i'm a sucker for the exception.
my mind instinctively rejects or qualifies generalizations which it hears or concieves.
even that one i just made.
a friend recently repeated the claim that "all jokes have a bit of truth in them".
quick as a reflex, i said that wasn't true.
"oh, yeah?" she asked.
knock, knock.
"who's there?"
interrupting cow.
"oh, i hate that one!!"
everyone laughed.
she didn't even let me finish the joke.
but my point was made.
the funny thing is how my part in the whole dialogue was not forethought.
i disagreed before i consciously had the interrupting cow joke in mind.
but as soon as i need the example,
there it was.
no pondering required.
it's like a subconscious reflex.
one that has annoyed some past roommates and friends.
it annoys me sometimes too.
it's handy sometimes,
but i'm not thrilled that my first instinct is always to correct/challenge people.
generalizations, broad characterizations, and platitudes all have their proper place and use.
i needn't poke at every pigeon-hole.


the economy of God

it's been suggested that a pre-millenialist Christian has little cause to be an environmentalist,
for such believe that this world will pass away.
therefore, to care for it is like polishing the brass on a sinking ship!
to the latter, i agree. to the former, i do not.
yes, God gave us dominion over the earth and its creatures.
to put it otherwise, humans are the rightful rulers over the earth and its creatures.
granted, our rule has been sullied and in-part usurped by Satan.
but we have much authority and great influence nonetheless.
this means we have responsibility.
no divine authority is given without responsibility.
capricious and selfish use of power is never divine, never righteous.
love is the rule.
and love is service and sacrifice; it is mercy and justice.
to rule with love is as much about the means as the ends, neither is trump.
even if we perfectly know all ends,
when we govern by them alone,
then justice inevitably slips into expediency
and sacrifice and mercy are twisted into potent guilt trips.
it is little better to govern by means alone,
for mercy too easily becomes a right and service a shallow duty;
justice is then a gamble at best.

i say again,
true rule is rooted in and led by love.
and love is service and sacrifice; it is mercy and justice.
if we are to rule this earth as it was given to us to do,
we must care for it and its creatures.
if we love the Creator,
how dare we treat His creation as a disposable commodity!
remember, not one sparrow falls to the ground without His knowing it.
so should you have use for a sparrow,
be sure that your use of it honors He who made it and watches over it.
so too with every rock and twig.
your power over them was not given for greedy consumption or reckless destruction.

so then, what does it matter if the ship is sinking?
so long as it has not sunk and care for it is our domain,
i will polish the brass on it.
do we not even tend to our dying loved ones?
some call it foolish to give oneself to lost causes or stand firm in hopeless situations.
but if the cause is just and we stand on what is true,
we lose nothing and gain much
that those who call themselves wise will never know.

the economy of God is strange to this world.
but it is True.


human inertia

do you believe in addiction?
at times i have,
and at times i have not.
now i want to redefine it, at least for myself.
i believe addiction is primarily human inertia.
let me explain...
i do not believe we are mere physical creatures,
directed solely by physical forces.
neither do i hold to the conviction that our will reigns supreme.
i believe we are peculiar creatures of mind bound to matter.
each pulls on the other deeply.
true, most will agree to such a statement.
however, many will assert the ultimate dominance of one over the other.
let us use simple (if it be so) unhappiness as an example:
the "optimistic" mind over matter brigrade will tell you
that you are ultimately free to choose to be happy.
they will insist that no matter the circumstance,
one is always able to choose one' own attitude.
(others call such people the true pessimists,
for they imply unhappy people have chosen to be so.)
on the other hand, the more skeptic and scientific minds will say
that many people cannot be faulted for their misery
as they are wholly incapable of happiness due to their physical state.
it is these who believe in addiction as it is typically understood.
i believe this ideological conflict is all blind men groping elephants.
i suspect the ethereal and physical share both power and blame.
driving a car is a simple analogy.
if i choose to accelerate to 60mph on the highway, am i free to do so?
yes! (let us leave aside, for the moment, external factors like traffic.)
but not in an instant.
my freedom is restrained by inertia,
and perhaps also by the state and quality of my vehicle.
the same factors equally bear upon my freedom to stop or turn.
i am able to choose freely, but not to execute them instantly.
there are restraints of inertia, skill, and the state of the vehicle
there are costs of time and energy.
and there are consequences.
all must be accounted.
so too is the freedom of man.
i believe addiction is primarily human inertia.
take a famous old addiction: alcoholism
physicians seek for a physical cure. (our body defines us)
religion demands a decision to be cured. (our will defines us)
psychologists prescribe an emotional cure. (our experience defines us)
in each stereotype, the cause and cure are incomplete;
the picture of humanity is lacking key dimensions;
and too often, the inertia of man is little mentioned.
that is not to say that these three are at all unhelpful!
quite the contrary,
for if the man is the driver and alcoholism is the car...
it is religion which exhorts the man to use the brakes,
it is the physician who ensures the brakes are in working order,
and it is the psychologist who helps the man learn
to avoid the gas pedal and steep downward slopes.
the analogy of car and driver is adept,
and i could flesh out a full and detailed allegory,
but i think you get the idea.
we are free,
but we operate in a world and a body which restrain our freedom.
a man addicted is a man whose inertia prevents
the immediate execution of his will.
he cannot be dismissed outright as either unwilling or unable.


mystery and marriage

Eleven days ago, I married the woman sitting here beside me.
She is so beautiful. I love her soul.
Even now as I watch her dream, my heart goes out to her.
Nearly seven years I have known her, watched her, and loved her.
The knowing has changed and the love with it, but the watching is the same.
Or so it feels.
I watch her eyes still, beautiful closed or open, and wonder.
Yes, both awe and curiosity, for she is both beautiful and other.
Even as we two become one, she is other.
She is not me; I am not her.
The otherness makes the union beautiful.
And the union is a fascinating mystery.
It is not a puzzle or mere idiosyncrasy, but a true mystery.
And like any true mystery, it touches all other true mysteries.
God, free will, existence, beauty, laughter, the Cross...
And it provokes both awe and curiosity, for all true mysteries cause man to wonder.
They teach us that life has meaning, it is more than just living.
Equally so, they teach humility; they tell us we are very small and limited.
Sitting here, a married man with his wife resting on his shoulder,
I am deeply moved by the mystery of marriage.
It is beautiful.
So is she.



i know light for i have seen the darkness.
but good does not owe its existence to evil.
nor are they equals in delicate balance.
evil only feigns to have such power and prominence.
in truth, the light would be light still, were there no dark.
but all dark would be nothing were there no light.
evil is defined only in contrast to good.
evil is good defied,
an utter lack,
a sucking, blinding, chilling emptiness,
a vacuum of spirit and life,
tragically embraced by devil and demon and many a man.
for lucifer sought to be beautiful beyond beauty Himself,
to have power beyond the Source of all power,
but beyond Him, there is nothing.
and the fallen one embraces that nothing still.
a finite death vainly striving to o'erwhelm eternal beginning.
but good is something tangible and true.
beautiful before there was ugly.
wonderful before there was dull.
honest before there was a lie.
and the light of its qualities shines out,
now even brighter and richer and deeper since the darkness came.
and i, born here in murky twilight,
have seen the dark before my eyes
and felt the pull of evil in my own heart,
yet i choose to embrace the light,
for the light is not drowned out by darkness,
it is proclaimed by it!


...of homework and stress.

i am experiencing a critical lack of motivation tonight.
and it tarries still unfazed by impending deadlines
and unstirred by self-caffeination,
foreboding and grim in its determination to procrastinate.

in other words, i am so ready to be done with this semester.

two papers due tomorrow.
it's 11:20pm.
i've started writing neither.
instead, i'm writing this blog entry.



dreams vs days

here in the muddle of tired and busy days
i can feel dreams and reality collide
it is a sad sound,
striving to steal all hope and joy
a fool i would be to let it!
for true life has the greater beauty
by which painless dreams pale to compare.
for a joy devoid of all meaning
soon retreats before boredom's onset
and a hope that never proves true
was naught but empty longing.
and how much darker, then,
is pain or fear in our fantasies.
but in the realm of real things,
even a pain, having either purpose or end,
may be found beautiful in the end.
and fear can vanish in the light of time.
how much greater, then,
is a meaningful joy and a sure hope!
so i will believe that a dream lost
is truly no loss at all,
and every dream found true
is counted as sweet surprise.
the Lord is on His throne;
i'll fear not the unfolding of days,
tired and busy though they be.