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Monthly Archives: May 2012

Now and then my musical preferences take a tangent turn, but I have my standards that no matter how far I get into PNW black metal or Gregorian chant I can always fall back on the classics. Albums I’ve loved since I broke out into genuine appreciation for music…

The Thermals “More Parts Per Million”
Versus “Hurrah”
Neutral Milk Hotel “Aeroplane Over the Sea”
Unrest “Imperial f.f.r.r.”
Quasi “Hot Shit”
Pixies “Surfer Rosa”
Modest Mouse “The Moon & Antarctica”
The Sea and Cake “Nassau”
The Wrens “The Meadowlands”
Pavement “Slanted & Enchanted”

Right where I thought I’d be years ago, still kicking with the new but snobbishly linked to the Indie Rock Pioneers. I’m coming into age.

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The occasions where I feel strange and awkward as a practicing Christian in today’s society are innumerable, endless.

I am naturally drawn to the more rigid forms of “church” too. I am nominally Catholic while investigating the potentials of Lutheranism, Episcopalian, and if I get too crazy I might even sap a bit of Presbyterianism.

At church today, a gorgeous Pentecostal service at an Episcopalian house, I got a few shocks to press the reminder that I don’t go to church to be a proper denominational entity. I go to church to share my faith in one almighty God. I don’t go to church to be a good Catholic. I don’t go to church to be a shitty Catholic. I can step into an Episcopalian church and feel Presence as surely as I can at a Roman Mass, in Evangelical enthusiasm or the wilderness of Oregon.

Today, a Pentecostal service, there were a few baptisms. I love baptism. Yeah, there’s a lot of crying babies now and ever, but who cares for crying babies? I’ve never known a decent parent who would deny a child medical care if they screamed prior; baptism is no different to me.

I don’t think I’d have taken to the Christian religion were it not for my background in anthropology. Were it not for my trust in “deep anthropology” I don’t know that I’d stuck it through to know the strength and beauty of Christian faith. Now I have, through anthropological open-mindedness, seen what actually counts as an expression of Christian faith, and I do like it. It’s what goes on in the head and heart of those sitting in the pews, not the expressions of the larger Church.

You’ll never see or know the side of “regular old Christianity” from the sidelines. What you’ll see is a phantom debate over sexuality or birth control. But if you can press past the political trappings and come to a real neighborhood service… our concerns are feeding the homeless, giving shelter, wrapping ourselves into beneficial causes for humanity.

Christian faith requires more than just the simple “leap of faith.” It means a certain immersion. It means planting down in the pew and listening. A reader today said it perfectly that Christianity isn’t understanding or reflection on the Word, it’s just listening. It’s been a bit over five years since I was baptized. And since then I’ve been challenged right and left. So hard to be faithful.

Initially, in my first involvement in Christianity, I kept this belief that I would remain faithful to the core message in spite of all the denominational, external honky tonk. But as it seems, most Christians I meet are already aiming for the deeper faith.

Sort of baffled by someone’s complaint that a comedy video I shared was “offensive.” Yes, it is offensive. But that’s what comedy is. Comedy is the most common and perfect form of the dialectic. You’re supposed to find it stupid, offensive or uncivil;  then you contrast that to your own basic suppositions and use that for affirmation. Comedy and Hegel!

That said, not all comedy is good of course. It’s sad so many comics/comedies rely on screaming profanities and smug homophobia to induce a laugh. Superficial bullshit. Cheap, pathetic and amateurish; contains nothing dialectical. People only laugh at it because they think they should.

Funny how beauty or attractiveness, however you wish to call it, gets so colored by personality. It would seem an objective thing, beauty, but it’s not. It’s immesuarble. For me the highest beauty is in this one photo of a girl who works at Starbucks, but you maybe don’t take much notice of her when she’s making your drink. (Though I hear a lot of people do.)

Here I am thinking of traditional “gorgeous women” like Scarlett Johansson or Zoe Deschanel. Or guys like Ryan Gosling, I’m not biased. Honestly, quite honestly, their looks don’t have the impact as my Starbucks girl. I mean I wont deny that there are some really hot people out there. But It’s a whole different thing when I look at the girl I’m with. You could say that her image is colored by all our history and all that. That it’s our time together and the memories that really matter. But, yet, I was sort of crazy for her the first time I saw her in a photo. First time I saw her and about two years later she’s always been the most gorgeous woman I’ve seen.

I do truly believe that my girlfriend is the most gorgeous woman out there.

Worst thing you can say to someone having a panic attack is “are you okay?” First of all, a person balled up and sobbing in public is clearly not “okay.” Secondly, drawing further attention to their situation by asking them to detail it out to you is also bad.

Step one: get them a drink of water. Drinking water has a weird calming effect on people.

Step two: say “it’s okay” or some other generic form of reassurance. Just don’t ask them to talk about it.

Step three: move them to the darkest and quietest location around. If impossible call for a cab and get them out. Panic is tied to a kind of over-stimulation. So get them in the space of least stimulation and then try to calm them up again.

When it comes to suffering, we’re all clearly different. But for me, as a panic attack sufferer, it is a particular kind of suffering. I once broke six bones in my wrist and had to have them reset, which means a doctor takes broken bones and shoves them back into alignment. Hurts, fucking right it does. But would I take that over the emotions laced to a panic attack? Hell yes!

Reading around and came upon a statement of someone asking how to convince a “suicidal” person to live. Thing for me is that we don’t need reassurances to live, we need reasons not to die. A small but important distinction. I know why I’d want to live; very easy to know why I want to live. What I need is to know why I shouldn’t die. Hard to even talk with people about this because it seems the realities of life and death don’t figure into most people’s lifeworlds.I KNOW what it is that is worth living for, what I don’t know is why dying isn’t worth dying for.