Category Archives: Philosophy

Philosophy:
Broad strokes regarding philosophical ideals or maybe something in that vein worth discussing. Not necessarily my strong suit, but I do still give a damn.

Broad Strokes

It’s particularly vexing to me when I see a friend or family member say or post something that puts down “the gays”. It paints a broad brush stroke over a whole group of humans and robs a piece of their dignity.

I’m not gay…but I’m also not straight. I’m open-minded. The sort of talk above exasperates me to hear, because what if the love of my life isn’t some heteronormative female? What if I completely switch teams? What if I love lots of different kinds humans all at the same time? Then that brush would paint over me as well.

In my younger days, I used to make jokes about fat chicks, and it always confused me how many physically fit women within earshot would fire back their disapproval of my jokes. My thinking at the time was “well, you’re not fat, so why do you care?” The answer is that anyone can become fat, and then the jokes would cover them as well.

It’s just bad form to put down a group of people because of what they are and what they do. That’s weak sauce; lowest-common-denominator talk show monologue humor, even on its best day.

Please consider what you say and how it lifts up or puts down those who know you. We affect each other in ways we may yet understand.

Amen

Adverb for agreement and consent. Amen.
Statement of “so be it”. Amen.
Punctuation to a long prayer. Amen.
That is the past. These are our hopes. This is our intent. Amen.
Please let us move on, dream on, go forward into the dark night. Amen.
Pushing to the sunrise of our souls, of our world. Amen.
Leaving all our shadows behind. Amen.
It’s time to turn the page and love again. Amen.
Lifting up our prayers like a billion lights in the sky. Amen.
The past is gone for good. It’s time to say: Amen.
Amen. Amen.

On the Stories Being Written

In 10th grade, I sat next to a guy in marching band named Chris. Chris watched a lot of “Doctor Who”, back when the only place to find it — in 1987 — was the odd hours on PBS. He was the only person I knew in school who openly admitted watching it; owning up to your nerdy nature meant ostracization was certain. Chris also listened to a lot of Depeche Mode and gleefully explained to me the deeper, disruptive meanings of the lyrics (this was pre-“Violator”). Chris was also working on writing a serial drama; every day, he’d tell me the gossip of what happened that day in this fictional world that he was creating (it was partially autobiographical). I tried to follow along, but couldn’t always do so because I was either a little bit bored, a little bit lost, or I was otherwise worried about the band director busting us for talking during practice. But it felt good being a trustworthy listener (several of my bandmates saw me as that someone they could just talk to). So yeah, Chris and I had a camaraderie because we were both outcasts, of a sort, in a world of misfit band nerds. The weirdos among the weird.

There was a lot going on under the hood, and my naiveté being what it was at the time, I didn’t see the struggles that Chris was going through. He was a well-established kid (had his own car in 10th grade) and was trying to make a name for himself by being a great student and a respectable guy. But some of our classmates had already sniffed him out. He wasn’t, shall we say, a straight guy. That put him into a certain class of outcasts. I, being a neophyte in the ways of society, didn’t detect that. But whatever.

Eventually, my Christian zeal of the time would grow and recast me in a different mold, and people came to know me as this kid who became a Fire For God. Eventually, people like Chris faded from my sphere. Some years later, when I had graduated high school and moved on to OBU, I had significantly loosened my straps and had learned to be more human in my faith. I learned, basically, how to stop being an asshole.

One nondescript Friday night during my second year, I rode with my roommate Stephen to Texarkana to rendezvous with his girlfriend at the rest stop, the midway point on her drive from Dallas to Arkadelphia to see him. Who, of all people, do I cross paths with while there? Chris, of course, who was there with some of his buddies. I was happy to see him again; delighted, in fact. An old friend! Unfortunately, he wore a shocked, wide-eyed stare and was incredibly uncomfortable as he shifted his eyes between me and his friends. Our conversation was stunted and I left without a smile. It was like I had missed some big social cue that things were afoot and didn’t pick up on what was happening until later.

This sort of encounter is not the first or only time this has happened, but apparently he saw me, based on his memory, as this holy light of God that came to expose him for his sins. That’s a hurtful feeling, but it really highlights the idea that people remember me for being this holy warrior in high school and that’s all they know about me. It short-sheets the idea that people can change. I later had other encounters with former classmates who either turned to God and wanted to tell me all about it as a new brother or who went on being themselves and thought I was there to cast judgment, neither knowing that I myself had walked out.

People change, and there’s nothing you can do in a five minute street encounter to convince otherwise.

So yeah, I was thinking about Chris earlier tonight for some reason. I remember liking the guy, as iconoclastic as he was. I hope he’s doing well in his adult life and has found his voice, his true voice. As I hope for us all.

Ideas For Sale, Cheap

I’m starting to consider Facebook a marketplace of ideas, where every post in my feed is a vendor trying to sell me on their idea. Thing is, I only have so much change in my pocket. I’m basically broke on attention and concern. And here’s everyone, trying to push their trinkets, amulets, pottery, hammers, and swords at me for purchase.

The best solution, really, is to just not go to the marketplace. Don’t even pay admission to walk amongst the crowds and tents. But the problem is: that’s where the people are!

Decisions, decisions.

Uphill

My life has always been a constant struggle to reconcile that I want desperately to communicate through high art and find my own space on this earth with the finest people on it, versus the mandate that I must wake up at 6:30am and perform the artless needful in order to sponsor my dreams. I see hopefulness in expression, the hope of being able to craft my own reality and be the man I want to be — like all the arty free-thinkers say — but that has never, ever jived with the harshness of my life’s reality: I’m a working stiff. Try explaining to my bosses that I want to be free; if I try hard enough, they’ll let me go to be as free as I want, for free. And then what?

Reality is somewhere in the middle, and I must take both legs in stride to make my life worthwhile.