Thursday, June 26, 2008

One Flew Over The Cuckoo's Nest

My good friend Leon gave me his copy of One Flew Over The Cuckoo's Next by Ken Kesey (the book; I have yet to see the movie). I have always been fascinated with insane asylums; drawn by the psychological complexities of the human mind, the horrors of being labeled insane for not fitting the mold of society, and being picked and prodded into compliance.

I'm halfway through, but thoughts part one was nothing short of brilliant. The inconsistent narrator is thrilling. The lines of reality are blurred being seen through the eyes of someone labeled insane. This also lends well to wonderful nougats of magic realism are scattered throughout the book.

There are some very interesting explorations of human dignity, social expectations, laughter, hope, self identity, freedom, and liberation. The ward being completely devoid of laughter and how this correlates to the lack of authentic human life and a lack of hope. Psychological mind games drip from every scene.

One of my favorite quotes is the narrators observation of the protagonist who is able to resist fitting the mold that society tries to force him in.
"I'd think, maybe he truly is something extraordinary. He's what he is, that's it"
And further, in a following paragraph:
"He hadn't let what he looked like run his life one way or the other, any more then he'd let the Combine (read authorities) mill him into fitting where they wanted him to fit"
Why does such an authentic sense of human identity speak so powerfully? And why is an authentic human a source of such hope?

This cause me to to ponder the significance of our selfish bent. What is it that causes us to live a life of masks molded by pride and by self-conscious fears which only leads to destructive caricatures of human beings.

I believe we were creatures made for the worship of One, the One who created humanity in his image. When our worship is centered on God our true identity is released. Are you self-conscious or are you God-conscious?

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Running and Prayer

I stumbled across this post concerning the parallels of running and prayer - thought I would share:
1. You’ve got to do it.

You can read books and articles about it, talk about it, plan it, dream it, write about it, blog about it :) , think about it, imagine it, encourage yourself to do it, but you get no real benefit until you do it.

2. You start with what you have.

Whatever skill, desire, ability, time you have, this is what you have to start using. No use waiting for greater, better days. Beginners are welcome!

3. Your ability increases with use. Desire, skill and time will also increase :) . You need to have the basics of how to do it effectively/efficiently.

4. You become enthusiastic about it by preparing your mind.

5. You benefit from doing it with others, but it is no replacement for practicing alone. It is sometimes easier to break through resistance in a team. All the team benefits by having extra traction and motivation.

6. The reward is both in the journey and at the finish line.

7. It requires discipline. The harder it is to do it, the more important it is that you do it. With prayer, it is important to get in a state of soul and spirit where we talk to the Father. With both running and prayer, we build up our commitment when we stick to the plan. Forming a habit helps very much in the long run. Endurance is built over time.

8. Do it daily.

9. Have a really long one every weekend.

10. Make decisions throughout the day that allow you to invest in it.

11. The beginning and the pace has great influence on the finish. Focus!

12. No pain no gain. It can be hard on self. There is great pleasure in it too.

13. Eliminates toxins. :) …and brings clarity.

14. Dangers are not far away. It may be pride or maybe a snake, you have to watch out. You also want to stay injury-free… by diligently applying good and healthy theory (correct mechanics/stride and sound theology).

15. Watch your diet! What you “internalize” IS GOING TO IMPACT the performance, both long and short term. Carbo/Bible-loading is encouraged before long sessions.

Sunday, June 15, 2008

A Peace Offering, Not a Battle Cry

From the front page the Metro section of The Oregonian on June 12th:
"For the self-professed atheist from Yale, cynicism finally surrendered to curiosity when he watched volunteers from Bridgetown Ministries washing the feet of the homeless on Friday nights beneath the Burnside Bridge.

"It was like he'd seen Bigfoot," Dan Merchant said. "He went, 'Oh, my God: That's what I always thought Christians would look like if they really existed in nature..." (www.oregonlive.com)

Thursday, June 05, 2008

2008 Democratic Primary Popular Vote Tally

Some interesting numbers:

State Obama Clinton
(courtesy of www.usaelectionspolls.com)

I never would have guessed the popular vote was that close!

Wednesday, June 04, 2008

The Prophet LaRouche

Anyone heard of this guy LaRouche?

I wandered over to a table some of his advocates had set up on campus a couple days ago. The discussion was an interesting mental exercise and I was challenged to think about some things with new perspective. For example, the world land bridge is brilliant (but that is mainly because of peak oil).

People take this guys word as if he were a prophet.

Case in point, LaRouche says Obama is going to drop out of the race because his campaign is not based on any substance, he was simply a blow up doll to distract people. (which is interesting, because I know many educated supports of Obama who like him because his campaign IS based on substance, but that is irrelevant to the point).

As a result, his followers are convinced Obama WILL drop out of the race. (Granted this conversation took place on June 2nd, 1 day before Obama received the nomination. Of course, Hilary hasn't conceded...so maybe they know something I don't)

Questions to ponder:

Is there someone in your life that you blindly trust there word?
Simply because a teacher aligns with your beliefs, is that an acceptable and responsible sense of loyalty?

This apprehension that I allude to is partly raised by Paul's lofty warning to teachers:
James 3:1 Not many of you should presume to be teachers, my brothers, because you know that we who teach will be judged more strictly.