its hard for me to generate concise thoughts for the entries I am doing on Barclaypress.com. It even kept me up last night thinking about what will I write about, what’s most important to do said what can be held off. I also know it is not my platform, this is my blog is where I can write for myself and let others read what I am thinking, there on Barclay there must be some editing, there needs to be a devotional tone to things, along with words that encourage all peoples from all kinds of backgrounds. This is of course a wonderful exercise for me and anyone else to participate in. I am hoping to do a good job so that people will want to continue to engage with me, but also we are all challenged to think for a moment, reflect on the goodness of God, I also want to be invited back. Also note my second Dylan allusion in tuesday’s entry.
emily made yesterday special for me. she ended up getting me the new Dylan 2 DVD disc documentary by martin Scorsese which I am really excited about. She also got me some rad new gadgets for my hot-rod schwinn. On top of that she let me know that she will be taking me to Santa Barbara tomorrow for dinner and wine tasting at a vineyard she’s heard good stuff about. my wife rocks my socks yo.
recently a friend who had a visit from the local JW’s (Jehova Witnesses) who were trying their hardest to convert her. I have never had this happened to me so I was enjoyed hearing the story and I looked through the magazine/devotional teaching tool they brought for her to read a magazine called the watchtower. I read through it quickly just to kind of see some of their ideas, looking for places of possible agreement and places of disagreement. One thing that made me really sad, and has been floating around in my mind for sometime is the fact that they do not celebrate birthdays or holidays. This led me to some deeper reflections on this point.
In today’s world there is little left that is sacred, and little good is ever said of anything that’s a ritual. But these rituals can often times be from very powerful traditions. Now I am not going to say something about the start of birthdays, where they came from etc, what matters most now is how we view them. Unfortunately there has been an overall decay of traditions in the Western world and with the decay of traditions (which help form our identity as a people) we lose practices that form us, train us and create communities that stand for something. For instance my family has ate Christian Eve Breakfast every year for as long as I can remember. All of us kids (6 of us) plus our spouses and children, our parents and our adopted siblings (at least two others) all pile into the house and eat scrmbled eggs, bacon, etc on Christmas Eve. This is a practice that my family all willingly participates in and is surprisingly a tradition within a family that is itself suspect to many traditions. This practice stands for somethings that are true in our family, everyone is always welcome to come and eat with us, and being together no matter what is a high priority. Without this practice, we may find other ways to express this but because we eat breakfast together every year at least on Chrsitmas Eve we are reminede that we are a family who cares and is there for one another. In other words practices are often times an expression of how we view the world, while other times it helps to form the way we view the world
Birthdays have a similar force in forming individuals. Now I dont know much sociology so I cant say how or if Jehova witnesses are different because they don’t celebrate birthdays but there is something good about making it a modern day ritual. First in life we need things to look forward too, quite frankly this was something my therapist told me when I was going through a rough spell where everything looked bleak – he simply stated “you need to have some things that you look forward to doing.” Birthdays can be something we look forward too. it is a day that we are reminded of the power of life, the beauty of it, and the unpredictability it holds. As I look back through my lengthening life span I see many things that we wonderful and other things that we unexpected. This is a devotional line of thinking in so far as it drives me to realize that God was with me through all of it. It shows me that because life is beautiful there God is beautiful, and because life is unpredictable i must rely on the power of an creator who loves both predictability and unpredictability.
But secondly it is a time to celebrate you (or me). We need to be celebrated. I need to celebrate those I love, because I have the opportunity to love them…by the virtue of what happened on their birthday. People need to be celebrated in a world so full of sadness and turmoil. People need others to give them a toast every once in awhile – is does the spirit good. This is also Spiritual – God celebrates us why ought we not celebrate one another?
Finally it is a chance to be born again – now i don’t mean this like the TV evangelists mean it, i mean it is a time to start over, to be re-born into another year, to taste the power of the creator’s work and move toward his new creation that he is making us to be. Sometimes we need to start over, sometimes we just need to say I am a new person today — this happens most naturally on our birthdays. This start afresh — this is a much more natural transition than new years which has no personal connection to my own life. I think this should continue to be a special day, a ritual that we keep for one another – in celebration of the creator and his good creation. so today I am re-born.
Here are some more pictures of me and those who helped to celebrate with me.
here are some great pictures of my friends from Books Died On.
A picture I took the other day, of a street near Fuller. I will upload a larger image later. There is something peaceful about it, it has that hazy look of a fall evening, and the red lights remind me that it is important to stop and realize what is happening in front of me.
I’ve been doing a lot of listening to music lately. Because I am currently sitting in front of my Imac G5 8 hours a day (at work) plus listening to tunes on my way to and from work, I have had ample time to rip through album after album. Stack this on top of my reading “Restless Pilgrim” the book about Bob Dylan’s Spiritual Journey, and I have been “returning to my roots.” NPR has helped in this pursuit as they continually have live concerts on their website, and today I found a listing for a new version of a Beatles Album called “this bird has flown.” First I check out what there was to be said about this new album from one of their podcasts called on new and upcoming music. Then I discoverd an old archived radio program where All Songs Considered did a two-hour program on the Lost Beatle Tapes. This was a fantastic program and really helped me feel not only nostalgic but also reminded me of my younger days, when I was growing up, becoming the person I am today (one beauty is that all of this music was free). Both the Beatles and Dylan, along with my love and devotion to Jesus have formed the way I understand the humanity, and its creator. There is something so deep and profound in this music, something that moves, and makes, it transforms if you let it. A song like “don’t let me down” led me to think about the power of relationships, I guess in a way it informed the kinds of things I looked for in a spouse, and trustworthy friendships. Returning to this music, is also leading me to think and brainstorm about my own creativity, whether be in my music or in video.
I added this image which I like and took in HP – thanks to Chase Roden for providing the translation “free today.”
my lovely in-laws are here this weekend and hanging out with the wife and i. its always fun having visitors, and lots of fun to have family out here. the weekend has been really relaxing and its been nice to just rest. well they bought me a nice digital camera for my upcoming birthday and so my good old gathering in light blog will be much more image driven. how nice to have pictures to help tell stories. today Dad and i walked around HP (highland park) the district of LA emily and i live in – as we walked around we just looked for fun pictures. here is a piece of a long painting on a whole buidling. HP has tons of great murals all over the place.
Thanks Emily page for the really nice salute.