Saturday, April 27, 2013

28 Lingering Fragrances of 2012

 But thanks be to God, who always leads us in triumph in Christ, and manifests through us the sweet aroma of the knowledge of Him in every place. 2 Corinthains 2:14

Since we are far far past the date of this sort of entry being respectable, I'll limit myself to one sentence an item. For posterity's sad sad sake. Here are the experiences from the arts I'll keep with me hopefully in perpetuity (or at least, remember them when I look back upon this blog entry. 

28) Cloud Atlas novel and film
novel by David Mitchell
film directed by the Wachowskis and Tom Tykwer 
At least they tried dammit... at least they did that.

27) Hanna film
directed by Joe Wright
There was a magical flare to the film that I can't quite put my descriptor-finger on.

26) Breakfast of Champions novel
by Kurt Vonnegut
The interaction of the author with his fictional characters brought out the champion in me!

25) American Psycho novel
by Brett Easton Ellis 
The book starts out with the quote from The Divine Comedy, "Abandon all hope ye who enter here." I should have listened.

24) Nantes song
by Beirut
The song's cascading chorus played on repeat is my personal Bolero.

23) Prometheus film
directed by Ridley Scott
This was Lovecraftian philosophy played out as an interstellar, bloody opera. I loved it. 

22) The Hunter film
directed by Daniel Nettheim
The whole film was worth the one, existentially mutilating shot in the 3rd act. 

21) Christmas Unicorn song
by Sufjan Stevens
All the madness of Christmas; the tradition, commercialism, Christ-centeredness, familialness, etc wrapped into one bombastic Sufjan song. Joy to the World!!!
Free Download here!!>>

20) Jonathan Strange and Mr. Norrell novel
by Susanna Clarke
They're magicians, but they're cultured too!

19) Double Rainbow Song song
A man needs to be awed once and awhile.

18) Logical Insanity on Hardcore History podcast
by Dan Carlin
"History is the autobiography of a madman."
Free download here>>

17) Blood Meridian novel
by Cormac McCarthy
90% of the book left me confused, but then the focus pulls in on our mysterious "Judge" who relishes his role as war incarnate. 

16) Moneyball film
directed by Bennett Miller
An underdog story, giving even the weariest of small market baseball fans, such as my own masochistic Padres love, hope. 

15) Scrubs tv show
created by Bill Lawrence
I was reticent to dip into the lengthy series with Danae, but when I did, I discovered a wealth of highly communicative, intriguing characters lodged in Sacred Heart hospital.

14) The Mind of Bobby Fischer person
Seize the game. 
Read my rantings about the crazy genius here:

13) The Silmarillion novel
by J.R.R. Tolkien
I never had any interest in mythology until Mr. Tolkien awakened a hope within me >> that all myth comes from a common, truthful ancestry. 

12) The Works of Andrew Kevin Walker person
We all have our own unique gifts:

11) Les Miserables film
directed by Tom Hooper
My musical obsession as a child made its way onto the screen only to moderately disappoint me. It did, nevertheless, remind me and silence me into recalling how desperately we all hunger for redemption.

10) Community tv show
created by Dan Harmon
I became a fanboy of the show in 2012, releasing a childlike wonder wherein I come to believe that anything is possible when sitting at seven-seated table. 

9) The Broom of the System novel
by David Foster Wallace
One way to revenge your fate is to eat the world entire. Yes, eat.

8) Take Shelter film
directed by Jeff Nichols
Now that I'm married the prospect of mental illness as a vehicle towards transcendence appears more haunting than thrilling.

7) A Heartbreaking Work of Staggering Genius novel/autobiography
by Dave Eggers
Despite the title, I didn't see the ending monologue coming. Color me bushwhacked.

6) Wrath of the Khans on Hardcore History podcast
by Dan Carlin
The story of the little Steppe people that could... conquer the world. 
Download the series for free here>>

5) Leonard Cohen R.I.P. song
by Richard McGraw
So poignant. So soft. So dramatic. Richard plays the existential, religious angst like no one else. 
Free download of the song!! >>

4) Chronicles of Narnia novel series
by C.S. Lewis
Aslan is still perhaps the fullest embodiment of God ever realized.

3) The Grey film
directed by Joe Carnahan
The horror in place here is unescapable, because it's life's horrific reality as the clock ticks. 

2) Watership Down novel
by Richard Adams
I am a full grown man that had to work desperately hard to suppress emotion when those damnable rabbits fade into death at the end of their time. 

1) The Crusades reality, yo!
by life, yo!
2012 was a historic year in my life. It represented a tremendous establishment of the greatest ebenezer I could ever hope to attain of proof of God's love (aside from salvation itself) in the form of my bride. It also was the year that history became something of an obsession for me. That rabbit hole goes so deep. There are great mysteries of awe trapped in time gone by... and the crusades was a great initiation into that hole. 

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Horrible Responsibility #8

This series exists to help me refine my reflections about daily life as I seek:
To worship God and relentlessly seek the expansion of his Kingdom on Earth.


I can be Boxer from animal farm. I can be that horse that works and works and works and when confronted with a new problem simply regards it by saying, "I will work harder." I can be that work horse.

Even more than that, I want to be that work horse. Work me barren, if it is your will. But work me true.

I remember Chesterton's biography of St. Francis. He said by 50, Francis' body just fell apart. He used every bit of it. I can be like that, Father...

But I so often get lost in the fog, in the shuffle. I can't get my bearings straight. It takes so much energy to find my compass. I lose my way. I forget what needs to be done.

I don't know how to be Boxer.

2 Timothy 2:5-6: An athlete is not crowned unless he competes according to the rules. It is the hard-working farmer who ought to have the first share of the crops.

Saturday, April 20, 2013

Horrible Responsibility #7

This series exists to help me refine my reflections about daily life as I seek:
To worship God and relentlessly seek the expansion of his Kingdom on Earth.


I want...

to write about you.
to write about truth.
to discover truth as I write.
to hold onto truth as I write.
to write.
to write truly.
to write wisely.
to write without lying.
to write clearly.
to write something novel.
to write something wholly different.
to write something fun.
to write.
to feel what I'm writing down in words.
to be a good writer.
to be heard by you as I write.
to be awed by where my thoughts as I write lead me.
to have a beginning, middle and end as I write.
to know the story I should write.
to surprise myself as I write.
to know what words you prefer.
to write.
to write about mystery.
to write about a mystery.
to write about a mystery and make it known.
to write about a mystery, make it known, and make it complete.
to write about a mystery of yours, make it known, make it complete, and tell it truly.
to see as I write.
to see truth as I write.

You like words written down, I know that. Why else would you keep a book of life?

Yes, I ask you also, true companion, help these women, who have labored side by side with me in the gospel together with Clement and the rest of my fellow workers, whose names are in the book of life.   -Philippians 4:3

The one who conquers will be clothed thus in white garments, and I will never blot his name out of the book of life. I will confess his name before my Father and before his angels. He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches. -Revelation 3:5-6

And I saw the dead, great and small, standing before the throne, and books were opened. Then another book was opened, which is the book of life. And the dead were judged by what was written in the books, according to what they had done. -Revelation 20:12

Horrible Responsibility #6

This series exists to help me refine my reflections about daily life as I seek:
To worship God and relentlessly seek the expansion of his Kingdom on Earth.


You made the Son one of us. But he is also not. He is fully different. He is fully you. I am, we are, merely made in your image.

This distinction is most apparent because I cannot create. The Son created all things... and he will do so again. He will make all things new. As for me, I can only collect. I collect thoughts, words, actions, ideas, memories, loves, objects, pieces of earth, sights, sounds, hopes... none of these start from me. They merely stay.

You create. I don't. I feel that frustration as I sit in front of my computer looking out onto a sweeping horizon of your created world. The famous men of this world, the ones we remember most, they are the conquerors, they are the men of blood spilt. Is this because they cannot create anything for themselves? The closest we can do to creation is destruction. Is that true?

We have no concept of creation. None. We can't fathom it. We use phrases like "the big bang" to describe something not even close to graspable.

I admit, it sounds nice to create. This love of collecting thoughts you've placed in me, is it the reflected, weaker version of creating? Will I yet see you create something holy new? And if I do see it, will you let me fathom it?

And he who was seated on the throne said, "Behold, I am making all things new." Also he said, "Write this down, for these words are trustworthy and true." And he said to me, "It is done! I am the Alpha and the Omega, the beginning and the end. To the thirsty I will give from the spring of the water of life without payment. The one who conquers will have this heritage, and I will be his God and he will be my son. But as for the cowardly... their portion will be in the lake that burns with fire and sulfur, which is the second death." -Revelation 21:5-8

I am thirsty. How do I conquer?

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Horrible Responsibility #5

This series exists to help me refine my reflections about daily life as I seek:
To worship God and relentlessly seek the expansion of his Kingdom on Earth.


It was told to me that colors are trickier than we think. Is it true that all the earliest manuscripts from every culture has an evolution of annotating the colors they see? Is it true that blue is the latest color to be named in history? How can that be?

If that's true, than colors are all about perspective. And that would also lead me to believe that colors are about ideas. Blue is an idea that can't be seen until it's grasped?

What does this mean?

I think you give a lot of weight to ideas. You've structured this place to be one in which ideas lead us in various game-changing directions. You've brought it forth so far as to place it within the work of your Son as well.

We must believe in Jesus' work on the cross. This is an idea. It's a game-changing idea.

Why are ideas important to you?

Why must I believe in blue?

And his clothes became radiant, intensely white, as no one on earth could bleach them. -Mark 9:3

Horrible Responsibility #4

This series exists to help me refine my reflections about daily life as I seek:
To worship God and relentlessly seek the expansion of his Kingdom on Earth.


Brennan Manning has died. He seemed like a warm soul made rich by your love. But he also seemed like a wrestler. He wanted more and more of you.

How do I wrestle with you? Will you reproach me if I do? Or will you take that as affection?

What sort of questions would you like me to ask you? What questions are you open to answering now?

How do I wrestle with you and still be a peaceful man? Can I wrestle with your Spirit while He's inside of me?

I feel like Job. There's so many questions to ask, not all of them nice, but I fear that I am too lowly for you to answer me. You told Job to brace himself as you knocked him over with an un-answer. I don't know if I could take that sort of answer from you. Yet, I want to dig into you. I want to know more. I want to feel more. Because if I don't, then what am I doing here? If I don't wrap myself up in you, then I am already dying without a purpose.

Only you give me purpose and life. I feel like there's nothing I can do to get closer to you. You have all the cards. You brought me to grace, you dipped my hand in that offering, and you give me as much of you as you want. But perhaps I can wrestle you by yet pleading for your attention.

Look at me. Look at me, Daddy! I can ride my bike with no handlebars. Please.

And Jacob was left alone. And a man wrestled with him until the breaking of the day. -Genesis 32:25

Horrible Responsibility #3

This series exists to help me refine my reflections about daily life as I seek:
To worship God and relentlessly seek the expansion of his Kingdom on Earth.


I heard this story about King Philip II of Spain. I was told his son fell. He went blind. He was sick. It looked like he was going to die. Then Philip prayed to you, he said if you saved his son he would return his thanks by giving you a miracle. The boy woke up cured the next day. And the boy had this dream that a monk visited him telling him he'd be fine. So, Philip went about making his miracle. He had a fifteenth inch automaton of the monk from the dream made. The monk was a wind up figure that repeated prayers, walked, and performed his mechanical rosary when wound up tight. 

Did you heal the boy because of Philip's prayer? Did you like his offering? 

Will we ever get to know answers to questions like that? Will we get to see how you responded to our earthly questions? Will you ever tell us the whys of your answers?

Whether for correction or for his land or for love, he causes it to happen. -Job 37:13

Horrible Responsibility #2

This series exists to help me refine my reflections about daily life as I seek:
To worship God and relentlessly seek the expansion of his Kingdom on Earth.


There are so many animals. They are, to me, unfathomable. I can observe them. I can write down facts about them. I can compare the elephant to the king cobra and the blue whale. But that doesn't make them anymore knowable to me.
I can't know them. I can't understand them. I find myself asking, again and again, what do they know of you? Do they listen to your words? Do they hold secret knowledge in their primitive souls as to who you are? 

I remain fully other from the entirety of the animal kingdom. All reason eventually runs dry. I can but only sit back and be in awe of them; awe of their diversity, of their engenius make-up, of their intrinsic beauty. 

I need to see your face in every mouse I see, in every nutra rat I happen upon. I need to. If I don't do that, than the animals, due to their unrelatableness, become computer programs, diddling about a software that has no real function. 

I need to see you in the pheasant and the cockroach and the buzzard and the amoeba. I need to not miss that opportunity to see your creativity on display. I need to. I need to. 

As for the likeness of the living creatures, their appearance was like burning coals of fire, like the appearance of torches moving to and fro among the living creatures. And the fire was bright, and out of the fire went forth lightning. And the living creatures darted to and fro, like the appearance of a flash of lightning. -Ezekiel 1:13-14

Horrible Responsibility #1

This series exists to help me refine my reflections about daily life as I seek:
To worship God and relentlessly seek the expansion of his Kingdom on Earth.


Genghis Khan's army puts into perspective a 'duh' statement; discipline gets things done. If I claim to seek you out, to love you, to yearn to wrestle with you and grow in faith, hope and perseverance, than I must apply discipline in my life and act responsibly on that premise.

There was a time when the Mongol army decided to wipe away a city full of people. 130,000 souls were to be erased that day by the vengeful steppe people. But this scene takes place in an age long before weapons of mass destruction, before even gun powder came into dominance. The 130,000 needed to be eradicated by hand.

The empire took care of the problem by dividing up the 130,000 by the number of their own army. They may have had around 20,000 men that day, so each Mongol soldier was responsible to take out roughly 12 people. It was that simple. If you didn't take out your 12, you were taken out.

This is an extremely grim example, but it remains an example nonetheless.

To follow you I must take responsibility for what you've given me.

And cast the worthless servant into the outer darkness. In that place there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth. -Matthew 25:30