Wednesday, April 30, 2008

i saw it; go see it


my son is the leader of a student organization at UT for comics fans. therefore, i saw iron man last night for free, along with a few hundred other people who through various connections saw the sneak preview.

it was wonderful.

robert downey jr is brilliant; jon favreau's direction is balanced and funny and serious and he handles the character development and the action equally well; it's just a badass and yet also intelligent film.

we could have a discussion about whether popcorn movies have any real value - i mean, it's not necessarily true that diversion is all that good for us, in my opinion, especially diversion that just plugs us into more electronics -
but to hell with that. just go see it. you'll thank me.

Monday, April 28, 2008

everything is within

i am convinced, the more i learn and experience, the more i read, the more i watch other people and myself, that everything - everything - every single thing - that we feel or think about what's going on around us, is within us. someone behaves a certain way and i feel something in response? it's not what that person does that causes that feeling; that feeling is mine.
i don't have road rage. i'm lucky, i guess. other people do. i have lots and lots of compassion for other drivers. i'm not sure why.
i get afraid when someone's angry; other people don't. i've had a number of bad experiences over forty-seven years with feeling terrified when people i cared about, or whose reactions i cared about, were feeling strong emotions.
other people don't mind at all when people around them are angry. that's not what they carry with them.
i'm not particularly chaos-intolerant; some people can't stand chaotic surroundings.

but - i've changed over the years. i'm not nearly as afraid when other people are angry. i've learned this over time, by choice, by learning about myself and what scares me. i've stayed in situations without running, so that i would be tested and become stronger around this sore spot. i've survived. i'm now more able to be present, and not freak out or run or panic or scramble.
if i can do it with that pattern i grew up with, i can do it with anything else. right?

that's terrifying. what if i'm responsible? i can't blame the world around me for how i feel? it's much easier to be totally justified in being angry, or sad, or stuck, and feel entitled to feel what i'm feeling because it's not my fault.

but ... it's also exhilarating. what if i can learn to pay attention to what i feel, and learn about myself, about what pushes my buttons, when i feel fear, when i feel anger? what if i can look at where i am and what i'm feeling, and it doesnt mean anything - it's just where i am at that moment?
what if i can be aware of what i feel and why - and then choose how i will respond not only to what i'm feeling and thinking, but also how i will respond to the world around me?


this doesn't mean that i'm some guru sitting at the top of the mountain, or that i'm a trippy zombie walking around unaffected by anything. i'm not gandhi. i'm not jesus. but ... both gandhi and jesus had strong emotions in response to the world around them. so, that's a false construction.
rather, it means that i can stop, and breathe, and pay attention, and choose. it isn't a formula; it isn't perfect or canned; it isn't supposed to be. it's a way to know what's the dog and what's the tail. it's a way to say, Enough - i'm not going to be a victim, or powerless, or enslaved. other people's feelings aren't what's going to drive my life's experience. and i can respond with presence, and awareness.

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

this is feeling more and more like a clusterfuck but i guess now that i look at it, it's really about the democratic party isn't it.

first, the whole american "win vs lose" model is ridiculous. it's not about who won texas, or california, or kansas - is it? - it's about delegates and overall votes. but in our simplistic way of seeing things, and in the way data are fed to us spun for us dropped into us projected over us, i guess it is all about who wins or loses. so, if we fall for it, i guess we get the government we deserve.
second, is this whole fucking thing just about spin? is that it? is there such a thing as any reality about what happens in terms of decisions regarding who we are as a people? i don't get it. i'm so tired of hearing experts talk on tv. that's probably partly because i really have been interested for months in obama as a potentially different kind of politician; that gave me hope that some good things could happen to infuse the big fat system with a more healthy perspective. but i'm getting to the point where i'm just tired of the whole thing.
third, come on democratic party - get your shit together. this is ridiculous. is everybody just terrified of this woman and her connections and power? of course you are. and, is everybody so reluctant to take a chance on the young guy? you want to be sure you'll get the best return on your investment, so you're waiting to commit.
well, you're losing me along the way.
not that it matters, i suppose - and, honestly, i don't have money, i don't have power, i'm a guy in the trenches raising kids and tending to his marriage and job and friends and church. working on being more green. not spending wildly. volunteering. voting. helping out. consuming.
okay, spin me. sell me something sexy and exciting.

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Re: Jesus loves you

okay, this is wonderful. it's short. you'll thank me.

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Thursday, April 10, 2008

wikijesus

a few months ago david g and i were talking to a man who was visiting journey's warehouse or meeting with us or something. and he was asking us about how we plan (ha) worship and coordinate activities and ministries and outreaches, etc., as part of journey ifc. we explained that people contribute, people say things, bring their hearts, pray, get over their own shit, continue to ask god for help, and then we all put it in a stew pot and stir it and see what happens.
He said, "Oh, so, you do open source worship."

i had heard of open source culture, and what it means to open up the processes that for centuries have been top-down, closed-source. it's the control. it's all about deciding who gets to participate, contribute, be included, be believed. have power.
journeyers do children's time in worship, and lead singing, and read scripture, and read poems, and pray before offering & at other times, and design and run the set up, and take down, and help write poems and create powerpoints, and decorate. and, if that weren't already enough, sometimes they just interrupt and say something during worship. they're part of it, after all. they're not spectators; we're a community.

it can take some time to get used to. but now i cannot imagine how i could ever be part of a traditional worship experience ever again. and especially, i cannot imagine how i could ever be part of traditional worship-planning - which in my experience was always about the music minister and the senior pastor and talks with the organist or the altar guild or whoever. but it was top-down. and only professionals were allowed to plan - they're the ones who know church tradition, and have the direct line to god. as if!

a definition of "wiki," which is a big term in the next iterations of how we all use the internet, is "concepts such as open source, copyleft, collaborative writing, and volunteer contributions for the public good."
i believe that real life is "wiki" and that the way to respond is to look about in wonder, and believe that we have a gift to give, and give it. in journey's case, it's our job to look about in wonder, and believe that we have a gift to give, and give it - and to include everyone's gifts where they fit or where they don't ... and let god take it from there .......................

Monday, April 7, 2008

that now was all i had

a friend shared a song with me by an artist named dan bern. oh my lord. what an amazing song - it's called "god said no." i won't attempt to tell the story of, or have you get a feeling for, the song, because it's too beautiful, (although, here are the lyrics). but the point, for me, is this section, in which god answers the speaker's request to go back in time and fix what went wrong:

God said, "Time,
Time belongs to me;
Time's my secret weapon,
My final advantage."
God turned away
From the edge of town.
I knew I was beaten
And that now was all I had.
God said no.

that line ... "now was all i had."

that, for me, is a huge, powerful truth. when i stop running yesterday in my head, or the tomorrow that absolutely will not happen (it never does - not in the way i imagine it), i am free to breathe and be still. for me, that isn't about being beaten.
but the speaker's plan is beaten. he wants to fix it. god says No. figure out your own story - everything will be different if you do that.

Tuesday, April 1, 2008