So at what point do you toss in the towel and let it go? How long are you allowed to stick in your two cents, to fight for what you believe? Or do you just give it up and let it go? Why does it even have to be a difficult issue? Shouldn’t it just be a casual conversation between friends? Shake hands when the night is done and part ways? Since when do we have to draw lines and establish boundaries? I thought you didn’t want any boundaries. I could even care less if I’m right. We’ve long forgotten what the real issue is. I’m more concerned about your future. Who’s going to listen to you if you won’t even listen to me? At least we share some beliefs. But if you cast out those closest to you, who’s left? And why would anyone so far away from you even want to come near? It just doesn’t make any sense. I want to just let it go. It’s really not worth the trouble. But how many more have to feel what I’ve felt? How many more have to deal with this narrow mindedness? You’re not always right. I’m not either. Sometimes you have to admit that. It’s just sad when God’s own can’t even get along. How are we to spread the good news if we can’t even show it to each other?
What kind of God do you serve? The more and more I think about it, the more I realize that the God of the Bible is very different from the God they teach you about in Sunday School. I remember Sunday School as a world of flannel boards and happy songs about this guy named Jesus and some guy Abraham who wasn’t my father, but we sang like he was. I remember candy bribes, crayon pictures… and being scared and alone.
When it comes to sex I thought our society was about as messed up as it could get. But I found out today that it’s really much worse. There’s been a few excellent examples in the past few weeks. First of all, there’s everyone’s favorite February magazine, the Sports Illustrated Swimsuit issue. This year’s cover model isn’t really wearing a top–she relies on a really big necklace. The cover caption says, “Daniela takes the plunge in Malaysia,” and I can’t help but wonder if she’d really want to swim in that suit. I also can’t help but wonder if the picture was really shot on location–she really looks pasted in. The best part of this year’s Swimsuit issue is 3D. The magazine comes complete with 3D glasses and several of the models are in 3D glory. But the Swimsuit issue is nothing new. Just when you thought Fox couldn’t go any lower, they did a few weeks ago with a live Millionaire Marriage show. A millionaire got to pick a bride from 50 strangers and then married her live on TV. A week later the marriage was annulled. Why not make a mockery of the institution of marriage?
But those two examples pale in comparison to what I heard about today. Now don’t ask me why I read the article. It’s kind of like seeing the tabloids in the line at the grocery store and reading the headlines. I was eating breakfast and reading articles. I stumbled across this one and couldn’t believe it. It’s about a company that makes $5,000 sex toys. It’s basically a full size silicon mannequin. And some guys out there shell out five grand to have sex with an inanimate hunk of plastic. The sad part is the company has sold 500 of them, and is currently 4 months behind. I just can’t quite understand that. If you can’t sustain a relationship or if your significant other just isn’t doing it for you, you can pull the ol’ mannequin out of the closet. All I can do is shake my head. The best part of the article is when the writer was touring the plant where the mannequins are made. The owner’s sister was giving him the tour, and in the middle of the tour her daughter came in and asked about lunch. Here in the middle of this factory for sex toys, where half naked, half assembled mannequins are hanging from wires–a child wanders into the midst of all this. The woman explained that the child thinks they’re giant Barbie dolls. Giant Barbie dolls. That’s a great way to explain it to the kids. Just when I thought society couldn’t get any lower. Sigh.
I was wondering today what defines us as people. What makes me who I am? Do I make myself who I want to be? Is who I am defined by who I think I am or who I want to be? Or is who I am defined but what I do, my actions? I was pondering that today. It seems like the modern American response would be that I define who I am. It’s a very selfish way to look at it and keeps the “I” in command. After all, it’s all about me. That was my initial answer. After all, who doesn’t want to be in charge of who they are? But then I thought about it, and I realized that who I want to be or who I think I am doesn’t count for a hill of beans. I’m defined by what others see in me. I can think I’m a nice guy and want to be a nice guy all I want–but if I’m a jerk to everyone I meet, they’ll see me as a jerk. I’ll be a jerk. My own wants and desires about who I am don’t matter if my actions aren’t in line with them. You as a person are defined by how others perceive you. That’s kind of an interesting way of looking at things, and it doesn’t sit well with me. I’m uncomfortable with it. I don’t want to be a product of what others think of me. Yet I do have control over what they think of me. My actions in front of them will define in their minds who I am. So, in a sense, you do define who you are even though you define yourself through others perception of you. How’s that for a brain twister. I’ll let you mull that one over.
Dropping the basket on the floor I began pulling out shirts and random articles of clothing and draping them across the back of my chair so they wouldn’t wrinkle. I dumped the remaining socks and what not in the seat of the chair and started folding. First came a soft yellow t-shirt, worn from too many washings. Next came a plain white t-shirt that still had that stiff new feeling. I folded each shirt carefully, being sure to smooth the wrinkles and uncurl the sleeves. There’s something about folding someone else’s laundry that makes you take extra time. There’s something about doing someone else’s laundry that makes you stop and think. This isn’t my shirt. I don’t know where it came from or how long the person’s had it. I only recognize it as something they wear. Now here I am folding it and placing it back in the basket in a neat and orderly pile. Next comes a pair of jeans and I’m tempted to read the label and see what size they are. She always avoids the issue like it bothers her, when really it doesn’t. I resist the urge and fold the jeans in thirds, adding it to the pile. You can tell a lot about a person from doing their laundry. What kind of stains do their clothes have, if any? How threadbare and worn is the fabric? What are you folding when it all comes out, dress clothes or scrubby t-shirts? What kind of underwear do they wear? Do they even leave their underwear for you to wash–that in itself says a lot, either they’re saving you the trouble or they don’t quite trust you. What kind of socks do they wear? Are they all different styles of white so you have to spend twenty minutes matching them all? Or are they goofy designs and anything but white, making the matching process a colorful game of memory? It’s also kind of humbling to wash someone else’s clothes. It’s usually the kind of job reserved for your mother or a servant–ironic that the two are paired together. It’s an interesting clashing of social norms. Or maybe I’m just thinking too much.
Today is Tuesday, right? For some reason my days seem to be running together. Everything seems to be running together, and it’s kind of like driving in the fog. I drove home tonight in the fog, and I could barely see twenty feet in front of my truck. You have to drive slowly, and follow the yellow and white lines through the mist. Occasionally I would lose sight of them and drift into the other lane or towards the ditch. It’s not a very safe feeling.
Tonight I tried to hammer out a paper and I just couldn’t figure out where to go with it. That’s why professors invented extensions. But part of my paper is something I’m finding really intriguing. I’m writing a paper about reading the Bible as literature, and for my paper I have to interpret a story from the Bible as literature. What I’m beginning to see is that God doesn’t like to be put in a box. We have all these Sunday School, God-in-a-box stories that tell us all about Christianity. They tell us to be humble, loving, pure, kind, honest–all the good things you can think of. But when you really read some of these stories, they don’t fit that mold. Look at Elijah, he confronted the prophets of Baal. From a distance it looks like God proving that he is the one true God. But I think there’s more to the story than just that. Elijah not only taunts the Baal prophets like a stuck up junior higher, he showboats when his turn comes around. What’s up with that? It doesn’t seem like the humble attitude you’d expect from a man of God. Unless of course we don’t really understand what it means to be a man of God.
Things are different at two in the morning. Every light in every bedroom is off, and the only light comes from the vigilant street light outside. A subtle and overwhelming silence hovers over everything, smothering it, and glaring at the tiniest of noises attempting to shatter the quiet. For some odd an inexplicable reason it is now that my mind wants to wander. It wants to run up and down the rows of memory in my head and recount the day’s dilemmas. What could I not figure out today? My mind begins to chew away at it in the silence, and the silence seems to understand the problem. I feel isolated, alone, and quiet, but the answers to life’s questions seem to come more readily. It’s as if the lack of noise has awakened a previously unused section of my brain. I’ve tapped into a new power and I want to let my mind push the limits and conquer my daily difficulties. But I look at the clock and realize I should be sleepy. The alarm will soon blare and the noise of the day to day will return. I wish I could conduct my daily business in this overwhelming silence. It seems so much more productive, distraction free, and somehow simpler. If only sleep weren’t a problem.
Ah, the weekend. Why is it that I can’t seem to think worth anything on the weekends? It probably doesn’t help that I sit down to write this at 2:30 in the morning. Oh well. Tonight brought a fun game of Monopoly. I’ve never wheeled and dealed so much in my life. And to no avail. Word to the wise: Hotels on Baltic and Mediterranean will only get you so far.
It’s late and I’m tired. So I’m leaving you with a 1-800 number that’s certain to entertain. I heard about this from a friend and called myself. It’s really funny. It’s some tobacco company’s voice mail message. I’m in no way endorsing a tobacco company–I just think they have a funny message. If anything you’re helping them lose money by using their 1-800 number. Okay, I’m going to bed now.
I watched the snow fall by the light of the street lamp and I wondered if people are objects in the mirror, closer than they appear.