Friday, January 30, 2004

Predestination

My Christian Thought class has just sent me on a new theological mission. In talking about the attributes of God, we discussed His omniscience and how that affects our free will as His creation. A few of the following points were brought up.

If God is omniscience, or all knowing, He knows what we have done, are doing, and will do. At the same time, He has a plan for each of us and for creation as a whole. Yet, can we choose things that will change this plan, or are we bound to eventually choose His plan? And if He truly does give us a completely free choice, does He instead facilitate situations that will compel us choose His plan? Is our will then truly free?

In speaking of God's will for us, we cannot escape the subject of predestination. Some members of the class proposed the theology that God makes us all for a specific purpose in order to accomplish His will. This is a purpose we cannot escape. This theology gives us warm fuzzies if one fulfills this purpose with a good and moral life. However, this must also pertain to all individuals, whether they live for good or evil. For example, if this theology holds true, Judas was created for the purpose of betraying Christ. The Sanhedrin was created for and fulfilled the plan of God in carrying out Christ's crucifixion. Even if they were not created for doing evil, God's plan was carried out by their choosing evil. If this is so, good and evil seem to become relative. The ultimate act for humans on this earth is to fulfill the plan of God, and we do right when we do His will. Was Judas and the Sanhedrin then doing right in fulfilling God's will for their lives by crucifying Christ? Are such individuals blessed or damned for this? One student brought up a verse (that I have yet to verify), that apparently says something to the effect that 'some are created for damnation and some for righteousness'. Is it simply "Sorry, you got the lucky number and have to be the bad guy."?

My apologies if the above makes no sense at all. I am obviously still in the process of thinking these matters through. I realize that this may seem an elementary theology, but it's the first time I've seriously desired a convincing answer. Any insights or opinions would be welcome. Perhaps this is something that our human minds cannot make sense of, but in the event that it's not, I want to know.

(If there are any lengthy opinions, please feel free to e-mail them to me rather than fitting them in the comments box.)

Wednesday, January 28, 2004

Exams

We are now into the first exam week. My dusty memories of apprehensively cramming information into my brain have been quickly revived. They dance into my mind, laughing at my attempts to ignore them. They are like the ubiquitous unwelcome party guest; always inviting themselves and never leaving at the appropriate time.

Monday, January 26, 2004

Experiencing a college student budget

Three bored college girls on a Friday night.

The $1.50 theater.

Movie: Paycheck.

200 ancient and dusty mustard upholstered seats.

Decision that the concessions stand should sell gas masks for the indistinguishable odors.

Numerous couples making out in the back row.

Distinct feeling of being contaminated by hundreds of germs.

Uncontrollable laughter on the way home in restrospect.

The $7.00 theater is suddenly affordable after all.

Saturday, January 24, 2004

Yellow, Orange, and Squiggly lines

I decided to splurge yesterday and went with a friend to a bistro that I had never been to before. All I had heard was that the bistro was "kind of different, but good." My friend told me this with an almost puzzled expression, as if she didn't quite know how to explain, but I decided to try it out anyway.

When we arrived at the bistro and walked in, I suddenly had a feeling that I haven't felt since I've been in Tennessee. It was a delicious feeling of familiarity and relief; the feeling of being home. The bistro which my friend had been termed 'different', was entirely similar to my favorite haunts at home: upbeat, artsy, and very busy. Warm reds, browns, yellows and oranges, tall tables and chairs, the aroma of espresso and fresh bread, and the chatter of the employees behind the counter all blended into a wonderful symphony that played 'Theme and Variations of Home'.

Since then I have wanted to paint the walls of my dorm room yellow and orange and draw big squiggly lines on them. If only it wouldn't cost me $150 in 'damages'.
Nothing

I need to think about nothing. Not necessarily because I would enjoy thinking about nothing, or because there is an inherent value in nothing, but because thinking about nothing will exclude everything I have had to recently think about (and I applaud all you readers who made sense out of that statement).

Thinking about nothing would exclude Biology, multitudes of notes, past conversations, next week's exams, confusing professors, information that friends have shared that I never wanted to know, cultural differences, the absence of good coffee, and the girls down the hall who play R&B at midnight.

Perhaps all I need is better control of my mind, so I only think about what I want. If only my mind was like a box, only containing what I put in when I open the lid. Instead, it seems like a drive-thru service, rapidly taking orders and churning out products at the will of the customers. Maybe that's the one element I'm missing; drive-thru's actually get money for what they produce.

On the other hand, if my mind was like a box, that would defeat the entire purpose of being open minded. And what would be the purpose of thinking if one wasn't open minded?


Sunday, January 18, 2004

Selfishness

I tend to be a very analytical person. I am analytical about life and people in general, but even more so of myself. I pick apart my motivations, my actions, and my ambitions. I do this to better understand myself and my actions, usually for the purpose of changing or explaining myself to others.

As a result of all this analyzing, I know that much of my life is geared towards the benefit of other people. I do not say this to appear self-righteous or overly spiritual, but am merely stating the facts. For example, my career is geared towards education and mentoring, so that others will have opportunities that they may not have otherwise. This career will most likely not make much money, per say, and even though I could have chosen any other career and done very well, educating and helping others is what I love. All this to say that my focus is usually on other people and how I can best help them.

Recently, however, I have discovered a part of my life in which I am inherently selfish. I have also realized that I feel no remorse whatsoever about this selfishness. I also feel no need to justify myself. I have no cause for apology or reform and am quite resolute in my decision to remain this way. I am even willing (though reluctant to) hold to this selfishness though it may hurt another person's feelings.

As I contemplated this, I further realized that my selfishness in this area is something that most people commend and admire. Though selfishness is usually a trait that is condemned and frowned upon, it has now apparently become an asset.

And so I shall continue being selfish.
We sat in a quiet booth in a deserted Dairy Queen, our half finished ice cream pushed to the side in lue of our conversation. The employees cleaned around us in preparation for closing, making just enough noise to be obvious, but not obnoxious. We ignored them, however, too excited and too intent on our conversation to leave.

We spoke of thoughts and ideas within us, things that neither of us had chosen to share with many others. We had kept these thoughts to ourselves not for secretive reasons, but because we knew others would not understand. So rather than share what would not be fully appreciated or understood, we had decided to store away these ideals until the day that they were realized. Tonight, however, she and I had found within the other understanding. We had finally found commonality in another and we rejoiced in it.

Amendment

It seems as though I was mistaken; the slang term 'ghetto' is apparently not exclusive to the South. My apologies to all who do not live in the south and wish to claim 'ghetto' as their own.

Friday, January 16, 2004

Night with the eyes of a horse that trembles in the night,
night with eyes of water in the field asleep
is in your eyes, a horse that trembles
is in your eyes of secret water

Eyes of shadow-water,
eyes of well-water
eyes of dream-water

Silence and solitude,
two little animals moon-led,
drink in your eyes,
drink in those waters.

If you open your eyes,
night opens, doors of musk,
the secret kingdom of the water opens
flowing from the center of night.

And if you close your eyes,
a river fills you from within,
flows forward, darkens you:
night brings its wetness to beaches in your soul.


'Water Night' by Octavio Paz and Muriel Rukeyser. Copyright 1959.

These are the words to a choral piece that I am singing with 'Chorale'. Of course, the words are only half of the piece (the music being the other half), but I find even the words themselves to be fascinating.

Thursday, January 15, 2004

Observation of Southern Slang:

Ghetto: used in reference to anything uncouth, decrepit, stupid, or distasteful. ie. ghetto socks, ghetto dorms, ghetto question, "that's so ghetto."

Interesting.

Tuesday, January 13, 2004

I auditioned for and was accepted into 'Chorale' today.

'Chorale' is one of the tougher Lee University choirs with a limited number of slots to fill. They also happen to sing complicated classical works, instead of the gospel repertoire that seems so prevalent here.

Congratulations to me.

Bubbles

My dismal flickering fluorescent light and yellow cinderblock walls seemed pessimistic to my situation. The metal framed mirror stared at me, blank and indifferent. Not even the face looking back at me from it's reflection was comforting. It was the first time in months that I sincerely wished for a familiar face other than my own.

I was in a complicated mood. Annoyed, frustrated, angry, confused, tired; all of these and more were pushing, arguing, and interrupting each other inside my head. I stood in my dorm room wishing for someone, anyone to stand still so I could punch them. At the same time I wished for that person to listen to me vent, even if they didn't understand, and afterwards hold me and tell me everything would be okay.

I glanced around my room for some type of consolation. Clothes, books, packing paper, and decor were scattered in the disarray of unpacking. I knew there wouldn't be anything amongst the mess to help me, but I still looked, compelled by desperation. Suddenly, ironically, I saw a circular yellow object smiling at me from it's place on the bed. The bubble container's round black eyes and oversized smile looked at me with impudent humor. I didn't want to, but I found myself smiling back at it.

I then blew bubbles, watching the miniature orbs float across my room. They quietly danced through the room and slowly settled to the floor, lingering for a moment before joining the departed souls of all bubbles.

Five minutes later, my problems hadn't changed, but somehow I didn't feel so bad. The dance of the bubbles had distracted the noisy riot inside my head, and my customary optimism was returning. Maybe the next 24 hours wouldn't be so bad after all.

Sunday, January 11, 2004

Fry the Rice

My youngest brother, after eating at a Thai restaurant for the first time:

"Asian food is so complicated. I mean, you look at the menu at 'Fried Rice', and it has 50 ingredients in it! Why can't they just fry the rice?"
Yes, I have arrived, but minus my luggage. Between Atlanta and Chattanooga, my two enormous white boxes were lost. Consequently, I am without clothes, bedding, towels, shoes; in a word, all my stuff.

Unpacking my carry-on took about five minutes. However, I joyfully discovered some essential items that were not included in my boxes. I still have my journal, photos, shampoo and toothbrush.

My world will be okay.
Arrived

Saturday, January 10th.

I have been awake since 3:30 a.m.

Since then I have boarded four flights, flown across the country, and drunk one Starbucks coffee.

It is now 10:00 p.m.

I have arrived at Lee University.

Wednesday, January 07, 2004

El Grito

Eclipse of a scream resounding echoes mountain to mountain.
Rising from the trees is a rainbow.
Darkness over a night of deep blue.
Just like the bows of a viola,
The scream has drawn out the vibrations of the wind and its music.
The people of the caves will now put on their long veils. Ay!

La luna asoma
Slowly the moon appears and the fields are so quickly lost;
In their place you will see the impenetrable paths.
Slowly the moon appears and the sea covers the earth,
The heart is like an island, just an isle in infinity.
No one is eating an orange under the streaming moonlight.
It's now one must eat fruit so green and so ice cold.
Slowly the moon appears and shows its hundred equal faces,
The coin then turns to silver and softly sobs in its pouch.

"Suite" de Lorca by Rautavaara.

Tuesday, January 06, 2004

Advice

Here is a running tab of the advice I've received so far from well meaning people when they hear I'm leaving for college.

"Don't get into trouble." (Me? Never.)

"Don't drink jungle juice." (I don't think I would ever consider doing something that gross.)

"I won't tell you to watch out for guys. That means you'll have to look. Just STAY AWAY FROM THEM." (Is that possible in college?)

"Come back soon." (In this instance, I think 'soon' is an entirely relative term.)

"Stay away from the bad side of town." (Shucks, that's exactly where I was going to go first!)

"Have fun." (I thoroughly intend to do so.)
Rules

I told my sister that I had begun a blog. Her response:

"I'll have to check it to make sure you're following the blogging rules."

Any suggestions as to what rules I should follow? What is a blogging rule, anyway?

Monday, January 05, 2004

Today I'm attempting to fit my entire life into two boxes and one carry-on bag. I've always thought myself to be non-materialistic, but defining non-materialistic by two 22 square inch boxes may be on the extreme side. I could ship everything that doesn't fit, but the cost of shipping is a little higher than a college student can afford. Knick-nacks and the etc.'s of life which I tend to call 'stuff' aren't my problem, it's the normal things: clothes, shoes, stereo, books, and school supplies.

When I was a kid one of my favorite imaginary games was that because of some unforeseen tragedy, I had to pack one bag with all my most needed and precious worldly possessions. I was sustained by raisins and Cheerios, accompanied by my faithful doll, and carried away by my trusty hobby horse. I would then leave home and begin a great and perilous journey that ended in our back woods. The cause of the leaving was always different and not necessarily important, but the one solitary bag was crucial. The bag was proof of my self-sufficiency, and my connection to civilization and beloved formal life. 10 years later, however, I find that my list of most needed and precious possessions is much longer than before.

Oh for the days when everything I wanted fit into one bag.

Saturday, January 03, 2004

This is a test.....the same one everyone uses on their first blog.....DOES IT WORK?????