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May 30, 2010

Nirvana Means...

My mom picked me up early from basketball practice that day. My eye was gouged pretty severely and there was blood all over my shirt. The news came over the radio of our blue Ford Tempo. Kurt Cobain shot himself in the head.

He was gone. Forever, for all I know.

I remember feeling selfishly mad. In the Hindu tradition, nirvana means rest, stability, and joy. Yeah, exactly Kurt: whatever never mind.

But mostly I obsessed over my own final day in this world. It was no comfort to assume that day probably won't arrive for a little while. A painful bleeding cornea and the first time you care about a suicide will always shock invincible, self absorbed teenage boys.

That was the day that I realized, if nothing else, that my time is coming soon. That's why I still haven't gotten over the death of Kurt Cobain.

I don't kazoo Lithium daily or go to sleep weeping over acoustic Pennyroyal Tea. But when I do think of it, I'm still at a loss. It's not just over Kurt, of course. In any circumstance, the sudden collapse of all that a unique person is and knows is incomprehensible.

I think that the death of a celebrity confirms that there's no Karmic force or mystical mathematical balance in the cosmos. I mean, how many people paid attention to and maybe even loved Kurt Cobain? How much opportunity did he have? How much joy did his talent give to others? And yet these only multiplied misery, like a lot of celebrities.

On the other hand, if everything is lost at death, and you're just dead, then why do we even value life or care when someone dies? Why does one life impress such lasting change in the lives of others? Why is grunge branded on my brain, forever drawn to art gritty and unpolished?

Your great great grandchildren may not know your name someday when they are born, but you're certainly effecting them. When you consider that happiness is contagious; the mood of your friends friend yesterday truly does have a drastic effect on your happiness today, imagine how affect is ingrained over generations?

I still stumble in a grand fashion over exactly what happens when a person dies. The Biblical account of heaven is pretty sketchy, and it even says that what is eternal is unseen.

To be clear, the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord and Saviour. I buy that. I do. Most of the time, I'm pretty much at peace with the revelation that the end is a beginning.

But in context, much of it seems to be concerned with life now. All the talk of mustard seeds and leaven and well-to-do house holders is to explain how heaven is both a promise for the future and present now, in some sense, in the ways and teachings of Jesus. Check Matthew 13 if you like.

Of course not everyone who claims religion is all set right now and unto the ages. Jesus himself warned that many who say "Lord, Lord," are evildoers who he never knew. He also said that the first in this world would be last in heaven, and the last will be first. When you want to get all up in someones face about how you KNOW it will be after death, go ahead and explain exactly what Jesus meant by that.

Whatever the case, is it blasphemous to say that God definitely holds utter, uncompromising condemnation for those tormented with pain and sorrow and mental anguish, famous or not? When blessed are those who mourn? Maybe there's some part(s) of Kurt that God judges to be redeemable. Who am I to say?

So Kurt probably heard of Jesus but didn't know him. His parents likely didn't give a damn. That likely contributed to his mental disorder, which certainly is hell. The root cause of this living hell is something not of God; separate from God.

I'm pretty sure that finding our joy and our value in God, and trying to do His will, are the only things in this life that will save any sinner from living hell and any sane person from despondency.

"I'm so ugly,
that's okay 'cause so are you - broke our mirrors."

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What specifically gives you hope for the afterlife? Do share.

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May 25, 2010

Spring Things

One of the best videos ever.

May 23, 2010

I May Dance Some Day

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Your grace has found me just as I am,
Empty handed, but alive in Your hands

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Zaita and Stella were dancing again during church. Last week they danced on my watch, after Sunday School when Amy and I bring the kids into the singing part of "big church."

Were they misbehaving? No. Was their holding hands and twirling about beautiful? Well, it's rather apparent that the kingdom of Heaven belongs to such as these. Were they also a distraction? Absolutely.

We're not really the dancing kind of church.

But in a lot of crazy dancing churches where being loud with your body is the norm, my sing-murmur/pew tap combo would be all awkward and judged. Yeah, I probably...definitely wouldn't go back to a crazy dancing church.

At the same time, I'm aware of at least a few families who have moved on from LBC primarily because there's not enough dancing and hand raising going on during service. Our church is likely in trouble if loud "amens" and "thank you Jesus's" displayed before others are indicative of a moving Spirit, even for shy or contemplative types.

But what do I do with Stella and Zaita? Tell them "stand still?" Give them formal lessons in word-mouthing and mechanical, lukewarm singing? Who is the fitting example here?

I try to conceive of all the bickering over the "proper" music and order of service that has occurred throughout church history. Two little girls dancing in our non-dancing church are like the opposite of that.

I had a growing suspicion that God has hidden things from the wise and learned, and revealed them to little children. Okay, so the "Spirit moved." I sung Majesty a little louder; a little more real. And I certainly didn't interfere with the girls.

Take that, Satan.

Besides, "dance" they will, if not around the church, then other places. In those days we'll be barraging them with Mt. Dew looking activities having long tails of exclamation points, trying to show them that church is cool and safe and real.

I can see Stella and Zaita in 10 or 20 years, leaning back hard as they tug on my arms to get me up and dancing, as some girls have tried to do in the prior 10 or 20 years. If that happens in church, I just may have to join them. Because for once it will be more than a lame, self-conscious white man dance.

It would be an outward-focused, lame white man dance offering unto the Lord.

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May 11, 2010

Family System

It's very confusing. It completely baffles my mind that our immediate family unit is so many contradictory things. Yes, what is truth?

What I mean is that to one crew of friends and family, Amy and I are practically free spirited yuppies. Amy works part time outside of and full time within the home. We drink very sparingly but often offer alcohol to our guests. We celebrate the culturally light side of Halloween and generally seek an open mind to climb mount perspective. My personal theology on Hell and the afterlife, if you were to really pin me down, leans pretty generous. That sort of thing...

However, to another side of friends and family, Amy and I are practically Amish. One word summarizes the biggest ballsey decisions we've made in a very long time: homeschoolers. We're homeschoolers who told their kids that Santa is not real. We get $10 per month Comcast so we have time to play and read and blog and intentionally not get even more sucked into pop culture. Our "new" car is 6 years old.We pray out loud before meals. We believe in universal rights and wrongs. That sort of thing...

So what is the truth of the matter? What are we? Does it make a difference?

Amy and I try to steer this ship with much thought and deliberation. We don't take it lightly; lives are literally at stake. Major decisions come and you have to choose one thing or another. All families are pioneers in their own life and times; each is an independent experiment with limited variables to tinker with. I truly believe that there are many ways to fail and few ways to stand.

Of course, we don't know what we don't know. And we realize that it's astronomically improbable that we will make the right or best decision every step of the way. That's why we always invite input from those who actually care about us. This is not to say that we will always act on the advice, but we will absolutely consider it and live with the consequences of our decisions.

I ask for Gods wisdom and grace from On High and through you and I.

May 05, 2010


"ducks" getting ready to wrestle

checking the catch of the day

buggies "holding" a frog

i later found tadpoles on her neck

caught on tape...