Tuesday, August 25, 2009

I'll kick your butt

I like to talk big. It's one of my favorite things in the world to do. Whenever I find myself on the threshold of a competition with a slightly indifferent opponent, disregarding what the nature of the competition is, I will still talk myself so big that it will seem as though I'm a virtuoso in the field.

It will go something like this:

If it's a chess game, I'll talk up, and say how I've never lost a game, and how I am the best chess player I know. I'll tell you about my friend Tim Chester, and how, every week (or sometimes twice a week) we would have a chess game, and how I kicked his butt every single time except for twice (in reality, he kicked beat me every time... except for twice.) I will tell you about the Italian Defense, which is my secret infallible defense tactic, and how it will destroy you, and mangle your pieces INTO THE GROUND. I'll use exciting adjectives such as "destroy" "obliterate" "annihilate" "kill" and my personal favorite, (this never goes out of style... either that, or I'm just lame) "KICK YOUR BUTT!"

This usually gets my opponent riled up. It's funny to watch them get all hot-headed and excited, and I love it when they talk back to me. "Oh yeah? Well you just wait and see. You got another thing comin'!" and they get really intense in the game, and play to the best of their abilities, because to their knowledge, the opponent facing them is formidable, frightening, and the best darn player they'll find themselves up against.

But in reality, I'm usually not good at any competition I find myself in the middle of. At best, I'm mediocre, and I like to challenge the pros. Usually, I lose. But that doesn't stop me. I'll still pretend like I won (to the annoyance of my competitors) I still talk big. Because really, I'll still kick your butt.

Friday, August 21, 2009


I realized today that I don't have a home. Sure, I have many houses that I can stay at - I can virtually stay at almost every major city in the province, at least in every major area in the province has a town with an open door and an open bed for me. I'm extremely blessed, and I have great friends.

But I don't have a home. Home is a place where you can fold your clothes in drawers and put your books on shelves. But that's only half of it. And I don't have the other half. And I only have the one half in half a place. And that realization made me extremely upset.

Sunday, August 16, 2009


The blog post that precedes this, I posted on Facebook. I'm not sure yet if this is a mistake or not.

Immediately upon posting, it elicited a flood of comments from friends: at first, a pile of positive comments agreeing with me, but then after that, a comment that attempted to reword my original post (at the same time passing harsh judgment on the girl I mentioned in my blog, whom the person commenting knew), and then blatant disagreement, followed by a text message from a friend who's disappointed in me, and another person messaging me asking me if I think that EBC is a bad place, because I had mentioned the school in my post. Then someone encouraging me to look into Buddhism, surprisingly enough...

Now I'm at an interesting point. One friend that I work with immediately messaged me and told me to put a filter on my public notes, because I work at a youth group with kids, and I had to remember the nature of influence, and how powerful it is, and how easily one's words can be misinterpreted, and how easily kids can manipulate the intended message and come to wrong conclusions. There was an individual I knew who was working with a youth group and thus in a very influential position in many young people's lives. This person made a personal decision that had the potential to sever that influence, but then the person made the mistake of publicly posting pictures on Facebook that... (to word it nicely) suggested things that those young people should not do, immediately either severing the influence, and/or having a negative and harmful affect upon that influence.

I didn't intend to post controversy (well, I wanted to be a bit controversial, yes...), or anything that warrants a filter having to be placed so that impressionable people won't get a negative impression. I'm tempted to delete the note, but at the same time, I feel that I have a need to stand with my convictions. That particular note took almost a month to compose, and I read over it multiple times when I posted. I was expecting disagreement, and a degree of misinterpretation, because that's the nature of these things, but not to this degree...

With this in mind, I do not know if I should delete the post, or keep it up. If I should be more mindful of my influence (which I'd like to think I keep an eye on on a consistent basis, whether through the way I dress, things I say, and my actions, etc.) or if I'm in a safe place with this post. I also wonder to what degree I owe my writing, if I leave it up to the misinterpreted scrutiny of the world, or if I take it down, refashion it, maybe sugarcoat my words, and post it up so people will like it better. But then I look at the people who applauded my post, and many of those people are influential people in my life, who's opinion I highly value. In the same breath the people who were critical are also influential people.

I have a feeling though, that for my convictions, for what I want to do and challenge, this is an opposition I will have to get used to facing. Better sooner than later I guess, however, I do NOT NOT NOT like it when people misinterpret my thoughts.

I resolved it by placing a disclaimer on the end of my post. But I still don't know if what I did was right, or if I should still take the safe route and delete it.

I don't think I like Christianity anymore...

Okay, so this has been brewing for months. It’s turned up in conversations with people, and thoughts that I’m wondering and dreaming about.

I am increasingly thinking that I don't like Christianity anymore.

It has become too easy, too passive, and expectations have fallen too low. Where is the challenge if I begin to feel like the view towards salvation is that it is assured simply because I fill up a space in a church pew? There is too much brokenness in this weary world, and too great a responsibility, and (by the way…) saving souls should never, ever, ever, be thought of in numerical terms.

There was a girl last year at EBC. A really nice girl, who commuted and took classes. Her and I became good friends, and I went to her apartment a few times and hung out as well, and I really enjoyed her company. (She also had a great bookshelf. I love going to people's houses and looking at the literature on their bookshelves.) At the beginning of the year, she was a Christian. At the end of her year at EBC, she was not a Christian. For a long time, I was the only person at the school who knew this, because she had a legitimate fear that anybody else at the school would just pounce on her, tell her she's going to hell, and then try to "evangelize" her.

There's so many things that's wrong with that story, but what is namely wrong is that someone was experiencing struggle (which is good, and healthy) in an environment where struggle is not welcome. Struggle should be welcome, because what it is that Christianity is demanding is extremely difficult, gory even, and worth struggling over.

I want struggle. It may not matter to many, but this is the faith that I’ve chosen to follow, and I want to do it to the best of my ability. Sometimes I think insanity is defined by doing and acting against what the masses are acting, and with that definition, sometimes, what is insane, could in fact, be sane.

Don't give me a church with good music and good public speaking. Give me Jesus. Give me the courage that Jesus had to love tax collectors, prostitutes, and to approach the lowest caste, the diseased, dirty, and dying, and love them. Don't give me an alter call and have the nerve to tell me that all I have to do is kneel down, say "yes", and that is my way into heaven. Give me the weight of the world, and the responsibility of the impoverished, the dying, and the hungry.

There are so many gods throughout history, and all of them are strong gods. The Greeks and the Romans, the Egyptians, and all of those ancient societies had their gods. Gods of power, of beauty, of wealth and longevity. What a huge and controversial turn then to dare to follow a God who is a god of the weak, the poor, and the loveless and lost. And that is more close to reality than any of the other paintings and statues they made, because it's a god who's after our very hearts. How controversial is that? How completely counter-cultural, counter-historical, and brave is that?

I want to dare to reflect the God who is bold enough to love the broken. And increasingly, I am feeling more and more often that we forget about that, or are not brave enough to take on that terrible responsibility within our church. And that can only lead to passivity, and a stagnant church that is far from being the "salt of the earth, the light of the world". And boy, I am the biggest perpetrator of this crime. It would actually shock me at this point if I were to die, find myself face to face with St. Peter, and he were to say, “Good job. Welcome to heaven.” Like, I’m not a “bad” person. I’ve never murdered anyone, for the most part, I am honest, ready to help a person in need, and seeking goodness in my actions and thoughts. Sure, I steal small objects that nobody else is using on a regular basis, but on the whole, I’m not a “bad” person. But I’d like to think that there constitutes more than simply good thoughts that make somebody a Christian, which is an extremely controversial decision to stand by. (All you need to do is look at the world to see this is true.) Because anybody can do that, and if anybody can do that, then surely there must be a hell of a lot more that made Jesus so different, controversial, notorious, loved, and revered. May I do that. May I reflect that.

I increasingly don’t like Christianity anymore, but the more I think about Jesus, what he stood for, and had the courage to reflect in a passive, selfish world, I fall more and more in love…

DISCLAIMER: I'm not saying I don't want anything to do with the church. Please don't interpret that. I work at a church playing music for Mass three times a week, I help out with a youth group and Sunday school during the school year, and neither of those two churches are the church that I attend as a regular member/parishioner. I love the church, and want to challenge and call it to what I believe it has the potential to be, to what I think Jesus is calling it toward. It is my church, as much as it is your church, as much as it is the Pope's church, or your pastor's church. Let me challenge. It needs a challenge. :)