Tuesday, April 28, 2009

thanks for the effort brain

I would love to be able to say that I "roamed the streets of Austin" last night, but I didn't, I roamed up and down 6th street a few times. All roaming was done within the span of a few blocks, but still, it was Austin and there was music, sushi, street musicians, tattoos and polaroids. Austin can never exist alone anymore, it will always be soaked in memories, which is fine. Whether it's saying goodbye to a friend in the back seat of a strangers car, a not so pleasant dinner at Kenichi, ACL festival or South Congress in general, the streets will always be grabbing at my ankles. I'm pretty sure I have memories in over 70% of the nation's cities at this point, but some are thicker and more humid than others. In some cities I can barely walk down the street without my mind constantly recreating events that happened years and years ago. I heard that the more foggy a memory, the more accurate it probably is, or maybe it's better to say that the more lucid a memory is, the more altered it is. Apparently, your brain will paint it's own picture of a memory as the years pass, so that one can end up with a pretty romanticized idea of an event that has mostly been forgotten. How sweet of our minds to try it's hardest not to let us forget about certain things.

Saturday, April 25, 2009

human spirit.

I've never been to interested in reading any literature from "the beat generation". I've opened up a Ginsberg book, but I'm generally not a big fan of poems, there are some I get into, but not usually. It's kind of like theater, I can appreciate it, but ultimately, I have a hard time enjoying it. I could never go to poetry readings, watching people read their own poetry is awkward. I'll read their poems on my own so I can assuage the stretch for convictions which I feel like poets strive too hard for when reading their own poems. I bought "On The Road" recently and I'm starting to read it now, so far it seems fun. On the back of the book, where they usually place small quotes from praising reviews, I saw that they mention the phrase "human spirit" a few times, and I started to think about how one would identify the human spirit today, or even back then. When I think of human spirit, I think of it as something that is completely suppressed and buried under the will and necessity to succeed. So I immediately see that my ideas of human spirit and utility in today's society are at odds with each other. Human spirit shows itself in bursts of exception, or in displays of what could be considered irresponsibility. I feel like America has developed in such a way that the thirst for experiencing, or being infected with "human spirit" (in the romantic sense) is something that may actually be quenched through actions that compromise a security which perhaps you have worked for your whole life. Displaying "human spirit"...like it is depicted by "Into The Wild"...what a dramatic attempt to capture something that is so illusive. Today, I don't know what to consider the "human spirit", but I do feel like it's becoming a valuable thing to have, and hard to attain or hold onto, especially as one moves through life, although, thinking that way may expose my naivety in a way. Why is the notion of the "human spirit" restricted to youthful rebellion or even idealized nihilism, why is the human spirit connected to leaps of faith, or metaphoric intoxication. It's ideas like this that pose the threat of having a lonely life filled with people and experience that end up providing nothing but anecdotes, cinematic memories, and a poets idea of love. Why do I feel like the human spirit exists as an ideal that is juxtaposed with a sober discipline to "succeed" in today's America? I can only imagine that the years in which I have lived restrict and manipulate ideas which I am exposed to only through literature or movies. I wonder if "wisdom" is merely having a peace of mind with complacency and resignation, and supported by a few anecdotes.

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

I'm busy lately

I'm on tour right now, so pleae forgive the scarcity of my posts lately. I'm in Orlando now and looking forward to hanging out with family and friends tonight. Although, earlier today I had some time to read more of "Practice in Christianity"..a later Kierkegaard book. I going to leave a quote. Thanks to all of you who have come out to the shows so far! If by any chance a person from Orlando reads this within the next 6 hours, come to the Social tonight!

"And in truth, the eighteen hundred years have not contributed to a jot to demonstrating the truth of Christianity; on the contrary, with steadily increasing power they have contributed to abolishing Christianity. It is not at all the case, either, as one might logically assume when the demonstration of the eighteen hundred years is applauded, that now in the nineteenth century one is convinced of the truth of Christianity in a way totally different from the way people were in the first and second generations--it is indeed rather the case (and this really sounds somewhat satirical on the worshipers and adorers of that demonstration) that in proportion as the demonstration increased in power--fewer and fewer were convinced. But this is what happens when once and for all the crucial point in something is missed: frightful confusions can result that increase from generation to generation. Now, since it has been demonstrated, and on an enormous scale, that Christianity is the truth, now there is no one, almost no one, who is willing to make any sacrifice for its sake. When one--shall I say when one "only" believed its truth--then sacrificed life and blood. What a frightful delusion! If only, as that pagan who burned the libraries, one could push aside those eighteen hundred years--if one cannot do that, then Christianity is indeed abolished. If only it could be made evident to all those orators who demonstrate the truth of Christianity by eighteen hundred years and win people, if only it could be made evident to them, frightful as it is, that they are betraying, denying, abolishing, Christianity--if that cannot be done, then Christianity is abolished."

Thursday, April 09, 2009


So, this is an interesting story and one that is rather Karmic and humorous. A long time ago I posted a very verbose, unfounded (in terms of the specific Book) "critique" of a book called "The Ethical Slut". The post was motivated by boredom and simply an exercise for me, something to have fun with. Well, in a display of irresponsibility, I titled the blog "The Ethical Slut" which would surely show up on search results if the author wanted to find reviews of the book, and of course, she did.

While I definitely mentioned that I had not read the book and that the post should be taken "with a rock of salt", I still feel obliged to apologize to the author and to express to her my complete understanding of her reaction. I am not a columnist, I am not a book critic, and I am not a sociologist who specializes in sexuality. I am a bored person with and abundance opinions and a desire to create INTERNAL debates. I did not expect a blog of mine to find its to the author of the book which this post concerns, or actually, the posts concerns the summary, not the book. I bought the book today...so, while I clearly stated my lack of qualifications on the matter and mentioned a disclaimer which should effectively negate any opinions I have on the summary, I feel I should apologize either way. Wow! What a surprise, but I shouldn't expect anything else with the "internet"...sheesh.

Saturday, April 04, 2009

oh yeah.

i wrote a short article about what we are doing this year for Enoch Magazine. You can visit the website at www.enochmagazine.com. It's a pretty cool thing they have going over there. I also posted the article down below.

When I was younger, music provided something which I am finally beginning to see the value of now, over ten years later. In highschool, I was 15 years old and religiously listening to NOFX, The Descendents, ALL, Hot Water Music, and countless others. Taken at face value, the "movement" made sense within the context of social development during adolescence. It can be considered a phase, a predictable rebellion with which music, in many forms, over countless generations, is always the tool of expression. For many it is just that--a phase, or bridge that gaps an awkward and confusing time, although for many, the seeds are planted and they take a deeper root which evolves into an essential characteristic of one's world view.

The culture of music became a defining role for me, as it is for many others. It wasn't merely the sonic element or the agression, nor was it the shelter it provided socially. The culture of underground music infected my infrastructure, illuminating an idea of community, as well as bringing light to an aspect of truth. That exposure (where ever one may find it) takes hold and becomes a catalyst which drives people to try and become a part of what fascinates them. I eventually did what so many other kids do, I joined a band. Fast forward 10 years and the desire, or "dream", has become a reality. As I've gotten older, I've become that cliche cynic, although it's important to ask where it comes from? The cynicism developed over the years because I am constantly reminded of the ideals, the community, the soul, and the beauty that is consistent, still providing the strong under current that keeps this passion so exigent with the passing of each generation. It plays out over and over again because of what it becomes in those who fall victim to it; the influence and spirit of community. Each generation grows, and in its wake leaves the products and artifacts of each revolution. Each generation takes part in the creation of the next.

This brings me to the result. The band I'm in, Mae, has decided to give over all profits from digital downloads to humanitarian and charitable organizations that focus on education, art, global poverty, and the environment. The first organization is Habitat for Humanity. Mae is sponsoring a house that is being built for a single mother and her three children. We will continue to partner up with other organizations over the course of this year. We've been asked many times why we chose this approach for the year. The answer can be found in our desire to use our music in a way that benefits the community. The community of our fans, our local community, the international community, and the global community. The three of us in MAE have felt the impact of music first hand, over and over again since we can remember. The respect we have for what music can do is placing upon us the responsibility to use whatever influence we have to encourage our fans to engage in their community. One way to encourage our fans to engage in their community is to engage and actively participate in ours. We want to eradicate the barrier that can exist between fans and performers. We need to present a level playing field and get back to what made music so important--being a part of something together and making a change together, no matter how small or large the change may be. By inciting action in one community, and then from that one into another, the focus emerges and the rolls shift. What was started by one person with an idea now becomes it's own organism which spreads and influences change and new ideas. Our goal is ambitious, but it was born out of the simple recognition of the influence that can be built through the combination of music and community.

Thursday, April 02, 2009

fragmented jesus and self aware (loathing) christianity

I haven't written anything lately. I'm reading a couple books right now...actually, I'm reading three books right now, and they aren't related in any way other than the fact they are all about God. All three texts are ultimately leading me to the same ideas, reinforced over and over again, and aside from the occasional new perspective, I really haven't felt motivated to write about something which I have already beat to death in my past posts. It's somewhat fulfilling that the problems I have focused on in the past are seemingly being reaffirmed as I continue to read and wonder, although, it is a bummer that I'm essentially reaffirming the impossibility of Christianity. The impossibility is not based on "lack of evidence" or anything boring or collegiate like that, it is simply an honest concern. Kierkegaard mentions that Christianity is an "eternal process of becoming", and I take that to mean a lot of things, one of them being the idea that one can never become a Christian, one can only try eternally, to become one. I think Christianity should be like voting, one can only decide to become one after they are completely self-willed and independent of any coercion. I was baptized when I was 7 years old, or maybe I was 11, either way, now I'm 27 and might as well be 4 years old in relation to spirituality. I've considered copying words from journal to this blog, but I'm not going to...they aren't written in any form that is aimed at being read.

Honestly, my thoughts aren't organized (per usual) enough to make sense of what I want to say, nor are they very cohesive. Essentially, I've been milling over two things lately, they are only related through specific texts that in will not necessarily mean anything to anyone else. There is no soft way to mention this problem, essentially, I can't get away from the idea that self awareness in relation to God can never be completely bearable. At it's best, it is a nagging presence in your thought process, at it's worst, it's agonizing. (forgive my dramatic diction) I'll just say what I told a friend:

" christianity, if taken seriously, creates this division of the self. The body and soul that God created is mourned because of the sinful nature of huamanity. So, as a christian we are told to eradicate our very self (Matthew 16:24), in order to have his will fill the void. But his will is so enigmatic that we ultimately end up rationalizing our shortfalls in understanding. We bridge the gaps with our own human intellect (an intellect which is frowned up on because of the pride and humanistic tendencies it can harbor) and ultimately worship a God that is a product of our own idea of perfection that has been a mix of conditioning, "culturalization", convenience and possiblity."

So, that is a rough description of something I've been going over. The self aware christian can become a self loathing christian very quickly and it is completely understandable. I don't mean to point blame to "those" who are guilty of this. I believe we are all guilty of it. I feel inclined to continue on this topic, maybe try to make more sense of what I mean to those of you who might be reading, but I'm not going to. The "crisis" is self explanatory.

I referenced Matthew in the previous paragraph...Oh! The bible! I chose to believe Mark's version of Jesus rather than Luke's (in relation to their differing accounts of the crucifixion). I would love to take comfort in the Jesus depicted in Luke, but I feel like Mark's version paints a more honest and vulnerable Jesus, overwhelmed by love and confusion. I used to be able to take solace in John 3:16 or Ephesians 2:8, but then I read James 2:26. Let the semantics begin!! Please, I'm encouraging everyone to assuage my scrutiny pertaining to the "inerrancy" of the Bible. (that is a trick) No, I don't believe the bible is inerrant. In Mark, Jesus says that the end is near and that "this generation will certainly not pass away until all these things have happened", so if the bible is inerrant, Jesus was wrong. I'm shooting my mouth off. So, please, tell me again that I'm reading this verse wrong, please tell me that I'm not taking into account the context in which these things were written. Tell me that I am supposed to pleasantly swallow Paul's advice in Phillippians 1:15-18, which I don't agree with at all. Jesus is fragmented, accounts of his life differ from book to book of the New Testament. This does nothing to challenge my belief that Jesus existed, but it does nothing to confirm his assumed "divinity" either, that is something that only faith can provide. The centuries that have passed between the life of Jesus and the modern era have effectively placed a blinding and deafening buffer on the cultural outrage of the "reality" of Jesus, if we are indeed to take the stories from the bible at face value. History has silenced him, owned him, softened him, and turned his life into a heroic legend rather than a short, misunderstood, lowly tragedy. I remember seeing mewithouyou in DC and when Aaron (the singer, for those of you who don't know) mentioned Jesus Christ, the crowd cheered and he quickly silenced them and asked why they were cheering...that makes sense to me.

How strange and difficult it is that humanity is God's most valued creation and at the same time his most vile offense. I am a valued creation and I am a vile offense.

Anyway.....hmm, anyway.