25 July 2009

what I think

These are the categories that most occupy my thoughts these days, and this is what I am thinking about them all right at the moment.

Music/Culture: Certain songs on the radio make me want to run, not because they're stupid or lame, even though lots of them make me want to run for that reason. But some make me want to run because they have an ugly spirit that sort of jumps out at me and hates me. I can't think of any specific example because don't keep track of them. Figuring this out is sometimes not very high on my list.

Countries/Travel: I miss London, and the countryside around it. I really want to go back there and spend a long time. And I love remembering Paris. Having been to Paris really does change your life!

Languages: Studying Latin is a fascinating new activity I've discovered. It's history is so interesting. Spanish is fun and easy compared with German and French, and it makes me feel good in the hot summer.

Passions: Having a burden for the lost is not the most fun sometimes, but things happen to build your faith.

Me: I like being tan and having glow-y white, sparkly fingernails to go with my lovely diamond ring and my Juicy Couture charm bracelet. I'm missing the thing in my brain that's supposed to get rhythm and translate it into my body. Still wondering what to do about that, as I practice and practice dancing.

Piano: I like sight reading Chopin nocturnes, now that I can. Practicing doesn't really scare me anymore. That's a relief. I can play jazz now. I work very hard at the rhythm, but the chords finally come more naturally.

Food: I want sushi, and to go to the Tipperary soon.

Family: We are all getting together soon.

Friends: I am about to take a break for a while.

Husband: We are so happy and finally unstressed!

Theology: Reading a lot, as always. Realizing that you can only learn from someone if you trust and respect them, and it takes a long time to find a preacher, writer, philosopher,theologian, etc. who can be trusted and respected.

God: He is faithful. All the time. He comes through. His Word means what it says to me.

16 July 2009

Christians who hate Christians

Three or four times throughout my life, I have met Christians who think that the vast majority of other Christians are judgmental, nasty, prideful people who take every opportunity to be ugly to non-Christians and Christians who they think are "fallen" or something.

Maybe these few peoples' opinions don't really matter, but I find them upsetting. They haunt me, each of these Christian people I've known who feel they need to be defensive against Christians. I cannot figure them out. They are usually sensitive and nice, and seemingly knowledgeable about the Bible, but when you come to defining who Christians are, you find that these people almost hate them, and think we'd all be better of without them, even though they share their fundamental beliefs.

Maybe someone, or some church, has been mean to them or someone that they love. Maybe they wish Christianity were something that it's not. Also, they usually have a strong dislike for tradition. I guess Christianity has traditions, because it is so old, but tradition is not wholly bad. It should not obscure the real thing though, the reason for it, and maybe sometimes it does.

I don't know. I don't understand. I would think you would love meeting and being with people who love the Lord and can understand what he has done for them. I think the sort of people I am talking about--the Christians who hate Christians--really do love to be with others who believe like they do, but when they think of the church in general, they think of the kind of people who do not really know that they need grace, and so are prideful and like to judge.

My question about that is, how can the latter even be defined as Christian? Isn't a Christian someone who knows that they are unacceptable to God except by his own mercy and sacrifice? So then why do these "Christian haters" think that Christians are so awful? Why don't they know that who they are really hating are people who think they're Christians, but don't understand anything about it at all?

It's just that churches today are so full of such a mixture--and that's fine, I hope some of the mixture gets saved--but so many of these churches are without strong biblical teaching, and so many pastors are afraid to speak the truth that's in the Bible, that "Christian" has become a whole mass of people who everyone can define however they want: nice people, harmless people, judgmental people, abortion-doctor-shooting people, family-ruining people, gay-hating people.

The Bible does not use any of that to define a follower of Christ. Christians, of all people, should recognize other Christians by the biblical definition, and not be distracted and confused by all of today's random cultural definitions. I just did not know Christians could be that confused about one another, and it makes me sad. I always knew that non-believers think who knows what about us, but if some Christians cannot even recognize the difference between real Christians and culturally labeled "Christians," what do we do?

15 July 2009

scary music

The new Harry Potter came out this week, but since I'm not going to see it until this weekend, I have been watching all the old ones. Sometimes, I just listen to them while I clean the house, or paint our dirty, chipped, embarrassing stair rails a clean, glossy white. I'm doing that a bit at a time, in a relaxed, this-isn't-a-big-project way, so watching a movie and having tea during painting doesn't seem that out of place. But with Harry Potter on in the background, I hear lots of scary music. Every day, hours of scary music. Well, almost.

Scary music sometimes has a pounding beat that makes you feel like something is about to happen, sometimes the soft, sharp, high pitches make you feel creepy, sometimes it just sounds like how it feels when something really scares you all of a sudden, and you feel that adrenaline rush. (But not in a very good way. I guess some people like it. I like sugar.) That last kind of music describes having a scary feeling, rather than creates, I think.

But what makes scary music scary? It's just a bunch of sounds. What if it's only scary to us because we have been conditioned to think it is, just like we are conditioned to make sense of all music based on the scales that western music uses. (Not country, for those of you who were thinking that. By "western" I just mean, not far east or Asian and all that. Their music only sounds "weird" to us because it is based on an entirely different pitch system than ours. So, if we were used to their scales, their music would sound normal. I've probably over-simplified it, but yeah. Speaking of over-simplifying, this whole parenthetical explanation probably over-complicates what I was trying to say in the first place.)

You know, we've all seen scary movies, and maybe it's what is going on when the music happens that makes us scared. If the music were out of the context of the movie, it might not really be scary. When you hear some modern "classical" music, it can sound really strange. Even Stravinsky when you think of the rhythm in Rite of Spring, could be used as "scary" music; you could make it work in a movie, if it were not distractingly familiar. Of course, it was written for a scary sort of ballet, I guess, anyway. But some sort of dissonant symphonies or string quartets would sound scary, but if you're just sitting in a concert hall listening, they just sound strange or itchy or beautiful or whatever. They just sound like music.

I don't know...

02 July 2009

inspired by champagne

Okay, not how you're thinking. But in a way, well, yes.

Steve got a recliner today, partly with some birthday money from his parents, and partly as a present from me for taking his PE test, and partly because we finally found one that has a head rest tall enough for him, yet is not a huge, billowy, awful, suicide-inducing sight, like most recliners. And to kick off the holiday weekend we went to get some champagne. When we came back to the house, Steve was happy to see that our Kince had not claimed his new chair. No, the Kince still sleeps in the ten-dollar yellow chair from Castaways. I love that chair. And that store.

Speaking of Castaways, I am drinking out of a classic (think black-and-white movie) hollow-stemmed champagne saucer that I bought last time I was there, for thirty-five cents. Kind of like this:

I have no idea whose it was, unlike the vintage suitcases I bought there once, which, from the luggage tags, I found out had belonged to Lahoma Roaten, the mother of one of my dad's childhood friends. Castaways is full of small-town history like that.

Anyway, back to what I really meant to write about. Champagne, the very fact of it, the nature of it, the perfectness of it, inspires the way I see life. I don't even drink it that often, and I'm not saying my life inspiration is alcohol; it's not the alcohol in it (as I type that I can hear my friend Will saying, "That's what they all say.") but really, it's the, I don't know, the effervescent luxury of it, the idea of it, the happiness of it. It's always the drink of celebrations. Life is a luxury and a celebration, when you think about it. A sumptuous affair of moons and stars and music and sunsets and springs and winters, and glowy green grasses and roses with soft petals that feel good against your face. And champagne.

Champagne is one of the many things that makes me know that life is beautiful. Not because I use it as an escape or something, just a treat that is glamorous and lovely. It just sparkles in an un-everyday sort of way, like a chandelier, or a star, or a diamond ring, or a drop of water on a spider web.