Wednesday, December 21, 2005

So, I have been attempting to be a vegetarian for the last few months and have discovered that the issue can be quite polemical. Here is a link to the wiki on environmental vegetarianism. It contains what were my deciding reasons to pursue vegetarianism. Also, I would very highly recommend the book Fast Food Nation, which addresses the meat industry and is an excellent critique of American culture. Note: Vegetarianism is not a cure-all for the world's problems but a small element of a conscientious lifestyle. I would get rid of cars before meat.

Do you ever just get fed up with the world? Tired of ambiguous relationships and chronic drama? At this moment, I want to bury myself in a book and never speak to another fucked-up person. Ha! As if I could survive five minutes without talking! But I am truly frustrated with relationships. I feel like everyone just keeps doing the same old stupid crap, and I am supposed to sit here and complacently endure the emotional burden of their confusion. Sigh. So I have been forced to pray a lot. Forced because I shamefully admit that it is not my initial inclination to run to the Almighty. In the process, I have remembered how vital prayer is, not only for the cathartic and clarifying affect it has but for the genuine impact it has in altering the structure of the world. The simple acknowledgment of reality brings freedom. I admit my inadequacy and powerlessness and rely on the ultimate reality of God. I have been lamenting, sometimes crying the Psalms, which I highly recommend. They are so honest, even abrasive, and demand action from God. In order for true growth to happen in our relationship with God, there must be genuine dialogue between us and God. We must have the ability to assert our will against God, especially in matters of justice. If we are confined to being submissive and docile to God, we only have the capability of praise. God, then, becomes the underwriter of the social norm. Slowly, God becomes irrelevant as we realize he/she is not going to change any of the reality we face. God is shallow and impotent. Brueggeman writes,

The lament makes an assertion about God: that this dangerous, available God matters in every dimension of life. Where God’s dangerous availability is lost because we fail to carry on our part of the difficult conversation, where God’s vulnerability and passion are removed from our speech, we are consigned to anxiety and despair and the world as we now have it becomes absolutized. Our understanding of faith is altered dramatically, depending on whether God is a dead cipher who cannot be addressed and is only the silent guarantor of the status quo, or whether God can be addressed in risky ways as the transformer of what has not yet appeared.

Wow. So... go ye therefore and pray.

Tuesday, December 20, 2005

So, I have recently discovered Japanese wood block prints. I like the simplcity of composition, the clean lines, and of course the nature scenes. This one fit my mood last night.

The obstacle between us and God is not what is imperfect in us - the fragility, the truculence, the dithering lust and outbursts of rage (God can deal with all that) - but our belief that we are unworthy of being loved, incapable of greatness, people of little value, power, or gifts.

- Engaging the Powers, Walter Wink, 319.

Saturday, December 10, 2005

I just witnessed a case of domestic abuse. You may know that my second floor apartment overlooks the street. It was about 12.30AM, and I was sitting writing a paper on feminist ethics (ironically) when I heard screaming, a slap and the dull thud of kicks. I looked out the window and saw a girl about my age lying on the ground next to her bike with her boyfriend standing over her. There was a group of their friends standing around yelling at each other. And here I was, this little rich educated seminarian standing up in the window staring at them in horror. I felt like such an intruder. And I was so shocked. For a moment I had a birds' eye view of the violence, fear, and oppression faced by many everyday. And then... no one did anything. They didn't even call the police; someone else did. The girl refused to file a report, and though I hope she will change her mind I cannot feign optimism. I just want to cry, hold them in my arms, tell them of the beauty and goodness within them, and give them a vision of the hope Christ has called them to. Sigh. Nouwen wrote of "the burden of reality". "Can we carry the burden of reality? How can we remain open to all human tragedies and aware of the vast ocean of human suffering without becoming mentally paralyzed and depressed? How can we even smile when we keep being confronted by pictures of tortures and executions?" But still we must "ask ourselves how many games we play with ourselves and how many walls we keep erecting to prevent ourselves from knowing and feeling the burden of human solidarity."

Look with pity, O Heavenly Father and Mother, upon the people in this land who live in injustice, terror, disease, and death as their constant companions. Have mercy upon us. Help us to eliminate our cruelty to these our neighbors. Strengthen those who spend their lives establishing equal protection of the law and equal opportunities for all. And grant that every one of us may enjoy a fair portion for the riches of this our land; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen
-From the Book of Common Prayer

Friday, December 09, 2005

Just wanted to share one of my favorite art nouveau artists with you, Alphonse Mucha.

Wednesday, December 07, 2005

About the vertically scrolling marquee that I worked SO frickin' hard on... It seems to work on some computers and not on others. It works on mine, but I cannot figure out how to make sure it works on everyone's. Sorry.

So I played in the intramural flag football championships last Saturday. My team was ranked number one, and I REALLY wanted the championship shirt. We were supposed to play three games, and we lost on the first one! It was shameful and degrading. I hate losing. So that was it, we were out of the tournament. *crying* The one highlight of the game was when I rushed and grabbed the QBs flag before he threw the ball. I am very proud of the that. ;)

Then I went home on Sunday and saw lots of old friends and got into a debate about world hunger. (I am pretty sure everyone at home is a conservative republican.) This guys said that the state had absolutely no responsibility ot even address world hunger. That really pissed me off. I am going to write up a response in a couple days after the chaos of finals has blown over. Until then, study hard, love God, and do something stupid.

Thursday, December 01, 2005

Okay, back from Target. And the damn exegetical paper still looms, so what can I do instead of it....

My review of Pride and Prejudice:
So, I saw Pride and Prejudice. It is my favorite book, and the A&E 6-hour version is one of my favorite movies. I was honestly expecting to find something awfully wrong with it and a good reason why I should hate it. How could they fit that storyline in two hours? I still don't know how they did it. It is true the movie has a fast pace, but the screenwriter has condensed the plot into the main points. They take some artistic liberties (e.g. the ending two scenes are completely Hollywood and romanticized, they rewrite and shorten the letters, they simplify trips and scenes), but usually it was in good taste. The bust of Darcy is so much more moving than the actual miniature. Lady deBourgh's abrupt arrival in the middle of the night expresses the shock of her visit to modern viewers more realistically than her actual afternoon call. Of course, it must be known that I am a hopeless romantic and idealist. The changes may not please a literary critic, but it is a movie not a book. Some of my favorite lines are missing, and some of the characters lose depth. Allowances must be made.

On the whole I was pleasantly surprised. Keira Knightley is a very good Lizzy, better than Jennifer Ehle actually. I was always quite discontent with Ehle's acting in the scene where she discovers of Lydia's elopement. Knightley does a much better job. I was never too keen on Knightley in previous films though she is gorgeous; she has risen in my eyes. Darcy was good too. His character is much more complex and human than Firth's portrayal. Oh, and the cinematography is good. There are lots of long complex shots that bring the viewer into the daily life of the Bennets. The close-ups were very well done and enhanced the acting. The shots often expressed emotion unable to be expressed in that society and made the chemistry between Darcy and Lizzy tangible. They did have great chemistry. Final thing: I bought the soundtrack as soon as I got home. It is classical and in the style of the time, mostly strings and piano. I have listened to it for almost a week now. Great study music. I will end my novel now. Oh wait, the movie highlighted Lizzy's modern, independent, feminist attitude rebeling against the plight of the restricted female role (represented by Charlotte). Definitely a big theme in the book but others were equally strong. It missed some, not all, of the triviality and humor of tradition and society. And I thought that Mr. and Mrs. Bennet and Bingley and Jane were better (perhaps due to more character development) in the A&E version, but Lady deBourgh (Dame Judy Dench) was phenomenal.

You'll notice an added link to my HomePage, which has pcitures from a recent mission trip to Chihuahua, Mexico and a link to the new Pride and Prejudice movie website (not very interesting but I wanted to put something on there). I recently saw the movie - twice. Wait... Katrine (roomie) and I have to go to Target. Later Gator.