Thursday, December 13, 2007

A gift from Walden Pond

I decided rather than check ESPN for their latest vitriolic outburst about the new head coach of the Hogs, I'd do something productive with my time. So, I swiveled the chair over and looked at my bookshelf, grabbed Walden, and looked at the table of contents: Headings like "Where I Lived, and What I lived for," "Sounds," "Visitors," and "Winter Animals," grabbed my eye. So, I open to a page in the "What I lived for" section. Thoreau is ruminating on the qualities of the morning, and then qualifies that perhaps morning is simply a state of mind, and that morning can occur for those who develop the talent at it any hour or every hour of the day, saying, "To him whose elastic and vigorous thought keeps pace with the sun, the day is a perpetual morning." And then this sentence: "Morning is when I am awake and there is a dawn in me."

Wow--those are two of the most beautiful thoughts I have encountered in a while. What a gift. Glad I came across them, so I thought I'd pass them along.

Monday, December 10, 2007

How Art Made the World

I'm watching the great documentary right now that my mother in law let us borrow like 2 years ago. It is produced by the BBC, and is available on DVD, or on PBS maybe (since that's where the website comes from). This kind of stuff is right up my alley. Tonight's episode was about the birth of images, and the discovery of a religious site that may very well be the birth of civilization: the massive man hours to create the site would have taken thousands of people, and our strains of domesticated wheat just so happen to trace their roots to the wild wheat found in a 15 mile radius of this particular site in Turkey. (equating the birth of civilization with the agricultural revolution, of course). The program also explored the evidence of altered states of consciousness in the creation of cave paintings in many cultures. The whole thing incorporates art, science, and culture into an amalgam of information. If you geek like me, you'll like this program. Check it out at your local library.

Wednesday, December 05, 2007

Christmas priorities

I've gotten some good comments on my newest newsletter article--perhaps you'll enjoy too.

Ho hum. So it’s the Christmas season, and here’s your monthly installment of the “Pastor’s Perspective.” I can just imagine you sitting there reading and thinking, “Well, I don’t have to read this…I know what he’s gonna say: Jesus is the reason for the season, give to others, why can’t we just all get along, blah, blah, blah.” In an effort to curb this assumed lack of enthusiasm about this particular column, please allow me to instead propose the following, perhaps unexpected Christmas meditation.

Did you know that one of the hottest Christmas “must-haves” this year is the Nintendo Wii? It is really cool, and has motion sensors in the game controls, so that the motion you make with your hands is replicated in the video game! It allows you to get some exercise while playing—and it’s catching on fast with older adults too—not just kids and teenagers. So everyone can come together again around the t.v., like we did back in the 50’s, and everyone knows life was much better back in the 50’s! Of course, by now everyone has an ipod, so if you don’t have one yet, you’d better step up to the plate and buy one unless you just want to get a big gold chain with a “has been” marquee and hang that around your neck. Or, you could just bypass the whole ipod (it’s so yesterday) and drop a mere $500 on an iphone. There’s even more there to tinker with, and it has all the stuff an ipod has anyway. Then the great thing is that once you have all of these electronic marvels, you get to buy more stuff to make the latest gadgets work with your existing less than state of the art stuff. You want to use your new ipod in the car? You get to purchase more stuff to make the thing work in your car! Ipod at home? You can buy an ipod stereo, or an ipod alarm clock that will wake you up to that music that is so important that you would rather listen to it than anything going on in the world around you! The important thing to remember is to spend lots of money this Christmas season on gifts for everyone in the family, because otherwise how will they know you love them? Spend until your wrist hurts from sliding your credit card through that little swiper thing at the store! Spend until you feel good! You don’t feel good yet? Well keep spending—you’re bound to get there!

Also, forget about all this sentimentality about some poor refugee kid in a manger somewhere. We live in the 21st century! What does all that have to do with my life in this complex world anyway?! What we should be focusing on is how a therapeutic shiatsu massage chair liner that we can purchase at Sam’s for a pretty good price can make our lives more clear, calm, and collected. Why go to some antiquated service with candlelight on Dec. 24 when I could be out doing some last minute stocking stuffer shopping at Wal-Mart? (I still don’t understand why they’re closed the morning of Christmas—what if I have to buy batteries for all my new stuff?) Candles are nice, but Bed, Bath, and Beyond has tons of candles of all kinds of colors with different aromatherapies that will probably make you feel as good or better than being at that service anyway! After all—that’s the point of Christmas: feeling good. And you can do that in a lot less time by buying something rather than worshipping and giving to others.

Happy Holidays!

P.S. Have you ever heard of reverse psychology? I wonder if it works?