O’Reilly

The O’Reilly piece mentioned Quakers, and I understand who the Quakers are somewhat.  I grew up in Wilmington Ohio, and it has a small Quaker community.  The college athletic teams are called ‘The Quakers’.  I had no Idea who the Carthusians are and The Society of Friends.  The Carthusians are incorporated into the Catholic religion somehow.  The Society of Friends are Quakers who live their life according to the bible from what I understand.  Sounds like a pretty strict religion.

I also saw a mention of Zen, and it interests me because growing up I watched a lot of professional basketball and the ‘greatest’ NBA coach of all-time is now considered Phil Jackson.  Jackson is referred to as ‘The Zen Master’.  I have always been interested in learning more about this practice.  It sounds peaceful and something I could probably get into.  I don’t think there is any strict deity Zen follows.  It has to do more with yourself and the battles you have with your own conscience.  After looking it up I found out that it was more along the lines of Buddhist thought.  You want to reach ‘enlightenment’.  Phil Jackson has a book out that I want to pick up one day, and it talks all about Zen and how he used it to coach athletes like Michael Jordan, Scottie Pippen, Kobe Bryant, Shaq O’neil, etc. etc.  I think it would be really interesting to get inside of the man’s mind and see how he related this to superstar athletes.

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hooks and Boorstein

The two spiritual pieces were interesting reads.  In the first piece I really liked the line “I learned then that it was not enough to identify with the poor; one had to act to transform society and human lives so that we would all have access to paradise.”  My initial thoughts were that this guy should run for office.  The statement itself rings true.  Everyone should have access to goods and services so their lives can be more closely to this ‘paradise’ the author referred to.  I think we do need people with this kind of mindset running this dump of a country.

The author then talked in a somewhat vague sense about ‘mystical dimensions’?  Okay.  The author also talks about drawing the ‘spiritual and the political’ together.  One of the main lines of rhetoric in this country concerns separating politics and religion.  I’m not sure that is what she was talking about, but overall I enjoyed reading about her experience at Yale.

The other piece had a lot of vague references as well.  It talked about people ‘waking up’.  Okay.  Please, tell me how I can ‘wake up’.  I would love to hear about it because I am already awake and would love to have someone explain to me why I am not awakened.

The article also talked about ‘knowing the truth brings happiness.’  I know most truths about my own life, but there are things out there I don’t know the truth about.  Therefore I cannot be happy.  What is happiness?  How can you tell me that I am not experiencing it?  Truth is also sometimes hard to define.

Deep Meaning Essay

 

            Sunday arrives, time for Sunday school.  Nothing like going to school during the week, and then being sentenced to Sunday school on weekends.  I guess I needed to do this or God would not approve.  It wasn’t that bad.  Half the time spent there went towards coloring with dull and broken crayons.  When you reach your teens, parents begin to ask you about baptism.  Well, this sounded cool.  You hop into this small area of water and the preacher comes in and dunks you under water getting rid of all of your sin?  I thought kids were not held accountable for their actions because they are minors?

            So, I finally decide that it’s time to make some change in my life.  I want to get dunked in the water because it sounds pretty kewl.  I begin taking classes with the minister and this other guy who was my age and went to my school.  He was kewl on Sundays, but when ‘real’ school was going down you didn’t want to be caught talking to this guy.  Pretty sure everyone thought he was a little crazy.  His dad looked like the Little Ceasar’s guy if you put a pair of glasses on him.

            I begin taking these classes with my Sunday buddy.  I am doing horrible on every step to the dunking in the water.  My buddy was doing much better.  He was actually showing me up, that bastard.  Guess I won’t be acknowledging his existence in gym class when kids begin to beat him up.  I bet I would though if I got my head dunked under water. 

            I begin meeting with the minister with my buddy as well.  He talks to us about the ceremony briefly and then begins asking questions and feeling out where we were in the process of reaching this ceremony.  Come to find out, you don’t have to do well at all on any of the steps leading up to the baptism.  That’s kewl.  I started working harder in my Sunday school courses.  Just kidding, I didn’t do shit.  I think the minister was on to me as well.  He started saying stuff like, “You boys don’t have to do this now.  You can be baptized at any point in your life.”  The minister was a total buzz kill.

            Family members would ask about my progress and I would tell them “I’m going to get my head dunked in water because that is kewl.”  Might not have been those exact words, but close nonetheless.  Now there was pressure from both sides:  the minister with his condescending chats about not getting dunked; and family members wanting to videotape me being dunked.   So much confusion with what to do!  Better just go ahead and get dunked and then ask God later. 

            It’s drawing close to the end of our few weeks of preparation.  My Sunday school buddy sticks a knife in my back by telling the minister that he is ‘not ready’ yet.  That little backstabbing jerk, now I have to be the jackass that goes through with this charade.  So he is now excused from meetings with the minister, but my dumbass still has to go.  I’m just going through the motions waiting to be dunked so all will be right in the world.

            A few more condescending chats with the minister and then a date will be set.  Oh boy, dressed in all white I wait backstage with the dried up bread pieces and grape juice.  I guess it used to be wine, but not anymore.  That was half the reason to get dunked.  I could then get my own bread and ‘wine’ during communion and not have to ask my parents for theirs.  That would definitely be pretty kewl.  I think the minister was on to me though.  Our chats would consist of him asking me a question and me not being able to answer them.  “You don’t have to go through with this Wesley.”  Not sure he ever said that, but his body language was saying that. 

Spiritual Essay Ideas

My idea for this essay will probably revolve around a car accident and my thoughts about the entire scenario when looking back.  I could talk about the idea that I am already dead.  What if I am in hell?  Oxford doesn’t seem like hell, but it would be pretty cool if it was.

That is the basis for my idea.  The wreck I was involved in sent this jeep we were in across both north and south bound traffic.  We went over the median backwards and airborne landing behind a semi.  What if we land in front of that semi?  What if in some alternate reality we did land in front of that semi?  I want to draw on experiences I have had like this where I have come close to death.  Experiences like this can shape you and mold your opinions about life in general by showing you just how fragile life really is.

Not really that sure where else I could go with this topic.  I could talk about my own experiences growing up with religion, but around 15-16 years of age I was not interested in going to church on Sundays.  I wanted to watch the freaking Bengals game.  Am I supposed to believe that this super being that created everything is sitting somewhere pleased with me because I am sitting in some old crusty church on a Sunday?

Deep Meaning Essay Thoughts

I am not really sure where I will go with the deep meaning essay.  I have a few ideas.  I could talk about my experience with the church from when I was younger.  How getting baptized in the church was a big deal for everyone but me.  The whole process seemed really stupid.  This old dude is going to dunk you in some water in front of a crowd of old people.  Cool story, bro.

The other idea I have for this essay is from a car accident I was involved in on I-71 South.  It was pretty kewl and I have written about the incident before, but never through the lens of a ‘spiritual’ take on the event.  I have some good ideas there perhaps.

The excerpt that we read from Blue Like Jazz didn’t really spark any ideas, but it laid out a nice example of how to talk about the topic in a story like way.  The M&P book expands on the ideas already bouncing around in my head with different styles and approaches.  If I had to choose now, I would say I might try the Personal Renditions of the Sacred style mentioned in the text.  I don’t want to offer what I perceive as ‘answers’ because that is not possible, but allowing someone to see ‘why’ I might perceive something that way.  I’m still not sure how I will approach this next essay, but I am sure it will become more clear once we start moving on the topic.

2nd Draft of Artifact Essay

I changed a lot with the second draft of my essay, and I still feel it is rough, but I like it much better than the initial draft.  I didn’t even keep much from that version.  It did begin to sound like a summary of the story and that is not what I am shooting for.  I want to create something, tell you why I like it, tell you why you will like it, and give some information about myself as well.  

I like how I described the elements in movies that I enjoy.  The man v nature element is always something I have been a fan of.  And when you toss bad ass Liam Neeson into the mix it only makes it that much better.  My groupmates have helped me out tremendously.  They wanted the paper to feel less summary like and more story driven.  I think I have managed that, but I realize the draft is still rough.  At one point I just stopped talking about one thing and forced myself to move on and discuss the film.  The transition between the two might be a bit bumpy, so that is probably what I would change about the piece so far.  I also will probably drop some of the harsh language, but I feel it establishes the fact that I was angry in the opening paragraph.  Anyhow, enjoyed writing this piece and will probably come back to it at some point and polish the piece.

[LINK]

http://movies.nytimes.com/2012/06/08/movies/prometheus-by-ridley-scott-with-noomi-rapace.html

This article discusses Prometheus which was the original idea I had for this essay.  I will probably mention it in my own essay because Scott again cast a female as the hero of the movie.  It is an odd casting for a movie that is not only geared towards dudes, but dudes that like sci-fi.

This is definitely a review of the film.  It also works in some backstory from the original film which came out in 1979.  The NY Times puts out unbiased reviews from what I can tell, and they generally like most the films I see anymore.  I won’t go see a movie if it doesn’t even have a ‘fresh’ pick from rottentomatoes.com

I refuse to lose money EVER again after seeing a shitty Adam Sandler movie and wasting $40 at the movies.  I don’t go to have my mood changed to anger.  I go to escape for a few hours and find another world.