Saturday, January 28, 2006

well behaved (people) never make history

i recently received a letter asking me about the subject of fitting in.
i declare that the investment of being socially accepted has little or no return; in other words the value of fitting in makes no logical sense in the course of time.
yet we persist to no avail.
i remember the two events that led to my eventual departure from the ‘popular crowd’ to the separation of their church and my state.
i was in 8th grade, dennison middle school, mrs. h’s class. her history classes were rather boring, and being that i was of the hyperactive mentality i was not doing so well.
because i came from (at that time) a lower socioeconomic status, where money was reserved for more important staples like milk, bread, and cheerios. needless to say my fashion sense suffered, and i felt inadequate next to the children of the upper class. one night my family set out to lakeland (an adjacent town) to visit ross, a discount clothing store for discontinued or disfigured garments. for us this was a big deal since it was one step up from goodwill or the salvation army. being that i desired so desperately to attend the surrounding style i knew i had to buy a ‘tommy hilfiger’ (an ‘all american’ apparel company) anything or everything.
my family gave me the usual spending limit and i had abandon all other staples, (such as socks, undergarment, and cheerios) for one and only one shirt. it was red and white striped, long sleeved tommy hilfiger shirt. i didn't want the shirt because it looked ‘cool’, in retrospect it may have been the worst piece ever in my wardrobe even at that time. i desired the shirt beyond anything because it had the hilfiger symbol on the left pocket that symbolized to all others “i am of worth,’ or so i desperately wanted. it didn’t.
you see all the lines in the shirt were vertical red and white but on the right sleeve the lines irregularly tilted towards the vertical. i thought no one would notice, i hoped that they would just concentrate on the branding i bought myself into. so here i spent all of my money in one place, on one shirt, and yet they did not focus on my new found importance, but that one sleeve did not match the rest of the shirt.
to this day, if anyone knows me personally they could tell you that i don’t wear any clothing where there is a symbol or branding of any company anywhere on my clothes if i can help it at all. i never want someone to feel less important or desirable even if your outfit may look the same as mine, but i announce to the world that i paid more by hosting a logo.
the second major event in the series of lifelong heckling happened around the same time. i wore payless boat shoes, not because they have ever been a fashion icon but because at pay-less shoe stores they cost about US13$. they were blue and the white sides would begin to crumble and virtually peel off as soon as you carried them outside the store.
a popular girl named amanda, whom i never will forget, made sure that when i walked into class the following day that she point it out to the entire classroom. “hey stephen, nice nike’s.” it was in that moment of collective classroom laughter that i realized that it was all pointless, i had tried the business of fitting in for years and no matter how hard i tried to buy into the system, the system never invested into me. from then on i converted the majority of my clothing to black, read and wrote, kept my head down, and was known as ‘the quiet kid’ in my high school career.
but looking back i would not have had it any other way. you see, the more i study history the more i realize that those who live their lives in the pursuit of making others accept them never make history at all. they have concentrated on promoting themselfs socially and not on what truly matters (such as knowledge, wisdom, and understanding).
look through history, it is the ‘troublemakers’ that stand out and change the world; some for good, some for worse. as a bumper sticker i once read exclaimed “well behaved women never make history.”
ghandi stood up. innocently enough through peaceful means he took down the british empire in india. the caste system he was born into made it readily available to live a very comfortable lifestyle, one that the british rule would not affect much. he could have ‘fit in’ or been comfortable in the situation he was in.
but... he didn’t stay in the mold, or follow the sheep. he became an individual.
one person -making history.
the list of men and women like this goes on; from joan of arc to martin luther each standing up as an individual. each not letting those that surround them (or the popular opinion) sway who they were or who they became.
time has taught me many lessons. but instead of going along with what others demanded of me socially i was freed to (as my mother would say) march to the beat of a different drummer. one of my greatest accomplishments is the fact that i turned my back on what others wanted me to become and in exchange changed into what i knew i could become. i am my own budha, i am my own judas iscariot, i am my own worst nightmare and best dream. i am a colossal failure, i am my greatest success, but at the end of the day i am me.
i am me.
be who you are.

Monday, January 16, 2006

MLK. a hero to one. a hero to all.


After contemplation, I conclude that this award which I receive on behalf of that movement is a profound recognition that nonviolence is the answer to the crucial political and moral question of our time - - the need for man to overcome oppression and violence without resorting to violence and oppression. Civilization and violence are antithetical concepts. Negroes of the United States, following the people of India, have demonstrated that nonviolence is not sterile passivity, but a powerful moral force which makes for social transformation. Sooner or later all the people of the world will have to discover a way to live together in peace, and thereby transform this pending cosmic elegy into a creative psalm of brotherhood, If this is to be achieved, man must evolve for all human conflict a method which rejects revenge, aggression and retaliation. The foundation of such a method is love.

I accept this award today (nobel peace prize) with an abiding faith in America and an audacious faith in the future of mankind. I refuse to accept despair as the final response to the ambiguities of history. I refuse to accept the idea that the "isness" of man's present nature makes him morally incapable of reaching up for the eternal "oughtness" that forever confronts him. I refuse to accept the idea that man is mere flotsom and jetsom in the river of life unable to influence the unfolding events which surround him. I refuse to accept the view that mankind is so tragically bound to the starless midnight of racism and war that the bright daybreak of peace and brotherhood can never become a reality.

I refuse to accept the cynical notion that nation after nation must spiral down a militaristic stairway into the hell of thermonuclear destruction. I believe that unarmed truth and unconditional love will have the final word in reality. This is why right temporarily defeated is stronger than evil triumphant. I believe that even amid today's motor bursts and whining bullets, there is still hope for a brighter tomorrow. I believe that wounded justice, lying prostrate on the blood-flowing streets of our nations, can be lifted from this dust of shame to reign supreme among the children of men. I have the audacity to believe that peoples everywhere can have three meals a day for their bodies, education and culture for their minds, and dignity, equality and freedom for their spirits. I believe that what self-centered men have torn down men other-centered can build up. I still believe that one day mankind will bow before the altars of God and be crowned triumphant over war and bloodshed, and nonviolent redemptive good will proclaimed the rule of the land. "And the lion and the lamb shall lie down together and every man shall sit under his own vine and fig tree and none shall be afraid." I still believe that We Shall overcome!

This faith can give us courage to face the uncertainties of the future. It will give our tired feet new strength as we continue our forward stride toward the city of freedom. When our days become dreary with low-hovering clouds and our nights become darker than a thousand midnights, we will know that we are living in the creative turmoil of a genuine civilization struggling to be born.

I think Alfred Nobel would know what I mean when I say that I accept this award in the spirit of a curator of some precious heirloom which he holds in trust for its true owners - all those to whom beauty is truth and truth beauty - and in whose eyes the beauty of genuine brotherhood and peace is more precious than diamonds or silver or gold.
-martin luther king jr.
(paraphrased nobel peace prize speech)
please check out this amazing site:
www.nobelprize.org

Thursday, January 12, 2006

acoustic show w/aaron marsh (*copeland)

Aaron Marsh * Copeland
w/ stephen christian *anberlin
Franc
& pimberly
Monday, January 16th @ The CSC (adjacent to UF)
112 NW 16th St.
Gainesville, Florida 32603, USA
doors open at 8:30 $5 Pre-sale/ $7 Door
352-379-7375 for more info

Wednesday, January 11, 2006

so very humbled...


thanks guys for the overwhelming response to the trip to haiti. i had no idea that you guys cared about the rest of the world with such exhilarating passion! so that being said i am running 50 more lithographs, this time on even thicker paper and with metallic ink. due to the cost of this (and shipping) these posters are going to be $20. again ALL the money raised from this poster pay for supplies to build, transportation, food, & sleeping arrangement. please contact me @ modestyguild@gmail.com
thanks so much!
your indebted friend,
stephen christian

Tuesday, January 10, 2006

Sunday, January 08, 2006

please help me get to haiti...

hello friends and family,
i wanted to fill you in and tell you about the opportunity i have to go to haiti for 2 weeks in may/june with a group of close friends, in several other bands, that i assembled. i got tired of telling people here on modesty that they should make a difference with their lives and realized that i need to go make a difference in more than just a music scene. i will be helping to add on a wing to an orphanage (and school) in the heart of port-au-prince, haiti. this is a dangerous trip as there have been several american kidnappings in recent history, but i can't let that stand in the way of potentially making a change in my life and in the world.
in light of this i am trying to raise money to get myself and several other people airlines, food, supplies, and lodging for the weeks we will be staying there. i have made limited addition (50) signed and numbered lithograph prints for my solo project (they are the size of a poster, and are a cardboard material). 100% of all the money received is going directly to this trip and nowhere else.
email me @ modestyguild@gmail.com if you are interested in buying a lithograph and i will give you more info.
thanks so much friends,
stephen christian

if you want more information on what charity we will be working for check out their website, www.hishomeforchildren.com

Friday, January 06, 2006

Wednesday, January 04, 2006

the begining of subtle ends

January 1st. the beginning of subtle ends. every year we make these grandiose statements about ideas and goals we hope to attain overnight. literally, as if making a promise at midnight will hold up till noon the next day. i say forget new years resolutions. life is not about make 100% changes overnight.
life is not a sprint to get what we want, but a slow and steady marathon to things we know we can become. if we decide to change our life i vote that it not be a dramatic turnaround, because we assimilate to the comfortable. instead try theory of 1%. whatever the goal is don’t blitzkrieg to attain but be slow and steady.
is your office a mess? don’t organize the entire thing today, because in a month you will be right back to where you started. instead take today to file 1% of the items on your desk. tomorrow do 1% more, and the next day do 1% more. in no time you will be where you want to be, and naturally you will teach yourself the invaluable lesson of organization.
do you want to learn piano, this daunting task in not something obtained overnight, this is done through hours of practice, start with just 5 min. a day, don’t do more, be strict with 5 min. alone. then each week add 1% more. you can do it. and you won’t be tempted to give up, because who doesn’t have 5 min.?
saying that i have determined to write for myself 101 goals for myself this year, im only up to 64, its a lot harder than it sounds. but im on my way. even if only accomplish half, hey that's 50.5 goals accomplished! in case your stuck on your first few a couple of my goals are...
1. draw closer to family
2. finish book
3. set 101 goals
4. spend less/invest more
5. pay bills on time
6. refuse to be lazy
7. develop better writing skills
8. read more/watch less
9. finish solo EP
10. drink less coffee/ drink more water
etc.

can i change this overnight? heck no! but if i watch 1 tv show a day instead of 2, and read a book for that half an hour i have accomplished 2 of my goals. ok so i have to learn my own theory of 1% and maybe just watch 55 min. of msnbc and the history channel and not an hour i can change.

you can change! you can accomplish those new years resolutions but don’t try it ‘cold turkey’. try a slow meticulous conscience change, and the outcome will be much more effective.
have a wonderful 2006 my dear friends,
-estaban