Saturday, April 30, 2005

Upon Dads, one of which I'm not

I was driving into Sonic this evening to get one of my favorite concoctions (Watermelon Tea -- my favorite that isn't coffee based) and I saw a Honda Element with the following message painted across the back of it.

"Dads are NOT $$$ or Visitors! We are parents too! Visit"

I was struck by the forcefulness of those painted words. Seriously. Here is this Dad, blatantly looking to get his kids back. Maybe he has already gotten his kids back through petitioning the court. Maybe he hasn't. Maybe he has this soft spot in his heart for Dads who actually WANT to be Dads. I don't know. I just saw this guy's vehicle and was bowled over by this.

I call it accountability. Yes. Accountability. Is everyone born with it? No. Does everyone learn it? No. But can you learn it? Yes. Hell yes. Have I learned it? Hell no, but I want to.

Why is this? Is it because I have this massive fear of committment? Probably, but I think that I want to learn accountability because I've ran away from it for so long. It's not like I want to have some "big brother" or "father figure" lurking around me all the time. I just want someone that can help me with me. Is that so wrong?

So, I might not be a Dad looking to find my kids again and be a responsible male adult parent, but I am an adult male who's looking to be a responsible adult male. More later....

Wednesday, April 27, 2005

A_Pomo likes to think. I like that.

If I were as HTML proficient as my friends, I'd have a nice, clean link here for you to click upon, but I don't. Thus, here's the long version. Sorry for the mess, but read this guy. Seriously.... Don't be afraid of the government tracking you down for reading anti-Bush/anti-government propaganda. Oh, they probably can, but it's our jobs as citizens in a democratic society to fight against that kind of control and invasion into our privacy. Oh well, this is for your reading pleasure and general enlightenment. THINK....

Social Action

I'm feeling rather politically motivated these days and I'm not sure why. I think it's a good thing to be motivated to work for the positive in a world overwhelmed with the negative. However, the more that I think about what I could be doing (and subsequently what I'm NOT currently doing), I find that by listening to those who have been and/or are NOW engaged in social action helps me get motivated to actually do something in this world in which I live. We're supposed to be helping God enact the Kingdom of God in the earth, so why are we so passive and so eager to let it go to waste? Granted, conservative evangelical Christians are EAGER to "reform" America and help it "return" to the country's "Christian" roots, but they want to do so at the expense of the REST of the world and at the expense of the environment, animals, minorities, lower classes, and other who are less privileged. Paraphrasing Jim Wallis, "When did God become rich, white, and American?"

Look over this interview with Amy Goodman and Howard Zinn. I'd be interested to know what some of you think, those of you who actually read my blog.

(Hehehe.... I rather enjoy self-depricating humor and I don't know why.... Another issue for another post....)

*Howard Zinn: "To Be Neutral, To Be Passive In A Situation Is To Collaborate With Whatever Is Going On"
*We speak with legendary historian Howard Zinn, author of one of the most popular books on American History, "A People's History of the UnitedStates." In his youth, Zinn was a bombardier in World War II and participated in the Napalm bombing in France. He went on to dedicate his life to opposing wars of all kind. He was an active fighter in Civil Rights Movement and served as an advisor to the Student Non-Violent Coordinating Committee. In the late 1960s, he traveled to Vietnam with Father Dan Berrigan during intensive US attacks and negotiated the release of US POWs. In fact, Howard Zinn was a part of most struggles for social justice in thiscountry during his lifetime. He joins us in our firehouse studio.


Tuesday, April 26, 2005

Dubya and the Religious Right don't get it

Hey there folks. I'm a follower of Jesus and I studied Political Science, History, and Economics in college. Thus, this guy makes WORLDS of sense to me. His name is Jim Wallis and he's been gaining some notoriety with his new book -- God's Politics. This is a link to an interview that he did Tuesday morning with one of my favorite people in the whole world on her radio show. Check out what he has to say and check her out everyday if you get the chance.

Friday, April 22, 2005

Diarrhea of the Mouth (or the Fingers)

There are more times than I wish to admit in which I tend to ramble & babble whatever I'm thinking at the time -- a concept that can be pretty scary since my mind basically never turns off. Of course, there are times when I'm glad that my mind is always going, but there are times when I wish that my mind wasn't so active. It would get me in so much less trouble....

And I'm not even talking about verbalizing everything that I'm thinking -- I'm just talking about the fact that I'm always thinking about something or even several somethings all the time. The trouble that I get myself into is that I overanalyze what's going on, typically to the point that I cause myself more worry and consternation than I should ever wrap my psyche/emotions within. As Derek Webb puts it so succinctly, there are 2 things that single guys talk/think about the most -- the sovereignty of God and women. Simple as that, but not quite, since there's SOOOOO much wrapped up in those 2 things. Thus, most folks (if any) who read my blog probably think, "Wow. This guy just can't shut up about girls, can he?" Of course, that's a fair assessment, but, when you're single (looking?), those thoughts take up lots of space in one's grey matter.

But here's this -- I don't begrudge what I'm talking about here because it's important to me. As narcissistic as that sounds, I know that I'm not alone in what I'm thinking about these topics upon which I discourse, so there's the chance that what I'm talking about here might be of some benefit to someone besides myself. Hopefully at least.... Maybe I think too much of myself and my thoughts... Or maybe I think that because I've helped someone before with my thoughts that I can help someone again.... I take hope in the latter (as if you couldn't tell).

Saturday, April 16, 2005



Yet again....

I'm not sure quite what term to use to describe what I feel, esp since feelings aren't very easily described. Such is the nature of the (American) English language, but realizing my language's limitations doesn't make me feel any better for not knowing how to address what I feel. I've spent yesterday and today exchanging phone messages with a friend of mine, a woman I've mentioned before, a woman that I asked out yesterday on a date. So first off, maybe sexual frustration begins describing what I feel, but maybe it's just general social anxiety regarding the male/female condition.

She called me back and, in a kinda nervous tone of voice, asked "what the occasion was" that would warrant such an invitation on my part. She then said, in her typical fashion, that she thought she was making a fool out of herself by saying that there weren't any romantic intentions on her part. Hmmmm.... Curious response there (since she didn't have to mention that specifically), but I know she was just trying to clear the air, as it were. I then called her back and left a message saying that I knew that the end of the school semester usually kept her very busy, since she's a teacher and doctoral student at the same time. Thus, I just wanted to meet up, hang out, and give her a night off, since she always gives to others and I wanted to repay her & show my general appreciation as a friend. Of course, all of those reasons are true, but, in all honesty, those aren't the only reasons behind my invitation. Such is my dilemma.

I guess I'm rather disappointed. I wouldn't be very honest with myself if I didn't say that outright. Maybe I was too forward. Maybe I read too much into things or don't read enough. Maybe I just don't want this incident to color/shade/darken the great friendship that we have. Maybe I shouldn't have even asked in the first place.

And by the way, she didn't say no, specifically. Her sister's graduation is on the weekend that I asked her out, so she'll have lots of family in town to do all kinds of things, inhibiting us from even attempting to "go on a date" or "hang out" or whatever. I guess that occurrence solves things in terms of the actual physical aspect of a potential date. What it doesn't address fully or even begin to resolve are any internal conflicts I might have over this situation. Of course, I could break forth into Byronic or Browning-inspired sonnets or respond with romantic cynicism fresh from the pen of Wilde. But I won't. I can't. I need not. I shall not. Unrequited attraction isn't really a positive emotional state in which to be -- she's my friend and we'll just work on that. Maybe I just need to be a better friend, not that I've been failing at friendship, but that maybe this will provide me further opportunity for social growth.

My church history hasn't provided me with the best skills in terms of spending time with women, since I was raised in a church culture that said that boys and girls shouldn't touch, hang out, spend time together -- all under the guise of restricting the possibility of sexual sin. Not that their purposes weren't with good intentions, but their means socialized teenagers (who turned into young adults & adults) into people who didn't know how to properly interact with members of the opposite sex. That's me -- oh, I'm a social person, but I always feel this sense of misplaced shame, that anything I say or do could result in sexual sin taking place. Of course that's an illogical and ill-founded reaction, but it's just the result of growing up in a fundamentalist church culture that had a very dim view of human nature and gender identities/roles.

My education has made me into a different person -- complete with better perspectives, better information, better theology -- but it hasn't helped with actually meeting/talking to/building long-term friendships with women. So, maybe this "rejection" will be very good for me -- I'll get to work through this scenario and come out lots better relationally, socially, and emotionally. I can be friends -- great friends -- and not have to worry with the emotional baggage of being sexually frustrated. There doesn't need to be confusion present -- friends shouldn't breed that kind of drama. Anxiety is not necessary, not very healthy.

Friday, April 15, 2005


Seriously now....

I often wonder if I should attempt to write great and inspiring things like my friends. Oh, I know that I can talk about things with fairly decent erudition, and I can write fairly well about whatever strikes my fancy (my professors in college rather enjoyed and frequently commended my writing style), but I have yet to attempt to craft a piece of blog-lit akin to the postings of my friends/associates. I look at it this way though -- they're writing it, I'm commenting upon it, they're commenting back, and we see each other in person often enough that I shouldn't feel any kind of "blog-envy."

But I do and I'm not sure why. We share distinctly similar backgrounds and experiences with/in the church, so maybe I just feel like I need to make my contribution towards the deconstruction of those experiences and even lifestyles, as well as the construction of new paradigms in terms of "being the church". However, when I look back over my blog, I begin to think that maybe my contribution isn't so much in the academic/theological realm, but maybe more in the poetic/literary sense. Of course, this is a fairly transparent description of my contribution, since I tend to write stream-of-consciousness type blogs and typically fancy myself as a character in a Hemingway or Orwell novel. I think it's also a manifestation of my attempt to write in the nonfiction realm akin to the styles of the people whom I read as well as adapt my thoughts into possibly a fictional form. Well, it is an attempt....

However, I can't seem to shake the feeling that maybe I need to be more focused in what I bring to the discussion. Or maybe I just need to not worry about trying to "contribute" and just write what's important to me. People usually can see through someone trying to write after a certain style or model and value that which looks honest and vulnerable. I know that I do. I know that I find most admirable and worthy of being read that which isn't a certain way, but is just itself. Yes, that's a fairly cliche'd concept, but when done right is a wonder to behold. And no, I don't think I'm there yet; my ego has rarely ever been that big. My fear usually outweighs my confidence.

Thursday, April 14, 2005

Begin the Begin

I talk about getting started (finally) with my music, so I think of a way to find places to play my music. There are local, independent coffeeshops in my locality where I can play, so what keeps me from calling them? Fear of failure? Fear of rejection? Maybe. Probably. But if I don't try, I can't fail, I can't get rejected.

Thus, I write this mostly because I have to realize that I can do this. Well, I can't on my own -- I have to realize that God wants me to use my gifts. And no, I'm not trying to be cheesy in a spiritual sense -- I'm finally hearing God talk to me. I finally hear Him telling me, "Hey there. Deaf boy. Blind boy. Do something, for goodness' sake. You whine too much about NOT doing something, so get out there and do something." It's like I tell me close friend -- I've spent SOOOO much time deconstructing, that I have to arrive at a way/means by which I can construct something. Tearing down only gets one so far before one finally come to the time & place of choosing to build. The problem with building is that it costs SOOOO much more in time and resources than tearing down, but the end result of building up is SOOOOO much more rewarding than that of tearing down.

Hence, I've got to make the calls, secure the venues, find enough confidence in myself (and Jesus living through me) to make the move to contribute something/anything. If I think that I have something to give, I've got to be willing to give anything/everything out of me. I think of my favorite singers/songwriters/performers/bands and see people who give of themselves fully to their art form (and with some of them to the Purpose behind their art). They look totally spent on stage because they pour themselves completely into their art, since it's their life. And if I'm not willing to empty myself out to others (and God) through my art and my gifts, then I have no business even dreaming of being a writer/musician. If I can't give of myself, then I have no business taking from others. I've just gotta get going with things. I've been sitting too long....

Stuff about Work (again)

So here's this....

I had a good conversation with the girl that I run this store with, though technically she's the manager and I'm the assistant. THAT is a whole other matter all together, which I won't get into at the moment. We were both very open about addressing our employment futures -- she's looking to finally get into college, but she's not sure what she wants to study (a typical problem amongst college kids anyway) and I just want to get the heck out of where I'm working now and into something larger. I'm looking more for a place where I can grow, where I feel like I'm actually doing something, where I do NOT feel like I'm a peddler of hokey, religious crap.

We were both open about the fact that we don't want to be at the store for our lives, that we don't want to make careers out of what we're doing now, a statement that I found blessedly welcome to hear from her lips. Thus, because of her honesty and openness, I felt led to state (since she asked what I wanted to do), I told her that I was looking for new work. I told her that I'd been looking for a new job for 2 months now -- jobs in publishing, jobs in editing, jobs in government, jobs writing, jobs that free me the time to work on my vocation, or a way to not work a "job-job". I'd like to be able to write for a living, whether for a magazine or publication or on my own.

I do realize that the lives of writers tend to be fairly idealized (lots of free time, etc), but I find great affinity for the lives & styles of people like Hemingway, Steinbeck, Emerson, Orwell, and others. Or even.... *GASP* I'd like to write/play music fulltime. Again, I say this NOT because of the highly idealized lives of rock stars -- far from it. I simply feel like I could contribute something to the arts community (both those who create and those who appreciate) and I'd like the chance to fully contribute without having the burden of fighting a full-time job that doesn't conflict with my creative juices.

Again, I get pegged as romantically-styled idealist when I speak of such things, but I'm probably more pessimistic/realistic when I speak of such things because I know that it would be a hard life -- living from creative impulse through droughts where nothing flows from the pen. Not that I'm afraid of that in principle, but I do possess fears of that lifestyle in practice, since I'm practical to a fault sometimes, and just afraid of stepping out on that proverbial limb when the time comes. I need help, I think, or just someone/someones to give me some direction/kick in the butt when I stop in my tracks. I think I have the ability, the resources, and the material in the works, but not always the focus and wherewithal to get going. I need help....

Wednesday, April 13, 2005

Chords of Discord

I rather do like making music, though I've spent much of my adult life being stifled in that regard, mostly by the organized church, and sometimes my own insecurities. And I'll admit that I'm not the most accomplished guitar player, I don't have the best licks, I'm not that disciplined in many regards, and I know enough music theory (thanks to being a band nerd) to make me scary when it comes to composition and arrangement. However, I just like making music -- strumming my guitar, working out melody lines, chord changes, progressions of thought, the contemporary poetry represented in lyrics to that music being played. All of that stuff. All of it. I write as therapy sometimes. I strum to keep the mental bugaboos away. And there are times that I flee from it all because I find myself saying to myself that I don't have any business playing music -- no one's appreciated it before, so who's gonna start now? I don't know -- I'm sure that there's lots of past hurts, guilt, and self-loathing there, as well as fears that I won't be understood or written off as a hack or copycat. But that never stopped other people -- rejection should propel me to strive harder, especially if this music stuff really mattered so much to me.

Of course, all of this introspection does get me into trouble, including when I think about all of the other artistic endeavors at which I'd like to begin in this life of mine. I love writing, I love sharing, I love commentating upon this world about me, I love sharing these thoughts with others -- thus, my question would be to myself, "Why can't I combine all of these things (things that I love to do), and create a vocation out of it?" I'm not thinking of this in career terms (though writing would be my career), but in terms of living a life that means something, both for my personal benefit and in hopes of contributing something to the world. I guess that I keep waiting for this opportunity to drop into my lap, without any hard work and ass-busting on my part, but I have realized that I have to "begin the begin" (to quote Michael Stipe) and get to work. The question now is, "Where can I get started? To whom do I contribute? To whom do I submit these thoughts, ideas, ramblings of mine (in article form)?" As soon as I see things beginning to fit somehow, they start to fall apart again. Urgh....


OK then....

It's been awhile since I've been here, though I told myself that I'd find a way to talk more on here. Oh well, here I am again, but I'm not sure that things have changed much. I did pretty well at my solo show last weekend doing covers of music that I love -- The Cure, Johnny Cash, & U2. I really liked being up there, discoursing on music and ideas that matter to me. I know that I've always wanted to do that -- play music, talk to people, connect with people -- I'm just having a bit of trouble getting started. I'm not sure who to call, who to contact, where to go to set up concerts. I think that I'm psyching myself out by telling myself that the folk singer concept is totally misunderstood in popular music, esp since it doesn't sell volumes of records & doesn't get on pop radio. But when I think about it from that perspective, I shouldn't worry about not getting that big, because that shouldn't be my goal or purpose. My major focus should be upon writing songs that I love, writing music that people can connect with, play shows that I would want to attend as a fan. It shouldn't be that hard, but it is sometimes....

And then, here's this -- I've been dreaming a WHOLE lot lately, and that's really strange for me, since I've never been one to remember his dreams or even having dreams. Yes, I realize that most people dream everynight as a function of their REM sleep, but I've never really remembered what I've been dreaming. What's even stranger is that my dreams haven't been that strange -- my Mom has the world's strangest, most vivid dreams (she'd make Tarantino blush with the rampant violence, I'm convinced). But my dreams have been fairly pedestrian, VERY tame compared to the dreams of most people. Nothing strange has happened, no one's started flying, no one has turned into curious beasts, or whatever else happens in most other people's dreams & visions (*thinking of Ezekiel here).

What I've been dreaming is this -- spending time (LOTS of time) with this wonderful female friend of mine, not as friends, but as people who are romantically involved. Nothing has happened in those dreams that has been scandalous, immoral, wrong, sinful, or whatever. For example, I woke up Monday morning and could vividly remember spending a whole entire day with this woman -- a day spent walking around a big city's arts community. Bookstores, art shops & galleries, craft stores, eateries, and other assorted places were all visited, owners talked to, friends conversed with, streets walked, sidewalks traversed, and it was the most wonderful, glorious experience. I remember waking up thinking, "WHY AM I AWAKE NOW???" I rather didn't want to wake up from what had been most likely one of the most wonderful days of my life.

So here's this -- I know that dreams are windows into our subconscious mind, our innate desires, our hopes/dreams/passions. However, I'm afraid to ask myself (or anyone who knows me & this woman) what it all means. Yes, I realize how pedantic & inane it is to ask, "What does it all mean?!?", but I really do want to know in this situation. Being totally honest, I have always liked this woman, been attracted to her, and found her fabulous, but I've been afraid to do something about it, mostly under the guise of not wanting to "ruin our friendship". So, this dream rather scares me -- nothing "happened", except that we had such a supremely wonderful day/date together. ACK! Or maybe rather, Urgh.... What do I do? Anything? Nothing? Confront? Evade? Pursue? Retract? Help....