Tuesday, February 28, 2006

Is it a Choice?

“It’s a choice.”

That’s the response you would hear from a lot of homophobics or other anti-homosexuality individuals, in reference to one’s interest in same-sex partners. And while I am not going to claim a side, I want to argue a side, just for the purpose of debate. For many reading this, I feel as if I’ll be playing the devil’s advocate for the stance that I will argue, so that will make for even more fun…HA! Having said that I think it is important to intro this “stance” with an important clarification note.

[Note: The side argued in this blog is in no way saying that the “other side to this debate” is wrong or even less arguable, nor is it saying that this side that is being argued is the correct side or even what this author necessarily believes to be the correct side. And, finally, the author of this blog is in no way questioning her sexual orientation, so please do not take that thought from reading this entry. This is merely to challenge people to think about the idea behind the thoughts in this blog.]

So recently I’ve been thinking about this topic of homosexuality. I’ve wondered before what I think might drive someone to desire a member of their same sex romantically. I’ve wondered why sexual abuse to a young girl might lead her to homosexuality, as well as why sexual abuse to a young boy might lead him to homosexuality.

As seen in all of the previous statements, they are written as if to say one’s sexual desires for a member of the same sex were “made,” or so to say, “chosen” by the individual. Almost as if they are driven to a point of making the choice to be homosexual.

So, it goes without saying that I have wondered before about whether I think one’s sexual orientation is “a choice,” as so many say, or the way a person was born--“innate” as many others will argue. Yes, I’ve debated that, in my head, as most of me leans toward the thought that it is unconsciously decided for all of us. That’s right, all of us.

I don’t think we are all born heterosexual and then some unconsciously “choose” homosexuality. No, I lean toward the idea that we are born without a desire for either sex. I don’t think there is a sexual desire in any of us at such a young age. I think through our experiences, whether personally with sexuality (such as in child abuse) or through a modeling type behavior (seeing others), we all sort of unconsciously go one way or the other.

Quickly, I want to go into the theories behind what might lead a child who has been sexually abused into homosexuality.

[NOTE: I am COMPLETELY aware that just because a child is sexually abused, that does NOT mean they will be homosexual, but for individuals who are attracted to the same sex, and they happened to be sexually abused as a child, this is in reference to them.]

For a young girl who is sexually abused by a male, it is pretty clear as to why that young girl might develop a hatred or an aversion toward males, especially in a sexuality sense. But for a long time, I couldn’t understand what might drive a young boy who has been sexually abused by a male to be attracted to other males as they grow up. Then it was explained to me and I can see it now. What I was told is that there is a lot of self-hatred in an individual who has been sexually abused, especially as a child. It is easy for that child to think it is their fault (when of course it isn’t). Because of this, a young boy might try to make what happened to him as a child to be viewed as okay. Deep down he needs acceptance for what happened to him, so accepting a male to male relationship as an adult can help him accept his childhood abuse and in a way, allow him to live with the pain that he had as a boy by saying “see, it was alright.” Does that makes sense? I don’t think I explained it as well as it was put to me. But it does make sense.

So, I use those examples to show how I think both that young girl and that young boy probably unconsciously came to those decisions of homosexuality, though neither one of them were to say, “born that way.”

I am attracted to males, though I can’t ever recall making a decision to desire boys over girls for a romantic relationship. That being the case, I still argue that I wasn’t born that way. I believe unconsciously I made that decision. Whether it was because I grew up in a heterosexual household and saw a happy heterosexual marriage, or that I like the chemistry between the male and female bodies, or that I watched a lot of television where boys and girls were in romantic relationships, I don’t know.

But recently I’ve given the, “can I consciously choose to be one way or another” debate some thought. I mean I’ve met several people who will argue it to their grave that “homosexuals choose to be homosexual and if they didn’t want to be, they could change.” And they say it to the point of believing the gay guy just sat up one morning and said, “I think I want to be homosexual and like guys.”

Should this be the case, I bring this argument…

Recently I’ve had a lot of comments from friends that I have probably WAY over thought. I want to share a couple of them now.

The first was a female friend of mine asked me, “Are you seeing anyone?” Too which I replied, “No.” She immediately responded, “Really. That surprises me.” To which I laughed, of course, and said, “why?” Her response was this, “well you are so much fun and have such a great personality that I figured you would be, so it just really surprises me.” HA! Yeah, I laughed again.

So the jokester in me thought to myself, “See, the girls see it, what’s with the boys!?!?!” HA!

But I suppose deep down part of me wants to agree with her and be surprised. Honestly, I too like to think I have a fun personality.

I make this statement to make a point, not to boast: I have a lot of friends. But what’s interesting is that most all my friends are females. So is it that my personality is only attractive to females, or is it what I like to think it is…HA…and it’s that males have personality a lot lower down the list priority-wise when they are meeting women.

So that’s my first comment I’ve recently gotten from a friend. My second comment was from yet another female friend of mine. This one was what she told me she had told a guy, when trying to describe me to him…HA…this is hilarious…

“She is so much fun! She has the best personality. If I was a lesbian, I’d get with her.”

HA! Okay, let that one settle first…HA!

Okay, well, nevermind. I don’t think that one needs any explanation, so let me go to my argument that I wanted to make from these comments I have recently gotten from friends.

I think if one’s sexual orientation was as simply as making a choice, I would make the choice to become homosexual, wouldn’t you think? Especially if you believe in the idea that humans tend to make most all of their decisions, and behave out of selfish desires.

Let’s reconsider the situation. I obviously have a lot more female friends than males, so males are not as interested in my personality as females, REGARDLESS of whether the interest is based on friendship interest versus say a romantic interest. With this being the case, wouldn’t one think I could find a homosexual female that would be interested in my personality as well? Let’s face it, I do NOT have the luck with the gentlemen finding interest…HA!

And then the second comment straight out said, if they were homosexual they would be interested in me. Granted the person is not homosexual, so maybe a lesbian would not see me as she apparently does, as fun and whatever, but still.

So, if one’s sexual orientation is simply one choosing to be homosexual, why have I not done that. Honestly, I believe if I was homosexual, I believe I would be in a romantic relationship, as opposed to me sitting here single as I am as a heterosexual. And also, as much as I believe in the theory that we all behave out of selfish motives, and trust me, as much as I don’t mind single-ism most of the time, I probably would choose being in a healthy relationship over being single any day.

So I thought about it more, and I came to the conclusion that I just can’t make myself CHOOSE to be homosexual. It’s weird, because today in the car it was almost like I wanted to try it as an experiment, but I couldn’t . If you are not drawn romantically to a particular gender, it doesn’t matter how much BETTER it might be for you to be a certain sexual orientation, you simply can’t “choose” to be that way.

I guess there isn’t any going back on that unconscious decision I made years ago to be attracted to the male species.

So, how do I end this entry? Do I say, this debate seems to be saying that one does not simply “choose” his or her sexual orientation (“simply” meaning consciously choosing)? Do I say that once one has made that unconscious “choice” that it doesn’t matter how much “better” it might be for him or her personally to be the other orientation, they can not go back and change that unconscious decision? I mean there has always been that belief that it is “easier” to live as a heterosexual than a homosexual, because of the overall acceptance of heterosexuality in our society, so that being the case, wouldn’t it be “better” for a homosexual to choose to be heterosexual?

I don’t know. I just had these thoughts cross my mind today while in the car, and I thought they would make for some interesting thoughts and comments. If anything, maybe it will make people second think the comment that homosexuals simply “choose” to be that way.

So Is Research Discriminating?!

This is my QUICK random thought to maybe give you something to think about today...

[Note: "Quick" as in I'm on lunch break and we all know if that wasn't the case I could probably go on for a while about this topic, as with just about any topic]

Confession: I love research. Sick? Well, that's just in the eye of the beholder! ;)

So here is something I've thought about for a while now...

Why is it that in research, we are almost always trying to be culturally aware and racially aware, so we will test with diverse sample groups and be sure to run the statistics per race and ethnicity. Therefore, producing conclusions based on race.

Then, when we go say, "Well blacks are like this _____," or "Whites are like this _____" it is considered discriminating. Let's face it, whites have more tendencies to do some bad things and blacks have some tendencies to do some bad things too, as well as hispanics, native americans, etc.

So if we are going to do all the research to be culturally aware and be able to make statements in reference to a culture or a race, let's not view it as being discrimatory.

I suppose it comes down to what the conclusions show about whether we are going to get upset about it as a race and call it discrimination.

I believe races ARE different. Maybe not as different as some people would like to think, but we do have our differences...


Monday, February 27, 2006

Blue Like Monday Mornings

Blue Like Jazz Chapter 7 – Grace: The Beggars’ Kingdom

Grace. I honestly don’t use that word much, or really think about it. But I do use “gracious,” so I suppose that is like the same thing, but still. HA!

This chapter really didn’t stand out a lot to me, except for the bottom half of page 84. That sole half of a page really stuck me and there are three points from it that I want to comment on.

I wonder what it would be like to use food stamps for a month. I wonder how that would feel, standing in line at the grocery store, pulling from my wallet the bright currency of poverty, feeling the probing eyes of the customers as they studied my clothes and the items in my cart: frozen pizza, name-brand milk, coffee. I would want to explain to them that I have a good job and make good money.

It’s almost funny how true that is. Have you been in that situation? In line at the store to see the person in front of you paying with “the bright currency of poverty.” Today though, the system has made it less obvious, changing from the paper stamps to the plastic debit-like cards.

Actually, I’ve been on both sides of the situation. While I wasn’t the one paying with the colorful pull-out stamps, I was the one eating the food purchased with them. Though I was young, I can still remember what it was like when my family was on food stamps.

There is that sense of shame and embarrassment. No one whips those colorful stamps out of their purse or wallet with pride. Many times one is careful to make sure to checkout when no one they might know is around.

And when I think about it today, especially as I have had the opportunity to really see how the real-world can be, now that I’m grown, and I’ve had the opportunity to work with many individual who are surviving because of the help given by our government, I wish the stigma that is associated with individuals on welfare wasn’t as it is.

Then there is the other end of things. I remember just recently being at Wal-mart and the gentleman who was in-front of me at the self-checkout lane was trying to purchase him a 20 oz. coke and he was trying to use his food stamp card and the machine jacked up (you know how those self-checkouts act up all the time). I remember feeling bad for him, because you could tell he was embarrassed that the machine messing up meant the attendant was going to have to come help him, which meant then the attendant would see he was on food stamps. And then there was someone in line behind him (me), who would be staring at him wondering what was taking so long and would then see that he had a food stamp card, and so on and so forth. I remember trying to act like I wasn’t paying attention to him because I felt his embarrassment. You know how you have those times where you can feel for people? I didn’t want to cause him anymore embarrassing feelings then he was already having. You could tell he was embarrassed.

It’s interesting to me to see how this embarrassment is an American view. Government assistance is not viewed like that in a lot of other countries. I’ll never forget the story one of my professors at UTA tells his classes each semester (I’ve had him 3 times, so I’ve heard it three times…HA!). He is from Puerto Rico, but when he first came to America and was trying to support his family and get his masters degree, he was struggling financially, and someone told him about welfare, so he went and got his family on it. He said it was GREAT! It honestly was what kept him in school because then he didn’t have to work full-time AND go to school to support his family. The thing was, was that one day he was in an interview for a job and they were talking to him and asking him about stuff and his family and money situation came up and he proudly announced that he was on welfare!

He was not aware of the stigma that Americans tie to welfare. You can’t be ashamed of your situation if you’re not aware of views tied to it. He wasn’t aware. He was able to see the good that comes from government assistance and the good that it was doing for his family, and that was what he was proud to share that fact of with everyone. He tells the story today and laughs, as he has since then learned the stigma that America has in relation to welfare, but that story just goes to show that it is an American view, and I’m sad it is that way.

[Note: I am fully aware that a lot of the stigma comes from the views of how some people DO take advantage of the system and use it as a source of income for refusal of taking responsibility of their life, but I am also fully aware that MANY who are on government assistance are only using it for a short period of time to get through a trying time. It is for those individuals that I truly wish the stigma was not there.]


I love to give charity, but I don’t want to be charity. This is why I have so much trouble with grace.

I don’t know. I love to give. And honestly, I don’t like the term of “charity” and I usually do not reference any of my giving in that sense, because the negative connotation that is tied to the individual on the other end of the giving in “charity” situations is one of I don’t appreciate. Recipients of “charity” are viewed as people who are below the “charity giver.” They are viewed as “the needy.” But honestly, we are all needy in one way or another. We all have needs that needing to be met, and we all have some needs that can’t be met without aid from someone else. None of us can do it completely on our own, so why look down on someone who is being given something to meet their need?

None of us want to be viewed as “charity.” But we all need to have our needs met, or else they wouldn’t be a need in the first place.

When I first thought about this point Mr. Miller made, I was relating it to my pride issue with asking for help. I always struggle with asking someone to help me with something. I like to think I can do everything myself. I want to do it myself, but then I want to be the first to offer to help everyone else. I love to give help, but I don’t want to be helped.


A few years ago I was listing prayer requests to a friend. As I listed my requests, I mentioned many of my friends and family but never spoke about my personal problems. My friend candidly asked me to reveal my own struggles, but I told him no, that my problems weren’t that bad.

It’s funny but, when I think about this point, I’m quickly brought back to the idea of pride. And what’s even more interesting is how I can relate grace topics to pride, just as I referenced faith last chapter to pride issues.

I don’t know. Pride is an interesting topic to me. I go through times of definite prideful struggles, and then I wonder what it is like to be in a situation of low self-esteem that many individual find them selves in and I wonder how one can feel that way. Would one with a low self-esteem not struggle with issues of pride? Is pride an arrogance thing? Or could it be tied to confidence instead? As much as I like to tell myself I’m not an arrogant individual, but a confident individual, I wonder if my pride struggles make me arrogant. Maybe pride just confuses me. HA!

Back to Miller’s point, I say all of that to say it is easy to be prideful and feel like our problems are not near as bad and “in need” of prayers as some other peoples’ problems.

[Note: All the above text in smaller italic print has been quoted directly from Donald Miller’s “Blue Like Jazz”]

Sunday, February 26, 2006

A Solicitation for Homework Help...

I need help from the minds of the many movie-watching readers this blog has. I have a group presentation coming up soon and my group members and I would like some help brainstorming. We want to show a short movie clip at the beginning of each of the sections of our presentation and we were wanting some ideas for some movies for each section.

We need movies that have a situation with an individual dying. It can't be a sudden death. It has to be something that is show in the movie as a situation where the individual is having to go through the process of "dealing with an impendent death." The movie needs to show the individual and/or people around them going through the process of coping and experiencing the stress of an impedent death.

Here are the three situations we are looking for clips of:

1.) An individual stressing and coping with their OWN impendent death.

2.) Loved ones stressing and coping with the impendent death of a child (AKA maybe parents having to deal with a child who is obviously dying).

3.) Loved ones stressing and coping with the impendent death of an adult (AKA maybe children--whether full grow or not--dealing with their parents dying, or maybe an adult who is having an adult friend dying).

We have had some thoughts of a few movies, but I thought I'd see what y'all could come up with, maybe a movie that would give us a better clip to show.

Saturday, February 25, 2006

The Relationship to Our Parent(s)…

At 6 years of age it is…. “My mom is the BEST mom in the whole world!”

At 10 years of age it is…. “I want to be a doctor just like my daddy!”

At 16 years of age it is…. “I just want my mom and dad to stay out of my business!”

At 18 years of age it is…. “I’ll die before I’ll be like my parents!”

At 20 years of age it is…. [the phone call home] “Mom, I just got an ‘A+’ in micro-biology!”

At 24 years of age it is…. “My gosh, I’m turning into my mother!”

It’s an interesting cycle, huh? Maybe it wasn’t exactly like that for you, but from what I know and see, this tends to be the typical route children go with their parents. Our parents are viewed as the best people in the world one year and we want to be just like them; they are the most un-cool people in the world another year and we vow to never end up so “un-cool”; then the next year we look in the mirror and we are them. Or are we?

I don’t want to get into a nature vs. nurture debate here, but I will say I believe in both, and while genetics may carry on physical features without a doubt in my mind across generations, I think the nurture aspect of learning through modeling and the other influences of our environment is just as powerful.

Considering both these aspects, I pose this question: How much control do our parents really have over us?

Not necessarily the control of taking the car keys away or telling you when you have to be home at night or where you can and can’t drive too; more of the control of who we become and how we are in life. Yes, it is true that no other being has control of how we choose to feel and who we can become, but I think many would agree that there are a lot of non-spoken influences that control how things turn out for us.

I think it is when we really start to see these that we find our self thinking (or even more scary—saying), “My gosh, I’m turning into my mother [or father].” This is not to say that being like your mom or dad is a bad thing, but of the idea that I think most all of us would admit to striving for becoming our own person and being as independent and unique as we can. With that being the case, the realization that we are more like our parents than we thought can really quickly bring us back to reality and the thought of the power of influence and control people can over our life.

If you are reading this and you are no longer living in your parents house, or even if you are, and you are over the age of 20, I’d recommend doing a self-inventory to see just how much so called “control” have your parents had on your life, in influencing who you are today.

I’ve come up with some questions that I think are interesting to consider to see just how close (in every sense of the word) you are to your parent(s). While adopted children might not share physical characteristics, I’d bet there are still many similarities in other areas.

Feel free to answer there questions publicly (on your own blog or in the comment section) or simply in the peace of your own mind. Whatever the case, here are the questions and my answers…

1.) How far away from your parent(s) do you live (maps.yahoo.com is helpful for mileage)?
648 miles
2.) How often do you talk to your parent(s) (i.e. phone, email, letters, etc)?
That just totally depends, but I would say on average a couple times a month. Sometimes as little as once a month or as much as 3 or 4 times a month.
3.) How often do you see your parent(s) in person?
Holidays pretty much. Let me give you an example. This year I’ll probably see my parents 4 times. Springbreak my mom and little brother are coming to visit, then they will probably come once during the summer. And then we’ll be together for Thanksgiving and Christmas.

1.) Where were your parent(s) raised?
My mom was raised in the Springfield, MO area and my dad in the St. Louis, MO area. Interesting how I was raised half my life in the Springfield area and the other half of it in the St. Louis area.
2.) If your parent(s) attended college, where was it that they went?
My mom spent two years at ACU and then a year at Southwest Missouri State University, which was where she met my dad. Hmm….I went to ACU, and SMSU was where I originally wanted to go. I even went to the same elementary school and then high school that my dad went too.
3.) What are your parent(s) highest levels of education?
My mom has a bachelors in psychology. My dad did not complete his bachelors. I have a bachelors in psychology.
4.) What age did your parent(s) marry?
My dad was 23 and my mom was 22. I guess I’m behind in that department…HA!

1.) What religious affiliation do your parent(s) claim?
Church of Christ, both all of their lives. Both of their families are Church of Christ. Then there’s me! ;)
2.) What political views do your parent(s) claim?
Both of my parents are gung-ho republicans. I always claimed republican growing up because that was what “our family was.” But today, I have no interest in politics, so I really don’t claim one. But from what I hear nowadays, it sounds like for the profession I’m planning on going into, I need to look into the democratic party.

1.) What are your parent(s) professions?

My dad is a carpenter/small construction guy. Has his own business. My mom has been a homemaker my whole life growing up, but now she does a lot of substitute teaching.
2.) What similarities are there between your spouse/boyfriend/girlfriend and your parent of the opposite sex?
This question doesn’t apply to me, but I put it because I think it is interesting how many times people are attracted to individuals who are pretty similar to their parent of the opposite sex. And I don’t mean that in a sick way. It really does happen though.

1.) Which parent do you feel you look more like?
I look a LOT like my mom. It’s scary when you put pictures of both of us from when we were kids together; we could have been twins. Even nowadays, when I first moved in with my uncle, one day he told me, that he would come into the living room and see me from the back and think it was my mom sitting there, from what she looked like when she was my age.
2.) Which parent do you think you are more like personality wise?
I think my personality and interests are a lot like my mom. We both obviously were interested in psychology, but we are both really into writing. I would say my mom is a very bright lady, but I don’t know if that is an appropriate similarity to note! ;)

If you have any other additional questions of interest, feel free to share those as well.

I think these are just some questions that can bring to the surface how influenced we are by our parent(s). It’s interesting to see the similarities, or in some cases, the well established differences.

5 Friends Every Woman Should Have...

Recently my buddy, Ellison wrote a blog, that you can find here, about a conversation her, Her[r], and I all had during a car ride together. I want to elaborate more on that conversation and share a little more about how this conversation topic came to be with me.

Ellison was correct in saying that this topic was Oprah related; however, it was not something I got off of her show, but rather out of the May 2005, 5th Anniversary of her “O” Magazine. This was actually the first of the “O” Magazines that I ever bought. I wanted it because is had several “5 Lists” in it in honor of the 5th Anniversary edition. The 5-List that caught my eye the most was the “Five Friends Every Woman Should Have.” Valuing friends as I do, I had to read this and see if I had my “five friends.”

After I read the list, I honestly disagreed that those were the five most needed types of friends. Still today, I think I would make a different list of five, because I think the list depends on your own personal lifestyle and personality. Nonetheless, here is the “Five Friends Every Woman Should Have” list, as created by Michelle Burford, in “O” Magazine:

This woman’s favorite word: yes. You could tell her you’re trading your six-figure income for a career in offtrack betting, and she’d barely pause before yelping, “Go for it!” Don’t you need someone who looks past the love handles to notice the extraordinarily gorgeous you? P.S. Call her when your knees knock before a huge adventure or your voice quivers after a nasty breakup. She’s standing by to remind you how magnificent this planet became the moment you arrived on it.

When the hotel in St. Lucia is a bust and the itinerary in Switzerland falls to bits, one characteristic becomes all-important: flexibility. This agreeable companion need not be the girl you traded pinkie swears with on the playground; it’s enough that she’s comfortable with quiet (between gabfests) and is a teensy bit mischievous (as in tequila after midnight).

Intent is what separates the constructive from the abusive. Once you’ve established that the hard news is spoken in love (not in jealousy or malice), you’d be smart to seek out this woman’s perspective. Given that I shriek at the mention of ratios and decimals, it was the wrong career choice. Patients around the world are still alive because my best friend of 15 years dared to speak.

One Saturday a pal and I – and yes, we’re both over age 12 – pored over every glitter lip gloss in a drugstore aisle for an entire 45 minutes. Forget the crisis download (for that, see the Uplifter); this partnership is about spontaneous good times. She’s your gal when you wan to catch a matinee on a whim, get a pedicure in a daring color, or loaf around all day in pj’s (she hadn’t planned to stay overnight, but why not?).

Since the year in college when I roomed with a cowherd from Nebraska (I now know how to lasso), I’ve understood the value of having at least one randomly selected buddy. “Each friend represents a world in us, a world possibly not born until they arrive,” Anais Nin wrote. My friends – some twice my age, others half, some rich, others homeless, some black like me, others Korean, Mexican, Caucasian – have added richness to my life that only variety can bring. Try it. Even if you don’t walk away with a soul mate, you may learn which hand you should never, ever use when sharing a platter of Ethiopian food (your left).

So that’s her list. Don’t get me wrong. I think those are all great types of friends to have. I suppose the one that really had me disagreeing with the list was “THE TRAVEL BUDDY” one. I believe that is because I’m not really a big traveling fan, so I am perfectly content with my life not having a special “travel buddy” friend distinguished in my mind. I guess that was what I meant by lifestyle and personality preferences. And also, I suppose I feel some of my friends that meet one of these categories, meet more than just one of them. Those were my two minor disputes with the list I suppose…

Having gotten those out, there is one of the five listed that I would agree with day-in and day-out as a very important type of friend that every woman should have in her life. That was the friend type that I spent much of the time conversing about with Ellison and Herr; that friend type being “THE TRUTH TELLER.”

I challenge you to give this one some thought yourself, as Ellison eluded too in her blog. Think about it. Do you honestly have a “truth teller?” Let me try to give you a better description, because a friend that you have that is simply an honest person is not what is being referenced here…

This friend is the one that tells you the truth because it is what you need to hear. They tell you the truth when you ask. Most likely, you will not even have to specify that you “want the honest truth,” because you have no doubt that that is what they will give you.

Deep down this person is not being honest with you because of their value for honesty, but because they know that the truth will set you free, even if it hurts at first. They tell you the truth not out of their respect for honesty, but because they know that that is what is best for you to hear.

Even at this point, you might be thinking, “Oh yeah, I have several friends like that. They always tell me the truth and are honest with me about questions I ask them.” But I think this is where it gets deeper and you will really have to think and ask yourself the question, “Do I really have a friend like that?”

This is the friend that will tell you the truth when you don’t ask for it. They know when you need to hear the truth, whether you want it or not. They are the friend that will confirm the truth that you feared, and then they will help you to honestly understand it for what it’s worth.

I think the two main distinguishing characteristics for a “truth teller” are these:

1.) This friend is someone you feel you could ask ANYTHING to and get their honest truthful opinion on the matter. They will not sugar-coat something in hopes of not hurting your feelings. They will not hold back because they fear you can’t handle it. They will not hesitate to tell you what they really feel to be the truth.

2.) This friend is someone that you have a deep standing foundation to your friendship. One that is established on a love and respect for one another that will not falter under the difficult conditions that the truth can sometimes bring with it. This friend does not have to worry about whether their telling you the honest truth will hurt your friendship. They know the purpose behind their telling you the truth is meant to better you and they tell you it out of love, reassured that you will love them for being honest with you.

I truly believe #2 is the one that sets “THE TRUTH TELLER” apart from all your other close, honest, truthful friends, since we all probably have several of those.

Oh how easy it is to readjust what we might say to someone out of fear of how they might take it or what it could do the friendship you both share. The “truth teller” shouldn’t have this fear, or have to give a second thought to how you might react toward them because of the truth. It’s one thing to not be happy about the truth, but it’s another to not be happy with the person that tells you the truth. “THE TRUTH TELLER” knows that if you’re not happy it is toward the truth and not toward them.

I’m a huge fan of honesty, so I’ve taken a lot of interest in the topic of “THE TRUTH TELLER.” The more I thought about it, and came up with what I thought really distinguished the TRUE “truth tellers” from all my other honest friends (the criteria I gave you above), I was able to think of one friend that came to mind.

Don’t get me wrong, I have probably a good 5 or 6 people that come to mind, that I think I could go to for a majority of my questions and get honest answers from them, but when it comes down to just about ANY question I can think of and take it to those 5 or 6, only one of them stands out in my mind as someone I think I would not have to doubt I was getting the truth from her.

I think this individual is set apart from the others because she does not fear losing our friendship over telling me the truth based on the foundation we have built our friendship on.

I am very thankful for having a friend like this. The more I thought about it, and realized just how important and limited these types of friendships are, I was quick to let her know how much I appreciated this quality of our friendship.

I encourage you to think about this topic. If you have a “truth teller” among your friends, let him/her know how important that friendship is to you. Remind them often that you appreciate being able to come to them and expect and get nothing but the truth.

If you can’t think of a “truth teller” among your friends, do not fret. I will be the first to tell you that it does not mean you are not hanging out with the “right” kind of people. That isn’t that at all. It is not a “kind” of people, but rather a characteristic of a friendship. You have to develop it within the friendship by building a foundation that is strong and you don’t have to worry about the truth hurting how you view one another. Honestly, I think that foundation is built on respect, love, and, of course, honesty. You’ve probably got some honest friends. Work on those friendships, you might be able to get a “truth teller” out of one of those, if you really want too.

When you can tell someone exactly what you believe to be the truth without having to worry about how it will affect your friendship, THAT is when you know you have a “true friend” that will tell you the truth and help to set you free!

Wednesday, February 22, 2006

I Don’t Know…But This Could Make Sense…

Lately I’ve found myself saying “I don’t know” a lot. And more often then not, it is actually said more in a tone of sheer uncertainty, containing the “just” as in “I just don’t know…”

As much as I’d like to know everything, I am humbly taken aside and fully aware that that can never be the case. Still, as I believe most humans tend to do, I am quick to try to find the “know.” Give me an explanation that seems logical and I can normally go on with my day without second guessing it. I mean why worry about that which is explained, right?

I recently thought about the connection between God and the unconscious. Well, you very well might not see a connection, or a similarity, but let me try to explain and if you still don’t see it, feel free to say, “I don’t know.” HA!

Many times I have had God explained to me as a complexity that is completely beyond man’s understanding, as well as as an entity whose existence or nonexistence can never truly be proven by man. None of us have ever physically seen God, but so many still believe.

I see the unconscious in a similar little. I am not saying I’m comparing God and the unconscious as if they are valued similarity, that’s not the case at all. What I am saying, however, is I think the unconscious truly is beyond man’s understanding. I don’t believe man has or ever will be able to prove the unconscious exists or that it doesn’t exist. You obviously can’t see this entity that so many social scientists commonly refer to as our unconscious, but still many are quick to believe in it.

While these similarities are interesting to me, there is still another similarity that I think is the most interesting of them all.

Both God and the unconscious are quick resorts for explaining the unknown—that in which man can not seem to grasp or understand. I mean if man can never prove the existence or nonexistence of either entity, why not use them to explain other phenomena, because at least then that explanation can’t be later proven to not be the case by disproving God or the unconscious.

But it goes deeper than that. How often does one who believes in God use His existence to explain or answer what they can not put an explanation to them selves? Look at how quick is man to say, “Well it’s because of God; that’s the only explanation. It’s a God thing.” With the extent to God’s complexity that man IS able to understand and believe in, man can use that portion to say, “yes, that makes sense. It is a God thing.” Example being that, man believes God is this way, so since that is the case, then yes, it makes sense to explain this with God as the explanation. When we can make it “make sense,” we are able to accept it as an explanation.

I truly believe it is the same with the unconscious. I’m a HUGE fan of the unconscious. No, like everyone else, I’ll never fully understand it, but that doesn’t keep me from believing in it. Often times I find myself explaining behaviors or reasoning why behaviors occurred as they did with the explanation of the unconscious. Why we do what we do is not always clear. Sometimes “I just don’t know” why, but I can make sense of it by explaining it as an act of the unconscious. And when I can use that explanation, and feel a sense of comfort in it, I will gladly accept it.

Just as God is viewed as powerful, I’ve no doubt that the unconscious has quite the power over us. [Once again, please do not see me as comparing the levels of power here, I’m similar comparing the states of description.]

I don’t know why we are drawn to people of the opposite sex, or why we are drawn to people of the same sex, but having made an unconscious decision to be attracted to that sex because of experiences that we had in the past could make sense to me, so I can accept that.

You don’t know why you and your significant other fell apart and ended up splitting up, but God could have another plan for you with someone else and that could make sense to you, so you can accept it.

I think we all have our beliefs that we can turn to to explain that in which we can’t explain in other ways. I am thankful for that.

Tuesday, February 21, 2006

Lend Me Your Ear...

For some, the whole Soulforce Equality Ride that is coming to ACU is a subject they are sick and tired of hearing about. That's okay, we all have things that we just do not take interest in, or simply are just tired of all the talk being about it.

But, I find this topic still really interesting (maybe it is because I don't live in Abilene anymore, so I haven't "heard" as much about it as some), but whatever the case may be, for those who are still willing to lend me their ear, I would like to point you in the direction of Matthew's blog. Matthew is the individual who's blog I pretty much pointed you in the direction of last time I discussed this topic, but this time I want you to go take advantage of something he so graciously provided the non-chapel attending audiences with, and that is the actual recording of the Dr. Money chapel speech made in reference to Soulforce.

I am totally impressed by Matthew for two main reasons: 1.) He was able to link a sound track up to his blog for the public to listen too (yes, easily impressed, I know, but I LOVE it!), and 2.) (more importantly) He took the time and effort to make sure what he was putting on his blog could be backed up with the hard truth and how things really happened. He leaves the READER (or in this case, the LISTENER) up to drawing their own conclusions. I appreciate that!

I want to put more thoughts on this whole situation down, but I can't do them right now because, well honestly, I'm making for a REALLY long lunchbreak from work right now to write this blog...HA! But I do TOTALLY recommend for those of you who are not tired of this topic and who are as intrigued by it as I am, do take the time to give an ear to the chapel speech made by Dr. Money.

Matthew has two links on his blog to it. One being the short "controversial" clapping part, and one being the link to the entire speech by Dr. Money. Yes, the entire speech is longer (about 15 minutes or so), but I enjoyed it while I ate lunch, and I think it is a very well put speech by Dr. Money, so listen if you can get the time.

Monday, February 20, 2006

Blue Like Monday Mornings

Blue Like Jazz Chapter 6 – Redemption: The Sexy Carrots

In my final day working at my internship at the homeless shelter, I found myself having to put together the discussion for our older women’s discussion group that was meeting that day. Yes, it was last minute, but that was because the new intern that was supposed to be taking over the group that day, while myself and my partner intern sat in for our final group session to listen, happened to be out because of a sick child, so I volunteered to run the discussion.

Having just completed this book, I wanted to share some of Mr. Miller’s brilliance with this group of wise women I had had the pleasure of working with for several months at that point. So, I quickly typed up some quotes out of the book that I really enjoyed and printed out copies to give out to the ladies for us to discuss.

When I got to the group, I introduced the book and told a little about it, and then I chose to start the discussion off with this chapter—chapter 6. I wanted to introduce the ladies to Mr. Miller’s style with one of the two comic stripes he has throughout the book, this stripe in the sixth chapter being my favorite of the two!

As I read the comic to the group, as an elementary school teacher might read so dramatically to her students, I found the ladies listening intently and I could see they were wondering what I was getting them into, as each page turned—one after another. Of course, for those of you who have read this book before, and recall this comic as the one where Don Rabbit chases Sexy Carrot, you will probably remember how the only part of the story that really carries any interest to an inquiring mind would be the last few lines on the last couple pages. And yes, as you read along through the earlier part of the comic you are bound to laugh at one point or another, whether you are laughing out of genuine humor or out of the idea of “why in the world would this grow-adult man tell a story like this in his book” I’m not sure, but nonetheless, the ladies in the group tended to laugh some too as I read along. However, as it was for me, it was those last two pages; those last two comic pictures with captions that sold Miller’s style and intellect on the ladies!

If you work hard, stay focused, and never give up, you will eventually get what you want in life.


Sometimes the things we want most in life are the things that will kill us.

Yep. Those were the morals to the story (or comic in this case), and my how they make you want to act and make you want to think at the same time.

We all have something in our life that we are striving for; whether it is greatness, or sufficiency, or simply being content, whatever the case, we realize that the goal can only be met with motivation and willingness to press-on.

Believe it or not, many times for me that is, I can handle the “work hard” and the “stay focused” and even the “never give up,” but it is the “eventually” that can cause me to get discouraged. And I would be willing to bet that that is the case for a many of you reading as well. It is the wait; the patience; the time it can take for us to meet some of our goals that can discourage us the most.

I think the “eventually” is tied to motivation and value. I think how motivated you are to get something “you want in life,” or how much you value that think “you want in life,” THAT is what will determine how long that “eventually” can stand to be before you are unwilling to “work hard, stay focused, and never give up.”

Sometimes we are really motivated to get something we want because we have placed such a value on it in our life—that is powerful! It is those things in life, the ones we are so motivated to achieve, that can carry us through life day-by-day!

But what is scary is the thought that it could be that exact thing, that thing we are so stuck on wanting that will turn out to “kill us” when “eventually” actually does get here.

Why is it that some of the things that we feel we want so badly turn out to be so “deadly,” whether figuratively or literally? Is it that we are not wise enough in the first place to see it coming? Is it that we refuse to see it? Is it that we can not possibly see it until it has arrived?

I don’t know, but whatever the reason, sometimes that is how it turns out.

I am choosing not to give any examples of this because I believe it can apply to so many people in so many different ways, in reference to so many different parts of their lives. With that being the case, think about it and wonder whether what you are wanting so much in life, whether it might end up killing you in the long run, possibly literally, but more likely, figuratively.


Tony the Beat Poet read me this ancient scripture recently that talked about loving either darkness or loving light, and how hard it is to love light and how easy it is to love darkness. I think that is true. Ultimately, we do what we love to do. I like to think that I do things for the right reasons, but I don’t, I do things because I do or don’t love doing them.

I don’t know whether I believe that deep down we either love the darkness or love the light, because I think that goes back to the discussion I had from a couple chapters ago in this book about whether I believe we are born “good” or “bad” people. But I do think the ending part has some interest to me because I feel that is similar to my belief that we are all such selfish creatures.

I have a belief that I can interpret almost any action as having a self-pleasing piece to it or a self-pleasing motivation for it. With that being the case, I can relate to Miller’s comment that “I do things because I do or don’t love doing them.”

But I suppose, if my belief/theory is correct—that everyone behaves in manners that are pleasing for their own sake, then wouldn’t that make “right reasons” and “wrong reasons” irrelevant in these cases? If EVERYONE is behaving in that manner, is their a “wrong” reason left to be? Or is it that there is no “right” reason left to be? Because to have one, don’t you have to have another?

Okay, either that just got WAY too deep, or I have made absolutely NO sense in what I was just trying to say. Whichever it is, I don’t know, but I do know that I can relate to the thought of doing things because I either love or don’t love doing them.

[Note: All the above text in smaller italic print has been quoted directly from Donald Miller’s “Blue Like Jazz”]

Monday, February 13, 2006

Blue Like Monday Mornings...

Blue Like Jazz Chapter 5 – Faith: Penguin Sex

Faith. Now there’s a topic that ALWAYS seems to come up when you are having one of those “religious discussions” with someone. A lot of the answers to the big questions tend to be, “it’s just faith,” “you’ve just got to have faith.” That’s a tough answer to give to someone who is questioning faith in the first place.

I love the conversation Mr. Miller shares in this chapter that he had with his friend Laura. For a little background for those of you who haven’t read the book, this friend Laura was not a Christian; she was struggling with the whole Christianity thing, and she and Donald were having a conversation:

“I think that God is wanting a relationship with you and that starts by confessing directly to Him. He is offering forgiveness.”

“You are not making this easy, Don. I don’t exactly believe I need a God to forgive me of anything.”

“I know. But that is what I believe is happening. Perhaps you can see it as an act of social justice. The entire world is falling apart because nobody will admit they are wrong. But by asking God to forgive you, you are willing to own your own crap.”

I’ve heard it said that one of the biggest factors that can keep an individual from turning to God is pride. I’ve no doubt that is the truth.

Pride is a tough thing. Asking for helping is hard when one wants to sustain his/her pride. To ask God for help and be acknowledging a need for forgiveness can be one of the most humbling experiences one can embark on.

It’s one thing to breakdown and ask a friend for help or to ask a friend to forgive you for a mistake, but to ask one who isn’t there-there, one you can’t physically see, one you don’t necessarily get an immediate response from, that can be an even more difficult and humbling experience. One’s pride can be so hard to breakdown.

I can relate to Laura. I know the feeling of seeming as if I have nothing to seek forgiveness for. Let’s face it, we all fall victim to the justification of rationalizing our actions, therefore leading us to feeling as though we have done nothing wrong. This defense helps our pride from taking a hit.

The pride can keep one from feeling like they need anyone’s help. Pride will justify making it on one’s own. But Mr. Miller makes you think about it in a fun way…

… “you are willing to own your own crap.” Interesting. I guess it is that pride factor that allows us to push our “crap” under the rug, so we don’t have to “own” it. But still, the prideful individual can ask, must one go through God to get the ownership of one’s crap?



In continuing the conversation between Laura and Donald, Laura goes on to say,

“I can’t, Don. It isn’t a decision. It isn’t something you decide…I can’t get there. I can’t just say it without meaning it.” She was getting very frustrated. “I can’t do it. It would be like, say, trying to fall in love with somebody, or trying to convince yourself that your favorite food is pancakes. You don’t decide those things, they just happen to you. If God is real, He needs to happen to me.”

“That is true. But don’t panic. It’s okay. God brought you this far, Laura; He will bring you the rest of the way. It may take time.”

“But this hurts,” she said. “I want to believe, but I can’t. I hate this.”

This reminds me of a saying that many people enjoy sharing with me when we are discussing religion, but I am always quick to respond back to it with my thoughts on the matter. The saying is the one about how it is better to live a life believing there is a God only to find out in the end that there isn’t one, than to live a life believing there is not a God only to find out in the end that there really is one.

My response to that is that you can’t just decide, “well, I’m going to believe there is a God so that just incase there is one in the end, I’ll be safe.” If that is your reasoning, belief based on the best result for in the end, then isn’t your belief all in vain? Is it a true belief then? I don’t think so.

Laura’s right. You can’t just make yourself believe in a God. It isn’t a decision you make. You don’t weigh the consequences for “the end” and see that believing is better off in the end, so you choose to believe. It isn’t like that at all.

Some very well might not understand Laura’s struggle when she says, “I want to believe, but I can’t.” One might think, if you want to believe, then believe. But that isn’t how it is.

Let me explain it in the way I’ve always viewed it. I think our true deep down beliefs come from our heart. If you really truly believe something, you believe it in your heart. However, to get to that level of belief, you very well might have had to go through some serious thought and testing, so to say, to make sure you truly do believe it.

I think the ability to be able to do something (I can) versus the ability to not do something (I can’t) is a brain/mind thing. You mind, so to say, gives you—your body—permission to do or not to do something. It tells you what you can and can’t do. It will say, “You can’t jump off that building,” not because you physically can’t, but because it knows that if you DO jump off it, you won’t make it out on the other end.

In Laura’s case, she wants to believe in her heart. Deep down see feels a sense of wanting to believe. Maybe she has seen how it affects others—the others that have that sense of belief. Maybe she feels a sense of a void and wants to have it filled. Maybe it is for other reasons, but whatever the reason, she wants to believe. But she can’t. He mind won’t let her believe.

Many times our minds work on a scientific or rationality sense. From science, we know that jumping off a 20-story building is bound to kill a person. That’s why a healthy mind will say “you can’t do that.” But with God, we can’t put science on Him. Science can give God a perspective of irrationality. So with the idea of God being so unscientific in many senses, it can leave a mind to say, “you can’t” (believe that is).

I know about the struggle of the heart and the mind being in constant battle. I have related to the “want to believe, but I can’t.”


So Miller agrees. He knows about the struggle of the rational and the irrational thoughts in reference to God…

I think Laura was looking for something rational, because she believed that all things that were true were rational. But that isn’t that case. Love, for example, is a true emotion, but it is not rational. What I mean is, people actually feel it. I have been in love, plenty of people have been in love, yet love cannot be proved scientifically.

It can be hard to grasp…

…especially for the mind.

[Note: All the above text in smaller italic print has been quoted directly from Donald Miller’s “Blue Like Jazz”]

Friday, February 10, 2006

I Don't Normally Do This, But...

I don't normally do this, but...

...I am going to put a plug in for a post I just put as my "Worth Your Time" link on my sidebar.

First, I must thank my pal, A. Lo for making me take a look into something that I had previously let my interest pass on by. I recall noticing SOMETHING SOMEWHERE about this "Soulforce Equality Ride" business on an ACU related site, whether that was the Optimist website, or it was a student or alumus' blog-site. Whichever it was, I remember just blowing by it without reading about it and what it was about. But as I am spending this Friday night enjoying some time to myself doing things that I enjoy, such as surfing blogs, I came across A.Lo's blog.

Now, as you'll see, should you visit the "Worth Your Time" read, you'll see that A.Lo's post is basically just a post asking for thoughts on a topic. Though I give her the credit for this blog worth reading, her blog really isn't what you need to read, it is the link IN her blog that sends you to another site (which I will not put here, because you need to go through her site to get it! Look at that marketing for A.Lo's blog...HA HA!) ;)

What that link will take you to is another blog which is a blog of, what I'm guessing to be, an ACU student. About the author doesn't matter though, the important part is the blog entry that is linked from A.Lo's site. This blog really got me interested...

...and I mean REALLY interested! My thoughts were going crazy! I wanted more. I wanted to know what more people thought. I wanted to be on campus when the chapel annoucement was made by Dr. Money. I wanted to hear the crowd reactions myself.

Reading that blog entry and then the comments on it thus far really got me excited and thinking!

And then, as I longed for more information, I quickly took advantage of BOTH the links the author had supplied in his own comment section to two more blog posts about this same topic. Both of these blogs had a LOT more comments...

....I WAS GETTING WHAT I WANTED!!! More thoughts and opinions on the matter! You could see the excitement whirling up within me!

[Do not proceed beyond this point of the post until you have read about what the "Soulforce Equality Ride" situation is that is coming to ACU in late March by going to the A.Lo post and/or both of the other "blog posts" links.]

I don't normally do this, but...

...I am going to give some of my thoughts on what I've read and come to understand about this ACU situation BEFORE I get my reader's thoughts on the matter.

[I say "I don't normally do this," because though some of you are probably thinking, "whatever, you always share your opinions on your blog and then ask for comments and thoughts on the matter," but that is not ALWAYS the case. Matter of fact, especially recently, if I feel a certain way about something and i'm pretty sure the opinions of my readers might be mixed, or I don't think they will know where I will stand on the matter, I try to lead a non-biased blog and then ask for y'alls thoughts BEFORE I share what I think on the matter. Plus, I believe often times, people can be easily swayed in their opinions on some matters, so I try to hold back my own thoughts in hopes of getting more un-influenced comments.]

As I read over the linked blogs, I couldn't help but go through a mix of thoughts. First, when Dr. Money mentioned the part about having the "visitors" removed from campus and arrested, and the student's clapped and cheered, I'll be honest and say, I could have almost BET you money, I would have been among that group clapping, AS WELL AS LAUGHING. I think the key point there is I would have been laughing with my clapping. Let me explain...

In ACU chapel, when someone says something that gets people worked up and excited (whether excited in a "happy" manner or in an "aggrevated" manner), a commotion will normally break out. That's just how a chapel setting with that many college students is going to be. And what does that bring to someone like me? Laughter and applause out of the humor I find in it. TOTALLY not related to what was said by any speaker.

Second, in reference to this situation (what Dr. Money said and how the crowd reacted), I would be willing to say that a majority of the cheers and claps were for the thought of seeing people arrested and escorted off the campus by police. I honestly do not think the majority of those who cheered in chapel were cheering for the idea that "ACU shouldn't put up with gay and lesbian endorsers on their campus, so we should have them removed because we do NOT tolerate that type of endorsement." I honestly think a majority of those students just cheered for the excitement factor of getting to have people arrested and escorted off of campus. Let's face it, that type of situation is NOT an everyday occurrence at ACU. I would be lying if I said I wouldn't get a kick out of seeing people arrested and removed from campus...HA! Suckers! ;)

Don't get me wrong. There were for sure some genuine cheers and claps in that situation, I'm sure. ["Genuine cheers and claps" meaning cheers and claps that were meant as agreeance with the speakers statement, in that they stand behind the purpose and true meaning of the statement.] I'm sure there are a good number of students at ACU that would like to have nothing to do with someone trying to stand up for gay and lesbian rights, nor would they be willing to give those "types" of people a minute of their own time to listen to their opinions. But...

...as Dr. Money made clear in his next point, those people will just have to stay inside on March 27th, because ACU IS going to welcome the Soulforce Equality Riders to come to campus without the lurking police ready to escort them off.

On to more of my thoughts on this "situation"...

My first obvious thoughts were related to what I think about homosexuality and ACU's policies and what I think about all that...but those thoughts honestly didn't last very long, because, while this might sound really weird, I did not see that as the big point of this "situation." Let's face it, I HIGHLY doubt this "Ride" coming through campus is going to change ANY policies at ACU, so with that being the case, why even really discuss my thoughts on the matter. And please do not take that comment to mean I lean one way or another on that topic. I am totally pleading the 5th on that topic for this blog entry. Catch me another time if you're interested! ;)

What I do find SOO interesting, and what became my next thoughts on this situation, was the whole idea people STANDING UP Ffor what they believe, AS WELL AS, and JUST AS IMPORTANT, people WILLINGLY being OPEN to listening to others who are sharing an opinion that they most likely will disagree with!

I don't normally do this, but...

...PRAISE GOD! HA! ;) (in reference to a Christian University, as well as a blog audience that is HEAVILY populated with Christians, I use that phrase as a way to get my point across!)

Those are two things I really admire...

People standing up for what they believe in a RESPECTFUL and MATURE manner. And people being open-minded and willing to listen to an opinon that very well might turn out to be an opinion they disagree with.

What is the hurt, or what lose is it to you, if someone shares an opinion with you, that you don't agree with? Nothing. If you haven't changed your mind, that's fine. It didn't HURT you to listen. If anything, it gained respect for you from the one you listened to because you were willing to be open to them to at least hear them out.

And then to the Soulforce Riders, I don't say "this will be a wasteful trip," since I already stated that I HIGHLY doubt any policies will be rewritten, but I DO say this: I applaud your willingness to, first of all, make this "ride" across the country, but even more than that, I applaud your courage and passion to "look the enemy in the eye," so to speak. The Riders are definitely going to hit some places thoughout this "free" country of ours that will DEFINITELY "hate" them for what they are doing, as well as totally disagree with EVERYTHING they might have to say. With that being the case, I wish them the best in their journey and say, I applaud them standing up for what they believe.


Finally, as I read these blogs about this "situation" I couldn't help but get interested, and THEN, totally excited! Honestly, for some phyisological reason, my heartbeat increased the more I read about this stuff and people's opinions. I'll go with adreneline on this one! ;)

My excitement started as, "I can't wait to read about how this all turns out," via the Optimist and blogs of course. Then it turned too, "I'm marking this on my calendar!" and me thinking, I honestly think I might consider going out to Abilene for this, and try to keep a low profile and just watch as this all goes on. Then it turned too...

I don't normally do this, but...

...I want to protest! HA! Honestly, I'm not one really for "protesting" anything. I'm just too laidback and "I don't care" kind of attitude, but something in me was like, "I am SO for this...the standing up for what you believe and people being open to listening" that I wanted to go out and "protest" my support for BOTH of these things!

Here is what I was envisioning...

I honestly am thinking how much I want to take like white t-shirts and write on them in Sharpies, (yes, make them look like that, then they WILL be read and less likely to be overlooked) and like be, in the background, at places where these "riders" are "working." Wherever they happen to be getting to talk, and ACUers have chosen to listen.

The important point there is "be in the background" because I want to make sure people are aware that I am not protesting WITH the Riders but BECAUSE of the Riders.

Be sure to note that my actual "protest" would be FOR people standing up for what they believe AND people being wiling to listen to people and be open about topics, whether they disagree or not. I would be "protesting" AGAINST close-mindedness.

ONCE AGAIN--NOTE: I would in NO WAY be protesting for or against homosexuality. Remember, I said, I do not see that as the biggest point in this "situation."

P.S...I've had some thoughts cross my mind as to what I'd actually write on the white t-shirt, but I'm still working on that part, so I am not going to post that part at this point.


I realize I've put a LOT before my readers in this one blog (take potty breaks, as well as time outs to think about some of the points, whenever needed...HA!), but I want to end with one comment I found VERY interesting that was on one of the sites (you might have read it already). The author of this comment stated this question "I have to wonder if ACU would be as ‘welcoming’ of the protesters if they were to show up on lectureship weekend instead of a benign day in March? "

Now THAT is a question that sadly, we will never know the answer too, I guess. But you can't help but think about it and wonder. Honestly...

...I think I'm going to end this post by doing what I NORMALLY do and leave this "question" for your thoughts and opinions BEFORE I tell what I think. ;)

Do YOU think had it been the "lectureship weekend" when our "visitors" had decided to "ride" through things would have been any different or the same? Do you think Dr. Money's comments would have been the same? Do you think the "openness" of campus would have been any different?

Wednesday, February 08, 2006

My Last Attempt...I'm Giving Up...

As I posted not long ago, I've been going about having an avenue of communication with a friend of mine for some time now. Each of my attempts of communicating have been left unanswered...

...so I'm giving up. The last option I had mentioned to me was to send a certified letter. At least this way I will for SURE get something back. Whether that be a response from her. Or the little postcard slip on the back of a certified letter coming back to me to tell me it was received by the receipient, so I will at least have her signature saying she undoubtedly received one of my attempts at communication for SURE. Or that being the entire letter coming back to me saying "refused" or "unclaimed." At least this way I will get SOMETHING back...

So, with this last effort I unleashed my thoughts and my heart all into one long letter. The first half was lead a lot more by my thoughts (it's more blunt, and straight out saying how it is, no-sugar coating), but the end truly was my heart speaking, and I know, should she read that far, she will know that.

I have ended my attempts with this:

To Whom This Letter Might Reach—for I know not with whom I’m addressing anymore…

The Laura I once knew I feel is no longer the woman of today. Yes, we all change, but they (being research and science) like to argue that our personalities are basically set during our first few years of live. Whether that is true or not, I don’t know. But I do know, that should that be the case, the personality behind the person I knew a few years ago, is no longer the personality I’ve attempted to communicate with for the past 6 months.

The personality I once knew could, and would, talk to me for hours. That personality resided in an individual who had a sense of devotion to her relationships. I knew that, even when she was frightened of what might come from a conversation, she was still willing to address it. Something I admired. It’s hard to go into a confrontation. This was why I hoped it would never get to this point where I feel like you are avoiding our communication because of fear of confrontation.

I’ve made every attempt to let you choose the avenue of communication. I’ve emailed you. I’ve called you. I’ve come to your apartment. I’ve even given you several opportunities to take the easiest way “out” of a confrontation, meaning I’ve written you letters asking for a written response in return. Writing someone a letter is easily the least confrontational form for communication, but you’ve chosen to dismiss all my attempts to communicate between the two of us.

I’ve given you straight out opportunities to write me back and say in whatever form you should choose how terrible of a person I’ve been. I was willing to accept that, but even those hopes for SOME sort of communication have gone unanswered. Maybe you do hate me. Maybe you don’t want to have any more communication with me the rest of your life. Should that be the case, I would hope you are adult enough to make that known.

How simple is a “Leave me alone” letter back to me? I gave you a self-addressed STAMPED envelope each time I wrote. For goodness sakes, I wasn’t even asking you to use a stamp! It would cost you NOTHING. All you’d have to do is stick it with the rest of your outgoing making for your apartment complex on the top of your mailboxes on your way out the door some day.

It was that outgoing mail that let me know that I DID have the correct complex when I attempted to talk to you in person when I looked for your apartment. I say this because I noticed (your husband) had a letter in the out-going mail waiting to be picked up by the mailman there. So, I KNOW I had the right complex.

Something I’ll never forget and always cherish about the friendship we shared in the past was both of our loves and appreciation for music.

Still loving music today, I want use a part from Mr. Baz Luhrmann’s “Everybody’s Free (to wear sunscreen),” which I believe to be a very well written and advising piece. He says:

“Understand that friends come and go, but for the precious few you should hold on. Work hard to bridge the gaps in geography and lifestyle because the older you get, the more you need the people you knew when you were young.”

Gosh, how true! I’ve definitely lived through enough of a life to know that friends really do come and go. And what’s interesting is how many different meanings that in it’s self has. It can mean that friends will come and go in the sense that a friend might be here for a month and then you don’t talk to them ever again…they came and went. Or it can mean that one friend will come, while another will go…this happens often, especially with encounters with big life events. Or it can mean that a friend could come and go and come and go and come and go, like a yo-yo in a sense. There’s that saying about how true friends are those that you can go without seeing or talking to for a while and then be able to pick right up where you last left off and not feel like any time has passed. Those are the “yo-yo” type friends. The ones that have the deep friendship in which the bond will always be there. They can always count on each other, even when they do have to “go” for a bit.

I suppose depending on which type of “come and go” the friend fits into, determines whether they are one of the “precious few you should hold on to...”

Laura, we’ve always had the difference in our ages, but we never used to let that be a factor in our friendship. That was something I always admired and respected about our friendship. But maybe the difference has come into play now. Maybe Mr. Luhrmann is right. Maybe it is “the older you get, the more you need the people you knew when you were young.” Maybe since I do have those few years on you, this point has hit me before it’s hit you.

I’ve had the pleasure of getting back in touch with many of my friends from growing up. Some even from as far back as my elementary school days before moving to St. Louis. It has been some of my most excited times, reuniting with old friends. And while each of those friendships have been exciting for me to rekindle, none of them were friendships I viewed as as “precious” as the one we had. Our friendship was “one of the precious” few.

I’ve tried. I don’t think anyone would argue the fact that I’ve “worked hard to bridge the gaps in geography and lifestyle” of our two lives. There’s no doubt we have some “geography” separating the two of us. And we may have more different lifestyles from one another today than we ever had. You’re married. I’m single. I’m about to complete a masters degree. You’re still working on your undergraduate degree (as far as I know). You are studying the hard sciences to be a nurse. I’m studying the social sciences to be a therapist.

Yes, our lifestyles today might be different, but it wasn’t that our “lifestyles” were ever all that similar even when we were the best of friends: I went to (the name of my high school). You went to (the name of her high school). You had a car. I didn’t have a car. I would say things to people’s faces. You would shy away from confrontation. You came from a middle class family. I came from a low class family. You were baptized. I was not.

We’ve always had “lifestyle” differences, but those were what I truly believe made us more interested in each other. We were different and we were fine with it.

The similarities that really make a friendship come on the level of values and beliefs. The Laura I once knew, shared a lot of the same values and beliefs as I did. I truly believe that was what brought our friendship as close as it did. Yes, we had similar interests as well, but when two people truly value similar aspects of life and qualities of life, they can share a special bond for a relationship, whether that is a friendship or a romantic relationship.

I don’t know. Maybe “geography” and “lifestyles” have led us to value and believe different things, which incase, would make grounds for a friendship between the two of us nowadays to be difficult. However, should that be the case, that is what I need to know.

I’m asking for your help, Laura. I’m asking you to tell me what I need to know. Tell your story. I’m asking for you to let yourself be known. I’m not trying to tell the story alone, I’m asking for your input. I want to know what has gone on, or what has gone wrong. I need to know how things look from your perspective.

Communication is a two person act. In order for the noun of “communication” to take place, two verbs, or in other words, actions (communicating) between to different people must take place. I’ve acted. I’ve been communicating. However, I’ve been communicating alone for 6 months now. We’ve yet to be able to achieve the “-tion” in order to have successfully achieve communication. And without your help, I can never reach that step. It doesn’t matter how hard I work at “bridging the gaps,” I’ll always be stuck until you’ve acted in your part.

So I give up. I don’t dig out a white flag, because I haven’t surrendered, I’ve just run out of breathe to press-on. I’ve exhausted my options. I’m laying on the ground waiting to be overcome with a feeling.

Will it be a feeling of sadness? Will it be a feeling of emptiness? Will it be a feeling of sorrow? Will it be a feeling of regret? Will it be a feeling of remorse? Or will it be a feeling of acceptance?

I don’t know and only time will tell. But I’ve given up. I can’t say if I’ll ever try your phone number again, or if I’ll erase your number from my phone hoping to not have to be reminded of my attempts to understand that were left unfulfilled.

What I do know is I can sleep at night knowing that I tried. I’ve done everything I could think of in my mind to have communication with you. I’ve cried due to my fair share of frustrations and I’ve run out of tears to be shed in a battle that I’ve extinguished my resources in.

They say that hostages that end up alive when the rescuers come to save them are the ones that have never given up hope. Even after they have tried every possible means to escape on their own, and they lie dying on a cold dark floor of a cellar, they still have a sense of hope buried somewhere within them that keeps them alive until that rescuer opens the door to let the light shine in.

I’ve still got that hope, Laura. I’ve used all the means I’ve had to get to understand and get to that “light,” but now I’ve given up on my end of trying to find the light, and I’m going to lay down and hold on to the hope I have left.

On the morning of Monday, January 23rd, before going off to work, I dug out my old silver chained necklace that had the little four-hearted silver ring on it; the ring that you and I both got back in August 2000 to keep as a reminder of our friendship as I left for college. I’ve worn that necklace with the ring on it every day and night since then, only taking it off to shower, with hope that you’ll remember our friendship too.

As I wear this necklace today, I still have my hope, Laura. I might lie on the ground feeling our friendship has died, but I will still have the hope that you’ll pull through and bring me into the light. I know you can. And it’s the Laura I knew for many years that gives me the reason to know that and to continue in my hope.

Let the light shine Laura. Let your light shed some understanding my way. Help me by simply communicating your story to me.

Giving up but hanging on with hope…

Monday, February 06, 2006

Blue Like Monday Mornings

Blue Like Jazz Chapter 4 – Shifts: Find a Penny

Like last week, this chapter did not have as many points that really stood out to me, but don’t worry, we’ll get to those chapters that will either make for EXTREMELY long posts, or they’ll have to be TWO posts…HA!

This is the first chapter where Mr. Miller introduces Reed College. Honestly, I’d never heard of the school before this book, but after reading the book, I am REALLY interested in it. It sounds like a place that would really captivate my sense wonder. I can say this because throughout the remainder of the book, Miller refers to experiences he had at Reed or with individuals associated with Reed, painting quite the picture of the place for the reader. The first point from this chapter that I found much appreciation for does just that…

I was challenged by the students at Reed because they were on the front lines of so many battles for human rights. Some of them were fighting just to fight, but most of them weren’t; most of them cared deeply about peace. Interacting with these guys showed me how shallow and self-centered my Christian faith had become. Many of the students hated the very idea of God, and yet they cared about people more than I did.

I truly appreciate the last sentence of that paragraph.

Having grown up in the church, I can admit to being one who grew up believing church people were the “good” people. Those not in the church were not as caring. They were not as “good.”

I believe many times those in the church still fall victim to this way of thinking. It’s easy to think that people who are not “Godly people” or people who are not church-goers are not caring, “good” people. It’s easy to believe that the ability to truly love people, or life in general, is only an ability obtained through loving God first.

I think Miller’s point here is one that I so desperately want to get across to people. I think it is important to understand that a person does not have to go to church to be a “good” person. A person does not have to be a “Godly person” to love people and care about them. There really are “good” people out there that don’t claim a religion or even believe in a God.

I make every effort to love people to the best of my ability. And if you really do have to be a church going, Godly individual to be a “good” person and to truly care for and love people, then I want to be the exception to the rule.


…we talked about God. The thing I loved about Nadine was that I never felt like she was selling anything…some Christians…felt like the had to sell God, as if He were soap or a vacuum cleaner, and it’s like they really weren’t listening to me; they didn’t care, they just wanted me to buy their product.

This is SOO true. So often I find myself being bombarded by individuals trying to sell their faith and beliefs on me. Why is this? Why do so many individuals come off as selling their religion versus encouraging it or simply endorsing it?

I am reminded of two distinct times while I was at ACU where I held discussions with individuals about religious beliefs. In both instances, I took strolls around the perimeter of the campus to discuss topics such as beliefs and going to church and praying and all sorts of matters relating to the topic. I can honestly tell you the two approaches those friends brought to our discussions were what influenced the discussion so greatly. One individual seem so pushy. So devoted to selling God to me; it was definitely uncomfortable for me. It lead to my avoidance of this individual for a matter of time.

But the other individual approached me in a totally different sense. This person came with wanting to understand me and where I stood first. This person wanted so badly to understand what I thought and why I thought it. This person intrigued me with their care and desire to understand versus wanting to tell me how it should be and sell their God to me. This person made me more interested in thinking things out and discussing the matter more often, rather than causing me to go into hiding.

Don’t get me wrong, the second person cared that I was not on the same page as they were in relation to God and Godly matters, but they wanted to understand in order to help me to “see” instead of giving it to me and telling me to hold on.

I truly believe the approach one takes with sharing their beliefs, especially religious and spiritual beliefs, is very important in determining the outcome of the situation.

[Note: All the above text in smaller italic print has been quoted directly from Donald Miller’s “Blue Like Jazz”]

Sunday, February 05, 2006

Super Bowl XL : So what did you think?

Did you watch it? So what did you think?

1.) Of the game overall?

2.) Of the half-time show overall?

3.) Of the commercials overall?

Give it a number rating and then feel free to expand on your reasoning.

[Based on a scale of 1-10 with 1 being terrible and 10 being amazing!]

Wednesday, February 01, 2006

UPDATED: Confrontational?

[UPDATE: Read my comment added in the comment section for my update...it is the 4th comment listed]

This isn't going to be my opinion on confrontation, but I can give that another time...HA! I need to do a little self-awareness exercise real quick and I need your help...

1.) Do you view me as a very confrontational kind of person?

2.) If so, how intimidating (i know that might sound funny, but it is the best word I can think of right now) would you say me confronting you, as a friend, about something is? [on a scale of 1-10 with 10 being VERY intimidating]

Don't worry about what you put...I'm not doing this because someone told me I was or wasn't confrontational and I want to prove them wrong. No, I just need to know, because I honestly don't know.

Just be honest, please.