Friday, February 15, 2008

Prayer Is Odd

The concept of prayer has confounded me for years. Let me be more specific: the idea of praying for something. Meditation makes sense. The idea that one pauses to reflect and clear the mind. The idea of emptying all thoughts and then bringing them back in anew. The idea of repetition, a mantra, to ingrain a mind set or character trait. Beyond that, prayer is a strange action that is more akin to insanity in that you are talking to someone who isn't there from a tangible standpoint. You can believe "It" is there but you can walk into any psych ward and find many people who will tell you of the voices.

For example, you can pray for patience. But what happens when you pray for someone to get well? If the person dies is God not answering the prayer? Were you praying for the wrong thing? Were you not "saintly" enough for God to hear your prayer? The Bible says Where two or three are gathered together in my name, there am I in the midst of them.–Matt. 18:20. But what does that mean with respect to answering prayer?

If prayer is evaluated in hindsight then prayer because utilitarian. By that I mean a vehicle through which objective validation becomes the measuring stick. Prayer should be spritually edifying. If you make it something to prove out, the subjective aspect bears nothing to its need.

Karl Barth notes that it is always better to pray for something, even if you think it might be inappropriate, than not to pray at all. But that points to the idea of prayer as a means of establishing a relationship and in turn the outcome should not matter. Is that the goal: a relationship rather than an answer? In that light prayer does not become something that demands the "Other" respond but rather that the "Other" just be there. This of course begs the question of what said presence may be and how you come to conclude there is presence. But here we have the subjective religious experience in which the participant constitutes the "Other". Even if the qualities given are false, it may not necessarily negate presence but rather substance.

To hear someone say "I prayed wrong" or "I prayed for the wrong thing" is merely stating the fact that one cannot know the outcome of events nor can we change them. Furthermore it explicitly claims we do not know what is best with respect to the world as progress. I admit this implies we exist in the best of all possible worlds and accept that. But doesn't everything imply a foundation of which we presuppose something? In this light, prayer really becomes something that is just as intangible as the "Other". It is subjective in process and outcome. And what then becomes the distinction between the psych patient and the football player taking to himself before the play compared to the parishoner on their knees?

This blog is a great read though sadly not updated for years.

The onus of this word salad are 2 simple songs that I have found puts in the proper state of mind. There are many that do but these are special.

Jars of Clay - Surprise

We are so beautiful when we sleep
Hearts of gold and eyes so deep, deep, deep
But love won't cure the chaos
And hope won't hide the loss
And peace is not the heroine that shouts above the cause
And love is wild for reasons
And hope though short in sight
Might be the only thing that wakes you by surprise
Surprise, surprise

Jars of Clay - Oh My God

Oh my God, look around this place
Your fingers reach around the bone
You set the break and set the tone
Flights of grace, and future falls
In present pain
All fools say, "Oh my God"

Oh my God, Why are we so afraid?
We make it worse when we don't bleed
There is no cure for our disease
Turn a phrase, and rise again
Or fake your death and only tell your closest friend
Oh my God.

Oh my God, can I complain?
You take away my firm belief and graft my soul upon your grief
Weddings, boats and alibis
All drift away, and a mother cries

Liars and fools; sons and failures
Thieves will always say
Lost and found; ailing wanderers
Healers always say
Whores and angels; men with problems
Leavers always say
Broken hearted; separated
Orphans always say
War creators; racial haters
Preachers always say
Distant fathers; fallen warriors
Givers always say
Pilgrim saints; lonely widows
Users always say
Fearful mothers; watchful doubters
Saviors always say

Sometimes I cannot forgive
And these days, mercy cuts so deep
If the world was how it should be, maybe I could get some sleep
While I lay, I dream we're better,
Scales were gone and faces light
When we wake, we hate our brother
We still move to hurt each other
Sometimes I can close my eyes,
And all the fear that keeps me silent falls below my heavy breathing,
What makes me so badly bent?
We all have a chance to murder
We all feel the need for wonder
We still want to be reminded that the pain is worth the thunder

Sometimes when I lose my grip, I wonder what to make of heaven
All the times I thought to reach up
All the times I had to give
Babies underneath their beds
Hospitals that cannot treat all the wounds that money causes,
All the comforts of cathedrals
All the cries of thirsty children - this is our inheritance
All the rage of watching mothers - this is our greatest offense

Oh my God
Oh my God
Oh my God

Thursday, February 7, 2008

Thumb Sucking Republicans

I have found a new friend and his name is Roland S. Martin. He has written a striking article on the Republican base and McCain: here.

The 'Phant talking heads are in an uproar over the inevitable McCain victory and America shouldn't be happier. Why? Simply put, the Reagan 'Pubs have run their course and the party needs to be redefined. As the article points out, McCain has "conservative" positions that he holds dear. The problem, as also noted, is that McCain isn't a slave to party agenda. How many 'Pubs are of an environmental bent only to be told that is a "liberal" platform? What defines a party platform has for so long been opposite ends of the argument that for a constituent it is all or nothing. The likes of Limbaugh, Hannity, etc have for too long spoon fed the lemmings of the party and cast out those who considered themselves more "moderate" with respect to the party platform. In McCain there is hope that reason will win over rhetoric.

The most distressing part of this McCain dilema is the given reaction. Dr. Dobson told McCain he wouldn't vote for him. Will Beck really vote for Hillary? The basic premise here is that a moderate 'Pub is worse than a Dem. Not good logic. And what of the Religious Right forming their own party? I have three words for you: Green Party Failure. I, for one, wold be ecstatic. Get the zealots out of the party and allow it to be driven by reason and not the bible. If I wanted to live in a religious state I'd move to an Islamic country.

The 'Pubs are being tested here. They are going to have to decide whether they can be happy with some and not all. They are further going to have to accept that the mantra spewed by the likes of Limbaugh all these years is not the mantra of the populace. If McCain continues to show his popularity the 'Pubs will have to accept that America may like the conservative platform sans the zealotry and extremism. McCain has no issues doing what it takes to get things done, even if that means working with the hated left. If this perception of McCain is accurate, bad for the dogmatists. Good for the America.


The pain of another football season passing isn't as severe as the past years. A certain degree of change is in the air (the ground water, your food, etc) or maybe it is age and the perception the manifests from it. I read Vic Ketchman on regularly and he notes a sense of anger and hate within the modern fan. The idea of fun and entertainment has been replaced with a greater need. Message boards and blogs foster that environment and feed the need. Confrontation to prove something and be part of something, which itself is empty and pointless. Being right, aka. correct.

Taking a stance and putting forth an opinion walks hand in hand with the fan's favorite team. Whether criticizing or applauding the fan isn't able to escape the self importance of their opinion. It would be like arguing the acting of a movie and getting pissed off about it. Or taking a business plan and trashing the person who wrote it. Lost is the entertainment of even the talk itself. It begs the question of "who cares?". The fan becomes part of something that doesn't want him. The fan forgets that he is not only a spectator but an investor. You buy the tickets, you but the merchandise and you support the team. You don't play. You don't get hurt. You don't get a trophy.

It really begs the questions of "what else do you do?". Passion is one thing. Having a favorite anything lends to the ups and downs of the emotional switchback. But defining yourself by the team to the extent that you become engraged when you're challenged about an opinion is different. The simple idea of respectful discourse is lost, mostly because it is hidden behind a keyboard and a monitor. So when asking "what do you do?" the underlying sentiment is that whatever is, you aren't really satsified. You seek out ownership in a virtual world. That is sad.

The curious stat is found in asking how you would converse when your "opponent" is directly in front of you. I have argued this for gamers and it fits fan as well: you are losing your humanity. The virtual world safeguards you from dealing with the confrontation. It gives you the false sense of power you need. In my experience the more educated blogger or poster tends to distance themself from an emotive response and focuses on reasoned responses. I see those less often.

This is why I believe I don't miss it as much. I dislike fan almost as much as high school parent. Surely nothing brings me more disgust than going to a University Christian and Trinity Christian football game and watching "family fan" acting as if they were auditioning for hell. I've coached football for 4 years and this past year had the gift of simply watching my son play middle school ball. It was great. Pure enjoyment without all the calories. Fan needs to remember to enjoy the game and to enjoy other fan. That is why they call it a game.

...end of word salad...

15 Seconds of Fame

So I'm listening to my favorite AM radio station (1010XL) and I hear that they are giving away 2 club seat tickets to tomorrow night's Hannah Montana show. All you need to do is wait for the queue song (Girls Night Out by HM) and call in.

But it doesn't stop there.

You then have to sing for 15 seconds, any song of your choice, at which point the hosts (Jeff Prosser, Dan Hicken and Tony Boselli) will vote who is best. It is 7:48 am at the Fullford House and I am mandating Mrs. Fullford and I pay close attention on our way to drop off Sara and work, respectively, so that we may dial in.

At 8:51 am I hear the song and quickly start pressing digits. 6 busy signals pass by but I am committed until I hear them come back on the air. On lucky 7 the phone is answered and I become one of three at this opportunity. First goes a guy who sings a country song...are you kidding? You have to go with the HM song. He sounds good, though. Next goes I. I had decided to go with Best of Both Worlds, but only the line right before the chorus and the chorus since that is all I can remember. But thanks to nerves I can't recall the line and sure enough I'm starting from the beginning. I know about every other line but can make it up as I go along. Thankfully they don't know the lyrics and as I break into "Rock out the show" I give it that extra UMPH!!!

I'm feeling good as they show their appreciation of my extra passion. Then I find out I'm going up against an 11 year old girl. No chance in hell at this point. Add to that, my wonderful cell signal drops. I call in quickly (first time and they remember me) to hear the girl sing. She is a bit off key but she is a kid. I'm a goner.

Then they start debating. The want to stay true to the process (as they are trying to be as professional as American Idol), but how can you go against a kid! Then the votes come and somehow I get the Boselli and Hicken vote (Prosser you must be on the only moral person on that show).

So tomorrow morning at 7:00 am I am going to the studio as one of 6 finalists. I have to believe there is some mom or kid amongst the finalists but it will be cool just to be there.

Boar Sans Balls

Do you really want to know where it comes from and why it is good? In the food industry, ignorance surely is bliss for a good majority of people I have met. I'd like to thank my good friend Nick for sharing his Boar Story. A part of life and the world I had not been exposed to was made real to me a few weekends ago: castrate the boar, let it roam for a year, and then kill it for the best meat. I have included a link that offers some counter arguments to that position but still, isn't it cool to know!

Eating Boar

"If my answers frighten you then maybe you should cease asking scary questions."