So I was eating lunch today with my wonderful mother at a new Chinese buffet in between classes (the place is called Zen Buffet on Bell Road, just east of 75th Avenue, for those who like good buffets). Anyway, we were finishing up our meal and heading out the door, when I started my delicious fortune cookie experience extravaganza. Okay, admittedly fortune cookies aren’t all that stupendous, but I enjoy reading my fortune, and scoffing at how most of the time it’s not a fortune at all.
Well, this time it kind of was. And I’m kind of stoked on it. I tried to take a picture of it, but my phone camera sucks super bad (it’s an enV2, cut me some slack), so I’ll just block-quote it below instead.
“Someone from your past has returned to steal your heart.”
Now, before you go all kung fu zebra on me, I will affirm my statement in my last blog that I am, in fact, quite happy in my current relationship status. I just thought this fortune was very timely, considering I only really realized how content I was as I was typing that list last night. Now, I’m also not one to believe much in superstition, but I do believe God speaks through many mediums.
So which one of you wants my damn heart, huh?! WHO IS IT?!! BECAUSE BY GOLLY I WILL BRING YOU HELL FIRST. Not really. I love you. But can we go halfsies?
Of the last post, I thought I would make a list of good things that are going on in my life, so as to not appear to be completely depressed and self-depreciating. I am just ignorant a lot of the time.
- While my Zune doesn’t hold power, it still works, allowing me to enjoy music in my car still.
- I recently spoke with a friend whom I hadn’t heard from in a while. It was nice.
- I always have enough money for gas and food when I need it, even though I haven’t received all of my financial aid.
- I sing for Jesus in front of people to help them experience Him.
- I’m actually writing songs for the first time in my life. Not just lyrics, but music too. Granted, I have to, but it’s a good start.
- My grades are all top notch, as usual. If I keep up my streak, I’ll graduate summa cum laude, which is the highest honor one can get (without being a black president or something odd like that).
- My screaming has improved over the past couple years since I started. I do think I am good enough to front a band, and will improve with experience.
- For the first time in a while, I’m very content being single. Maybe due to the fact that no one I have a mild crush on is available, nor likely to reciprocate the feelings. Nevertheless, it does not plague me as it used to.
- I’ve been having lunches with my mom every week, and they have been great, since I don’t get to see her everyday anymore.
- I have more books than I have time to read them, which is actually kinda nice.
- The holiday season is approaching, which means revelry and all around generally great times. Also, COLD WEATHER. YUSSSSSS.
- My last “yucky” astronomy lab was tonight (as far as I know), which means smooth sailing from here on out.
- I have one of the most comfortable beds in the world. No lie. Come try it out sometime. ;) (Just kidding; MY BED)
- I get to register for my last semester of college (at least for now) next week, and my proposed schedule is actually pretty sweet.
- In two weeks, I have a 6-day weekend. Six. Day. Weekend. YUSSSSSS.
- I get to design a new Christmas card this year. Which is actually really fun for me, because I get to try and top my previous year’s work.
- I’m thinking of compiling a little bit of my past writings and putting in a lot of new stuff and trying to get a book published. Not sure what of, yet, but something like Blue Like Jazz would be sweet.
- Speaking of, Donald Miller’s book is being transformed into film as I write this. Stoked much?
- This Sunday is Halloween. Which means next week a lot of candy goes on sale. Which means my weight will be well justified soon enough. Ha!
- Now matter how many times I may fail, Jesus’ love prevails.
That’s all I guess. Have a great day and remember things aren’t as bad as they seem =).
I felt like writing. More specifically, I felt like spewing my thoughts out to someone, anyone really. A little forewarning: I tend to ramble and completely lose track of what I was writing about, so if you happen to get as lost as I am and would like me to continue a point or anything, feel free to ask me either on here, facebook, or real life. I’m more keen to talking than most would suspect.
Anyway, welcome to another plunge into the depths of myself.
One thing that caught my attention today that I am seriously worried about is my out-of-shape-ness. I’m not just talking my physical fitness, although that is a part of it, but I also have been very self-conscious of my seemingly diminishing vocal capabilities. It sounds trite coming from me, as I feel like all I do is complain and offer excuses as to why I sound terrible, but I have very bipolar feelings regarding my skills of singing and screaming. I’ve been both built up and told I wasn’t good enough in one way or another by various people in both formats, so I know I’m not completely paranoid. Singing wise, I can remember about a year or so ago when I could sing some really great songs that had very high vocal melodies. I’ve tried singing these same songs over the months and it seems that I got worse and worse. I can’t quite put my finger on why, though I have my theories: my screaming has been done the wrong way (even though I’m fairly certain I’m doing it correctly) is one idea. Another is that I’ve gotten sick with what I can only assume to be the flu, or upper respiratory infection, or bronchitis. I’ve had this mystery illness twice since I last recalled singing in the range I prefer. Each time, I could not sing at all, and afterward I could never get quite as high as before. The issue here is that I don’t have health insurance, so I never got meds, leaving my body to fight it off by itself, hence giving this a little more pull in my mind.
Then there’s screaming, which has it’s good and bad days. Sleep is clearly important, which I learned a while back, as is hydration. What I don’t get is the lack of consistency. I’ll do warm-ups, hydrate, get enough sleep and everything, and still I’ll have off days. It seriously makes me wonder if I’m even cut out for screaming. This sounds foolish to most of you, of course, but you must understand first that I believe God has called me to music ministry in the hardcore/metal field, emphasis of course on vocals (as I can’t play any other instrument for crap). So basically, feeling inadequate in screaming makes me question my calling, or God’s timing, or my relationship with Jesus. It’s a very real, very scary thing.
To top that off, this past semester has been vastly different from my past decade of life. I stepped down from Young Life leadership, which was a very physically demanding position, and one which I love to this day, though my reasons for stepping down are just (I can expound upon this in another blog if you want). The worship band I sing for also switched recently to a once-a-month format instead of weekly, meaning my ministry opportunities have been cut short. This also means I have less reason to leave the house, so my life has been a bit more sedentary. Now, I’m not exactly “fit” as most would think, but I have been in shape, and able to hold my own in a game of ultimate frisbee as well as hiking mountains and such. But (I assume) because of this sudden switch to sedentary lifestyle, I find myself at a level of fitness less than what I was. Normally, I wouldn’t really care about this, either, as I know I can get back into shape quite simply, but it has affected my screaming via lung capacity and diaphragm strength. My breathing is horribad already because I have exercise-induced asthma (it’s real, google it), but not being in shape has made it worse. Of course, this portion has a solution, which I intend to implement soon enough: I want to start walking a lot more (a LOT more), whether it be window shopping, walking around Walmart just dickin’ around with friends, or simply walking around my neighborhood (problem with this is my Zune no longer runs without a constant stream of power, so I’d be walking in silence which is nerve-wracking for me). But anyway, that’s that.
School, too, has been interesting. I wouldn’t say it’s hard, but it definitely can be time-consuming to say the least. What’s really funny about it is I know I will do well. Doing bad, in my mind, is getting a B. I got mad at myself for getting an 85% on a test, even though I had extra credit which brought me to an A+. I’m stupid. However, this doesn’t change the stress school brings me. For instance, I have a songwriting class (which is fun, but too structural in my opinion) which I need to write song snippets for. I have the lyrics written for all but one of the four required songs, and music written for two and a half of them (half means I have a general idea of what the music will be, but don’t know the chords or anything). I am flipping out, though, about the few parts I don’t have done yet. And here’s the kicker: I have a week per song to upload them. So I have until Sunday for my first one, which is already halfway done, then another three weeks until all the projects are due (one per week). Clearly, this is no cause for concern, but I am most definitely concerned. What is wrong with me?
On the social side of things, as I said before, my life consists a lot more of sitting in my bedroom on my computer. I’d say a solid half of my time is spent watching Youtube and Scrubs, viewing various funny, ridiculous pictures, or reading stuff on the internet. The other half is spent on school, mixed with a little bit of video games with my buddies. Speaking of, I am seriously concerned about one of my friends who seems to spend every damn minute with his girlfriend, despite telling me he misses hanging out with the guys. There are other reasons I’m worried, but they’re a bit more personal and I don’t feel like gossiping to random viewers about people you will more than likely not know.Then there’s college YL, which I have been skipping out on. The truth is, I have a lab on Wednesday nights which bars me from going even to my college small group (a group of friends I absolutely adore, by the way), but is usually over in time for me to attend YL. I haven’t gone once this entire semester because, frankly, I’m getting burnt out on it. I feel like there are cliques of popular people, even in a Christian pseudo-society that I simply don’t fit in to. Sure, I have many friends that still go to college YL, but I don’t really think it’s right for me right now. Either that or I’m just lazy. I’ll leave you to decide which is correct.
The reality struck me the other day about how much of a bomb I am facing once I graduate. Let me give you the breakdown real quick: I am a 21 year old white male, who will be graduating in May 2011 with a B.A. in psychology. I have no research credit/experience, and really no drive to pursue a research position anyway, so that’s fine. What does matter is that I have never had a job. Ever. Okay, so I worked a talent show at my high school and was paid for it by the school district, so in business terms, I HAVE had a job, but it was one “paycheck” of $72 for doing what my entire high school career consisted of anyway. I have worked in the kitchen at a Young Life camp, as well as a snack bar before, and I have various other life experience that is applicable to a job position. However, you mustn’t forget that I have fairly fresh wrist tattoos, as well as facial piercings and gauged ears. And America’s job market is plummeting. I have invested at least two years now into screaming for a band as a job, as well as a ministry (because I think if you’re called to ministry, you’re called to do so and trust that God will provide for your financial needs as well, so you can be wholly dedicated to His work). My degree and the classes I have taken to get it have close to zero bearing on being in a metal band. I have taken a couple communication classes, and this songwriting class is sure to come into play at some point, but I have not taken any classes regarding recording, graphics design, or even business which would all be great substitutes to stay in the music industry with. So essentially, in logical terms, I have screwed myself into a corner of idiocy. Now, I do believe my calling is true, and I think God will pull through, but I suspect I have a bit of a valley to get through first.
I don’t know. Maybe I’m just being pathetic. But that’s how life goes sometimes, I suppose. Anyway, if you’ve read this far, kudos. I don’t think I’d have read something that long unless it was written by someone I really enjoyed the company of, or whose writing I absolutely adored. You may carry on your normal lives now.
I don’t intend this to be very long (although I’m notorious for saying such things and producing dwarf novels), but I felt like writing a bit about my recent mind-slavery regarding religion.
I’ve been reading The Radical Reformission by Mark Driscoll, pastor of Mars Hill Church in Seattle. I also recently received a few pamphlets from some Jehovah’s Witnesses, and it got me thinking about religion itself, and what it means to me. So here goes.
Religion, to me, is man’s attempt to reach God, which will fail every time. Typically speaking, religion is very legalistic, meaning the focus is that of the Pharisees of the Bible: laws. More specifically, religion generally is all about setting and following rules that may or may not be based on Biblical teachings or other sacred texts (such as the Koran).
Here is where it gets tricky; I believe most religions have at least some element of truth to them. There is an overbearing emphasis on peace and love for one another in a myriad of religions, which are clearly Biblical, Godly features. There are also many religions that claim Jesus in their doctrines. Not all of them consider Jesus the messiah, but a prophet, or just a great moral teacher. Obviously, for the follower of Christ, this would disagree with the truth we see and know; they do, however, acknowledge Him in some fashion (which in reality makes it worse that they do not acknowledge Him properly, according to Romans).
Does this mean I believe all religions can and will lead to eternal life? By no means whatsoever. I merely see bits and pieces of God being seen clearly in other religious systems. The same holds for Christianity and all of it’s many denominations. To clarify further, I do not believe being a Christian will get you eternal life with God. It’s simply not enough.
By this definition, I do not consider myself a Christian due to it’s connection with religion. I won’t judge anyone else who may use such a title, but in light of recent years and extremists (well, even the commonplace Christian too), to be “Christian” is a very bad thing. Christians are all hypocrites who preach moral issues that they do not follow, or who judge you and turn around and do whatever they just called you out on. I just choose to withhold such stereotyping from myself.
What will get you eternal life with the Creator is much simpler than religion, and that is a personal relationship with Him. To seek and know and love Jesus as much as possible and love Him through obedience as a wife submits to her husband is the key. In fact, in my eyes, your eternal life begins the moment you start that relationship. You no longer have to wait to die physically to be with Christ, because you die spiritually and are made anew in Him once that relationship has begun. Sure, there are other factors that are important, like remaining in community and fellowship (a common outlet of such is church), and as noted earlier, obeying God’s commands as a sign of love (commands like denying your sinful desires of lust, gluttony, greed, pride, selfishness, and hatred).
I’d like to add a small note regarding homosexuality here, given that today (well, really yesterday) was the recognition of the homosexual kids who killed themselves because they were bullied for being gay. As a follower of Christ, I believe that homosexuality is a sin, just as adultery is, or lusting over someone who is not your spouse (commonly done via pornography).
A lot of homosexuals will commonly refer to the Leviticus laws to compare how outdated the Bible’s rules are, like the one about not cutting one’s hair, or shaving the corners of one’s beard, or not wearing mixed-fabric clothing. What they conveniently ignore are the numerous New Testament references that include the idea that those who indulge in homosexuality will not inherit the kingdom of God. That is HUGE, and needs to be addressed. I will say that I think there is evidence that could indicate homosexual orientation could be influenced by biological factors. I will caveat this by saying, though, that the Bible, as well as common history, has proven that micro-evolution (the idea that organisms change within species) can change the norm of life.
Romans 1 says that God allowed the darkening of minds of men. I believe that sin, which was not part of the original plan, changed the way humans develop. I have actually written a paper on this very subject that I may upload some time just for clarity’s sake, but for now, let me summarize this run-on point by saying that while homosexuality may not be a choice per se, it is still something a true follower of Christ needs to change. Jesus’ name is powerful, as is the Man behind it, and it would be insulting to suggest that God Himself could not redirect sexual drives and desires that He made!
NOTE: I do not condone violence or discrimination of ANY kind against homosexuals, let alone anyone in general. While I do not support homosexuality in itself, I support homosexuals as human beings and as brothers and sisters. Hate the sin, not the sinner.
That’s really it, I suppose. Feel free to ask me to elaborate further, because chances are that I clearly skipped something in my train of thought. I was watching Julia Nunes videos while typing this, so please forgive me for being distracted =).
Love you all,
Purple is so unbecoming of you. I know you do it to support gay rights and such, but really.