Monthly Archives: August 2008

I’m Ba-ack…

So, it’s almost September.  So, I have hardly posted this month.  So, life has been a little busy.

Tonight, just a small taste of what’s to come in the next few weeks, a quote:

Nothing exists outside of narrative — Chris Abani

I’ve been mulling over this quote for the past week or so, slowly testing it out.  It’s one of those quotes that I read and immediately some emotional response in me shouts, “oh, cool!” but I’m not sure that it’s true.  The more I think about it, however, the more I agree.  Now, I’m not saying I completely agree yet, but I’m agreeing more and more.

That is, we all ‘buy in’ to certain narratives that give meaning to our lives.  As for myself, I buy into the Christian narrative: God created, man turned away, God redeemed man, we participate with God in the redemption of humanity and the earth.  Some believe in self-narrative: the world is neither good nor bad, only judged by that which makes me happy and comfortable (I often tend to this view, as well).  Some believe in other religious narratives: the stories of Buddha or Muhammad.

Yet, beyond this basic meaning, these narratives frame our decisions, our hopes, even our emotions.  The stories that we believe about ourselves and our communities defines us.  It causes us to act and feel certain ways.

I’ll stop here.  I could go further into this — and probably will in upcoming days — but it’s late and Brooke is getting ready for bed.  But I’m back, and still thinking…


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In an election year we hear about problems and solutions. Actually, we hear about this all the time, but the election year certainly stimulates the conversation. For example, the foreclosure rate in this country is a problem. We need a solution for it, which includes the government propping up lending companies and offering help to some Americans at risk of foreclosure. We have an energy problem. Depending on your party or political leanings, the solution may or may not include offshore drilling, though it certainly includes exploring alternative energy sources. Additionally, we have a border problem: hundreds of immigrants try to cross into our country every day. The solution, for now, is a fence, along with better border patrols.

I don’t always buy the problem/solution paradigm. For one, some problems are insoluble. Anyone with a terminally ill friend or family member can attest to this. Beyond this, the problem/solution paradigm often leads us to areas of judgment: one answer is ‘right’ while another is ‘wrong.’ It pushes creativity to the fringes and it shoves the art of wonder away. When life is a series of problems to be solved, wonder is not a proper activity.

Without question, we need solutions to some of our problems. But we also need meaning in the midst of our problems. We need connection. We need creativity. We need significance. We need to be able to wonder about ourselves and the world around us.

The following video, Walleyball, is a reminder that the problem/solution paradigm does not define us. We are defined by what we create out of our problems, not the problems themselves. And though you may want to respond to this politically, I think the better question is: what problems that I face need meaning and connection before I begin to think about a solution?

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While You Were Out

So, my brother and sister (in-law…they’re married) have been out of the country since January. Just in case you come back to America and feel a little confused, I’d like to prep you for changes that have occurred in our country over the past few months:

A black man is the Democratic Party’s nominee for president. Barack Obama. Not David Palmer.

The greatest golfer in the world, Tiger Woods, won the U.S. Open with a broken leg, then promptly decided to take the rest of the year off. He said it was for surgery, but we all know it’s to let the rest of the world catch up a bit.

Dad, a couple years after getting a substantial promotion, decided to get cancer just to prove that he could beat it.

The New England Patriots were undefeated going into the Super Bowl, where they lost to Eli Manning and the New York Giants.  Thus, they taught America a great lesson: it’s good to be patriotic, but it’s better to be a giant.

In an effort to offset rising fuel costs, airlines have started charging for checked luggage, rather than raise ticket prices.  The backpack industry has skyrocketed.

The dollhouse that Brooke got from her father last time we were in Iowa has gone into foreclosure.

During a recent salmonella scare, the FDA wildly accused various garden vegetables of containing the bacteria.  But now, after much lobbying and some high powered attorneys, the tomato has been exonerated of all charges.  While you’re here in America (I can’t speak for Canada) I wouldn’t eat anything besides tomatoes.

Dad called a press conference as the V.P. of Training in Young Life to formally endorse a presidential candidate.  Unfortunately, only Mom showed.

Apple introduced the iPhone 3G, an updated version, thereby sending unemployed graphic designers and artists everywhere even further into debt.

Besides that, everything else is pretty much the same.

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