culture’s religious texts gives me a broader understanding of the different ways God has possibly manifested Himself to other cultures, and urged me to ask questions of myself and develop my own beliefs, and my own faith. Each text I’ve read, through my education, has become its own living, inspired entity. The philosophies of authors such as William Wordsworth, and Ralph Waldo Emerson, also have truly enhanced my understanding of a cohesive “Faith and Learning,” with their understandings of a motivating force known mysteriously as a “Universal,” and “over-soul,” or as Coleridge puts it, an “Incomprehensible.”

The scripture from Hebrews 4:12 emphasizes the Word of God as “living,” and I think it’s important to realize through education that we can come to see all words as “living” texts, and also, as Christians, see our Faith as a type of literary theory to break down and understand these “texts” in the context of our spirituality. God has revealed himself with words, has given us a gift “in His image” to use words to communicate with Him, and with each other, and given us the opportunity to explore our world through words themselves. Faith and Learning are truly inseparable.

It was September 16th

I forgot your birthday.
Purple flowers from my aunt, and I still didn't know it
until two days later when my wife read me the card
and I recognized the date. Two days later
and I realize that two years later, and I'm soon forgetting
the features of your voice and the warmth of your laugh,
and soon I might only remember your face, and your movements
as one remembers a favorite movie, replaying the same scenes in their head
until they're romanticized, out of proportion.
You've become out of proportion,
and my brother and I couldn't understand
why they all got flowers that weekend,
until two days later,
and there's nowhere to address my card, there's no where
to hide my face in that shame that follows,
because you wouldn't care. You don't care anymore,
because where you are, there's too much happiness
to care for anything like purple flowers
and belated cards from your faithful children.
Strange, too, how knowing that could still be such a comfort.

Imaginary Courses and Non-imaginary Grad Schools

I sometimes get a kick out of thinking up interesting courses I'd like to teach as a professor. I thought I'd try to write some of them down, and make them sound interesting:

Satire and the Media: 1700's - present

Introduction to Romantic Poetry (of course)

Feminist Approaches to Gothic Romanticism

Textual Faith: Spirituality as "Text"

Texts in Performance: Survey of Dramatic Literature

Theatre and the Text: Performative Aspects in non-Dramatic Literature

Literary Theory and the Theatre: Applied Methods



In other news, I'm continuing my search for the perfect Grad school. Here are some that Dr. Lamascus and I listed:

Rice University, Houston
University of Illinois, Chicago
University of Tennessee, Knoxville
Notre Dame University, Indiana
George-Washington University, St. Louis
University of Texas, Austin
University of Missouri, Kansas City
KU (okay, Brandon, this was only mentioned in passing)
Baylor University, Waco
OU, Norman
Abilene Christian, Abilene

Of course, this is only the starting place. Onward and Upward!

Sunday, September 16, 2007

Regina Spektor

I originally posted an entire song lyric on this blog, but then felt that was a little cheesy and high-school. I hence posted the entire song lyric on my livejournal, but decided to only share a portion of the song on my blog.

On the Radio

This is how it works
You're young until you're not
You love until you don't
You try until you can't
You laugh until you cry
You cry until you laugh
And everyone must breathe
Until their dying breath

No, this is how it works
You peer inside yourself
You take the things you like
And try to love the things you took
And then you take that love you made
And stick it into some
Someone else's heart
Pumping someone else's blood
And walking arm in arm
You hope it don't get harmed
But even if it does
You'll just do it all again

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

My Brother

Am I supposed to take something from that,
from that sweat you dripped
onto the upholstery of my car?
The breath, perfumed with beer, dancing
robust words across that silent space,
The space I had wrapped around me
all my childhood
like my own umbilical cord, though now
with no mother to be attached to?
It's true, I radiated myself through
time, like rainbows and daisies,
shining through rose-tinted glasses above
that which you would call labor, a man's work,
that hint of dirt and rippling muscle.
But that which you form as
"masculinity" eludes me -
eluded me in birth, and still yet
is somehow outside my reach, the
sphere of my silent spaces,
and you, with your sweat, and your tan,
and your work, you embody
something to me untouchable,
like a god, and the language you
spoke that mocked me all my
waking hours of childhood was in reality
my own voice,
mocking me for my insecurity, as I
tried my hardest to bathe in your masculinity
and stop disappointing
no one but myself.

Sunday, September 9, 2007

A Memoir

New Writing Project! Not to be melodramatic, but to avoid typing it out again, I explain it in that link.

I'm not going to be self-righteous and say that I've gone through more than most people, but I think sometimes we're hit with things because we're meant to do something with them, so I truly want to tell my family's story. I have no idea where to begin, or when I'll even be able to sit down and start writing it... but I want to, and that's the first step.

Faith is a Text

"For the word of God is living and active. Sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart."
Hebrews 4:12

I don't think Christians realize just how much Faith, and the Bible, plays with literary theory. Hell, I don't know if Christians realize just how much Faith is literary theory. It's odd to think I feel closest to God when I analyze His Creation as a "text," or understand the application of Derridian "play" in understanding the essential meaning of the world around me. If we break things down to the core, what is left? If we chisel, or deconstruct, the Word of God down to its basic element, what is it?

If we deconstruct the world down to its basic element - where would we be left? We'd be left with God, wouldn't we? I was told of a famous author, Elie Weisel, who survived the Holocaust, and how he viewed "silence." "Silence is the space that holds words together" (not a direct quote, it sounded much more thought-provoking than that, I promise). But, isn't that a profound thought? Not only is silence the space that holds words together, but inherently, holds meaning together. And I'm not sure if Weisel said this himself, or if it was suggested by the person who told me of Weisel's thoughts... but isn't God in the silence?

God takes an active part in our words, in our language, and in our communication. To see the Word of God as alive is to see all of His Creation as a language, or a "text" that can be opened up, deconstructed, and fully appreciated in the light of God's wisdom. We keep saying things like "having an experience with the Word," or "grasping the Word," as if the Word itself was more than just a word, just a text. And it is! The "Text" is alive! It is moving, and it is shaking, and it is powerful! And Literary Theory shows that to us, more than anything else, (I think) in this entire world!!

We are living in a text. We are a text. God is alive and active through his Word, and the Word will never, ever, be just a book, or just a collection of words, or even just thoughts and ideas. The Word is alive!

Friday, August 31, 2007


Devin Mitchell was born this morning, August 31st, to my brother and his wife, and his big sister Lexy Ann. I have a nephew!

She will never hold you
blue-bundled bright ball of boy;
but this miracle she sent out
from heaven
dripping with some sweetness, the sweetness
that draws families together
like honey draws flies-
undeservered innocence enters a world
and we all fall silent;
circling around, watching him yawn with purity,
imagining ourselves in his place,
as this tiny monster,
and our own parents holding us, in awe
at our tiny hands and fingernails.
This is not the first time I have witnessed birth,
but it's the first I've realized
the importance of the soul, and the veil
between heaven and now is almost pulled away,
and my mother peeks at us
from around the hospital's curtain,
my mother, who, only hours before,
must have smiled her smile, and
told my little nephew that it was time
to come into the world and meet us face to face.

Sunday, August 26, 2007

Your Will be Done

So, I went to church at the right time, again. I think God is trying to woo me back into fellowship with a chain of "wow, I really needed to hear that" moments at church. I guess you could say it started when I opened the bulletin and read the announcement that next week would start a new Bible class in the morning covering Ecclesiasted and Job. This is merely remarkable partly because I've thought about reading through the book of Job lately, and partly because Ecclesiastes thrills me in an odd, enigmatic way. But God surprised me more than once.

Before going to church this morning, and indeed, all weekend long, I've been thinking about the upcoming school year. Well, not just thinking, but I've been dwelling. I know this is the semester when I'll decide upon my future and start making choices that will ultimately affect my life ahead, academically, spiritually, etc. I've had dreams about graduate school, merely because I fall to sleep at night thinking about this upcoming year, about getting through it so I can go to grad school, but also wondering what I'm missing since I'm not in grad school yet. That's not the healthiest line of thinking, because it brings on quite a restless night. But as I was telling a friend of mine, I even found myself dreaming about studying literary theory... which is odd, to say the least. But the problem has been that I've been dwelling over what I want, or where I want to be, or what I want to study.

I've been worried and worried and worried about the choices I'll be making this semester.

So imagine my surprise when the minister begins his sermon regarding prayer - not just about prayer, but about that key line that some people say far too often to be sincere about it: "not my will, but thine be done."

When Christ prayed in Gethsemane, he was in agony. He sweated drops of blood, for crying out loud. Our preacher pointed out that the song that states "he had no care for his own griefs, but sweat drops of blood for mine" is incredibly misleading, and downright false. Christ was in agony for himself, pleading with God over and over again for "this cup to pass," BUT, that if it was God's will, he would take of it. We don't understand the concept of "your will be done" when we talk to God.

Isn't prayer supposed to be about changing God's will? What about Hezekiah, in II Kings 20, when God ordained that he should die, but Hezekiah's unrelenting prayer granted him 15 years more of life? What about the parable spoken by Christ about the persistent woman who's request was granted by the King merely because of her persistence? Why should we ever pray "Your will be done"?

"Your will be done," is not for everyone.

There is a certain amount of spiritual maturity that comes with truly being willing to accept God's will, and to be "okay" with the outcome. It's hard to give up our will. It's hard to turn things over to God, because there is always the case that God's will could include suffering. Look at Job. Look at millions and millions of people who ask God everyday why a loved one had to be taken from them. Dr. Baird referenced C.S. Lewis, whose book "A Grief Observed" relates a CHristian journey through the turmoil of losing a loved one, and how he faced God in all of that pain.

Christ understood that pain, and he still granted God His will. Our will is a will based merely on our knowledge, our own interests, the love we have for ourselves and those we love, and whatever is the least painful path to take. We can't possibly take in the entire picture. We, like Dr. Baird suggested, would have been railing and railing against God if we had been alive during the time of Joseph, watching him suffer as a slave, and even a prisoner, for decades and decades. How could we have understood God's overall plan? How can we ever understand God's overall plan?

But God's will is stronger than our will, and we have to be able to accept it. Of course, God's "no" is better than "no God," as Dr. Baird put it, and God would rather us be sincerely angry with him, than insincerely in agreement.

A sincere argument with God is better than an insincere "Your will be done."

I'm going to think twice on that before I mention that in a prayer. I understand now, through this summer, that God's will is perfect, and beautiful, but that it includes a lot of pain and blind confusion from us humans, who can't fully understand it. It's hard to just trust, and obey, blindly.

Friday, August 24, 2007


I can't believe the summer is officially over.

I have full intentions of spouting flawless wisdom in my blogs, but tonight the muse escapes me.

Thursday, August 23, 2007

Thank You

"What would you think of me now?
So lucky, so strong, so proud?
I never said Thank You for that."

-Jimmy Eat World

This is a song I hadn't connected with until recently. Part of the lyric reminds me of my mother. My mother is the one who raised me, to whom I attribute everything good about myself: my optimism, my tendency to see the good in most situations, and my endeavour to always see the good in other people.

Driving home from Texas was enlightening. Most drives are, especially when the landscape is pretty, the sun and the clouds are just right in the sky, and all around Nature seems to be singing its praises, and you can't help but join in. But listening to song lyrics like the one above, I realize both how lucky I am to be where I am, how blessed I've been in this life, and how grateful I am. There are things in my life now that I would be dissapointed about, if my mom were still alive to find out about them - and there are things I've learned, changes I've made (for the better), that I really wish I could share with her.

I did have the chance to thank my mom for what she gave me, and I've grown up since then, since she died - grown away from her, as I should, as everyone does. But the lesson I learned - even from that sentimental feeling I got, thanking my mom once more, thanking her through the sky and the clouds and through God on that sunny drive north from Texas - was that I cannot forget to thank those who have helped me even further in my walk as a Christian, in my walk as a human being, and in my walk as a man.

My friends are the gems of this world. Friends are the arms of God, reaching out to hold or comfort us. I see God in the tears of my friends, in the laughter, in the words of my friends, in the love of my friends. Friendship is one of the key elements to our humanity. There is little I could have done without them.

It's tough, sometimes, watching them move on with their lives, or having to move on, yourself, and leave people behind. It happens, it always does. One hopes that paths cross again, and sometimes they do. I'm grateful to know that I don't have to worry about falling away from the friends I've made.

God has truly blessed me.

There's so much more to say here. To say about life, the future, the keys to happiness, to contentment. There is so much I've learned about myself and about love. Maybe I'll find the words to share it. I'm not as eloquent as some, so it might take me more time :). But for now, I just wanted to get that out there.

I am blessed. Very blessed. I pray to God that I can give back as much as I've gained.

Tuesday, August 21, 2007


The stars are out tonight.
How fitting - I would say,
if we were in a convertible, and the world was our oyster
and we were climbing on the backs of the mountains
throwing our shit to the wind
and asking it, just begging it, to challenge us.
They shine for us - is all you would say,
and we'd clang glasses of illegal substance together
in our car
as we howl at the night and celebrate the stars and the moon
as if they were our brothers, and we were all traveling together
like Jack Kerouac, or some crazy shit like that - I'd say
and you'd agree, with some philosophic or theologic words
that I couldn't begin to write down for you, since you're
the only one who spouts that stuff out well enough
for both of us.
But we'd be flying down the road
with the world, the road, and boxes and boxes of wine at our fingertips
just challenging God to slow us down,
or asking Him to pick us up -
It didn't matter, because we felt Him with us, anyway,
you, me, and Jesus in the backseat of a camaro,
toasting boxes of wine to the moon.
Yeah - I say, I can dream, can't I?
And you put your arm around me and tell me,
brother -you say, we're already there.


I decided that I wasn't really using this blog for my creative fiction, so I created, which I'll use for my creative outlet, hopefully focusing on pieces of the novel I hope to start working on, soon.

For the day to day calendar events, my blog remains open at, and I think I'll use this particular blog for my more philosophical or existential musings :).

Maybe I'm a nerd with too many blogs, but I hope this will help me better organize my thoughts.

Monday, August 20, 2007

It's not selfish to ask for help.

I've had to realize that it's more prideful to refrain from asking for help, than it is selfish to ask for it.

It's not selfish to want to get to know someone.

It's not selfish to want someone to hear and understand your problems.

It's not selfish to do something in exchange for friendship. There are many more prideful motives one could have for helping someone than just wanting to have their friendship. Maybe we're lied to all our lives, being told that we're horribly selfish beings, when in fact all we're really trying to do is reach out for help, or reach out to other people. To prove that we're human, too, in fact.

Don't get me wrong, selfishness does exist. We are all inherently selfish - but I think sometimes we focus so much on the smaller matters that we forget the point of it all. We can't go dissecting every little thing we do, or else we'll be afraid of doing anything at all. A man who's afraid that talking about himself will come across as selfish, will never be able to truly let his feelings out, and will eventually explode.

But we are selfish. THat's the first thing we have to realize. We have to realize that we are selfish, and we have to realize that some things we think are selfish, are NOT selfish. Strange. But I guess, really, the point is we have to redirect ourselves to focus on the more important matters. I can't allow myself to continually pick at myself for being "selfish." Yes, okay, I'm selfish. I'm not selfish for wanting a friend, or for desiring love, because that's human. I'm selfish for not wanting to take responsibililty for my actions, not wanting to have to give love in return. That should be my focus. Not my friendships, not my cries for help - but my actions.

I am a selfish person.

But I am not a hopeless person.

Monday, August 13, 2007

Inspired by a friend

I believe God never gives us more than we can handle.

I believe that God purposes us to suffer as to make us better equipped to handle the life he has planned for us.

I believe that inside everyone is a kernel of goodness, because they were created in God's image.

I believe that there is such a thing as an over-soul,a "Universal," a Tao, a gift of God, possibly akin to the Holy Spirit, that inspires us.

I believe there is no such thing as a distinction of Science and Religion, because if God exists, then God is also Science.

I believe that in the beginning was Logos, the Word, or "Reason," and that logic is one of the core sentient elements of our nature.

I believe that there is a reason for everything.

I believe that good comes to those who trust in God. I believe that good is always the outcome, depending on one's faith, and one's outlook, no matter how trying the situation.

I believe that action is a fundamental part of our salvation, and hence, of our nature.

I believe that you can't sit around and think about your life, you have to go our and live it, and DO it.

I believe that love is a verb, not an adjective, or a noun.

I believe that emotions are everything.

I believe that emotions aren't everything.

I believe that God is a God of both our emotions AND our intellect, and we cannot forsake one for the other.

I believe that balance, or moderation, is the key to all things.

I believe that we serve integral functions as human beings, but our primary function is to be children of God.

I believe most people give up their humanity for the mechanization of the modern world, drying themselves up with a lack of human contact and emotion.

I believe more people suffer from psychological problems than they would like to admit. I believe the strongest people are those who are willing to admit that they need help.

I believe Socrates was right when he said the only thing we can surely know is that we know nothing.

I believe that friendship is one of the most important things on earth, and that is meant to be cherished sincerely.

I believe that love knows no bounds.

I believe that it is possible to be content in every given situation. I also believe it takes a lot of faith to get to that point, in God and in yourself.

I believe in God, and His Universal.

Wednesday, August 8, 2007

1 Peter: Hope amidst suffering

I haven't gotten the chance to listen to my father speak very often. Sometimes it's hard to see the man as a preacher, but he has a knowledge of scripture, and an eloquence of speaking, that is almost unparalleled in my opinion. I was able to visit with him this evening, and listen to him give a lesson to the church's Wednesday night Bible class. He has been leading them in a discussion of the letters to the different churches discussing the problems of the first century churches, and the solutions offered by the apostles. Tonight he spoke on 1 and 2 Peter. Although he talked about 2nd Peter, and the emphasis on false teaching, I was only struck by his talk on 1 Peter.

He begun by mentioning what he thought to be the overall theme of the book itself, a theme of "Hope amidst suffering."

The very first scripture he had us look at was 1 Peter 4:

"So those who suffer according to God's will should, in doing good, entrust themselves to a faithful Creator."

He asked us the question: who, in this verse, is causing us to suffer? The answer is clearly God. I was amazed, not that I misunderstood the possibility of God allowing us to suffer so that he might shape us into who we need to be, but that it is his intention for us to suffer. It is his plan for us to suffer. Surely God is more merciful than that, and doesn't want us to suffer... right?

1 Peter 1:11 mentions "the sufferings of Christ and the glories that would follow." Chapter 2, verse 21 makes it fairly clear: "To this you were called, because Christ suffered for you, leaving you an example, that you should follow in his footsteps." The suffering of Christ serves to us as an example. How is this?
In verse 23 of the same chapter, "When they hurled insults at him, he did not retaliate; when he suffered, he made no threats," and in chapter 3 verse 9, we are told "do not repay evil with evil or insult with insult, but with blessing."

It's easy to repay evil with evil, to focus on revenge and not turn the other cheek, but by suffering, or going through trials, we are taught how to react in negative situations, and we are trained to understand to look for the good in ourselves and in other people, regardless of the situation. This is a side note that my father didn't talk about, but it reminds me personally of Paul's statement in Philippians, "I have learned to be content in any situation." We are taught throughout the entire Bible, it seems, on the usefulness of trials and suffering.

My father pointed us back to chapter 4, in verse 12 and 13:
Dear friends, do not be surprised at the painful trial you are suffering, as though something strange were happening to you. But rejoice that you participate in the sufferings of Christ, so that you may be overjoyed when his glory is revealed."

Another version talks about the outcome of "exceeding joy." The outcome of suffering, the suffering shared with us by Christ, or that we share with Him, leads to joy when God's glory, or His plan, is revealed in us.

The class discussed several things at this point, from the point of us experiencing suffering to become better people (someone who has never experienced suffering and has everything in the world tends to be more frequently depressed than those who learn how to deal with the harshness of reality), to the necessity of giving up worrying about our suffering, and giving up on anxiety, and dwelling on our problems and sufferings. Christ did not dwell on his shortcomings, nor did he rebuke others when he was falsely accused, and the glory of his resurrection was revealed because he suffered so perfectly.

It was all exactly what I needed to hear. No, I don't consider my life any harder than the next person, but I think sometimes we forget that God doesn't give us any more than we can handle. It's sad, all the time I've wasted complaining, or "venting" to others about the problems in my life - when I really shouldn't burden other people with what I know I am able to handle all on my own. No, of course, I don't mean that people shouldn't talk about things like this with one another, or that people can't help one another - but a friend should not be a crutch, and the glory of God has an avenue through me if I'm able to understand the path that God is taking me through. I can stand on my own two feet and take what I've learned from life and use it to be a stronger person. I guess part of me used to be worried that people wouldn't care to be around me, if I was self-sufficient, if I didn't "need" them. But I have a feeling that I could be much closer to people if I realized how much I didn't "need" them. At least, it's a thought I had, listening to my Dad talk tonight.

I felt so overwhelmed tonight. Hearing the same talk about anxiety and "dwelling" versus "acting" that I've pondered over and over with a friend of mine recently, things the importance of which we both have recently discovered... it was sobering. I felt what I like to call the "over soul" seeping down over me. The knowledge that I was meant to be there and to hear that was very sobering; humbling.

I know I just have to take everything one day at a time, and continue to thank God for the time He gives me.

A Swiftly Tilting Planet

"Nothing was. ... There was no dark. There was no light. No sight nor sound nor touch nor smell nor taste. No sleeping nor waking. No dreaming, no knowing.
And then a surge of joy.
All sense alive and awake and filled with joy.
Darkness was, and darkness was good. As with light.
Light and darkness dancing together, born together, born of each other, neither preceding, neither following, both fully being, in joyful rhythm.
The morning stars sang together and the ancient harmonies were new and it was good. It was very good.
And then a dazzling star turned its back on the dark, and it swallowed the dark, and in swallowing the dark it became the dark, and there was something wrong with the dark, as there was something wrong with the light. And it was not good. The glory of the harmony was broken by screeching, by hissing, by laughter which held no merriment but was hideous, horrendous cacophony."

- Madeleine L'engle, from "A Swiftly Tilting Planet"

Tuesday, August 7, 2007

A conversation.

I'm working on a novel. I'm superstitious about divulging information, but I'm not against posting little pieces I write - writing for the sole purpose of allowing myself to flesh out my characters. I meant this journal for things like this, anyway, didn't I?

"I hate being up past twelve every night. I hate it."
"What does that mean?"
"Being up past twelve."
"Oh, great. Here you go again."
"You're going to start in on some deep shit, aren't you?"
He looked at me. His smile was almost comical, but I could tell behind his quiet eyes that he was halfway serious. Then again, he always was half serious.
"What do you think I'm about to say?" He raised an eyebrow.
"I don't know. Something about the meaninglessness of time, or that my necessity for eight hours of sleep is all in my head. Something like that."
"What do you mean by time?"
"What do you mean, 'what do I mean'? I've been complaining about the hours I've worked all day."
"What's an hour?"
"We're just talking increments of time, here. It's not complicated."
"Increments?" He leaned back. Classic interrogation pose.
"Yeah. You know, for measuring."
"Increments of time meant for measuring. For measuring what?"
"I don't know. Time."
He must of seen the look on my face, because he laughed.
"Time measures time, does it?"
"Okay, Socrates, if you have any theories, just lay them all out for me."
He just smiled. It took him awhile, but then he spoke.
"If time didn't exist for you, would you still be worried about how long it would take you to learn from your mistakes?"

Wednesday, August 1, 2007

How much strength...

actually comes from within ourselves? As human beings, we're consistently reaching out for others - whether for other's approval, or other's support. For instance - why create an online journal if no one else is going to read it? What part of us thrives on outside attention, how much of it is necessary, and how much of it do we need to stifle? Where do we draw the line, and where do we re-teach ourselves to be self-reliant once more? C.S. Lewis' depiction of the genuine Christian was a person who, Lewis claims, doesn't "need" anyone. Lewis even warns the reader that falling into the trap of "wanting to be needed" or wanting to "feel needed" is a grave mistake. How is that prevented - and why do we fall into that trap?

How many times have I told myself that that was all that mattered - just being "needed," as if I did not exist without the necessity of my presence requested from some other source. If someone else didn't need me, I wouldn't cease to exist, but I find that most people that have that fear have a low self-image, or else are just so incredibly afraid of being lonely that they'll go to all lengths possible just to know that someone is not going to forget about them.

It's sad, isn't it? Equally sad is that fact that it's a constant struggle, no matter how often people can say the recognize it in themselves - we live in a world of distant relationships, grasping for love like grasping for straws. We'd all be fools if we tried to say we were able to "get over" every little flaw we recognize in ourselves.

Sunday, July 29, 2007


He cried incessantly,
hiding under the smothering blankets
that both repressed and represented
his fervor - encapsulated heat
he was seeking, like rocket missiles
whose target is missing from his eyesight
wrapped in wool like thornbushes
and trapped insight his own humid breath
like kerosene fumes, waiting to explode
at one more flammable thought -
He wraps himself tighter
as she bores hole after hole
to make his star-studded artificial sky,
letting the pockets of air hit him
like magic, giving her the drill, handing over
the golden ball of his childhood
refusing to believe that beneath it all
he alone has the strength to throw off his shawl
and run naked into the sunlight streaming
from the furthest blanket above him,
soft like silk, or egyptian cotton.

Saturday, July 28, 2007

Balance and Functionality

I envision this blog to contain mostly creative works I'm working on, or poems I have finished. For lack of knowing where to start, I found some non-fiction writing, which I also enjoy, to post as my first original entry. I originally wrote this in my private journal. This is only an excerpt. The entry is dated November 17th, 2006.

I agree there is a lot to be said about "balance," like eastern texts relate. When someone diets, the key to food for every person is "moderation." There is a lot to be said for moderation. We are told that "money is the root of all evil" - but money, itself, is not called "evil." So there is a balance - a moderation - and there is an instance in which one can have too much. When people are addicted to things, like money, or drugs, or sex, the addiction, in the views of other people, "gets out of hand" when that person goes to that addiction "too often"; they are not practicing moderation. Wine, in moderation, is very good for you. Vitamins, in moderation, are very good for you. Vitamin B, a vitamin taken to improve mood and energy/metabolism, will cause irritability when too much is taken. Another thing that experience has taught me is the balance of "function." Everything on earth serves a function that constitutes a whole, or "the whole" of our existence. In a job-setting, like the grocery store business, people serve different functions to serve other people. The cashier functions in accounting for products a customer wishes to buy, as well as the money given, and also functions as an aide to the customer in general. The problem, then, is in deciding what essential functions to overlook, and discovering the primary functions of humanity. A disgruntled customer, for instance, might be angry when a cashier fails in his or her function to help the customer in some way, or if a customer service representative fails in their function to serve the customer. But is this person functioning in that role, functioning only in that role? No. While it is their job to function in that role, there is a larger function to which they belong. I function primarily as a human being. I cannot get away from or detach myself from that "function," as part of the cosmic web of humanity. The problem is that most people try to exist in a web of mechanical function, and forget how to connect with others within that cosmic web. If a customer was angry with me over a technical failure, or thought I was not doing the best in my ability to serve them, they could focus on my failing in that function, or we could discuss it as human beings. I apologize to the customer, and if we have the chance to talk, I may realize there is something in the customer's outside life that caused their anger towards me - they will often apologize for their anger if they also see this in themselves. We have thus communicated on a human level. I have worked with people that have, from the other side, given into the mechanical. Those who function only to convey rules, principles, shortcomings - the people everyone complains about as being "mean" is the employee or employer that believes he or she has only to fulfill that mechanical function, only answering the questions he or she must answer, and only doing as much as is necessary, and no more. There are balances that are necessary here, and not merely in the corporate world: one cannot expect someone to only serve a mechanical function, but they should not try to appeal to them human function in an effort to usurp that mechanical function, to "get away with something," so to speak. Also, the perfect worker is one who recognizes their human function, and tries to connect with everyone along that human web while fulfilling their mechanical function. Humanity needs to see the HUMAN, the BASIC, before demanding the mechanical.

On a side note, having re-read this old journal entry, I'm startled at how strongly a link there is here with the fate of Bartleby, the scrivener, in the short story of the same name. He is asked to serve only in his mechanical function, and there is strong suggestion that it is the ignorance of the humanity, or the human function, of Bartleby that causes such things as his isolation to drive him to nihilism, and death. Just a thought.

A Blank and Misty Splendour

"They who believe in the influences of the stars over the fates of men, are, in feeling at least, nearer the truth than they who regard the heavenly bodies as related to them merely by a common obedience to an external law. All that man sees has to do with man. Worlds cannot be without an intermundane relationship. The community of the centre of all creation suggests an interradiating connection and dependence of the parts. Else a grander idea is conceivable than that which is already imbodied. The blank, which is only a forgotten life, lying behind the consciousness, and the misty splendour, which is an undeveloped life, lying before it, may be full of mysterious revelations of other connections with the worlds around us, than those of science and poetry. No shining belt or gleaming moon, no red or green glory in a self-encircling twin-star, but has a relation with the hidden things of a man's soul, and, it may be, with the secret history of his body as well. They are portions of the living house wherein he abides."

George MacDonald, Phantasties