Friday, March 07, 2008

put your ducks in a row

The other day in my Theory and Practice for Art Education class, a student told us about a visit she had to an animal rights group meeting on campus. She said they talked about Lake Ella's duck overpopulation (anyone who has been there knows, there are a lot of ducks)and someone proposed an apparently well received solution. They suggested going to Lake Ella and smashing all the duck eggs they could find. Of course we all were horrified at this idea, saying how disgusting it was and how inhumane.

As I continued on with my day, however, I wondered how many of those people wouldn't bat an eye at a human abortion. Most art students are fairly liberal as far as that sort of thing goes. My thoughts are, "Why in the world do people care so much about duck eggs, yet show none of the same respect for their human counterparts? 'Overpopulation' at Lake Ella (do these activists take a census?)is a ridiculous reason to do such a thing, but the same who think that would say the costs of being pregnant justify killing a baby, or the fact that it reminds them of when they were raped is justification enough. This again goes to show how much we care when the choice doesn't involve us, doesn't have to do with something we understand. But when choices are hard and they impact our so-called freedom, we will think of whatever we can to justify putting ourselves first, and in this case,to primarily save the money and the hassle. Why the hell do we care so much about duck eggs? I think it is because we despise ourselves, because we view life as burdensome, and thus in our "generosity" we would spare the child a life-not-worth-living. A friend also said we react to this "duck egg" kind of situation as an escape from reality; if I can worry about these poor creatures, then perhaps I may escape my responsibility to my fellow man or woman. I think both of these ideas are valid, because I understand these attitudes, and wrestle with them at times. Think about this yourself; and expose this attitude in your heart, and when you find it,

Abort that.

Wednesday, March 05, 2008

walking till my feet ache

I went to Border's bookstore today after I had finished a couple of
hours of in-school observation for my art education classes, and I was
a little depressed by what I saw. It wasn't anything out of the
ordinary, nothing hugely controversial, but it got to me nonetheless.
There was this particular periodical on the magazine rack that caught
my eye; "The Real Jesus" was printed boldly on the front, with a
traditional oil painting of... I was going to say of our Savior, but
it's not like anyone actually sat down and drew his portrait, is it?
But yes, this pictorial representation of what we think Jesus looked
like, or whatever. Anyway, I found myself wondering, "The real Jesus?
Don't we already know this? Can't we be content with the Jesus we have.
I'd say He's pretty much alright as it stands." I became annoyed as I
read. And what annoyed me I think is that the words on the page, the
pictures, the titles, just seemed like the words of a giant, wheezing,
windbag. Like a whoopee cushion. A whoopee cushion in print, screaming
at me from a bookshelf.

I decided to move over to the Christian section. In these moments of mine, these times of cynicism, skepticism,and overall hardness of heart, I do not want to look at the
"Christian Inspiration" type books. I find the idea vacuous and superficial, and perhaps this is true even outside my weak emotional state, but perhaps the thoughts just come more easily that way. I'm not saying these are necessarily bad for everyone; maybe somebody can get joy out of books with titles like, "Be A Better You in 7 Steps" or "Life is a Merry-go-round with Jesus!" or some such nonsense. To be frankly honest, I think my life would be far easier and happier without Christ.

Does this mean I dislike Jesus? Sometimes I do. Why? Because He goes against everything my flesh wants. Do you dislike your parents? They give you masses of love and affection, if they're any good, but that never stopped anyone from sneaking out of the house to throw rocks at a fence or whatever kids do. God prods me to do things that I just don't want to do. God chastises and corrects, so yes, there are times when I don't appreciate that. But then I suck it up and get over it. But I don't hate Jesus.

I don't hate, but love Him for a few reasons. But first, I want to clarify what I mean when I say "I'd be happier without Christ." I view happiness as a state of
blissful ignorance, a mental position of freedom from care and concern.
Generally, I don't get this from Jesus. What I get from Jesus is an
acute awareness of my idiocy, an understanding of the absolutely ridiculous
amount of evil and deceit in this world, and my inability to do
anything at all to stop it. But I also have something else entirely,
which is Jesus Himself; I have the meaning of Life, and Life itself.
Does this make me happy? No, it makes me joyful. It sustains me, and at times does far more than that. At the least it is a slow drip-drop of gasoline into my fuel cell, and at the most, it is a practical hydrant of wet, gassy Love that cannot help but get all over everyone.

I doubt that sounds appealing, but that's what I understand a walk with Christ to be: uncomfortable, hard, depressing, joyful.

CS Lewis once said:

"I didn't go to religion to make me happy. I always knew a bottle of Port would do that. If you want a religion to make you feel really comfortable, I certainly don't recommend Christianity."


Sunday, March 02, 2008

questions for a good day

This is a journal entry from January 2, 2007:

Today was a good day overall. I had spaghetti for lunch, and got into the
Word for a bit as well. I read Mark, where Jesus raises the girl from
the dead, and I think how crazy that is, and how I so badly want to see
stuff like that. Just some more incentive to continue in the Lord. I
watched some Scrubs also, which is a funny show, but the cynicism gets
to me. I went and picked up my mother from her school, and that was
pretty fun. I tried doing the dishes without complaining when she
asked, and was mostly successful. I really want to be more patient with
her and my dad as well, because if any earthly beings deserve my love
and respect, it is them. In a way I wish I had more time here in Jacksonville
,just to chill with them, but I do want to return to Tallahassee.I feel my heart settling in
there, with the town and people. It is hard having people you love in
different places, but I suppose your heart must be where your body is.
Ah, no this is not true... your heart must be in heaven, in eternity.
If your heart is set on what is eternal, it can be at once with
everyone, everywhere.
I pray I may have an eternal
perspective. This place is not my home.

As I read this now, over a year later, some questions present themselves. Am I too easily pleased? Is a nice bowl of spaghetti all it takes, and is that all I'm willing to strive for? But then isn't striving bad, pointless? If I love Tallahassee, why do I not show her my love; where is my service? What is the nature of "self improvement"? Is it waiting for the Lord only, or is it participatory, and if it is a combination, what is the balance?

What are your thoughts?


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Tallahassee, Florida
I am a 22 year old person. I currently am studying Buddhism and practicing Zen. I love my family quite a bit and want to learn more about what makes life a good thing.