Monthly Archives: January 2015

Unrehearsed: Episode 1

Hi everyone!

This is a little project  I started working on last night. It’s called “Unrehearsed” because life is unrehearsed and so is this show. The point of it is to discuss various topics that will hopefully, in one way or another, pertain to justice. I want to tell stories and have discussions about the way things are, and the way in which they can change for the better. I want to expose issues that people may not know about, and I want to hear from other people as well. I would love to get comments here or longer comments at: unrehearsedaudio@gmail.com

There will be a different topic every week, and the next topic is posted in the current episode’s description.

So without furth ado, here’s episode 1

Because in my world guinea pigs can fly!

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Snow Day Stuff

We’re having a blizzard today! It’s super fun ’cause I don’t have to clean it up. The downside of that is I can’t really play in it either, but that’s okay. It’s still fun to watch. I wanted to drive around in it, but there’s a travel ban still in effect, which in it’s own way is kind of fun.

I felt bad for the birds on our bird feeder. I love to watch the cardinals in weather like this because they’re so pretty against the white snow. I wouldn’t want to be one of them, though. “Blustery” would be an understatement for what the wind is like out there.

I’ve been waiting for this blizzard. I don’t like winter, but my philosophy is that if it has to be cold, it might as well snow. My brother and my mom weren’t super excited about it, but my dad was just as excited as I was. I woke up around 11:00 this morning and looked out my window, and I couldn’t see across the street. There’s a pile of snow on our deck that’s about three feet high.

It’s really nice that our house is super warm and cozy. We have the wood stove cranking in our basement, and I have my little space heater blowing on my feet in my bedroom. I didn’t have school today, which was nice, but it’s crazy because I only have three classes this week, and that’s if tomorrow’s class doesn’t get canceled. It’s not looking like it will, though.

I have some more homework to do because I have a presentation on Thursday, but for the most part I’ve been lazing around today. I was playing Minecraft with my brother and my little cousin. They both got today and tomorrow off, which I’m a little jealous about, but oh well.

I was slightly productive today in that I got in touch with one of the priests at my church about an idea I had for a prayer group. He’s been in charge of the confirmation program there and I’m one of the teachers, so we’ve got to know each other a bit. My idea was that we’d get a group of people together to meet after mass on Saturday afternoons (that’s usually when I go) to pray for issues of injustice in the world. I got the idea because I’m taking a class called “Literature and Human Rights,” and I’m reading this terribly depressing book about what our role is, as Christians, when it comes to injustice and oppression. The author’s argument was that we need to actually go out into the world and do something because that’s what Jesus did. My problem is that I am both broke and physically incapable of being very helpful, but I can pray. I wanted to get this group together because it will be my way of making a commitment, and my way of helping. Plus I’m better at praying with people than by myself.

This book has me thinking, though. It has me asking all kinds of unanswerable questions like:

Why is there still suffering in the world?

Why has it been 2,000 years since Jesus promised he’d come back?

Why doesn’t God just fix stuff?

Why does he insist on using people when it would be faster and easier just to miraculously fix things?

The fact of the matter is that these questions don’t have answers, and I can either get mad or upset about them, or I can just do something. He insists on using people, so I want him to use me. I can at least organize some peeps and make sure I’m there once a week to pray about stuff with them. It’s not much, but it’s better than nothing.

One thing the author did say is that, no matter how small our action is, we can bring our little something, and God can make it huge.

So how we got from snow day to existential social justice what-not, I have no idea, but here we are. Somehow I feel like I always end up here: whether I want to or not. I’m weird that way.

Because in my world guinea pigs can fly!

City Of Lights

Hey everyone!

About a week ago I posted this video on YouTube, but didn’t think of posting it here. I wanted to get this song out to as many people as possible, so I thought I’d share it now.

It’s a little hard to hear, so you’ll have to turn up the volume quite a bit, but here it is!

City Of Lights:

The lyrics are on the video, but I’ll post them here as well:

I didn’t know them
The ones we lost
When shots were fired
In Paris that day
But all the same
There were names to faces
So from far away
I am truly sorry

But I know
The city of lights will forever shine
And I know
Their stars will be forever bright
They’re shining down
And there is hope tonight

These days it seems
It’s hard to stay sane
When the news is bad
And love is confusing
We can’t take for granted
Our mundane lives
‘Cause we make our plans
But we’re taken by surprise

Chorus

Stories will be told
They won’t be forgotten
They stood for freedom
And with them we stand
So with pen in hand
We write our history
Refusing to live
Life on our knees

Chorus

The attack on the magazine Charlie Hebdo in Paris really hit home for me. My family has a few friends who live in Normandy, and for a little while we were really worried about their safety. Maybe it would have been less concerning if the terrorists hadn’t seemed so well trained and professional. For a while I was sure that they were going to get away, and who knows what they would have done next. Secondly, Paris is a big, modern city in a first world country with good intelligence and security in place. How were these terrorists able to do this completely under the radar? Apparently they had records and (as far as I know) were on a U.S. no-fly list. Shouldn’t they have been watched a little more closely? Lastly, it just seems to me that France is so close to home: just across the pond, as it were.

I know where France is. I can easily find it on a world map. I know things about their culture and history. My brother has been there, and we’re planning on going there as a family in June. Therefore, it’s more meaningful to me when something like this happens there. When something really terrible happens in Iraq or Syria, it does trouble me. People get hurt; people needlessly suffer; Christians are persecuted and killed, and that really is a personal issue for me. However, I don’t know much about Iraq or Syria. I don’t know their culture or history, and I probably couldn’t find them on a map. They seem far away, and the danger and the impact seem less immediate.

I was amazed to hear that several million people marched together in Paris in solidarity with the victims of the attack. World leaders put aside their differences for a little while to show their support for France and for freedom. “Je Suis Charlie” (I am Charlie) became a common theme. Charlie Habdo stood for freedom of speech. They published satire that in many cases was downright offensive, and they did it intentionally and to everyone. Honestly, I haven’t read their material, partly because it would take me forever (I can barely read French), but I know they have said and portrayed some nasty things about Jesus, and I know that if I did read it, it would probably make me angry. It bothers me when people use my God as a punchline.

However, what Charlie Habdo does is different. They do it to everyone, and they don’t do it out of spite (at least it doesn’t seem that way). While some, or much of what they do might be tasteless, I think the point that they are trying to make is that no one is perfect, no religion is perfect, and we all can and should take a step back and laugh at ourselves from time to time. That being said, I personally feel that intentionally offending anyone is wrong on a fundamental level. I also think that publishing offensive cartoons of Muhammad, in particular, was asking for trouble. I don’t know much about Islam. However, I do know that it tends to lead some people to violence. This is a well-known fact, and they should have taken this into account. The thought process seems to have been: let’s do this and see what trouble we can stir up. Most of the time this is just obnoxious, occasionally funny, and harmless. However, it seems that just because you have the freedom to do something doesn’t mean you should. There are certain people who just aren’t worth pissing off.

On a side note, my friend brought up a good point the other day: asking moderate Muslims to take responsibility for this kind of terrorism is kind of like asking me to take responsibility for the Crusades, or for people like the Westboro Baptists: something I refuse to do. I want nothing to do with these kinds of people, and it shames me that, because I am called Christian, someone who doesn’t know me might assume that I am like them. In my mind they are not Christian, and in theirs I probably am not. The same kind of thinking must apply to Muslims (I assume). However, no one is saying anything.  Granted, this happens in the Church sometimes as well: that a priest does something morally wrong and no one says anything or everyone tries to keep it a secret. However, what these terrorists did is not a secret, and no one has said anything. I would assume that doing this kind of thing under an Islamic flag must make people angry, but no one has said that this is not Islam. It paints a very bad picture of Muslims, but no one has said “This is not us.”

Ultimately, it comes down to this: two wrongs don’t make a right. Violence is never the answer. Ever. End of story. Charlie Habdo is offensive and blasphemous, and I support their right to be so. I support everyone’s right to be so. I would prefer that no one was, but I would never hurt someone over it. I just don’t watch or read things that I know will offend me. I can ask people not to say blasphemous things around me, but I can’t monitor what they say and think 24/7, and I don’t want to. There are peaceful ways of denouncing or protesting blasphemy. One can write about and against it. One can get a group of people together to peacefully and visually protest it. One can create art that glorifies love, glorifies peace, and most importantly, glorifies God. One can teach.

What we have to remember is that people died in this attack. people who we may disagree with on a fundamental level lost their lives. They should be mourned; they should be remembered; they should be prayed for. On some spiritual level, yeah, they might be “the enemy,” and, like us, they are children of God.

“But I tell you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, that you may be children of your Father in heaven. He causes his sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous.”

Because in my world guinea pigs can fly!

Falling In Love Again

Well, hello again. I’ve taken a bit of a break from blogging for a few reasons. I’ve mostly just been doing other things. I’ve spent a lot of time with my cousins and friends since I got out of school. Yesterday we went to our cousins’ house for Amber’s 22nd birthday party, and to visit the animals. They have three cats and a small dog. One of their cats was mine for a couple years until we figured out that my brother was very allergic to him. We had named him Hercules, but they renamed him Elvis. In my opinion Hercules was a better name, but that’s beside the point. That cat is 16 or 17 years old now, and much less of a jerk. I think he knew my brother was allergic because when he was a kitten, he would perch himself on the back of a couch, wait until my brother walked by, and then pounce. He wasn’t playful about it, either. He was aiming to kill. Now he mostly just sleeps in boxes that are obviously too small to be sleeping in.

I also spent 10 hours playing Portal over Christmas week. There’s not a whole lot to say about that except that it was very relaxing and very fun. GLaDOS is officially my favorite villain of all time. She’s hilarious. My brother had been trying to get me to play that game literally for years. Spoiler alert; the cake is a lie.

I’ve been open mic hopping, as well. Last week I did one on Monday and one on Tuesday, which was great fun. I’m featuring at my favorite open mic on the 14th. I’m actually missing my first 6:00-9:00 class to do so. I screwed that up, planning-wise, but it was the first slot they had open, so I took it. I keep falling in love with music over and over again. I’m in the honeymoon phase right now (again). I’ve written two new songs fairly recently. One I wrote right before my break started, and one I wrote just this past week. Falling in love with music again is great, because when I’m in love with music, I’m perfectly okay–actually better than okay–with being single. In all seriousness, though, I have to do music. Ideally, I would have it be a full-time job, but it’s gratifying singing to four people in a tiny bar for free. If I have to get a “real job” for a while to allow me to do that, so be it.

In other news, Christmas was great. Christmas mass was actually really nice, despite the fact that our priest’s homily was obnoxious. We’re ignoring that. The point is, I got to sing about Jesus with my family and my best friend who is agnostic. It was really nice of her to come anyway. After church (midnight mass) we exchanged gifts. I got her the first two Hunger Games books, and she got me How To Train Your Dragon 2, and a Toothless plushie, which just makes me so happy. I actually got kind of a weird array of gifts this year. I got a new headset for my computer and a bunch of Guitar Center monies, which were the only things I asked for, but my parents also got me a couple old video games, and a book of Seamus Heaney poems. I also got a few little things like guitar picks and such (I tend to lose them, accidentally give them away, or leave them places). Overall, it was an awesome Christmas. New Year’s was good, too. My little cousin who lives nearby came over, as well as a couple of my friends, and we hung around, watched movies and played video games.

So I’m in a much better mood than the last time I blogged. Happy New Year, everyone!

Because in my world guinea pigs can fly!