Sunday, June 25, 2006

On a lighter note...

I completed my final hotel reservation for my Italy trip this week. What does that mean? It means that all the money I have or ever will have can already be considered "spent."

Two days this week on my way home from work I saw something that made me laugh that special internal laugh I reserve for the supreme ironies (euphemism) and quirks (another euphemism) of American culture.

Wednesday: I saw a sign in front of a pet grooming business that read


Thursday: while waiting at a red light, I saw a whole series of SUVs cross the intersection in front of me and the sole occupant (driver, thank goodness) of each and every one of them was sitting in the exact same crook-necked position, talking on their cell phones.


Relationships 3: Can I please get a translator?

lan·guage: n. A system of signs, symbols, gestures, or rules used in communicating

I tend to think of everything in life as a language. There are the obvious ones like English and Spanish, symbols called letters combined to form words with defined meanings. According to the definition above, printed music would also be a language, used to communicate the exact way a song should be played. Less obvious is that music itself is a language, although less concretely defined: the notes, tempo, volume, texture of the instruments and style of singing are auditory symbols that combine to communicate a message. Art is another example: basic shapes and forms combine with color and texture to tell a story or communicate an emotion. Film is my favorite example, because it combines all of the above with the following language that is the most complex and hardest to learn: body language.

It is the language that every human being is born speaking, that is modified and added to throughout our lives, and the one that often communicates the most about us to those who can understand it. It is also the hardest to learn, because there are almost 7 billion dialects. It's the one that tells a husband that his wife's smile has just invisibly changed from "happy" to "you're going to get it when we get home, just wait." It's also the language that reveals whether "congratulations" is a self-serving platitude or a heartfelt affirmation.

I have always been pretty good at understanding what motivates people in general to do the things they do, and what is probably going through the average person's head in a given situation. But people in general are not people in specific, and my understanding of what exactly is going on in a particular person's head is limited by my knowledge of their particular language. Whether I am dependent on that knowledge by nature or whether I have become so dependent on it because of all the time I have spent thinking about it I don't really know, but when I enter a group of people I don't know, it's like taking a total immersion course in French, German, Mandarin, Russian, and Tagalog all at the same time. This has an understandable effect on the speed at which I develop relationships.

So what brought all this up? I went to lunch a few days ago with a friend I respect very much, and I was surprised to find myself having to struggle to answer his questions with honesty and completeness. That realization forced me to examine why, and while I already knew the answer, it only led to more questions.

I'll start you off with this question: how much does your knowledge of another affect how much access they get to "you?" You know the "you" I mean...the one that's inside feeling guilty about _____ or longing for someone to take you aside and tell you ______ or ask you _____. That "you," not the one that is on the outside talking about TV or laughing Diet Pepsi all over the table because of the joke the guy next to you just made. Who in your life gets access to that "you" and why? Or why not? In my life, the answer is literally nobody, and the why is long habit, or more honestly, fear.

If I don't know somebody well enough to know what they are thinking and what they are going to do with the parts of my self I give them, then it's a lot safer to take care of it myself. This is a natural perspective, but is it a Godly perspective? I haven't completely figured out the answer to that question because I am obviously still struggling with it, but my current answer is "not really." Something I realized a long time ago when I was younger and less stupid that I never really took to heart is that distrust is not just a lack of trust, it's the active belief that the person will fail you, and the rejection of any possibility that they won't. Is it OK to guard yourself from hurt? Yes. Is it OK to use discretion in discussing certain topics with certain people? Yes. But to never be able to let anyone past that wall? I don't think that's the way God intends us to live.

As I stated in my previous posts, not only did God create human beings with needs, he created people to meet them. He created the church, the body of Christ, to be his messengers in this world as well as a source of support, encouragement, fellowship, love and healing for believers. Trust is part of the connective tissue that holds the cells of that body together.

I guess I have something else to work on.

1 Corinthians 13:7
[Love] always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.

Colossians 3:9-10
Do not lie to each other, since you have taken off your old self with its practices and have put on the new self, which is being renewed in knowledge in the image of its Creator.

James 5:16
Therefore confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous man is powerful and effective.

1 Peter 4:8
Above all, love each other deeply, because love covers over a multitude of sins.

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Friday, June 23, 2006


I have been struggling in my walk lately, and I found the preceding quote very encouraging. When I am failing it is easy to imagine God being dissatisfied with my attempts. Even in the midst of my sin, he still loves me as much as ever. He deserves my praise, but is not hurt when I am consumed with my own problems instead, he only calls me to come back. He demands my all, but that doesn't mean he leaves me when I fail to give it.

There is never a barrier between God and me, he has already removed the only one. Amen, and Praise the Lord!

We wait in hope for the LORD;
he is our help and our shield.
In him our hearts rejoice,
for we trust in his holy name.
May your unfailing love rest upon us, O LORD,
even as we put our hope in you.
- Psalm 33:20-22


Thursday, June 8, 2006

أبومصعب الزرقاوي

Overheard in the lunch room today: "It's a good day for the world."

How sad. We are all sinners. All of us have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God. There aren't even any degrees, because it's a binary state. 1 or 0. Either you are a sinner and completely worthy of death and condemnation and Hell, or you are not...and we all are, equally. How sad it is then that there are actually people in this world who wreak such harm on others while they are here that they perhaps make the world a better place for others by dying, and whose death causes others to rejoice in the streets.

Am I glad as well that Abu Musab al-Zarqawi is dead? I suppose, for the sake of those he would have killed. At the same time, I cannot rejoice too much in the death of another man because I cannot forget the fact that a man who by nature was no more or less evil (and no more or less deserving of salvation) than myself has died and is now in Hell. God's grace would have been sufficient for him, just as it is for me. The atonement provided by Jesus' sinless death and resurrection would have covered his sins just as easily as it covers mine.

His death was a victory in the war, and in no other way.

I thank God for the grace, love and mercy he has shown by saving me.


Saturday, June 3, 2006

Graph Theory

This, apparently, is what the HTML for this blog looks like as a graph. This reminds me of my senior math project in college. Try it out yourself.

What do the colors mean?
blue: for links (the A tag)
red: for tables (TABLE, TR and TD tags)
green: for the DIV tag
violet: for images (the IMG tag)
yellow: for forms (FORM, INPUT, TEXTAREA, SELECT and OPTION tags)
orange: for linebreaks and blockquotes (BR, P, and BLOCKQUOTE tags)
black: the HTML tag, the root node
gray: all other tags