Friday, April 26, 2013

why the fascination?

After the bombing at the Boston Marathon, and after any tragedy that involves a human perpetrator, the days after the event are filled with news stories about the accused; the person's life, hobbies, mental health status, goals, and plans. Contrast this to the number of national news stories of some 'natural' or 'accidental' tragedy such as the fertilizer plant explosion in West, Texas. There will be a story or two when they figure out what happened, but nothing to the extent of the psycho-thriller of analyzing the criminal mind. What are we so fascinated with in these cases? Is it that we want to reassure ourselves that we are different from someone who could do something so atrocious? Do we want to justify ourselves? Or are we afraid we might be just as bad? Is it a chance to entertain ideas that we otherwise would not permit? To hear about it from someone else keeps us safe from ourselves?
Perhaps it is any number of combinations of the above. Maybe something else. Maybe because we can learn from that, and the evil represented or enacted by a person seems more manageable than the tragedy perpetrated by nature or neglect of property. The accidents of life are beyond us, and maybe we don't want to dwell so much in them. I don't know for sure, and I suspect there are many varied and complicated reasons behind this. It still bothers me, though, and I feel that something is amiss around it all. Is this the best way to respond to these things? Of course the investigators must do in depth exploration both of the human perpetrators and the natural disasters, but do all of us need all of these details? Then again, maybe it is not so different from the common fascination with celebrities. For many reasons we seek to learn more about the lives of others in ways that I think can be quite invasive but that we perpetuate nonetheless. Humanity is a fascinating collection of creatures, and I think we are as often mysteries to ourselves as we are anything else.

Saturday, April 20, 2013


The darkness is coming
Or is it the future? This forward motion that keeps me turning, twisting, blinking, breathing
hurtling into the unknown.
What is this thing we have stepped into?
Life, sun, flowers, cool breezes; the serenity of peace and comfort of care
snow, shadows, bitter cold, threatening to divorce me from my very soul.
And who are we? Tiny creatures that think we are large
and large creatures that think we are small.
The snow reflects the sun and holds its own light.
The cool breeze becomes a tornado.
I walk along the sidewalk and take these things in, following where it may lead.
Beware the poisonous berries.

Friday, April 5, 2013

what am I talking about?

So, I warn you. I've been thinking about too many things lately to make thinking about any one thing extremely coherent or sound good, but I'm not really interested in starting fights so if I make you mad, go tell someone else. I make me mad, too, and do the same thing, so I only expect the same from you. (equality, see?)
I read an article from a random author (random to me, at least) about seminary education in the US now. Some of it was some valid points, much of it sounded like words of an outsider who doesn't necessarily know what's actually going on on the inside. It also brought up questions to me of the postmodern entitlement culture. Where is the line between our developing conscience as humans (with or without religious or moral compass in the form of God or organized religion) and a selective moral conscience that is actually self-motivated but disguised as something larger.
I feel like I live in the middle of two worlds, eras, and social frameworks (well, at least two). To some level, responsibility seems to have gone out the window as something more than just an arbitrary when I feel like it deal. We want to eat responsibly and live responsibly and be sustainable- when it's convenient and makes me feel good. We want to refuse to eat food that isn't organic and responsibly handled, but do we have a right to then turn away food all the time when we just don't like it, even though people have worked hard to feed us? Back to the seminary metaphor, when one lives on a campus in student housing, eats in the cafeteria, and claims to be called to serve God and the greater community of faith and the world, perhaps we should consider checking some of our entitlement at the door. I by no means advocate for unclean, unhealthy, and abusive or inhumane living situations for anyone. But everything does not have to be new and sparkly. I am all in favor of speaking out for true injustices, true bad stewardship practices, and ways of living that are irresponsible. But is it not also irresponsible to throw away something just because it's a few years old? Is it not also irresponsible to not eat something just because it wasn't prepared exactly the way you wanted? If you don't mind starving, then I have no complaint with you. And maybe this comes out a little starker and harsher than I mean. But really. Can we think about how our actions actually line up with our values? How often do you go buy new clothes? How much alcohol do you consume at your leisure? Are those practices also in line with your food and housing values? Does your life make sense beyond a first world middle or upper class lifestyle? How can we actually think more about these things? I know it's complicated, but I think it's worth the consideration.