Sunday, February 15, 2009

so long and thanks for all the fish...

it's time. i have just accepted a promotion at work which will effectively consume all of my mind and creative energies. i don't know what's going to happen in the future, but i know that if we're going to dig out of this hole that we have gotten ourselves into as a nation then we are going to need strong leaders and a lot of hard work. which is why i feel like it is time to jump back into the game, and why i feel god has provided this opportunity.

my life has seemed to be on a series of three year cycles. and this blog has lasted about that long. it has been wonderful getting to know you all and talking about the things that swirled around inside my head and herat. as well as having hearts willing to help this one heal. the impact of everyone i have met here has ben nothing short of revolutionary in my life. but now i find that i am out of things to say. i have effectively deconstructed my world and allowed the spirit to rebuild a new one. now it is time to engage the world with this new reality firmly in place.

all i can hope is that i was able to offer an interesting perspective for you all to ponder. and that maybe, just maybe, our interactions have changed you as well.

before i go here's one last song. it is one of my favorite "closers" from toad the wet sprockets' album, Fear.

much love,


"One part of me just wants to tell you everything
One part just needs the quiet
And if Im lonely here, Im lonely here
And on the telephone
You offer reassurance

I will not take these things for granted

How can I hold the part of me that only you can carry
It needs a strength I havent found
But if its frightening, Ill bear the cold
And on the telephone
You offer warm asylum

Im listening
Flowers in the garden
Laughter in the hall
Children in the park
I will not take these things for granted

To crawl inside the wire and feel something near me
To feel this accepting
That it is lonely here, but not alone
And on the telephone
You offer visions dancing

Im listening
Music in the bedroom
Laughter in the hall
Dive into the ocean
Singing by the fire
Running through the forest
And standing in the wind
In rolling canyons

I will not take these things for granted"

Friday, February 13, 2009

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

roots: ozzy and judgement day

it seemed strange to me at first that someone who has been denounced by christians the world over as being "evil" would talk about things like this. but as time went on and the message made more sense to me i began to wonder if things weren't somehow backwards. but now i think that in their desire for overwhelming freedom and a life without any restraint, many artists/lyricists who are willing to say ANYTHING find themselves being inspired by The Spirit to share some bold things that most people just won't say. are they aware of it? i don't know. i honestly don't. and one guy, oddly enough, who i think has been "spoken through" on more than one occasion is ozzy osbourne the "prince of darkness" himself. i am fascinated that he spoke of judgement day once when he was a much younger man. and now, 38 years later, he is still talking about it. if you have a few minutes to kill and want to hear some great music for thought, give it a whirl.

what fascinates me the MOST about the newer song, however, is that it doesn't sound like an indictment of individuals perse to my "other" ears. i DO think that element is there, and perhaps that's what ozzy was driving at. however, what is bleeding through, to me, is a message from The Spirit condemning her ancient foe Mammon and all the havoc he has caused.

"Generals gathered in their masses
Just like witches at black masses
Evil minds that plot destruction
Sorcerers of deaths construction
In the fields the bodies burning
As the war machine keeps turning
Death and hatred to mankind
Poisoning their brainwashed minds, oh lord yeah!

Politicians hide themselves away
They only started the war
Why should they go out to fight?
They leave that role to the poor

Time will tell on their power minds
Making war just for fun
Treating people just like pawns in chess
Wait till their judgement day comes, yeah!

Now in darkness, world stops turning
Ashes where the bodies burning
No more war pigs have the power
Hand of God has struck the hour
Day of judgement, God is calling
On their knees, the war pigs crawling
Begging mercy for their sins
Satan, laughing, spreads his wings
All right now!"

"It's in the lives that we lead
Setup for money and greed
A little isn't enough we have to use it all up
Success, excess, the truth is inconvenient

Oh hang your head
Pillaged and left us for dead
You kept us blind and mislead
How could you think nothing's wrong
You won't be smiling for long
When it's all gone, gone
We can never go back

Burn into the air and atmosphere
Watching the rain come down
Turn your head away ignore the fear
Watching the ice crash down

Our father's justice gets closer
How could you screw us all over
Rape, steal and murder
God bless the almighty dollar
The almighty dollar

Poison the air that we breathe
Chained to industrial need
Destroy the souls that you steal, the radiation is real
Debate, too late, you've built our funeral pyre

You kill my faith
Mother earth, desecrate
Deceive the whole human race
I know you think nothing's wrong
We won't be breathing for long
When it's all gone, gone
We can never go back

Burn into the air and atmosphere
Watching the rain come down
Turn your head away ignore the fear
Watching the ice crash down

Our father's justice gets closer
How could you fuck us all over
Rape, steal and murder
God bless the almighty dollar

Death, doom and disaster
The point of no return
No earthly life ever after
Is it too late to learn?

Burn into the air and atmosphere
Watching the rain come down
Turn your head away ignore the fear
Watching the ice crash down

Our father's justice gets closer
How could you fuck us all over
Rape, steal and murder
God bless the almighty dollar
The almighty dollar"

Sunday, January 25, 2009

the color wheel

with the data i've gained over the past few years in research, interviews, and experiences, it almost seems as if people and their experience of god is like a color wheel. not everyone's experience of god is the same. some people's experiences are the same, or at the least, very similar. they are in one "color". yet they also share similar shadings with the groups next to them. and so on and so forth until we get to the opposite side of the wheel. when seen in progression, it makes sense. starting at one point, and blending into the next, to create something that looks slightly different than the original, yet still retaining some of its original quality.

for example, christianity sharesa good deal with judaism and islam on the spectrum of beliefs. (contrary to popular apologetics) not to say they are identical, not at all. but they share many similar qualities that makes them similar yet not completely equal. the same can be said in the other direction with hinduism and its belief in the interconnectedness of all things. or budhism's emphasis on a permeating state of peace and overcoming the desires of the flesh. or how both hinduism and budhism share concepts of transcendance and overcoming the world.

but once you reach the opposite side of the wheel, however, you realize that the color of belief over there doesn't contain a single drop of your color. elements of colors you've rubbed shoulders with, to be sure, but not a drop of your actual "color". it can be easy to write people of those beliefs off as completely different than yourselves and therefore, wrong, but when you look with wider eyes, you see that they are not your opposite, but rather your compliment. you're not two separate entities or enemies.

for example, atheism. at first glance, it is completely an opposite belief from christianity. but when inspected closer, it is still someone who had a life changing moment. a moment in which they had an epiphanical realization that made sense to them. and somehow, in that internal transaction of mind, heart, and spirit, that person was freed to become a more engaged, compassionate, hard working person bent on living in this manner for the benefit of all humans. they have become born again.

and that, for me, is the defining moment. the thing that makes everyone on it a part of the wheel. a moment in which life becomes radically changed by a thought or belief that suddenly clicks into place, and a person's inner being changes, and they become a new person. it seems that although it takes many forms, at some level, those of all faiths seem to have had that "born again" experience. we're part of the same circle. we're all in this together whether it looks like it or not.

to be sure, there are several who claim to be a part of the color wheel, and lay claim to a certain "color" either because they have been exposed to it in culture and they wish to fit in. or they have been raised with it and "that's just the way it is." these people generally have not had the color wheel experience. what i am talking about are people who have come to a moment of reckoning in their lives in which they are honest about who they are at heart, and what they think at heart about this issue, and it changes them forever. not that they stop changing from this point on. but rather it is a first step down a completely different road of growth and learning.

Monday, January 12, 2009

rote: being like god

here is an old post from last year i never got around to finishing. i touched it up a little and decided to throw it out there...

i have heard it said my whole life that the "original sin" is that adam & eve wanted to be like god. in fact it is this same thing that we are told about that enigmatic character known as lucifer. that because they wanted to be like god, they were punished and to want to be like god is wrong and sinful. yet, how many times in the same building and from the same mouths are we told that jesus is god and we are to be like him. so which is the truth? is wanting to be like god a sin? is jesus really god? is it a sin to want to be like him, then? if so, why are we encouraged to do it? if not, why are we taught that the original sin is wanting to be like god?

aren't we supposed to be like god? shouldn't we desire to be like her? wouldn't this world be a much better place if we were all like god? if we are to be like christ, and jesus only did and said what the father showed and said, shouldn't we be trying to be like god? isn't that what god wants?

but the real crux of the problem comes for me in the form of this: the original commandment given to humans as recorded in the bible is to not "eat of the fruit of the knowledge of good and evil." however, is this not what most legalistic religions (christianity, islam, judaism) have as their main diet? nothing but heaping helpings of the "knowledge of good and evil" day in and day out? cramming it in as fast as we can shovel it constantly craving and downing more and more and more and more?

i had a hunch a few years ago that what jesus' death accomplished for all of us was to return us to a "garden state" in which everything was okay again. the law was overcome and done away with. only two things remained. to love god with everything in our beings and treat others the way we wish to be treated. in this view, nothing is then "off limits" as we would think of classical explanations of "sin." rater, what needs to be off limits is asking whatn is evil and what is good. which only leads to judgement. which we are warned away from. paul even says this by telling the people of rome not to ask "who will acend or who will descend. but rather...the word of god is near you."

what would life be like without this knowledge? what would be open to our consciences? to be able to DO ANYTHING BUT eat of the "fruit of the knowledge of good and evil"? can you imagine it? having that kind of wide open boundless freedom?

so then is this a wise course of action (steady diet of the knowledge) when it is the thing that set god off in the first place and was the root of our disconnect with god? the very roots of our expulsion from the garden? should we continue shoveling it in? is it just too late to go back, or can we still livein this manner?

Sunday, January 11, 2009

roots: god hates us all

this is not for everyone. the music is loud, the lyrics highly offensive. if that's not your thing, consider yourself warned. but since it's so quiet around here, i thought i'd open the windows and crank up something nasty and loud.

it took me 26 years to work up the courage to listen to slayer. but as i began to delve deeper into the world of metal music, i realized that i needed to hear them sooner or later. this is a group that were pioneers in the "speed" metal genre, pushing themselves to play harder and faster with every album. in fact, i don't think the word "ballad" even exists in their vocabulary.

but this isn't really a history lesson. it more about this one song in particular. slayer have never backed down from dark, violent, or shocking lyrical content. they have always let it all hang out there. and when i heard them for the first time, i could see why they had garnered such a following with their music. they're really good at what they do. lyrically, it doesn't really grip me that much. i don't need to hail satan in order to separate myself from the church culture at large.

but there is one song of theirs that did capture my imagination. it is called "disciple."

the fascinating thing is that i understand. i grew up in a religious construct in which i could form a worldview like this. in fact, i think for many of us, this is exactly the sentiment that caused our "god-world-views" to crumble. slayer just went a different way with it than several of us. nevertheless, in this song, slayer loudly, definantly, yet confidently reject the false genie god of contemporary christianity (be it catholic or protestant) and share what the true underlying message that is communicated in most churches regardless of the language used.

we may hear all the time that "god is love", but when the attitudes and stories are shared and lived with for any genuine length of time, it becomes clear that the real message is indeed, "god hates us all."

any thoughts from anyone else?

2009: the year in preview

i know i can't predict the future. but these are some things i would like to see happen in the future. i know that i would like to continue talking about community, the different implications of the word, and the myriad of different ways that community can take shape in the world we find ourselves in today.

i would like to keep asking difficult questions about the bible and theology. there are still several things i've never heard sermons on, and i would like to look into them deeper, in community, if possible.

i would like to continue to contemplate the existential nature of our universe and deeper ways in which those thoughts shape the way i view and interact with the world.

i would like to continue to discuss "abilities" or "gifts" or "powers", i don't really know what to call them. i would like to continue experimenting with my own, as well as talking with others about theirs, so that we might learn how to use them, together, in ways that can make a positive impact in the world in which we live.

i would like to continue my "roots" series and talk about some more metal songs that make me think and why.

i would like to continue drinking coffee, hanging out in the Kitchen, sharing our lives with each other.

i would like to continue to learn how to be gracious to trolls. not that i expect them to listen or be changed, but because i don't want to become a hypocritical characature, commonly and loudly oblivious to the fact that i have become exactly what i hate in responding to people with a differing viewpoint from the norm in hostile and condescending manner. just because my point of view is different doesn't make the behavior any more acceptable. especially when it was that behavior in the first place that gave me a distaste for evangelicals. how can i expect to be better than that if i am displaying the same traits?

i would like to continue to complain about church less and less. it's easy to target the church and differences between us or perhaps even make fun of them for things they do, but i would rather just move on and focus on more positive things. we're different from each other. enough said.

i would like to continue to meet new people and travel to new "neighborhoods" here in (blog) where i don't know anyone.

but mostly i would like to continue to be myself. to continue to speak uncensored and be honest with everyone about who i am and what i think without fear.

Wednesday, January 07, 2009

2008: the year in review

in 2008 i posted a lot of crap. no. it's true. with rowyn learning how to walk and grab and run in rapid succession, less time was available to me to sit and post. so i just found lots of little things to keep people coming back for a brief while. things like comedy clips, songs, and short probing questions. but this was also a year of major transition for me. and as the posts came to me, the good stuff came through.

in january i was still racked with grief over my dad's death. but i was able to find another small amount of closure with my whole church-betrayal ordeal as god revealed that he did it to give me more street cred with the people i walk among. i mean, these metalheads and lesbians might hate church and church people, but they've never been kicked out of one!

february brought one of my favorite art posts in which i did an autobiography in album cover art. i also had a crazy conversation over at deconstructed christian that ended up spilling over into a series that lasted until the end of june. for me, this was a major turning point in my blogging as it was the first time i tried to be gracious to people who hold a more traditional viewpoint instead of being hostile as demeaning. it is also the first time i moved from asking questions and gathering data to sharing the things i believe in my heart that i have found since i started chasing the questions. if you have the time, it's worth a revisit to the posts and conversations.
velvet elvis 1
welcome to my abode
abode part deux
abode cubed
abode cuatropointone
abode denoument: enter the religion of rote

along the way during that stretch of time i stopped making new "posts" for a brief period and instead asked a series of varied questions for discussion. out of that time period, from one of the discussions, a game was birthed into (blog). apples 2 apples was born. (and it's still going!)

in july i gave you all some homework in the form of heart exercises. did anyone try it?

then, at the beginning of august a conversation started that, for me, is still going. most of those posts, however, i reposted a couple of months ago, so i won't overkill it here.

thanks to everyone who has been willing to engage over the past year. here's to another one and wherever it may lead...