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Tuesday, November 29, 2005

informed

upon experiencing great loss, not a day goes by that isn't informed in some way by this past pain which is both persistent and ubiquitous.

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Thursday, November 24, 2005

talent?


a bunch of us were 'discussing' modern art on another blog. afterward, i was thinking further about this whole pre-occupation with perceived talent condition from which we suffer.
***

it's kinda fun how life and learning seem to flow in colours, but fail to stay within the lines.

nothing is completely locked off from anything else (although modernity would have everything in its own neatly labelled box); the learning from one experience colours everything in the immediate vacinity.

example: after having gone to the mat online with some blogfriends over the importance of modern art to the furtherance of culture, i found myself talking with my son 'poet' about bob dylan songs and, more specifically, a friend's apparent disdain for the fact that this song and dance man has a 40+ year career. my son observed that a lot of people seem to feel this way... that the man can write a song, but that he should leave the singing of that song to the singers that have talent... then he asked why this is such a commonly held opinion.

before i could stop myself, a quotable flew out of my mouth into the room, speaking to both discussions about aesthetics simultaneously:

"apparently talent is your innate ability to create something that i like..."

in case i did not make my own preferences clear, i must state for the record that in my view bob dylan, neil young, tom waits, lou reed, bob geldof, david byrne, roger waters and other such heavily criticized 'non-singers' are among the greatest voices of this or any age. singing is not about the voice, it's about the heart. a voice is just a transducer, taking one form of energy and transforming it into another...
yep- i'm willing to apply this cynical definition of talent to my own aesthetics too..

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Monday, November 21, 2005

tales from the chick

Okay I know most of you visit these things to read, discuss, pontificate, consider, argue and otherwise. I find it really an exercise to write down every last thing that I think and feel while wondering if folks really care. Anyway this came to me and it seemed the place to put it. It kind of put me in mind of jollybeggar's earlier discussion...
( http://e-pistles.blogspot.com/2005/11/art-of-miracles.html)
...the worth of something some call art while others call the same garbage. (good reading by the way) Whichever this is art or...otherwise :)

That I would ever doubt him
My heart lingers
And marvels at faith

I shouldn’t have the worries
I reasonably bear into my world
My God, he cares for me

And walking in blindness
Faith finds my heart; a ready field
To travel into mystery and hold love

For a brother I’ve never met; for a stranger
To leave behind my familiar
And not understand with reason my place

I linger here
My heart, deeper

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Thursday, November 17, 2005

'christian' is an adjective

in response to another blog, Matthew said...
"the question seems to be how best to relate our faith to those who don't believe what we do. for me, that starts with jesus' life... one of the most effective ways to be an effective witness for Christ is to live every day like a Christian. it's cliche, i know, and it's easier said than done. but how many people are turned off to christianity by christians themselves? "
***

'christian' is an adjective. it means 'in the manner of Christ.'

'what would Jesus do?' is a hugely important question, although it has become bumper sticker fodder... to say that 'Jesus would preach the bible, dummy...' is to miss that Jesus was speaking in the language of the people to whom he was addressing- people whose only schooling had been in the words of the prophets, the stories of the heroes and the stipulations of the law. more often than not, in order to speak outside of their education yet still within their experience, he spoke out of common life experiences, bringing spiritual truth to life through the many vehicles that almighty God placed here and signposts to his glory.

what i like is how nothing is written about what Jesus said at matthew's party (apart from some words in response to criticisms that were flying at him from out in the street by cowards who chose 'behind the back' instead of 'straight on': matthew 9.9-13), or zaccheus' house for dinner (luke 19.1-10), etc. Jesus was just there, living and loving in real time. no big profound parables or whatever because these were social contexts inwhich the love of God shone through his own through availability and action. there were times when Jesus simply permitted people to draw their own conclusions, face to face.

i think that that is the part of 'christian' that we miss much of the time... we think everything has to be a context for a strategically-placed word. God the Holy Spirit should probably be the strategic one.

i know that i have some things to learn in this regard... thank God for his patience with me and with others to whom his message has been entrusted.

live more, love more. yeah, that's 'christian.'

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Saturday, November 05, 2005

stealth



so what is 'sin?' there are so many different definitions of it probably because people want to justify so many different things. there's always a loophole if you're looking for one.

awhile back we got going on the idea of self-rooted sin, which is way different than simple rational self-interest. rational self interest is, in my view anyway, just good stewardship of the life that God has entrusted to us... but acting in one's own interest at the expense of all others' freedom to live an unmolested life on planet earth- that's just wrong.

we're talking about a morality that has a tonal centre: the difference between what's right and what's not, not some relativistic justification of exploitive actions. the 'do unto others as you'd have them do unto you' of the bible is way different than the 'if you don't watch your back then you've got it coming' brand of ethics. i mean, there are legitimate opportunities, and then there are situations that are simply seen that way by opportunists.

i am not saying that we are to carry people around on our backs when they prove incapable of looking after themselves...i just think that it would be nice if, when a person is down, having fallen into bad times in some way, others wouldn't kick him while he's trying to get back up on his feet.

and there are many kinds of kicking... as judgemental and pompous westerners we can easily fall into the self-satisfied brain groove that comfortably acknowledges how often people 'deserve the mess that they've gotten themselves into.' nice kick.

similarly or inversely, i can't decide which, one who has fallen should be free to receive the extended hand of grace without fear of some ulterior motive driving that hand. my my, how amazingly adept we've become at isolating ourselves from each other, even in the most crowded of rooms...

in short, living for the satisfaction of one's own personal whims and desires to the damnation of all others falls short of what God intended for us when he looked upon us and said 'yeah, that's what i meant... very good.'

we need to see how high we can reach, not just how high we can go while still remaining safely under the radar's surveilance.

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Thursday, November 03, 2005

a celebrated author


we were talking about reason and faith and such again. this time, though, with a community spin. i was also in a slightly different space, having experimented with the mind-altering, consciousness-expanding stuff of intercontinental experience. as i think i've mentioned once or twice since then, the memory of my august 2005 trip to asia still inhabits much of my waking hours and even some of my sleeping ones.

in any event, my friend said: Most of the church activities, the ones i said were good at least, have little to do with God. They may be talking about God and studying his word, but in my mind that is truly a secondary consideration for those attending...

a fundamental difference between eastern and western thought is the western presumption that things without specific labels and direct applications are irrelevent tangents. whereas westerners drive hard for the most direct intellectual route between points a and b, easterners tend to start at a and circle b a number of times, taking in the whole context of b with its surrounding topography, vegetation, geology and weather in order to more completely embrace it in conclusion.

so, my point? just because people are not specifically operating in their 'God' box, explicitly studying theology or bible history or whatever, does not mean that they aren't implicitly engaging.

life is a celebration of its author.

life in relationship with others is a celebration of the one who longed so greatly for opportunity to enter into loving relationship with others that he created others equipped with the capacity to experience relationship with him.

you ever want to see the smile of God? just look into the face of someone withwhom you share life experiences in community. it's right there.