Wednesday, January 25, 2006

I've made a couple posts over at Nightsawake 2.0. Be thou informed.

Also, I'm greatly enjoying Mark Buchanan's Your God is Too Safe, a well-put-together treatise on how wild, dangerous, and loving God really is. He is, you know. Thanks, Mum. Good Christmas gift.

And finally, Amanda has introduced me to a softer world, a very artful project indeed. Please, browse the archives and find your favorites.

Tuesday, January 24, 2006

I remember being advised to stay within the lines when I was coloring as a child. It’s not like anyone was trying to limit my creativity; it’s just that if you don’t stay within the lines, the picture is totally incoherent at the end. The lines blur under patches of color, and the image becomes something else.

Today, we in the modern West are presented with an increasingly abstract image. Long-familiar lines have become blurred and obscured.

The line between life and death – should it not be clear? – is disturbingly ambiguous. Medical technology permits us to prolong a failing pulse… indefinitely? How alive is the comatose woman, devastated by a car accident a decade ago, sustained only by life support? And who decides when to turn off the machines? Somewhere, there is a line between life and unlife, but where? As a nation, we still cannot agree on whether a pregnant mother carries within her an unborn child, or merely a fetus. The difference cannot be overemphasized.

Gender lines have been drawn and redrawn. A thousand maps exist, a thousand theories on who is who and why. I told a friend that I’d never met a transgender person, and she told me that I had, naming them. That, I realized, was why I’d had a problem figuring out whether they were male or female: they were in-between. Even for those who remain in their natural sex, gender roles are continually rejected and recast. Homosexuality moves into the mainstream, and the questions continue to pile up. What happens to parenting, or romance, or family, when male and female are all but interchangeable?

The private blurs more and more into the public. People worry about the prevalence of surveillance technology, the constant monitoring and tracking of their day to day lives. They then proceed to post deeply personal information – thoughts, gripes, vendettas – on the Internet. (I am sharply aware that this blog is accessible by a startling number of people throughout the world, but it seems that many bloggers are not.) While on the Internet, they can easily find descriptions, pictures, and video of the most explicit and intimate personal acts imaginable. Sex and more. This trend is reflected not only in the dark (and light) corners of the Internet, but in practically every other form of mass media. Is it permissiveness, or openness?

Truth and falsehood slip increasingly into obscurity. Spiritual beliefs have been assigned their own corner of reality: they cannot be right or wrong. Everyone believes what they believe, and everyone is right. Even if their beliefs contradict. I posed this question to a friend: if she didn’t believe in trucks, would she die if a truck hit her? “No,” she said. I hope she was an extreme example.

Change is afoot.

And the price? Confusion, at least, and on any number of levels. Loss of innocence. Some of our social experiments, I think, shall fail. All that remains to be seen is which, and how badly. Some, however will be great boons to society. I am cautiously optimistic about the advent of the blog, and the idea of bringing wide scale publishing to the masses. I think a certain level of openness on the subject of sexuality is quite healthy.

But when I read in the first chapter of Genesis about the Earth being formless and covered in darkness, I think of a world with no lines, no boundaries. Everything is permitted, supposedly. But the Holy Spirit still hovers over the face of the waters, eagerly awaiting the day when the darkness will be utterly removed, and the lines that have always been there will be undeniably clear.

Because in the end, some lines cannot be erased by man.

Wednesday, January 11, 2006

Every so often, there's a survey or somesuch making the blogging rounds that's worthwhile. The following is a list of questions you ask a music player set on random. Given my extensive iTunes playlist, I had to give it a shot.

In the end, it seems that iTunes is generally a poor oracle. I hope.

Here goes.

~ ~ ~

Q: What do you think of me, iTunes?
A: “A Stray Child” by Akira Ymaoka, from the Silent Hill 3 Official Soundtrack

Either I’m a street urchin, or I’m doomed to whack horrid abominations with a lead pipe. Cool.

Q: Will I have a happy life?
A: “Skyway” by the Replacements

Hmm. The song is about an imaginary transportation system. This does not bode well. And the girl gets away.

Q: What do my friends really think of me?
A: “P5hng Me A*wy” by Mike Shinoda and Stephen Richards, a remix of “Pushing Me Away” on Linkin Park’s Reanimated.

Oh, grand.

Q: Do people secretly lust after me?
A: “Tonight” by the Orange County Supertones

A song about the end of the world. So, maybe if I were the last man on Earth.

Q: What does [insert significant other] think of me?
A: “Technicolor Jackets” by Blood Has Been Shed

Whoa. A hardcore rock song. Whatever they feel, apparently they feel it strongly. The lyrics suggest that I have a lot to learn. About… something.

Q: How can I make myself happy?
A: “Stalker Goes to Babylon” by the Pillows

*laughter unto death*

Q: What should I do with my life?
A: “Good King Joy” by Trans-Siberian Orchestra, a medley of “Joy to the World,” “Good King Wenceslas,” and some blues action.

Make a joyful noise. On it.

Q: Why must life be so full of pain?
A: Track 2 on Nick Cates’ “Jesus Songs”

Amen. Heh. Y’all gotta hear Nick’s stuff. Ask me about Track 4 sometime.

Q: How can I maximize my pleasure during sex? (hey, it was on the list.)
A: “Until It Sleeps” by Metallica and the San Francisco Orchestra

*fighting back chuckles* Note not only the name of the song, but the fact that it’s fom a CD called S&M.

Q: Will I ever have children?
A: “H.” by Tool

If that’s the case, I hope not. Yeesh.

Q: Will I die happy?
A: “Prayer” by Disturbed

A resounding no.

Q: Can you give me some advice?
A: “Battle, Scene II” by the Black Mages

Cool. I’ll get my sword.

Q: Do you know where your children are?
A: “Ghost Love Score” by Nightwish

…kids! Time to come inside! KIDS? Uh, oh.
Good think I have my sword.

Q: What do you think happiness is?
A: “Sad Happy” by Cold

Dang, iTunes. You okay?

Q: What's your favorite fetish?
A: “Death Star Canteen” by Eddy Izzard

Turn-ons: Black plastic armor, asthma. (A Drake running gag.)