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And Yet Discontent Makes Itself Heard

…And yet discontent makes itself heard, and the thinking mind cannont suppress its misgivings; for, however high one may value the material things, they do not fill out the round of our existence as men. Our personal life as men and citizens subsists not in the comforts that surround us, nor in the body, which serves us as a link with the outward world, but in the spirit that internally actuates us; and in this inner consciousness we are becoming more and more painfully aware how the hypertrophy of our external life results in a serious atrophy of the spiritual. Not as if the faculties of thought and reflection, the arts of poetry and letters, were in abeyance. On the contrary, empirical science is more brilliant in her attainments than ever, universal knowledge spreads in constantly widening circles, and civilization, in Japan, for instance, is almost dazzled by her too rapid conquests. But even the intellect does not constitute the mind. Personality is seated more deeply in the hidden receses of our inner being, where character is formed, whence the flame of enthusiasm is kindled, where the moral foundations are laid, where love’s blossoms bud, whence spring consecration and heroism, and where in the sense for the Infinite, our time-bound existence reaches out unto the very gates of eternity. It is in regard to this seat of personality that we hear on all sides the complaint of empoverishment, degeneracy, and petrifaction.

- Abraham Kuyper, from Lectures on Calvinism, given in 1898, in response to the advancements of technology, medicine, and life in general. It’s amazing how much has not changed in 116 years. 

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A Few Images From My Week

 

The first six images are all taken from perspectives that I don’t usually see. The fun of taking these was forcing myself to evaluate what was in my vicinity and then determining what angles I rarely observe these things from.  The last two pics are just ones that I like.

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Lamps are pretty funny looking from the top.  I guess lamp shades do serve a purpose.

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I’m surprised she stood still long enough for me to take this photo.

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I really like Caribou coffee, I wish there were some around here so I wouldn’t have to get it in a k-cup.

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I was never much of a tree climber but I do think trees are very pretty, even without their leaves.

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Beer and soccer, a match made in heaven.

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I love lamp post.

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My favorite coffee shop in KC, Quay coffee.

IMG_1326I’m not sure what it is about this photo, but I like it.

 

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An Irreconcilable Conflict

God regenerates us, that is to say, He rekindles in our heart the lamp sin had blown out. The necessary consequence of this regeneration is an irreconcilable conflict between the inner world of our heart and the world outside, and this conflict is ever the more intensified the more the regenerative principle pervades our consciousness. Now, in the Bible, God reveals, to the regenerate, a world of thought, a world of energies, a world of full and beautiful life, which stands in direct opposition to his ordinary world, but which proves to agree in a wonderful way with the new life that has sprung up in his heart. So the regenerate begins to guess the identity of what is stirring in the depth of his own soul, and of what is revealed to him in Scripture, thereby learning both the inanity of the world around him, and the divine reality of the world of the Scriptures, and as soon as this has become a certainty to him, he has personally received the testimony of the Holy Spirit.

- Abraham Kuyper, Lectures on Calvinism, pgs. 57-58.

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I love this quote. It sums up, eloquently, the battle I face daily: the conflict between what I know to be true and the world that I live in.

I wish I had known, when I was younger, that growing up is really more about how you handle your inner conflict than anything else.  I’d argue that the reason there is a brand new diagnosis of ‘prolonged adolescence’ in my generation is because we don’t know how to deal with our inner conflict. We, as humans, are impressed with the image of God, yet we live in a world where evil seems to win on a regular basis.

So at a young age we learn that the easiest way to deal with the conflict we feel inside is to do things the way the world does them.

I think the hardest part about being a Christian, which Kuyper aludes to in this quote, is that the more fully we know God the greater this conflict becomes.   I believe satan uses this to his advantage. By this I mean, he entices us with a ‘conflict-free’ life. “Why deal with that inner conflict? Just give into your ‘real’ desires and enjoy life without that unnecessary conflict.”

What really makes me nuts is how often I have that conversation in my head.  The justifications I can come up with for doing stupid stuff is frightening.

Thank God that his grace abounds and that he keeps pulling me back into that conflict. I know now that growing up means trusting God to use that conflict to mature me and to show me how I can engage the world in ways that will bring his world of thought and energies and full, beautiful life to others.

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I Wrote A Song

And it felt good.  Is it a great song? No, but it’s a step in the right direction. It’s been far too long since I’ve actually made my own music. I’ve spent a lot of time playing other people’s music, which is fun in it’s own right, but there is something special about creating your own. Every note, good or bad, is your creation and that is an incredibly freeing process to go through.

I got this song, ‘A Warning’, finished in about 1.5 hours using Garageband on my iPad. It’s simple, rough, and repetitive but I like it. I hope you do as well.

Check it: 

Good Enough For Government Work: A Course In Mediocrity, pt. 1

I’ve been working on a project lately. I plan on sharing bits and pieces of it here to gauge feedback and interest. Despite the title, this project has nothing to do with politics and everything to do with growing up and figuring out what really matters in life. It’s my hope that this project will lend some humor and insight to the tough process of becoming a ‘grown up’.  So please, leave feedback in the comments, every bit helps!

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When I was a senior in High School my Physics teacher had a saying for when something was passable but not perfect: “Good enough for government work.” Now you have to understand that as a kid, I thrived on barely trying at most things in life, so when I heard this phrase I felt vindicated. In my 17 year old mind this saying gave credence to my lackadaisical approach to life. I felt, ironically, empowered by this statement. I even wanted to make t-shirts…but for some reason I never got around to it.

My parents always said ‘Cam, you should be getting straight A’s. You’re smart enough, you just need to apply yourself. (Read: Do your homework.)’ But I never wanted straight A’s because I never wanted to do homework. I did some of it of course, I wasn’t a total dead beat, but I always thought homework was a waste of my time.

Think about it, you’re at school for 7 hours a day. Why in the world should you have to do 2-3 hours of homework a night!? That’s like telling a Subway ‘sandwich artist’ to go home after a day long shift and practice making more sandwiches?

What did I just spend my entire day doing, playing tidily winks!!?

This actually happened once in first grade. I had finished my math before everyone else…because it was first grade math and first grade math is easy, so I started playing tidily winks with my counters. My teacher got mad and called my mom to tell her to ground me. Yes, you read that correctly, my teacher called my mother and told her to ground me for misbehaving in class after I had already finished my work. Can you imagine if a teacher did this now?

By the way, my mom’s response to the phone call:

“His work was complete?”
“Yes”, my teacher said.
“Well he’s your problem then.” And she hung up the phone.

For the record: my mom is awesome.

But I digress. Back to the previous discussion…

Multiple hours of homework for me after a 7 hour school day was not, in my estimation, a worthwhile use of my time. I had video games, sports, and guitar to play. I was a busy boy.

I fought my parents on this for years, no exaggeration. They deserve a Nobel Peace Prize for not killing me. Though this may be counteracted by the amount of time I spent ‘grounded’ in my room thinking about what I had done/said.

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More to come in future posts!