I’m back. Sorry for the unannounced hiatus. At the end of my last post I indicated that I would be back last week. That obviously did not happen. I was on call as I said, but then my wife and I flew out to San Diego for a weekend with her aunt and uncle who live in Hong Kong most of the year but have a place on Shelter Island right on San Diego Bay when they are in the states. So I went surfing. The ocean haunts me, and I am given life there like nowhere else. We also went up to Beverly Hills for lunch and walked through stores that I wouldn’t buy anything at ($500 jeans is just stupid). We had drinks at Shutters on the beach in Santa Monica. I visited the Nytro triathlon store in Encinitas. We went to movies and ate at good restraunts. I ran along the harbor one morning. It was great. We drank coffee and talked. Just great. Since getting back I’ve been training hard. And now Karmen is OOT to Kansas City. So me and the boys (on their Spring Break) have embarked on a painting project during the day here at the house and then watching Harry Potter movies at night. Plus we have been going to Tae Kwon Do. It really has been some great days with those two boys. I am in love with them. And I am in love with Karmen. I took 11 days off from work to do all of this, and it has been glorious. Nothing like surfing, training, and being with the people I love most in life. No better “vacation” than that. And Karmen gets back to top it all off on Sunday. Can’t wait.
On the plane to and from San Diego I finished Crazy For God. It really is an awesome book, and I may post a lot on it over the next few weeks and months. If you didn’t happen to notice, the author, Frank Schaeffer, commented on my last post about his book. Wow! That just cements in my mind what I already thought, that he is a good guy, and I am tremendously appreciative of what he wrote in this work because it helps me to understand that I am not crazy. Someone else out there, and actually probably a great deal of people as I have learned from people like John and Jason and Luke and Yael, understand the thoughts and confusion that I have found myself within over the last 10 years. I even think I have discovered, after a good amount of emailing, that my Nazarene preacher father understands and shares some of the same challenges. I know for sure that my wisdom infused wife understands. What I feel that Mr. Schaeffer has done is validate all that stuff. The craziness that seems to be there really is craziness on a lot of levels. I want to thank Mr. Schaeffer for his honesty.
I would like to share a passage tonight that made me nearly laugh ridiculously and impolitely out loud on the plane to San Diego after we connected in Dallas. As it was, I contained myself and just let out a snicker. On page 325 and the preceding few pages, the author is describing how he felt he was essentially leading a bit of a double life, saying one thing to massive crowds of the religious right which he and his father would speak to with regularity, but then living a bit of another. Something such as ordering bottle of wine at dinner or commenting that he liked a certain “godless” movie were things that he had to guard against like a hawk. This sort of dishonesty became more and more conflicting for him. On page 325 he is describing how he knew “The Speech” so well that he could give it while thinking about something else. One of those something elses makes me laugh because I know it all to well myself. With just a touch of sarcasm he states: “…for instance, about how I wished God had never made any men or women with a ‘ministry in music.’ I wished he’d strike them all down so I’d never have to spend another minute listening to another fat lady (even the men were ‘fat ladies’ to me) sing another Jesus-is-my-boyfriend song to synthesized violin playback.”
I mean no disrespect, but picking this bit out, to anyone who is a “minister of music.” In fact, I am aquainted with several individuals who fill that role and are very genuine and talented people, believing deeply in what they are doing. But I don’t know how many times I have been a part of something that looked or felt more like a performance more than anything with any sincerity to it (like putting on a huge Easter pagent because it “reaches so many souls” when what it really does is completely and utterly exhaust the participants. I have no problem with Easter pagents. Only the reasons we say we do them. Put on the pageant, but just be willing to say that you are doing it because you like to put on the show.). One time I saw a man who sang at church looking at pornography at the local bookstore. Now I’m not judging (I know I have plenty of skeletons for which I could be stoned) nearly so much as I am saying that I am tired of the faking and posing and of “the show” that church is and has become. I’m tired of hearing “Jesus is my boyfriend” when it is more about performing. Frank Schaeffer was tired of it too.