31 05 2011

Seattle in spring bursts forth with a vibrancy of color I’ve not known anywhere else. Even on rainy gray days such as this one my walks are an exercise in ADD as my attention flits from red to blue to green to purple orange yellow green again pink and pause…breathe… With so much colorful splendor in my environs impressing itself upon me I’ve found myself compelled to attempt to create something, anything, with even the possibility of being as arresting as a simple flower. As soon as I move in July I will begin shaping my new space by planting and nurturing color (and food!), but until then I’m making do with watercolors and chalk–not the easiest media in the world to convince to play nice together, but two things that remind me of kindergarten and silliness for silliness’ sake.

I lean toward hiding these creative caperings from the world unless/until I feel I’ve crafted a masterpiece. It’s quite intimidating to even think about putting my amateur color blending skills on display where they can be critiqued and criticized and scoffed at. If I hadn’t just spent the holiday weekend alone in my room, becoming bored by my own company, I certainly wouldn’t be doing this. But I did, so I am, and together we’ll see what comes of it, eh?

I will make one allowance for my shame: you don’t get to see my creation unless you click on past the jump.

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Magic Mirror

21 05 2011

This is a writing prompt too apropos to my current work to ignore, from a blog I have lurked since my days in Texas.

This is a challenge. For you.

Stare into a mirror for a minute.

One full minute. (Use an egg timer/oven timer/your phone to time it.)

And when the minute is up, write whatever it inspires.

Fiction/non-fiction. A laundry list of things you like or don’t like. A modern re-telling of Cinderella where she’s trying to work her way up from the streets with nothing but her mad dance skillz and pluck.

It can be anything. In any format.

Just write it.

Then post it on your blog/tumblr/bathroom wall.

You can link back here, so others can read the instructions and join in too. You can leave a comment below with a link to your piece.

But you don’t have to.

Just write it.

One minute.

And go!

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13 05 2011

According to the degree plan laid out for us counseling students at The Martian Hill School of Theology and Psychology, I should be in Old Testament, Multicultural, and Research & Stats.

After reviewing the trajectory of my life and realizing that this mad rush toward A Career temporarily killed much of my desire to do this work at all, I am only enrolled in one of those “recommended” classes–Research, the one class at Mars Hill that requires absolutely zero introspection.

This is to be the first of many coming semesters where the zeitgeist of my classmates, my dear friends and confidants, is something I will experience from the outside looking in. No longer will I be an active participant in the conversations that are moving my friends to tears or causing them to question their very identity (at least not in the classroom) This week almost everyone I spend significant amounts of time with is being challenged to confront their implicit participation in systemic prejudice and racism, and I sit on the very periphery of these conversations. Here, once again lurking in the margins, I’m finding truth in words I’ve always said about myself knowing all along they were hollow, a thin veneer papering over huge uncertainties and insecurities.

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Cognitive Dissonance

2 05 2011

This recent ruckus surrounding Osama bin Laden’s death has thrown me into quite the emotional turmoil. I’m trying to occupy two different camps at the same moment and it’s wearing me thin.

I cannot rejoice in the death of a man: like it or not, he was a child of God just like you and me | Mankind. Always looking for victory where there is none. Nobody will win this war. Osama was just another man. Just another casualty | And Osama Bin Laden didn’t leave a predecessor to take his place? Come on people… let’s be realistic about this “war on terror”; it’ll be never ending | Not sure how I feel about people celebrating Osama bin Laden’s death. Or anyone’s death | When people who are truly evil die the best that can happen is that those whose lives were affected can find peace. | Let’s think more about love and revelation rather than retribution for 9-11. Wouldn’t God want us to love those people rather than condemn them? | Do we really think that the life of ONE person who lives in the United States is really THREE HUNDRED AND THREE times more valuable than the life of a person in Afghanistan or Iraq?

I don’t believe in retributive justice. I don’t buy into the myth of “closure” as an excuse to stoke the fires of vengeance. I find the American culture’s sense of entitlement and elitism disgusting. I see the American church’s nationalistic “claim” on the blessings of God as one of the darkest perversions of the Gospel in human history.

I believe it’s good to rejoice over the death of a truly evil human being (whose continued life each day puts innocent lives in danger), especially when the death occurred in a just manner. It is justice fulfilled, which is worth rejoicing over | Bin Laden dead.. A day to remember and that will be in history books of the future. Good job US Military! | It’s a great day for America. It will bring closure to a lot of people. | Woo Hoo!! I am greatful they killed that bastard before he died peacefully of old age! I hope it was a slow and painfull death. I hope he screamed and cried out loud. Now you’re burning in the depths of hell you ugly skinny dirty beeyatch | Up yours bin laden! I hope you burn in hell without 72 virgins.

I intend to dedicate a significant portion of my life to counseling those serving in the US military. I expect to be sent overseas into the midst of whatever war America finds itself wrapped up in fifteen years down the road. I will bare my soul to men and women who are daily engaged in missions of violence I deem evil. I will take on their wounds as my own. I will weep in the Valley of the Shadow of Death.

I hope he gets what he deserves by God, and yet, to see the way people react towards him without mercy or grace, which Jesus would have given him, in my opinion, is regrettable. | Though I am glad that justice has been done, it is still sad that the world continues to work in a way that celebrates the death of people or persons. | Violence begets violence, but love begets love. | I was called un-American because I refuse to celebrate a death, even of someone as hated as Osama Bin Laden. | The celebrations in the streets on 5/01 are the same as the celebrations in the streets on 9/11.

I was reading through my facebook feed last night (presented here in italics), congratulating myself on being surrounded primarily by friends at least as torn on this subject as I am. Friends who have experienced enough redemption in their own lives to hope for the same in the lives of even the most violent, hateful men. Friends who are not afraid to grieve. Friends whose lives have been as insulated and sheltered from the realities of life in Afghanistan and Iraq as mine.

I was stopped cold by a simple benediction from a man who has come face to face with the worst that world has to offer, returned home with a whole host of scars, and volunteered to reenter the desert for the sake of his brothers in arms.

Joshua Lucero, Cesar Machado, Joseph Bovia, and all our other brothers and sisters who worked so hard for this day but can’t celebrate with us… Mission accomplished. Rest in peace.

This dream will demand every last drop of my blood, and more.