May 29, 2005

Miscellaneous

So in July I'm going with my boss to Christian Book Association Expo in Denver. I'm extremely excited! Must go shopping.

I have a couple new music loves. Matisyahu is a Hasidic Jew who sings reggae. It's amazing. So very unbelievably cool. It's cool to hear the Jewish faith set to reggae --- and causes me to ask all kinds of questions. It's just that his lyrics are so faithful, so devoted---

Open my lips and my mouth shall declare your praise ...
Givin' myself to you from the essence of my being
Sing to my God all these songs of love and healing
Want Moshiach now so it's time we start revealing ...
You're all that I have and you're all that I need
Each and every day I pray to get to know you please
I want to be close to you, yes I'm so hungry
You're like water for my soul when it gets thirsty ...
Where ya been for so long
It's hard to stay strong been livin' in galus (exile) for 2000 years strong

And this is only a taste of the devotion and depth on this record. Seriously, I feel this so much differently --- and better, I'd say --- than most Christian praise CDs. Maybe I'm just too cynical and expect the worst of evangelical bands and their shiny teeth and cable-knit sweaters. Maybe the eastern sound of his vocals sounds more religious than the typical poppy worship album.

Anyway, I think there are some serious implications of experiencing faith more from a Jewish perspective than a Christian perspective --- not to mention the theological questions of what God's doing with Israel these days. I'm a little afraid of where these questions might take me --- away from Christ or toward a jingoistic craphead mentality. So for now, and indefinitely, I think I'll just enjoy the record and sing along, even in Hebrew.

In a much less spiritual sense, I'm also digging on The Caesars. Paper Tigers is a rockin' record. Check it out.

May 01, 2005

Not Quite There

One cool thing about trying to act more confident is that I find myself looking forward to interacting with people more. It's not that I didn't like talking to people before; it's just that it was always mildly stressful, and now it has an objective, a challenge.

Of course, I still sometimes find myself shying away from certain social situations. On Saturday I went to a bridal shower I didn't particularly want to go to --- my grade school best friend's brother is getting married. The thing is, there were a lot of people at this shower whose opinion of me I highly value, and by whom I feel so precariously accepted. I've screwed up a lot of things with these people --- I've known them for years, and have disappointed them on multiple occasions.

And as I was standing around in one of the informal circles, talking, I had never before felt so palpably the difference between being accepted and being loved. Being accepted is being approved of; being loved is being the object of a commitment independent of approval. According to me, anyway.

What's horrible is that as much as I know that what I need in my life is love, I would much rather be accepted. It's nicer. It's easier. It's less risky. And best of all, I don't have to count on anyone.

So I'm disappointed in myself for being so quick to cover up all my wrinkles and scars and stupidities --- because something I've come to highly value in my life is full honesty about weakness. But I clearly need to put my money where my mouth is.

On a not-so-entirely different topic, in my Sunday school class we're doing a series on "Love, Sex, and Lasting Relationships." Chip Ingram. Much less pukey than I thought it would be. One of the key points of this and last week's lesson was something along the lines of, "It's not so much about finding the right person as being the right person."

I've been ga-ga twice in my life, neither time with a guy withwhom I was actually involved. Both of these guys had a certain "je ne se quois" (nearly positive I didn't spell that correctly, but I'm too lazy to look it up) --- a certain shepherding nature that I can't quite define. It was like they walked into a room looking for what they could do for people.

So in addition to attempting to present myself as confident to the people I meet, I think I shall endeavor to attempt to find out what people need and whether or not I can meet that need. This is my attempt to "be the right person." But I'm seriously asking God to let this attitude "stick" --- I know I can't conjure up or "develop" a truly compassionate heart the way a person develops, say, killer abs.

And I really, deeply want to be compassionate.

11:03 PM