Saturday, 30 June 2007

Off Wandering


Off wandering through exotic lands with gorgeous flora and lush greenery - the unfamiliar, sparkling, night-time constellations, making new friends, soaking up the sun... refraining from eating any raw fruit... forcing down malaria medication... sweating buckets...

The Wanderer, yours truly, shall live up to her name and go on a little adventure tomorrow. Namely, I shall head to training camp (boot camp, as my mom dubs it) for the Peru missions trip with VTI. I will be gone until mid-August, so there won't likely be any blog updates until then. But don't forget about me, and be sure to come back and check this place again come the new school year! I'm having some problems with the scant amount we're allowed to take. I have a hunch that I won't be taking many, if any, pleasure items. It's mostly a stage ministry, which means I will be... doing things on a stage. Let you know more about that when I return. Many prayers would be appreciated!

Looking forward to the trip, and looking forward to the return (for I doubtless will be homesick... or people-sick, at any rate)! Many thanks to everyone who has sponsored me!

No awesome Peruvian quotes come to mind, so I'll do the next closest thing: travel. I love Corner Gas.

Brent: Want me to fill it up?
Man: Sure. You know I've never driven across Saskatchewan before.
Brent: Well, you still haven't really. About halfway to go yet.
Man: Sure is flat.
Brent: How do you mean?
Man: You know, flat. Nothing to see.
Brent: What do you mean, like topographically? Hey Hank, this guy says Saskatchewan is flat.
Hank: How do you mean?
Brent: Topographically I guess. He says there's nothin' to see.
Hank: There's lots to see. There's nothin' to block your view.
Brent: There's lots to see. Nothin' to block your view. Like the mountains back there. They're uh... Well, what the h***? I could've sworn there was a big mountain range back there. Juttin' up into the sky all purple and majestic. I must be thinkin' of a postcard I saw or somethin'. Hey, it is kinda flat, thanks for pointin' that out.
Man: You guys always this sarcastic?
Brent: There's nothin' else to do.

P.S. Sorry I have to miss your birthday, BJ!

Tuesday, 19 June 2007

Peeved With Promotions





I don't usually listen to the radio, either because I don't have the motivation to drown out whatever my sister is playing (with the exception of that one German punk rock song.... ICH WILL!!!***spit spit***), or because I find the radio song choices either distastful or boring. Recently, however, the CD in the van was skipping, so I turned it on to Shine FM, the Christian station here in Alberta. The songs were ok. The commercials, however, sure rubbed me the wrong way.

I understand the need to play commercials, because that's how a radio station makes its money. And I can understand it using promotional tactics aimed toward a more Christian audience than a station, say like Jack or CJ. But when it starts using lines like "Your body is a temple; why pollute it?" to introduce an organic food sale, or "Bring God into your mortgage" to promote a certain lawyer... umm... does anyone else have a problem with that?

God is God, not something to be commercialized! The idea behind these ads is to use God or aspects of the Faith to bring in money to some individual or organization. God as a means toward your own end. Having Christmas so commercialized is bad enough, but now, all of what's holy? This can't be right! Salvation is a gift from God, not a tool to help you sell things. I don't believe the people who made those commercials were trying to be disrespectful, but I'm peeved, nonetheless. What kind of sick, consumer driven culture are we that we dare use the sacred to lure in more customers?

To use a line like "Jesus told us to help the orphans" in a sponsor-the-kid campaign - that I can live with. But a "This product is more godly than this other product, so buy your stuff from me" just doesn't sit well, like the common "I'm a Christian, so it's better to hire me than someone else."

Well then, what about the mass marketing of the Nativity and Passion movies, which I love? While the fact that Hollywood produced them only for a profit is disgruntling, selling a rendition of those stories on DVD is a little different from using God to sell a product that would otherwise be considered "neutral" in terms of Christian/non-Christian standing. Go ahead and sell "Christian" things, but don't cheapen the gift of salvation buy turning it into a promotional tactic.

And now, to entirely reverse the situation, I saw a brochure for a seminary with the slogan "Seminary - your way". Ppft. Please. That's right, forget God, it's only about what I want, apparently.

Because it shows what I'm talking about:
Kodak sells film, but they don't advertise film. They advertise memories.” Theodore Parker

"They sell fruit, but they don't advertise fruit. They advertise Christian living."

Let what is godly speak for itself.

Sunday, 17 June 2007

I've Been Tagged

My friend Emily tagged me on her blog, so now I apparently have no choice but to share seven random facts about me that you might not know. No promises, here. If you already know them, suck it up, sorry.

1. I have a sponsor kid from El Salvador named Ana Vanessa Mariona Gonzalez. She is currently seven years old and an absolute CUTIE!

2. I shop like a guy, apparently: find it, buy it. Very little comparing prices or window shopping for me. And it's definitely not something I'll ever make a hobby out of!

3. I am creating my own language which is, for lack of a better name, currently called Rhunic. See my sidebar, where I give a few example phrases. It's got its own form of artistic writing, too.

4. I enjoy playing Texas Hold 'Em (although I've never used real money...)

5. I am thinking of maybe, perhaps, just possibly getting into psychology for a formal career.

6. I'm not symmetrical. The right side of me is higher than my left; don't know how, whether it's my legs or shoulders or what, but I'm crooked, apparently. I can't tell, but the people at dance noticed it several times. Just ask my friend Sarah over at The Greenwood Musings. It's weird, really.

7. My little brother played me at chess and beat me the first game in four turns. The second game took him all of five.

Now I tag seven people? Sheesh, I don't know if seven people read this. But then again, it streams onto my Facebook account, so maybe they'll respond: favourite sister Brianna, second-cousin Kristin, college-mate Danielle, good friend Sarah, church friend Robyn, long-lost friend Jaclyn, and little sister's best friend's older sister Mikayla because I know she spends a lot of time on Facebook.

And now, moving on to other things. Work at Timmy's isn't too bad. There was one super-rude old guy who I had to serve last shift, but it was all ok because I found his repeated self-righteous exclamation of "G**, the manners in this place!" rather funny. I have to clean my uniform again, but I'm washing it so frequently that I'm not sure there's enough other stuff in the house to justify another wash load. And I must correct a spelling mistake I've been making: it's cappuccino, not cappucino.

We had an awesome Father's Day. I wrote Dad his card in binary, and we played a whole bunch of games (I didn't win anything), which was tons of fun. And we watched Indiana Jones: Raiders of the Lost Ark. The theology in that movie is hilarious. You'da thunk they'd at least do a little research before saying things like "The Israelites put the broken pieces of the Ten Commandments into the Ark..." and "The Bible tells of it leveling mountains and wasting entire regions," and "Didn't you ever go to Sunday School?" in the same breath. We laughed. And whoever thought that a falling statue would kill every snake in a snake pit? And Indy must have some muscles to be able to shove huge hunks of concrete around like that.

That's all for now. Peru in two weeks! Woot!

A rather random quote today:
My significant other at the moment is myself. That's what happens when you suffer from multipersonality disorder and self-obsession.” Joaquin Phoenix

Monday, 11 June 2007

The Meaning of Christian

Most of you who know me know that occasionally I randomly depart from the topic of conversation and say "I wonder where the phrase ______ came from." Or "I wonder what the etymology of _______ is." It's one of my more obvious quirks.

Today the word in question is Christian, because it means something different to basically everyone.

One site I found makes some interesting claims. Apparently, Christian is derived from the same word as cretin, and the word Christian was used before Jesus by Pagan religions. At any rate, if the site has any truth in it, the word Christian never really held any special meaning, which is kind of nice to know, because I hate to see good words go down the drain.

Whatever it entailed originally, "Christian" now means either everything or nothing. Some usages I've heard recently:
1. Canadian.
2. White, or in particular Anglo-Saxon.
3. Moral, nice person (whatever "moral" now means...)
4. Narrow-minded fundamentalist bigot.
5. Someone who holds some sort of belief about Jesus.
5. Creationist.
6. Someone who believes Jesus saves, but other things do, too.
7. Someone who believe God is all love and no justice.
8. Someone who believes God is all justice and no love.
9. Nazi.
10. Ku Klux Klan member.
11. And the list goes on...

Pretty much, as far as I can tell, "Christian" means anything you want it to except, most of the time, "Satanist" (which I'm sure also has several meanings, some of which might be reconcilable to one or more meanings of Christian). Some people might argue that atheists can't be labelled Christian, but with the whole "moral, nice person" thing going, I don't see why not.

Hmm. So much for being a Christian. What a useless term. It's no wonder why so many Jesus followers in other countries and even people of my own generation are distancing themselves from the word. I, myself, am hesitant to call myself a Christian.

I think it's time we came up with a new word. Any ideas?

You've doubtless heard this quote before:
"We're Christians by faith, not by genre." Tim Foreman

Saturday, 9 June 2007

Coffee Crazy Calgary

Well, my friends, I have come to greatly appreciate the art of writing over the past two/three weeks. As of yet, I still have not recovered my voice, and it is really starting to grind on my nerves. I'm sure everyone at work thinks I always wheeze and croak when I speak. I shall be very very thankful once (or if) my voice ever decides to return to me.

Meanwhile, I have been working eight hour shifts at Tim Hortons for this past week, now. (As an aside, the guy's name was Tim Horton. So shouldn't it be Tim Horton's possessive, not Tim Hortons plural?) They're long shifts, and don't leave me much time for getting everything else done, which is causing a bit of stress, because I have a lot to do before July rolls around! Peru will be awesome... provided I can pull myself together enough to be ready to leave...

Otherwise, Timmy's has been not bad. I brew more pots of coffee in one day than my parents have brewed in their lifetimes combined, and make so many ice cappucinos that I can't help but wonder if the consumption of all that ice is contributing to global warming. My coworkers are for the most part, very congenial. I'm making some friends, although it'd be a lot easier to do if I could actually speak to them. Yesterday I was making all the beverages for the cars that came through the drive-thru. It was pretty fun, actually, keeps me on my toes. But considering the number of Tim Hortons in the city, and the number of other fast-food joints, I didn't expect to be going steady at it for four and a half hours. Where do all those people come from? There are many, many coffee addicts in this city. I mean seriously... it can't be a good thing (except for the coffee houses, of course). I am so glad that my coffee intake is limited to the inhalation of the pleasant aroma, not the ingestion of the vile stuff itself.

So that's just a bit of an update to let you know what I've been up to recently.

"I believe humans get a lot done, not because we're smart, but because we have thumbs so we can make coffee." Flash Rosenberg

"I think if I were a woman I'd wear coffee as a perfume." John Van Druten

Deja Brew: The feeling that you've had this coffee before.

Saturday, 2 June 2007

Eliot vs. Aragorn

T. S. Eliot wrote a poem entitled The Hollow Men. I quote for you here the fifth section:

Here we go round the prickly pear
Prickly pear prickly pear
Here we go round the prickly pear
At five o'clock in the morning.

Between the idea and the reality
Between the motion
And the act
Falls the Shadow
For Thine is the Kingdom

Between the conception
And the creation
Between the emotion
And the response
Falls the Shadow
Life is very long

Between the desire
And the spasm
Between the potency
And the existence
Between the essence
And the descent
Falls the Shadow
For Thine is the Kingdom

For Thine is
Life is
For Thine is the

This is the way the world ends
This is the way the world ends
This is the way the world ends
Not with a bang but a whimper.

----------------------------------

Honestly? One part of me, the dramatic part, shivers with glee at something so tragic and, well, because I'm too lazy to check a thesaurus, dramatic. Taking the children's song like that, and inserting it into something so dark and hopeless.... pretty potent. But the other part of me thinks what?

I think it's sick. Eliot takes the Lord's Prayer, which Christ, Himself, taught us, and rips it apart. Now with hermaneutics and all that, one could say Eliot wasn't trying to make any point at all, and that this can be interpreted any way one likes. I'll reject that ridiculous notion and say that Eliot was trying to say, "Look. In the end, everything flies apart. Even the Supernatural. Everything becomes completely and utterly meaningless. It doesn't even become meaningless with a flourish; it just fades." Accept your fate: a hollow end, if you will, after the title.

If the Lord's Prayer becomes so meaningless you can't even finish it, then what does that entail for the rest of creation?

While it does seem to me a lot of the time that the world is going out with a whimper, not a bang, this poem is just wrong. I'm sorry, it's wrong. God's realm will not fall apart. The Lord's Prayer will never become meaningless. And so there's really no reason to waste any more time entertaining such thoughts, however beautifully they may be written.

It's a wonder that Eliot managed to stay alive long enough to write that. With such hopelessness, I don't understand why more people don't commit suicide. Then again, I suppose death would be meaningless, too, so why bother? Just fade away, like Eliot implies....

OK. Let's go onto to something more cheery. I like Aragorn's speech from Lord of the Rings a little better. It's like it was made as a rebuke for Eliot:

I see in your eyes the same fear that would take the heart of me. The day may come when the courage of Men fails; when we forsake our friends and break all bonds of fellowship; but it is not this day - an hour of wolves and shattered shields, when the Age of Man comes crashing down - but it is not this day!!! This day we fight! By all that you hold dear on this good earth -
I bid you stand! Men of the West!

Except I would make two tiny changes. 1) Replace Men of the West with Men of the Light, and 2) make a note that in my version, Man means followers of the Son of Man.

'Tis all.

P.S. I added two new blog links, so make sure you check them out.