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Monthly Archives: April 2009

I still have that one entry in draft. Honestly, I think I’m simply afraid to publish it. I’ve scrutinized every sentence looking for fluidity and significance. Each time I proof it I find something else to remove or modify. It’ll come soon.

In comparison to my other entries, this one won’t be as dense. Halfway through my second semester of university, I started to think about things I’ve learned so far. “I got a list, here’s the order of my list that it’s in” ((Eminem – ’till I Collapse)):

  • You don’t know everything. Don’t act like you do. Professors are professors because they’ve wrestled with their respective material longer than you have.
  • It’s not necessarily a chance to start over. If anything, it will challenge you to change. You decide if you will.
  • Hours naturally become precious, but their value is easily dismissed. I’m ashamed at all the time I wasted my first semester.
  • Like time, priorities will naturally become more defined. Therefore, don’t excite excessively — especially over girls or boys. At the university level, I would never suggest putting your social life in front of your education. You are, after all, paying to learn there. ((I don’t mean to diminish the social aspect of college. That’s a vital component; I only mean to emphasize not dismissing your studies.))
  • It’s best to stay level and humble. I thought I could be proud and boast my marks at university, but that’s not true. I succumbed to my pride, and that’s a dirty load I’m still trying to wash.
  • Writing is an essential device for the scholar. You will never escape it.
  • You’re at the level where you wrestle with what the thinkers thought and wrote. It’s intimidating because you might have to wrestle with thoughts outside of your arena, but it’s rewarding when you enter your own. ((An example would be me in my political science class, Justice and Power. I struggle understanding what Plato tried to explain with the city-in-speech, and although Machiavelli was fairly straight forward, I had to squint to see his assertions. In my theology course, however, I devour the opportunity to wrestle St. Anselm’s Cur Deus Homo? and St. Augustine’s The Confessions.))

Reflection emphasizes conflict; if I had to summarize, I guess I’ve learned the significance of conflict. To me, understanding what I struggle with at college is invaluable. Struggle is a hallmark of life, and I believe that if you understand or know a person’s struggles and how he or she approaches them, you will have tapped into their essence. Perhaps my list has emanated a bit of my essence.

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This past Sunday I was at church listening to the pastor. I’m not really into the current series: The armour of God. Kyle says that they’ve been studying Ephesians since September. That’s dense. It isn’t my intent to knock on the pastor; he’s an intelligent man. I don’t think I’m fond of his teaching style though.

Regardless, I was listening to him and I noticed his prose. It was, what I call, Christian prose. In particular, it’s one type of phrase that might summarize Christan prose: Contradictory statements. In Matthew 10:34, Jesus claims that he didn’t come to bring peace, but a sword.

Wow! Any knowledgable Christian would understand the meaning of that. ((I think any Christian theologian would tell you that Jesus didn’t intend for that statement to mean that Jesus would bring war, slavery, or some other form of brutality to the world. I think Jesus is getting at the fact that in order to have peace, you have to have justice. In order to have justice, Jesus had to bring it via the sword. The sword, I believe, represents God’s justice which is fully accessible through the function of the Christ.)) It’s that phrase’s — those types of phrases’ — essence that I want to highlight. They’re contradictory statements.

I think that’s one of the real beauties of Christianity. In regard to human nature, it’s such a contradictory belief. There are a number of instances where what we think would be, isn’t so in the eyes of God. The rich man will be poor, but the poor will be rich. The strong will become weak, and the weak strong. The criminal is repentent, but the centurion is proud.

This alarmed me. I think that we are all easily swayed by skilled rhetoric. If I’m not mistaken, the Greeks actually held rhetoricians in high esteem. If you can speak, you can persuade. If you can persuade, you’ve power. Is Christianity a scheme with suavely applied rhetoric?

It’s my belief that it isn’t. If Christianity is Truth (and I believe so), then it should inherently have power. If that is true, then Christianity ought to employ powerful devices like rhetoric. Accepting this, I want to now focus on the beauty of contradictory statements in Christian prose.

Contradiction might summarize the human condition. We are what we don’t want to be, and we want to be what we can’t be. We want the world to be peaceful, but we will never achieve that. We want our spouses to only love us, but that will never be possible. We want our children to live better than we did, but that dream is not foolproof.

Then we learn about Christianity. It teaches that we can achieve, make possible, and guarantee those desires. It’s so contradictory! How gripping is that? The Christian faith pierces directly into what we yearn for. I hardly think there can be anything more beautiful. The real beauty, though, is that ultimately everyone desires God.

Let me end with one of my favorite contradictions. It’s tragically, yet hopefully beautiful. Check out my contradictory statement right there.

To live is Christ, to die is gain. Philippians 1:21.

I might follow up on this entry later. I feel there is more I could clarify and explore.

I have a post in draft. I have been editing it since February. I will post it soon. I’ve been very busy with school. In the meanwhile, I have a thought to share.

Sometimes, just go for it.

That’s how things begin to click. This isn’t that huge of a revelation. My cello teacher always told me that I just have to go for the shifts; you can make a bad octave jump look good if you completely go for it. All or nothing — just like action potentials.

The only reason I post this is because I’m studying for my fourth biology exam. I went for it and spelled trypanosomes without referencing the outline twice. Now that spelling is clicked.

This, of course, could apply outside of clicking things into your mind too. If something is tugging at you, express it (to some extent. I think it would be dangerous if we expressed everything we felt.). If you are walking down the same side of the street as an oncomer, just go for it and move out of the way (unless the oncomer is on the wrong side of the street. Then he or she should move.).

Just Nike. I’m sorry, that was redundant: Nike. ((Assuming that Nike is equivalent to “Just Do It”, saying “Just Nike” is equivalent to “Just Just Do It”, which I suppose would be alright if you want to emphasize the “Just” part of the statement.))

Post Note: Don’t Nike everything. Important decisions should not be Nike’d. Deciding whether to get pineapple or bacon on your pizza should be Nike’d. Deciding whether to skip an entire day of class should not be Nike’d. Impulse is often a land mine. Avoid it.