Thursday, August 09, 2007
Well, there's this one part during which a character, Fiyero, witnesses a mindless bit of politically sanctioned violence which is shrugged off by many around him. Here's the very brief thought that follows:
"Was it an accident I say that, Fiyero wondered, looking at the manager with new eyes. Or is it just that the world unwraps itself to you, again and again, as soo as you are ready to see it anew?"
I think that second line gives us a lot to discuss. Is that the way the world works for you?
Friday, August 03, 2007
Give it a read and let's discuss!
Here's the link: Emergent Hope
Friday, July 20, 2007
Now, as far as what is said, I agree but I'm going to also up the ante a bit. Clearly, we're screwed up people and our bodies, as we're so lovingly told, essentially begin dying the moment we get the ball rolling. So building our lives upon those sandy shores isn't going to work in the least, right? Well, I contend that trying to find ourselves, at least our peace and happiness, within, while noble, will still leave us wanting. Let me explain.
We are a broken people. We are comprised of shattered dreams, unmet expectations, and flaws beyond number. Essentially, what I'm saying is that we are far from perfect. So while we can attain a sort of "OK-ness" within, where we're sort of at some sense of home within our own skin, I contend that we need more. This is why I tend toward faith in God. Does that makes sense?
Now you can't escape with a "yoga" post! :)
Wednesday, July 18, 2007
The Inner Journey
In a workshop with Dharma Mittra over the weekend, he taught in detail about the importance of the inner self. The asana practice was an offering to the divine. He reminded us that our identity does not rest in the body or the mind; it rests in the embodied soul.
The body, like everything in life, is impermanent. Youth comes and goes. People in our lives come and go. Wealth and job security come and go. Are we able to maintain our happiness throughout life’s fluctuations? Yes, if we find our stability within, rather than through these external sources.
This week, navigate your own inner journey through your yoga practice with the inner map of the five koshas. After working the physical body, breath, and mental bodies, prepare for the wisdom body, and finally, the bliss body. Learn how Dharma Mittra discovered yoga, and be sure to read the exclusive YJ Interview with him in the upcoming September issue of Yoga Journal.
Om Namah Shivaya,
Tuesday, July 10, 2007
Yet, there are always down sides too. My Dad is what we might call a recovering workaholic so that's something that I've almost sprung away from. I value hard work and work hard when I'm at it but am also deathly afraid of working to a point that my family is hindered, hurt, or left behind. This is good but also keeps me fearful of moving toward some decisions. Another aspect of my parentage was that my parents have never been ridiculously affectionate people toward one another. They share a kiss here and there, hugs too, but I don't know, it was just never whatever. Plus, leisure such as vacations and going here and there and trying new stuff, not really on the menu. Those things seem to be simple but they've definately worked toward influencing this part of my life.
But yeah. I totally agree that the influence of our parents has a huge effect on how we balance our lives. But I do believe that the decision is ultimately ours. There are learned behaviors but we also have a sense of right and wrong, a sense of will that is deep within us. Our bodies are pretty amazing and do a damn good job of communicating to us when things are wrong. This also applies to areas of balance. When we find ourselves feeling overwhelmed, we usually are. We need to learn to listen.
Just as a side note here too, since our conversation tends to touch on faith more often than not, it's pretty interesting that the Christian tradition deals with the idea of rest in a pretty dramatic fashion. God himself set the standard of resting and commands us to do the same. Yet our "go get 'em" American mentality lives in this mindset that has us pushing the limits, trying to fit all that we can in at the cost of our health, our finances, and more. We need to learn to stop and, dare I say it, smell the roses. We may cram in every experience that we possibly can but we're hurting ourselves more if we don't allow the time to experience and really "be in" that moment. Does that make sense?
Friday, June 29, 2007
I could continue to veer way off topic here into a discussion on parenting styles but i'm too tired. This post isn't nearly as profound as what I had worked up in my head yesterday but it's late and i'm starting to doze off. I'll leave you with a quote I borrowed from an email I received today.
"Life is not a journey to the grave with the intention of arriving safely in a pretty and well-preserved body. But rather, to skid in broadside, thoroughly used up, totally worn out, and loudly proclaiming .."WOW, WHAT A RIDE!'"'
Tuesday, June 26, 2007
Tuesday, June 19, 2007
I look forward to hearing more of your thoughts on these topics we've been discussing. I continue to have things cross my mind, think that they'd be compelling fodder for our discussions here, only to have them fall by the wayside when I actually have a moment to sit down and type. But, that's just life I suppose. I look forward to hearing back sooner than later!
Friday, June 15, 2007
Hope you have a great weekend. I plan on refreshing my mind with lots of sun and fun this weekend so we can get back to our regular programming next week. If you have time this weekend, maybe you can add some links and some suggested reading to the blog. Maybe even a description if you're feeling froggy. :)
Thursday, June 07, 2007
Consider the things that happened during this time. Life became wicked busy and prosperity came as a result of these machines and their productivity. The output gave people hope of spreading the message of Christ in new and exciting ways, not unlike today with the advent and popularization of this very medium we're using for our conversation. Ultimately, all of these events gave rise to a level of knowledge and technology, fueled by a modern empirical mindset, that grew exponentially. This exponential growth resulted in a number of questions we never thought we'd have to face.
I hope a bunch of this makes sense because I think there's something in here. Prior to this time, there was no real question about the origin of man but a guy named Darwin wrote a little book that changed all of that. Issues such as abortion rose in prominence and throughout the twentieth century wars dominated the minds of Christians, causing them to ponder the idea of the Kingdom of God within a context that was rapidly changing. These issues seemed to push any idea of stewardship to the rear of their minds as other things pressed in on them. Was this right? Of course not. Is it somewhat understandable? Absolutely for we have been there as well.
Well, those are just some more rambling thoughts on that issue while they're fresh. I had another thought come to mind today that I'd like to pose to you though. What are your thoughts on the concepts of patriotism as it relates to your faith? Our store received some flags and such in today and it just spurred my mind to think a bit. I'm curious as to your thoughts on the issue...
Wednesday, June 06, 2007
You bring up an interesting point about certain groups living as if the end times are near. There's a religious sect here in Lake City ... it's really a cult but they claim to be a religion ... that is planning for the end of times. I don't have the energy to go into that right now but I would encourage you to do some research into the End Timers and Meade Ministries in Lake City. I think we talked about this at Perkins that night. Not sure if you remembered to look it up or not. I have some serious issues with this cult. We'll get into that some other time.
As for school ... it's been a very emotional journey this past week. I've teetered between being super excited and gung-ho about it to saying forget about it I don't want to go. As it stands right now I have to go back to UF this fall for some post-bac work. More than I was thinking I would have to do but not as bad as it could be. I really thought it would be farther off than two months from now. I'm having serious issues with having to leave the boys. Even though it won't be that many hours each week, I really thought I would be home with them until they started school. As for Grad school ... that's still up in the air due to my undergrad GPA. I really want to go to UF but it looks like I might have to go to UNF. It's a long story that i'm too tired to explain right now but at least i'm taking steps in the right direction.
As it stands now, the mathematics graduate advisor at UF is going to let me into the program as a post-bac student so I can take the undergrad mathematics courses i'm missing so that I can get into grad school somewhere. Apparently they have such a large applicant pool to choose from that they don't ever have to make exceptions for the GPA rule. They'll do it for the GRE scores but not for GPA. (And my GPA isn't even that bad. I have a 2.7 instead of the 3.0 they require.) Wish it was the other way around because my GRE score rocked the house. UNF will allow your GRE score to stand above your GPA which is why I have a much better chance of getting in there. The grad advisor at UF that i've been talking with this week said I could probably get in there right away. I still have some post-bac work to do though and I would prefer to do that in Gainesville. It's a shorter drive and I have several friends there so hopefully can find someone to watch the boys while i'm in class a couple hours at a time three days a week. Still a lot of things to figure out but we're getting there.
I'm also in the process of talking with the community college here in Lake City about teaching there on an adjunct basis until I finish school. It would give me great teaching experience and a little bit of money which is badly needed right now. My engineering work has pretty much gone to nothing over the past couple of months which has been the catalyst to this whole going back to school situation. Nothing like being broke to make you get your butt moving, huh? :) I really wish I could stay home with the boys but we have to eat, ya know? At first, the thought of leaving them brought tears to my eyes. It's getting a little better now. I'm just trying to live in the moment and truly appreciate every last day I have with them. To look on the bright side of things, it is definitely making me appreciate every minute I have with them.
So this fall i'll have to take Advanced Calculus and Numbers & Polynomials. In the spring it will be Advanced Calculus 2 and Abstract Algebra. In the summer it will be Linear Algebra. That should leave me prepared to start grad school the very next semester which would be fall of 2008. We're thinking of buying a little Honda for me to travel back and forth to Jacksonville with once we get to that point. Then Brett could drive the Pathfinder. I wish we could buy him a newer truck. He really deserves it. He works his butt off and drives a 13 year old truck with a/c that only works when it wants to. But here we go a few more steps backwards in the money department for a while so that's not going to happen. I certainly hope things turn around after this. That is the ultimate goal with me going back to school. A job that fits my personality, which teaching at the CC level definitely would be, and a steady income that we can count on .... which is a great thing when you are trying to raise a family. We've been working backwards since we moved here in 2003 and we're both just about fed up with it. Still not sure how we're going to afford my post-bac work but i'm determined to figure it out. The thought of more student loans makes me cringe but that may just be the way it has to be.
Great things usually come out of adversity. We're survivors. We've been through a lot and we've always come out of things just fine. The next three years are going to be a bit of a challenge but we've got lots of family around that should be able to support us emotionally and with the kids if we need it. And even though i'll have to leave the boys, i'm looking forward to spending some more time in Gainesville. As we said before, going back to school at this age and point in life brings a completely different perspective. I just hope that i'm successful. This is a major personal challenge for me. Can I go back after all these years and pick up where I left off? Can I get the A's that I think I can this time around? I guess only time will tell. And until that time comes, i'll be studying my butt of going through all of my college math books. Sure glad I kept those things around. :)
Monday, June 04, 2007
To continue with the conversation though, I'll begin by saying that I really don't know why Christians seem to be the last to come around to the side of conservation, ecology, and the like. And the materialism issue is another deal all in itself. Part of it seems to stem, and pardon me if this is a repeat of something we've discussed before, from a Left Behind sort of mentality. Just over 200 years or so ago a system of theology known as dispensationalism became popular and took root in Christian circles. This system tends to invoke that whole way of thinking that the end is near. Within this, it seems as though Christians have lost sight of a good portion of the Bible. That's one such instance that I can think of for the lack of Christian activism for these issues. Another to consider is the "prosperity gospel" teaching popularized within some Charismatic circles over the past several years. This emphasis upon health-and-wealth and finances in particular has placed an unhealthy focus upon our money as a sole blessing. On top of that, it misses the biblical teaching regarding blessings as well but that's a story for another day.
But, that's at least something. Forgive me if this is a bit disjointed, I started this morning and am just finishing now. But, I'm curious to hear your comments on the issue!
Saturday, June 02, 2007
Let's get back to the search for knowledge thing. I'm with you on this one. The older I get, the more I appreciate the ability to go to school and learn something new. I guess older really does bring wiser, at least in some areas. When I think about going back to school I have this overwhelming urge to go back and do it better than I did before. Does that make any sense? Sure I graduated and got a job and all that but if I could go back there to my college days with the same focus and passion that I have found now ... oh the things I could do! If I could just get one more shot at it ... I just know I could do great things. I know my grades would be better. I know I wouldn't procrastinate as much. I know I would study more. I know I would have the focus I always wished i'd had back then. At least I think I know all these things. Or do I? Is it just because it's something that I want to do that I feel I can't? Can I really do it? Am I just looking for a new challenge? Am I just missing my college days? These are the questions i've been toying with in my mind off and on again over the last three years and I think I finally know the answers. I know what i'm supposed to do.
I've done a lot of soul searching these past couple of months. My work-from-home gig dropped off a bit and really got me in a bit of a panic mode. Thankfully the business is back but it really gave me a bit of a scare. I've always worried what we would do if the work stopped coming my way but it's been so steady for three years now that I've allowed myself to get comfortable. Possibly a little too comfortable. Well this month of no work that I went through really got me thinking. And not just about what to do now but about what I want to do when the kids are in school. You see, the firm I do contract work for is the same firm my husband works for. Talk about having all your eggs in one basket.
I feel I've reached another turning point in life. Like when I graduated college, or when I gave up my career to move to Lake City, or when I gave up teaching to be a stay-at-home mom ... true turning points that lead to a very different daily life. And here I go again. I feel the need to take my eggs out of that basket I mentioned. Brett and I have talked it over and as long as all the details work out ... I'M GOING BACK TO SCHOOL!!!! :-) And i'm super excited about it. The last time I thought seriously about this I was pregnant with Houston and there were several details that we just couldn't seem to work out. We've realized in talking about this over the past couple of days that those obstacles no longer exist. The path to grad school is finally clear. I know you think i'm crazy with the math thing but there's something to be said for following your natural talents. And as crazy as this may sound ... math seems to be my natural talent. It has followed me through every phase my life has gone through and I feel it will end in me having a job that fits me perfectly while allowing me freedom of schedule and lots of vacation time ... which means more time with my boys than a regular 8 to 5 would allow.
I still have a lot of things to think through and details to figure out so nothing is set in stone yet. I'm looking to start with the summer or fall 2008 semester so I still have a year with the boys and I plan to make the most of it. Leaving them will be the hardest part but the timing will work such that it will allow us to send them to private school, which is extremely important to me. If it all works out i'll graduate just before Houston starts kindergarten. It will be a tough two years but I know it will be worth it in the end.
I wish I had a humdinger of a question to leave you with but I don't. My mind is full of admission essays, recommendation letters, course schedules, assistanceships and the like.
Anyway, joking aside, yeah. There is something about that whole process of learning that is just redeeming in itself. It's not necessarily that I have huge goals of increased salaries and big-time career advancement, nor do you I believe, but the challenge and fun of learning never ceases to amaze me. There was a time that this would not have been true but the older I get, perhaps I have grown a bit wiser. And that wisdom leads me to a place where I long to learn, to grow, and to study. Yet, I do wish to study that which I wish to study.
Which leads me to your stated desire to pursue something that will allow you to explore and utilize your creative juices and expressions. Right on, sister! That's my heart too. While I acknowledge the need for said finances, I also acknowledge the inherent need within myself to create and to explore. This becomes increasingly more interesting as I consider my future in avenues of ministry and religion as well for those are halls wherein creativity is not always a perceived positive. Yet, I think that somewhere in there I'll find a place that works. And, regardless of what my "job" or "career" is, I'll continue to be a part of creating things, even if it's just for creativity's sake.
Just as a quick aside, let us acknowledge that this discussion of our desire to not work for "The Man" or to pursue avenues of artistic creativity does sound a bit haughty and self-obsessed. Yet, let us also acknowledge that this is a conversation between old friends talking about life and all things in between and we hope that you can appreciate that. Now, back to our regular programming...
To finish up here for tonight, I wanted to recommend a book to you that I mentioned in my last post, Serve God Save the Planet. I finally finished this up just the other day and found it to be a compelling and powerful read. It's a sad but true statement that Christians are not always known for their keen interest in the environment, nor for their removal from the "American Dream" capital-based mentality, yet Dr. Sleeth offers up hope for those who feel led to choose a different way. In fact, Sleeth offers up a manifesto of sorts that convincingly makes a case for a faith that encompasses not only issues of the spirit, but of this world as well. It's hard to explain in but a few words but using a solid base of Scripture and personal experience drawn from his time as a highly respected ER surgeon, Sleeth makes you think. For those of us who are feeling drawn to think of our Christianity in ways that include but grow beyond previous norms, this is just what the doctor ordered. I highly recommend this...
Just a last thought...We've been in agreement too much here now that we're back. Let's try and come up with some questions to make each other think!
Friday, June 01, 2007
Now about the college thing ... I would just about give my left arm to go back to college and get a masters degree in math. Math has always been my thing. I love it. (I know, I know ... i'm strange ... i get that a lot) I took graduate level partial differential equations during my last semester of college just to fill up my schedule. I could have taken some easy cheesy pass/fail class but I wanted to continue on in math. I had a math class every semester of college before that so it just didn't feel right to not have one. Then when we moved here to Lake City, I taught math at the high school. Now, I tutor precalc and calculus students. And once in a while I pull out my old calculus books and work out some problems. Just because.
If I got my masters in math I could teach full time at one of the community colleges around here. And let me just tell you ... I would absolutely LOVE to do that! A variable schedule broken up by semesters, no 8 to 5. That would leave more flexibility for school field trips and soccer practice and t-ball games. THAT would be awesome. But for now, I will stay home and take care of my kiddos. Maybe some money will fall out of the sky and we'll be able to afford for me to go back to school. One thing I have going for me is all of my great mom friends in Gainesville. I know I could find some great childcare for the kids. And I would be happy to pay a good friend with values similar to mine (crunchy mamas) so my kids could play with thier friends. And to get another degree from UF ... well that would just be awesome.
Congrats on the simplifying thing. I've been doing a bit of that around here as well. We're also hunkering down trying to pay off some debt so that we can live better. And let me tell ya, that's not an easy thing to do. Every time we turn around there's some new expense we weren't planning on. And we don't go off on big vacations or even go out to dinner. Actually, I can't remember the last time I went out to dinner. The world we live in is so consumed with debt. We are all about "stuff". We want it all and we want it now and if you decide not to live like that, as we have, then you are looked at like you're being cheap. I could go on with this topic for a while and get all fired up but i'm having a good morning so I think i'll leave this one here. I will say one more thing though, anyone looking to "live like no one else, so that later you can live like no one else" as Dave Ramsey says ... I would highly recommend his books/cds/videos etc. Check it out at www.daveramsey.com. Good stuff man, good stuff.
So yep, i'm right there with ya Andy. No wonder we've been such great friends for so long. Great minds really do think alike, huh?
Thursday, May 31, 2007
Anyway, all that aside, I hear you. I'm right there with you. I don't really feel like working for "The Man" anymore either. There is something incredibly freeing in being able to determine my own hours, my own schedule, and all that sort of thing. Yet, that is also something that requires a bit of working for "The Man" to get to. It's kind of weird how it works but, well, there you are. The irony is, and this is in response to those who might suggest that we are simply lazy or are not wanting to work, is that I really do like work. Even now, I'm pondering when and how I'll be able to go back to school to do my Master's work. Do I need to? No. Do I like the challenge of learning and growing? Yes. For me, this is the same thing. It simply builds off of one another.
In keeping with your previous "rambling" post, I think I'll take the same liberty this evening. My previous post some months ago dealt with a topic that is becoming more and more dear to my heart, the topic of simplicity. We as a family have actually taken this philosophy to a new level in some respects. Recently, we consolidated all of our things, giving much away to Goodwill as well as simply discarding some crazy junk that we had, and moved in with our in-laws. We did this in order to help them out financially as well as to enable us to do some fast track debt reduction and savings. It's a huge endeavor but it has been especially interesting to see how freeing just giving or throwing some junk away has been. The less stuff, the less worry. A book I've recently been reading, Serve God Save the Planet, puts it thusly: "Each time we divest ourselves of possessions, we have fewer earthly things that bind us." Very true.
I feel compelled to come up with some closing question that oozes profundity but that particular skill seems to escape me this evening. Maybe it's just best to let it suffice that our conversation is back in the swing again and we'll just propose to let thing progress organically. Good to be back!
Wednesday, May 30, 2007
Someone once asked me an interesting questions. "If you wrote a book about yourself, what would you call it?" My answer: "The Search for Balance". Yep ... that was about eight years ago and it still holds true today. In a world of extremes i'm still searching for that happy middle ground. Right now i'm trying to balance (more like juggle) all of my duties like cleaning, cooking, childcare, engineering work and the like with some of my loves like knitting, dyeing, and other crafty things. The former leaves little time for the latter but i'm trying. I'm still in a spring cleaning frenzy too. I feel that if I can just get this place cleaned up and cleared out that it would allow me more time and energy to do some of the things I want to do instead of all my time being taken up by the things I have to do. It's a constant struggle though because on the days where I spend my time clearing out a closet, the dishes and laundry pile up and I feel like i'm now behind instead of ahead by having a clutter point marked off my list. I'm still going full speed ahead though in hopes that it will all eventually balance out. I got my very own shed now too so that's helping tremendously with the clearing out thing.
I've been thinking a lot lately about what I want to do with my life when the kids start school. One thing I have decided is that I really don't want to go back to working "for the man". I want to make my own schedule. I'm not a morning person and any job requiring me to be there ready to go at eight in the morning is just not a good thing. Sure i'll do it for a while but then i'll stray and before long it will be closer to ten in the morning and then i'll feel all guilty and have this stress following me around. Another thing is that I want to do something I love. I'm reminded of a saying my hair colorist in Texas shared with me. (back when i could justify spending all that money to have someone else color the grey out of my hair) She was trying to figure out what to do with her life and was troubled that what she loved didn't pay very well. Her father told her "do what you love and the money will follow". So she did and before long she had worked her way into a fancy salon and was payed very well for what she did. (and she deserved every single penny of it, in my opinion) Sure there was a time where the money wasn't great as she worked her way up but in a few years she got a lot of recognition for being one of the best colorists around and was hired by a great salon to do just coloring ... exactly what she wanted to do.
So that's what i've been trying to focus on lately ... doing what I love. And what is that? Crafty stuff. I may not ever make any money at it but I at least have to give it a try. I've got several different projects going right now. Most of it is still in my mind due to lack of time but that's okay. A lot of great things start as ideas that grow in the mind. I'm just happy that I can make money doing some engineering work from home so I don't have to deal with the whole "starving artist" thing. :) And when the boys are a little older and can entertain themselves a little better i'll have some good ideas to work on. The engineering work actually hasn't been all that busy lately which, for me, is another stress. I'm very fortunate that it has been there for me to this point but I have always worried about something like this happening ... the work just not coming in. So that's been additional motivation for me to try and make something of my artsy side.
So there you have it ... that's what my mind has been consumed with Andy. I have always lived in a bit of a struggle between my artsy side and my technical side. A lot of people are one or the other. I am both. You would think that was a good thing but it actually has been the source of a lot of frustration for me throughout life. It seems as though I can't ever give myself fully to one and be the best at it. I go back and forth as one boils to the top and has to be expressed only to settle down again and make room for the other to then boil to the top. So now i'm working on some crafty things that actually have quite a bit of a technical side. The chemistry of dyeing and the calculation of knitting patterns, for example. I've even considered drawing schematics of some of my crafty ideas in AutoCAD but that's probably a bit much.
I don't know where all of this will lead, if anywhere at all. I'm just trying to "do what I love". Hopefully "the money will follow" and I will work myself right into a business as the kids go to school. That way I won't have to face the burning question of "what do I do now?". And i'll still be able to pick the kids up from school and help with field trips and school parties and soccer practice and all that good stuff.
Tuesday, April 10, 2007
Friday, March 23, 2007
My dearest aunt, my Aunt Ellen, died 15 years ago from cancer. I have a sweater that I bought on a shopping trip with her about 18 years ago. I can't seem to let go of this sweater even though it's been at least 10 years since i've worn it. I feel like i'm letting go of her if I let go of the sweater. I realize I feel this way about a lot of things. Holding onto things has become a way of holding onto the past for me. This is why i've decided to do some major spring cleaning. I feel like I can no longer grow as a person until I allow myself to let go of some of the baggage from the past.
Thursday, March 08, 2007
The first thought comes in terms of the questions you've asked regarding why we are the way we are, most notably in the self-centered area, and how we can move away from that. Recently, I listened to a podcast that featured a panel discussion between three key emergent theologians and practitioners, Phyllis Tickle, Pete Rollins, and Brian McLaren. McLaren was asked a question regarding the movement's emphasis upon ecology and the like and his answer was quite thought-provoking, at least to someone who's still in process. To paraphrase, McLaren essentially said that we've become so enamored with and have emphasized our doctrine of the Fall of man so much that we've neglected the doctrine of creation. This was a truly beautiful thought because it does explain so much. Why do we have a throwaway society? Because we have a society that for hundreds of years has lived with the thought that "What does it matter anyway? It's all gonna burn up!" Now, while this may or may not be true, it doesn't give us license to screw the damn place up! Just thought that was an interesting tidbit.
Secondly, I've been slowly reading this book entitled, Endangered Pleasures by Barbara Holland. The book is somewhat of a nostalgic read as Holland recounts so simple pleasures that have sort of gone the way of the Dodo due to progressive technology and information but it also highlights some points of simplicity that we, as a wickedly busy and hurried western society, have just forgotten. Naps, leisurely strolls, hanging out in bed on lazy Sunday mornings. All of these fall obsolete by our postmodern standards. We must produce to be productive. As such, we must possess in order to be happy. Yet, this book points out that some of the most precious and delicious pleasures are those that come free and create the most beautiful and lasting memories. It's an interesting read that, while not directly speaking to our issues here, seems to hint at what could be.
Tuesday, March 06, 2007
First, you're right that technology has made our world a very interesting place. I think it has contributed to both our betterment and decline in several ways. One, we have the potential to be better connected within our community via the Internet, cell phones, and all varieties of wireless capabilities. The problem is, the more plugged in we are with technology, the more disconnected we seem to become from one another. I think that technology, in it's purest form, is great. Yet, we have created technologies designed to minimize our workload that has actually doubled it because now we're multi-tasking, doing two jobs at once because it's so easy. The Internet and the lure of the web has drawn us away from our family, as people find virtual conversations and interaction more appealing than the ones in their very home. "Gotta check my MySpace!" is the cry of a new generation. And who's to say, no matter which side of the pro/con conversation you come down on, how many homes have been affected by online porn. Likewise, and perhaps a bit outdated, the advent of television on demand, with it's nine bajillion channels to choose from, has also sucked us into the void. There is so much going on, so much information for us to consume, that we do nothing but that. What happened to the quiet, the simple, the sublime?
I hate to sort of repeat myself but in an earlier post I discussed the virtues of the monastic way and their emphasis upon simplicity. I think this is essentially what our generation needs but instead they find themselves doing what they've learned, consuming in a fruitless effort to be filled. You name it, drugs, sex, material goods, all these things are but pacifiers for a generation of people that are searching. Bono and U2 may have coined the phrase of a world when they sang, "I Still Haven't Found What I'm Looking For."
My thinking on the issue, at least to some degree, is that the great philosopher and thinker, Sartre, was right. We have a "God-shaped hole" within all of us. We consume in order to fill this void yet the only thing to fill it adequately and fully is God. Now, the problem with this concept, although I think it's true, is that the very people who claim to be the people of God seem to have lost sight of Him! The western Church, by and large, seems to have been taken with the consumer mindset as well, offering goods and services for the price of attendance. The Church has come to be market driven, allowing the whims of the people rather than the communion and peace of a holy God to reign over them. This is a tragedy. For as the Church has become consumed with the "mega" things, the real things, the children of God, have gone suffering. I think the world is in search of this God, the real God, who can fill that void. The problem is that the Church is, instead of modeling and mirroring that God, is hiding Him.
I'm not sure I really went where we were leaning but, oh well. At least we've got the conversation back up and running...
Wednesday, February 28, 2007
A good example of this comes to mind. In my work I recently ran across a person who needed some engineers to get him out of trouble. Let’s call him Sam. Sam owns a piece of riverfront property. Sam thought since it’s his property, he can do what he wants with it without having to check with anyone else. I definitely understand his thought process, after all, it is his property. What some people seem to forget is that they only own that piece of property, not the whole river. And what Sam did was build several things that he would not have been able to get a permit for. The problem here is that next time there is a flood, it is very likely that Sam’s neighbors will have a higher water elevation on their property due to a large amount of fill that Sam brought in to fill a low spot in his property. He also poured a large amount of concrete and completely changed the bank of the river. Sam thinks he shouldn’t have to fix anything because it’s his property. When his neighbors house floods next time a hurricane brings heavy rains, maybe he’ll see things differently.
This story, along with something I recently heard on the news about our youth being more self-centered than ever, got me thinking about some things. What are the effects of this self-centered society we live in? And how did we get here in the first place? Now I love the internet just as much as anyone out there but I think it is partly, if not mostly, to blame. As I said before, you can do almost anything now without ever dealing with another human being. I don’t think we’ve fully realized the consequences of this yet. I think it is contributing greatly to “Generation Me”.
Just a side note … I have to laugh a little as I post this on a blog for you all to read over the internet without any of us ever having a real live conversation about this.
Friday, February 16, 2007
Those statistics are staggering! And, to be honest, we're all complicit in bringing those about some way or another. To some degree, it's impossible to avoid just due to the society we live in and the standard of living we're typically used to. Yet, somewhere in there, we have to choose to do something different, to live our lives in a way that values more than the easy and instant gratification that our throw-away society offers.
I think the key here (and watch how subtly I bring the conversation back to a slightly religious nature!) is one of stewardship. The idea of being a good steward of what's been given to us is an age-old one and finds some pretty solid roots in the Bible. We are to utilize our resources, for sure, but on the same hand are to care for and preserve them as well. They are gifts and are to be respected and cherished.
We also must realize that these gifts that have been entrusted to us are not solely there for our benefit and use. Again, yes, we are to enjoy them, but even more so, we are to share them with others. And sharing them with others, particularly in this realm that we're discussing of ecological conservation, although it definately transcends more than just that, implies not only our current generation but our kid's generation and our grandchildren's generation and so on. We are blessed in order that we might be blessed. This is thinking that finds roots as far back as the biblical patriarch, Abraham. If only we'd learn how to live it out.
Friday, February 02, 2007
Okay, off that soap box for now, I like what you said about altering your thoughts as well as your methods. Ever since I posted the link to the compact article on my blog i've had people asking me how i'm doing with it. I find it interesting to note how many readers have mentioned how their own thought process has been affected by reading that article. Even though most people did not set out to follow the compact, reading that article has made them more aware of everything they put in their buggy when they go to the store. What a great way to have an impact on the world. It may be small but if ten people become more mindful consumers because of something I have shared then i've done a little bit to make the world a better place.
I think the song lyrics you posted really say a lot about our society. We want it all and we want it now. We live in the time of instant gratification. We don't want to work hard and save our money to buy something we want. We want something so we buy it on credit and assume yet another monthly payment that we will be strapped to for years to come. I'm reminded here of something Dave Ramsey (www.daveramsey.com) says in one of his videos. He says we want what our parents have but don't take into consideration the fact that it took them 30 years to get it. We want it and we want it now so we borrow, and borrow, and borrow some more. We, as a society, are drowning in debt. We don't care that we will be paying for something long after that something is gone, or that we will end up paying twice as much for it ... we want it now. You asked why and I wish I had a good answer for you. I think a lot of it has to do with the materialistic society we live in. We are judged by many on how big our house is, what kind of car we drive, what brand of shoes we wear, etc. It really is a sad thing. I could go on and on here but it's late and I need some sleep. I'll leave you with some statistics to ponder ...
-Over 20 billion disposable diapers are sent to landfills each year. This is enough diapers to cover a football field 3 miles deep.
-Single-use diapers represent the 3rd largest consumer item (after newspapers and beverage and food containers) in the municipal solid waste stream. These diapers will require over 500 years to decompose.
-A good eye-opening article on diapers: http://www.dy-dee.com/html/Disposable_Myth/disposable_myth.html
-Americans represent only 5 percent of the world's population, but produce over 50 percent of the world's trash.
-Packaging accounts for 10-15 percent (sometimes more than 50 percent) of the cost of a product and 50 percent of all consumer waste.
-The energy saved by recycling one aluminum can is enough to keep a 100-watt light bulb burning about 3 1/2 hours.
-For every ton of crushed glass recycled, 1.2 tons of raw materials are saved.
-Each ton of paper recycled saves 17 trees.
-A baby may use 10,000 diapers in the first three years of life. Disposable diapers take up as much as 2 percent of our landfills.
-Aluminum cans - 100 to 500 years
-Banana peel - up to 6 months
-Cigarette filters - 15 years
-Diapers - 100 years to never
-Glass - never
-Plastic - 50 to 70 years
-Rubber - never
-Styrofoam cup - 10 to 20 years
-Tin or steel cans - 100 years
-Wax paper cup - 5 years
-Wooden stakes - 4 years
Tuesday, January 23, 2007
That all being said, let me say that the idea of a compact like that is wicked challenging. When you stop to think about all of the stuff that you actually go out and buy and consume, it's mind numbing. Just this week I've been making a conscious effort to use regular plates as opposed to paper ones (which I realize is a goofy sort of thing but with two kids and two adults who abhor anything that remotely resembles dishwashing, it seems logical!) and that has been eye-opening just in terms of waste. Actually, I think food is one of the easiest areas to both fail and to begin making such a change. How many times have we had dinner, thrown the leftovers into some Tupperware and into the fridge, only to revisit them months later, only now they resemble your Uncle Reggie with his green tinted hair? Its the easiest place to waste yet it's also the easiest to fix. We've been making a conscious effort to eat as much of our leftovers as we can, converting them into new meals and such. For instance, Saturday evening we had some friends over and had barbecued ribs, baked beans, corn, and some other stuff. The beans and ribs were the majority of the leftovers. Well, we had some more of those Sunday evening, took a break, and tonight converted a good portion of the leftover ribs into a simple stir-fry. It was delicious, curbed the waste, and saved us money. That's good on all fronts!
I think the issue here is not only in how we alter our methods but also how we think about these things. Why are we consumed with a desire to consume? What is it about us that makes us desire, even lust after that new book, car, whatever? Do we blame the media? Do we blame ourselves? And once we've discovered the antagonist, how do we then rid ourselves of it? And what is a healthy balance of consumption and prohibition? What does moderation really look like?
Ever since I've been writing music reviews recently, I've tended to think of things more and more in song. Here are the lyrics to a great song written and recorded by alt-country singer, Rodney Crowell. I'll leave you with that and look forward to your thoughts.
Give to me my self respect Golden chains around my neck
Give to me my super model corporate jet and champagne bottle
Get me out there on the town Let me spread my wealth around
I could learn to love this life I lead
Just don’t take away the things I need
I feel rosey in the pink Just don’t make me stop and think
All those dark thoughts in my head seem like better left unsaid
Give it to me Give it to me
Give to me my latest fashion Make my lover burn with passion
Give to me my charm and wit Keep my body young and fit
Give to me my haute couture Give the world a cancer cure
Serve my breakfast au frescoe Let the wine and liquor flow
I can search for truth some other time
Right now I just want to get whats mine
Let the gangsters rule the street
Let teachers try to make ends meet
I despise all bleeding hearts I don’t patronize the arts
Give it to me Give it to me
Give to me my Aspen winter Sorry bout the world trade center
I can’t help the one’s in need I’ve got my own mouth to feed
Give to me my playboy channel Killer weed and sheets of flannel
Lay me down upon my bed With pleasant dreams to fill my head
I don’t care what this world is coming to
And there ain’t one damn thing that I can do
I don’t have a leg to stand on I don’t have a net to land on
I don’t have a base of power I don’t have the extra hour
Give it to me Give it to me
Give to me my tax cut outsource
Build me my own private golf course
The Dixie Chicks can kiss my ass
But I still need that backstage pass
Give to me my Nasdaq numbers
Intel shares and E-trade blunders
Soldiers to defend my freedom
A script for valium if I need em’
Friday, January 19, 2007
Friday, January 12, 2007
I just ran across something on the internet that really caught my attention. A group of friends in San Francisco made a pact to not buy anything new for a whole year. They made exceptions for food and toiletries and a few other things. Their idea managed to get some national attention recently.
Check out the yahoo article here: http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20070103/ap_on_re_us/shopping_sabbatical
And here is a link to the related blog: http://sfcompact.blogspot.com/
Oh, and did I mention that the Gators won the national championship??? GOOOOOOOO GATORS!!!!!!!!!! :-)~Celena
Tuesday, December 12, 2006
Let's discuss the "emerging church" deal first. The emerging church movement is credited with beginning in the mid to late 90's as a response to the failures of our parent's fundamentalism as well as a reaction to the postmodern philosophy which began to really take a solid hold over modernism. Essentially, people saw the holes in the picture and started to rethink things, considering that there must be other ways to do things. Our good friends at Wikipedia have a really great breakdown on the movement here: Emerging churches.
I suggest you check that out and see if you have any questions from there.
As you'll see from the reading there, the movement is not without its share of critics as well as adherents. Much of the criticism does come from the open minded approach to the spiritual life and how we interpret it and so forth. This sounds very much like what you're encountering there in Lake City. With all due respect, you're not alone. I found myself at my non-denominational Bible college last year, asking questions that were a dash controversial, and having my salvation questioned. These were good people but to expand and rethink some things that, for them, just were, was not a worthwhile exercise. There is security in knowing, or at least thinking we know. Yet, if we are to truly know, I wonder if maybe we have to admit that, to some degree, we could be wrong. We need to have the courage to engage other viewpoints and to glean from the wisdom they offer.
There's a little something on the emerging church. Next post I'll address your discussion of truth, science, and God. Let's keep the discussion going!