Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Why I honestly don't want your prayers.

This is a touchy subject I know, but I did say I was going to be honest from here on out, and since my blog a few days ago has several people feeling inclined to recommend Lee Strobel books to me, I might as well talk a little more about my religious views or lack thereof.  

One thing I have always hated, even when I was still tucked neatly into the fold, was when people say that they're praying for you.  I don't know why exactly I've always hated it, but I've certainly never taken one iota of comfort from people's pledge to pray for me.   Nor have I seen any results from my own prayers that lead me to believe that events occur or don't occur based on our ability to change God's mind.  I've been taught that God gives one of three answers: yes, no, or wait.  Which is a really convenient way of saying "things happen or sometimes they don't happen," or in other words, "god may or may not have heard your prayer but I can't see how it would've changed things anyway."  I've also been taught that God knows what we need regardless of our telling him.  So what then, is the point of prayer?  I've been taught and I've told others, "prayer doesn't change God, it changes us."  That sounds almost poetic enough to make me not mind that it doesn't really make sense.  God's either going to do something or he's not, right?  What does it matter if we change other than on a personal level?  It doesn't change the reality of the situation.  

While I'm on the subject, one of the more disgusting things to me, especially when I was a Christian, is public prayer.  There's few things less like a pharisee than the Christian that fought to keep prayer in school.  What you really wanted to keep in school is people's opinion that you're a godly person.   It made my skin crawl then, and today is no different.   I don't remember the last time I bowed my head at a dinner table or at church when I went.  Because those places were not "my inner most room."  

So here is my confession:
If, at some point, I ever told you that I was praying for you (and this would've had to be years ago), I'm sorry, I didn't get around to it.  But hey, it looks like you turned out alright after all, what a surprise.
Here is another confession:
Shortly after the preacher gave a sermon about Hell and successfully scared the shit out of young Taylor, convincing him to run down the aisle and give his life to Jesus,  Young Taylor made another decision.  Everyone was so happy about his salvation that he wanted more and ran down the aisle a second time, this time to accept the "call to the ministry."  Here's the confession.  I lied.  I lied through my overly large front teeth and I knew I was doing it.  I've never felt called to do anything.  If I told you I was, I lied to you, and I knew I was doing it.  I'm not saying I didn't have faith then.  I did, but to be fair, I hadn't given it a lot of thought.  Probably wasn't capable of giving it the kind of thought it deserved.  I just bought in without shopping around.  All that to say, I've never once in my life heard the undeniable voice of Jesus that everyone else seems to have heard.  But I did pretend to, because I am a weak willed liar, apparently. 

So in conclusion, pray for me if you really feel like you have to, but I would rather you didn't.  I would rather you got up and did something productive with your life.  Create something, volunteer in your community, that sort of thing.  

"Its not the parts of the Bible I don't understand that bother me, its the parts I do" - Mark Twain

A celebration of mewithoutYou

Yesterday, as I was driving home from work I was listening to one of my favorite bands, mewithoutYou, and I had an idea for what I want this blog to be. That idea is, "a celebration of life and all the things that make it worthwhile." So periodically, I'd like to take one thing that I love and try to communicate why I love it as I did with Philip Seymour Hoffman in my last post.
Me Without You has a new record coming out and its produced by the unlikely Daniel Smith of Danielson Family fame. I read a little of the press for the record and it seems that singer Aaron Weiss has given up his normal M.O. of talk-yelling for full time singing on this one. Honestly, that kind of scares me because that's one of the things that I think sets MWY apart. However, I want to say that I have nothing but high hopes for this record, and I believe in this band. And by that I mean that I think that they are genuine, and honest artists, and genuine, honest artists tend to consistently make genuine, honest art. (I know that I don't actually know them and there is an inherent level of BS when you try to judge a person by their art alone.)
I don't want to belittle their music because its fantastic and epic in all the right places, but I don't think its any secret that their most notable strength is in Aaron's "stream of consciousness" lyrics. While said lyrics are unabashedly Christian, and I am not, the truth is that great lyrics are great lyrics. He's introspective as hell and never overly preachy. Here are some of my favorite pieces:
"My exit, unobserved, my homesickness, absurd,I said 'Water,' expecting the word would satisfy my thirst!Talking all about the second and third when I haven't understood the first." - from My Exit, Unfair
"Why pluck one string?
What good is just one note?
Oh, one string sounds fine I guess, and we were once 'one notes'.
We were lonely wheat, quietly ground into grain (What light and momentary pain!)
So why this safe distance, this curious look?
Why tear out single pages when you can throw away the book?
Why pluck one string when you can strum the guitar?" - from Torches Together
"You were a song I couldn't sing, caught like a bear by the bees with its hand in the hive
who complains of the pain of the sting when I'm lucky I got out alive!
A life at best left half behind, the taste of the honey still sweet on my tongue, and I'd run (Lord knows I've tried) but there's no place on Earth I can hide from the wrong I've done." - from Nice & Blue pt. 2
"She was grace and green as a stem,
but I walk heavy on delicate ground
(...There I go showing off again, self impressed by how well I can put myself down!!
and there I go again, to the next further removed level of that same exact feigned humility!!!)
[this for me goes on and on to the point of nausea]
Shadow am I!
Like suspicion that's never confirmed but it's never denied.
Wolf am I!
(No, "shadow" I think is better,as I'm not something, more like the absence of something)" - from Wolf Am I
"I half-heartedly explained but gave up peacefully ashamed as a glass can only spill what it contains.
We went to Portugal and Spain and in her mind the entire time it rained!
A glass can only spill what it contains.
What new mystery is this?
In overflowing emptiness, the Invisible is seen among the shadows and the mist.
Before my doubting eyes the Infinite appears in time-the Unquestionable is questioned but makes no reply!" - from A Glass Can Only Spill What It Contains
And lets not forget that the first time I saw them live, they blew my effing head off.

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

A celebration

The wife and I watched the movie "Doubt" last night. When we first saw previews for this movie, I was excited because the cast is great (Philip S. Hoffman, Amy Adams, Meryl Streep), and the story looked intense. However, around the time the movie released we heard the spoiler that you never find out if the priest is guilty and there's really no closure to the story, just doubt, so it is aptly named. When I heard this, I decided not to see it because nothing annoys me more than art house bullshit where some pretentious director decides to waste 2 hours of your life.
Anyway, Leah rented it from one of those kiosks at Walgreens yesterday and I ended up watching it anyway, and I'm glad I did. Streep and Adams were both as good as they normally are (which is to say very good), but I would have to say that Hoffman stood out to me.

So that's what this post is about. Watching "Doubt" made me realize that more people should celebrate Philip Seymour Hoffman as one of the greatest actors of, certainly, his generation and, most probably, all time. He is as effortless in comedy as he is in drama and his career is full of films that are both socially important as well as blockbuster successes. Here is a list of my top 5 favorite P. S. Hoffman performances:

1. Capote - Truman Capote
2. Magnolia - Phil Parma
3. The Big Lebowski - Brandt
4. Almost Famous - Lester Bangs
5. Boogie Nights - Scotty J.

Sunday, April 26, 2009

If this isn't nice, I don't know what is.

We had another doctor's appointment last Friday, and it seems that Harper's arrival is in the incredibly near future.  I am so anxious for her to be a real baby that I can hold and not a pregnancy that is slightly more difficult to hold.  

This weekend was great.  A lot of hanging out with the wife, walks around the block, and movies in the living room.  I also got to spend some time with my friend Todd, who helped me with recording a new demo.  Todd plays for one of my favorite local bands, Jets Under Fire, who's new ep is awesome and completely free at  .  

Religion has come up a lot in my life, lately.  Largely, I think its because of Harper.  My family has always been Christian but over the past few years, I began to feel less and less like it was a club I belonged in.  But I've always remained pretty quiet about how I felt, and allowed everyone around me to assume what they wanted to, which is most often to assume that I'm a Christian.  But now that we're going to have a child, I feel like I can't do that with her and that I should be completely honest with her.  So I guess it makes sense that the time has come to be honest with everyone.   

Back to work tomorrow.  Its my hope that I'll be there until lunch and then Leah will call me and tell me we're having a baby.  I've been thinking about what song I want to be the first song Harper ever hears to be and so far I thinking "Dear Prudence."  With her middle name being Lennon it only seems right that it should be one of John's.

Both Matt and Paul sent me this link today.  It is well known that I love Kurt Vonnegut.

Thursday, April 23, 2009


I'm Taylor.  I've recently acquired a job which affords me ample free time to talk about myself, so largely because my wife told me I should, I'm starting a blog.  Here are some facts:

1. I am a 27 year old caucasian male.
2. I am madly in love with and happily married to Leah.
3. We are expecting our first child any day now.  Her name is Harper Lennon and we're excited about it.
4. I'm a songwriter and musician and I play in a band called Quiet Company.
5. It bothers me when restaurants offer "boneless chicken wings" because they're in no way wings.  They're not wing meat and they're not the actual wing.  They're nuggets with wing sauce on them and you're all deluding yourselves.

I don't know what I'll talk about on here.  Probably my wife, fatherhood, and music.  Maybe religion and philosophy if I'm feeling saucy.  
Records I'm really enjoying right now are:
Cursive "Mama, I'm Swollen"
the Thermals "Now We Can See"
Richard Swift "The Atlantic Ocean"