Wednesday, April 22, 2009

A Beautiful Mind or an X-File?


One of my favorite films is Ron Howard's A Beautiful Mind, starring Russell Crowe as John Nash, one of the greatest mathematicians of the 20th century. Nash won a Nobel Peace Prize for his "Governing Dynamics" approach to economics. The film focuses more on Dr. Nash's mental illness and him overcoming that challenge. It was a really good film, although I was more moved by my own performance as James St. John Smythe in The Man From Manchester 3.

I digress.

When I saw A Beautiful Mind for the first time, I was totally blown away when it was realized that Nash's best friend and his employer did not really exist. They were made up in his mind as a result of his mental illness. Important people and the meaningful relationships he had had with them were suddenly gone. Afterwards he always questioned new people as to whether they were real or imagined.

I feel like that when it comes to my faith. Over the last 5 years, everything I have believed in is not what I once believed it was. Now I question everything and am afraid to trust in anything spiritual. I find myself unsure if I can ever believe in anything again. What if there is nothing to believe in, and faith is something we conjure up out of some inner need?

I am a huge fan of the X-Files. Agent Mulder (played by David Duchovny) has a poster behind his desk with the words, "I Want To Believe."

I can relate.


Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Blame It On Brainwashing

Years ago, a Pastor friend of mine used the illustration of a coffeemaker to describe how we receive knowledge and instruction. Basically, when the water enters the machine, it is clear and uncolored. It is simply water.

As the water is processed through the coffee in the filter, it turns brown. It is not what was originally poured into the coffeemaker. It is now something else: coffee.

The fact that I love coffee nullifies this illustration for me personally! Seriously though, Pastor Mike had a good point, that we receive knowledge and then it filters through what we have been taught and indoctrinated in. In other words, we don't accept the knowledge for what it is; we must filter it through our belief system. Basically, we are talking about a form of brainwashing.

The surviving Somalian pirate's family is stating that he had been brainwashed, and this is why he became a pirate. Say it with me, "Aarrrrgh!"

Children in the Congo are kidnapped and brainwashed into becoming soldiers. KKK children are taught to hate as soon as they are born. It happens everywhere, and sometimes it is less obvious.

I have been brainwashed too. Many times, and in a variety of ways. Too many to mention here. But I will offer one. I have been taught to hate gay people. I did, too, with extreme prejudice. Until I met one. And then another. And yet another. I discovered that there was a real person under the gay.

I'm not here to defend gay or anti-gay. I'm here to say that we should make it a point to try and see people for who and what they are BEFORE we run them through our "filters" and pass judgement.

I once pastored a man who hated black people. He made no apology for it, and dropped N-bombs when and where he pleased. His wife used to say, "That's just the way he is." No, that's the way he has been brainwashed to be, and now he is brainwashing his offspring to do the same.

Personally, I have spent the last 5 years trying to wash my brain of all the brainwashing and begin again.

By the way, why wasn't the pirate allowed into the movie?

Because it was rated "Aarrgh!"

I apologize.

Monday, April 13, 2009

Post Easter Post

Back to work today. Kids are all back at school minus one who had a doctor's appointment today. Today is Tracy's birthday, and she is spending it running kids to and from doctors. It doesn't seem fair.

We celebrated her b-day last night with the family, and I am going to save my birthday celebration for her for this upcoming no-kids weekend.

I am depressed. Not because it's Monday, but because yesterday was Easter, and I could have cared less. For years, my whole year centered around Resurrection Sunday. All my sermon planning, etc., was to lead up to Easter in a huge crescendo.

This year: nothing.

I'm troubled.

Thursday, April 09, 2009

Random Ruminations/Soapboxing



  • I think our Governor is an idiot. No wonder SC is a laughing stock. I was helping Jenna study for a test about post-Civil War SC the other day, and I am not surprised to discover that the mindset here hasn't changed much at all in the last 145 years. I think SC needs more Yankees. Just sayin...
  • My wife has adopted yet another stray dog. Anyone looking for a new pet?
  • People who abandon puppies should be punished to the full extent of the law.
  • If it weren't for Pandora, I would never survive sitting at a desk all day long. Kudos to whoever created Pandora.com.
  • I just might be married way, way, WAY out of my league. Tracy is awesome. I am not.
  • I am not really passionate about anything anymore. That troubles me.
  • On the flipside, I can't really find anything to BE passionate about.
  • I wish I had more time/energy to blog. Lots of stuff rolling around in my with no outlet.
  • My job is cool, but i miss being a Technician.
  • I miss Norm, Dan, and Frank. We were a good team. At work AND at play!
  • I love Springtime!
  • I hate Springtime!