Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Monday, July 14, 2008


This entry is inspired by two entries on Ross' blog, a rather recent one touching on steroids and the one that contains the above video.

Also coming to mind right now is the Maya Angelou poem. Might we indeed be greater than we can imagine? I dread living a certain type of life, a pedantic, sort of meaningless existence. I dread the possibility that come judgement day Christ the Prosecutor will call to the stand as his witness, a me that could have been.

"Stanley, what have you done with all that I've given you?"

And what would I say? How would I respond?
"Lord, it's not my fault. The work was too hard. You asked too much. I loved my entertainments too much. I was too afraid that if I tried and failed, then everyone would see!"

It is from this sort of coward soul that I have no doubt many would point to those who are truly great, the Pujols', A-Rod's and Armstrongs in the sporting world and say that they doped and juiced because there's no way anyone can be great without juicing. We can only be at best a Torii Hunter or Richie Sexson. If anyone becomes great they must certainly be cheaters.

And even in Christendom, it sickens me to no end that this same double standard exists. Pastors and missionaries who seem to make huge impacts in the world only do so because they've been called. It's not because they wake up at 5:30 and pray with tears for those that they serve. It's not because they have God on their mind every moment of every day that they can deliver such insight. It must certainly because they're a certain kind of special. Thus, said Bonhoeffer, was the hypocrisy of monasticism. They are holy men and that's what they do. We are not holy, so we don't have to try and live like them.

Of all the people I'm pointing this finger at, I belong at the forefront. Sometimes it's hard to keep pushing. There's a very real soul-weariness that comes with this kind of psycho-emotional expenditure. Giving from your heart means you have less for yourself. But that, I suppose, is what "drive" and "dedication," "commitment" mean.

"Only acts undertaken with commitment have any meaning." -- Mark Twight

Soul! What is it that you are so afraid of? Commit! Dare!

Friday, July 11, 2008

Pursuit, revisited

I don't know what the other blogs I titled "Pursuit" mean. I'm too lazy to look it up. This might be a total non-sequitur. So be it.

The Yankees and Red Sox rivalry was perhaps, destined to have unfolded the way it did. Both had excellent teams in 2003 and the Yankees won the AL Championship Series in what was purely luck. In 2004, the Red Sox fielded an excellent team while the Yankees had degraded by the year's end quite a bit. Inexplicably though, they ran a 3-0 lead in that year's ALCS. However, it was primarily due to Torre's imbecilic management that the Yankees collapsed and handed the Red Sox a free trip to the World Series.

The Red Sox were going to get there one year or another. They had been continually improving their team while the Yankees were mired in expensive mediocrity and skippered by a senile manager. Terry Francona came in having something to prove. Torre was too busy drinking green tea and picking his nose to realize that the game had passed him by.

I heard the Rivalry used as an analogy to compare Rafael Nadal's recent upset. Let me just say this up front. I don't care about tennis. I'm surprised I didn't write out Rafael Federer or Bjorn Nadal something like that. I do know that the two have had a one-sided duel for what seems like years now. I know that Federer's the senior player here by a substantial tennis margin.

With my admittedly poor knowledge, it seems to me that Rafael was destined to win. To be so close of a #2 and to have the advantage of time, it was inevitable that he would win one of these days. That he did so in dramatic fashion is impressive and makes for a terrific story but he hasn't defied the odds. He proved them.

It's like the lottery. If you buy a ticket, the chance that you will win is incredibly small (even with "little bit o' luck" on your side). However the chance that someone out there will win is pretty significant.

Coming out of this painful segment of life I realize that the odds in this particular instance were heavily stacked against me. However, in the long view of life the opposite is true; I am favored to win. Even disregarding issues of sovereignty, providence and divine fiat, the simple theological application of math sacrosanct tells me that I will find someone out there. I'm still young, vital, and possessed of numerous advantages over most of humanity. And what may play into my favor more than anything else is my willingness to risk and make mistakes and then be driven to learn from them.

I look at the vast, lowing herd of bovine humanity and feel an uplifting sense of relief. What must it be like to be amongst their number? What must it be like to hurtle through life senseless and dumb, feeling, never thinking, never comprehending, never considering that they have within their capacity, the ability to make things better? What would life be like if I never took responsibility for my own living?

I don't know. I don't want to know.

I know I'll get there. It's just a matter of time.

Monday, July 7, 2008


Because so much of ordinary life is built on small failures and frustrations,
therapists see among this patient group a great disenchantment. The therapists
cited familiar tropes of the new gilded age: the three-year renovation of a
country house that becomes its own “infrastructure of entrapment,” as one
therapist put it; the man so accustomed to travel by private jet and chauffeur
that he develops a fear of airports and taxis. “It results in a fear of chaos
and vulnerability” Dr. Aidinoff said. -NYTimes

The things we own eventually end up owning us. When I read about issues like these my mind can't help but go back to one of my favorite excerpt of Mark Twight's:

"You ask about security? What you need is uncertainty. What you need is
; something that forces you to reinvent yourself, a whip to
drive you harder."

And what about what Jesus says?

When Jesus had called the Twelve together, he gave them power and authority to
drive out all demons and to cure diseases, and he sent them out to preach the
kingdom of God and to heal the sick. He told them: "Take nothing for the
journey—no staff, no bag, no bread, no money, no extra tunic.
Whatever house you enter, stay there until you leave that town. If people do not welcome you, shake the dust off your feet when you leave their town, as a testimony against them." So they set out and went from village to village, preaching the gospel and
healing people everywhere.

Less is more.

Wednesday, July 2, 2008


Giving God an ultimatum is like being on a bicycle and playing chicken with a train.

I just can't give up the sense that God wants me to put this down. And I can't find it in me to do anything but call his bluff.

What a disaster.