Thursday, January 27, 2011

Isaiah 64:6

I feel so small! So wrong, so very very wrong. Pathetic and insignificant. Characterized by consistent and simplistic failure.

And all of our righteous acts are like filthy rags . . .

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

A Faulkner & Bagehot & Chan Influence

I'm getting into the bad habit of only posting when I'm dying of boredom, which I think is a terrible system. It's also rather unjust, too, this fact of my listlessness, because it is only a matter of time before the course loads come crashing down on me, and it's very deceptive at the start, how professors ease you into the reading and the assignments. I hate having nothing to do! Which actually seems like a beneficial sentiment to be developing!


I watched The Lovely Bones last night, which seemed like a good idea at the time until Bryna goes, "Oh, I remember now, I hated this movie!" And things sort of went wonky from there. Cinematically it waffled between trippy and stunning and surreal and tacky. It's the kind of movie I would make my children watch in order to demonstrate to them the development of special effects in storytelling. So that part was great. What was not great was how disturbing it was. It was like listening to Sufjan's "John Wayne Gacy, Jr", except that it lasted two hours instead of two minutes and was a lot more graphic. And I thought this was a children's movie!

So that happened.

The computer I'm sitting at has a little sign that says "DON'T FORGET TO SAVE YOUR WORK TO A FLASH DRIVE!" And there's a little pen scrawl below it that says "yo, eff that ess man, I do what I want!" I'm a little bit amused.

When we were driving to class this morning, bright and early in the frigid cold, exactly a twelve minute drive, halfway there, my check engine light starts flashing. Flashing. Which is significantly worse than it merely glowing, like it had been last week before my daddy took it to the mechanic and got it fixed for a hefty fee. Shortly after my car starts to smell, not like burning oil, but a more medicinal kind of smell, and when I braked at a stoplight the car started to bounce. No smoke from the hood, though, so I kept driving and after a minute it stopped.

Though clearly something is wrong, I can hardly bear the thought of taking it back to the mechanic again, which would make the fifth time in sixth months. And the second time in one week! I don't have the cash for repairs; I nearly cried from gratefulness that my dad covered the last round of costly maintenance. It's not a terrible situation, just an unfortunate one, and I can't help but feel a little troubled as I think about driving it home tonight.

And this is where I remember: that my God is an all mighty, all powerful, all loving God. That He is sovereign, and not a thing happens without His allowance. Surely He has watched over me, and will continue to watch over me, and will replace my anxiety with peace. It's just a car. Even in this, He cares.

I love this, I love this! Being put in situations where I find what I really believe, not just what I thought I knew. I love rediscovering [or perhaps truly learning for the first time?] these basic truth, simple assurances. I love watching His promises become more real than I ever knew, right before my eyes.

I was thinking about that on the snowy walk to the library. Who wouldn't want to believe in God, honestly? If there was a being that promised to direct your steps, and gave you what was best for you, and protected you from evil, and loved you, loved you unendingly, to the point of death, at the sacrifice of heaven and earth . . . who wouldn't want that?

Not that it isn't hard. Not that it isn't one of the most impossible feats: dying to self, and loving one's enemies, and living a life that is not one's own. And yet in this He freely gives His grace and His strength, and we are guaranteed victory.

If one could only be convinced that God was real . . . who wouldn't believe that?

Monday, January 10, 2011

Twitter & Skinny Jeans

So I have this glitch. Where once I decide against something, I'm committed to my boycott. Even when my justifications for said boycott become so obscure in my mind that I can't even remember them. Even when I become persuaded against my boycott. Once I am grounded in abstention, I cannot be moved, not even by my own self!

[I think this is because I resolve things so seldom. I have the resolution of a frog. Most of the time I just can't be bothered!]

I mean, of course, only with inconsequential things. Like with Twitter. And skinny jeans. I remember when skinny jeans first came back into vogue. The GAP commercials, with the Audrey Hepburn silhouette. At the start, these jeans were high-waisted and tapered at the bottom, which made them look a little too much like mom-jeans. I was certain this was a passing fad, and I was not going to be swindled into buying a pair of jeans that would cease to be trendy in nine months.

But, they hung on longer than I expected. And they're just so perfect for wearing with boots! My heart gradually softened towards skinny jeans, it was practically pudding-y with approval, but I couldn't bring myself to justify the purchase: I had vowed never to buy skinny jeans! And I couldn't break that promise now! [Because I really do keep so few promises to myself . . .]

And of course, Twitter. I made my obligatory account so I could stalk [I mean, follow] my favorite people and download some free music. But I vowed that I would never tweet. Surely short-form communication was too transient to really catch on, and really, how narcissistic to feed a steady commentary of my day to day life onto the internet. [People already think I'm a psychopath without hearing half of my inane observations.]

But see, I now have the greatest idea for a Twitter shtick, and thanks to Siobhan's inspiration I feel like I can justify dressing like a hipster since there is a severe extinction of hipsters at my school. The assumption here being, that skinny jeans are irreconcilably hipster. An assumption I think it is fair to make.

[I am realizing I have an embarrassing obsession with hipsters.]

[See, that's the kind of thing I would have totally tweeted!]

I resist jumping on the bandwagon of things that have the potential to be lame when they stop being novel. I'm into wait-and-see. Twitter was for lame people when it first started. I didn't want to be lame! Skinny jeans had the markings of the short-lived 2000's trend. I didn't want to look stupid in old family photos! I didn't want to be doing what everyone else was doing just because everyone else was doing it. [Geez. Such a hipster.] But I see their value now. The thing is, it's too late. I can't seem to undo my resolution.

Pity me.

[I would have put an emoticon up there, because a teasing, smirky face would have signaled my tone so perfectly, but, I felt like that would be throwing away my last vestiges of professionalism. Self-respecting bloggers save emoticons for quirky, self-indulgent posts. But this, this is serious. Oh my gosh, I have such PROBLEMS. :P]

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Living truthfully.

I'm thinking about hypocrisy again.

I'm thinking about my Nutella and my acne medication and my organic vegetables and my local farmer's milk products and my salon grade conditioner and my falling-apart Chucks and my events tee shirts and my free indie music and my abortion activism and consumerism and soft power and international representation . . .

I feel tremendous personal responsibility.

I want to live simply. I want my own little square of urban life and I want my relationships and I want some good food once in a while and I want to eventually wean myself from the hollow entertainment of television. I want to keep my head down and love God and love people.

But how can I? There seems to be a trace of selfishness in the simple life.

Monday, January 3, 2011

John 6:28-29

Clean hands, pure heart
This is my desire.
To honor You
And not myself.

A hunger for righteousness
That never stops rising.
A dogged endurance
In this His hope.

Then they asked him, "What must we do to do the works God requires?"

Jesus answered, "The work of God is this: to believe in the one he has sent."

Saturday, January 1, 2011

"Nothing changes on New Year's Day"

I have this friend who doesn't see the point of unachievable things. I mean, he doesn't really think that way [does anyone, really?], but he thinks he does and that makes talking to him occasionally irritating. He thinks that everyone is selfish [of course, they are] and therefore there is no point in selflessness. Or, that it's overrated. Because it's unachievable.

This makes me wonder about idealism. I never could quite puzzle through the "shoot for the moon, land in the stars" argument. Because at its most basic level, such a viewpoint is pragmatic. [Therein was the genius of my negative case that year. Horse beaten.] Why do we tease ourselves with things that aren't ours? Why do we dabble in ambition when it is at best only a cure for apathy? Why don't we keep our New Year's resolutions?

I don't know. The ideas connect in my head. Maybe not so much on paper.

I have a small bit of scorn for New Year's, because I think waiting for a certain lunar-dependent day to arbitrarily resolve to change one's habits for a lunar-dependent amount of time, it kind of seems, wimpy. Resolution ought to go hand in hand with revelation.


Revelation: I just lost my breath when I walked up those stairs, I'm out of shape!

Resolution: I am going to start doing cardio right now!

See, I think it makes it stick better. People make arbitrary and nebulous commitments at the start of each year, and most of us are embarrassingly short of our goals come twelve months later. I think it's because these resolutions are often devoid of revelation, a clear and hard understanding of one's own motivation and the necessity of change and action. Does that make sense? I'm not going to start flossing just because the numbers changed on my calendar. I'm going to start flossing because I just backed up all my speech files and was nearly crushed over the wave of hypocrisy when I glanced at "pers flossing.doc". And because oral hygiene is for winners!

I'm not really resolving to floss. I already do that. Sometimes. [See!]

I think perhaps people make resolutions because if their resolve fails, at least they tried. At the start of the year everyone fully expects to be all the better one year later, even though precedence reminds them that their resolutions are rarely fully kept. There's idealism for you. Or pragmatism. Depending on how you look at it.