Saturday, January 31, 2009


(I regret that this is very jumbled... I could easily turn it into a book if I really developed all of these thoughts, but for the moment it is simply an explosion of thoughts.)

Sometimes the most obscure things bring everything else into perfect clarity.

I picked up Real Sex by Lauren Winner this weekend (since I don't have enough half-finished books to read). Along with the general commentary about chastity and sexual purity, one chapter specifically responded to the individualism that is so pervasive in our culture. Though Winner addressed it specifically as regards our attitudes towards sexuality, I began to understand a conflict in my own heart and mind.

It's the paradox of individual liberty and God-ordained community and I see it everywhere.

It's a paradox in the church. A Christian's spiritual life is not complete if he attends church services every week or even perhaps if he is heavily involved with the church body. It is a personal and individual relationship between him and God. However, neither is Christian's spiritual life complete if he is attentive in personal devotions and spiritual growth if he neglects the community around him and the body of believers. Both are entirely necessary, 100% and 100%.

It's a paradox in economics. God created man to have dominion over himself and his property. We are created to be stewards and it is wrong and unjust for the government to interfere with our natural rights and liberties regarding property. However, as stewards we must also look to satisfy the needs of others. We cannot neglect the poor and destitute in our neighborhoods and around the world merely because we have responsibility and rights to seek our own.

It's a paradox in family life. I am an individual with my own ambitions, my own friends, my own pursuits and interests. But I have four sisters and two parents who are committed and connected to me and I to them. I cannot make decisions about what I'll do on a given school break without considering how it might affect them.

And this paradox extends throughout every aspect of life, I think.

You could also say that the church has responded to an increasing sense of individualism in the United States by turning to more liberal economics. Our rationale goes something like, "if Christians aren't giving or helping the poor of their own choice, let the government intervene." Translation: if people aren't choosing to live in community with one another, let the government force us to live in community with one another.

And therein lies the irony-- the selflessness that creates the truly beloved community is sacrificed for artificial and forced community; indeed, true selflessness only comes when we have freedom to choose for ourselves.

I believe the solution or explanation for this paradox comes once again from God's crazy idea to give human beings the right, responsibility, and opportunity to CHOOSE for themselves. We choose whether or not to give to the poor. We CHOOSE whether or not to be wise in how we use our money. We CHOOSE our form of government. We CHOOSE whether to participate in the local church. We CHOOSE whether we study scripture and develop our individual relationships with Christ. CHOICE. It's all about CHOICE--the free will to choose to do what is best.

So in the end, we portion our lives, we decide how something affects us and those around us, we weigh the many factors that contribute to our decisions and evaluate which is most important. What affects me? What affects those around me? God created us individually. We are individuals. God also created us to live in community.

Bastiat said that liberty is faith in God and His works. I think one reason God gave us free will is for our own soul-making, as Dr. David Smith would say. If I, living in a free-market economy, choose to give my money to the poor, that not only benefits them as a socialist economy would (claim to) do, but it benefits me because I become more like Christ in my choice to give. Regarding my family, my parents could certainly demand that I return to Homewood, IL every time we have a school break; instead they allow me to be somewhat autonomous, knowing that should I choose to return home, the the time spent with them even more significant because I made the decision myself.

So this paradox--being created as individuals yet being called to live in community--is resolved by God's big picture purpose. With every opportunity to make an autonomous decision--in political economy, in the church, in one's family--we also have the opportunity to grow more like Christ by the decision we make. To have a decision forced upon us is short-sighted. It sees merely the end and neglects to consider the means. It regards the destination as more important than the journey. In so doing, it also takes for granted God's perfect judgment in how He created us and how He created us to live--individuals woven together in community.

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Good Things, Unexpected (plus the magic futon that makes everything better)

In the past six days:

Thursday - Starbucks and Payne's cinnamon buns at 10:30 pm with Sarah and Kate = great conversations; ran into Lance and Trevor. :)

Friday - 3-hour conversation with Julie and Kayla at dinner regarding everything from economics to intentionality in relationships. Then party at Shaxe's where I met, talked with, and immediately fell in love with the most wonderful Christine and my weekend is already MADE. Slept over on Sarah's futon and went to breakfast/lunch (on Saturday) in pajamas.

Saturday - Good conversation with Caroline. Dinner with Sarah, Kenzie, and Julie, then spontaneous decision to see "Defiance" (excellent, by the way) with T-Babs. Sarah later watched "Water" while at the front desk, an amazing movie that took place in India. (relevant later)

Sunday - Left at 7:45 with Trevor for church at Redeemer in Indy (hit Starbucks on the way down) and loved every second of it. Church was amazing too, and deserves a whole post to itself. Then lunch at Cheesecake factory with Trevor, Lance, and others. Afterwards, excellent and really sketchy conversation with Sarah and Kenzie on the futon which continued into dinner and beyond... The conversation touched on India, hot air balloons, being up against the wall, and beaches. Good conversation later with Caroline.

Monday - ...class... then a 2-hour nap with Sarah on the futon. We both had lots of random dreams, including stuff about India, brushing our teeth, Alison's return, and going to the DC with sleep marks on our faces. Another 2+ hour dinner conversation with Sarah and Kenz, plus Kevin and Paul from Foundation (who also slept for most of the afternoon and had strange dreams.) Mom and I make big plans for the weekend, then *BANG* and Mac Monday + brownies with bros.

Tuesday - Meeting/looking at baby pictures with Donna (mostly looking at baby pictures). Megumi joined half-way through and invited me to join a Bible study with her and Christine. :) ...class... then movie/homework/nap with Sarah on the futon. While I was napping/watching Pride and Prejudice, Sarah had the best wipe-out EVER. We laughed. Caroline called mid-nap to announce that she was accepted to Hillsdale. Booyah. After the movie, we walked through the cold wetness to dinner. At this point, Sarah and I decided to move to India where it DOESN'T SNOW and where we will sleep on a futon for the rest of our lives.

Yet to come - pranking Alison's room to warmly welcome her home...

Monday, January 26, 2009

Criticism, Policy, and Intentions

I heartily enjoy pundits like Rush Limbaugh and all the sort who write for conservative news magazines and blogs, but sometimes they are far too guilty of Ad Hominem attacks.

Is suicide patriotic?

Cliff Thier
I am so excited that Nancy Pelosi (and economist George Stephanopoulo) understands the threat that people are to our way of life.

I look forward to Pelosi's opposition to increased immigration (legal and illegal), tax benefits for families with children, social security for selfish oldsters, and, most importantly, improved access to health care. It's time we confront the danger that population poses to our people.

With Nancy Pelosi as the leader of the Democratic Party in Congress, we can all sleep better at night. That is, so long as we don't close our eyes.

Attacking an argument or proposal or policy is not by any means inappropriate. Certainly, it is more than necessary to criticize and identify what's wrong. But acting as though the arguer is heartless, machine-minded Agent Smith of the Matrix is just not fair. The least we can say for our often misguided politicians is that they are mostly well-intentioned.

I can't deny what Jimmy Needham said: "Good intentions never set a man free." But it's not appropriate to compare elected officials to the utilitarian government of sci-fi movies like Soylent Green.

I used to plan my life to a T, but I found out you can’t plan people and people are the best part of life. So I’ve mostly ditched planning these days.

For the last 9 years of my life, I've spent each day in constant anticipation of what's to come. I look forward to this, schedule that, need to know how something will turn out in the end.

For the last 9 months, I've felt like every day I've been on the brink of something. God has been preparing me for each new day and something marvelous always seemed to be on the horizon.

Today, I'm suddenly struck that waiting is over. I'm done planning my life and constantly waiting for something new to happen.

I'm suddenly struck with the painful thought that after May 23, my life will never be the same as it is in this period of love and learning. Suddenly, I'm afraid once more that I will lose something at the end of the spring semester (though it hasn't even begun yet.)

I was always waiting for something to I'm afraid that I'll lose what I've life really always this unsettling?? Is it constant flux, unending anticipation of change? It seems to demand a patience that I am so unable to procure in myself. I sometimes feel like I can't deal with it. I just want things to stop for a moment and let the world revolve without anything else changing.

And yet...

"Nothing ever really ends but something new doesn't begin. When something ends in our sight, it begins somewhere else where we can't hear it or see it or feel it."

With the threat of things going badly also comes the possibility that they will become even better somehow. (I could make an economics illustration here, but I'll stand against that impulse.)

Anyway, I'm done making plans. What bull! My plans are so pitiful. And then I try to make them come true by my own measures, though that's never miracle enough to be of any good. Forget that trash.

Saturday, January 24, 2009

I Am Learning to Be Apathetic

Is this a bad thing--to let my head take over in all cases? What do I lose but the potential for heartache?

Okay, I'm not really apathetic. Nah, I'm frequently passionate, and about a hundred things. I'm an extremist. It's better to soar in the heights and crash into pain and suffering than never leave the ground. You learn more by struggling and failing, I guess.

And I know this too. I know from experience and from others' experiences. I guess it's hard each realize it all over again.

But seriously, I am shifting or maybe drifting from this in a way. I definitely try to avoid hyper-emotionalism more than maybe I used to. Seems like the more serious issues are the ones when I try to keep to thoughts rather than feelings. (Haha...I suppose that's WAY logical of me.)

Is it a bad thing to seek emotional security over what seems like a more sensitive life? Usually I'd say yes. And economics once again come to mind: quite often, with risk comes reward, but do not create an unnecessary risk...

My thoughts must remain in check, tethered to the Holy Spirit and to wisdom. Now, that doesn't mean I'm safe from suffering. Hell, no. Sometimes my greatest, most intense passions come from thoughts and knowledge than from anything else. I don't need sensation or over-sentimental emotion to be vulnerable and raw and subject to pain.

I admit, I thrive on risks and I'm emboldened when I realize my self-consciousness. Yet despite the certain necessity of vulnerability, it has a rational limit.

Thursday, January 22, 2009

"Let's just make this clear..."

Nothing makes me so frustrated as when people read into things.

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Thomas Sowell said it best...

The Man regarding the inauguration:

"Now that we have the first black President of the United States, maybe we can move ahead to the time when we can forget about 'the first' whatever to do what. There is too much serious work to do to spend more time on that."

Yes, please.

Michelle Malkin said it best...

And Now, Back to Our Regularly Scheduled Spending Orgy

Obama hasn't even gotten started and his spending plan is already one EPIC FAIL under his

Tuesday, January 20, 2009


He fumbled the oath and it was kinda cute. Okay, I'm feeling it now. I'm a little sentimental. My emotionalism is overtaking my rationalism...

until he opened his mouth.

"…because We the People have remained faithful to the ideals of our forbearers, and true to our founding documents." EF - Not. What happened to the independent powers of the states and the limited federal government that the constitution established?

"These are the indicators of crisis, subject to data and statistics. Less measurable but no less profound is a sapping of confidence across our land - a nagging fear that America's decline is inevitable, and that the next generation must lower its sights." EF - Yes, I've said this before. I don't think it's that far off, either. But don't call me a cynic--a realist, man.

"On this day, we come to proclaim an end to the petty grievances and false promises, the recriminations and worn out dogmas, that for far too long have strangled our politics." EF - Oh, yeah, like the abortion issue?

"…the God-given promise that all are equal, all are free, and all deserve a chance to pursue their full measure of happiness." EF - I don't recall where Jesus said that all have equality on this earth in any regard, whether wealth, education, ambition, knowledge, happiness, or sorrow; only that it is fleeting and won't be an issue in God's ultimate reality.

"Rather, it has been the risk-takers, the doers, the makers of things - some celebrated but more often men and women obscure in their labor, who have carried us up the long, rugged path towards prosperity and freedom." EF - These are the ones Obama wants to simultaneously reward and suppress by establishing an economy of "equality."

"...lay a new foundation for growth." Bastiat - Liberty is an act of faith in God and in His work. EF - That is, God already laid the foundation.

"Now, there are some who question the scale of our ambitions - who suggest that our system cannot tolerate too many big plans. Their memories are short. For they have forgotten what this country has already done; what free men and women can achieve when imagination is joined to common purpose, and necessity to courage...
What the cynics fail to understand is that the ground has shifted beneath them - that the stale political arguments that have consumed us for so long no longer apply. The question we ask today is not whether our government is too big or too small, but whether it works - whether it helps families find jobs at a decent wage, care they can afford, a retirement that is dignified. Where the answer is yes, we intend to move forward. Where the answer is no, programs will end." EF - By establishing an economy that does not allow people to act based on natural motivation and incentives, people will be less and less able to react appropriately with new ideas and responses to "necessity and common purpose." It's just not logical to think that the government can take more power and not infringe on the rights, liberties, and autonomy of individuals. As for the accusation of being "cynical," Mr. Obama fails to understand that by allowing people more liberty, you in fact demonstrate your faith in people to do what is right, to govern themselves, and to respond to the needs of others and not need an over-active government to do it.

One thing he was right about: we do need a new era of responsibility. We do have duties, as individuals and as a nation. But it is wrong to confuse the two. The hard thing to acknowledge is that our individual duties extend further than our national duties do. The hard task to attempt comes from our personal responsibility to be wise and compassionate in our actions instead of letting our government take over. God did not give everyday individuals rational minds with the intention that they'd use it once every four years and let their democratically elected executive official take over the rest of the time.

And there's way more to say about this too... hopefully people won't fail to keep discussing it.

Monday, January 19, 2009

Not Solved Yet

All over school, they're telling us to be happy at least for the inauguration of the first black president of the United States.

I'm sorry. I just can't be that simple-minded.

The Obama presidency means different things to different people. What his economic and social policies will be and do remains to be seen, but we can predict closely enough that he will try to usher in a more socialist and broad-reaching government. There's nothing happy in that. But even policy aside...

Everyone keeps trying to tell us that it's such a wonderful thing that the first black president is being inaugurated. It's a "huge milestone" as they say. I just can't see that, though. I don't think there are "huge milestones" in real life, in the big picture of things. There isn't something magical that happens to the nation now that our president comes from a minority ethnicity. Racism isn't going to disappear tomorrow as Obama takes the oath. Lower class schools that are packed to the brim with minority students, most of whom will drop out before they turn 16, will not suddenly improve.

If people really thought about it, they'd realize that the magic equalization of all people won't come from the skin color of the man who works in the Oval Office. If people actually learn about it, they'd also realize that the magic equalization of all people certainly won't come from his socialist economic policies either. But that's what they're expecting.

Now, I will agree that a black president is a good indicator of how far we've come... but it's not some precise mile-marker that says "You've come this far and you have this much left to go!!" Nothing is that simple.

I think the only thing that puts all of us on an equal footing in any sense of the word is, in fact, sin. Not wealth, not rights, not education, not jobs. We are not raised to equal footing, but lowered to it. Only sin separates us all from God. Only sin corrupts our nature and our minds so we are incapable of knowing or learning everything; indeed, the pursuit of what we can never fully attain remains man's ultimate purpose. Only sin throws a wrench into God's perfect system of reason and liberty so that economics, politics, intellectual pursuit, and human relationships will never be (on this earth) what they were designed to be. And sin doesn't discriminate.

Finally, let me emphasize that my biggest concern is that people (white people, especially) will think that they've done something grand and glorious by merely electing a man from a minority to be our president. The road to racial reconciliation doesn't end with the election of one man or with the supposed socio-economic equalization of different races or by having minorities represent a certain percentage of the wealthiest one percent. Damn, no. Reconciliation is an on-going battle in our hearts, minds, neighborhoods, families, classrooms, and schools. No statistic or inauguration will ever tell us that this battle is over because it will last until doomsday.

So when President Barack Obama solemly swears to faithfully execute the office of the President of the United States, and to the best of his ability, preserve, protect and defend the Constitution of the United States...

...don't stop fighting.

Quite Content

In this moment I am content. I am... not HAPPY, per say. Indeed, I have hopes, dreams, desires, and ambitions that are yet unfulfilled. But the state of my spirit does not rest upon emotions. Those change and morph with hormones, chemicals, situations, and people. But my true heart of hearts is at peace, knowing that I don't have to depend on uncertainties. My Father (our Father) is in control.

In this struggle, I am discovering what God wants us to give to each other through friendship. We lift each other up, rejoice in each others' victories, mourn in each others' sorrows, and praise our great God together in all things. We force each other to look to Him. We enhance each others' existences. We build upon the completed foundation and framework that God already put down.

Sunday, January 18, 2009

Not Anti-Oxidants and High School Chemistry

Free Agent.

That's me, that's what I am. I operate independently (to a degree). And it surprises me sometimes. Sometimes I don't even realize it...or maybe I deny it. And as often as not, it frustrates me because it's sure as hell not easy. Yet--

Certain friends speak wisdom into our lives and we don't even realize it until some time later. I've processed and analyzed: "a bold woman." ...Hm. Wow. Strong words. I didn't ever imagine... And at the moment, I only thought, well, bold in your perspective doesn't really reflect or understand the insecurity I hide.

But "bold" doesn't mean you have no insecurity, just as courage isn't the absence of fear. Perhaps it's the strength to overcome that earns the title.

I could write a whole commentary on how this manifests itself in my own life and social culture and the lives of others I see around me... yeah, that's a lot of stuff to say. But at least, I realize that the thing it enables me to do more than anything is to be myself. I don't think everyone sees it like that, whether in me or in others. But it's like that poem I wrote years back. "...take my hand and run."

"He is himself. Love it."

Friday, January 16, 2009


Sometimes I wonder what the HELL I'm doing in media communications. Do I really think I can make it? And if I did, do I really think I could change how people think? Heck, could I even get them to think at all? People go to the movies as a form of escapism. Any message they really take in is subconscious, if at all (it seems). How could you reach people, educate them, challenge them--through something that's hardly more influential than a dream??!

How would I be any different than the radio station that helps faceless, nameless kids through instant messaging? It feeds our neglect of personal, one-on-one relationships. Hell, how do I deal through that when it's what I consider the BANE of our society and civilization??

What would I do if not media? Probably some combo of economics, theology, philosophy, and God knows what else. There's not time enough on the earth to learn what I want to know. That may well be my downfall. (P.S. I'm currently browsing a book about modern youth culture. Why? Because it interests me.)

So what about now? There's not a snowball's chance in hell that I'll drop media com. Not only would that be STUPID at this point, but I'd probably be tortured and burned alive and, hell, probably excommunicated for it. And frick, I don't really want to drop it anyway. I love media and it excites me. But how does it contribute the the fulfillment of my hopes, dreams, and desires? How does media relate to politics, economics, human dignity, theology, the pursuit of knowledge, and the FREAKING HUMAN CONDITION IN GENERAL?? HUH?!? Tell me that, Andrew freaking John Bruner!! (Don't worry--I do love you. :)

Ahem. (expletive) Now I won't fall asleep for hours.