Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Can't Get Up

Last Friday, I had the most stupid and painful accident of my life (so far): I tripped on a crack in the sidewalk. If you know me at all, you know that clumsiness is nothing new for me. This time, however, I landed squarely on my bad knee and could not get back up afterwards. I felt like one of those old ladies from the Life Alert commercials, but I was incredibly grateful that I could call for help.

All I was doing was taking a latte to one of my friends who was having a bad day. Next thing I knew, it felt like my knee had exploded. For almost a minute, I couldn’t stop screaming, but there was nobody around. When I could catch my breath again, I found my phone amidst of the spilled coffee and called Security to say that I had fallen and couldn’t get up.

Ken came running out immediately, followed by Hal, Carol, and Steph. All I really wanted was someone to give me a hand up, but they all insisted that I go to the emergency room to get checked. So, off we went. I got right in at CMC and we figured out that nothing was broken. The ER doctor didn’t know what else to do with me though, as the fall had obviously aggravated my preexisting synovial chondromatosis.

A quick trip to the orthopedic specialist I’ve been seeing for the past couple years resulted in the diagnosis of a partially ruptured tendon. Since then, I’ve been on pain meds and anti-inflammatories. I’m off the crutches but still wearing a very serious looking brace. My follow-up appointment next week will hopefully determine whether there was any permanent damage.

The good news is that so far, worker’s comp has been covering everything. Everyone has been very caring and concerned, which has been a huge blessing. Stephanie especially was practically an angel to help me out and drive me around on Friday. Even the timing of the whole incident was miraculous, since I was able to get right in to the see the doctors. It might be quite a while before everything’s all better… but it could certainly be a lot worse, so thank you!

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Reconciling Perception

Over the past few years, I have come to think of BBC as my home and the people here as my family. I came here as a student four years ago, and began my employment here three years ago. While I’ve been here, my definitions of “home” and “family” have become rather convoluted, as I have watched those institutions disintegrate in my personal life. Outside of this campus, I don’t have much in this world.

Sometimes in life, lines blur. I often forget that while my coworkers and I are a social and spiritual family, we are still first and foremost coworkers, complete with hierarchies and responsibilities. Occasionally, I even find it difficult to keep the frustration from one aspect of my life from pouring into another—even from one aspect of my job into another.

Just like any other family or institution, we aren’t perfect. I don’t always agree with everyone around here and they don’t always agree with me. That’s okay. What’s not okay is when I fail to convey how much I love them. It breaks my heart to think that I may inadvertently communicate otherwise, because I do love my job and coworkers.

Working within a Christian institution has been my lifelong dream. I consider it an incredible blessing to work here at BBC specifically. What needs to happen, though, is that I need to find a way to reconcile perception with reality. The reality of my life is indeed complicated. A correct perception of that reality is essential if progress is to be made. Progress must be made because life goes on, with or without me.

Saturday, September 11, 2010

Braveheart Girls

Last night was Girls Night at my apartment. The evening did not turn out to be a typical girls’ night, of course… because we’re no ordinary girls. We did begin with the obligatory snackage, including cupcakes, chips and Nippy Dip, apple cider, a veggie platter, and Oreos with peanut butter (courtesy of Naomi). As you could have predicted, we did sit around just talking for about an hour.

That’s when the evening turn an unexpected turn. At that point in the evening, I had planned a rousing round of Apples to Apples. However, since we’d already spent considerable time socializing, it was suggested that we skip the game and go straight to the movie. With a bunch of girls, I had expected to watch a chick flick.

All day yesterday, I had been dreading the evening’s inevitable romantic comedy. I was in more of an epic war movie mood. After a week of illness, work, and general monotony, I was itching for some adventure. I laughingly mentioned to the girls that I was planning to put on Leap Year—even though I’d been craving some Braveheart action.

You can imagine my delighted surprise when a unanimous chorus of votes in favor of Braveheart responded to my joke. I shouldn’t have been too surprised, considering we’d been talking about theology and not boys. So, we watched Braveheart. It was the most fun I’ve had with a bunch of girls in a long time. We all agreed that the cavalry charges were more dramatic in surround sound.

Carol, Michelle, April, Sara, Naomi, and Brittany: next time, Gladiator!

Friday, September 10, 2010

Book Burning

Throughout history, one of the surest signs of weakness has been censorship. Knowledge is power; therefore, those who have wrongfully obtained and tenuously retain control fear the spread of information which might challenge them. I’m sure that by now you’ve all heard about the man who wants to burn a copy of the Koran and I am mortified by his misrepresentation of my God.

My God does not need anyone’s pathetic help to prove His own case. If He truly wanted the holy books of other religions to be burned, He could send fire from heaven. His Word has withstood thousands of years of the fires of intellectual purges. That same text tells us to love our enemies. My God imbedded curiosity and the desire to learn in every soul. Of all people, a pastor should welcome a challenge and chance to display the power of the Scripture.

As an American, I respect an individual’s right to believe as he or she chooses. As a Christian, I know that conversion cannot be forced on an individual who does not choose it. Do I want a mosque to be built at Ground Zero in New York? Heck no! But you don’t see me grabbing my lighter, either. Perhaps goose-stepping morons should try reading books instead of burning them.

People all over the world are laughing at Pastor Jones. His idiotic protest has only proven the Muslims’ point. He has lumped Christians in with the Nazis, the Communists, and every other insecure regime that maintains the ignorance of its people. The truth is never threatened by lies. If your faith feels threatened, that’s probably because it’s misplaced.

Thursday, September 9, 2010

Slowly But Surely

I hate being sick. I hate all the physical symptoms and social disruptions. Generally speaking, I have to be half-way to dead to admit that there might be anything wrong. With my schedule, I can’t afford to take a few days off from life. Convalescence simply does not fit in with my two jobs and a multitude of other obligations.

This week I was SICK. Without going into all the gory details, I’ll just say that became infected with some vicious bacteria which made me just want to shoot myself to end the misery. Of course, our wonderful health care system insisted on testing every conceivable bodily fluid I have—I was waiting for them to ask for a sample of juice from my eyeball!

Hundreds of dollars in medical bills later, I forced myself to choke down nasty horse pills of antibiotics. I probably shouldn't be so surprised that my immune system failed me, since I have been proverbially burning the candle at all three ends. Thankfully, I had Monday off for Labor Day anyway, but I did take off on Tuesday also. The good news is that I am recuperating, slowly but surely.

I have some awesome friends who helped me out with some stuff while I was sick, for which I am incredibly grateful. Ya’ll know who you are! Sorry that I’m such a bad invalid. Things are starting to get back to normal, though. My routine is being recovered from its confused jumble… and girls, we are definitely still on for Ladies Night tomorrow at my place!

Sunday, September 5, 2010

Moralistic Therapeutic Deism

A recent study shows that Christians, especially teens and young adults, are only “almost Christian.” When I first came across the article on Mark Driscoll’s Twitter, it definitely disturbed me. The more I thought about it, however, I came to realize that this trend is nothing new. A brief history of religion (Christianity in particular) reveals that fervor is cyclical, like so many other movements.

One of the great American myths is that the founding fathers were Christians. False! Most of them were actually deists. Deism is a religious philosophy that was popular during the Enlightenment and is comparable to modern agnosticism. It separates faith and science, relying largely on reason: Thomas Jefferson even took a pair of scissors to his Bible and cut out anything that defied natural laws.

Fast-forward a hundred years to the Victorian era and the predominant religious fad was moralism. Clergymen, especially Anglicans, emphasized the loving aspects of God’s character. Christians were encouraged merely to be good and charitable. The lack of true morality, one founded in justice, provided the perfect incubator for Darwin’s evolutionism and Marx’s atheism.

Researchers are beginning to notice religious apathy in my generation and have termed it “moralistic therapeutic deism.” In the age of heightened self-esteem awareness, it makes sense that we would want our faith to make us feel better. Our parents’ religion seems disconnected to us. Thankfully, it isn’t time to give up on my generation as a lost cause—we’ve still got another 50 years to work on a revival!

Thursday, September 2, 2010

The Gift of a Pineapple

This morning, I had the most wonderful gift waiting for me at work: a pineapple! To many of you, who do not watch Psych, the significance of this gift may be lost. To the rest of us, who love that show as any who have seen it must do, we understand its full glory. The pineapple symbolizes all that is both random and awesome in life.

Said pineapple was a gift from my friend and coworker, Laura, who is leaving. She got promoted at the local public library, so now she will be working there full time. I’m really going to miss seeing her practically every day. She’s always left me the best notes on my desk and this morning’s was no exception.

When Laura first told me yesterday that she was leaving, I admit that I had some difficulty fulfilling the biblical mandate to rejoice with those who rejoice. I am very happy for her, of course. It was just hard for me not to rain on her parade with my own selfish dejection. Her life is moving forward while mine seems to have stalled.

Other people’s success lately seems to be reminding me only of my own failure: Laura got a new job, Tim and Marie got engaged, etc., while I’m still stuck here. Life continues to go on. Some days, awesome randomness like pineapples from friends make it a little bit better. I’m determined to gratefully enjoy the little things until the big things improve.

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

A Supportive Patriot: Good Luck, Iraq!

Patriotism is one thing that has always flowed thickly through my veins. Ask not what your country can do for you, but what you can do for your country, has been almost as key in my philosophy as do unto others as you would have them do unto you. Last night, the very President of my United States delivered one of the most self-centered speeches I have ever heard.

Politicians are slippery and their well-written addresses are no different. I generally prefer to read the transcripts instead of watch the actual speech. Charismatic delivery can often obscure the true essence of the words being spoken. Our current president is an excellent public speaker, which had a lot to do with him being elected in the first place. What he says never seems to matter as much as it should because he says it so well.

President Clinton's speeches always made me feel greasy and oily, like I'd just shook hands with a used car salesman after he'd run his fingers through his hair. President Obama's speeches always seem too sweet to me. It's like getting a drink from a soda fountain that was broken and put too much syrup in the soda. You know immediately that it's so sickly sweet that something must be wrong and it can't be good for you.

Last night’s speech was no exception. It was very well-written and flawlessly delivered. However, upon examination, the basic content boils down to crap. Personally, I’m sick of Obama’s there-were-patriots-on-both-sides-of-the-issue shtick. He blatant pandering to veterans, applauding individual courage, is merely a straw man attempt to disguise his own impotency.

The President seems disproportionately concerned with the “strain” on our nation’s relationships with other countries, i.e., our lack of popularity. My guess would be that he suffers from low self-esteem. His entire election campaign was simply a massive effort to get people to like him, not to inform them of his policies on important issues.

Obama’s policies have always been home-focused and with good reason: he has no idea what he’s doing in the international forum. Obviously, military action is expensive. Naturally, localized economic trouble is one of the foremost concerns in the average citizen’s mind—moreso than what we have already invested overseas.

When he says this decision will help us financially, he’s really just trying to distract from the fact that he’s clueless and inexperienced in international politics. By the way, that was a nice casual reference to your veteran grandfather, Mr. Obama. Just because he was a citizen, doesn’t mean you are. I’d still like to see that birth certificate!

It’s called war and anyone with half a brain would expect it to be difficult. Of course, we encountered “rough waters!” President Bush fully expected this to be a long, hard fight and tried to prepare the country for it. Too bad he was dealing with the microwave generation who wants everything to be easy and done NOW. Sometimes, life isn’t easy. The same goes for international politics. As General Patton simply said war is hell. Deal with it.

Thank God this generation wasn't around during WWII. Japan attacked a Hawaiian military base, but we spent 4 years, about 2100 billion dollars, and over 400,000 lives in that war. When thousands of civilians were killed in New York City, what was our response? We complain about expenses and quit when we don't win immediately.

American troops are now officially out of Iraq. Obama declared the war to be complete. Translation: good freaking luck, Iraq, you’re on your own now because this is just too hard for us! I sure hope they’ll be okay. I’ve had several friends who have served over there (one of whom didn’t come home) and I sure hope they didn’t fight for no reason. This patriot supports you. Thank you!