Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Harry Potter and the Busted Tire.

We had two poorly planned shows this weekend. It's our fault, really. When Cody told us that he couldn't play the shows because he was graduating, it should've made us think that maybe other schools were also graduating, and that would probably affect attendance negatively. Oh well, live and learn. The Tyler show was still OK, just not nearly what it should/could be. The Denton show was par for the course, as Denton shows go, and by that I mean it sucked ass.

However, aside from the trailer tire blowing out, and Matt and Tommy having to stop and replace it and being late to the show Friday night, everything went swimmingly. We played really well, sold decently, and the people who were there seemed to connect, so we'll take it. We had a good time and my parents fed us tons of meat. It was great.

Leah, Harper, and I rode to Tyler together, but I left with the band to go to Denton so she could stay and hang out and do a couple of photo shoots. I got back to my bed at 6 AM on Sunday, slept about 2 1/2 hours and got up to try and finish some yard work before Leah and Harper returned. I was tired. I'm often tired. So it goes. I don't remember what else we did that day. I think that was the day we watched The Messenger, which was good but made me sad for every single soldier that has to see combat.

Then it was Memorial Day. I don't see myself as terribly patriotic, really. Both of my Grandfathers saw combat in WWII. My father's father stormed beaches, even. I forget which ones, specifically, but he was apparently is some of the bigger, more crazy, beginning-of-Saving-Private-Ryan type of battles. Kurt Vonnegut, who served in the same war and was a POW in Dresden when it was firebombed, wrote somewhere about how the men who saw the real face of war and survived were generally the most kind, gentle, and humble men and whenever you meet an arrogant military man, it was most likely someone who had never been in the shit. That made me think of my grandfather. He wouldn't even talk about the war. He never told me one war story, and I think my father could say the same thing. Dad says that the only thing he would ever say about it was that, if Dad were drafted, they would take him over my grandfather's dead body. I get the impression that he never thought of war as heroic or glamorous. It was necessary, and he did his part, but I think he saw it for the atrocity that it really is. He had been part of the atrocity, after all, and I imagine that he probably spent the rest of his life trying to separate himself from it.

But as I said before, I don't feel like a terribly patriotic person. In fact, most days, the idea that there are some invisible lines drawn on the dirt somewhere, and those lines make me an American and another person, Iranian, or Spanish, or Italian, or whatever, seems strange. Those lines, like most things that divide people, only exist in our heads (and, obviously, on our maps). I have a hard time being patriotic for that reason. That being said, I am so thankful that the universe spit me out when and where it did. There are a few countries that I would be just as happy to live in, sure, so I'm just glad to have landed in one of them.

Yesterday, Leah, Harper, and I finally got to meet Todd and Hollie's new son, Micah. He is adorable and healthy and they're taking to parenting very naturally, it seems. We're very happy for them and happy to know them.

And then...


We went to eat with our friends, Glory and Matt, and I ate Sushi, and I actually loved it. It was all cooked (I'm still very leery of eating raw meat), but who knew I'd actually love the thing I've been staunchly opposed to trying for 28 years. It's a new day for Taylor Muse, people. I'm drinking green tea, I'm eating Sushi, it's CRAZY!

On the way back from Denton, Jeff and I were talking about the weekend, and Jeff had had a really drunk friend try to witness to him about Jesus. So we were talking about that and Jeff was talking about the power of words as ideas, or something and he pondered, "What if there is some obscure tribe that know one has ever heard of and they GET forgiveness and love more than anyone ever has before, but they've never heard the name 'Jesus.'" It's a small twist on the "small boy in Africa" problem, as we always called it in Sunday school. So we started talking about what the point of Christianity was. The point is not to make people good. We know this because not all good people are Christian, and not all Christians are good people. Also, if the book is to be trusted, the book of James more or less spells out how they view the relationship between goodness and faith. Ideally, goodness should be indicative of faith, but faith can easily exist without goodness. So Christianity isn't about what you can become here on earth. So it must be about what you can become after you've left earth. So it's about getting into Heaven. I realize this is an oversimplification but it's not wrong. The book says that "No one comes to the Father except by (Jesus)" which means, essentially, that it doesn't matter what you do, or what you don't do, or why you do or don't do it. All that matters, really, is who you know. So the moral of Christianity, is essentially the moral of the story of Paris Hilton or any other talentless socialite who's famous for the sake of being famous. It's celestial nepotism, where heaven is the A-list Hollywood party, and it doesn't matter if you've never contributed anything of value to society, if you know the bouncer, or if your daddy's rich enough, you're getting in.

When you simplify it, the message of Jesus is similar to the message of show business (or any business, I guess) : Nepotism > Talent. Nepotism > Character. Nepotism > Hard Work. It gives me the impression that Heaven could very well be an incredibly smarmy place. The difference is that show business does seem to be more forgiving in that formula, as it does allow in a handful of real talents annually.

Things are funny when you simplify them. I think that when we simplify, we can see that there is a big difference between thinking rationally, and over-thinking.

1 comment:

  1. If you move on to raw fish, you should ease yourself into steak tartare. Seriously delicious.

    "The book says that "No one comes to the Father except by (Jesus)" which means, essentially, that it doesn't matter what you do, or what you don't do, or why you do or don't do it. All that matters, really, is who you know."
    So The Gospel boils down to celestial nepotism? There is a fine line between simple and sloppy... One of us is failing to see it.
    Don't you think that a genuine faith in Christ entails taking what he has to say about living your life seriously? We Protestants don't believe that good works are necessary for our salvation because we believe (contrary to Catholicism) that Christ's atonement was sufficient for it. We don't believe we can earn our way into communion with God- we're not in a position to, and anyway, that work has already been done for us. It in no way follows that there is no such thing as a Christian ethic, or that Christianity has nothing to say about how you ought to live your life here on Earth.
    So what about the 'small boy in Africa' problem? There have been a variety of answers given throughout the 2000+ year history of people thinking about this. It's an important question that I won't attempt to answer except by saying this: It's not at all clear that you have to assent to a series of historical and theological beliefs about Christ to be saved through Him.
    Would you prefer God judge everyone on their works? The Gospel comes as a great relief to those of us who lack the talent, good character, and the power to love and live for Goodness perfectly. But then of course, according to Christianity, that's all of us.