Big Lebowski? More like Big….suck…owski

March 13, 2007 at 10:04 am (Uncategorized)

There are some movies that I just cannot stand to sit all of the way through. I tried watching the Big Lebowski for the second time last night with a group of people. It has some head-exploding funny parts, but there’s just something about it that is very dull. It’s one of those movies that I can’t even explain why I don’t like it.

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Heart problems

March 11, 2007 at 4:04 pm (Day to Day)

I’m going to OKC to visit a doctor and have an EKG done. I gave blood at the beginning of February and was told I have an irregular, very slow heart beat. Last summer I had a heart beat of ~ 57bpm, normal with running considered. In February it was irregularly 48bpm, normal if I ran a lot faster than I currently do. I have already visited one doctor who believes it might be arrhythmia. It was also the same doctor who falsely diagnosed me with cancer last year, however. For now I’m going to go on with running. The only noticeable symptom is heart palpitations. I also get tired a lot easier. It can be controlled with medication or a pacemaker. I would prefer meds. So I guess I might have a broken heart 🙂

Tyler and I played some tennis last night for about forty five minutes. We could probably pass as Jupiter and Selena Williams, the forgotten-about sisters of Venus and Serena—if they were horrible tennis players. It was actually a really fun time. We improved as time went on, having some pretty good volleys but would have still been embarrassed has people who walked by stopped to watch us.

After tennis, we played some poker at the casino. I bought in for $60 and came home with just shy of $180. The players at the table weren’t very friendly and played very loose-aggressive, making me nervous. I only had to win two hands before walking away thirty minutes later.

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Happyness

March 8, 2007 at 3:06 am (Day to Day)

This part of my life is called the writing phase. I have written some short stories over the past few months and have become even more inspired since hanging out with Tyler. It is highly unlikely that I will ever be a published fiction writer; it’s unlikely that my friends will even like my stories, but it’s something that’s enjoyable at the moment. It’s so easy to get lost when writing (not physically misplaced), especially with a pen and paper. Writing is a great way to get me off of my running high after a nice long jog. I’ve been getting a lot of ideas in class and just write them in the margins of whatever notes I’m taking at the moment. This writing phase will probably be out of my system within a few months, but I’ll enjoy it while it lasts.

Despite not working tomorrow evening, it’s going to be a long day. I work from 7:15-9:15, class from 9:30-1:45, short break, lab at 3:00ish, run, study with a friend, poker with the g-skillets, and then a late-night something or other that’s going to take about two hours. I’m looking to be in bed at about two at the earliest. My sleeping habits are either wickety whack or non-existence. I haven’t decided yet. Somehow, probably both. It’s two and I don’t plan on being in bed until at least another hour—if at all tonight.

So let’s talk about sex! No need since I’m such a prude!

Things are still great right now. Other than being tired a lot, I have this whole life thing down at the moment. I’m buoyant (not the floating kind) and always looking for more stuff. I suspect that it won’t last forever. One day I’ll wake up from some non-sleep and realize I haven’t slept in three days. Until then I’ll drop it like it’s hott. Spell check doesn’t recognize “hott”. Bill Gates is not down like a clown, Charlie Brown.

I’m thinking about shaving my head, leaving the beard, thus looking like a sexual deviant. Any comments?

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Doubting Thomas…and Humanity

March 5, 2007 at 5:56 pm (Uncategorized)

In The Agony of Christianity, Miguel de Unamuno argues:

“The way to live, to struggle, to struggle for life and to live on the struggle is to doubt. We [recall] the Gospel passage: “Lord, I believe; help thou mine unbelief” (Mark 9:24). A faith that does not doubt is a dead faith.”

I was having a conversation with a group of friends the other night when the topic of a doubting faith surfaced. I heard a couple of disappointing stories of how the face of doubt is sometimes slapped by the backhand of the clergy and unconditional acceptance. It is maintained that for a person to doubt, it is one step removed from the fires of hell. I argue contrarily: for a person to doubt, it is one step removed from Christ’s bosom. This reminded me of the oft-recited story of Doubting Thomas.

John 20: 24Now Thomas, one of the Twelve, called the Twin, was not with them when Jesus came. 25So the other disciples told him, “We have seen the Lord.” But he said to them, “Unless I see in his hands the mark of the nails, and place my finger into the mark of the nails, and place my hand into his side, I will never believe.” 26Eight days later, his disciples were inside again, and Thomas was with them. Although the doors were locked, Jesus came and stood among them and said, “Peace be with you.” 27Then he said to Thomas, “Put your finger here, and see my hands; and put out your hand, and place it in my side. Do not disbelieve, but believe.” 28Thomas answered him, “My Lord and my God!” 29Jesus said to him, “Have you believed because you have seen me? Blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed.”

Thomas said that he would not believe in the resurrected Jesus without first seeing his wounds. His response upon seeing his Lord was as expected, joyful and full of hope. Christ’s response was directed towards us. “Blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed.” I have not seen, yet I believe. There have been times when I have not seen, doubted, and still believed. Belief and doubt are not mutually exclusive opposites when juxtaposed; doubt is in no way the spiteful brother of denial. Peter denied Christ, to the point of cursing people who tried to associate him as a disciple. Thomas doubted Christ. Both ended up believing not long afterwards, however.

Doubting is not the heresy people accuse it of being. It is not a crime that should lead to excommunication or even a stern talking-to of how there is no room for it in the Christian faith. Hebrews 11: 1Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen. 2For by it the people of old received their commendation. 3By faith we understand that the universe was created by the word of God, so that what is seen was not made out of things that are visible.

It can be argued that it takes more faith to believe in the midst of doubt. Is the faith of true Christians expressed on their t-shirts or leather-bound bibles? Is true faith turning Christ into a tiny packet of mustard to be thinly coated on our hamburgers o’Christianity? I hate mustard. To admit that there is something that doesn’t make sense about Christianity should not be tantamount to denying Christ. Doubt is not the moniker of rebellion. Has anybody ever read Psalm? David, a man after God’s own heart, says some pretty dreadful things out of anger against God. Doubt can be seen as a common theme throughout the 150 chapter book, but so can faith—faith in the midst of doubts. His love still intact, his heart still crying to God. Tears of sadness, tears of joy: doubt, faith. Almost every Old Testament saint goes through periods of doubt, some to the point of wanting a suicidal end—to life and doubt. Again, believing in the midst of doubt is faith.

A doubt this friend has is why Gandhi is not heaven. This is actually a doubt a couple of friends have had, making me believe some loud-mouthed professor is spouting off half-thought bliggety-bloo. Anyways, Gandhi. He was a much better Christian by Christian standard, but was not a Christian by faith. It is unfair, then, for him to suffer hell (assuming he did die a non-Christian), right? Aside from faith, he resembled Christ’s teachings very well. This serious discussion came about in an atmosphere of fun, which did not allow me the proper opportunity to explain what I believe.

First, is it unethical to kill born (to thwart any question of abortion) babies? I would maintain that it is an unethical, despicable act of arbitrary murder. Ancient cultures disagree with me, however. The pagan society of Carthage went so far as to sacrifice their children. It was encouraged. I use this example to show that Carthage did not go against their moral instincts in their infanticide. It could be said that a killer kills somebody knowing that it is immoral, but Carthaginians did so believing it was fully moral. Infanticide was also acceptable to Pharaoh during the time of the infant Moses. It is still an act that goes on today in societies where overpopulation is a problem and hunger is a reality, India and China.

And what about sociopaths? A sociopath is a person born with what I would call a birth defect: they lack a conscious. The idea of a self-imposed morality is foreign to him or her. They are not idiots, however, knowing that the punishment for murder is incarceration or death; thus they can function well enough in society as a whole, but they can murder somebody and it not be contrary to their morality. They can essentially commit any crime and not feel a sense of empathy. A good example of a sociopath is Hitler. Another one is Angelina Jolie’s character in Girl, Interrupted.

My point is that morality is basically relative. Most people can arrive and common conclusions regarding morality. Most early law codes (Ten Commandments, The Code of Hammurabi) have theft as a crime (8, Protestant Ten Commandments; 22 The Code of Hammurabi) for example, but there are so many little details of morality that are not universal and can never be due to things such as culture.

Government is established and puts in place laws. Laws are an extension of morality, almost any way you look at it. Whether it is the morality of the most people, the morality that keeps society together the best, the morality of the ruler, etc. There are some stupid laws, I admit, but most people follow them in order to avoid punishment. If I murder somebody, I will go to jail. If I rob a bank, I will go to jail. This is not a self-imposed punishment based on my own morality. Before his belief in Sola Fide (faith alone), resulting in his Reformation, Martin Luther used to mortify the flesh, punishing himself for the sins he committed. He did this because he committed acts contrary to his morality. If he believed it was morality acceptable to kill a baby, it would not make sense for him to punish himself afterwards, right? In the same way, our punishment from the government is regardless of our own morality. The government punishes based on the “moral heartbeat” of the government: the laws put in place.

James 4: “12There is only one lawgiver and judge, he who is able to save and to destroy.” We have the perfect “governor” and “government” under Christianity. When somebody says that Christ was perfect, who is that according to? It wasn’t according to the majority of the Jewish community, the Pharisees, or the Roman government. There is reference after reference in the New Testament that talks about the Pharisees’ charges against Jesus as a sinner. A Jew can say that it isn’t fair for Christ to go to heaven because he was a false prophet and a drunkard. According to God, Christ was perfect, however. Now, when somebody says that Gandhi was near perfect who is that according to? It wasn’t according to the British government. His passive resistance caused them to lose their economical assets in India as part of the British Empire, right? Just because one person believes that it is unfair for Gandhi not to enter heaven, doesn’t mean that everybody does. Who made that person God (literally) to decide who does and does not get into heaven? That’s a tad presumptuous for somebody to assume the position of the apogee of morality, the keeper and nuncio of ethics extraordinaire, unless of course they are perfect themselves. According to God, Gandhi was not perfect and (assuming) died without Christian faith. It is according to the objective standard of the Perfect Lawgiver and Judge, not to the imperfect standard of humanity that damns a person.

Besides, everything is for God’s glory, both glorification and damnation. Proverbs 16: 4The LORD has made everything for its purpose, even the wicked for the day of trouble.

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In between classes and nothing to do

March 5, 2007 at 1:30 pm (Day to Day)

It has taken me about twenty one years to figure it out, but I have decided that fiction and non-fiction can be two means to the same end. After reading book after book of fiction, I started to notice that fictionalized work is a very creative way to express an opinion. Instead of saying, “I hate gay people” a fiction writer could write a story about a homosexual who died of AIDS. The narrator could be attending the funeral because he was dragged by his wife who happened to be a close friend of the gay guy. While the minister is conducting the funeral, the narrator might be thinking to himself what a terrible person this guy was, thinking of example after example of how he is the dregs of society. Tyler and I were talking about this last night. A person has to be all kinds of creative to turn their opinions and views into a readable story. Fiction doesn’t cram itself down your throat as much as non-fiction; you don’t feel as uncomfortable if you disagree with the author. It also has so much potential to be more insightful than non-fiction. Some of the best quotes are from fiction. Novels seem to be as much for the reader as they are the author—a way to express oneself and entertain (hopefully).

Yesterday was a long run, fourteen miles. Running towards Byng and back is pretty boring so I fashioned a new route just around Ada. I started with my normal loop, went up Oak Street, right on Main, left on Broadway, right on Lonnie Abbot, past Wal-Mart to Mona Vista, past the hospital, right on whatever street, left on whatever street until intersecting 18th Street. I stopped at this point because I saw Aaron Sumpter’s truck, along with an Aaron. He was doing some yard work. We talked for about five minutes before I went on my way down 18th Street, left on Stadium, past Ada high, left on Cradduck, right on 32nd, right on Broadway Ave, right on Kings, right on Broadway Blvd, and then home. Nothing spectacular happened other than running into Aaron.

August 25th there is an endurance event for biking called the Hotter’N Hell Hundred. It is held in Wichita, TX and is a 100 mile bike race. Registration is a very affordable $25. K.J. road in it a few years ago with his dad and really enjoyed it. I haven’t ridden since my “run-in” with the car. Hopefully running has put me in good enough shape to make biking easier. If not, I’ll probably just forget it.  

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People are funny

March 4, 2007 at 3:03 am (Day to Day)

Tonight was an atypical run, full of fun and adventure. While running on Oak St. on the corner of main, I grabbed the attention of a couple of people at a party. One person said, “Hey, it’s a running dude!” They started “running” my way. It would have been easy to ignore them and simply jog around the corner to continue my run. They may or may not have been mocking me; I perceived it as mocking. My reaction wasn’t based on either thought, however. I came to halt and walked towards them. The group of five immediately stopped as soon as I did. Surely I didn’t look intimidating of angry. With a smile on my face, I walked towards them and asked them how they were doing. We talked in the middle of the road for about five minutes, exchanging small talk and not-so-small talk. I felt like a character out of Stranger in a Strange Land. I was offered a community Dr. Pepper out of a cup and accepted. I became their water brother, it felt. They invited me to their party, with me politely refusing.

Less than ten minutes later I was at the intersection of Main and Mississippi. After crossing the street, a car of high school kids drove by. The passenger in the front seat rolled down her window and started saying something. Before finishing her sentence she pulled an air horn out blew it at me. Again, instead of jogging on, I stopped and walked towards the car, exploiting the fact that the light was red. Everybody in the car looked very nervous and apprehensive as I walked closer. I knocked on the window, rolled up at this point, and with a smile on my face asked them what they were up to and other small talk-related questions utilized to make them feel uncomfortable. The light turned green, the car drove off in haste, and I went on my way.

Both situations made me realize that people can quickly turn intimidated in just a few seconds. All it took was a faux confrontation on my part. The first group of people was obviously in a goofy mood, as most people are in that atmosphere. They were simply having fun when I jogged on by, and I became the object of their fun. They meant no harm, and I realized it. It wasn’t my intention to appear confrontational, but as soon as I stopped and walked their way, they started backing up. Was their friendliness just a nervous reaction to the fact that I approached them? Maybe, but they seemed like friendly people regardless. The second group reacted only slightly differently by my faux confrontation; instead of acting friendly, the girl acted awkwardly. She shied away by rolling up the window, just as the first group started walking backwards as I approached them. As with the first group, she meant no harm, but both groups were the butt of their own jokes. Making people feel awkward doesn’t bring joy to my face; it simply confuses me at times.

I jogged by the BSU and noticed people were inside. I hung out with a few people for about two hours. By that time, it was incredibly cold for what I was wearing and got a ride home.

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