a fit of passion

•October 26, 2012 • 2 Comments

I’ve become impassioned as of late, an occurrence that ebbs and flows as the year progresses. This session has lasted much longer than others, however, and unfortunately I’ve found myself at a point of exhaustion, tired of mulling over my thoughts without taking the time to write them down.

Initially I’d thought of writing large posts that would most likely extrapolate to this and that, but instead have chosen to write short bits in the hopes that readers (if any are left) inquire for more. Because what I ponder isn’t so much a matter of personal consequence, but instead a curiosity for how others choose to participate with what humanity endeavors (despite this being true, it’s probably not as epic as how that came out sounding).

If you’re interested in hearing more about what I list below, simply let me know and I’d love to follow up with a post expanding further. I’ve also attached links to most items in case you want to check out some sources that have sparked these thoughts:

1)      Why I’m voting for Obama, my skepticism for the current GOP, and how I’m fascinated, suspicious, and desperate to talk with those who support Romney.

  1. http://www.jeffkeuss.com/blog/?p=1361 — This is mostly for the second comment posted by David. Very well put.

2)      Misleading retirement calculators and the history of economics in relation to age longevity and America’s entitlement to leisure.

  1. http://www.efficientfrontier.com/ef/901/hell3.htm — This is a five-part series, and I’ve attached the third part as I find it most captivating, revealing, and least technical in its language. Don’t let the lack of aesthetics on the author’s site fool you, either; Bernstein is one of the most brilliant writers I’ve read.
  2. http://www.amazon.com/The-Ages-Investor-Life-cycle-ebook/dp/B008CM2T2A
  3. http://www.amazon.com/End-Poverty-Economic-Possibilities-Time/dp/0143036580 – If you look into a preview for this, ignore Bono’s intro. I respect the guy, but his writing doesn’t accurately portray the purpose of this book. Try to find pages of the first chapter.

3)      Why Logan Lerman will be both an actor and director I proudly take my children to see twenty years from now.

  1. http://www.imdb.com/title/tt1659337/ — Best movie of 2012 thus far, in my opinion. And that’s saying something, because 2012 has been – and will be – far more than generous.

4)      Registering independent and not conforming to the pressure or human desire to flock to one side. Politics don’t have to be dichotomous.

  1. http://jenhatmaker.com/blog/2012/10/16/the-election-thoughts-from-a-christian-independent — Also, I think it’s worth challenging the notion that though Christ reveals the one true eschatology for humanity, one can still vote and hope for an outcome and mourn its potential loss. I say this not because God can’t work through a four- or eight-year presidency, but because who we vote for is a reflection of our ideals as a majority, and what’s revealed can be harrowing. (Is this how a historian feels?)

5)      Vringo vs. Google: Why, if you have a brokerage account and high-risk appetite to boot, it’s not too late to buy into this David & Goliath patent battle that should end favorably for the little guy by the end of next week.

  1. http://stocktwits.com/symbol/VRNG
  2. http://seekingalpha.com/article/947781-vringo-vs-google-a-mid-trial-report — This will give you some major details on how the trail was going mid-week. Many things have happened since this post, by the way. Dig deep on the Internet and ask if you need help sifting through what information is true and what’s crap.

6)      Abortion and the idea that in addition to opposing capital punishment, one cannot claim to be pro-live without observing that systemic poverty kills an equitable – if not more – amount of people.

7)      Healthy criticism of current and suggested economic policy, and a fresh look at “True Progressivism.”

  1. http://www.economist.com/node/21564556 – I seriously need to find more articles walking the line between Republican and Democrat. If you have suggestions, please send.

Lastly, this week marked my one-year anniversary with the Hutch. And I’m more thrilled than ever to be here. May this double rainbow picture hovering over the Center express my joy (taken from King5):

wedding season

•September 18, 2012 • 1 Comment

I’d never been in a wedding before 2012, and so far this summer I’ve found myself in two. A third is coming in November, and then the grand finale on January 5th. And yes, you’re not mistaken – the grand finale is my own wedding. #noshame

Turns out riding on the inside track of the nup-i-tal circuit has been loads of fun, too, despite my wallet slowly shriveling to the size of mid-western corn during this damned drought season. It mostly consists of eating egregious amounts of food, taking enough pictures to fill a digital encyclopedia, and laughing with a collection of clever minds spouting comments that range from genuine affection to unabashed sexualizing of, well, just about everything.

However, in the midst of this borderline, hedonic experience comes an unmistakable reverence for community, friendship, and love. While attendees witness to the simultaneous culmination and beginning of a couple’s consummation, those standing up there with them are confronted with an unparalleled insight to the delicate concept of “I choose you.” It’s a peculiar thing, really, because when you are chosen above so many to participate in this momentous day, as close as you possibly can with the couple on stage, the words ‘I do’ deliver sudden, invisible finalities to the relationship you have with the person whose side you’re standing on.

And I’ve been grieving this the past two days. I miss my good buddy Luke. I miss the guys I’ve lived with the past few years despite having moved into another great living situation. I miss disgusting kitchens and bathrooms, undignified bass running through our floorboards, naked parades, and everything else that comes with living alongside your best friends (well, I may be able to salvage one of those listed…). I now feel provoked by foreign emotions as there will be this inevitable relinquishing that’ll occur when I’m the one standing, friends at my side. It’s deeply saddening for me.

This grievance process, however, isn’t all melancholy or melodramatic. There’s an enjoyment that comes out of change, whether it be the mystery of tomorrow or a shuffle from the past. I’m excited for the future, even if things will be vastly different. I’m more than excited to be marrying boo and stumbling through life with the person I feel most confident with. It’s just going to be a little hard at first.

I suppose the naked parades will have to occur sooner than later to help ease the process. #noshame

economic sociology

•September 14, 2012 • 1 Comment

These two words in succession could potentially have one of the biggest impacts on my life.

#timestamp

east of eden

•September 11, 2012 • 1 Comment

“I had to find out my stupidities for myself. These were my stupidities: I thought the good are destroyed while the evil survive and prosper.

I thought that once an angry and disgusted God poured molten fire from a crucible to destroy or to purify his little handiwork of mud. I thought I had inherited both the scars of the fire and the impurities which made the fire necessary – all inherited, I thought. All inherited…

That isn’t good enough. That isn’t good enough thinking. Maybe… maybe you’ll come to know that every [wo]man in every generation is refired. Does a craftsman, even in his old age, lose his hunger to make a perfect cup – thin, strong, translucent?” He held his cup to the light. “All impurities burned out and ready for a glorious flux, and for that – more fire. And then either the slag heap or, perhaps what no one in the world every quite gives up, perfection.” He drained his cup and he said loudly:

“Cal, listen to me. Can you think that whatever made us – would stop trying?”

voices and expressions

•September 10, 2012 • 3 Comments

Yesterday afternoon as I was driving up north to participate in a post-grad throwback (freelance landscaping while I was vying for employment), NPR had an imaginative show playing, which was simply a collection of random people telling interesting stories about their lives. I managed to chime in on a man named Justin talk about how he hunted down an identity theft that stole his information at a local Dominos establishment. It was equally humorous as it was serious, with him thoughtfully expressing the situation with both unexaggerated detail and tact.

Short after, the radio host expressed that they are always looking for stories to fill their air (it’s actually broadcast from public speaking seminars), and to be selected you had to have something that kept the audience clinging for more. That’s it. An engaging story. You didn’t even have to be audibly understandable, as the next guy who came on had a severely raspy voice that shooed me away (though I guess if you want people to hear your stories – not just personally tell them – I suppose a clear voice is a necessity, as well.)

What also has me thinking about this is a new book I picked up, suggested by boo, titled 7. It’s written by Jen Hatmaker, and in the format of a daily journal/blog as she documents her experiences of a progressive and radical lifestyle she attempts to live for seven months. And it’s brilliant. Not only does she have stories to tell – like we all do – but she has the voice to exalt them above what most all others are trying to speak or write. Moreover, it is an obviously natural voice, which I’m sure makes it easier for her to write, and more enjoyable for me to read.

All that to say, I think I’m going to try a different style of writing on this blog. Some of these posts, no matter the size, can take me up to three hours to write. I don’t have a lot of time to do that anymore, and I’d rather focus on my natural voice rather than a more formal, methodical writing style, which is something I instilled about two years ago. Who knows, perhaps all this formality is what I’ll eventually settle into! But for now, I’m curious what a capricious, boisterous blog will look like considering that’s an easy way to sum up my personality. Hopefully that will encourage me to write more, as well.

This post only took me 43 minutes to write, by the way. Looks like I’m getting better already.

theology

•July 18, 2012 • 3 Comments

In his book, After You Believe: Why Christian Character Matters, N.T. Wright tells the story of one of his students “who spent his whole summer holiday working in a sub-Saharan African country. When he came back, the head of the college asked him what he wanted to do when he graduated. He replied that he was hoping to work in international development, to bring help and wisdom to the poorest parts of the globe. The head of the college at once asked him why, in that case, he was studying theology rather than politics and/or economics.

The student didn’t miss a beat. ‘Because theology is much more relevant’, he replied.”

Because theology is much more relevant. Aside from wishing I had this quip in the back of my pocket while attending SPU, I’m now realizing how unfortunate it is that students (or anybody for that matter) studying theology are automatically associated with solely wanting to do ministry in the context of a church. Admittedly, I originally enrolled in the major with the hopes of doing pastoral work, but that vocational ambition died hard by the end of my first quarter (7th grade youth ministry got the best of me and ruined the whole spectrum). However, despite this experience I stuck with the major because there was something much greater going on outside of biblical exegesis and reading histories of German theologians.

Theology speaks to economic ideologies, social hierarchies and power structures, business transactions, political policy, psychological and sociological analysis, healthcare models, media networks, and racial, ethnic, gender, and religious relations.

Jesus not only provided life for his creation, but addressed how one may live their life as a new human in association with creation.

All that to say, I don’t think people study theology because they want to be purposefully incompetent (when working outside of the church). I think people study theology because they want to be richly holistic. So I encourage anyone curious of pursuing a theological background not to think about what they are compromising on, but instead to look forward to the encompassing knowledge they are about to receive.

there’ll come a time, we’ll see

•May 21, 2012 • 1 Comment

I met a self-proclaimed entrepreneur who spoke with me for 43 minutes pitching a business model that excited him as greatly as it was empty. I listened as he scurried around mentioning the name of his affiliate company, as he was careful to use the words “multi-level” and “strategy” rather than “pyramid” and “scheme.” He clutched a Max Lucado book titled Fearless, spoke of his mentor who retired at the age of 34, and revealed his dreams of absolute freedom. Freedom to never awake to an alarm, to never work again, to spend every moment with his family, to financially support his father-in-law – to be $uccessful, as he spelled it out on nearby napkin.

I inquired of his past. He grew up with little money, struggling parents, and never attended college. He makes enough to pay the bills and support his family, but if he ever wants more, he needs to do something else. He stated that a job is the least practical way to make money, and his business is simply a means to achieve his dreams of living without strings. He was fervent in his beliefs, and certain he would make it out on top. His mentor did, after all.

Despite his sincerity, I disagreed with him. I challenged his dichotomizing notions of joy being found only outside of work, instead of being integrated within it. I wondered at what made him so different from my friends, who I’m confident would never cease this opportunity he appeared so enthralled with. A college education? A middle or upper-class upbringing? His church culture? Something as simple as having different goals in life? But where do we develop these goals? Is the socialization process strong enough to determine the choices we make with what’s presented before us? If my past had been similar to his, would I instead be writing about a new prospective entrepreneurship I was interested in pursuing?

Most of all, I wonder at God’s ability to permeate all of this. We often attribute God’s interaction with us as a means of healing immoral facets of life, or providing hope in the midst of painful circumstance. But what about the more subtle – yet immeasurably impactful – moments that imprint upon us in ways that deeply determine why and how we act as adults?

Finally, how does one discern God’s revelation as either a divine act of grace, or a thoughtfully articulated point that trumps a previous conception? Was it His grace that shifted my perception of heaven last year, or a professor’s ability to deconstruct my theology with sound, rational examples of Scripture and human experience? Or can grace and human reason operate simultaneously despite me knowing that a more conservative Christian university taught a different eschatology and left students believing it was equally God’s grace to reveal such truth.

This is where I get caught in such matters. I can’t reconcile divine revelation with human socialization. It’s too inconsistent.

And yet, I know the answer is far from either/or.

 
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