Sunday, 18 May 2008

A Synthesis

ears ago, when I encountered Don Miller and his early books, I ran across the word “relational,” which sounded quite...made up.  But if there’s anything that I now feel that my church messed up, it was they were living just as if you could do ‘truth’ and ‘doctrine’ without doing love and relationship.  Turns out you can’t.  Like, at all. 
    Doesn’t work.  Living as if you can just know facts and theories from the bible, calling it ‘doctrine’ or ‘teaching’ (or, more arrogant, ‘scripture,’ though clearly you built it out of bible bits yourself, for your own reasons) and that was it.  The lesson that seemed to never be getting learned was that we need to know how to behave with one another. How to care for one another. How to treat one another. How to connect.  That stuff is the essence of Christianity, it turns out.  But we really sucked at it.  

    Donald Miller, the author of Blue Like Jazz, feels strongly that, if you present any method (or system of steps or doctrine to believe in order) to approach God, that you're missing something. He is strongly against "bullet point" or "5 steps" methods to approach God or live life with[1]. He feels there is mystery and organic process to it all. He feels that the dynamic is relational, and that the very existence of the human romantic relationship provides a real world metaphor to help us understand the relationship God wants with Man.
    He thinks "Why?" questions are too often avoided in favour of "How?" and “What?” questions in our process/method obsessed culture.  He thinks we talk as if decision-making and belief should only be the domain of the right half of the brain and nothing else should enter into it.  But actually, we live and decide and act as whole beings, not as beings who use a tiny decision-making portion of ourselves to decide with.
    He thinks that we invent a "justification of my decision" story afterward, and pretend that's how the decision actually got made, when actually that's just something we made up to tell people and seem reasonable.  He thinks the process by which we eventually decide things is a bit beyond our own conscious thinking.
    We are very comfortable with the "God as Father" metaphor.  We focus on "angry Father with rules" pretty much exclusively, and we overlook the "God/Christ as Lover" metaphor entirely.  Or perhaps we set it in the future or otherwise try to leave it out of the past and present.
    For example, we seem comfortable talking about "the marriage supper of the lamb" as a future celebration. We are, however, uncomfortable with viewing Christ's giving up absolutely everything and coming here where we are, in order to live as we live as romantic.  His choice to live with the limits that we struggle under, to not only know, but (more importantly and deeply) to experience, participate in and respond to our situation.  His managing to ace the whole "human life on earth" thing without cheating, screwing up or wrecking anything for anyone, including himself or God.  His then sacrificing the accolades, power, freedom and reward He had then earned (in fact even the right to live out his full three-score and ten years).  We somehow fail to view all this as the most incredibly romantic thing anyone has ever done. Ever.

Watchman Nee, 19th century Asian Plymouth Brethren evangelist and martyr, a very different man entirely from Miller, in his book Normal Christianity describes not a method, or steps for approaching God, but sees in Romans 6-8 a description of the stages one can see in the process of drawing close to God relationally. Unsurprisingly, these stages seem to be replicated in the romantic relationships that mirror said approach. He identifies the stages as:
a) knowing,
b) reckoning,
c) presenting oneself
d) walking in the spirit.
So, with approaching God he sees that first we come to know what's been done for us, and what that gives us. We know it as a something only made possible because of what Christ did. Then this knowledge just naturally changes our thinking to reflect this new reality, so that we don't simply know it as a fact.  Our life choices reflect it, and the avenues and possibilities it opens up. Then (and we'd expect this to need to happen first, wouldn't we?) we respond to this and present ourselves to Christ just as he presented himself to us.
    ("presenting" in the sense of "I'm not just living for me anymore. I choose to, from now on, be with you and help you get what you want and need. You're part of my priorities now.")
    Christ presented himself, submitting to torture, humiliation and the end of his days on earth, in hopes of getting our attention by giving us exactly the thing that we needed, and which we could only hope to get from him, and of getting to have a continuing relationship with us as a result of what this work started between us. Then, having made this commitment to walk together, it is only natural to live out the rest of our lives in this way, together, and in consideration of the concerns and desires of the other.
    I think most Christians that I meet are trying to skip the b) stage, the accepting what has been done as something that has indeed been done and which matters.  They’re missing the part where what they know has some effect on how they think and decide things and live. They know what happened, but they can't reckon it (consider it) a done deal.
    The fact that Christ's work was sufficient and successful in completely getting us off the hook with God as Judge, and into His good graces, is just a fact to us. We’re not quite grasping how much our fates, reputations and worth are tied up in Christ's as far as God is concerned.  This escapes many of us except as mere conceptual knowledge, as doctrine we'd claim to agree with on some level, but feel that it misrepresents or oversimplifies our situation and obligations. We can't simply accept that it is so, and think and live that way.
    Many of us can't do b). We can't live as if we are actually OK as far as God is concerned. We haven't given up trying to tow our car out of the muck, using only our own car.   Because we’ve got to spin our wheels, right?
    And so we continue to live in fear of letting Him down, in angering Him, in disappointing Him.  This is how we insist upon living. We see nobility in it. We are trying to better our position by making sure e believe the right doctrine, agree with the right position and people, abstain from the appropriate things, and engage in all the appropriate behaviours, all so that one day (after death, no doubt) perhaps we can c) present ourselves to God without Him being too disappointed or mad. All without having d) walked with Christ in the reality of what happened when Christ came here.
    Here’s what makes this problem obvious: The bible talks “the old man.”  The person that we used to be before we had anything to do with Christ and his efforts.  The agenda we would naturally follow, living a solitary life completely untouched by Christ, with bad blood between us and God and no way for either of us to fix that without Christ's intervention. This old approach and attitude is so different from what is presented in the gospel, that Paul the apostle sees it not only as an old life, but the life of a man we no longer are. The old man we once were.
    When I was being kicked out of my church, concern was expressed at my (apparently heretical) doctrine that Paul says to "reckon the old man dead" (and his works).  Concern was expressed that I clearly felt that Paul was saying to think of myself as a new person living a new life.  As anyone does when a life-changing epiphany of any kind takes hold. I thought I should get on with my life, free of the shame, fear and dread.
    They warned me with very serious faces and voices that I must "reckon him dead, but never, ever forget how very active the old man is in our lives, and how we must never cease to fight him and keep him in the place of death." I was tempted to laugh at that point.
    So, my focus was on "Thanks to Christ I get to live a new way, like a new person, and it's about damn time."  But they insisted that my focus needed to perpetually be on my past situation and self as some kind of zombie who would haunt my every step and rear up continually, making my life nothing more than a bad horror movie. I could never relax or be at peace or just live my life. That’s how they claimed to live.  That’s how they wanted me to live.  And they were concerned that my troubling attitude might rub off on younger, more impressionable people.
    The work of Christ didn't work, they seemed certain, until after I'd died. Well, what good is the work of Christ if it doesn't help me or change anything now? To their mind, the work of Christ moved us from the natural, unedified state of the average person, into a hellish, divisive wrestling with "self" for the rest of my days on earth. We had to wait for the work of Christ to work.
   They even invented a special term so they could sub it in for the scriptural language.  The term they invented was "the old nature." They wanted to insist that, rather than the work of Christ changing us right down to our very nature, our very motivations and approaches and responses to everything, that we merely had a second nature added on (a "new nature") and that the two co-existed like an angel and a devil on each shoulder (how's that for "Theology The Warner Brothers Cartoon Way"?)
    Two core natures? No man can have two essential natures. Your life changes and moves on, or it remains bemired in the same old crap. There is really no middle ground on stuff like that.
    With this handy term "the old nature," they could say "Never forget that the old nature is very much alive and very active in us." Handy.  If they said things like "Never think of the old man as dead," they knew that there was a bible verse that said the very opposite.
    Well, using the romance metaphor, I know that one approaches a woman thusly (this is a description of what happens, and not a recipe or method):
 a) one knows that there is something between you that is worth pursuing,
b) one accepts this and begins to think, plan and act according to this knowledge,
c) one eventually presents oneself to the other person as being someone to be with (that's where it always falls apart if you're me)
d) you live lives that are now connected to one another.
Again, I think I was being encouraged that b) was going too far.  Was too much to hope for, with God.  Christianity was stuff we knew. Facts.  Doctrine.  Not stuff we could actually go for a ride in.

[1] He used to be, anyway.  Nowadays he’s pretty into all of that.

Saturday, 17 May 2008

Phone Messages

Kids have been leaving me phone messages lately. A couple of weeks ago it was a drunken couple of my students babbling incoherently into the phone. Last night at 1:30 in the morning I slept through some kids leaving a message in which they played Daniel Powter's "You Had A Bad Day" into the phone and then nervously babbling something at the end. 
   I didn't exactly have a bad day, but maybe word has got out that they're not keeping me at my school next year? I haven't told anyone, but some of the teachers have kids there who hang out with kids that I teach, so who knows? 
I got through my day just fine, but I think the message was meant to be kind: 
Where is the moment we needed the most 
You kick up the leaves and the magic is lost 
You tell me your blue skies fade to grey 
You tell me your passion's gone away 
And I don't need no carryin' on 
You stand in the line just to hit a new low 
You're faking a smile with the coffee to go 
You tell me your life's been way off line 
You're falling to pieces every time 
And I don't need no carryin' on 

'Cause you had a bad day 
You're taking one down 
You sing a sad song just to turn it around 
You say you don't know 
You tell me don't lie 
You work at a smile and you go for a ride 
You had a bad day 

The camera don't lie 
You're coming back down and you really don't mind 
You had a bad day 
You had a bad day 
Well you need a blue sky holiday 
The point is they laugh at what you say 
And I don't need no carryin' on

Prince Caspian

After a quiet, steady day at school before the long weekend, I took a nap and headed out to see Prince Caspian. It was good. Dark, complicated, filled with the sense that things aren't the way children expect or adults want them to be. It was largely about believing things and being wrong, which makes others suffer, or believing things and being right, but standing alone because no one else shares your vision. A lot of changes were made, but I didn't mind them at all. Obviously, Susan was made more of an action hero, but that was extremely cool. She was very believable, standing in the middle of heated battle, wearing long skirts, with her sleeves rolled up, turning slowly and grimly around and skewering with arrows anyone who advanced on her, advising Peter, flirting with Caspian and commanding the archers. Anna Popplewell has really grown up too. She is too dignified and articulate, with a low, cultured voice, to seem quite as silly and vain and the character is supposed to be in the books.

The fact that it is is hard to know how to interact with others if you believe things they think are silly or crazy, and the fact that sometimes you need to know when to stop, because your beliefs aren't shared by others who therefore cannot be expected to support you at risk to their own selves, this was all presented quite well. The only problem with it was that it was a bit too complicated in terms of there being a lot of things going on, with a lot of hurried conversations by people with thick accents, making points easy to miss. Some parts felt artificially tossed in to tidy things up at the end, even though they were in the book. There are some things that you can get away with in a book, that in a movie sound like the character is saying a little blurb that the author has suddenly decided to cobble together in order to wrap up loose ends.

It is cold and rainy and still today. Battlestar Galactica is coming off as hurried and confused lately, with too many people abruptly and "dramatically" getting killed in an attempt to keep the action going. It's like not a lot is happening, so they just toss in some violence, misunderstandings, shouting matches, awkward relationship talks and the like to stall.

Thursday, 15 May 2008

Answer to Prayer

So, it looks like I'll be working in a new school next September. Dunno which one. If I play this right, it means I can move out of my crappy little third floor apartment. That needs to work right. I need a good place to live. A new group of people to work with means new challenges. I always rub people the wrong way at first and make a bad first impression. When you're new and seem a bit weird, people are apt to believe even the most outrageous things people say about you. 
    After work, aflush with the news and jittery, J and T and I got beers and pizza and musical instruments and played a bunch of stuff. When we were eating, though J and T were wanting to decide what specific songs to play, I subjected them to an good episode of Never Mind The Buzzcocks in which Simon Amstell, nerdy little Howdy Doody looking gay little British man though he is, effortlessly and hilariously, continually puts down and ridicules guest hellion Danny Tourettes, a self-proclaimed punk rocker who was trying to front punk attitude, but they all mocked him silly. "Donny is smoking a cigarette in the studio! One you can purchase legally in the shops! Whatever will I do? I'm not sure I can continue..." 
     We all went to the open stage at a local pub, hosted by a kid from our school, and we rocked out. Kids showed up to witness our rocking. We opened with me doing Tom Petty's I Won't Back Down, me playing acoustic, J on slightly distorted electric, and T on organ. Then J did a scorching version of Ziggy Stardust with us backing, then we did Nirvana's About A Girl, with me mainly singing, and doing kinda scrapy hip hop beat inspired strumming with T doing Doors style keys. J sang choruses on that one, with me on harmony, the "All alone is all we are" repeated over and over at the end, with the keys grumbling in a held discordant swell, and the electric guitar feeding back. Then we did Neil Young's Harvest Moon to chill out, followed by The Band's The Weight ("take a load off Fanny, and put the load right on me", with me hitting a bunch of falsetto harmonies) and we finished up with a noisy version of Neil Young's Hey, Hey, My, My
    Due to the disparity in the two Neil songs, it didn't sound like we were repeating ourselves. The other acts had no keyboard, and didn't have a lot of energy, so we were the (aging) rockers of the event. We sat, tried not to be too sarcastic about the Christian guy singing a whole bunch of songs too high and too fast, censoring them (i.e. Green Day's Basket Case: "She said it's lack of bleep that's bringing me down, am I just paranoid, or ya ya ya"). He was nice, and friendly and helpful, which I think evangelicals should at least be. He couldn't really help coming off to everyone as a high-voiced, acrylic sweater-wearing cheeseball in a state of arrested childhood. He meant well. He went out of his way to be helpful and nice. 
     People like that make me nervous. They'll go on about how they just really, really love Jesus and just really, really love singing songs about him, and then say "It's too bad there's so many queers in this town. Hate the sin, love the sinner" or something like that, and then I either have to tell them what I think of their comments, or not, and I don't do well with not. 
   T opened up a bit about his own United Church experience, and what about it didn't work for him. That was very interesting. The quote from me that he seemed to want to remember was when I said "I didn't just give lip service to the worth of the teaching I was being given. I believed it and tried to make it work, and by 17 years of age it really made me want to be dead."

Wednesday, 14 May 2008

More Religious Stuff

When I was growing up in religious circles, it was all about being saved. Jesus was the savior, and his very name meant salvation. We children lived in fear, not so much of going to hell if we didn't get saved right, but in fear that our parents were saved right and we might screw it up and be left all alone, without them.  
     Aleister Crowley, famed junkie, occultist and pervert, immortalized in the song "Mr. Crowley" by Ozzy Osbourne, whose home Jimmy Page of Led Zeppelin purchased with his first endowment of wealth, raised in the same fundamentalist sect (Plymouth Brethren) that I was, wrote in his self-indulgent, gaudy memoirs about that universal evangelical protestant experience: finding one's self alone and imagining for a moment that Jesus had come to take all the people who were saved right to Heaven with him, and that he'd been left behind. 
     I think we all went through that, at one time or other, maybe aged 9, imagining there were no Christians left in the world, and that we had no parents or relatives left. We were alone with the ordinary people of Earth. Now THAT was hell... 
     But really, aside from the occasional terror over that, we grew up without any real fear of hellfire, feeling that we'd probably gotten it right, had said the right words to God, or believed the right thing or whatever. And for me at least, I don't think we lived in fear of being horrible sinners either. We didn't really have the opportunity to do much in the way of sinning. Perhaps the occasional small lies to our parents or stealing little things like food were possibilities, but most of us didn't even do that. 
     We grew up feeling that we'd been born into a system whereby our almost non-existent sins had been taken care of. We knew right well that we'd not done much in the way of sinning, and it was a little hard to take seriously a God who was so finicky as to be bothered by things like sneaking over to a neighbor's house to watch Airwolf. Did Jesus need to bleed and die because I occasionally watched television, or wanted to? 
     Only in moments when the brainwashing was taking full effect could I believe anything like that. Whatever sins I'd committed, even ones that I didn't really notice, but which bothered God, I was comfortable with the idea that Jesus died to deal with that, and that his blood was a kind of payment for my little crimes. 
     But there was a whole other thing to consider. Mankind wasn't just separated from God due to habitual sinning, but also due to being sinful inside. It wasn't just how much or little we indulged our tendencies to do bad things, there was also the matter of us being just generally bad inside. We knew that we kinda wanted to do any number of things that, had we indulged in them, would have been pretty bad. Worse things than watching TV, that was for sure. Things like shoplifting, vandalism, maybe hitting the Sunday School teacher in the back of the head with a two by four. Alcoholics walk around needing to drink. Everyone walks around needing to do bad things. But the work of Christ (the life, the manner of his death, his comportment throughout both) was to take care of that. This was a harder concept, but one which helped quite a bit. 
    The idea was that Jesus was Man+, that he was an upgrade, that his life had made the point that a human being could live a life that God wouldn't be pissed off about, and would be proud to point to, that a human being could live a life that helped and didn't hurt, that gave and didn't ruin everything for everyone. The idea was that Christ was catching, that our fates were tied to his, and that we were to live, not only the way he did, but also that his spirit, his heart, would live on through us, and that the world, which had known God through him, now could know Jesus through us. We were to be Jesus to the world. This was a beautiful idea. 
     What I wasn't sure about was why people felt you could only do this in Africa, or when being a preaching asshole to people who didn't ask you to start in on them with your personal beliefs. Jesus wasn't a preaching asshole. He couldn't get rid of people. They kept asking him things. It wasn't like he accosted people, or handed out pamphlets, or went door to door, or started a church and put a sign out the front of it or anything. How come you could only act like Jesus to people who'd never heard of him? 
    Other religious people sure didn't treat each other like Jesus would have. They had that whole lifelong "competitive piety" contest going on, and were wont to cheat. So I lived my life and felt fairly comfortably saved from my tendency to do bad things, and from my affinity for wanting to do bad things. I felt safe and that I would be taken care of after I died. The trouble was, I didn't feel there was any salvation for me from my daily life. My daily life was empty. It was all about not sinning. It wasn't about actually doing anything much. It was all defined by not doing things. 
     People like Aleister Crowley couldn't stand it, threw the baby Jesus out with the holy water, and started exploring intravenous drugs, occult rituals and orgies in a big way. I, however, did nothing. (Well, I got a TV, started to go to movies and listen to rock music, but even going out to the occasional bar for a moderate drink of alcohol didn't, by this point twinge my conscience, nor give my life meaning and make it feel worthwhile. It was all part of passing time.) My life was about finding a bit of comfort (like a decent futon) and passing the time any way I could (like watching TV). 
     Other people were breaking up and making up, having babies, wrestling with children's issues, starting businesses, buying homes, getting mortgages and loans, travelling the world and pursuing dreams of various kinds. As for my life, I've managed to get dumped far more often than I've managed to get anyone to go out with me, somehow. No babies. Fighting with kids only in a professional capacity. No business, no home, no mortgage; giant loans I can just make payments on. No fear of getting in any major trouble for not paying them, nor of paying them off anytime soon. 
     I went to England and Wales once and don't know if I'll go anywhere much again. It's kind of pointless going far away to be alone. My only real dreams are of making CDs, but people don't really listen to or buy CDs anymore, and I don't have the dream of being a full-time musician to go along with it. So, I feel like I need to be saved. Saved from the nothing. Saved from the safety that is perpetually surrounding nothing in particular. 
    I'm so sick of safe that when I'm yearly in the position of maybe losing my position at the school where I work, I don't care. I mean, I don't want to lose it, but I don't have the heart to fret over it or stress out. I just sigh and think "Whatever. Bring on whatever. I'll survive it, but whatever happens, I'm not going to like it." 
     Hope means looking forward and expecting good things. I wasn't raised to hope. I was raised to hang onto my principles and try to keep a blank slate until death, at which time the temptation to do things would be over. The bible suggest that where no hope is, the people perish. "Perish" means to be lost. So I haven't done much, for good or bad. 
    If you asked me "What's the worst thing you ever did?" I'd have real trouble answering that one. I'm the product of my upbringing. Almost no swearing, lying, stealing, cheating and the like. Apart from being late on doing my taxes, I suppose my one great sin will always be the religious assholery I took part in when I was younger. The pridefully feeling part of a special group who had it right. The looking down on others just because they did things we didn't feel free to do. The subjecting other people to my views on stuff when they didn't want to listen. The being of no earthly use to anyone, yet walking around feeling like, if they'd only listen to me, I could tell them what was working for me, as to Life with a capital L. 
     If you asked me "What's the worst thing that ever happened to you?" I'd have more answers. And the worst thing of all that's ever happened to me, though it might not seem like it? Not my friend shooting himself through the head and dying. Not all the girls I was going to spend my life with announcing they were dating other people. Not getting unfairly fired. Not people spreading rumours I was gay. Not being out of work and in debt. Not eating peanut butter for three meals in a row while waiting for a paycheck. Not my closest friend of 10 years deciding he wouldn't forgive me for our band not working out, and refusing to speak to me ever since. Not all the various people who died unexpectedly for various reasons. Not everyone I know being too busy fetching apple juice for their children to answer the fucking telephone. Not dislocating each kneecap twice. 
    No, the worst thing that has ever happened to me is all the nothing that has been my main companion in life. My life has been nothing, about nothing, and full of nothing for far too much of it. Full points for "Not doing bad things" and yet, not a single point earned for actually doing much of anything. Usually I'm just in front of a computer or TV screen, or reading crappy books to keep my brain running on a track, rather than spiralling into the horror that comes with all the silent, empty nothingness. 
     I work hard to keep this life funded and organized, but I can't take it seriously. I'm obligated to manage and maintain it, but I don't believe in its direction. God has a way of revealing what's really what. It's almost all He does for some people sometimes. He showed me that I had nothing to tell people, to give people, so long as my life was empty of good and bad in equal proportions. He showed me that people need something other than platitudes and religion. He showed me what He and everyone of sense in the world thinks of religious assholes. He showed me that I was one, had been raised in it so that anything but an environment steeped in religious assholery seemed foreign, unfamiliar and horribly wrong. He pointed up the emptiness, the meaninglessness, the idolatry in the numbing, comforting rituals. He saved me from all of that. 
    Why do I attribute my getting free from all of the religious assholery to God? Because it was a miracle. Because I'm just not that smart. Because the indoctrination was just that strong that people don't just "get free" of it, if it's something they were willingly addicted to in their formative years. Now I can't imagine attending a church just so I can feel that I'm the sort of person who attends church, or so that others will understand that I'm that sort of person, or to know what to tell people who ask me what I believe, when all the while I know very well that church as we conceive it in the modern western world isn't doing anything for God or me, let alone having anything to offer the rest of the world. 
    The origins of the Plymouth Brethren movement were part of an attempt to throw off the formality and structure, magic words, costumes and props that most churches still employ to this day. The idea was to do it right. To do it plainly, simply and without extra crap. Many early Brethren simply hung out in people's homes and talked about God. They didn't just talk about how great it was to be part of a group of people who loved to be part of a group of people who could very well talk about God, but chose instead to talk about how wonderful it was to be able and willing to talk about Him, without really, in any real way, actually doing so. 
     Just like most of the things in the western world, church was always done so we could say it was being done, rather than actually being done in any way that worked or did anything much. It was for bragging rights only. Purely to go on a spiritual resume. And God lit a fire under me and showed me what was really going on (and not going on) with all of that, and I just couldn't STAND it. I just couldn't sit there anymore. 
    And what did I do? Well, I was used to emptiness, meaninglessness, and making idols of numbing, comforting rituals. I'd grown up doing that and seeing it done. It had always been comforting and familiar. I realized that listening to an idiot who knew nothing about anything, let alone life and God was no more useful an activity than lying on the futon eating chicken and watching reruns of M*A*S*H*. 
    So I lay on the futon and watched the reruns. Instead of drinking the koolaid, I ate the chicken. I made my own little place to be in and not live or think much. It wasn't a church, but it served exactly the same function. And just like with a church, I wondered why no one came. I need to be saved. I need to be saved right now from all the nothing. It yawns open at my feet and nibbles at the edges of my consciousness whenever I'm not occupied with something else, like a bottomless pit. 
    I think it's dark down there and I think there's consuming, numbing fire. I think nothingness is the worst thing of all. Worse than doing something wrong, or something selfish or badly. It has taken me until now to grow to hate this little life of mine, to have a fire lit under me and realize that it isn't enough. 
     There need to be people and things going on. I need to go places and do things. It would be great to have something to offer. (I have no intention of going to Africa) I don't think the world needs more people preaching, more people trying to make everyone see the world their way. 
    If Jesus were here in the flesh right now, that's now what he'd provide. He wouldn't have a show on which troubled couples would ask him for advice, so he could give them books from his book club, and sweatpants from his exclusive clothing line, or perhaps a bottle of his own personal Frankincense 'N Myrrh fragrance. He wouldn't sing a crappy pop song on American Idol and get a record deal. He wouldn't volunteer to live in a house (or on an island) with four assholes and survive to win money, or marry a rock star or run a company. He wouldn't get on TV and ask for money, even to send it to Africa. And he definitely wouldn't feel that what the world really needs right now is another church with a sign out front with his name on it. 
     He'd go around and talk to people and do stuff. He'd say what he really thought, and he'd care. He'd tell the truth to self-deluded people. He'd refuse to help people lie to themselves and others. He'd make it very, very hard not to think. He'd make it very hard to "just keep doing what's always been done." Sometimes he'd call religious assholes names. He'd be suspicious of rich, successful, powerful people and encourage others to be likewise suspicious of them. He'd do honest work so he could get food. Sometimes, just sometimes, he'd lie down to chill out, because he'd been going around doing stuff. And lying down would be sweet. And sleeping would be restful, rather than something done recreationally, to shut out the hours of nothingness.

Friday, 9 May 2008

Phone calls

Sunday B called, but I was watching Iron Man, which I really enjoyed, mostly due to Robert Downey Jr.'s performance.  She said she'd try again Monday evening, or perhaps Tuesday.  She did not.    I called her Tuesday night, and she said she was watching American Idol and could she call me afterward?  I said yes, and she did not.  Then her husband (who is working out of town and hadn't been talking to her) phoned me, so we talked.  It would have been good, except he was too tipsy to follow the conversation.  We still talked late into the night, so I was tired at school the next day.   He felt bad about phoning up and not being able to follow the conversation due to his inebriated state.  So, tonight, I phoned my friend his wife, and she didn't answer.  I got off the phone, and without consulting with her, he, feeling badly about the previous night's conversation, decided to call me and have a sober one. We did.  New versions of songs were played into the phone, theology flung about, anecdotes swapped and so on, until I was too hungry to sleep and needed to eat so I could sleep so I could get up tomorrow, which will be hell.

Thursday, 8 May 2008

New, Improved Blog

This blog is now 100% school anecdote free, and for your reading pleasure is kindly moderated by a fully licensed high school administrator to ensure added freshness and plenty of zesty, tangy goodness for your hard-earned grocery dollar.