26 enero 2009


thought one: social capitalizers, part ii

5. Help fix someone's flat tire. At least check on somebody who's stranded. Offer to let them use your phone. Also: carry around jumper cables and offer them when necessary.

11. Give people rides. Especially women and children. Come on; that's a no-brainer.

12. Become an organ donor or blood marrow donor. Ooh, my family doesn't like this one. Respect family, but if they don't care, donate away.

13. Get to know your children's teachers. Or neighborhood kids (and their parents, but kids are easier). Offer them cookies. Give them something interesting to play with that doesn't have a ™ after it.

14. Start a monthly [coffee] group. It said "tea," but coffee's better for relationships.

15. Take a class at a community college. Probably THE easiest way to connect.

16. Get to know the clerks and salespeople at your local stores. Go to the same check-out person.

17. Give your park a weatherproof chess/checkers board. That's just cute.

18. Call your friends just to check on them.
"Was there something in particular you needed?" -el Turi

19. Give to your local food bank.

20. Talk civily to the people who come to your door. Ask questions. "What do you mean by.... salvation/ hell/ Jesus/ God..." "How do you know what you believe is true?" "Where do you get your information from?" "How did you come to that conclusion?" "What happens if you're wrong?" "Have you ever considered...."

thought two:

enhorabuena: Sp. Interjection: congratulations

thought three: better than cow tipping: high times and misdemeanors in easternish

ummm... virtue lessons?

(self- explanatory)

to be fair: under a bridge, not on a front yard


texans, apparently, know their history well enough for what really matters...

what do you notice about the flags in this picture...? (subtlety says a lot.)

but do notice position. texans are not rebels any more.

just doubly patriotic.


looks like the fellas been up to some social capitalizing

... or what?

view from outside a masonic lodge; sunset

neither me nor mine (but my kin she is!)

'cause we're a barbaric breed



...but we like pretty things!

ah, my $185 visit to the Compound(names withheld to protect identity.)

20 enero 2009

Wisdom 101

thought one: on the lessons of exile and getting what we asked for

Israel learned from Babylon.

We might miss that, as so much of the OT is full of the chosen people's treachery and "asking-for-it" behavior. Isaiah, Jeremiah, Ezequiel are big books. They promise a lot, but all the good stuff is pretty much future happenings. We forget: Daniel read Jeremiah. He repented. He was not alone. The men in Ezra listened. John the Baptist, son of a priest, honored Malachi's rebuke. The stench of the river Chebar stuck a long while in Hebrew nostrils. The very reason Jesus had Pharisees to wrangle with was because Israel wanted to do whatever it took never to get their happy tails back in captivity again. Even strain a gnat and tithe mint, anise, and cummin. Whatever it took.

Likewise, people learn from pain. Thusly, does corporal punishment work. Sometimes hearts change; frequently behavior does. We'd like to hope everyone would search history and peruse the arguments to come to a logical conclusion about life, but a lot prefer the hands-on method of experience to teach them. Disillusionment is not a bad thing; it's the death of illusion.

Welcome to four years of streaming video/audio lessons in government, economics, psychology, and sociology.

(Wisdom 101)

This is what we asked for. don't tell me you didn't vote for Obama; you didn't convince enough of the population not to, either. Your beliefs were not convincing. Or my beliefs, as it were. "Our side" wasn't impressive enough, credible enough, acceptable, authentic, believeable, cogent, conclusive, dependable, faithful, hopeful, incontrovertible, likely, moving, plausible, possible, powerful, presumable, probable, rational, reasonable, reliable, satisfactory, satisfying, solid, sound, swaying, telling, trustworthy, trusty, valid ...

enough. or if it was, we kept it too much so on the down low.

i couldn't get enough young, black, female, or Latino voters to believe the life of the helpless trumps all other "issues". Conservatives couldn't figure out how to explain why big government is death... to anyone beside themselves. A majority of voting Americans think a charming, gracious President and lots of generous programs will fix their problems. Obviously, grace and charm are appealling. Conservatives were right; why would they need graciousness?

Well, here's the good thing: if we follow t r u t h more than we adhere to any label/ ideology, reality is always on our side. Eventually, people will find out their lives and the world continue about as stinkedly the same as usual. Maybe it will get worse. Some conservative "points" might be proved. Should conservatives therefore console themselves by gloating like 3rd graders?

Admittedly, we might sigh like Paul at the soon-sinking of our ship, we might not be able to hold back a small "i told you so" to the gnarly sailors around us, but we don't have to be scorners on the Titanic. There can be an alternative. This is a time to be pessamistic, not hopeless. Do not think short term. Do not enjoy the destruction of illusionment. Sympathize practically. Offer plan B. We can let history prove our points for us, step forward, (maybe after some etiquette lessons) and offer an alternative. How?

1) Identify the problems. (Most people seem to have this one down pat. But try to zero in on the heart of the problem. if problems have hearts.)

2) Ask, "Which problems are most pressing to me? Which can I DO something about?"

3) Study history. Seek wisdom. Converse. (*Note: when i say, "converse," i mean, like, "dialogue." abstain from the party line. keep your complaining to the bare necessary. answer each of your own complaints with #4...)

4) Plan.

5) Study how to articulate plan, how to convince. Practice articulation and conviction.

6) Articulate and execute.

thought two: At least we don't have an ochlocracy.

och·loc·ra·cy: (n.) gov't by the masses; mob rule

thought three: frederica! read this delightfully anticonsumerist essay

".. over the generations the work people knew by hand has been replaced by the work of experts. Two centuries ago [or a few thousand kilometers away today] a mother was her family’s doctor, teacher, seamstress, cook, and storyteller. Today a mother *shops for* the best medical care, the best school, the best clothes, the best foods, the best entertainment video. She is no longer a producer, but merely an acquirer. Everything her family needs is produced by strangers and experts, whose abilities seem to far exceed her own. At the most she can make a decorative wall-hanging—from a kit designed by an expert."

"Advertising would have us think that this role of mere selector is
a luxurious one, and that we should go ahead and indulge ourselves (and in the
process keep spewing money). But from inside the amoeba it feels debilitating.
No one wants to be a mere taker. Such qualities as initiative, creativity, originality, and courage are necessary for a person to feel that their life has meaning -- that they are truly alive. And since nobody has yet figured out how to make you pay for doing those things, these qualities are not much emphasized."

"How to break free?

Well, we can shake up our perspective and avoid hypnosis by staying alert to the transience of all this, and staying aware of how long and varied human history has been. We can resist creeping intoxication by keeping one foot in eternity, in prayer. We can take practical steps: study the cultures of previous generations, develop forgotten hand-skills, read older books, even watch older movies. The simple act of shopping second-hand is a kind of consumer’s pocket veto. We should also cultivate amused skepticism about advertising, and teach this wariness to our kids, just as a previous generation taught kids to watch out for snakes. "

and send them to 3rd world countries early & often. make sure some of the happiest and best company they know are at a lower income range than you are. let them give to the needy and see how far their alms go. and convince them they are absolutely the most fortunate kids in the entire world: one for their material prosperity, and two because they could live without most of it and not lose much. make sure they understand: there are always those poorer, not necessarily more miserable, and there are always those richer, although probably not happier or better souled. and give them heroes. real heroes. people with backbone. whether it's Davy Crockett or the kid's grandmother, nothing shows the emptiness of image-obsession like unself-conscious substance.

Babylon blasters: because music with the B-word is just more refreshing somehow

It is For Freedom

Eye On the Sparrow

Caia Babylonia

Babylon Will Fall

Rivers of Babylon

To the King

(no, i don't speak portuguese. yet. but that is a good question.)

08 enero 2009

Part One: The Wayside

The Parable of the Sower (Mark 4: 3-20)


God's word is never deficient: if the heathen preach it, if hypocrites quote it, if we ignorant cling to it, it can still be profitable for all things, provided... the Holy Spirit ministers it. The profit is in the interaction between the Holy Spirit-as-word-carrier and the recipient's heart/mind/soul.

Of course, an un-Spirit-controlled preacher is just poking around in the dark with his presentation of Scripture and his speech on what it all should mean to us. He cannot depend on any sort of supernatural happening. He preaches with his own natural [fleshly] interpretation/ application and his trust is in man's wisdom and will power. Only God's stubborn assertion to be glorified- to cover the earth with knowledge of Himself as water the sea- does anything.

But what about the hearer? What's my obligation? How not to be a hearer only, but a doer of the word? How to have fruit in yourself (some 100 fold) from the seed of God? And, ever so urgently, how to work the soil in the little ones for the Holy Spirit's cultivation?


Part One: The Wayside

"Some seed fell on the wayside;
and the birds of the air came and devoured it."

What, praytell, is a wayside? It's soil not for walking on or planting. It's just there. The fringes, the edge, the outside of usefulness. No one cares for it, watches over it, esteems it arable land. The seeds falls by chance. It is not planted. There's no cautious famer or even a scarecrow watching over it, scaring off predators. This soil- I mean, soul- is neglected and being nothing stronger than dust, is defenseless. Anyone, from crows to possums to coyotes to the enemy of our souls, has free run.

No one expects this land, this soul, to do much of anything, let alone bear fruits worthy of repentance. No one eagerly searches for the first hint of green to push through its dark cover. No one thinks of this person in spiritual terms at all. No one waters their soul with their tears. No one loses sleep to hold vigil over it. The soul is not precious; no one sees possibilities. This soul is not worthy of our attention, let alone our care.

If they receive the word, it's accidental. These souls are the birds' domain; small wonder scavengers eat the word, when they have eaten everything else they can find. You see, scavengers do pay attention to the wayside. A small scarecrow might have been enough. Passersby, waving their hands every now and then and raising their voice a bit might have changed the whole course of this parable. A hopeful, slightly ridiculous farmer seeing possibility where others see only a gutter might have found a great increase in his crop- more arable land than he had previously calculated! Scripture never says there was anything wrong with the soil... except that it was by the wayside. The bird just happened to get to it before any quixotic farmer could.

Souls like so... resides in maybe the majority of our nation's teenagers. The public school system tries to make sure they're educated little neglected souls, but that's generally going by a very loose definition of "educated" and a very clueless definition of "soul." Whole ghettos are filled with them. They're not totally ignored; they are a huge market and voting block. When sellers or politicians need them, they send an custom-made ad their way, individualized to their age group and social preferences. Whole countries are inhabited by them. They're not totally inconsequential; wars start because of them; building blow up because of them. Demons have plenty of use for worthless souls. The wayside... so ignorable! All over the place, as common as electric poles you don't even see anymore.

Moving this discussion a little closer to us than the ghetto or Gaza... the birds likewise consume the word from our children's undefended souls. [And by "our," i mean, "the blessed Church's."] And what can happen to the little ones can happen to us when careless as well.

But when? When no one provides a comeback for the lies Satan whispers (and sometimes screams), that's when. When the Deceiver is allowed an uninterrupted monologue, any sacred word that might have previously dropped gets eaten like it's hot. Deceptions can be conveniently downloaded by unchaperoned fingers for ¢99 a lie from amazon. (That is, unless the devil is being competative and provides the little ones with more than one lie per song.) "On" buttons can deliver a steady stream of word-eating words until unconciousness drowns them out. Once that's done and the kid is out, the devil can play through the subconscious with all the birds he's let in during the day. So very many words and pretty pictures in glossy magazines and phosphorescent screens can gobble the relevance of the only Word and only Image that can bring cold clay to life. All because there was no scarecrow! There was no expectation! There was no care!

The wayside is when Satan is given permission, opportunity, a platform on which to speak, and he is presented with no rebuttal. The wayside: realities containing no plausability structure wherein Satan can be crushed underfoot and the word flourish. Those birds? Atheism with no Church pointing out the hand of God. Beckoning hedonists with no happy monks around talking about a laudable exchange. A world of "me, myself, and i" with no tangible rebuttal of love.A flickering pseudoworld where no Kingdom of Light seems realistic. Ads promising contentment only a swipe away with no joyful, plastic-less mendicants to grin and demur. A small, sneering voice inside, "No one can jump that high," when there's no one in sight whose feet ever even leave the ground...

... the word is taken away, vaporizes, disintigrates as something impossible, laughable, idealistic, boring, for others, for another world... not for you. We like to hope that "someday" the word will bear fruit on the wayside... but how can it, if it has been consumed with little probability of "accidental" sowing again?

No... nothing besides weeds will ever grow on the wayside . On other soils, yes, we can hope. In the world of edit undo and abnormal farmers, maybe. But as is, the wayside is forever barren. It could have been something great. It could have made a tree so big that birds of the aire came to nest in its shade. But the wayside was ignored, and the seed disappeared, and now the wayside has no hope. I guess the greatest consolation i can offer is at least we aren't the wayside, right... at least no beast's going to eat the word out of our souls, hopefully. Out of our friends', maybe. Out of our nation's, probably. Out of our babies', may God forbid. But out of our souls... no, of course not...


hebrews 2:1-4

Middle of the Week blues, consoled by G. Field and thought-provoked by el Turi

thought one:

thought two: emotions, taken apart and lying on a dissection plate

once upon a time, i had a prof whose wife was in the psych business. maybe it was in an education class, maybe we were talking about kids acting out. or maybe it was in philosophy. i don't remember. anyhow, i do remember this: he said she said depression is almost always related to anger.
last night, in a too-fleeting conversation with el Turi, we were talking about virtues and the role community plays in their inculcation and appreciation. he said, isn't it funny how responsibility and mental stability go hand-in-hand? how tranquil people are disciplined? how people who give themselves what they want often make themselves and those around them miserable?
very interesting.

thought three:
depression/ melancholy/ moodiness is...

which doesn't make me feel any better.

[oh, but this was too much info! i apologize. it's just for a record, understand.]