Thursday, February 24, 2011

Little Dragon - Snacks?

LD's four-year-old little brother wanders into our lesson carrying something in a crinkly package.

"Are these snacks?" he asks with wide, hopeful eyes. "Are these snacks?"

LD's mouth falls open, "No, those aren't snacks! Those are mom's!"

I look over. Little brother is holding a tampon.

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Brief Blog Adventure

I have been debating whether Scripture is the infallible word of God with someone on Facebook. She continually claims that I am more interested in my own personal desires than truth. This is a frustrating obstacle to honest discourse right now. I realize that we all question the psychology driving each other's beliefs, but man, she and I don't even know each other.

These are the thoughts I sent to her in response to this claim. Do you have any thoughts or experiences along these lines?

"Finally, let me say that I have pursued answers with all the honesty I can muster. I will assume the same of you. Since I do not know you well, I question your judgement not your motivation. And you and I have come to different conclusions on the nature of Scripture. Being the son of a Baptist minister, I know what it is like to doubt oneself in the extreme when changing one's opinions about religion. Ironically, it is a growing faith in God, that if He exists He is good and will correct me with care if I am wrong, that has allowed me to question and change my thoughts. During many bouts of prayer, reflection, and self-doubt and many dark nights of the soul, I have always come again to the conclusion that we must live according to what we think is true, not according to what we are afraid might be true."

Of course, there is nothing wrong with an humble dose of what we hope might be true as well!

Friday, February 18, 2011


In our lives, which do we value more - the signpost or what it is pointing to?

The written notes on the page or the music that they lead us to create?

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Thanksgiving Dinners, Sugar Packets and Groundhog Day

A couple of weeks ago, this was my Facebook status:

"just one thing I love about Groundhog Day (the movie). Bill Murray cannot escape his own salvation, even by trying to kill himself. And yet he still has to make his own decisions on his own time, as he inevitably discovers the pathway to true happiness and humanity."

Well, here is another thing I love about the movie Groundhog Day (which has steadily climbed up my personal rankings over the years and is now tied for my number one favorite movie): One of its messages is that morality is real.

You see, if morality is real, then following a moral path will result in a deeper, more meaningful, more enjoyable life. Phil Connors is not a good person at the start of the movie. He is petty and his vision of reality is super narrow. Is he happy? Perhaps, but in the way a child eating a sugar packet would be happy without the knowledge, or the mature palette, to realize and enjoy the fact that a full Thanksgiving dinner is in the next room.

Phil becomes caught in a time loop where each day is a repetition of the same before it. At first he acts like a child, pursuing whatever fleeting pleasure he can think of. Then he sets his sights on loftier goals (bedding Andie MacDowell's character) and fails and fails. She sees through him. Then he despairs, but even when he tries to kill himself, he awakens to live the same day again. Then Phil slowly begins to better himself.

According to my friend Rich, in the original screenplay Connors lives the same day over and over for the equivalent of thousands of years. And he is gradually changed - not by direct force, but by constant exposure to the realities of what actually makes a person happy on a deeper level and his deficiencies in that regard. He begins to help others, learn new things and consequently he becomes a part of a community. He is no longer an isolated ego floating in a bubble of narrow awareness. He is no longer the child eating the sugar packet. Now he is sitting down to a Thanksgiving Dinner, with mature tastes allowing him the great and deep enjoyment of living life to the full - connected to others and his environment. He is now a part of a whole. And this realization is not simply his preference. No, it is what is bound to happen when a person is given the chance to explore fully and discover the sources of true well-being. Morality is real. But our ability to utilize morality corresponds to our level of awareness. Phil found himself in a time loop where he had no choice but to eventually grow and develop that mature palette for the Thanksgiving dinner. (of course a little sugar in the iced tea never hurt anybody....)

To me, this is how true corrective love would work. If morality is real, meaning its benefit is real, then it will lure us towards it (and has already done so to an extent, else we would not know what it is at all). Given enough time to develop the proper awareness, a person would understand its nature and recognize that it is there for a reason, not simply by some arbitrary command -whether by society, parent or divine being - which serves no purpose towards deeper levels of well-being.

A message of Groundhog Day is that morality is a deep metaphysical reality, built into the structure of things and as our level of awareness grows so does the capability, the responsibility and the inevitability of moral growth in our lives.

When the movie first came out, I saw it in the theater. Then I saw it again the very next day, which I thought was a bit ironic....

Monday, February 7, 2011

Little Dragon and a Big Saint Bernard

Me: Do you recognize the song I am playing?

LD: Yes! It''s.....Ode to Joy!

Me: Very good! And who is the composer of this tune?

LD: I don't know.

Me: Oh come on, it's probably the most famous composer name out there. You know, crazy hair, writing music - who you think of when you think "composer"!

LD: Leonardo Davinci!

Me: Well, that is not a composer. At least not that I know of. Come on! Beethoven!

LD: Oh! I should just remember to think of bacon.

Me: (pause, trying to sort this out) Why...bacon?

LD: Because of that movie about the dog.

Me: Oh, ok. The movie with the big dog named Beethoven.

LD: Yeah.

Me: Did he always eat bacon? Is that the deal?

LD: Well, the dog always ate lots of stuff.

Me: OK, well let's give this a try then, shall we?

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Little Dragon endorsed by Apple?

Me: "So what did you get for Christmas?"

LD: "I got an iPad!"

Me: "Cool! What do you use it for?"

LD: "Well, I like to watch movies on it and play games on it. Oh hold on..."

LD receives a text on his iPhone, but politely puts it to the side. I look behind him and see the iPad on his desk. Then I look behind that and see a Macbook. Then I look behind that and see an iMac desktop. Apparently LD has received an endorsement from Apple. But seriously, what will upper middle class parents buy their teens and tweens next Christmas if Apple fails to put out a new product in 2011?


LD: "Wouldn't it be terrible to be born on Feb. 29 of a leap year?

Me: "Sure it would. Only one birthday party every four years!"

LD: (thoughtfully and seriously) "I guess the good part is that it would really slow down your aging."


LD: "I made up a joke!"

Me: "Let's hear it!"

LD: "What did the duck say when someone asked him what fifteen times four is?"

Me: "What?"

LD: "Quack."

I have told that joke about ten times now.....


This one is from a couple of years ago, but it is very relevant this week.

Me: “Two days off of school! So what have you been up to? Besides practicing your guitar, of course....”

LD: “Not too much. I’ve been pretty bored. I’m actually glad there’s school tomorrow.”

Me: “I guess school being closed is fun for a while, but then you can get kinda stir crazy.”

LD: “Yeah. Yesterday we got so bored, that me and my mom went outside and looked at where the dog had just gone to the bathroom. Then we covered it with snow to see if it was hot enough to melt the snow.”

Me: “Wow. That is.....pretty bored.”

LD: “The snow won.”