on poets and theologians, of which I am neither
September 22, 2014, 5:45 am
Filed under: Stuff | Tags: , , , , , , ,

I’m trying to think of the reason I do this. Why write on this insignificant corner of the Internet? Sometimes it’s to get something off my chest. Other times it’s because I feel compelled to speak up. More often than not, it’s because I want to be a writer and don’t know how, so this is the only outlet I know of that’s available to me. Mostly, it’s to feel alive.

I feel like my writing & thought process is caught between a mix of poet and theologian, but I fail more often than not on both fronts. I don’t have enough energy to back up my theology consistently. It would require too many internet arguments, and I already waste too much time there. My poetic ability consists of ‘roses are red’, so I try to construct sentences that are meaningful and beautiful…but often they just feel like a jumble of words that could never adequately express what I’m truly feeling. So I keep writing, feeling stuck in this nether world of half assed poetry with a mix of half assed biblical interpretation. I know what I know and I know what I want to say. I’m just not sure how to get that out.

I feel like a fraud. What if my writing is trying to present an image of myself I can’t possibly measure up to? (hint: it is…)

The truth is I know who I want to be. A child of God, content in the love and grace that comes with that. I want to be well read and passionate, fighting for issues that matter to me and that are close to the heart of Jesus. But the truth is, I’m about as far from content in my relationship with God as I’ve ever been, and my passionate self extends about as far as football scores these days. I know who I want to be, I just don’t know how to be.

When I think about racial injustice in Ferguson, Missouri, or at home here in Canada towards Aboriginals, my blood boils. When someone uses the word ‘fag,’ or another evangelical packages ignorance and hatred as the love of Christ to my LGBT brothers and sisters, my passion to fight injustice is stirred. What feels like a prophetic anger rises up in me. When I hear about the beauty and goodness of God, I 100% believe it’s real. But I don’t know what to do with that. Or if I do, I’m too easily distracted. I’m not sure how to live my passion and belief out consistently. I can write about it and share articles on Twitter or write all the blog posts in the world…but I’m so tired of feeling like that’s all there is. Is that all there is? Twitter arguments and blog posts? I know there’s more. There has to be.

I feel like I’ve been sucked into a vacuous vortex of distraction. YouTube videos of random weirdness and sports highlights pull me deeper into a dark nothingness, void of meaning or substance. So when a Ferguson comes up or the Holy Spirit makes it clear that I need to act on sin in my own life, I get mad and determined to act for a time…then sink deeper into the distractions, minimizing the call to more.

So why do I do this? Why do I write randomly about nothing and everything at the same time? Why don’t I just give up? I just need to be reminded of who I am; who I want to be. I need to say out loud the things I know in my head to be true that I struggle to believe each day.

God does love me. I don’t have to do more to make God love me. My mistakes don’t determine Gods love for me. There is more to this life. There is hope for a better world. God wants me to play a role in that plan.

I’m a phony trying to be more than I’m capable of being on my own. Writing reminds me that there’s more going on than the empty, consumer rat race we’re all caught up in. That’s reason enough.

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on bad news and “what next?”

What the crap is going on? Seriously, people. Some have buried their heads in the sand and think it’s just another day, like any other. Fox News argues one narrative while MSNBC argues the opposite. Pick a side and move onto the next controversy. But it’s not just like any other day. As the brilliant philosopher Lloyd Christmas profoundly pointed out, “we got no food, we got no jobs…OUR PETS HEADS ARE FALLING OFF!”

That’s about all the humour I have in me today. It feels like everything in the world is falling apart, and I’m struggling to find the hope that’s always lifted me out of the pit. I’m not even in the middle of it. I’m far removed from the chaos, or at least I feel that way.

The cracks started to show in my heart and soul with the conflict between Russia and Ukraine. Even before that, the Russian oppression of LGBT people brought about fear and frustration in my soul. Russia just brought the full court press the past year. I successfully squashed that anxiety by telling myself it’s far away, and doesn’t really impact me, sad as it is. Then a country was invaded. And a plane was shot down with 300 innocent lives on board. It’s not so easy to ignore.

Then the conflict between Palestine & Gaza reached a boiling point. They always fight, right? So why should this time matter to me, a 30 year old Canadian kid with no ties to the conflict? Then Israel invaded and destroyed buildings and towns and people. The death toll is above 2000. That’s not a number that is easy to ignore. Christians and much of the west blindly support Israel, to the point that they ignore the violence and overuse of force against vulnerable civilians. I’m not saying Palestine is right. But that doesn’t make Israel right, either.

Then Mike Brown was killed in Ferguson, Missouri. And I’m losing my mind. Because I have no idea what it must feel like to be scared to walk down the street the way every black individual in the USA must feel. I’m losing my mind because this is all bullshit. Every new piece of information that comes out of this is worse than the last. Coverups, brutality, media suppression…a kid is dead because of his skin colour. And the talking heads on the cable news distract us from the fact that a family is grieving and justice is broken. Ferguson is a small example of the underlying tension felt all across America. Don’t even get me started on Aboriginal issues in Canada. Different culture, similar stories. No trust or peace. Our police aren’t nearly as heavy handed. If anything, this situation makes me respect our police more. But the racial tension is alive and well.

Then Robin Williams committed suicide, and my heart breaks. Not because celebrity deaths are any more tragic that the stranger down the street. But because he brought so much joy with his humour and deep soulful acting, yet was as filled with darkness, which stole his life in the end. My first date was to go see “Jack,” about a boy whose body aged 4 years for every year of real time. So he was a 40 year old 10 year old. I held hands for the first time to Robin Williams frenetic, childlike energy. I cried watching him develop a relationship with Matt Damon’s character in Good Will Hunting. “It’s not your fault.” Seems rather like an appropriate statement in this circumstance. And people are calling him selfish and a coward. And Christians are suggesting that the only cure for depression is prayer and Jesus, and real Christians don’t get depressed. Christians continually make depression out to be a result of “sin” or a “lack of faith”. These sort of asinine voices make me want to just quit. As someone who fight depression and has prayed and read his bible and has struggled to grow my faith these past 10 years, I know these false ideas to be damaging garbage. Robin Williams death is not as important as what’s going on in Ferguson or Gaza, but dammit, it sure is depressing. And if feels like the cherry on the turd sundae of this weeks news.

The first couple stressors are concerning situations, but distant enough that on their own, I can distract myself from the horror. It requires intentional distraction, but we in the west are good at this. I am good at this. The next story hits closer to home. We all know someone who could have been Mike Brown. But I’m just a white, middle class Canadian. If it was possible, I could ignore it. But it’s not possible anymore. I am so tired of it these stories. It’s too much. White people can no longer stand by and say these stories don’t apply to them. We are all human, regardless of our skin tone. But I feel so powerless to do anything. The depression angle hits closest to home. That could be me without the support system I have. That’s been people close to me. I’m watching someone I love fight the battle of their life right now. It’s not as simple as “have more faith.”

Life seems to be falling apart.

Kyrie Eleison. God, have mercy.

Romans 8 is about the only place I can land on days like this. This world is broken and I’m crying out, but the world groans with us in our pain and desperation for redemption. And while hope seems to be lost, the promise of God is that we cannot be separated from his love. We can’t. Nothing will stop it. And that’s all that’s keeping me going these days. The promise that Gods love is greater than the mess we’ve created. Neither angels nor demons, height nor depth, rubber bullets in Ferguson or the helplessness of depression. NOTHING can separate us from Gods love.

The way I see it, there are two options. 1. Put our headphones in and listen to another mindless pop or worship song, pretending all is well and right with the world.
2. Wake up and start paying attention. Participate in Gods Kingdom.

If you are like me, you will feel overwhelmed and helpless at times. So what? How do the people with bombs flying over their heads in Gaza feel? How does the community of Ferguson feel today? Being overwhelmed doesn’t give us the option to disengage the brokenness of the world. If the children and families dying in Gaza can fight for hope, we should be able to as well without falling into the pit of cynicism and despair. So I can be sad. I can mourn. But I can’t give up.

People ask, why doesn’t God do something? Tough question. Shane Claiborne always says something along the lines of wondering why we always ask God this when he looks right back at us and asks the same question. So will we do something? Or will we keep blaming God for the mess we’ve created?

Stand up for justice. Don’t mindlessly pick a side in the ideology battle. Stand for what is good and noble and right. Bombs in Gaza are not right. Neither are bombs in Israel. Fight for justice on both sides. Suicide is not the best option. But neither is someone feeling so alone and hopeless they feel nothing is worth living for. Don’t blame the victim of depression, be the voice that gives them a reason to live. An eye for an eye in Ferguson, Missouri will not solve racial injustice and abuses of power. But neither will ignoring injustice that has happened and maintaining status quo. As a white person, I may not understand their fear, but I can stand beside them and demand justice for those who are oppressed. We are all humans on the same voyage. It’s time to wake up and get involved. Speak up. The world is going to be set to rights someday. Let’s join the work God has called us to. Otherwise, what in the world is the point of all this? God is a Godnin the business of making beautiful, new things. I have to trust in that. Otherwise, I have nothing.



on running out of time

If ever there was a time waster, I am he. The one people look to for an example of what it means to waste away into nothingness while you check twitter for the 20th time in the hour.

Wasting time is my forte. If awards were given, I’d be number one. Most likely I wouldn’t show up for the ceremony, though. That would require getting off the couch. No time for that business.

I’m only 30 years old. That can be taken two ways. One says, “there’s still plenty of time, Blair.” The other says, “your life is 1/3 over, chump.” I listen to a different voice depending on the day. I have big dreams. Maybe ‘had’ would be more accurate. Past tense feels a little more honest. But as a 30 year old with lots of time left, yet 1/3 over, I want to be more, and the big dreams of my youth have flown the coop.

To be super Christian. To grow in my faith; to sainthood status by 30 years old (and I’m not even catholic. This new pope makes me want to be). I want to be this ideal picture I have in my head of what a Jesus follower looks like. Humble. Forgiving. Wise. Spends time with God daily. Giving. Patient. All those things.

Also, healthy. Washboard abs and glutes that would make Arnold Schwarzenegger weep. Believe it or not, I am currently not there. Close, but not quite. I want to want to go for a jog or a bike ride. Heck, I’ll even settle for walking up the stairs without sweating.

I want to be the people I admire. The Brennan Manning. The Brian McLaren. The Pope Francis. My grandmas, both living and deceased.

I want to be all this without putting any effort in. Because CandyCrush won’t play itself and my daily 2 hour nap is essential to my routine of getting more ready for bed. I can’t make time to become the person I want to be. I’m much too busy wallowing like a pig in his own filth to move forward.

My glass is either half full or half empty. Most days it feels like the latter, as I’m a raging pessimist on steroids. There’s still time, though. Each day is new, and I can’t become the man I should be overnight.

Speaking of steroids, people like to take shortcuts. Those people being me. To be unnaturally strong with half the work. And that’s my problem, minus the real steroids. I want to be what I cannot be unless I choose to be a better user of my time. Shortcuts will leave me sitting in the couch sucking back Doritos watching TSN highlights for the 10th time in a row (just in case they are different this time).

Time to step up and get it done. I may or may not, though, depending on how I feel in the morning. Sometimes wasting time is the best use of time. I just get those times confused often .



on why I write
March 28, 2014, 4:15 am
Filed under: Stuff | Tags: , , , , , , , , ,

Is it really necessary? Another guy with a blog? Because there aren’t enough white, Christians whose voices are heard in North American society…I need to stand up for the little guy. If I don’t, who will? Oh yeah….everyone.

So the question is, why bother?

I’ve been dying to write the past few years, but the words never seem to come the way I want them to, or at least as easy as they used to. so I just quit. Blogging, stories, writing in my n’Sync diary…I just stopped. I got tired of fighting a blank page. But the whole time I stopped, I felt as if there were things I couldn’t express any other way. I’ve become a pent up ball of energy. Thoughts, ideas, jokes, theology, books. It was all inside me. I just grew so tired. I’m still tired, but writing is therapy for me, so I’ve decided i need it. even though myself as my own therapist is a terrible idea. Or as anyone’s, for that matter.

As an 8 year old, I wrote a 52 page book about a spaceman named Kenneth. He was the janitor on a spaceship and when he went outside to clean the windows, the jerks took off without him. He fell to earth in his spacesuit that turned into a spaceship and visited all my cousins. It was pretty legit for an 8 year old. At the end, I think he was about to die, and all my cousins were so sad, then he turned into a real boy when their tears fell on his face. Pretty sure I stole that part from Pinocchio.

That creativity has left me. Now I’m an old grump filled with arrogant opinions and distrust, with a hint of Jesus when I’m not too self-absorbed. I’m so wrapped up in internet arguments that the joy of writing has been stolen, ironically by myself, and it all feels so pointless on most days.

I’m not 8 years old, but I still act like one most days. My faith is weak, but I love Jesus. I have an amazing family, wife and kids, and am luckier than I deserve. Most people would kill for what I have. But I’m also whiny and take all the good for granted on a regular basis. Call it the ‘consumer condition’, or maybe that’s just an excuse. This is who I am.

I decided to try something. To just write every day and be as honest as I can. There will always be a little self-deception in my writing, because I’m just delusional enough to think others actually will care what I have to say. So I’m just going to write, for myself if no one else. Writing feels like about the only way I can let things out.

We can go for coffee, but I’ll be an awkward mess and probably cough on your dessert. I can preach, but I’ll just read notes off a page in a monotone voice. Plus, my preaching might be a little too preachy these days.

So here I go. Another caucasian, 30ish year old Christian with an outlet for all my frustrations and passions. Thank you, internet. Hear me roar. Katy Perry is my inspiration. Katy Perry fans will find my blog and be so disappointed.

Don’t expect well reasoned arguments all the time. I can’t promise that. I can promise Vanilla Ice references, and jokes about how it’s really MY milkshake that brings all the boys to the yard. Take that, Kelis.

I just need to write for my own sanity.



dry-ness
August 28, 2010, 8:11 am
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i don’t think there’s supposed to be a hyphen in the word dry-ness, but i like the ness. so i wanted to emphasize it. you could put a ‘ness’ on the end of anything and make it ten times cooler, automatically. awesome-ness. blair-ness. loch-ness. see? way better. that’s my theory. or maybe i’ve just been smelling the rank fumes of my dog’s insides for too long and i’m going insane. because literally, if he farts one more time, i just might go insane. insane-ness. makes going insane sound 10 times cooler, i heard.

i’m awake at 1:29 AM on a friday night partly because of my dogs rank-ness, but mostly because my brain won’t let me sleep. something just doesn’t feel right, and i can’t sleep when things don’t feel right. my brain has felt pulled in a million places lately. i haven’t blogged in a millenia because i can’t focus enough to write anything down. it all feels like a big jumble of meaningless gibberish when i start typing. that’s probably not that much of a stretch if you just read my first paragraph. but my brain won’t let me sleep because it felt like i needed some therapy. and what better therapy than the meaningless void that is the internet…mostly because it’s free. but it’s not meaningless because a few people that care about me read my blog, so thanks for listening to my meaningless void of a brain ramble for a bit.

i think the thing that is weighing on my mind the most right now is that i am not content. that is no surprise to those that know me. i’ve written about it before, talked about it before and sung emo love ballads about it before. for some reason, i am just not a content person. and i think i’ve figured out where my discontentedness (i was going to just say discontent, but the ness had to make the cut) is coming from. i don’t know how to follow, and i don’t know who i am.

when i decided to give my life to Jesus, it was an epic moment for me. i usually make fun of teenagers for using the word epic, so please feel free to mock away. i’ve been talking to a very close and dear friend lately who is thinking about being baptized and i got the chance to share my story with him. a teenage life of drugs and alcohol and broken relationships with friends and girls and family…and i decided to go to bible college. logical choice, right? it was only because i didn’t want to work and mom and dad said they would pay. for some reason, the student leaders asked me to speak at the college retreat. they clearly had no idea who i really was, because i was no speaker and at the time i had no faith. i hated campfire devotional songs, and they decided our weekend theme was going to be based around a stupid campfire devotional song, one of my least favorites. so they asked me to speak on ‘let me be to you a sacrifice.’ i don’t know why i said yes. the cheesy christian part of me wants to say that God had a plan in mind and so he ‘called’ me say yes even though it was illogical. the more honest part of me needs to admit that i was a phony and a fake and i was desperate to uphold the image i thought whoever i was around wanted me to be like at all costs. maybe a little of both were involved. i debated what to say for days. and when the day came, i still had nothing. i debated faking a migraine or taking a hammer to my hand to really sell an injury, but i was out of time. and so i was honest. i told them i was a liar. a druggie and a drunk. a thief. an empty soul. and that was all. i just told them. i was just honest. i think i shocked a few people. not many were expecting confession hour with blair, especially since i hardly knew anyone on a deep level. it was the first time in years where i didn’t feel the pressure to pretend to be someone i wasn’t. i was always acting one way for my girlfriend, another for my friends, another for my family, and still another in front of the church. honesty broke something inside of me. it felt like i could finally be honest about who i was. i was lost in sin and doubt and emptiness, and i had this confession moment where i just knew that i needed to be in relationship with God. i knew he was waiting to fill the emptiness of the life i had lived up until that point. i wasn’t sure i believed it with my head, but my heart told me to shut-up and do it, so i did. it was clear enough to me in that moment. and that night i just decided that even though i was still empty, i would give God an honest shot. because i had blocked him out for so long, that an honest search had never happened in my life. so i was baptized.

i guess i expected in that moment that a peace would overcome me. and it did for a few days. but i didn’t quite understand the ‘give your life to Jesus’ part of baptism, because i don’t think i’ve ever really given it to him. i felt joy and happiness. belonging and conviction, lots of really great feelings. but those are all things that come and go regularly. if your faith is based on feelings, pretty soon you will not have much faith to hold on to. i feel like much of my walk with God has been filled with me being discontent. and i’m usually pretty honest with people. i’m not one of those people who when asked how they are doing will just say fine. i’ll usually say mediocre, or average. or great, or crappy, depending on the day and whether the ROUGHRIDERS won or lost. but i suck at articulating why i feel that way at that time. i’ll usually say things suck, but i’m not always honest about why. i try to be honest because it’s worked for me in the past, but the longer i’ve been a christian, the easier it’s been for me to sneak back into that default mode of wearing a mask, being who people want me to be. the honesty that saved me has too easily become another mask that i wear, telling half truths to myself and others to keep up appearances. i’ve been walking with Jesus in my life for 9 years almost, and i am tired of being discontent. and i’ve realized something important about my faith. i’m very good at reading books about God. i know a lot about God. i know a lot about the Church, more than i want to at times. i’ve been moved by worship and into worship at certain points in my life. i’ve felt God near to me and far from me. i’ve watched friends and family come to God and fall away from God. i’ve seen lots happen in 9 years. i’ve experienced a lot in my walk of faith. but the times have been rare where i have really let God lead me. the times have been rare where i’ve trusted God for guidance. and i think the reason i feel so discontent, the reason i lack peace in my heart is because i know God is with me, but i don’t know if i’m being who he wants me to be. i’m not being honest about who i know i need to be. and i feel like God is waiting for me to turn to him and say, ‘okay, your turn.’

my life has been filled with movement. not movements…those too, but let’s not get into that. moving from one thing to the next. and i live my faith the same way. i always want to be moving. from one good book to the next. from one spiritual high to the next. from one activity to the next. but i think i need to just stop. everything. i need to just stop and BE. i think the thing i missed when i was baptized was that i wasn’t just proclaiming that i wanted Jesus in my life, but i was stating that i was becoming a disciple, and i haven’t really lived the disciple part. a disciple follows. and i mean, they really follow. they hinge on every word from the one they follow. their actions mimic the actions of their rabbi. i need to just stop so i can really follow. i’m tired of leading the way. and i think maybe that is why i’m discontent. because when things are hard and you have doubts and struggles, and all your counting on to get you through is a spiritual high, you will almost always leave disappointed. but…what if i could really learn to follow my rabbi? i think when you’re following your rabbi the way a true disciple follows, it doesn’t matter if things get hard. doubts will come and go. joy will come and go. but whether things are good or bad, your eyes will always be on the one that’s leading you and they will take you through anything, even a constant feeling of being discontent. and disciples still mess up. they still abandon their leader and misunderstand his meaning and doubt his words.

but they always come back to him. i think that’s maybe why i can’t sleep tonight. so i think i might let God try leading for a while and quit pretending i know where i’m going. i’m thinking my discontent might fade into the background.

i have lots of friends who are christians, probably reading this and saying ‘preach it, brother!’ i have lots of friends that aren’t christians that will shrug this off as crazy old blair, but know my heart enough to understand where i’m coming from. but i have other friends to whom i have misrepresented Jesus because of my fear and stubbornness. friends that will read this and be shocked that i would be thinking something like this. and so i want to say sorry to those that might read this and think i’m full or it. you are right…i am full of it. i have been for a long time. and i hope to change that. sorry for showing you a false picture of who i am. hopefully this makes sense tomorrow morning. much love.