November 28, 2009

Figuring out what I think about CFC.

I've been thinking about interning a lot lately, what with Kristen back home, full of stories and thoughts and things she's learned. Even while I'm quite involved in other ICC activities,
I seem to have an idea in my mind that Communicators for Christ isn't "my thing." I'm trying to find out if CFC's mission is central enough to what I think is important. This is what I see:

"Lead the Escape" is central.
"Awakening: Rise Up. Reach Out." matters.
I think about these themes all the time. Everything in CFC related to the theme I can identify with, because the theme is about living, and loving people. I care about inspiring people.

It is not central to critique speeches and use the three-second-rule. But it is central to communicate a message.
It is not central to go into nursing homes in order to get things checked off. But it is central to be a presence in the community, and be a tangible demonstration of God's love to the culture. Being Jesus to people matters.

Reforming M&M packages, teaching stock issues, knowing about debate theory or the topic is not central. But they aid the purpose of debate. They help people learn to think critically and find truth. They teach people to be conversant in big issues that do matter, and to be larger, deeper people.

Living - living for God's glory - being freed from ourselves - being free from sin - all matter. Words are (some of) the tools with which we tell people about these truths. ICC is about learning to communicate what matters to others.

My question seems to be, if the truth matters, do the words that describe it matter as well?
Maybe I would be better off teaching knowledge - philosophy or worldview - rather than the way of speaking about knowledge. CFC is a metalanguage organization, it seems.
Lets disregard the slight hypocrisy I would run into by *speaking* to others about knowledge while disregarding the critical influence that public speaking training has given me, and try to answer if the words matter.
If our communication is broken, it doesn't matter how beautiful our minds are. Words matter, because truth matters. Is it selfish of me to want to live truly and tell people about truth, without also caring that they know how to communicate well?

Maybe my calling isn't teaching people how to communicate. But what strikes me is that the interns don't just talk about talking. They actually live lives of love towards others and they use their communication abilities to inspire people to BE. They speak what is good and right and wonderful and freeing, even as they give practical tools for others to do the same. They pass on practical skills that everyone can implement. Whatever sphere of knowledge or skill you are interested in, to take that past yourself, to inspire people, you need to know how to communicate.

Am I selfless enough to set aside my burden to teach others to live lives that express God's love to the world?

Just now I realized that I'm writing as if I have a particular burden, as if I even know what I would talk about, if not talking about talk. I think about my love for philosophy, and apologetics, and art. And I think that philosophy is something that comes with living, and interning would expose me to new situations, and deepen my life. As for apologetics and art, they are types of communication themselves.

Now I'm thinking about something I thought of a few days ago. I was saying to myself that I love being but have difficulty with doing. But there are some types of doing that are simply being enlarged. Joy in Christ flows into love for others, expressed in words, becoming action in community speaking, in conversations, in service. The only reason I find difficulty with doing is because I am not fully a whole person. Thought should inspire action. If it does not, perhaps the thought is to blame.

So I think I have decided what I think: ICC's mission is important. Interning is not just about teaching public speaking. Interns communicate truth, both in their lives and speeches, and vicariously, through the hundreds of students they inspire. All the metatalk is only to aid the message itself, to further the purpose of speaking the truth in love.

I have a lot of praying and growing up to do before I decide if I should intern. I have to think if teaching communication for four months is the best way to use my gifts, passions, time. But at least now I think I understand interns better. For that, I am thankful.

November 24, 2009

playing with words

Sometimes I think that my nickname should be Becca-becca, because my name is Rebecca, or Becca again.

I also wonder if "revelation" has anything to do with reveling in wisdom.

I am feeling so joyful today, thinking about how we are the fullness of Him who fills all in all. That as the body of Christ, we express his nature.

It brought to mind a quote from Lilith I wrote down a few days ago, "God created me - not out of Nothing, as say the unwise, but out of His own endless glory." So, everything that I do should be a re-presentation of his glory. Yet another reason why the purpose of life is to glorify God. :)

November 23, 2009

Broken to the next level of completion.

It is 11:46 pm right now, the twenty-third of November, the year 2009.
And on this date in history, I finished my first draft of my novel.

Now I just need to find out who wants to read it when it's edited, in a tactful way that lets everyone know that I love my book a lot, but it has boatloads of flaws. And I'm a little afraid of reading it myself, so I'm even more so afraid of you people reading it. But I still want you to, you know?

Or I could just not ask and give it to people who have asked me. I can't make up my mind.

*post*

I don't wanna talk about it.

At least, that's how I feel sometimes, because I guess it feels awkward to talk about my shortcomings. But I am talking about it, talking about my own confusion about talking.

See, today before philosophy class began, I was talking with another student about the beliefs of a general culture. I'm not sure how it came up, really. But he was saying that today's America is more global, and we're moving away from the consumerism phase. I wasn't sure about that, and said that it's hard to generalize an overall temperature of a nation or culture because individuals live so differently. Then he asked what my specific philosophy of life was, and I was confused. I didn't know if he meant what I believed, which I have talked about with him before, or how I lived my life, or what my personality was, or what. So I asked him what he meant, and what his philosophy of life was, and he talked about learning, integrity, respect. Then I understood, and immediately my mind jumped to principles I try to live by- "I devote my life to truth." "Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind, and love your neighbor as yourself." But class began and I didn't have a chance to say.

Part of me thinks that I'm passing up opportunities to speak for Christ, and that I should be more bold. I berate myself for not just answering the question, and hesitating. But part of me says it doesn't matter (oh, but it does!) and that it's better to simply try to understand, and to understand... I don't have to think of witnessing like a game where I score points by mentioning Jesus' name. I don't know which, if either, is right.

Fast forward about an hour, and in class we're talking about philosophy of mind, and Descartes' mind-body dualism. One student- this is a guy who has told me he wants to become a pastor- challenges that, and says that they have to be connected. My professor returns him saying, "Shouldn't the Christian view be that they are separated? After you die, your soul is supposed to keep living?" I wonder about this- if its the soul or the spirit that goes to heaven. But before I have a chance to think seriously about it, the student responds. He says he's a Seventh Day Adventist, and he believes the soul is made up of spirit plus matter (what I think of as "body"). He says every person has a "spirit of life" and a body. I think to myself that "spirit of life" sounds new agey and unBiblical. The student launches into a long explanation of how he thinks the parts of a person interact, and I'm lost. I feel like Christianity got misrepresented, and I wasn't there ready to give a defense...

This bothers me. I think that a bit of what he said is wrong, but what could I have said? How can I speak truth and correct misconception when I don't the answer myself?

Some of the answers to my questions I think I may already know. I should know that being Christ's witness doesn't require us to know everything, only to love. But I still want to be knowledgeable and believe sound doctrine and be able to answer people's questions. I want my beliefs to be logically consistent and I want to be able to compare the philosophy spelled out in the Bible to what I'm learning in class.

The fact is that I just don't know how the mind and the body and the soul and the spirit interact. Some things I can be fairly certain about- that the spirit is what communicates with God. "Now you have been given not the spirit of the world, but the spirit who is from God, that you might understand the things freely given us by God." (1 Cor 2:12) But is the spirit part of us? And is it also our essence? Or is the *soul* the essence?

Part of this is confusion about definitions, and part of it is just not knowing how the parts interact, regardless of what you call them. Even if I could get everything explained in the Bible straight, I still don't think I'd be able to comprehend how exactly a mind or a spiritual being can influence a physical body. Descartes' explanation about a "pineal gland" in the brain doesn't really answer anything for me. But these are all philosophical questions that are overshadowed by the difficulty that really is troubling me.

I wonder how to crystallize this difficulty: I think it's mostly a fear that I am not communicating for Christ effectively in my class.
Maybe I'm afraid Matthew 10:20 isn't true for me. ("For it is not you who speak, but the Spirit of your Father speaking through you.")

Pray for me?

November 22, 2009

"and my love slowly answered I think so."

Just now I felt my heart caught in my throat when I opened up a little book called "Fairy Tales" by e. e. cummings. Not because of the words that I read, but because of his punctuation. No commas after semi-colons or commas, was the first thing I think I noticed in the random page. Somehow it struck me, the intentional misuse of punctuation.

I've seen this before in e. e. cummings. This past week I started reading a book of his poetry. All the knowledge I had about him before I began was some conception in my mind that he never capitalized. Well, that's not true. He uses capitalization and punctuation and spacing oh so intentionally. Sometimes the i's are capitalized, sometimes not. And when they are not, they look so humble and unpretentious, so earthy and honest.

I think my favorite poem of his so far begins "All in green went my love riding/ on a great horse of gold/ into the silver dawn." The rhythm and the echoes in that poem are wonderful.

The poem that really made me think begins "suppose / Life is an old man carrying flowers on his head." They don't have titles, if you haven't noticed. The metaphors in this poem are fascinating. He refers to himself as "i" and Life and Death with capital letters, and when his love speaks, she capitalizes her I. The end is the best part, though it only makes sense in the context of the whole poem.

Read them, do. Or at least the first one, which as I said is my favorite. And for anyone who is wondering, the title is a quote from the second.

I gotta say I love e. e. cummings's writing. So, so, much. I don't care that he breaks rules. (and maybe I love him for it, because it's so tastefully done)

November 20, 2009

This is what happens when I stop caring about plot. :D (not-edited nano snippet)

“Would you like to meet my family?” Adrienne finally asked. Corrie turned down a corner of the city with Adrienne’s invitation, and they walked together for a short while until they came to an open door and a smiling mother holding a baby.

“This is my mother,” adri said. “And my baby brother, Norin.”

A smile played on Corrie’s lips. She loved little children, babies especially. “Can I hold him?” she asked.

“You may,” answered Adri’s mother, smiling and with small fady eyes that seemed not to see, and with a yellowish-peachy face. She passed Corrie the child, and Corrie held him with as skillful hands as an eleven-year-old could have. She looked at his face, and saw in it not the usual sweetness that most babies seemed to have, but rather a fierce expression was on his face. His hair spiked out in rebellious blond streaks, and his hand clutched something tightly. Corrie thought it was a stick, but upon closer inspection, she realized it was no stick from a tree but rather a twisted knot of straw, matching his hair. Norin was an interesting sort of fellow, seeming to embody the phrase, “angsty peasant.”

“How old is he, Adrienne?” Corrie asked, not saying any of her first impressions about the child.

Adri’s mother answered quickly instead, saying, “He’s four months old.” Adrienne piped up to add to that. She said, “the little dear. Isn’t he sweet, Corrie?”

Corrie was strangely repulsed by their affection: perhaps it was the mother’s manner that turned her off, perhaps it was her own personal struggles that clouded her vision, but she did feel put off. She held it in again- it was strange, recently she had seemed to say so little, when she was usually so impatient and spoke whenever she had the chance. But that wasn’t quite true, either, she thought again. She was quite quiet around her family. Strange… But as she thought all of this, she heard her own voice say, “he is.” Her voice, come to save her when her mind was somewhere else. It did that often, and she felt as if she had accidentally lied.

“Well, let me show you and let you meet the rest of my family,” Adri said, brightly, seeming not to notice Corrie except as a general human who could see her treasures. Adrienne clearly loved her family a great deal, and was proud of them, she thought highly of them, even more so than she did of the general public, whom she already thought much of. Adrienne was an affectionate and impulsive child, but ultimately a loyal one. She was ready to care about whoever needed help, although sometimes her love got in the way seeing people clearly. Ah, subtext, ah situation, ah the blindness of touchy-feely people.

Corrie walked through another room, through the humble little house. Adrienne, like a museum curator, pointed to a room with an open door. “This is my sister’s room,” she said. “Can I go in?”

“Yes, I don’t think she would mind. Right now she is probably outside.”

Corrie stepped into the room and as soon as she entered, her eyes were captured by the posters on the brown walls. Or rather, they were paste-on letter, in various fonts, sprawled, scribbled, sprayed, dancing and speaking on the walls, for all who saw her to see, but yet frozen there as a solid expression of the sister’s mind.

Corrie wanted to read every word they said, but first asked Adri what her sister’s name was. “Lynne,” she said.

Then Corrie returned to read the splash. The first word that jumped out at her was “love.” Then she read the phrase that it belonged to: it said, “SiNG ThiS LOVESiCK MELODY.” And in curly purple letters on the left side of the room, she read, “please. don’t. let. me. go.” Gold paint illustrated the words, “call my name if you’re afraid, I’m just a kiss away.” Corrie turned her head around, her eyes swimming with the words… It was like poetry that she could not get her mind into. Bewildering, soaring above her, every word shooting into her being, nearly overwhelming her with its sweetness and the emotions Corrie had never felt.

please. don't. let. me. go.

(do you miss the way the world was spinning for us?)

[ save your heart for someone who leaves you

breathless ]

>>so satisfying &+ i'm still smiling<<

{this was supposed to be the easy part...

all my love will slowly fade and fall apart.

someone, please.

SiNG THiS LOVESiCK MELODY.

call my name if you're afraid,

i'm just a kiss away.}

And they danced above her, they soared and twisted in Lynne’s mind, only Corrie could not reach them. She felt again like an unknowing, unwise, eleven year old. What was this ­love that she had not known? What was this longing? What was this existence? Did Lynne really believe everything she wrote? Who was the one she was lovesick about? Why would she splatter such fragile sayings into permanent paint?


And at the same time as her pause and hesitation and wondering, she was drawn to it, drawn to the passion! The depth, the color, the life. She felt as if this heart – love – pain – joy – emotion – was all about something that she had not known, but desperately wanted to experience. It was all as if (this was all she could compare it to, really) she was being nudged by the warm face of a horse, coming up to her side and touching her. Or, maybe it was more like the breathless feeling she got when she was running outside and came home to a warm and toasty house. No, that was not it. But all of it was warmth, not a stagnant heavy warmth but a thrilling and sudden warmth, a rush of feeling, the magic of closeness and knowledge and blind touch.


“Are you coming?” Adrienne said, interrupting Corrie’s stares and symphony.


“Yeah,” Corrie answered, and shut the door, closing the colorful fascinating world.

November 19, 2009

>Love<

Isn't it amazing, that word?
Sometimes I see it and think it's cliche.
Love.
By itself it looks a little weak, another Christianese word that people use all the time. Love one another, love the Lord, we're trying to love people, let's make our words communicate love, use love-on as a verb, etc. etc. etc.

But then... sometimes I see it in sentence and am struck by it. Serfy, I hope you don't mind if I use you as an example. In Serfy's status today: "did I ever tell you I love underclassmen? :) <3" Something inside of me starts gushing about it.
Love!
It rings around in my mind. Oh, how wonderful that people in this world care for each other and have friendships and attachments!

Then other times I use it without really thinking. "I love my philosophy professor." "I love Switchfoot." "I love art." I love this, I love that. So, it's just another overused word of my own excitement. It's strange for me to think about how the sentence sounds when I turn it around, somehow rearranging words helps me see meaning better sometimes. Why do I love my philosophy professor?
Love.
Do I really mean it? Can I mean it? How can I say I love someone who I really don't know all that well? Even people who I do care about, how can I claim it?

And then I think about romantic love. Part of it is related to the cheesy romantic songs I sometimes hear. But I don't mean love in that way, that's cliche. Or maybe it's not even romantic love that I'm thinking about? I don't know. But the word "love" sometimes just thrills me. It's something that I can only describe in metaphors, and continually circle around, never getting into... I think of passion and longing for another human soul... It's like the warmth of being close to someone in heart or in body or both, combined with the shivers that only occasionally pass through me when I think about the newness and strangeness of it all. Now this is degenerating into nonsense, see description about love is very hard. I seem to try to keep attempting it in my novel, because the idea is so enchanting. And part of myself stands to the side cynically, telling me I'm being emotional and overly dreamy. But what if I tell that side to shut up just for a little bit, and listen to the plaintive music of oh, I don't know, dreamers and lovers everywhere? I imagine lying on the wide empty grass underneath the living tapestry of the stars with the love of my life and having him whisper softly, I love you.
LOVE!
How can you argue with emotion? It seems it would fill you and enrich you and warm you all at once. And this, too, is what I have felt at times in the presence of the Almighty God, a love that overwhelms me and fills me with love for you. A love that gives me contentment and comfort and strength, and a compassion and desire to reach out to the people around me.

I want to tell people everywhere that I love them, but sometimes the only accurate thing to say is HE loves you and I am only here to tell you. None of my love is my own.

And then.... after the stars and their sparkling glory fade, after my stirred soul settles, after the feeling grows dull... Love becomes once again a solid thing, a commitment, a responsibility, something that I fear I have no ability or right to be bearing or showing to others. It becomes a hard thing that I seem to not be able to put into practice. Is it love if I don't feel it enrapture my soul?

Even though I try to describe Love in senses and abstractions (which I sometimes have a hard time distinguishing, it's all very confusing) I still have so little practical understanding of what it means, or who Love is.

I wonder if that is a question that can only be answered by living life with Him, with him as our every breath.

I'm off to write more now, writing fiction that is less about people or plot than it is about ideas. And, (dare I say it? if I don't even know what it means?) ... I love you all.

...and see, it seems weak now, only like a random sign off, not like a statement that people have died for, or a promise that has brought people to life. I suppose I want to let the word have the power that the person has. Oh language, so representative and limited. Oh language, for allowing us to communicate with other human beings even if its only if its as fuzzy as shadows cast on walls, of fingers signing in sign language...

November 11, 2009

At the risk of being "shipwrecked by the laughter of the gods"...

I must say that writing is too easy, in a way. Not that writing well is easy. But with things like word wars and Write or Die, it's not hard to write words. My hands hurt, of course, from writing 600 words in eleven minutes, twice over. But I mean... I am more than half-way done with NaNoWriMo, and with quantity not a major issue, I'm starting to think about quality. Which... should be good, because I actually care about this novel and want to make it beautiful. But I am afraid I will start swinging to a position completely opposite of the one I have now: I'll start thinking that I should take time to craft every sentence, and plan out the plot carefully. I don't quite know what this will do to me, or my writing. But I feel like the excuse "but I have to write, I can't think if it's good or not" is dying away, and I don't think that bodes well for NaNoWriMo.

November 9, 2009

Halfway! [this is how...] nano snippet, day 9

Today my narrator broke out into a long monologue about why people tell stories. This is hopefully what the novel is about, so I'm not even sure if it's good to write it now. But then, NaNoWriMo doesn't have to be an exercise in subtlety. I can always delete it later. But for now, it's valuable, simply because it's helped me get to 25,135 words as of today.

I'm posting it here not because I think it's good, but because I always am interested by what the rest of you are doing. Golden Rule and all that, you know? I'm not sure if all the logic is sound, but I did try to edit it.

Much can happen in a few months. However, often the most exciting things happen in a short time, while the majority of your time is spent involved in the most boring or common-place of activities. This concept is somewhat similar to the 20/80 principle, the one that states that 20 percent of the world's population possess 80 percent of the wealth. Except, applied, this would make time the population and exciting events the wealth. Of course, a detailed journalist could take the time to denote obvious occurances, such as birds chirping, grass growing, people talking and thinking, the earth revolving around the sun, the moon following its orbit around the earth. And isn’t that the way the world goes? Not just around the earth, I mean, but in general: no story really matters, it seems, because it’s only telling a story that has already been told.

So what, people talked. They loved, they hated. They were born, they died. They married, they divorced. It all seems rather meaningless, doesn’t it? And maybe it is. Maybe Solomon was right when he said that all was vanity. Maybe all this working and striving is for naught. But what if you take the time to stop summarizing, and actually zoom in on a life? If your camera lens is clean enough, you should see the entire world contained in that one human being. There is a near-infinite amount of lives that have been lived. But within every life there is infinity. There is an uncountable amount of things that every human has seen, or even more strikingly, felt. Rage, sorrow, betrayal; joy, giddiness, nonsense; concentration, stress, frustration: all of it contained in one human. Every human captures the story of the world within them.

And so the task of a story-teller is to watch that world and bring it out to life. Every person is a story-teller, in a way. Was not Erin, with her retelling, her interpretation, her living through the life and words of another? She tried to show her viewers a representation of reality that brought it closer to them.

What about people just living their own lives: do they not have their own stories to tell? The best story-tellers let their lives tell a story. And what they do demonstrates, sometimes more eloquently than words can, was is; what should be; what matters; what should be forgotten.

Every story carries within it the specific of a genuine human life, as well as the general, the story that has already been told and always will be told. Perhaps by telling it, and reading it, and watching it, we let our minds live it as our bodies try to. Or perhaps the telling of the story does more for the author than it is for those who watch. Only by trying to generalize your life, trying to draw out the parts that make the story, can the individual details find their place. Abstracting allows meaning.

Tropical Bird

November 8, 2009

Me trying to be empathetic, but ending up cynical

so they told you, stop caring about winning, it's all empty
because the winners stood on the stage, receiving their plastic awards
and they felt in that moment as if it was wind

but you never wanted the prizes
you aren't deceived to think that a trophy will last
you only can't stand the the frustration of failing

winning doesn't matter... until you lose
so either win emptiness or lose your self-esteem
we're only striving so that we can survive
1. I haven't gotten "Hello Hurricane" yet, but it's amazing listening to it on Switchfoot's myspace.
2. I am getting fed up with all the romance in my novel. Come on, Erin and Laurence, get over it so I can get on to writing something more wholesome! And then I start wondering what that's going to be, and if my metaphysical plot is going to work out. My plot right now is all relationship-driven, and I want it to be about reality. I'm not yet sure how that's going to happen.

November 7, 2009

"Love is something I've never known."

Words are flying across the circle
They are thrown out in joy
Then fall neatly into the hearer's heart
Fueling a rapid response
And I feel that they're all passing above me
Around me
Not through me

And so to say anything would be
Like stumbling into a game of frisbee,
Uncertain, confused
Not knowing the rules, and being taught
But forgetting. But fumbling.
Like running around, holding the frisbee
Unwilling to let it go

I'm so certain, and I believe
That Your love is strong
But I'm still shivering with cold,
Wearing around my neck a sign
That reads, scribbled in marker,
I need love.
I wonder who else can see it

But I don't know if I trust anyone to take it off-
I feel like I push them away
By my pretense, my smiles
I hold back my tears
Because I'm afraid to be seen
Or I devour their attempts to love
And proclaim myself still starving.



"Satisfy us in the morning with your steadfast love." -Psalm 90:14

November 5, 2009

Word War

A mental scream!
A heady rush, fingers quivering, breath fast
The energy seeps out, splattering a ferocious barrage of words onto the page

Do I intend to crush the others?
Do I so desire to overwhelm?
I think it is only the thrill of the chase that so intoxicates me

November 2, 2009

:breathes deeply:

Planning my novel is reminding myself of the truth. I feel as if writing it is teaching me more than reading it ever will teach any one else. I have become my main characters, and I'm only trying to describe what I am learning and don't yet understand. Even if my characters are not real, I become more so because I'm living through them. And I don't know who I can write for but myself and God.