Archive for April, 2011
Got this in the mail a couple weeks ago. I wasn’t sure why I received it, so I called Buckingham Palace and asked. Apparently, they think I’m the direct descendant of Oscar Wilde. I told them I wasn’t and they said I could come anyways and be the Priest’s alter boy for the ceremony. I declined.
Being that I couldn’t get off work, and didn’t want to be the priest’s “yes” boy, here were some of my ideas about what I could do with it:
1. My first, pragmatic thought was to use it as a bookmark.
2. Sell it on Ebay.
3. Write a blog about it, gloating about how cool I am, and how dumb everybody else is.
4. Have it framed and put it above my desk, along with my framed golden ticket to heaven that I received from Jesus when I accepted Him into my heart as a four year old.
5. Give it to someone else who really wanted to go, like Keith Winder.
That’s all I got.
WHAT WOULD YOU HAVE DONE WITH THE TICKET?
Would you have gone to the wedding if you could have?
On a scale of 1 to 10, with 1 being the lowest, what was your interest in the wedding?
For the past nine years, I’ve been both a full time student and a full time funeral director. In addition, I’ve spear headed an entrepreneurial project (www.bealemanor.com), I write a lot, been involved with a few ministries (http://www.parkesburgpoint.com/) and am now embarking on the adoption journey.
And the funeral business … so stressful … on both a quantitative and qualitative level. The hours, grief, the struggle to not let my heart become calloused, the struggle to be able to be compassionate towards those who are often angry, the difficulty in waking up to a death call at 2 a.m. in the morning and finding the patience to wait for the family as they say their goodbyes.
These past nine years have been one incredible breakage of the Sabbath rest. It’s been ungodly. The physical and spiritual tax that comes with stress is so heavy a tax that only the rich can afford it … and even they can only afford it for a couple years before their wholeness bank starts to go in the red.
Yet I’ve found myself in this position of busy due to the fact I don’t know who I am. Anybody else have that problem?
So here are three things I’ve learned along the way as I’ve dealt with stress.
Priorities. Even though it’s difficult, making good the enemy of best is key to relieving stress when you’re in the state of busy.
Boundaries. These are a direct result of priorities. Defining priorities gives you the ability to say “yes” and “no”. Have you ever heard the saying, “If you want something to get done, ask a busy person.”? Well, that saying is true … people always ask you to do things when you’re busy. When you know your priorities in the busy times, you just got to set your limits. Setting personal limits is hard for us Americans cause we have this idea that we’re like God. We think that we can go through life with an unlimited amount of energy, unaffected by the emotional tax of being in the state of busy.
Try Not to Worry. For me, worry comes when I have too many things going at once and I’m a afraid I’ll forget something, or I’ll mess something up … or I’ll lose control of things I can’t control! MORE worry comes when one little thing goes wrong … like my car breaks down (which it did this week). When you’re super busy, one small thing … like a car breaking down … has this domino effect in that it put’s stress on the whole system of your intricately organized life.
Here’s how I stop worrying: I simply realize that there’s many things that will simply take care of themselves. It’s an amazing lesson to learn that when you drop something, someone else will catch it … and if they don’t catch it, it probably wasn’t worth holding onto in the first place. We hold onto things too often that simply aren’t valuable. Learning to go with the flow instead of against it is an art that greatly decreases the worry weight.
What about you? What are things you do to decrease your stress? I know I’m missing things in this discussion and I know you know what I’m missing, so chime in!
I think that’s cool.
The other week she told me that she got mad at me when she read in a previous post of mine where I said, “I’ll go so far as to say – at least propositionally – when it comes to the Christian faith, there are no absolute truths in the modern sense.”
Most Christians, my mother included, associate what I just wrote as me being sucked in by the postmodern currents of culture. And I guess that’s one way of looking at it.
For my mother’s sake — and maybe yours — let me explain the above statement by attempting to define what I meant, and how the little prepositional phrase, “in the modern sense” means a lot, especially for postmodern culture and people, who, when they hear the words “absolute truth” and “Christian” in the same sentence, interpret it to mean something very different than what you or I intended to mean. Sort of like telling a Hindu to be born again, if we want our locutionary act to match the illocutionary act we need to understand the other person’s perspective or we might receive an unwanted perlocutionary act.
Defining postmodernism is a difficult if not impossible task and I often cringe when academics approach postmodernism like they approach modernism. Postmodernism is like a young man in his teens. You might be able to name his parents, where he goes to school, where he’s from, etc. but to think you’ve got his identity nailed down – when he probably doesn’t know his identity himself – is presumptuous. A presumptuous act many evangelicals are committing.
Sure we can talk about this young teen (thus this discussion), but not like we can talk about modernity.
Modernity is like the grandparents of the young teen in that their identity is rather definable … their life, for the most part, has already been defined by where they worked, who they married and what they did with the 80 plus years of their living.
I’m all for getting a good grasp on modernity, which we can do because modernity’s day is nearly over and we have many smart men and women who are writing it’s obituary, providing a nice summary of its life.
I’m all for reading the sources of postmodernity, such as Foucault, Lyotard, Derrida and the oft overlooked Gadamer, but it should be understood that the movement is dynamic in nature – like the young teen – and although those thinkers lead the academic arm of the movement’s infancy, they can’t be said to totally define it.
This is an emerging movement and is still in the process of defining it’s identity.
I think the best way we can understand the existential undercurrents of postmodernism is to attempt to grasp post-colonialism.
Postmodernism explicitly rejects the “world-view” label … saying postmodernism is a world-view is like calling a Jew a Hitler lover, or vice versa. The idea of a “world-view”, they would contest, is colonial in nature, and is the very thing their critique is leveled against.
For many of us Western Christians, “world-view” is almost equivalent with the word “ideology”, but for many postmoderns “world-view” has an imperialistic tone. This is why they can say, “postcolonialism isn’t a world-view” and then we’ll make fun of them with the old “reductio ad absurdum” argument.
We in the West, according to our heritage, like to deal with the philosophical aspects of post-colonialism (i.e. postmodernism), but the larger conversation has less to do with absolutes per se and more to do with the praxis of absolutes: namely, the imperialistic tendencies that human’s get when they believe they hold an absolute or a universal.
Again, with postmodernism we like to satirically state, “Postmodernism states absolutely that there’s no absolutes.” We eisegetically apply our understanding of absolutes, overlooking that for the postmodern, the denial of absolutes is just as much a denial of imperialism. For many, the denial of the absolute is a denial of the imperialistic tendencies of the Global North. Do you really think postmodern philosophers are so stupid?
While many Christian apologists feel good about landing a straight right and a left cross to the face of postmodernism, they may find they have been fighting against a straw man.
Have I mentioned before that modernism is decidedly white? Have I mentioned before that white people embody the colonial tendencies oft associated with modernity? Have you ever wondered why it’s harder for the older white male, Western Christian Ph.D.’s to grasp postmodernism / postcolonialism? Their perspective just makes it difficult … I guess they just have trouble looking down. In fact, the less you have of the above characteristics, the easier it will be to understand (I didn’t say accept) the postcolonial / postmodern ethos … thus the reason woman, African Americans, Latinos, etc. have a nearly innate sense of the undercurrents of postcolonialism and so are able to understand postmodernism with more ease. As one black blogger puts it, “We’ve been postmodern since 1619.”
The questions from postmodernism are being posed more so from the background of “your country and it’s values are invading mine” and less from the “your truth is your truth and it’s invading my truth” spin from the white West.
Based on years where the Global North obliterated the American Indians, took control of Africa and much of South America, enslaved Africans, discredited woman and generally raped the Global South, believing that we possess “the truth”, all this lead guys like Foucault to believe, not only that “knowledge is power”, but that “knowledge is violence.”
The global discussion is less about doubting the value of truth and more about doubting the value of power. When this distinction is missed it’s easy to see why postmoderns often feel so misunderstood by liminal moderns who tend to look through the dialectic of reason (modernity) and rejection of reason (postmodernism). That dialectic touches on some of the discussion, but misses the larger discussion.
The imperialistic tendency of the Global North to impose their story on to others is one dimension of what I mean by “the modern sense” of absolute truth. For the postmodern person, when he or she reads that you or I believes in absolute truth, his or her first word association is NOT “scriptural principles” but is with colonialism, maybe imperialism and most certainly pride. As a Christian, by rejecting the “modern sense” of absolute truth, I am saying that Christ has no interest in overpowering others … but in giving his life for them.
Lyotard writes, “Simplifying to the extreme, I define postmodern as incredulity towards metanarratives.” In other words, in the context of this conversation: we doubt that the white man’s perspective is all there is.
Rev. Robert Lewis Dabney, as a southern preacher preceding the Civil War, writes,
“The scriptural argument for the righteousness of slavery gives us, moreover, this great advantage: If we urge it successfully, we compel the abolitionists either to submit, or else to declare their true infidel character. We thrust them fairly to the wall, by proving that the Bible is against them. And if they declare themselves against the Bible (as the most of them doubtless will), they lose the support of all honest believers in God’s Word.”
This type of attitude created post-colonialism and postmodernism.
Dabney’s quote points out two things that post-colonialism would claim as it’s context in which it was birthed: 1.) the way that universals tend to be used for power and 2.) the need for us to be chastised in how quickly we claim them.
Mom, I hope that helped you realize your son is not shaking hands with the world. He’s just trying to speak the language of his generation so that he might reach some who are having trouble seeing Jesus because he’s dressed in terms they have trouble understanding.
Any thoughts, questions, corrections or suggestions? Let me know : )
It’s been a bad week, until today. Here’s why it’s been bad:
1.) I didn’t get invited to the Royal Wedding. I had a Corgi imported from a Lancaster County Puppy Mill all the way to England. And since I didn’t get my invite, the new Royal couple won’t be getting their Corgi … in fact, I think the Corgi is still waiting in the London airport. After his deceased corpse starts smelling in a couple months, those thrifty Englishmen will probably recycle his fur by making shoes out of him, and they’ll probably use his bones to makes themselves false teeth.
2.) My agent informed me that I won’t be drafted this Thursday or Friday. It’s been eight years that I’ve been NFL draft eligible and still no phone calls. I’m in football shape, been sending my YouTube videos to scouts. Nothing. I’m persevering because I know that I can do anything that I put my mind to. I can be anything I want to be and I want to be an NFL superstar. My day’s coming, it’s just disappointing that this isn’t my year.
3.) I watched the King’s Speech on Sunday. Loved it. After the movie I did a little research and found that there was a King’s Speech 2 in the making. This obviously caused some excitement, especially since the subtitle of the movie was “King George VI Rap Battles Eminem.” Yesterday, I open my laptop, checked out CNN and see the report that they’ve cancelled “King George 2″ cause Eminem refuses to dress in 1940s costumes. I hate white people.
CAN LIFE GET ANY WORSE?
So, head on over and check it out.
I don’t think God’s got a baby picked out for us. You might. I don’t. I believe that the story is being written this very moment … I don’t think it’s already been written.
I think that right now, in God’s eye, he sees a number of woman who find themselves in situations. I don’t know what those situations are, but I imagine He knows. And I believe that He works. Never like we expect him to. We expect him to work in large miracles, but it’s often in small graces.
And these small graces are moving in the hearts of these young women, some of whom may just be confused and wondering if they can keep their baby. Most likely, many are wondering if they should abort their baby. Some will. But some won’t. Some will choose life. And some, for whatever reason, know that although they want life for their child, they know they can’t keep it.
So, beautiful birth mom, whoever you are and wherever you may be, I’m believing that one day you will make a decision that will forever tie Nicki and I’s life together with your life. That one day, God’s small graces will lead us together in what will become the most gracious act of love anyone has personally given to me.
I believe that someday you’ll read these blogs. So, I have a video for you. A video that made me pray for you today. Maybe this video doesn’t speak to you, and maybe after you watch it, you may think to yourself, “Why didn’t I keep it?” You did keep it. You are strong. And we promise to you that we will parent your baby with all the love we have. When you watch it, you may think about what you lost; but remember what you gave … LIFE! And remember that I was praying for life! And know that, even now, I’m thankful for the incredible sacrifice you made to carry your child to term and into our arms.