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Philosophical/Theological

The Superbowl falls on my birthday (Feburary 1), and it would be a treat to see Peyton and the Colts match up against Eli and the Giants. ((Peyton and Eli descend from the Manning family. Their father, Archie Manning, is a storied former NFL quarterback.)) ((The Colts were defeated by the Chargers in the wild card round. I won’t be seeing a Manning vs. Manning Superbowl.)) Like many NFL fans, that match up would be hyped and very interesting. However, I don’t think the Mannings would think much of the “showdown”.

Two brothers that start in the NFL. Both have Superbowl victories. The hoi polloi and media gush over these types of story lines. The Mannings and the demographic they represent, however, probably couldn’t care less. ((It’s couldn’t, not could, care less. And don’t give me the, “I’m trying to be ironic,” argument, because you weren’t/aren’t trying.)) I would venture to say that the Mannings see football as their job. Sure they would play each other, but that’s probably nothing more than what they used to do in their backyard. If one of the two weren’t named Manning, this would be like any regular match up. The familial relations phenomenon stems from the obnoxious hype of the media.

To cite another example of this phenomenon, I was able to graduate with a talented musician and composer. His name is Alex Kreger, and he composes music, from what I understand loves jazz and is a growing jazz musician, and played viola to be nice. In my senior year, my high school’s orchestra was given the opportunity to play in the Band and Orchestra festival in New York City at illustrious Carnegie Hall. We had guest conductors, and one of our guest conductors was Alex’s dad, Scott Kreger.

Scott is an established bassist. And so you might see the phenomenon beginning to take shape: Alex, music phenomenon and son, and Scott, music phenomenon and father. Furthermore, Scott would be conducting the piece that Alex composed whilst Alex would be playing the piano.

I was able to interview Scott (because I was filming a documentary documenting our trip), and I was eager to ask him how he felt about conducting his son’s piece. The answer was lame. I was expecting something dramatic, and I wanted him to tear up, cry, and sing praises about his son. He did praise his son, but what he said was along the lines of what I described earlier: It’s no big deal.

Scott saw the opportunity to conduct his son’s piece as just that. He would be conducting a piece of music. Sure his son wrote it, but Scott didn’t change anything about his approach to it. Perhaps he had more input in the music than he usually does, but he still attacked the challenge like he would any piece.

Familial relations phenomenon is all hype, and I absolutely dislike the San Diego Chargers.

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I wrote this entry while listening to a piano sonata. I was geeky enough to pretend I was playing the piano in the sonata as I typed to it — lots of fun. I wanted to give this preface because most of the content in the entry is speculative. It’s speculative because I didn’t have the time to stop and think about my ideas; I was “playing the piano”, remember? Also, I wanted to use this “read more” break, and see how it turned out on facebook.

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Prayer, to me, has been one of those things that are sketchy. It is supposed to be an activity with a divine characteristic. Despite that, I viewed prayer as merely putting us into a mindset, and practicing our relationship with God; I never experienced the divine or spiritual part of prayer. On a small aside, I suppose you can view my experience with prayer as a testament to the idea that what we know is more than just what we’re taught, but also what we experience.

I had never experienced the divine nature of prayer. There were many times, and I’m sure there will continue to be many more, that I had prayed in asking, and what I had asked for had not been answered in the fashion I wanted or was expecting. ((It should be clarified that prayer isn’t asking for things. That is a child’s form of Christianity, if one may even call that a form of Christianity. Prayer is an intimate time and reflection with God.)) Let me share the one profound experience I’ve had with prayer.

When I started college, I was worried for my spiritual life. I made it a purpose to integrate my faith into my daily life: The cliche says, “Use it or lose it,” and I didn’t want to lose it at all.

During freshman orientation, I quickly became involved in InterVarsity, a Christian fellowship group. In addition to IV (InterVarsity) I attended the affiliated freshman Bible study. Prior to this Bible study, I had never been in a Bible study before. These studies can be very tantalizing, but I suppose my fervid interest in theology skews the objectiveness of my opinion.

I brought up the statement that I felt like I was failing spiritually. I hadn’t been to church in the longest time, and the fellowship with other Christians didn’t seem to do much for me. ((When in fact the reality is that we gain more when we give more. Jill Briscoe wrote a revealing and little book about a story of a little pot of oil from 2 Kings in the Bible.)) So I brought up my “failure” and asked if my Bible study would pray that I regain my “spiritual fitness”.

The most amazing thing is that the prayer worked. Write me off right here as a lunatic — that’s what I would have done prior to this experience. How can words possibly do anything? ((Words are very powerful, but I meant this sentence in the context, “How can words directly alter future events?” Even in that rephrasing, words still can alter events in the future.)) They did, though! They did!

The night of that prayer I naturally slipped into my quiet time with God. It was just like my quiet times during high school — right before bedtime, and I would spend at least an hour or more just focused on God. It wasn’t premeditated at all. It just happened.

This was a very powerful experience. Prayer is a very powerful tool. Imagine if every Christian could pray authentically and everyday — maybe even every hour of the day! Imagine how much the world could be changed through prayer. Now I don’t mean to rely on prayer as the sole means for solutions. That is a fool’s and a lazy lard’s hope. God didn’t craft us with a brain and limbs to sit around and pray all day. We have prayer, but we can also be pro-active.

I meant to make more of this post — especially on the effectiveness of prayer, and jointly the skepticism of it. I suppose prayer is one of those things where you have to experience it. People could give testimonies on their own experiences for ages, and one could still remain a skeptic in concern to prayer.

Lately I’ve been posting items that don’t necessarily relate to me personally. I’ve been exposing my thoughts, but not me. I don’t mean that doing so is necessarily bad, but it will become bland very quickly if I don’t break the trend. Without further adieu, let me sit at the front of the bus. ((This is a reference to the extraordinary Rosa Parks who broke the trend when she could have continued to break herself.))

Actually, one adieu: I tend to think that these “personal” posts are boring: They’re all about me, and what has happened to me. If you don’t know me, or vaguely know me, then these posts are a drag — like my Nature of Mathematics class. I would say I wasted three credit hours during my first college semester, but I don’t think you should ever think that you have wasted your life. You know, I think I’m developing a fatalist view of life.

I tend to think things happen for a reason. When it comes to love, I lobby for the idea that there is only one person in the world for you: That’s 1 out of 6 billion people. I think it’s fate when people fall into a legitimate love. I suppose you can find a genuine love with more than one person, though. If you think of love as having prerequisites for each “type” of person, then certainly someone could find that “type” of person that would suit the “type” of love they harmonize with.

I tend to think that you can’t really screw up in life unless you simply do not try. As long as you keep rowing the boat, you will get somewhere. It may not be where you want to be, but you will always still have the option to change course. ((If you’re interested, at this point I began to think about how effective my analogy/metaphor is. Is life really open like a body of water? Or is it more like a road where it is more direct — one way, or a two way street? Hmm.)) Therefore it is my conviction that what happens in life happens for a reason; it’s fate. It happened to you and now you take some of the authorship of your life by reacting and managing the situation.

This really didn’t become a “personal” post. I can’t break the trend. How about this?: I might go see a rap battle at the beginning of October. It should be interesting, but I haven’t still decided whether I will go. Rap can be so influential and charismatic; it’s almost heartbreaking to see how much of it is dominated by hate, and lust for the physical and material. There is beautiful rap out there.

Before midnight I went down to visit Trevor’s room. Trevor is my best friend from middle school. Gradually we’ve grown apart, but we’ve managed to stay in touch and we’ve ended up at the same university. ((In fact, I hated him one year. It was terrible.)) It was real nice seeing him again, and just spending one-on-one time. He’s a brilliant man and a hard worker. He deserves whatever he is working for, and I think that is a career in medicine: He can do it. He inspires me.

Big Brothers Big Sisters starts this week! This is too exciting. I wonder what my Little is like. I’m so excited to still be working with kids. I’m glad I discovered that I liked working with them. It’s not the same as having my own kids, but I think one day I would love to have some. Like six. Two boys and four girls. And I have some of the names picked out.

I bought Gladiator and Hotel Rwanda when I took RJ and Z back home with me. It was a real privilege to show them around my turf. Both of those movies are good. In fact, I watched a good amount of Gladiator this past evening with some friends. I also made taco dip, and it was a decent for my first attempt; I had to call Rachel first to hammer out the details because her mom makes taco dip very well.

Z bought a penguin for Samantha this past afternoon for her birthday. It was a great find — by me, of course. I’ve eyes for spotting out penguins. I almost wish I hadn’t found the penguin because I really want it. Man. Why do I like penguins? How odd. I guess they are cute. I mean, look at them: They waddle.

The Giants are on bye this week. I’m 2-1 in fantasy football, and I think I will be 3-1 by Tuesday. I’m not sure if my league is that active though. The leader in our league is still starting Jeremy Shockey. ((Shockey is out for a couple of weeks with another inhibiting injury.))

That’s all. Love to you.

Life really is a blur — at least it is for me. When I reflect and remember, I find myself lumping all of my memories into one category: The past. I turned 16 — in the past. I barely earned my driver’s license — in the past. I lived with my dad — in the past. Everything is just lumped together.

I’m really big on the whole realization of time. One of my friends at Marquette, Zhen (we call him Z), said something really profound at our program’s retreat last weekend. He suggested that most of us will live to about 100 years old. Given that, most freshmen in college have already lived 18% of their lives. Isn’t that a shocking way of looking at life? I’m sure many people say this, and I do too: There is not enough time.

Time is important. Have we established that? Especially at the university level of education, time becomes crucial. It is vital. If you can manage time, you can succeed in college. It’s that simple. But why is it so hard? Why is human nature inclined to procrastinate? ((Perhaps it isn’t human nature, but most of the people I know, including myself, tend to procrastinate.))

I’m not really sure. I don’t really have any thoughts on that. If time is so precious, it’s absurd to waste it. But then, if love is so precious, it’s absurd to toss it around. Perhaps there’s no real understanding as to why we waste time; perhaps the real substance of the issue is that we understand that it’s unproductive. Do we leave it at that? By no means! We remedy.

Plan your hours accordingly. After my math class ended at 3:00 yesterday, I went to the Library Reserves and worked through the thermochemistry practice problems in an hour. I felt so good. I was so productive. I was on a jet plane, and didn’t know when I was going to be back again. I need to start working my hours out like that.

Similarly related, I had Bible study today. We talked about quiet times with God, and how to include those quiet times in our schedule. Originally, I had always done quiet times at night; sometimes, if I was really ambitious, I would have that quiet time in the morning. But since I’ve started college, my nights have been filled with assignments, and I’ve been sheepishly tired. The trend has been skipping the devotional, skipping the Bible, and just laying in my bed and praying myself to sleep. That is unhealthy.

At Bible study, we had a chance to formulate plans for our quiet time in college. I am so excited to start using my new plan. After my first class everyday, and after I eat breakfast/brunch, I will have quiet time in my dorm. It’s going to be awesome. I’m utilizing my hours.

Here’s an entirely new subject: error. In my English class there is a traditional clock with a second-hand. I dozed off and started to count seconds. That’s when I questioned humanity’s ability to count a perfect second — I mean perfect. Perfect with an infinite amount of significant figures, and each decimal place until infinity would be 0: 1.00000 and so forth. Why aren’t we able to do that? Why isn’t perfection attainable?

Perfection is a huge part of my personal philosophy. For one of my classes, the author of the book I’m assigned to read, Let Your Life Speak, discoursed a bit on perfection. It’s an interesting view point. I’ll blog later about my perfectionist philosophy; I have a feeling it will be very in-depth.

When I started to take my faith seriously, one of the hugest aspects that I wanted to devote myself to was service, especially to the underprivileged, outcasts, and lonely. What draws me to that demographic is the hurt they represent. Being different often means you are alone, and it kills you slowly when you are alone.

In discourse concerning diversity and differences, it’s always been my perspective to look over social/economic class, racial stereotypes, and such; I viewed people as people, and to me that meant that humanity was unified. To me there was no discerning difference between the homeless and the homed or the suspended worker and the Man. Galatians 3:28 was my view on humanity: There is neither Jew nor Greek, slave nor free, male nor female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus.

That verse is beautiful, but how could I be so oblivious to so many differences? I still believe we are all one regardless of whether it is in Christ, but to blatantly use that as my world view is ignorant. It is ignorant of reality and the context of the verse. ((I think the verse is just getting the idea across that in the diverse body of Christianity, whether we are believers in Asia or whether we are Catholic, we are still one.))

The reality aspect is a well-deserved smack in the. I hyped up and glorified my ideal to live for the disregarded in high school. Entering college, and consequently being exposed to the inner city of Milwaukee, I don’t know if anyone could tell that the esteem I highly regarded a couple of years ago is still alive in me. I feel like a traitor. I feel like I don’t do anything for the people I wanted to be with. I walk by homeless people, lonely people, and unkempt people when I should walk with them.

Maybe this is merely a transition. I am, after all, in the real world. Reality has built a wall on the express way, but it’s only made of Styrofoam. ((Did you know you have to capitalize Styrofoam? That’s what my online dictionary/spell checker says.)) It’s my undying hope that this is just a transition. It’s not easy to deal with the outcasts; you want to love, but you want to love intelligently and justifiably because that is what love is; perfect love drives out fear.

Let’s hope this situation is just like what the Indianapolis Colts are experiencing: It is a struggle, but I know my capacity. ((In week 2 of the 2009 football season, Peyton Manning rallied his Colts to a magnificent win against Minnesota. Everything was being ripped apart, but you can never question Peyton’s, and generally humanity’s, determination and will.)) Hardships are merely hurdles, and I absolutely enjoy hurdling.

As far as I can remember (if you can remember in terms of “how far”), I have always had trouble falling asleep at night. Lately, as in the past two years lately, I’ve remedied my insomnia by laying in bed and thinking through scenarios that I might be put in. Most of the time I think about what I would say if someone asked me why I am a Christian, or I play out the medical school admissions process and gather my thoughts on how I would answer some staple interview questions.

Last night I was thinking about watching Gilmore Girls. It was around 12, and I couldn’t fall asleep. So I thought I should just watch Gilmore Gilmores. In particular, I wanted to watch the episode where Lorelai, Rory, and Dean are watching an old sitcom. Lorelai and Rory, however, turned down the volume and created their own suggestive mouth-overs.

I thought about trying that, but then I thought that a lot of people would probably try that after seeing that part of that episode. So I planned that I would skip to the next episode to try that. But then I thought people would skip to the next episode too. And so I would have to skip to the second episode after, but then people would probably do that too. I, the “skeptic”, would continue skipping to further episodes in the hope that I would be the only one to try the mouth-overs on my own episode. Do you see where this is going?

It’s ridiculous because who would ever be that skeptical? Furthermore, why even bother?

One last thought on this. One of the themes I’m seeing in this is that individualism is quasi realistic. A skeptic is someone who doesn’t conform, and thus is individual of the masses. Yet there will inevitably be others who no longer conform, and so they will be individual of the masses as well. Then these individuals will form another mass, and they would lose individualism. It’s another paradox.

I’m probably nitpicking with the definition of individual or individualism, but I think it’s somewhat intriguing. Are we all really that different? Yeah, I would argue that we are, but there appears to be some common substance between all people.