Monday, October 30, 2006

Who Am I?

Who am I
I am me
How else to explain
My identity
The when and the where
I can answer that plea
But the who, what and why
Is what eludes me
Am I the work that I do
Or the heart I possess
Am I who I am
When I’m strong or a mess
Am I a student
Or teaching the class
Am I a genius
Or am I an ass
Am I what I eat
Or perhaps what I’ve eaten
Am I a victor
For the foes I have beaten.
Perhaps I’m an actor
In need of a stage
Or maybe a bird
Who’s stuck in a cage.
Am I the art
That I make with my hands
Or am I a builder
In need of some plans
Am I judged by my friends
And the company I keep
By aquaintances shallow
Or relationships deep
A husband, a writer,
A poet, a priest
Am I this more
Or am I that least
These words could continue
For a year and a week
And I’d be no closer
To the answers I seek
At the end of the day
In the mirror I see
the answer quite simply
Who am I
I am me

© 2006 by Marty Gordon

The Call: Identity and Cultural Pressure

"Only when we respond to Christ and follow his call do we become our real selves and come to have personalities of our own."*

This statement may be true in a perfect world but, as we all know, this world is less than perfect. I responded to Christ in 1979. It is now 2006 and I know less about my "real self" than I ever have. Part of the reason for this is culture.
Can anyone truly have a personality of their own? Perhaps if dumped on a deserted island and left to develop unhindered by culture...maybe. What I am trying to get at is that no one is untouched by their surroundings. Everyone succumbs, in one way or another, to their environment and culture. And, whether for good or for bad, it shapes us.
Growing up in a Southern Baptist church, I was severely affected by that culture. My ideas about God and faith have their foundations in that denomination. The culture of the 70's that surrounded me during my high school years shaped many things about me that are still within me. College art classes had a particular culture during the 80's that I was a part of. Some of that is still with me today. Attending a Southern Baptist seminary in the early 90's exposed me to a culture that, like it or not, still affects me to this day. Being a minister, first in a Southern Baptist church and then in a non-denominational one, placed me in cultures that, inevitably, would shake my faith to it's core. While in transition from the single life to marriage, I've attended a few churches whose cultures made me more than a little uncomfortable.
As a result of all this and more, I wonder if the quote I have posted can be true. Is it Christ that shapes our "real self" or is it our family or our work environment or is it culture or is it a synchronicity of all those things? I believe it's the latter.
As Christians, Christ is, of course, the ultimate model for us. But we're human beings and we can't help but be affected by what surrounds us. Even the greatest Christians in the world (whoever they may be) can't help but be altered by it. My wife and I once attended a church where people talked and looked and behaved a certain way. Alot of the men and women were becoming little clones of the pastor and his wife. My wife related to me an instance where someone she was shopping with picked out an outfit based on the fact that it looked like something the pastor's wife would wear. This is a severe example but these churches do exist. They are what I call "Stepford Churches."
So, how can we surrender our lives to Christ, follow his call and become our "real selves" without becoming baby Osteens? If you have an answer, comment away. I'm not an Osteen but I still haven't discovered the "call" and my "real self" as of yet. I'm still seeking.

*Source: The Call by Os Guinness

Saturday, October 28, 2006


It's my favorite time of year. It's so nice to not be in the Bible belt where so many folks adhere to the doctrine that Halloween is evil. For me it's a time when adults don't need an excuse to be a kid again. I wish we had more opportunities during the year for that.
Sarah and I will be celebrating in various ways. Today, we are carving pumpkins. Starting last night, we started watching horror movies. We're watching the oldies because Sarah can't handle the gore. It's cool though. The old horror flicks are quite fun.
On Sunday night, I believe we're going to walk the neighborhood and look at the decorations. The picture I have posted is from a yard about 4 blocks away. The Reaper is quite a complex sculpture of metal. He's about 12 feet tall and towers over the corner of the street. I want to go back and get a shot of the Reaper and the giant Scarecrow after dark.
On Tuesday night, we're participating in Trunk or Treat at our church. Sarah and I have adopted a pirate theme and since we work at a theatre, our costumes will be pretty cool. I will post pics from any and all events as long as they turn out okay.
Last year, I wrote a Halloween poem and posted it here. I'm working on another one and hope to post it before Halloween is over.
So, to all you ghosts and ghouls out there...have a happy, happy Halloween!

Monday, October 23, 2006

Doubt vs. Conviction

"Doubt requires more courage than conviction does, and more energy; because conviction is a resting place and doubt is infinite--it is a passionate exercise." - John Patrick Shanley

Sarah and I saw Shanley's play Doubt a few weeks ago but I failed to read the essay in the program. Jeff recently saw the play and quoted the essay on his blog. The quote above really struck a chord in me.
If you've been reading my blog, you know that I've been experiencing a lot of doubt. Doubt about God and what he's up to. Doubt about whether he really does love us all or even if he really exists at all. I don't know that I agree with the quote when it calls doubt courageous. I feel no courage in me these days...only fear. But I do agree with the idea of conviction being a resting place. For years I trudged though this world standing on the Southern Baptist convictions that were so entrenched in me. It was a bit of a resting place for me although there has always been a tinge of doubt residing in my soul. But the last couple of years have been a rocky, roiling turmoil of doubt. A storm at sea with few eyes for a brief respite. Despite all that, I am glad that I am not in a place of resting when it comes to my faith because that would indicate that I feel that I have arrived (as Paul said). Quite the opposite is true of me. I am constantly in a state of learning and also in a constant state of realizing that I know exactly nothing.
So give me the stormy seas of infinite doubt over the rock solid Sabbath of conviction. If, through doubt, I continue to seek answers, then that will encourage growth. That also means that I can expect growing pains. Instead of resisting, perhaps I should embrace this doubt and ride it's everlasting waves. Through doubt, perhaps I will regain my faith and find God again. And if so, let's hope it's a new level of understanding and not the old comfort zones I left behind. Growth hurts like hell but I guess it's time I accepted it.

Harper Lee on Writing

"To be a serious writer requires discipline that is iron fisted. It's sitting down and doing it whether you think you have it in you or not. Everyday. Alone. Without interruption. Contrary to what most people think, there is no glamour to writing. In fact, it's heartbreak most of the time."


Mockingbird: A Portrait of Harper Lee by Charles J. Shields - It was nice to delve into the life of the author of my favorite book. Since Lee is somewhat of a recluse and hasn't granted an interview since a couple of decades ago, culling the information was quite the challenge for the author (which he states in the introduction). The book is an interesting read except for the middle portion where Lee assists Truman Capote with his work on In Cold Blood. At that point, it's tough to tell whether it's a book about Lee or Capote. In all fairness, Capote does play a major part in Lee's life, having grown up together in Monroeville, AL. Later in the book, the author probes the question of why Lee never wrote another book. That question, it seems, doesn't have a solid answer and Lee isn't telling. All in all, this was an enjoyable read which shed, at least, a little light on the life of Harper Lee.
It's interesting to note that where Lee grew up (and lives still) is only a couple of hours away from my hometown of Pensacola, FL. I've been there, shopping at the Vanity Fair Outlet before it closed. It's a shame that I never sought out the courthouse that was the model for the one in To Kill A Mockingbird. Through this book I also found out that the town does a play of the book once a year in the actual courthouse. That would be something to see. Next time I get home, I may have to travel to the sleepy town of Monroeville. Who knows, maybe I'll take my copy of To Kill A Mockingbird in the hopes that I might run into Lee and get an autograph. I could say Boo Radley sent me. I'm sure she never hears that.

Saturday, October 21, 2006

The Call: Eyes of Love

With my new iPod, I've been listening to some music I've let lay dormant for a while. Today I've been listening to Trevor Rabin's Can't Look Away. The lyrics hit me differently today than they did a couple of years ago when I used to listen to this CD all the time. These lyrics certainly reflect my "seeking" mode at the present time. I guess this could be my prayer for the day, week, month, year, infinitum.

Are you searching for an answer?
Are you questioning it all?
I can reach you
But I can't feel you
Are you living in surrender
Or just waiting for a call?

Eyes of love look
Down on me
When you gonna see
Eyes of love send down the key
Will you deliver me

Eyes of Love by Trevor Rabin and Bob Ezrin

Thursday, October 19, 2006

The Call: Leonardo da Vinci

"...da Vinci would have been wiser to concentrate on a few gifts rather than the many that comprised his genius. This lack of focus, they said, was why he 'procrastinated' while others, like Michelangelo, 'produced.' 'Alas,' Pope Leo X exclaimed dismissively of da Vinci, 'this man will never get anything done, for he is thinking about the end before he begins.'"*

I am not putting myself on da Vinci's level but I do relate with this statement. Many times I am cowed to inaction by the many different things I like to do. Most days I'm am uncertain whether to work on a painting or a collage or to write some prose or a story or to start one of the novels I have ideas for or to write a play. I went through a phase where I was writing music and I am a bit glad that has subsided because it was one more thing competing for creation. I also need to find time to practice on the djembe and to start memorizing lines and working on character for the two productions I am in. It would also be great if I could find the time to read these wonderful books that I have piled up everywhere in the house. Let's face it, I enjoy too much stuff: writing, music, art, acting, reading...where will I fit it all in.
Perhaps I should do as I did several years ago and give up television. Granted, Sarah and I are taping everything and watching it at our convenience but still, it eats up some time.
I suppose it's not bad. I could be one of those people that I hear every once in a while say, "I wish I had a hobby."
Here, take one of mine.

*Source: The Call by Os Guinness

iGot an iPod

I got a black Apple 30 GB iPod yesterday...and I love it! I took it to work today and listening to tunes made the time fly. It's going to take me a while to get all my favorite tunes on this thing. It'll hold around 7500 songs. That is, what they call in the industry, a buttload of music!
Of course, it's going to take a few days to really see what this baby can do. (in other words, I gotta learn how to use the thing) Last night while it was going thru it's set up deal, it put a bunch of stuff on the iPod I didn't want and then I couldn't figure out how to get them off. I sorta discovered it by accident. It's all good. I learned enough to get some tunes on there for today. I am now working on importing some of my favorite music.
Man, I wish I'd had one of these when I travelled with the Company. Back then I had a portable CD player and you had to hold it just right so it wouldn't skip. Then I had a CD case that held about 50 CDs because I never know what mood I'm going to be in. This little baby would have saved me so much room.
Sarah makes fun of me for all my "expensive toys" as she likes to call them. Hey! I love music and I gotta have my tunes. She wouldn't say anything if there was one of these things that held all your shoes. The shoePod from Apple.
I love the way my mind works...don't you?

Wednesday, October 18, 2006

The Call: Flow

I found this quote in an interview with a fellow named Benjamin Ady on a site called Conversation at the Edge.
"Dr. Csikszentmihalyi talks about this lovely self forgetful thing that happens called “flow” which is when one’s skill set and the challenges one is facing meet in this lovely synergistic way–like I suppose what totally happens for Lance Armstrong when he is cycling."

I can totally relate. I am still waiting for this to happen to me.

Monday, October 16, 2006

The Glory Bugles

Years ago, a youth minister played a song for me called "If Your Hair's Too Long (There's Sin in Your Heart). At the time I had long hair and I thought it was hysterical. I don't know why it crossed my mind today (probably because I'm playing a southern pastor in the Christmas play) but I went online to find it. What I found was this. Make sure you listen to the sound clips. I love the "Hair" song and "Peter's Rooster." There's also some video clips on the video page. The blonde is actually Bonnie Keen who used to sing with First Call. I saw her singing backup for Russ Taff many moons ago.
I also found a video of The Glory Bugles singing live in at a Nashville radio station. View it here.
Come heck or high water, I am going to have to order this CD.

Free Hugs

Saturday, October 14, 2006

The Atheist and the Lutheran

An atheist named Eliza is attending what is called an Adult Information Class at a Lutheran church in Seattle. She is reporting everything that happens here. Check it out. It's good stuff.

Third Place

"The Third Place is a term used in the concept of community building to refer to social surroundings separate from the two usual social environments of home and the workplace."*

Last night, Sarah and I hosted the arts group from church. It was a great time of discussing issues of faith and art and also a great time of fellowship. Last night we discussed truth in art. I was a bit puzzled about where we were going with it but caught on toward the end. I'll work on another post with my thoughts about that later.
After a year and a half being in Seattle, it's great to finally have a third place. (Thanks to Mark for introducing this concept to me on his blog) We seem to really click with these folks and we are so happy about that. It's been a bit lonely out here with so few friends. I think the group of folks that met with us last night will be our core. Art is such a big part of who Sarah and I are that it's nice to be around a bunch of folks who understand that. They came right in to our home, looked at the art on our walls, toured our studio, and understood. They don't think it's weird or strange. They understand because they are artists too. I'm really looking forward to see how these relationships pan out. I really hope it can be a third place for Sarah and I.

*Source: Wikipedia

Monday, October 09, 2006


Tonight was a disappointing night. We all received our cast assignments for A Christmas Carol tonight and the results were less than thrilling. I would be perfectly willing to admit a strong case of envy but I am rather disappointed for some of the other folks in the class as well. In my opinion, poor choices were made in the casting. I was also a little disappointed while doing the read through in that it didn't seem that the instructor was as thoroughly prepared as she should have been.
One thing that I am struggling with is the void in my life where theatrical experiences used to be. Sure, I work for a a custodian. I don't get to act or write or do any of the creative stuff. On the East Coast, at least I had a bit of a network to plug into. Enough people knew me so that, on occasion, I would get to teach at a conference or help with a script or something. Out here, a big, fat nothing. I'm so thankful that I am still being asked to collaborate on scripts for Summersalt in SC. It's one of the highlights of my year. I really miss what used to fill that theatrical void in my life. I really do. And I totally do not know what to do to try and get it back.
So there, I've vented. I've whined without the cheese to go with it. Hopefully, I will feel better tomorrow and I will attempt to have a professional attitude about this and give my best despite my feelings. I really hate theatrical folk who pout and whine and pitch fits and I don't want to be one of those people. So, I beat my head against the wall, curse into the wind, blog, and go about my business.
I hope.

And Now For Something Completely Different...

I bought this postcard at an antique shop in Fremont. It's so groovy! As much as the picture makes me laugh, it's really all about the opposite side for me...the side where the pen meets the paper...where one person reached out to make a connection with another person. There's a story told by each of these old postcards that I'm finding. In this particular case, the Sharon from the photo is the one who sent the postcard. The message reads:
Hi stranger,
Just wanted to keep in touch. We open in N.Y.C. at the Americana on April 19th thru May 8th. Hope to see you. Take care and Happy Easter.
Love, Sharon

The postmark date is April 13, 1976 and it was sent from Gary, Indiana. I am going to create a piece of art from this postcard so look for it to show up on my gallery page in the near future. I'm almost tempted to also write a story about it. There is a story here, a story that begins with questions. How did these guys get started? Why is Sharon the star? Who picked out the wardrobe? Was Sharon romantically linked to any of these guys? Where are they now?
See. If you ever run out of things to write about, pick up a postcard and tell the story.

The Call: Epiphanies of Recruitment

"An epiphany of recruitment is a significant experience, often remembered and sometimes repressed. It is not mere sentimental reaction or the product of emotional manipulation. The experience is often interpreted as an invitation to see things differently, to live a different kind of life, to embrace one's unique vocation. The event that gives rise to these experiences are ordinary enough. They are, more often than not, described as no big deal.
That's what Martha said when she talked about her visit to an orphanage with some friends. It was no big deal; she didn't know why she always cried when she spoke about it. All that happened was that she was introduced to a young boy from the orphanage and spent several hours with him. They really hit it off. After an hour or so of exchanging pleasantries, and playing with toys, the little boy suddenly turned his face toward Martha's and asked, as if he were asking if she'd ever walked on the moon, 'Martha, do you have a daddy?'
Martha's tears were not only for the young boy, of course. She was crying for herself as well, and she knew it. The memory of this encounter stayed with her, seemed to invite her to a different kind of life. Still, Martha had no idea what to with her invitation. Things as they were at the moment, all in all, just didn't seem to allow much of a response."

Source: Forgetting Ourselves on Purpose: Vocation and the Ethics of Ambition by Brian J. Mahan.

The Call: A Comment

Sorry about all of the "Call" titles. It's the only way I know to keep it straight.
I received a comment from the teacher of our Sunday morning class and I want to address the questions he asks.
"Thanks for the story, Marty. I'm so interested to hear how you received your call. I know the grad school rejections and the affirmations of people around you and the experience of the Creative Ministries Festival were all a part of it, but I'm wondering about the thoughts and emotional impressions that ran through your mind in the decision making process. While I don't want to just say "there was a reason" (I have own my own desert wanderings that lead me to say "I wish I had known"), the faith is that all things work together for good. And just for the fun of it, what does the call look like for you now?"

I should have known that someone was going to throw that "all things work together for good" thing in my face. The truth of the matter is, I agree with him. I don't doubt that the call was legit. My doubt comes in the manner in which it was carried out. Perhaps the journey I took was the right course of action for me. Perhaps not. Regardless, I am a better man today for the experiences I had yesterday. Of that I have no doubt. It's become a cliche but "That which does not kill you makes you stronger," is as true as it's ever been.

Now, on to the "thoughts and emotional impressions" I had while dealing with the call. I'm unsure how to address this. It was a long time ago and I am such a different person now than I was then. As far as thoughts go, I think it all made sense to me but on an emotional level, fear reigned supreme. Fear of the unknown, fear of failure, fear of change, fear of being uncomfortable, fear and fear itself. I also remember anger. I was angry at God for not allowing me to continue to pursue my dream of becoming an artist. One of my friends in SC always referred to his call as "when God ruined my life." When I heard him say that, a little voice inside of me said, "YES!" God took me off the course I had chosen for my life and set me on a path that was so foreign to me. Or perhaps he called with a different path in mind and the council of man, along with my naive decisions, set me on the wrong path. I don't know. In thinking about all this, I feel like I'm watching a time-travel movie and I'm trying to keep all of the timelines straight in my head. I think my eyes just went cross.

Now, on to the easier question: What does the call look like for me now? Well, I think it may still exist but, if it does, it is very, very weak. Is it a weak call from God? Probably not. It's more that I'm not listening like I used to. I haven't really been speaking to him much over the past couple of years. I'm a bit angry at him. You see, he extended the call and I answered and what resulted was years of depression and heartache. I just couldn't understand why he would set me up to fail and it made me angry. If he is God, he could have done something about the injustices that I had to endure...but he didn't. I know this line of thinking could go on and on but I have to get back to the question at hand. Perhaps I'll visit this subject again later.

What does the call look like for me now? Here are the only bits of the answer that I have so far. God may still be calling but I'm not listening or God is not calling anymore. I tend to think he may still be calling because there are weak "epiphanies of recruitment"* happening from time to time. It's not much of an answer but it's the only one I have at the moment.

The Call: Frederick Buechner on Vocation

Why haven't I heard of this guy before!

"It comes from the Latin vocare, to call, and means the work a man is called to by God.
There are all different kinds of voices calling you to all different kinds of work, and the problem is to find out which is the voice of God rather than of Society, say, or the Superego, or Self-Interest.
By and large a good rule for finding out is this. The kind of work God usually calls you to is the kind of work
(a) that you need most to do and
(b) that the world most needs to have done.
If you really get a kick out of your work, you've presumably met requirement (a), but if your work is writing TV deodorant commercials, the chances are you've missed requirement (b). On the other hand, if your work is being a doctor in a leper colony, you have probably met requirement (b), but if most of the time you're bored and depressed by it, the chances are you have not only bypassed (a), but probably aren't helping your patients much either.
Neither the hair shirt nor the soft berth will do. The place God calls you to is the place where your deep gladness and the world's deep hunger meet."

Source: Wishful Thinking: A Theological ABC by Frederick Buechner

Sunday, October 08, 2006

The Call: Misinterpreted or Misguided?

"I had just had my car filled up with gas and enjoyed a marvelously rich conversation with the pump attendant. As I turned the key...a thought suddenly hit me with the force of an avalanche: This man was the first person I had spoken to in a week who was not a church member. I was in danger of being drawn into a religious ghetto.
Urged on all sides to see that, because I had come to faith, my future must lie in the ministry. I had volunteered to work in a well-known church for nine months - and was miserable. To be fair, I admired the pastor and the people and enjoyed much of the work, but it just wasn't me. My passion was to relate my faith to the exciting and exploding secular world of early 1960s Europe, but there was little or no scope for that in ministry. Ten minutes of conversation with a friendly gas pump attendant...and I knew once and for all that I was not cut out to be a minister." - Os Guinness from The Call

Using the wayback machine, let's rewind to the year 1990. I had finished my BFA and had plans to pursue my MFA. My goal was to teach art on the college level while pursuing that elusive dream of being the next "big" artist. At the time, I was also wrestling with the notion that God was calling me into full-time ministry. Now, I never heard of God calling anyone to become a rock star or a millionaire or even the next "big" artist, so I figured if God was calling me, it had to be to full-time ministry. It wasn't the first time I had felt the call either. In the early 80s I felt a similar calling. Other than making a public commitment to that end at a college retreat, the issue was dropped like a hot potato. But, here it was again, rearing it's unwelcome head into my supposedly concrete future.
What happened next is a mish-mash of events that only God and video camera could keep straight. In a nutshell, I was turned down by every grad school I applied for. This, to me, was unbelievable. I was an award-winning student at my school. I won a national competition sponsored by the Binney-Smith Corporation which yielded me $500 worth of art supplies and my name printed in Art in America magazine. Grad schools did not turn down artists of my calibre. But here it was happening to me. In frustration, I moved to Alabama to apply for Auburn University's art school. Surely they wouldn't turn me down. When the time came for me to be admitted, I was turned down flat. In a meeting with one of the faculty, I was told the reason for my rejection was because, "We can't teach you anything." On one hand, that made me feel good but on the other, I basically just wanted someone to give me a studio, a little guidance, and most importantly, that all-powerful piece of paper that said MFA on it. At this point, I didn't know where to turn.
Around this same time, the college minister at my home church must have sensed what I was going through. He actually knew more than I did. He somehow knew that I was receiving a call. He also knew that I had no idea what to do about it. So, he personally took me to Nashville for the Creative Ministries Festival at Two Rivers Baptist Church. At this festival, I caught my first glimpse of artists using their talents for God. I can't describe how I felt. It was amazing. I watched every performance and took every class that I could fit in. I listened to folks lecture about faith and the arts and I felt like I was home. It was at this festival that I first saw "The Company," the drama team that I would eventually spend two years with. I was so inspired by the experience that my college minister/friend and I put together a college Christmas musical in the car on the way back and performed it the next month for our church.
Eventually, I gave in to the call. I remember telling my college minister/friend about it on the way to the beach one day. He smiled and said he knew it was coming. I went forward at church and let it be known that I was surrendering to a call into full-time ministry. People that I had known all my life filed by after the service and hugged my neck and told me that they knew God's hand was on my life. I made plans to go to seminary and by 1992 I was attending Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary.
Now, what has all of this got to do with the quote from Mr. Guinness? Alot. About all I knew was that I wanted to use my artistic talents for the Lord but seminary? God help me. I didn't want to go. With my application, I sent a picture of me with my long hair knowing full well that they wouldn't allow a hippy to attend their fine institution. They did. What I'm trying to say is, I wanted to serve God but I didn't want to go to seminary...but that's what you I did.
There were moments of great joy but they were few and far between. I was miserable there. In fact, I went through an extremely bad bout of depression while I was at seminary. I actually prayed for God to kill me. But I persevered and eventually graduated and continued to serve the Lord as best as I could. There were moments of great joy but, overall, it was a grandly frustrating experience.
My point to all this, and I do have one, is that a call from God does not necessarily mean jumping into full-time ministry. I know that now. I did not know that then. I followed my heart and the well-meant advice of others and did what I thought was right. Perhaps it was the right thing at the time. Perhaps it was not. All I know is that I wish I had experienced an encounter with a gas attendant like Mr. Guinness had. I wish I had experienced a revelation that I was not cut out to be a minister. Or at least a revelation of what exactly it was that God wanted me to do.
Many are called, and perhaps all are, but each call must be interpreted with that individual in mind. Some are cut out for full-time ministry. Others are not. And just because you are not in full-time ministry doesn't mean you can't serve the Lord. I know that now.
I wish I had known that then.

Saturday, October 07, 2006

Hell House as Theatre

You can read the article here but I love this quote and would very much like to see that particular production. It sounds like something the South Park crew would do.
"Mr. Lemon-Strauss, meanwhile, was also in Los Angeles, putting on the Les Freres production of “A Very Merry Unauthorized Children’s Scientology Pageant,” in which the life story of L. Ron Hubbard is related by a cast of children."

Mart Art

Sarah and I went down to a hotel near the airport to meet her aunt and uncle. They are in town for an organ (as in musical instrument) convention. Nice folks. We had a good time with them. We also met Klaus, a man from Germany who makes unique organ lights. He apparently does well because he drives a Lotus and has a summer house in Tuscany. Well, it's tough to play well in the dark so...good for you, Klaus!
When we got home, I had received a couple of checks in the mail. Seems I sold some artwork at the gallery in the market. The two pieces that sold were ones that I did not like at all. They just didn't turn out the way I would have liked so I put them down at the gallery hoping for a sell. Maybe I should do some more crappy art. The good stuff doesn't seem to be moving.
Actually that's not true. A friend of mine from back home also sent me a check. She is buying two of my collages. We actually stopped by IKEA on the way to the airport to buy some frames for them. I'll get those put together and in the mail to her as soon as possible.
I'm hoping to put the money aside and save enough for an MP3 player of some kind. I also have my eye on a new djembe so I hope I can keep on selling that art.

Friday, October 06, 2006

Holy Crap!

"So Philip arranged a meeting of both sides at his Marburg castle in 1529 to attempt some kind of agreement on the eucharist. Everyone apart from Luther wanted a compromise, but he managed to wreck it. When told that Christ's human body could not be on earth and in heaven at the same time, he insisted, 'I do not want to hear reason... God is above all mathematics.' 'If he ordered me to eat manure, I would do it.'"

Source: A Short History of Christianity by Stephen Tomkins

Thursday, October 05, 2006

The Devil and Jerry Falwell

"Sen. Hillary Clinton has long been a favorite target for Republicans, so it's no surprise that at a summit this weekend for religious conservatives, the Rev. Jerry Falwell offered up some red meat.
'I hope she's the candidate," Falwell said, 'because nothing will energize my [constituency] like Hillary Clinton.'
He added, "If Lucifer ran, he wouldn't.'"

Things like this either make God sad or laugh his tail off.

Source: ABC News

Tuesday, October 03, 2006

We Be Humbuggin'!

I am taking an acting/performance class on Monday nights. For the next ten weeks, my classmates and I audition, rehearse and perform a one-act play. The play we are doing is an adaptation of A Christmas Carol. It's not my favorite story but I'm sure we'll have fun with it. We auditioned last night and will find out what parts we will be playing next week. I ended up being the only one who attempted an English accent. In talking to our director, I don't think we'll be doing the accents due to the various levels of experience among the class. Bummer! I wanted to throw down on some British speak. I really love playing flamboyant characters with weird voices. Villains are the best. Playing a normal person is so boring. I really don't want to be Scrooge and I don't think I will be. There's a guy in our class who is perfect for him. I think of all the characters, I would really like to play Marley. Perhaps I could play him as Jamaican. You know, Bob Marley. "Hey, Scrooge mon. You gonna be visited by tree spirits, mon. So get wit it, mon."
Okay, maybe not.

Read It and Weep!

"The first book to come off the printing press was the Bible...Ordinary Christians increasingly read for themselves and were puzzled to find no papacy, purgatory or pilgrimages in the Bible."

Source: A Short History of Christianity by Stephen Tomkins

Monday, October 02, 2006


Barry Ween: Boy Genius Volumes 1-4 by Judd Winick - Call it the middle-schooler in me. These rude, crude tales of the smartest kid in the world crack me up. Barry is foul-mouthed, bad-tempered and pretty much saves the world about once a day. Lotsa fun but, like I said, pretty vulgar so if that sort of thing bothers you, stay away!
Dark Days and 30 Days of Night: Return to Barrow by Steve Niles and Ben Templesmith - A continuation of the story begun in 30 Days of Night in which Stella Olemaun continues her fight against the vampires. These books won't win any prizes for writing but as vampire/horror comics go, they're not bad. The art is different stylistically than anything I've ever cared for before but it's starting to grow on me. I like that it is a painterly style rather than your regular black and white inked comics style. It's dark but interesting. I still sense that there are photos under the surface of some of the panels but I'm not sure. Let's face it, if I hadn't checked these out of the library, I probably would never have known about them but they are interesting and I do like a good vampire story every once in a while. Once again, I must warn that these comics are very graphic and violent. Lots of blood and guts. If you don't like that sort of thing, go for the Archie comics. That Jughead. He'll eat anything.

The Call

Sarah and I have started a class at church based on the book The Call by Os Guiness. It's going to be a great class. Yesterday was the beginning and, as our teacher said, we didn't get much accomplished other than muddying the waters so that they can become clearer later. What's cool about the class is that our teacher (or moderator since it's a discussion class) said basically that when he asks a question, he doesn't want to know what we in general think, he wants to know what you, sitting in that chair right there, thinks. How refreshing. This book and class will move us way beyond the shallowness of The Purpose Driven Life. We're going deep! Here are a few quotes from the beginning of the book. I'm sure I'll be sharing many along the way.

"As modern people we are all on a search for significance. We desire to make a difference. We long to leave a legacy. We yearn, as Ralph Waldo Emerson put it, 'to leave the world a bit better.' Our passion is to know that we are fulfilling the purpose for which we are here on earth.
All other standards of success - wealth, power, position, knowledge, friendships - grow tinny and hollow if we do not satisfy this deeper longing. For some people the hollowness leads to what Henry Thoreau described as 'lives of quiet desperation'; for others the emptiness and aimlessness deepen into a stronger despair. In an early draft of Fyodor Dostoevsky's The Brother's Karamazov, the Inquisitor gives a terrifying account of what happens to the human soul when it doubts its purpose: 'For the secret of man's being is not only to live...but to live for something definite. Without a firm notion of what he is living for, man will not accept life and will rather destroy himself than remain on earth...'"

"You can get all A's and still flunk life." - Walker Percy

"The thing is to understand myself, to see what God really wants me to do; the thing is to find a truth which is true for me, to find the idea for which I can live and die." - Soren Kierkegaard

"The trouble is that, as modern people, we have too much to live with and too little to live for. Some feel they have time but not enough money; others feel they have money but not enough time. But for most of us, in the midst of material plenty, we have spiritual poverty."

"Science is meaningless because it gives no answer to our question, the only question important to us, 'what shall we do and how shall we live?'" - Leo Tolstoy

Good Fortune

A Tree Grows in Seattle

Yesterday was an odd day at church. During the morning service, Sarah and I were called forward and presented with a nice, little pine tree for becoming members of the church. That's very nice and all but it was a complete shock to us. We weren't quite ready to put our membership in that church. Here's the story.
We've been visiting that church on and off for a while now. We really like it and a few weeks ago we decided not to visit anymore churches and just hang our hat at this one. We signed up for and attended a membership class which was very informative and fun. We were given a questionnaire of sorts to fill out at our leisure. In it, one of the questions was something like, "Are you interested in becoming a member of this church?" The choices were odd and there was nowhere to check our answer which would have been, "Yes, but not now." So, we checked "Yes" and then wrote in the comments that we would like to just hang out for a bit and get to know the church and it's people. We also wrote that when we were ready to become members, we'd let them know.
Flashforward to yesterday. We get called forward as new members of the church. It was odd. We both felt embarrassed, irritated and perplexed. Our guess is that they didn't read our comments. Now, here's the kicker. We really do like this church alot and have gotten involved in the arts ministry and the Christmas play. Do we say something about this or just leave it alone? I'm fairly certain we would have become members eventually. Part of me wants to just let it go. The other part of me wants to quietly let someone know about it so that it won't happen again. Perhaps they could reword the questionnaire for future classes. I don't know. It's tough. I just know that Sarah and I both would have rather been informed about the presentation for multiple reasons. I think they should let folks know ahead of time. What if we'd not been at church that day? The biggest reason would have been that we could have headed this off at the pass. We both feel a bit cheated. Instead of standing before the church feeling proud of our decision, we were standing there smiling thru gritted teeth going, "What the hell is going on here?"
The last thing in the world we want to do is hurt anybody's feelings or go on a warpath. Like I said before, we really like the church. If we do inform anyone, it will be extremely discreet. What would you do?