Friday, September 23, 2005

Searching For God Knows What

So, I'm reading this book by Donald Miller. And, I ran across this passage that really stuck out to me. It hit the nail on the head when it comes to the religious teachings of my childhood. Here it is:
If you were immoral, if you danced, drank or cursed, you were made to feel that God no longer liked you. And if you were moral, you were made to feel not one with Christ, but right and good and better than other people. These things were not stated directly, but the environment left me with this impression.

That sums up pretty much how I feel about my Catholic upbringing. I remember being in Cathecism classes and learning about the Sacraments of Baptism, First Communion, Confesssion, Confirmation. But, it felt very much like "You do this because of tradition." To this day, I don't understand why I was Confirmed nor do I understand what it meant. It was pick a Saint's name and declared it, now your confirmed. But confirmed what?

And that is my problem with organized (Christianity) religion. It gets so organized, the organization becomes its purpose rather than helping people develop a relationship with Christ. Not once in my childhood can I remember developing a personal relationship with JC. All I can remember is stuff like eating pizza at Mrs. Breaux's house with other kids who were forced to be there, too. Note, I'm not faulting our parents for "forcing us" to go through these sacraments. But, clearly, at the very least, I missed the point. Perhaps, I was unprepared and/or too immature to get it. I like to think I get it now.

I remember going on a few retreats while in high school. I don't remember volunteering. I doubt that many of us did. But, it was a requirement for Confirmation to go on these retreats. Furthermore, I don't remember any of the lessons we were taught. It was very "Breakfast Club" in that the very next Monday, I was still a brian the jock and the princess didn't associate with, despite the weekend of bonding.

Where am I going with this? I don't think finding one's religion can be forced on anyone, even a child. You CAN raise them to me moral and prepare them to make good, moral choices. But, acting good isn't exactly the same as loving God. A person has to be prepared to accept Christ into their life. They have to be able to make a conscious decision to love and follow Christ. If that decision is forced upon someone, then there's something false about it.

You know, I've started and stopped writting this post a few times over the past week, struggling to find the right words to present my thoughts. Funny, how this same book sums up what I'm trying to say. It says, "It is a trick of Satan to get us to perform religious actions without meaning them." And, that's kinda how I feel about my Confirmation many moons ago. It has no meaning to me today.

I guess what I'm saying is that I'm glad (understatement) I made the conscious decision to follow Christ and, subsequently, be Baptized... um... again.

Tuesday, September 13, 2005

You, too?

Through the storm we reach the shore.
You gave it all but I want more.
And I'm waiting for you.

With or without you
I can't live
With or without

Ross was a fucking idiot to think that song would win Rachel back after their first break.

I haven't really sat down to think about this too hard, so I could be wrong, but I'll say it anyway... Perhaps, "The Joshua Tree" album speaks more about walking on a spiritual journey than it is about love. Or, maybe it's more accurate to say that the character in the songs is trying to find God's love. Fuck if I know...

Monday, September 12, 2005

Songs Sung Blue

Perhaps, I'm getting a little bit blue. Slightly melancholy, I guess. I hit a nerve with myself today. Lately, I've been feeling a little lonely, a little out of touch with people I thought I was in touch with. The show got me 10 kinds of busy and now I'm getting my time back. But, where are the people?

I wonder if they are avoiding me. I wonder what rumors might be flying around the mill. I wonder if rumors that I don't know about are being believed with out the thought of seeing if they are real. I wonder if I'm just out of sight, out of mind. Bear in mind, this is all just random and silly speculation. That's what depression does to your brain - makes you wonder and speculate and think about things happening that have very little chance of happening. In essance, I'm making mountains of a molehill.

Of course, people are just a phone call or email away. But, then I get thinking, "Well, how weird will this phone call be since people and I haven't talked in a while." The call never gets made thanks to doubt.

Don't worry, I'm already pulling out of this funk. I know it's, quite literally, all in my head. I feel like I have to explain a little bit more. I don't really talk about my childhood and growing up because, well, I had it pretty darn good. The thing is, growing up, my mother was (and in many ways, still is) battling deep, deep depression. I'm not going to get into gory details because they are unnecessary and not my story. Just know that she is one of my heroes for pulling herself out.

But, seeing someone you love go through what my mother did... well, I don't want to go through what she did. It was hell for her. And, thanks to genetics, I get to fight it, too. But, at least, I've had a childhood of seeing what depression can do to a person. In that way, I'm thankful to God for preparing me early to fight the blues. And, sure, there's an occassional funk I have to fight, but I've beat it every single time. I guess it's time to send out some emails...

Ok, on to better thoughts...

I wrote these lyrics earlier today. My first Christian Pop song... Well, the beginnings anyway. I forgot how the tune went, but I have the words.

We fell at the fall; Rose at your Ascension.
And now we will call for God, your salvation.
If it wasn't for your grace
We'd be lost without a trace.
We fell at the fall; Rose at the Ascension

***Note- reading over this post, I almost deleted it. But, I decided not to. The point of this blog is to be myself and not censor my thoughts. Once, I start doing that, then I'm not being honest with myself, nor with you.

Wednesday, September 07, 2005

Man in the Mirror

I know that I bitched a moaned a healthy amount when it came to cutting my hair and shaving my goatee for Bye, Bye Birdie. I'm quite the insecure person when it comes to my hairless face. Seems I was cursed with the Plaisance double chin and the beard helped to hide that. Plus my face is extremely round and the facial hair helped define my jawline and elongate my face.

It's been 10 years since I've had short hair and no facial hair at the same time. Once, I shaved my beard while I had long hair. And for a few years, I had hair on my chin and short hair. Until this last show, I was long hair and goatee or beard or some sort of facial hair on my chin. I liked it. It helped me feel better about my looks. It hid and concealed the part of my face I'm very self-conscience about.

When I cut my hair back in early July, it wasn't too bad. I was kinda looking forward to it. It'd been at least a year since my hair was cut. Before moving to Indiana, it wasn't very long, but it was long enough to be quite unkempt. I was fine with how it looked. Then, the big cut happened and my hair was undoubtably short. Shockingly short. People barely recognized me and did a double take before telling me how good I looked and how handsome the short hair made me look. That helped quite a bit. Boosted the whole self-esteem for sure.

About a week or two before the show opened, I had to shave. I was scared. Afraid to look in the mirror. When I did, I was sad because I didn't recognize myself. To me, I felt completely naked. It was like I lost my identity. Quite the bizarre feeling to be walking in your skin but not feeling like yourself.

Many people didn't recognized me at all. Had quite a few people tell me that didn't know it was me. One of my best friends saw a picture of my naked face and said that if he's seen me on the street he would have passed me by because he didn't recognize me. Yet, everyone continued to say how handsome I looked, how much younger I seemed to be. And still, inside, I was a nervous wreck. I completely felt naked to the world; my "security wall" was gone.

Now, the show is over and I'm growing the goatee back. And the ironic thing is, I looked in the mirror today and saw myself. Even with the goatee slowly coming back, even though I've been "nude" for about a month, I was struck by how I couldn't recognize myself in the mirror. I sat there staring at my semi-hairy chin wondering what was I looking at. Who is that in the mirror. Lord, that was weird. I've been quite anxious to get my goatee back and, now that I look at myself, I am starting to not like the hair on my chinny-chin-chin. It's just fucking weird to me right now. I'm half-tempted to shave it off. Then, I remember how much I hate shaving and how there's less face to shave when I'm hairy. The man in the mirror still doesn't look right though...

Thursday, September 01, 2005

Family Update - Good News

The wife called to say her father is fine. He and his wife rode out the storm at their home in Slidell, LA. They have no power, no water or phone lines and only a small part of their house got roof damage. No flooding. Apparently, they are looking for a generator now. Every family member is accounted for. Praise God they are all ok. Still waiting to hear from a few friends. Still trying to get more info on the wife's family's house. But, I have faith that the house is ok, save for some IDIOTs possibly looting the place...