Dec 28, 2005

Eye Spots

A couple of weeks ago I asked my favorite Canadian what it was like having one eye. Among my many questions, I pondered as to if he saw total darkness in his blind eye or if he saw a mixture of red and blue dots like I do. He had no idea what I was talking about. Another colleague of mine was standing there in the conversation and also commented that he, too, sees dots. This began a strange inquiry into how many people see dots and how many do not and who, for that matter, are the normal ones. It turns out that people see dots, others don't, and still some see them every now and then.
I am able not to see them if I do not wish it so. They usually appear when I start to talk about them. These little sparks of intrigue have been with me my entire life. They rarely show their selves when the sun is out. But once the darkness falls these little puppies ignite and create odd shapes that keep me somewhat entertained.
As this dialogue grew, we decided to call an optometrist to get their opinion since, as odd as it seems, Google failed us. The optometrist told all of us who see dots to set up an appointment immediately. Drat! Thoughts of glaucoma, diabetes, and blindness filled our heads as we tried desperately to rationalize our sparkly vision. We found others who, too, saw the dots. This brought comfort.
This troubles me because my eyes have exceptional vision. I must admit, however, that since this debate has sprouted I have found myself in constant effort to have the dots disappear. The problem is that I only see them when I think about them. Nuts. Maybe, as Bugs Bunny once suggested to Elmer Fudd, I have rabbititus. He said, "first you see spots before your eyes. Then they start spinning around until, suddenly, everything goes black." Drat.

Dec 21, 2005

It's hard to get used to them eyes!

Engaging in a tete-a-tete requires one to spend a lot of time wondering how long to keep looking at somebody's eyes. If one stares too much, it can come across as somewhat awkward. Learning the appropriate time to look away is quite an art. Unfortunately, there are times that I find myself not really listening to the person to whom I'm am in dialogue for I become preoccupied in the eye game. That's all I have to say tonight. It's late and we couldn't finish the movie KING KONG because some yahoo let loose the fire extinguisher. What a drag.

Dec 16, 2005

Of Journals and Things...

When it comes to journal collections, time management systems, and other tools of reflection and self-organization, I have an arsenal. I remember a teacher once telling me that based on my personality type, ENFP, that I probably had several time-keepers and journals and did not know where they all were. I've learned that those areas of life...such as time-management, will not come easy for me...but, not to fear, I still am able to overcome such a human frailty but that it would require much work. Just because it is not in my DNA does not mean that I cannot obtain said habits. But it will always be a struggle for me. I know this. That is why I must work at it. It's like having the DNA of a hefty person but still being able to keep the weight off. It just takes work. Oh, but there is that nasty thing called procrastination. Unfortunately, I rely on procrastination to get me through the tough times. I come alive under pressure. It helps being in ministry to have such a demeanor. Being an instinct driven person does not always help me to maintain a journal or a time keeper. But, oddly enough, my instincts tell me that I better keep trying. Whew! I did it! I did not have the gumption to blog today but I forced myself to accomplish this act. Sure, it wasn't exciting, keep with the theme of this paragraph, I kept working at it!

Dec 9, 2005

Victims of Poetic Inspiriation UNITE!

I'm not a poet. That's obvious. But I was overpowered by a sense of poetic creativity by unknown powers. Lately, I've been reading Vonnegut's "A Man Without A Country," "The End of Faith" by Sam Harris, and a few other works but none of them are works of poetry. I would argue that Vonnegut's new work is truly poetic in its philosophy and word-smithery, but no poem is to be found. Regardless, I will publish a few of these that were all written within a 45 minute time frame.


“Good smoke,” was what he said
Hidden beneath a brow of dust and grime the old man puffed and puffed
A smile returned to his face as he lingered in the night
Slightly rolling his eyes upward he paused amidst the silence found in the noisy city
A smile returned to his face as he hummed in the night
Hidden beneath a row of sky-scraping lights the old man muttered and puffed
“Good smoke,” was all he said

A Young Black Dies

Shot! Shot dead! He was shot dead!
Bang! Banging around the alley in a trash can!
Rang! Ranging out in the night!
A belly of blood soaked through the pain
Lifeless soul draped over a fence!
Burn! Burning pain searing in a gut so deep
Help! Helpless he lay funneling his sin
Deep into the bowels of the earth
A mother’s cry woven into the tapestry of the night
Forever sealed in the wombstone of her heart


I heard the way the street boy sang
I heard the way the drums did bang
I heard the calls of the suffering flute
I heard the calls of the lively youth
People running to see all the fuss
People stopping to help where they must
Shoulder to shoulder the band did play
Over and over the mothers did pray
An encore was given again and again
As people reacted to the music within
A tragic song hung heavy in the air
While firemen battled the growing despair
The thundering applaud of the audience’s delight
Gave rage to the fire blazing fierce through the night
The timpani of smoke kept beat with strong vigil
While I kept tempo with the click of my digital
Many cried out from the heat of the moment
But soon fell quiet to the song’s strong torment
Shock and awful waves of sadness arose
Despite the song that the band had chose
I kneeled down to block it all out
But crept forward and began to shout
Gushing distrust of futuring hordes
I lashed out toward those oxygen whores
Flames of hate a most treacherous song they play
A condemnation or boycott will not keep them at bay
No plug to pull, no rain in sight
Chaos ruled our city’s night

A Connection Through Time

Crisp air taunts playfully
As round leaflets of sun speckle the park
The crunch of grass pushes firmly beneath
While a child runs with arms full of future memories
Huddled around an ivory glen
Eight small women of marble bend
An archer stands inside their rubble
Fending off imagined trouble
The child stops and pauses at their site
Several pigeons aroused take flight
He turns to imagine what creature might dwell
In the eyes of the archer and the damsels as well
Quieted by the artists’ touch
A notice of how little says so much
Drawn toward the wonder of the creator’s world
The pondering boy sees the statue unfurled
Yells from across the park demand
That the boy gets going as they command
He hurries off but stops just steps away
And turns to face the sculpted fray
He nods gently as if to impart
A word of thanks to an artist’s heart

Dec 8, 2005

Humanity Can Do Life So Well

In case I didn't know already, it's best that I inform myself that people, at times, can do life so well. Weddings are a perfect example. Being a pastor, I've had the opportunity to perform multiple weddings. Some of them are more enjoyable than others and I've learned why. First off, money helps. Poor weddings add tension to the air while nicely financed shindigs bring joy, merriment, and a bit of honor to the occasion. Yet, money does not denote a formula for a successful wedding. Every wedding has a certain vibe to it. When people feel that the couple is making a mistake, or are too young, or there's a baby on the way, or any other reason that causes the audience to "talk" does not promote a great wedding no matter how much money is involved. When the audience is comfortable with the couple's decision and it is obvious that the wedding has been planned well with plenty of thought and resources put into the event, humans begin to shine. Alcohol also causes humans to shine but that is not a necessary ingredient for success. When everything seems to be going fine, the vibe and perception of the couple is healthy, people begin to carry a sense of honor that may not have been seen earlier in the day. Even in the poorest of weddings humans rise to the occasion and enjoy life to the full. Of course, there are also a group at any wedding that act like polished turds. But those people are necessary on several levels. They bring gifts, add fullness to the crowd, make others feel glad not to be them, and add depth to the event. It is important to keep in mind that the people whom we think are the polished turds may be thinking the same about us. There are not enough opportunities for humanity to shine in today's crazy world. Weddings give people the opportunity to dress nice, celebrate life, meet new people, observe a holy moment, get drunk, dance the chicken dance, and eat chicken cordon bleu. Humanity needs these expressions of life. It's a way to put humanity in a suit. And we look good in a suit. We dress up real nice.

Dec 7, 2005

We Dig People Who Dig Our Truth

Smoldering away in the almosts of my mind is a simple philosophy of liking people because they share the same common view as myself. When two numbskulls meet they, after the quick introduction and niceties, begin seeking a common ground on which to bond. Music, sports, sex, weather, God, and all the rest are great examples of the ingredients of a common bond. Being the addicts of community and acceptance that we are, we may tweak our view a bit in order to acquire a new friendship. If for example I begin a conversation with someone new and I say that I love Johnny Cash's music and they begin to grimmace, somewhat seem disappointed with my statement, and then reward my declaration with a cheese grin, I tend to offer up another statement about the same subject that is bound to bring them into agreement with me. Here's how that might look: "Hello," I say to a new person.
"Hello," they respond.
"I like Johnny Cash's music," I say.
"Oh," they respond, "that's nice."
Awkward silence.
"Johnny Cash was an ugly cuss," I say.
"Darn tootin'," they respond with a look of interest on their brow.
Bonding begins. Life is beautiful.

Dec 5, 2005

Malnourished God Genes

Feeling somewhat relaxed from a weekend of play I now begin to turn my attention toward the day with a look at my God gene. There is a frustration that comes with praying as well as a deep inner peace that has a unique ability to "slow" time. After a successful prayer, time seems to begin to catch up. It's a great feeling. The frustration lies in two aspects of prayer that never seem to completely fade. The first area of friction are the expectations that I bring to the prayer session. I always want to deeply connect with God. The day's sin, or what I think he's going to say to me, and even my own answers to questions that I have for him, brush away my ability to hear from the Lord--if, indeed, one can truly hear from the Lord. The second area is everything that I got wrong about the prayer time. Mishearing him, self-depreciation, wrong worldview, drifting off, impatience, irritation, not finding the right words to say, expressing myself "in the spirit" and then feeling somewhat silly afterwards, and falling into poor prayer cycles are the main pangs of prayer aches that I experience. Dean Hamer, in his book THE GOD GENE, points out that after intense study of the brain during extended meditation, there are certain areas of the brain that come to life more than others. All components of the cortex, that's where the brain does most of its planning and thinking, were very active during prayer. The thalamus and cingualte gyrus, the emotional limbic system, heat up as well. None of that was a surprise. What did raise a scientific eyebrow, or two, was the decreased activity of certain areas of the brain. In fact, it seems as if they literally shut down. The posterior superior parietal lobes, which are located in the back of our cranium, are responsible for playing a crucial role in defining self. Touch, vision, and hearing information is sent to this part of the brain and creates a three dimensional portrait of the body. (Imagine having that part of your brain damaged! You might only see yourself as a one dimensional creature. Which might explain fundamentalists). Prayer seems to shut down our self-centeredness. I wonder if a person who has a high perception of their self, in essence thinks that their poop does not stink, has a difficult time with prayer because they struggle letting go of their own self definition. The posterior superior parietal lobes may also aid in humility. Hmmm? No. I'm reading too much into this. I do not know enough about the brain except that altering it can be really fun. In retrospect, my God gene needs to be nourished more. Maybe I can achieve this through trying to figure out what God feels like. Hmmm.

Dec 1, 2005

I'm one of these three. Posted by Picasa

When Shallowness Dwells at the Depths of One's Soul

Soul searching is not something to be Googled. I guess it's quite arrogant of me to be somewhat disappointed in many people who don't seem to value self-actualization, or at least have some inquiry into who they really are as opposed to who they believe their selves to be. Being blind to our own blindnesses, believing our own hype, and only getting constructive criticism from people who we know will never really tell us what they believe, are roadblocks to self discovery. We need to create a device that basically "lays it all out for you." We need a Magic 8 Ball that literally says what needs to be said. Imagine feeling upset at the world and knowing that something is gnawing at your innards. "Ah, ha!" you say, "I'll ask the Magic 8 Ball." You pick it up saying, "O' Magic 8 Ball...what ails me?" After shaking it, the triangular floating piece from within gives you the answer, "You're a Flipping Idiot and You're Wife's Cheating On You. P.S. You're Boring @ Parties." Problem solved. Sure it might hurt but the truth has come forth and growth can occur. Of course, I think a wife might just be able to be as efficient as any Magic 8 Ball.

Nov 30, 2005

this is an audio post - click to play

Wanted: The World's First Postmodern American Gypsy

I've been listening to Django Reinhardt this week. That's one crazy gypsy. His playing demands the listener to fantasize about playing as good, if not better, than Django. Regardless, I wish there were more gypsies floating around America. My sister-in-law spent six years in Hungary and saw gypsies every day. She even had one crap on her front porch! I'm not saying that we need more front porch dookies, it's just that seeing a covered wagon, decorated in classic gypsy decor, with lanterns swaying back and forth, while the wildly clad gypsy natives sing and dance, would be a nice touch to the American sunset.
For some odd reason I want to connect the fact that the name Django Frett would be a nice whimsical name for an intergalactic guitar playing bounty hunting gypsy to what I'm talking about but, I just can't bring myself to perform such an act.

Nov 11, 2005

One Week with McLaren

I am amazed that I'm actually attempting to start this blog up again. But after a week with Brian McLaren, I am feeling a new sense of inspiration erode through my lackadaisical attitude toward bloggaholia.

Being in the Dmin program at Fuller Theological Seminary has been a wondrous trek. This week, and I mean it, has far surpassed my greatest expectations. The title of the class was Ministry in the Post-Modern Matrix. The teacher was Brian McLaren and was co-taught by Keith Williams. There were a couple guest speakers as well like Eddie Gibbs and Ray Anderson. This emergent conversation is good fuel for the theological juices.

I hope to commit more time to this subject and blog. We'll see how it goes.

Feb 2, 2005


I finally blogged and went to publish it and lost it. It had something about podcasting in it and how I am sporadically constant in blogging. Until next time

Sporadically Constant

It seems that to be sporadic in my blogging is a constant in my life. Regardless, I press on toward bigger and better things. According to most people who give a care, podcasting seems to be the next big thing. I hope so. The concept is sweet and the possiblities are beautiful and in vast array. I am already in progress of putting together a podcast for the GATE (our college group) and DVY (our youth group). However, I'm sure I'll be faithful to my calling and be sporadically constant in my podcasts. Until I remember to blog...

Jan 22, 2005

Blogging's Easy ... Remembering to blog is the hard stuff!

Interesting. I felt prompted to jump back on this once I realized it still existed. I guess BLOGGER just keeps them on here forever.

Life in this post-tsunami world is interesting. Today, 25 days after the waters rose, they found a lone survivor named Michael on a demolished island waving a flag made from his clothes. He, being the only survivor from his village, kept nourished on coconuts. Talk about a paradigm shift! One day you're hanging with your tribe, then, the next, everyone on the island is sucked out to sea except you. Apparently, Michael was sucked out on the first wave but got tossed back up on shore during a stronger second wave. On top of all that, due to the island's locale, he had 25 days to dwell on the experience before he was spotted in only his scivvies, waving the rest of his clothes in the air.
I wonder what that guy thought about? He probably has some sense of destiny. It would be futile for him to return to civilization only to choke on a chicken bone at some dingy fast food restaurant. Or, if the guy is a creep, how demented it would be if he became a serial killer, terrorist, or fashion consultant. My guess here is that God doesn't take lightly the fact the he survived. If ever a person had ample time to dialogue with God about the meaning of life and their calling Michael Mangal is that man.