Tag Archives: College

Gordon, I Love You, But Sometimes…

Last night I saw a story on the news about Gordon College–my college. It was not flattering. The mayor of Salem Massachusetts has broken ties with Gordon; they will no longer be involved with the management of the Old Town Hall. This is because the president of Gordon, D. Michael Lindsey wrote a letter President Obama, along with several other religious organizations, asking to be exempt from a national law that clearly states, no business or organization can discriminate against anyone in the hiring process.

Gordon, along with the others were seeking exemption for religious reasons. Specifically, they were seeking the right to exclude members of the LGBT community from their hiring process. While this is the wish of the president, it is certainly not the desire of many of the students. Christian morality is important, but who defines it? It is both a communal and deeply personal faith, and thus, both aspects must be taken into consideration.

I read an article by Rev. Chuck Currie arguing that it is precisely these types of requests and actions that are in fact opposed to what Jesus taught. By openly requesting that they be allowed to exclude certain types of people, Christian organizations are showing the world that they are unwelcoming and judgmental. Perhaps they are not overtly so, and perhaps on an individual level the people at the head of these organizations are very nice to people of different sexual orientations. However, Currie cites the countless examples in history where religion has been used to oppress a specific group, whether it was women, African Americans or other groups. Now the target group happens to be anyone who isn’t straight.

I personally have a hard time with the issue of sexual orientation. Many of my close friends and family believe that it is inherently sinful because of specific Bible passages. However, these verses refer more to one’s conduct and fidelity than what type of person they are attracted to, in my opinion. Honestly, it just doesn’t seem to me that God would make people of different sexual orientations if they weren’t meant to be. Why would he allow them to happen otherwise? It used to be believed that disabled people were disabled because they were being punished either for their own sins or for the sins of their parents. I don’t know why I’m disabled, but I do know that God wouldn’t have made me if I wasn’t meant to be. God loves me, and he loves my gay friends too.

Many conservative Christians are afraid to give up their traditions. That’s fine. Tradition is great. However, one must be able to reconcile tradition and contemporary culture. Culture shapes religion; or at least it ought to. There are certain standards and beliefs of Christianity that shouldn’t and won’t change based on loyalty, selflessness, kindness and love. if one lives by these virtues, the rest can and should adapt. People tend not to like change. We all get comfortable in our own little worlds with our own ideas about what is right and wrong. The truth is there is only one Right and Wrong, and we’re only capable of knowing a little bit of that Truth. We are told not to judge so that we may not be judged. Obviously there are times when we know something is clearly wrong, but what about when it comes to gay Christians or philanthropic, upstanding atheists? It simply gets too muddled, in my opinion; at which point, I think it’s our job to be friendly and love our classmates, friends, coworkers, and whoever else we are in contact with in our lives.

Because in my world guinea pigs can fly!

Super Happy Obsession Type Things

I looked at my music page on Facebook a minute ago, and realized that I am now up to 70 “likes.” Of course a large percentage of these people are close friends and family, but you know what? 29 of them are people I don’t even know, which is super cool! Since a lot of you guys who follow my blog are interested in my musical shenanigans, I thought I’d ask a favor: if you’re on Facebook, would you mind going to my music page and hitting the “like” button? You can totally ignore anything I say, but sometimes I post pictures or YouTube videos or random happy things that you might be interested in.

Here is the link:
Katie Rose Curtis Music

In other news…

I played an open mic on Friday (Valentine’s Day), and I met a very nice young man by the name of Nate. We got talking during intermission, and we’ve decided that we’re going to do a musical duo! Last night Nate came to my recording session and put a viola track on my song “Passenger,” which can be heard (without the viola, unfortunately) here:

We’ve actually done quite a lot of work on it since I’ve uploaded this video, but at least you’ll be able to get a sense of the song.

Nearly all the tracking is done for my album, but there’s still quite a bit of mixing to be done. It’s almost time to start planning for the CD release party, which I’m very excited about. I’m thinking about having it possibly in Portsmouth New Hampshire since a large percentage of my fans are Maineiacs. Then again, it could end up being anywhere between Portland and Boston.

In terms of actual work that still needs to be done, almost all of the songs are finished or close to finished, but they need a little extra help from Brian, who works at the studio and plays keys, or Nate on strings.

I’m really hoping at some point to have a music video made for my song “One,” which is essentially a love peace and harmony manifesto. I don’t really have any great ideas for it yet, but if I get it professionally done (which would be ideal) I’ll probably have to save up for a while first. Hopefully I’ll make a bit of money from the CD release and iTunes sales.

I also really need to look into copyrighting this stuff as soon as it’s finished.

Realistically, though, getting out and performing more will be the most difficult part of this whole package at first. I don’t drive, and I can’t have my parents drive me all over creation all the time. Hopefully that problem will be somewhat solved if Nate and I end up performing a lot together, but getting from point “A” to point “B” is less of a problem than having help with the restroom once I get to wherever it is I’m going.

Another concern is balancing my last year of college with making sure I get out there and perform as much as possible. Ideally I’d like to get signed to a label because that should be a help with expenses and could help solve the travel problem. I have a lot of research to be doing in the next few months, but it’s all very exciting.

Something that I always have to keep in mind is that I’m doing this project for God, and I’ve been praying that he leads me through it and leads me with it. I also hope he will use it to lead other people to him. A long time ago, when I was just learning to play guitar, I asked God to help me have success with music and in return I would use it to glorify him. That deal seems to be working out quite well, so I’m thankful for that.

Because in my world guinea pigs can fly!

Satisfaction

I haven’t been praying as much as I’ve wanted to lately. I wrote a while ago that I thought prayer was my way of being helpful and doing God’s work. The problem with that is that it isn’t always that satisfying. I want to do meaningful things. It’s been hard for me to figure out what is meaningful and what is doable. A big part of it is that I think too hard. I’m not saying prayer isn’t meaningful, it’s just that it feels like I need to be doing something more.

I’m always trying to figure out ways to “save the world.” Yesterday I went to the movies with a friend of mine. I met her through a program called Project TEAM; the project that I’ve been working on through Boston University. At first I was her peer mentor, which meant I would call her once a week and help her review the things she was learning in the weekly sessions. As a part of Project TEAM, each trainee gets to go on a field trip. Since Alycia lives super close to my house I offered to give her a ride home from her field trip. I don’t remember how we ended up talking about college, but somehow on the ride home I ended up offering to show her around Gordon. At some point we exchanged phone numbers, and when Project TEAM was over we started hanging out anyway.

Now Alycia is on the development panel with myself and a few other people, and she’s going to be a peer mentor herself. When I first met her, it didn’t really seem like she was thinking about college at all, but she’s started talking about it the past couple times we’ve hung out. I don’t know if this is just coincidence or if it had anything to do with what I did, but I’m just really proud of her, and I’m glad we’re friends.

Something I have trouble with is coming out of my shell and just being nice. I agonize over exactly what to say in so many situations and I often end up just saying nothing and avoiding the situation. I’m trying to get better at that, and I think I am getting better at it. Today I did something that I normally have trouble with. If a friend is having trouble with something, I usually don’t ask them to talk about it. I just try to make them comfortable enough so they can just tell me when/if they want to. I almost never explicitly ask if something is wrong (I know, kind of a problem). My friends usually do tell me when something is wrong, which I’m glad for, but as I said, I almost never simply come out and ask, partly because I’m worried it will annoy them.

The thing is, there have been so many times where I have held something in and never told anyone it was bothering me simply because no one asked if something was wrong. I’m not even good at hiding it either. I made a step in the right direction today, though. One of my friends posted on their blog that they were dealing with some difficult stuff, so I sent her a text just saying that I was available to talk if she wanted to. Just doing that one little nice thing felt good. I need to change and do more of that because I think that kind of thing brings me the satisfaction that I’m looking for. I think I’m just rather impatient because on one level, I want deep, loving relationships with people, but on another level I just want to “fix” everyone, which may mean not getting as close to a lot of people. I think to get the satisfaction out of life that I want I need to ignore the second level urge because it’s unrealistic and impersonal. It’s a very hard urge to ignore, though.

In church today, the deacon talked about how we, like John the Baptist should pave the way for Jesus’ coming (in terms of Christmas and in general). It made real concrete sense in my mind today; I need to be doing Jesus’ work while he’s not here in the flesh. I know that when I get past my own awkwardness that good things happen, so I need to work on being less of a perfectionist. I need to worry a lot less about embarrassing myself because in the long run, what is a little embarrassment going to cost me? Part of it is also that I’m worried that if I don’t say things perfectly that people will take what I’m trying to say the wrong way. Again, it would be easy enough to apologize or correct myself. It really doesn’t matter all that much.

I could do a whole heck of a lot more good if I just stop being a perfectionist. I guess I’m always a little afraid of doing nice things too, because I’m sort of a pessimist in that I always wonder what will come of it in the end. I guess the point isn’t the outcome, but the intention behind it. Instead of worrying about the outcome, I should just plant a seed and hope for the best. That’s really how life works anyway.

Because in my world guinea pigs can fly!

P.S., I’m sure I’ll be writing again between now and then anyway, but I just wanted to say happy Christmas to all the peeps who read my blog. 🙂

The Bystander Effect

Yesterday in my philosophy class we talked about the bystander effect. We talked about how a group of people will stand and watch a child drown purely because there are other people there. People seem to have a mentality of “no one else is helping, why should I?” It’s why the genocide of the Jews in Germany was even possible.

It’s also why there are millions of starving children in the wold. We talked about how it seems that a person who is able to help should be morally obligated to from an egalitarian viewpoint. We talked about how people act based on social norms and an innate sense of self preservation and how this does not  seem to correlate with egalitarianism or a common sense of compassion.

It disturbed me a little in class, but we have talked about this kind of thing numerous times before in other classes mainly on a theoretical level. It sunk in however when I read an add in the school bulletin that gets sent out once a day via email. A girl was asking for help with a public speaking project she had coming up and I almost replied, but then I thought, “Well, she probably already has several other people offering to help her and I’m busy.” It is midterms. What if everyone else was “too busy” as well? I most likely have a few hours to spare some time this week. Am I morally obligated to help that girl?

Something else struck me today. I remembered that Jesus said, “The poor will always be with you.” Why? Is it because people aren’t helping? Is it because of economic or social structures, as some would argue? Do they bring poverty upon themselves? Is it forced upon them? What bothers me most is that word always. Is there nothing we can do to stop it? Is poverty an undying force that can’t be stopped?

A question that plenty of people deal with all the time is; why, if God is good does he allow suffering? I don’t have an answer to that. Everyone suffers in one way or another. It’s because we live in an imperfect world. What I really don’t get is why some people suffer WAY more than others. What’s more is that often times, the more people suffer, the stronger their faith is. In fact, many people bring suffering upon themselves to strengthen their spiritual life. The thing about our God is that he suffered for us, and he suffers with us. I know that, but I don’t entirely know what it means. God is with us and he is with us in our suffering, but what does it mean that he suffers too? I think if I could figure that out I would understand a lot of other things as well.

Last semester in my creative nonfiction writing class I read a short piece called “Being Christ to the Traveler.” In short it was about a guy who offers to hold a drunk guy’s flowers while he pees out the door of a train (the guy had evidently just broken up with his girlfriend). We can help anyone by doing little things like that, but it takes so much more to help the poor or the people dying of AIDS over in Africa.

The thing is, I basically don’t have anything saved. If it weren’t for my parents I’d be dead on the street somewhere, but as it stands I live in an awesome house in a nice, safe neighborhood, I go to a super nice college and took guitar lessons for five years. I personally am very poor. I have a part time job, but because of school and music I don’t work much and I make peanuts; actually less than peanuts.

All the money I’ve saved or that I make goes to recording my first album, and that’s where I’m conflicted. My plan/hope is to be able to live off of music and have a little extra to send to charities, etc. What we talked about in my philosophy class was this; is it more morally right to take the money one spends on college/recording/whatever and just give that to charity, or should one wait, go through college/recording/gigging/whatever and ultimately be able to do much more and help many more people? I don’t know.

I guess a good compromise is to help who you can when you can, how you can, but I don’t think it’s quite as satisfying as being able to say you got a kid out of poverty. I guess we’re not supposed to look for satisfaction out of helping people. Again, I’m probably thinking about this too much.

Because in my world guinea pigs can fly!

15 Years + 2 Girls = A Lot Of Weird

To be honest I didn’t think I was going to make it this far. I’m about 2/3 of the way done with my final project for my American Lit class, which is definitely going to be my hardest one. I’m almost done with my paper for Music in Worship and I already passed in my creative writing final. Other than that I just have to study for my Romanticism exam, which I don’t think will be too hard. I’m DONE on Wednesday.

I’m very excited because my friend is going to make me a cake and we’re going to watch “I Am Legend.” It was on TV on Friday, but my cousins were over and they don’t like scary end of the world movies. It’ll be sort of a birthday party as well since Julia turned 20 today. We’re both officially 2 decades old and we’ve been friends for 15 years. We’re practically sisters. I’ve always thought it would be weird to have a sister, but I don’t think it would be weird to live with Julia. She’s stayed over for entire weekends before. We hung out in the basement and played Spyro and probably listened to Green Day. Between the 2 of us we probably own every Green Day album. We went through a serious emo-punk phase in middle school.

I got Julia a book for her birthday. I read “The Perks of Being a Wallflower” in high school and I really liked it. I saw the movie a few weeks ago with my mom and I thought Julia would like it. A few days later she came over and we ended up talking about books. She said something along the lines of “Yeah, I don’t know why, but I’ve been into depressing books lately,” and I said, “Oh, good you’ll like what I got you for your birthday then.” “You got me a depressing book?” We laughed.

Because in my world guinea pigs can fly!

Writing A Road: To Somewhere Great Or A Dead End Job

I hadn’t looked at my friend’s Facebook in a while, but I looked there just a little while ago, and something she had posted two hours before made me feel a little worried about her. I miss her a lot and I just hope she’s doing ok (she’s away at college this year). She suffers from depression, and sometimes she gets into funks. I hate to see her like that. I’m in a bit of a weird situation right now because I care about her and I miss her and I’ve been praying for her, and I’m not actually sure how she’d feel about that. I know from experience that it can sound phony to nonbelievers when Christians say that they’ll pray for so-and-so. I don’t know if it’s better to tell people or not, but I went ahead and told her. I just hope she knows that I mean it seriously and that she can at least sort of appreciate it. I just wish that she could know God because it really does make everything so much easier.

I’ve been having a bit of a stressful weekend. A different friend of mine slept over my house last night because we were having a party with family and friends. We ate a lot of food and stayed up late, which was great except I had to get up early to sing in church this morning. I was going to get a bunch of homework done on Friday except I had a minor seizure (I’ve had epilepsy since I was small but it’s been controlled by medication up until this point), so I felt crappy and then angry all day. Before the party yesterday I went to the doctor and had some blood work done. They should know what’s wrong fairly soon. In the meantime I’ll take a little extra dose and that will hopefully keep it under control. That’s most likely what they’ll have me do anyway. The point is that I have a lot of stuff due next week, and I only have a few days left to do it.

The friend who slept over last night is also an English major. Today before she went back to school, we were talking about how neither of us really knows what we want to do with our lives. I know without a doubt that I want to write. The trouble is that I really don’t know what I want to write about. I love writing my blog because I get to do some experimenting here, but I don’t know what kind of subject matter I would like to write about to make a living. I also don’t know what kinds of writing jobs pay a lot and what ones don’t. Quite frankly, I’d like to make a decent amount of money. I’d like to be able to at least live comfortably, and I would like to have some extra money because I would like to be able to help people, and I think I can say without a doubt that you need some money to be able to do that. I don’t know that I’ve given up on the idea of being a pastor, but I must admit that recently, the idea has lost a bit of luster. I’m not sure why. I want to write… but I would like to somehow glorify God and spread His message in what I do. Oddly enough, I haven’t been able to figure out a good, solid way to do that.

The thing I don’t want to do is become just another writer or just another pastor or what have you. I don’t want what I have to say to be lost in the wind; to blend into the sea of what every other writer, pastor, beatnik, etc is saying. I know this is the fear of every person who thinks they have something important to say, and what scares me more is that I don’t know how to deal with it. So I suppose the problem isn’t exactly that I don’t know what I want to do; it’s more that I don’t know how to do it.

I think another part of the problem is simply that I love art. Information and art can serve largely the same purpose. The difference is that information is passive and art is active. I want to be active in getting my point across. I want to be the obvious spot of red on the black and white photograph.  I’m also not sure I would be able to accomplish what I want to if I end up working for someone. If someone is telling me what to write, I’m not sure I would even be writing about what I’m interested in. Yet another problem is that I have no idea how to get anything published. I wrote a few children’s stories last year and I spent over 12 hours trying to figure out how to get them published, and I reached no conclusion. I found that many publishing companies were scammers and many of the ones that weren’t wanted ludicrous amounts of money to publish material. I’m currently working on recording an album of original music, and I’m dreading looking into getting that published, but I want to because my songs definitely get my point across (at least I think so).

Well, I’ve got to get back to the grind. I might sleep and get up early…. Alas, the plight of a college student….. If anyone has some advice and/or information that they could share, please leave a comment. That would be very helpful and I would really appreciate it.

Thanks in advance.