03.28.12

healing, community, and prayer

Posted in Uncategorized at 8:28 pm by Administrator

i’ve been thinking about this entry for a long time. i’ve been thinking about whether this entry (or any future entry) really needs to be written at all. the healing i’m experiencing is arising from an area of my life so removed from my cogitative side that i’m thinking now that perhaps i was never capable of healing through journaling. this makes me feel a certain numbness toward my blog. it doesn’t matter what i express, i realize. what matter is what i am in relationship. and now, i fear, i cannot fail but to see my blog as another cheap facebook or twitter spinoff. because however i word my entries, my blog has simply functioned as a series of trivial and inconsequential status updates, all meant to construct for me a convenient online persona. this, all of this, has been rueful self-deception.

not that i feel disillusioned in general. i feel disillusioned with regard to my own sense of process and growth. but in general, i feel extraordinarily happy. and this happiness is not something i’m really capable of explaining right now. and i like that—the idea that this experience simply can’t be written. i’m not even going to try. it’s a mystery. and i’m going to leave it as such.

in the midst of discovering happiness, i have almost completely lost any sense of the community-oriented identity concept that i have belabored in this blog for the past two years. how ironic! for so long, i have documented my journey away from individualized identity into communal identity, as if this were the very substance of my sanctifying journey. i’ve barely attended church for the past month, and i haven’t missed it. i clock in and out at work, and nothing at work makes or breaks my days anymore. i used to believe that the most interesting parts of my life were the things i experienced with people outside of my home. now, i find it rare that i think about these people at all.

perhaps my sudden abandonment of my communal orientation is just a phase. really, it doesn’t matter to me much one way or the other. for much of my life, i think that i constructed and reconstructed different ideas of my life so as to feel important in some way. now that i’m experiencing real connection with someone i love, i think that the process of construction and reconstruction has truly ground to a halt. i’m not performing anymore. and the guy who leads meetings—that guy is out to lunch now. and i think it’s possible that he’s taken off for good.

it has been nearly a month since i actually offered a prayer to God, in any intentional, formulaic sort of way. i’ve given myself to God so totally in so many other ways that i feel no need to perform for Him anymore. so much of my prayers are a show of one kind or another—a gesture of obeisance, a formulaic supplication, a plea for affection. i don’t feel the need for this now. i suppose that if i were forced to pick out words and assemble them into sentences to be articulated for the ears of God, i think that i would say that i’m beginning to understand. i would give him thanks for new beginnings. but He knows these things already. it’s no mystery. and it’s not the stuff of prayer, not anymore.

03.13.12

hunger games

Posted in Uncategorized at 8:27 pm by Administrator

(spoilers)

Hunger Games, the first book in Suzanne Collins’ devastatingly popular trilogy, is a good read. in this book, Collins gives us a novel, unpredictable world, full of fascinating details and dark turns. i came away from the Hunger Games hungry for more.

but Catching Fire isn’t nearly as good. it’s too much teenage girl tension. it’s too much “Peeta or Gale, Gale or Peeta, Peeta and Gale, neither Peeta nor Gale?” while Hunger Games is edgy and unexpectedly violent, Catching Fire feels like an immediate regression into young adolescent fiction (of the bad kind). when i think of successful middle chapters, i of course think of “The Empire Strikes Back”, which distinguishes itself through striking character revelations and revolutionary plot twists. Catching Fire tries to develop characters, but instead it gets bogged down in heavy-handed and annoying love-triangle tensions.

Mockingjay anchors the rapidly downward trajectory of the series. trilogy writers always smell the big ending; it’s their chance to create legacy out of a legend. ideas that should be expressed in terse sentences turn into paragraphs of flowing prose, as the author seeks not only to generate dramatic pause but also to prove one’s literary worth. Mockingjay is overly introspective and ruminative; and unfortunately it empties everything interesting out of Katniss Everdeen, taking a spritely young woman with all the potential in the world and sinking her into a lyrical denouement of the most burdensome kind.

i think that the Girl with the Dragon Tattoo trilogy follows a similarly dismal trajectory. Lisbeth Salander emerges from book one as a singular woman, unlike any comparable female literary protagonist. but “Played with Fire” overdoes her Goth makeup job and turns her into a nearly farcical product of a psychotic family; it’s as if Luke discovers that Darth is not only his father but also a habitual child-molester, cocaine addict, and paranoid schizophrenic. “Hornet’s Nest” has to be one of the worst closers in trilogy history, being hopelessly mired in the web of intrigue spun by two dozen marginal characters whose backgrounds and activities are nearly impossible to keep up with. like Suzanne Collins, Larsson was out to break some ground in book three; while Collins endeavors to create a new world order, Larsson uses Lisbeth to bring down Sweden’s entire military-industrial complex in one purging sweep.

i know there’s a lot of pre-release hype for the movies, and i’m not sure whether to get on the wagon. taken together, the Hunger Games story is passable, at best. it doesn’t hold a candle to other epic trilogies like LOTR, Wizard of Earthsea, or The Golden Compass. the comparison with “Golden Compass” is most interesting because Lyra and Katniss are similar characters in some ways—and the enemies that they face off against are similarly autocratic and oppressive. both characters turn into fierce female fighters, and both of them become international champions of representative democracy. but Lyra’s world becomes richer and more complex as the stories progress, while Katniss’s world seems to become more and more one-dimensional, particularly in its fixation on theatrics. the whole point of the Hunger Games is really to force hapless Katniss into choosing between two blandly archetypal men (gag). in the end, i threw up my hands in disgust. Katniss chooses Peeta, because Gale’s dark side is a bit too dark for her. alas, this is the sort of stuff that keeps teenage girls fawning over fantasy fiction.

03.03.12

recreating the scene

Posted in Uncategorized at 12:18 am by Administrator

Jesus, recently arisen from death and having appeared to several people, finally decides to go find his twelve closest disciples. he finds them at a beach, early in the morning. they are in a boat not far from shore, fishing.

Jesus: i figured this is where i’d find you guys. right where i found you in the beginning.
John (in the boat): sorry sir, did you say something? who are you?
Jesus: i said i figured i’d find you fishing right here, all over again!
John (to the others): the guy is saying that we’ll find fish on the right, if we throw the net again.
James: who the fuck does this guy think he is?
Andrew: just do it. if this borracho starts yelling, it might attract attention. we gotta keep a low profile.
Peter: you damn coward. still scared? we should be dead right now.
Andrew: what? you want to cut off my ear too? you fucking retard.
John: shut up. just throw the net over the right side.

(they throw the net in)

Andrew: Jesus Christ, it’s heavy. i think it’s fish.
John: did you say the Lord’s name, just now?
Jesus (overhearing): indeed, it is i. i was wondering when you’d recognize me, you fools!
James (looking at Peter): Holy shit, i’m going to go see.

(the men jump in the water and swim to shore. Peter hangs back with the net, silently counting the fish, as the rest of the men swarm Jesus in a group hug. Thirty minutes later, Peter guardedly approaches the group of men, who are now lounging on the beach.)

Peter: A hundred fifty-three fish.
James: It’s about time. And how many times did you count them all?
Peter: Shut up.
Jesus: Peter, let’s take a walk.

(Peter and Jesus take a walk along the beach)

Peter: I’m sorry. Yeah. You should just kill me.
Jesus: You’ll be dead soon enough. (Laughs) I’m just kidding, you idiot!
Peter: Sorry if i’m not in a laughing mood.
Jesus: You should be humoring me. I’m the one who had to hang out in Sheol for 3 days, and I’ve got these scars in my hands that honestly hurt like a motherfucker.
Peter: See, that just makes it worse for me.
Jesus: What do you want me to say? I knew you’d do it. Because I knew what you were made of. You’re not as brave as you thought you were. But you’re as brave as I knew you would be.
Peter: How bad was it? For you?
Jesus: Can we not go there? I’m still dealing with some issues. Father issues.
Peter: That sucks man. I let you down, I don’t know if I’ll ever get over it.
Jesus: Get over it. Get over it now. Because we don’t have enough time for that. Remember what I taught you guys! It’s not about what you have to do to avoid punishment. It’s about how to please God; how to really worship. There’s power for Israel, and there’s power for you, if you’d only get over yourself.
Peter: Let me do something for you. Anything!
Jesus: Anything?
Peter: Whatever you ask.

(They have rejoined the group, who are now cooking and eating the fish)

Jesus: You love me, don’t you Peter?
Peter: Lord, you know I do.
Jesus: Then feed my sheep.