obsessions

April 18, 2008

i’d like to say that i’m sorry i haven’t been blogging…but i’m not.  goodness knows probably no one will actually read this since it’s been so long since i have posted anything.

that’s ok.

i have been listening to this song by mutemath – who, by the way i’m totally digging these days.

Everyone has their obsession
consuming thoughts
consuming time
they hold high their prized possession
it defines the meaning of their life

You are mine

They’re our objects of affection
that can mesmerize the soul
there is always one addiction
that just can not be controlled

You are mine

i’d like this song to be about God.  but like most of the people reading this blog…it probably isn’t.  not yet, anyways.  my obsessions tend to fluctuate…so sometimes ‘it is mine’ might be more appropriate…

well…all in good time i suppose…all in good time.

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A New Year’s Resolution

January 8, 2008

It is 2:37 a.m. on Tuesday morning.  I am still awake.  Maybe it was the extra espresso I had in my latte tonight.  Maybe it’s not.  I am an honourary roommate of a girls dorm at Tyndale…so the girls and I went out tonight and had our Christmas gift exchange.  We had fun.

We talked about New Year’s resolutions…which I don’t usually make.  I made a few up on the spot.  But I was interested in the resolution made by one of the roommates, well, it wasn’t a resolution…she called it an aspiration – – to be happy this year.  I think that this is a good idea – to try to be happy.

This resonates with me because I am a people pleaser.  I do things for people to make them happy, regardless of how it makes me feel.  This relates to one of my earlier posts about being emotionally attached to people at times.  I will often to things for people that are inconveniencing and plan silly.  But if it makes them happy…

I would like to abandon my silly on-the-spot resolutions of this eventide and adopt this aspiration with my friend Dani.  And here are a few things I will do to make this happen: evaluate the things I am doing from day to day and decide whether or not they make me happy…my jobs, my extra-curricular activities, my leisure activities, my relationships…I think I will ask the question: are these things really making me want to wake up in the morning rearing and ready to enjoy life?  I think this is a fair question…so I’m going to think about it this week.

One quick note – I don’t think that the happy answer is always the right one.  And it is also worth mentioning that I think Jesus likes happiness.

As a side note…it is pouring outside right now and I think I just heard some thunder!

As well, I had a very nice Christmas with my family in Acton and a very enjoyable time in Ottawa with Ian, Lauren and Christopher.  All in all, a very happy Christmas break.  Good day.

hmmm…

December 20, 2007

Well, have to admit I’m a little surprised that all of my talkative readers chose to remain silent on that last one…is it an uncomfortable topic? Or do people just not much to say? I’m gonna keep posting on it…

But for this evening I just wanted to say that a friend of mine, David Kentie, has put out an EP (basically a short cd…5 songs). Why don’t you take a little visit and see what you think…it’s pretty emo, but I’m betting some of you probably would dig it. I especially recommend, just from a few listens, #2 and #5…I’m currently listening to saturnalia even now as I’m typing…

Let me know what you think (and let him know what you think also!)…

http://www.myspace.com/davidkentie

Happy advent…

being attached…

December 14, 2007

So everyone knows I’m single. It’s actually quite the topic of conversation in most of my areas of influence…especially at Immanuel where I teach and at Wesley Chapel where I work as the music director. Boy if I had a toonie for every time someone tried to set me up with their daughter or granddaughter…

But while I’m single, I would say that it is also true that I’m attached. I’ve been thinking about this a lot lately. I’m finding that I have friendships which are so close that they have been providing me with physical closeness, emotional stability and a general sense of knowing that while my culture (church culture) views singleness as being a deficiency of sorts, I am not really all that alone…

Let me give you an example. My friends Jeff and Lori – who are married and just had their first child – are very close friends to me. They know the inner workings of my life like few people do…and I know who they are as real people. This is a very healthy attachment.

But what happens when single people get too attached to people they are not dating? What happens when we become too close for comfort…so to speak? Well, any number of things can happen I suppose. People can take just about anything too far. But the thing that I’m most interested in is emotional attachment. This is simply because I find that this is the area of my life which is profoundly susceptible to over-attachment. I’m not sure if it is because I am an artist but I am an emotional being. It could be somewhat genetic…my mom is very emotional too…as are my sisters. My dad – – a little less but still a softy.

So what is over-attachment? Is it different for someone who is married? Is there such thing as healthy extreme-attachment (I’m thinking here about people who stay single their whole life and have constant friends with whom they are extremely close)?

I want this to be a multi-post project, so let me just say that I think that an unhealthy attachment is anything which is not mutual and mostly equal. So, for example, if someone has a friend with whom they are close and one begins to invest more in the friendship than the other, it will, eventually become unhealthy. That has nothing to say about the quality of the friendship…both could have been seeking a very legitimate and mutually honouring friendship, but it has become unbalanced.

I would like to start having discussion about what emotionally healthy friendships look like. I admit that I over-invest in friendships at times – – maybe because I value them so much – – and as a result end up being hurt by people I love (and who I expect probably love me). I need to learn how to express my deep commitment to friendship without always putting myself out there to get hurt. Any ideas?

I’m gonna let Steven Curtis talk tonight. He is a great song writer in my opinion…and a great guitar player. These words have been repeating themselves over and over in my head for almost a week now…

I’m finding life to be very artsy these days…lots of ups…lots of downs. The ups are bigger ups than usual and the downs are bigger downs than usual. And the busyness of life is probably only contributing to my pendulum-like experience. Jay Penney has given me some good advice this week on how I can use my time in a more healthy way…now to try and do something good with it. Have a read – maybe you can relate.

And the pain falls like a curtain
On the things I once called certain
And I have to say the words I fear the most
I just don’t know…
And the questions without answers
Come and paralyze the dancers
So I stand here on the stage afraid to move – afraid to fall
Oh but fall I must on this truth that my life has been formed from the dust..

God is God and I am not
I can only see a part of the picture he’s painting
God is God and I am man
So I’ll never understand it all for only God is God

And the sky begins to thunder
And I’m filled with awe and wonder
‘Til the only buring question that remains is
Who am I…
Can I form a single mountain
Take the stars in hand an count them
Can I even take a breath without God giving it to me
He is first and last before all that has been, beyond all that will pass

Oh how great are the riches of his wisdom and knowledge – how unsearchable
For to him and through him and from him are all things…
So let us worship before the thone of the one who is worthy of worship alone

You could also watch this video if you like…it even comes with naturey pictures and words at the bottom so you can sing along…

Integrity…part II

November 22, 2007

So the more I think about it, the more I suspect that there are three fundamental parts to developing a life of integrity.  The first is espousing a belief about something…anything really.  I believe that snow days are fun (today just happens to be one for me here in t-dot).  If we don’t believe in anything then I think the quest for integrity is a silly notion.  Though…I think that it would be nearly impossible for someone to believe in nothing…I guess even that would be a belief of sorts.

The second part is acting out on this belief in a way that aligns oneself with it.  This morning I sent a Facebook message to several of my friends and requested an impromptu breakfast party.  Now that may, or may not, actually happen (depending on whether or not any of these people care to get out of bed and whether or not they have class).  But I am most certainly interested in using my new found morning to engage in fun activities – – like blogging.

The third part is really being upfront with people about what our belief is so that they can see that our actions and beliefs are consistent.  I think it is an accountability of sorts.  But this is the category where we usually find ourselves in trouble – I think so anyways.  Let me explain why:

I think that people, in general, espouse the beliefs of their families and friends.  One’s social setting is the framework for their system of belief.  And depending on the situation, it can be easy to hold an opposing view…or quite difficult.  So what ends up happening in tight knit communities, where individual thinking is not overly encouraged, is that people end up asserting things they really don’t believe – OR they end up acting in ways which wouldn’t match their assertions.  Either way, one of the first two principals is violated and our integrity in turn.

But this is most complicated and disturbing because it comes down to people being scared of letting people see their true beliefs and actions.  It is a deficiency in community, really.  People don’t want to feel judged, slighted or marginalized for ‘straying from the right path’ and so they simply sacrifice something to keep up appearances.  The pressures of ‘fitting in’ or ‘doing the right thing’ are too much for people sometimes and they end up feeling guilt even to the point of throwing in the towel.

Why do we, as Christians, feel that it is so important for people to live out our standards with such perfection?  Why do we preach a message of acceptance and forgiveness to the unbeliever and then drop the ax on someone who is already in the church?  It has done a great disservice to the Body of Christ – making us scared to think and act; to change and adapt…and has turned us into moralistic, sadistic, conformers…people who atone for our own sin by berating others.

I hope and pray that we can become people who are willing to work at developing and knowing what we believe to the point that we are willing to assert and live what we believe unashamedly.  Then I think we will be the kind of people that can show empathy and mercy; love and forgiveness to others.

thoughts on integrity…

November 16, 2007

I’ve doing some thinking on the topic of integrity.  I think I’ve always had the wrong impression of what integrity is.  I have viewed integrity as a good perception of something – with me as the judge of whether or not someone has it.  For instance, I would see a persons actions and if they resonated with me as being right-actions I would say that they are a person of integrity…almost the same as being morally or ethically right in my opinion.

But I’ve come to understand, over these last few months, that another person’s integrity has little to do with what I think is right…and everything to do with checking to see if that person’s actions match what they actually believe.  This can be tricky…what if a person gives off the perception of believing something and then they seem to be a person of integrity when in fact they are not really being upfront or honest.  So – I think that integrity is sometimes, or most of the time, hard to judge in other people and only at that point when you really know someone well and develop a trust relationship with them can one really make this sort of decision.

It is much easier to judge integrity within one’s self.  Determining whether or not your own actions are in line with your fundamental beliefs is much simpler…at least for a person who can be honest with herself.

So – I’m wondering if being a person of integrity is more important because of the people that will measure your actions and classify you as good or bad; or more important because it gives you the ability to know that you are a genuine person yourself.  No doubt it is important to interact with people in a way that will earn their trust…but more and more these days I am considering that the arduous task of trying to get people to think I have integrity is more fuss than it is really worth…and often comes down to telling people what they want to hear.

Let’s talk about integrity…genuine living…”practicing what we preach”…so to speak.

on a side note…

November 6, 2007

Taking a quick break from the heavy conversation, I thought I should mention that I went to the Toronto Sinfonietta on Saturday night.  Maestro Lai was conducting…always a treat.  On the program – several Mozart Arias (performed by an extremely spunky Soprano), a JS Bach Flute concerto…well performed but a little boring, and the highlight of the evening: Schubert’s 5th.  Anyone who has seen the classic movie “Beethoven” will remember one of the themes well…do de do do dooooo, do de do do dooooo, do de do do dooooo, do de da de, do de do do dooooo…etc.  Ironic that it would be one of the major themes in a movie with such a title…anyways it was performed well.

“The Fifth Symphony, in B-flat, though written in the same year as the Tragic (September-October, 1816) is generally superior to the latter, and evinces such an advance in freedom and power of original expression that it may be accepted as the actual beginning of Schubert’s significant symphonic career. While it frankly adopts and sustains the simple, comparatively primitive style of Haydn, or, more correctly, of Mozart, it possesses an attractive physiognomy of its own; and it is permeated with the buoyant, joyous spirit of this amazingly gifted spendthrift of spontaneous melody. The score is that of the small orchestra of former days, comprising one flute, two each of oboes, bassoons, horns, and the quintet of strings—but no clarinets, no drums, and no trumpets throughout. This reduction of the instrumental apparatus augments the brightness and lucidity of the charming music.” – Chris Frigon

I would recommend it – beautiful melodies, warm harmony and, overall, a relaxing and easy listen.

It was a nice evening on the town.  Now I want to go to the TSO…anyone interested in a having a lovely, cultured evening?

life as a house

October 31, 2007

I was thinking this morning about my life. I think it is like a house…well maybe all of our lives are like houses. This actually presents some problems. Recently, I have been thinking a lot about what I believe in life and why. This leads me down the difficult road of evaluating things that probably should just be left alone. I think that our foundations in life are made from the values and world view we are given as children. The frame work – broad principles and day to day decisions – are based on that. Then, we spend the rest of our lives decorating and refurbishing and enjoying our nice house.

The problem is this: what happens when you start to ask questions whose answers are deeply rooted in foundation? Diving into these depths can cause all sorts of inconvenience, lead to stressful complications and then leave us feeling like the life we built up around us is based on a faulty premise or unstable assumption. The renovation potentially could effect the whole house!

The question is: is it worth asking the kind of questions which can do this sort of damage and send us into this type of disarray? I’d like to think so – – but I often wonder if other people do engage in this sometimes difficult process. Do I go for it? Or do I close my eyes and ask God to send the Haitian man from Heroes to come and place his hands on my head to erase whatever made me consider such an endeavour in the first place?

a sad tribute…

October 26, 2007

I was somewhat shocked today to discover that one of my co-counselors from Roblin Lake Camp (1999), Jon Bradbury, passed away on Tuesday from double pneumonia. I heard that Jon was sick but I had no idea that it was so serious. I only found out because of a facebook prayer group I happened upon. Jon’s older brother, Justin, was a supervisor to me at one point at Roblin Lake – – and is working out west with the Salvation Army. Jon’s parents are also pastors in the Salvation Army. This picture is perfect because it is exactly how I remember Jon – – it was taken the summer we co-counseled. While I was only close with Jon for one summer, his sudden and unexpected passing has caused great sadness.  My heart is hurt.

Jon was almost always laughing with (or at) someone…for some reason.  He was such a fun person to spend time with that summer.  Jon and I would take turns singing the kids in our cabin to sleep with his trusty guitar.  He had far more patience with this than I did.  He was usually smiling…and he spent his fair share of time engaging in heart-to-hearts with just about whoever needed one.  Jon will be gravely missed by those people whose lives he has touched over his short life.

jon.jpg

Good bye Jon.