Further Musings

Beauty smote his heart, he looked up from the forsaken land & hope returned to him

Archive for September 2004

Listening to Silence

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Right now I’m sitting in my musty, still living room listening to the constant tick-tock of the stone clock bringing me closer and closer to the debate tonight. I wanted to blog tonight because when I walked in the door this evening after a day of classes, conversations and social events I found that the silence and the stillness of this old, empty house was a welcome calm.

The peace of the noises around me, the steady background of cicadas and the clock mingling with the soft clicking of the computer keys, are all taking place in a vacuum of silence and stillness that has been here all day in my absence. Even now it wraps around the corners into the rooms and spaces of 128 while I type and then plunges back during the moments I pause for thought.

I don’t often value silence, but there are times and places where being submersed in an a body of stillness and space gives testament to a depth of time, and refreshingly assures me of the temporalness of the business that I spend so much energy upon. If I lived in the mountains or by the coast or in the country I think the vistas, stars and or the endlessness would speak to me; for now it’s the silence of this old house.

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September 30, 2004 at 9:15 pm

Posted in At the House

Movin’ On

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After a year and a month in Chapel Hill it is time for a change. Today Tim finalized a deal on a new place in Carrboro about five minutes by car from my current place. Our new pad will boast four bedrooms, two baths, a large living room, a decent size kitchen, and a large back porch. It’s in a nice neighborhood near church with a park in the backyard, is on the bus line and is a three minute walk from to the Cooleys.

It will be a big change to go from living by myself to living with three other guys. It will also be a change to go from my current décor to having the ability to choose what is on my walls. 128 has been good to me. I’ll miss the financial freedom, the yard, and the other benefits although it’s been hard over the last 13 months to come home to an empty house seven nights a week.

I say I value community. Here is my chance to live it. Dirty dishes, bustle and white carpeting are in my future. I wonder what else will change . . .

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September 27, 2004 at 4:00 pm

Posted in At the House

What’s in Your Trunk?

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Tonight Tim and I were talking about what our car trunks looked like after it was revealed that another guy in the church had spilled birdseed in his trunk and never cleaned it up. Not a big deal except that it got wet somehow and he ended up with a Chia trunk.

The contents of my trunk are as follows: 9 assorted frisbees, 12 random cones (including one my mother ran over at my high school and dragged until I pulled it into the car!), three juggling clubs, one soccer ball, one baseball and glove, one football, three dirty mismatched hand towels, one book, my pipe, a foam pad, a few random tapes, a small bag of winter camping gear, several cardboard boxes, a salt shaker, and two water guns. There might be more but that’s all I could see without unearthing things.

Am I a mobile sports camp?

What’s in your trunk and what does it say about you?

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September 22, 2004 at 12:18 am

Posted in Laughter

A Welcome Laugh

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Last night I was visiting a family from the church before they go away for a week or two. Finn, age four, was telling me about giants with his usual enthusiasm,

“And Paul Bunyan is a giant. But he’s a nice giant; he only eats pancakes, not people. And he sits on houses!”

To which I replied, “He sits on houses? He must be really big.”

Finn vigorously nodded his head. Then he earnestly replied, “Yeah he is. He’s bigger than you.”

Laughing, I drew myself up to my full height and walked over to him. Looking down near my knees I asked “Bigger than me? You mean there are people bigger than me?”

Finn looked up and then sideways. He pondered for a second before looking up again, smiling, and replying, “No. There aren’t people bigger than you. Only giants are bigger than you.”

It was a welcome laugh.

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September 20, 2004 at 8:53 am

Posted in Church

On the Comeback

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Over the last two weeks you may have noticed a decline in my blogging frequency. I’ve been suffering from a yet to be positively identified stomach bug, possibly giardia. Ten days ago was the first day I spent several hours examining the underside of my toilet trying to minimize the agony by lying down while simultaneously staying close to the toilet. It has been a humbling experience.

Good news is that I seem to be on the mend; I ate meat and dairy products for the first time yesterday!

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September 19, 2004 at 11:34 am

Posted in At the House

A Thought and a Passage

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As I have been reading Embers by Sandor Marai while I have been sick this week, I have been thinking about different passages from the book that uniquely describe facets of life that I intuitively know but have never articulated quite so well.

With that I'll segue to a passage from The Brothers K by James David Duncan that seems to do just that:

Book Five, Chapter 3.6

"There are kinds of human problems which really do seem as our tidy expressions would have it, to 'come to a head' and 'demand to be dealt with.' But there are also problems, often just as serious, which come to nothing that we can recognize or openly deal with. Some long-lived, insidious problems simply slip us off to one side of ourselves. Some gently rob us of just enough energy or faith so that days which once took place on a horizontal plane become an endless series of uphill slogs. And some, like high water working year after year at the roots of a riverside tree, quietly undercut our trust or our hope, our sense of place, or of impending danger, we don't feel the damage at all,

till one day, to our amazement, we find ourselves crashing to the ground.

Peter had one of these kinds of problems."

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September 13, 2004 at 10:13 pm

Posted in Reflections

We’re Not in Hendersonville Anymore

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I just got back from a Viking party at Bill’s house: eight guys sitting around Bill’s coffee table eating meat and bread while drinking his home brewed ale. After the meat was consumed Bill broke out his mead (a honey alcohol which he has been waiting to ferment for 2 years) and we listened to various people read passages from Beowulf: Beowulf’s fight with Grendel, a warning about his pride and lastly, his funeral pyre.

Public readings with homemade drink! How cool is that?! (That we all got to try on the chainmail was pretty cool too.)

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September 10, 2004 at 10:53 pm

Posted in Church

Grappling to Define

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Over the last couple of months I’ve been trying to get a better grasp on what blogging is to various people. As a genre, blogging is still being shaped and formed and I enjoy grappling with words and ideas to try to describe and define different dynamics and various forms of blogging.

Are there categories of blogs? Of blog entries? Why do we blog? Why do we read others’ blogs? Does blogging form (or enhance or maintain) community?

I like the following piece of the puzzle from an essay that Charity of The One Grand put me onto. I think that the essay facet is a large reason why I blog. It is also a chance for me to be creative, an action I would like to be a part of my weekly routines.
Read the rest of this entry »

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September 9, 2004 at 10:27 pm

Posted in Reviews

An Interesting Thought

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This quote is used in context to challenge “high-modernism” style city/economic planners in Communist and developing countries who believed that they knew the right way to modernize a country. They believed that the government could make all-wise decisions for the people and push them boldly into the societies they envisioned.

I like it because I think it’s a useful thought about life. I wonder if Christians especially are so sure that they have the answers in life that they don’t act like the second man.

“Yet a man who uses an imaginary map, thinking that it is a true one, is likely to be worse off than someone with no map at all; for he will fail to inquire whenever he can, to observe every detail on his way, and to search continuously with all his senses and all his intelligence for indications of where he should go.”

E.F. Schumacher, Small Is Beautiful, quoted in Seeing Like a State: How Certain Schemes to Improve the Human Condition Have Failed” by James C. Scott.

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September 5, 2004 at 3:18 pm

If Dean Smith Ever Becomes Governor . . .

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Tonight Dad and I went to see The Manchurian Candidate in a small theater just south of town. While we waited for the show to start a gray haired man accompined by his wife sat at the other end of our row.

“Doesn’t that look like Bill Guthridge?” I asked. (Bill was the longtime assistant basketball coach of the Tarheels.)

“Yeah it does” Dad replied.

“He’s younger looking than I thought.”

So then another couple walks in and sits in the front row.

“Hey Dad, doesn’t that look like Dean Smith?” (Dean was the longtime head basketball coach of the Tarheels.)

“Yeah it does, but what are the chances?”

Film ensues.

Afterwards when we walked out of the theater Bill Guthridge and his wife approached a woman waiting in the lobby and began to make small talk. Responsibly I fought off the urge to duck into the bathroom and perhaps wash my hands beside Dean Smith. Dad and I slowly and casually walked out of the theater trying not to stare and drove the car in an equally slow and casual manner around the parking lot in time to see Dean Smith emerge and be greeted by several police officers.

It struck Dad and I as strange that Bill and Dean went to see the same movie with their wives on the same night in the same theater several weeks after it opened. Dad thinks this is evidence that after working together for 30 years they think more closely than most people realize. I say that if Dean Smith ever runs for Governor I’m going to start being paranoid about a Manchurian/UNC style coup and look for Bill Guthridge in the background.

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September 4, 2004 at 10:39 pm

Posted in UNC

Choosing Memories

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Dublicate memories in the afternoon sun.

This afternoon I was sitting in the golden glow of the late afternoon sun sorting through old pictures and trying to winnow down the total number of pictures in my tattered shoebox. Most of the discarded pictures were duplicates or hazy photos of non-descript mountain ranges.

As I looked through a couple of sets of prints, I came upon moments that are captured in film and reside only there; some shots that elicit an immediate laugh and some shots that bring the past rolling in and over me with immediacy and force that is breathtaking.

What has me thinking this afternoon is that I have the power to remove these scenes beyond the reach of my memory by tossing a picture into a trashcan. Once the picture leaves the end of my driveway on Tuesday morning the moment captured, now discarded, will be past my ability to recall with poignancy for now and later, perhaps, at all.

Discussions of identity have been swirling around during the last two weeks. Our agency in forming and shaping who we are and what we remember seems a strange power to me. I think Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind takes this idea to the extreme but I think we hold some of the same power as Lacuna does in the availability of our trashcans.

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September 2, 2004 at 6:41 pm

Posted in Reflections

Finally

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This weekend a good buddy of mine staid with me for a couple of days. He was in town in order to be out of his town, Asheville, for a while. Ian arrived in Chapel Hill in his one-ton, circa 1973 van complete with orange racing stripe, Yosemite Sam mud flaps reading “Back Off!” and a skeleton holding a cigarette and a martini. He popped out of the front seat sporting a t-shirt that read “My other Jesus is a Camaro.” It was good to see him!

He didn’t wear that to church (nor his famous Nuns and Guns t-shirt) but his multiple piercing did make him stand out a bit from the crowd.

After the service Sunday while Ian was outside smoking I asked one of our future elders if he had met Ian yet. His response was one of relief: “Yes I did. Finally someone who looks normal is coming to our church.”

I’m hoping he moves here. I’d love to have him around.

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September 1, 2004 at 9:31 am

Posted in Church