Not So Thankful

I’m really glad for my life. I look around me, and I’m happy about my circumstances. My faith, my family, my friends, my job, health, music. The whole package. In the middle of this happiness, though, is a small amount of energy that’s devoted to living down some of the elements of my past. I think we all have this, so I’m sure this isn’t ground-breaking news to you. To quote the great Jack Nicholson in the Tim Burton adaptation of Batman, “I have given a name to my pain.” This particular brand of discomfort is a mostly unspoken mindset instilled in me by the American Evangelical non-denominational Christian church. The nutshell of the way I’m feeling is that I’ve been brought up to believe that the world around me is largely a threat, or an enemy.

Granted, that’s a bit over-simplified, but you get the point. The things that I encounter are (for the most part) to be kept at a safe distance and judged from afar. This could include a book, a song, a movie, a lifestyle, a person… just about anything. I have some trouble reconciling that mindset with Jesus’ core mission stated in John 3.16-17: “For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.
For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him.”

The thing that strikes me, in this train of thought, is the part where it says that God didn’t send Jesus down here to condemn the world. Yet that’s what I find myself reflexively doing, more times than not.

I’m getting the impression that leading with suspicion, and judgment are contrary to Jesus’ core mission. The way he said it himself, he positioned “condemnation” and “salvation” as opposites. So how could I, as a follower of Jesus, claim to be about love and salvation when I’m spending more time condemning? I can’t. And, frankly, that’s embarrassing.

I’m not blaming the church for this, mind you. Please don’t take me for one of the guys who seem pretty happy to bash the church lately. There was a lot of good that came from my upbringing, and I’m grateful for it, on the whole. I’m also a big boy, and I own my flaws. So this isn’t a posting to absolve myself of these shortcomings. It’s more a verbalization to help me to more clearly identify it, and maybe strike a chord with the one or two other people who happen to read this.

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Divisive Unity

I was just riding in the car with my family. I love doing this, and I’m finding that I’m changing as I get older. In days past, I would have the radio way up and I’d sing until my throat hurt. That’s not as often the case anymore.

In our car, control of the radio rests firmly in the hands of the front passenger seat (unless I happen to sit there… then it’s a special exception and the driver maintains control). Where I’m more of a “one station at a time” kinda guy, others in my family are “players of the field,” as it were. But this is not why I’ve absconded with your precious attention.

The channel surfing dynamic has taught me something about music. It is, at once, possibly one of the most unifying and polarizing energies that we humans are allowed to enjoy. Whether you consider yourself a “fan” of music in general, or not, hearing a song in any setting immediately gives one a feeling of “like” or “dislike.” See, music has that basic ability, no… it’s not an ability, per say. It’s more of an occurrence, since music isn’t consciously DOING anything. Regardless, if you play a song in a room of 10 people, you’re likely to receive a number of differing opinions about it.  In smaller settings, those opinions are likely to be expressed, discussed, debated, argued, etc.  The beauty of this difference comes from the old adage that “you can’t argue taste.”

Take that same song and play it for a stadium of like-minded fans, and you’ll witness and altogether different occurrence.

I love music.  I love listening to it, playing it, writing it, seeing it live… everything.  When I’m playing with others it appears to me like an ethereal string or stream that floats around us.  When everyone senses it, they grab hold of it and we’re instantly together.  “In the pocket,” some would say.  If not everyone senses it, the playing is less joyful and more laborious.  Again, music will either pull people together, or pull them apart.

How about this… if you have one, post your favorite artist & album in the Comments below.  I’m always on the lookout for my next favorite album.

I Love Pajamas…

…as much as the next guy. They’re fiercely comfortable. I mean, they’re MADE for comfort, for corn’s sake.

However (and I mean this in all love and sincerity), college girls, there is NO occasion where it’s ok to walk around in pj’s and slippers (or Ugg boots, for that matter). It just isn’t ok. Ever.

In the dorm, no problem. When you leave the dorm, put on some jeans, please. Or a skirt. You’re a girl, and this is a viable option. It should be less effort to throw on a skirt rather than pj’s. A skirt is just one giant leg hole. Go with that. Then you can wear your Ugg boots and it’ll be just fine. You’re wearing your “College Name Here” sweatshirt, and that’s likely going to play with a well-chosen skirt. This is a much better idea than pj’s and Ugg boots.

Please don’t let it happen again.

Sincerely,
Murph Krajewski

Why Don’t I Write More Things In My Blog?

It’s a fair question. Anyone got an answer?

FANTASTIC Waste of Time

CAUTION:
Clicking the below link may cause you to waste an hour or so bouncing from related link to related link. Enjoy… if you dare!

Edit:

A grand prize of $1 will be awarded to the commenter who comes up with a link to the most obscure TV theme link.  Whattaya got!?

Rush-hour Therapy

I just got in to work on the west side of Indianapolis.  My commute takes me north on I-65 with a brief stint on I-465, and I have to say that traffic was especially manic today.  There were far more aggressive drivers than usual, and several were to the point of recklessness.

No joke, dear reader(s), by surrendering that space I instantly felt better.

Having inherited a distaste of aggressive fellow motorists from my father, I found myself at times speeding up faster than I normally drive in order to reduce the space between me and the car in front of me.  My hope was to cut off any potential avenue for knuckleheads to come swerving in front of me at high speed.  I guarded that lack of space.  Claimed it for myself.  I was tense, wanting the drive to be over, and actually considered pulling off to the shoulder and just waiting until the traffic thinned out.  The tension was palpable.  Then I had a flash of recognition.

I heard my own voice giving advice to a friend of mine who was a bit wound-up recently.  “Relax,” I told him.  It all starts with a good deep breath.

The speedometer was at 65 (in a 55mph zone… and I was STILL getting passed by cops.  That’s another post for another day).  I usually hold firm to the “speed limit + 5” standard, so I was clearly acting from my tension.  I eased back to my normal speed, which created some comfortable space  in front of me.  No joke, dear reader(s), by surrendering that space I instantly felt better.

It all starts with a good deep breath.

As I looked around, chaos still reigned on the road around me.  All I had done was take and deep breath and choose to not be a part of it.  Funny, that, because I couldn’t remember ever choosing to BE a part of it in the first place.

Several things jumped out at me from the 20-minute commute:

  1. Chaos will happen around us in any place at any time, and our natural tendency is to jump right in and try to keep (or beat) its pace.
  2. Choosing to disengage from chaos doesn’t bring order to the world, but it does bring order to you.
  3. It all starts with a good deep breath.

My pattern is to take moments like this and draw deep, spiritual parallels to my life.  I have, but I won’t force them on you.  Feel free to take my experience and draw from it what you will.

Thank you, Mr. President

I’m still listening to the post-speech commentary on hulu.com, and I wanted to thank you for a few things.

First, thank you for communicating with America in a relevant way. I feel like you understand and are personally invested in modern technologies. I like the fact that you speak with both large words, and phrases like “no one messes with Joe.” I get the feeling that you are an educated man, and one who hasn’t forgotten that he is an American first. I sense that you have, wisely and refreshingly, done away with the archetypal president of the past. You’ve changed the game. Thank you.

Second, thank you for inspiring me. I know that televised speeches are meant to be rousing and positive. There’s a lot of talk about what you and the government are “going to do,” and I confess to you the fact that I’m jaded. I’m cynical of politicians and I don’t apologize for my feelings. I’ll also reserve my judgment to allow time for watching to see if these claims actually do come to pass. Those things being said, I found myself hoping that most Americans were watching. For what it’s worth, I’ve never felt that way before. Thank you.

Finally, thank you for your sentiments of personal responsibility on the parts of all Americans. Encouragements for people to get involved in their communities, statements that parental support is the cornerstone of education… these things echo what I believe.  Thank you for saying them.  I believe that you’ll continue to say them.  I hope the people who need to take the hint and adjust their lives accordingly.

Now I’m watching Bobby Jindal do some self-promotion (maybe some pre-campaigning?).

Mr. Obama, thank you for being an inspiration to me, my wife and my daughter.  I’m proud to be an American citizen during this point in history.