Tuesday, November 25, 2003

"the status quo is not an option"
-professor ucf
"i like the idea behind the writers guild a LOT -- perhaps i'll contribute
something dazzlingly intelligent someday. meanwhile, october 27th's post
brought a smile. i, too, once played and lived and dreamed in cardboard
boxes. i was just thinking of it, actually -- thinking of how much i miss
it, and that even though i might still be able to squeeze into a
refrigerator box, it wouldn't be the same...all of the preconceived notions
i once had of life would come flooding back, and it would be too painful to
face how greatly the real Me differs from the Me that i imagined i would be.

thanks emily for your contribution, it was dazzlingly intelligent.

in reply to sasha

you're very right to reach the conclusion of not judging a religion by its
followers. there are plenty of things in my life that contradict what i believe. i
doubt you've read any existentialist philosophy at 16 (most people don't seem to get
into it till their college years), but you really might enjoy kierkegaard. he
delves into Christianity specifically, but he explores the seeming problems of what
he knows and what he believes. he torments himself with knowing about life and how
he can't use reason to establish what Christianity says is truth. he talks heavily
about taking a leap of faith to believe what he can't prove. as a Christian, and as
someone who likes to question what i believe, i identify with this a lot.

anyways, back to what you wrote...
you are very mature to not believe what someone tells you to believe. i think
that's a dangerous thing, and leads to what you said in the line "person who doesn't
understand what its really about and completely changes the religions values and
beliefs." but i do encourage you to figure out what you do believe. if you don't
have a reason to figure out what you do believe, you have no real way to know what
you don't believe. i heard a great line from one of our country's early presidents:
"if you don't stand for something, then you will fall for anything." it's kind of
a scary thing to do this step of life because you will find parts of your life that
don't line up with what you believe. that is really something that is hard to deal
with. how do you deal with that? i'm still working on that myself.

I am a human and I fail. this is a statement to say that I, stephen christian, am not perfect. I am no super hero or saint. instead I am here to acknowledge that I am a failure, like every other human being. I am the least of these, and have made more than my share of idiotic choices in my lifetime. I try to be a man of character but alas, can not say that with any sincerity. but I refuse to quit trying. I now know what it feels like to need Gods grace and mercy, and I would hope that each reader would not think themselves better than to need Gods grace, or think that they are better than anyone else. some have said that I have acted "holier than though", and if I have in the past than I am sorry, for I know that I am no better than anyone else in this world, and am not worthy to wash the lowest of the lows feet. the difference between me and others is though I feel as though my back is scar'ed by others slander, and my face covered in the dirt in which I have made my bed, I will stand and fight another day. and if through my failures I can teach others to avoid the snares I have so eloquently stepped in then my broken ankles are not in vain. each of us will fall one day or another ("for all have sinned and fallen short...") but that is the beauty of mercy, it is new every morning. and though tonight I feel like casting my life to the cruelty of mans words, tomorrow I will take up my weapons and fight another day. carry on dear friends, when life throws arrows, when days seem long and discouraging, carry on. dont be among those cold and timid souls who know no failure because they never tried. if everyone who ever failed simply gave up we would have no pastors, no priests, no clerics, no monks, no nuns, no saints, no temples, no mosque, no holy men, no teachers, no guides, and no need for the understanding of grace. you are not alone in failure, we have all tasted its bitter bread, but know this; you are also not alone in trying to regain your step, and placing your feet on solid ground once again.
"I still play with cardboard boxes."
"...I don't think that I can rightfully call myself any religion. I
don't know enough about any religion to say that I belong to it, or agree
with it. I am not going to simply belief in a pantheon of gods because my
parents do. Nor am I going to belief in a single Christian God because a
guy at school handed me a pamphlet telling me I'm going to hell if I don't.

I like the idea of a God, in a way. I think Jesus was a great leader and a
truly supernatural person. I don't agree with the vast majority of the
churches here though. I've been to most of them. One preached hate against
gay people... I don't understand how they can justify that when they're
supposed to "love thy neighbor." One of our Catholic priests got taken out
of the church for misconduct. It goes on and on.

I imagine I can't judge a religion by its followers though. If I did that,
every religion on the face of the planet would be out. Every religion has
its person who doesn't understand what its really about and completely
changes the religions values and beliefs.

Sometimes I wonder what good it will do me if I figure out what I belief.
Will it get me somewhere in life? The afterlife? Is there an afterlife? I
tell myself, "Yes. I think there is. There has to be." But why does there
have to be? This is where every religion requires a leap of faith, and I'm
afraid to take that leap. But I will.

I was going somewhere with all that. I think I was going to say, "I admire
people who have made that leap of faith." Something like that. Even if I
don't agree with the faith they leaped to, I admire them. That's more than
I have been able to do. Religions are beautiful things. All of them have
their own ceremonies(A word I've never been able to spell), their writings,
leaders... And all of them have done great things. Like Buddhism, its so
well thought out. Yet contradictory. They say its to make people think,
which I really like. People need to think more. Not be sheep, not follow
everyone, just because they won't be alone."

- I cant believe your 16 sasha. These are the most mature thoughts on religion I have seen for a girl your age. I have a grandiose pseudo-intellectual theological reply but im sure there are others who read this board who wish to reply to you before I do. thank you for your honesty, and open mind.
"I was going looking at your information on mp3.com and came across your Modesty
Writer's Guild and decided to read it. One entry put slight pings in my heart
because I know how terrible the feeling can be of just feeling useless and that
you're not putting anything worthwhile out to the world. I've come to find out
though that even the world may not see the impact of your being, the many people
around you do. Many people that I haven't talked to in several years can still
string tales about me and things I have done that have escaped my memory long ago.
Some of their memories are so detailed that they probably could have told you what
color my socks were that day (probably white but that really has nothing to do with
anything). I just thought it was somewhat amusing that they are there telling these
detailed stories about me, the quiet kid in the back of class who the kids all loved
to turn their backs to. The kid who never thought he would ever be remember in any
sorta way and just drift away from everyone's subconscious. Then there is his
bringing a bigger impact on them than any of the "popular" kids who was so well
loved. Life can have a twisted sense of humor sometimes (mostly horrible puns and
dead baby jokes). I just learned that I really don't care if the universe doesn't
know my name as long as it crosses the lips of a few of the several people I really
care about. That maybe one day when they are busy in their important lives they stop
to think about me for just a sec and smile because it was such an enjoyable memory.
I found this quote one day that said something along the lines of -- what is our
purpose in life but to help and make others' easier. I believe that so whole
heartedly. It's not so much about my impact on others but the fact that I just made
things easier for them, that I helped them and made their life just that much
better. Even if they never realize how much you did, you know you did and you can be
content with yourself knowing that you did play Superman on a smaller scale. All you
can really do is just enjoy what you have at the moment and help make others just
enjoyable, there's really not too much to it than that. I get mocked because I'm all
about the little things in life. I'm happier bout getting a bracelet made by a
friend then a new Jetta in my drive way. With this you just seem to see things so
much more closely, you see those moments around you and they don't go whurring by in
a blur like they do if your too busy trying to figure out the big picture. But there is no such thing as not leaving a mark, you always are, everytime your eyes open and you come in contact with another human being, you
are marking them. I always thought the phrase action speaks louder than words kind
of amusing. I mean what are words but just products of the action of writing or
speaking. Sorry, wondering thoughts. But please just keep writing and doing whatever
you do, because, well, you're really good at it. Thank you for marking me.

Just another name,

Few of us write great novels; all of us live them.
~Mignon McLaughlin

(thanks michael for everything i didnt post also)

Monday, November 24, 2003

"Hey Stephen,

I've found that G.K. Chesterton quote that I couldn't think of while we were doing
the interview in Cincinnati. I had to dig through some old Ravi tapes and found it
in his message on New Age mysticism.

" The problem with Christianity is not that is has been tried and found wanting, but
that it has been found difficult and left untried." -G.K. Chesterton

Thanks again for the interview, hope all is well. (feel free to add me to your email
list on philosophy, etc. I eat it up.)


thanks chris that is so powerful, i want everyone to see it

"I was already in bed, but it didn’t take much convincing for me to leave its warmth
and to join yours. The temperature outside screamed single digits while our hearts
longed for double. That’s why you called. And that’s why I got out of bed. I
waited for your knock to confirm the reservation. But you had none and neither did
I. The snow wasn’t planned; it simply happened and so did we. Your gentle knock on
the door beat through my entire being. A deep breath and a turn of the handle, my
heart was awakened.

I stepped outside, but it no longer felt cold for your smile had removed the chill
from the air. Instead only laughter and snowflakes remained. Together we made
fresh footprints in the snow as we walked to the park. While the world around us
slept, our hearts were alive. We sled down the hills, threw balls of snow, and made
angels underneath the night’s sky. That’s when I offered you to taste the falling winter.
You were skeptical, but I assured you that it would be fine. So your city lips touched snow
for the first time. And then they touched mine. "

my favorite part is when you said "your city lips", very descriptive. much like hawthorne in 'a blithdale romance'. try clarifying the timeline, also think of other activities because not many people sled at night. i like it though!

Wednesday, November 12, 2003

"She walked in with a well thought out scarf and a hat to cover the war torn mascara running down her cheek. I knew she was there but was not about to let the silence of the past few weeks dictate my feelings now. It was an error of communication, a battle scar stapled to the side of time, it was coming to ahead, tonight. Her angle was simple, unlike mine, one of ruined expectations, of tired phone calls at the egoist hour of 3 am. She put her head on my shoulder, just like the time at the airport, where she felt helpless in my arms and I felt that finally I had the chance to make someone feel secure. "are you to stay the night?," she asked so nonchalantly, " the city is full of life and these streets of _______ are full of life at this hour. The next thing I remember was the moment I woke up wondering if it had happened at all. The sun hit my face like an unwelcomed strike from a nemesis. was this a dream, or the beginning of a recurring nightmare. So many times I pray "God why isn't my bride here with me now." and then chances like these escape me like an autumn leaf in winters wind. She then drove off with her thrown together cotton outfit, and cheap sunglasses. What am I doing? But it was so easy to let her drive off. With all the prayers thrown to the sky I now see why God must think my words are more like helpless banter. Wishing moments like these never happened because then I could look God in the face and face the facts the The only character I have left is that of selfishness, egoism, and a strong addiction to caffeine."

- taylor reise powell

james i like this piece because everyone can formulate their own story of what happend...
so what really happened?