Tuesday, February 27, 2007

question #1: some clarification please

In my last post I asked for someone to ask a question. Anything. And I would answer it honestly. My youngest of three sisters was first up to bat. Good question, Janice.

"About a month ago you left me wondering. Your post on Can I Get A Witness your thoughts were "guarded" (as you stated in the comments). My question to you or perhaps challenge is - to "unguard" your thoughts and write a post on how you really feel. And maybe do it in a way that we the people of plain speaking may understand it. And don't worry about scaring anyone away, I don't think we spook as easy as you might think."

Well here goes then...in plain speak.

Once again...the same post...with a little added clarity and a little less "guarded".

I've spent eight years of my life in post secondary education. (I sure wish that I was making $150,000.00 a year) That is not an entirely unusual thing. (But most of you are not nearly as educated as I am.) Most of the time though, people who dedicate that amount of time and effort, usually end up with something that they can truly hang their hat on. (Like $150,000.00 a year) A hook significant enough to securely hold their hat for a very long time.

My eight years actually produced two hooks. (Two sets of four years worth of student loans) The first was a four year religious education at a major Canadian Bible College. (I was looking for a submissive wife). The second was a four year degree in education at a secular university.(Some of my friends called it "real" school).

After my first degree, feeling the pride of my hat being well hung,(Not unlike other things) I fully expected that my formal education had officially come to an end.(I thought that maybe mom and dad were getting sick of supporting me financially). I was on my way to working in the comfort of the church's warm arms, securely tucked under the wings of an eagle.(I was the only one in my church with a degree, so I thought I was a shu-in). Spiritually speaking, that is.

Confused that I was unable to land anything of interest,(they thought I was a cocky bastard and didn't want to hire me). I became anxious about my options. (I was broke, owed the government $15,000.00, and living with my parents). Joyce and I had become serious in our relationship almost immediately and I felt pressure to make a move in a definite direction.(She had a great savings account).

Something having to do with a ship that's moving and being easier to steer got me thinking about hook number two.(I became desperate after thinking that I could attempt med school). I took the first steps and enrolled.(In the education program...how hard can it be to be a teacher? Summers off...a good pension plan). I could get a few courses credit from hook number one towards hook number two if I was willing to make religion my minor. A lot of good that had done me in the past.(What do secular professors know about religion anyway? They're not "real" Christians). I declined any credit, and so I was on square one. Four full years to go.(Dear God, not again). We can do this.(With a little help from Jack Daniels).

The years passed quickly.(I was drunk most of the time(not really)...but maintained a 3.8 GPA).

The first two of four children were born and I was feeling a little less anxious every year.(Actually Jane cried for her first full year of life which made me crazy, Joyce and I weren't getting along, I hated school and my job at The Keg, and we were barely making ends meet financially).

Teaching was definately my thing. I was good enough. I was smart enough. And gosh darn it, my students liked me.(My lessons consisted of sing-alongs with me on the guitar and a bucket of candy. What 8-year-old WOULDN'T like me?).

Nearly ten years and three schools of friends later(and maybe one janitorial enemy...no, not you Donny), I've come to love how my hat hangs firmly on it's place(Here's where things get a little more serious). Occasionally I walk past the place on the wall where the first hook is mounted.(I look back at all that I have ever learned and come to believe about God, the church, faith, history, science, truth, the future). I've taken some of the mounting hardware and used it elsewhere.(There is a lot that I no longer believe in about my learned Faith and have come to believe in something much more empirical). It hangs there loosely.(Actually it is barely holding on). I never use it.(I 'm not angry...or afraid...I just don't believe it anymore).

I was asked a few days ago by someone who uses a similar hook if I ever used it.(He asked me if I was a Christian). I had to say no.(Not in the sense that your typical North American fundamentalist would be).

I remembered a time when I would also move about asking anyone if they had a place to hang their hat, or whether they would like one.(I was on a Christian Service team at Bible College where we would go to the local University and try to win some souls). I actually took a freshman course where I was taught how to do this. I was told that I was salty and that when people tasted me, they would become thirsty.(We were quite full of ourselves). Taste and see that I am good. I was afraid.(Do people really want to have me come up to them, cold, and tell them that I've got it right?). I didn't want people to taste me.(What right did I have to assume that they wanted to?)

I was required to write about at least one actual contact where I offered my seasoning. Witnessing, it was called. That was the first and only assignment where I received a 0%.(I protested that this was an unfair assignment. I still received a zero).

Sinse then(Now that my change of heart has become more apparent), I've become a target.(people tend to say things a little differently than they would have a year ago). People are now coming to me with their salt and offer it sheepishly.(I think they are really still trying to convince themselves of it).
Taste and see...they say.(You just don't have enough faith...).
No thanks...I'm feeling a little full(It's just not believable anymore).

So now, Janice, if you're not too spooked, let's see what you have to say...or anyone else for that matter. I welcome your comments. Try to be nice.

Sunday, February 25, 2007

I'll tell you no lies

I've been prone to quiet spells in many of my relationships. I've left people wondering what is going on in my head and whether I'm alright. During these times, conversations do not come easily to me. I will feel the other side's tension, and I'll feel worse, and the silence will compound. They'll say, "Brian, you're so quiet...you're not always this quiet. Are you O.K.?"

I sometimes respond by saying that I just need someone to ask me some questions, and then I'll have something to say.

I seem to be in that sort of spot now with this blog. A very quiet space. Nothing to write about. Although there are many things going on.

So I'm asking you, ask me some questions, and I'll tell you no lies.
If I've any readers left, ask what you will, and I'll write a post about it...I promise.

Friday, February 09, 2007

reverse osmosis

There really is little doubt about the statement that our lives become rich through reading.

But have you ever wondered if what we read becomes rich in colour by our reading it?

Sunday, February 04, 2007

a little less bereft

There was a meeting of the minds in Winnipeg.

It doesn't take much for people to come up with an excuse to get together and celebrate ANYTHING when it's -40 degrees. We'll attack the elements simply to get our internal furnaces together to have a combined efficiency in heat production.

Sometimes we get together with my friends and sometimes it's with Joyce's friends.
On the weekend it was with both. And I'm a little different for it, if not warmer.

Every time I think of the word "friends" I can't seem to escape a portion of the lyrics from a song by the Crash Test Dummies.

The Bereft Man's Song

...I can't stand her goddamned friends
But I will tolerate them, even though I hate them
( I don't, really )

I spent Sunday warm and content. Too cold to go to church, I stayed home and hung out in my long underwear and watched Apocalypto. I watched an ancient civilization become cursed and begin an unstoppable decimation. Fear and control. The film begins with historian Will Durant's famous quote: ''A great civilization is not conquered from without until it has destroyed itself within.'' I tried to see God's hands in all of this.

"God, damn the hands of glory
That hold the bloody firebrand high
Close the book and end the story
Of how so many men have died"
( Bruce Cockburn )

Life here in the cold outside and warm inside often has me wondering. Today I wondered that
perhaps God doesn't damn as much as he is given credit for.