Archive for February 2004

A serious entry for once: Lent…

February 27, 2004

The movie The Passion of Christ seems to be getting a lot of press. Some say it takes the old school position of blaming the Jews for Christ’s death. Others have rebutted saying that the criticism is based on an early version of the film, an incomplete movie that is nothing like the final version in theaters now… I wouldn’t know what to say since I have seen neither. All I know is that the movie is in Latin and Aramaic, and I would have to read the subtitles to watch a story I have heard countless of times in my youth. I am, to be honest, the kind of person who dislikes reading subtitles. I think it takes away from the movie, don’t you?

Now this may sound rather strange coming from a guy who teaches a Japanese film course in which the vast majority of students do not know Japanese or at least not enough to understand it without the subtitles. The course is very popular but, given my feelings, I often look at my many students and wonder–What the heck are you guys doing here? Hahahah! What an attitude for a teacher. I think the movies are great, and they have a lot to offer, but they can be appreciated so much more by knowing the language. I guess that’s why I don’t like watching movies in languages I don’t know, cuz I always suspect there is something I’m not getting… I am such the pharisee.

Which brings me back to my original thought: The Passion of Christ. The movie is about the final hours of Christ’s life as man, when he died for out sins. And not coincidentally, the film was released to coincide with Lent. As a Catholic who no longer goes to church and rarely follows the “rules” of being a Christian (I am so excommunicated), I was surprised to find myself pondering about the Bible, Lent, and my own set of beliefs.

I believe the Bible is a book that provides easy to understand stories and guidelines for conduct that can be intepreted by any changing society; it is not a collection of fast and unbendable rules–which is true of any text but that’s another topic. Did God creat the universe in six days? I don’t think so. I’m an evolutionist, not a creationist–although I am inclined to think he took Sunday off (now I’m really excommunicated). So is the Bible lying? Of course not! The Bible presented ideas–God created all life and it’s an amazing feat–in a manner that was easy to understand for people back in the day. Given this attitude toward the Bible, I often questioned the practice of giving things up for Lent.

Lent, which starts on Ash Wednesday, and ends on Easter, is 40 days long and is considered a time of sacrifice, of self-denial, a reminder of the ultimate sacrifice Christ made for our sins.And while I’m not sure if Lent is based on the following passage, reference is often made to it during this time.

Matthew: 1 Then Jesus was led up by the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted by the devil. 2 And when He had fasted forty days and forty nights, afterward He was hungry. (NKJ)

As a child, I had heard this passage countless of times, reminding me of the suffering Christ went through, how Satan had tempted him with food, riches, power, and yet he never gave in. Oooooo. He was SO cool. He was SO strong–God knows, as does everyone else I know, that I would give in in a second. So how were we to apply this passage to our lives? Go out into the wilderness and fast? Ok, ok, more realistically, we were supposed to be strong, too, and give up something for Lent. For the adults around me it was chocolate or coffee or *shudder* TV. So we gave up one or–for the stronger among us–even three of our creature comforts. But what did we learn from this? Anything? Hmm, I didn’t… So, many years ago when I began to move away from my church, I decided to focus on, among other things, why did Jesus go into the wilderness.

Well, for me, Jesus went to reflect on what he was supposed to do. Indeed, his 40 days is preceded by being baptized by John and followed by his inexorable journey to his death, starting with the gathering of his apostles. So he went into the wilderness alone to focus on his purpose, his raison d’etre. His self-denial reflected a seriousness of purpose more than anything else, I think. So how do I apply my own interpretation to my own life? Do deny myself, as the priests and sisters of my youth told me? What happens to my life if I give up chocolate–dark chocolate!–for Lent? Or maybe a beer? Right, like that’s gonna happen. How about my absolutley most favorite sport, football? The fact that its not season makes it rather convenient. I mean anything I give up, will ultimately do nothing for me if I just go back to it after Lent. I mean, what’s the result of giving up chocolate, if you’re going to gorge yourself on chocolate bunnies and eggs on Easter? No, I will not give up anything for Lent. It is, to me, a practice that has no point. (So excommunicate me already.) Instead, I will reflect on my life, as I always do during Lent. I will consdier what I need to do to better myself, and in the process provide a better environment around me. How can I be a better husband or teacher? Colleague or friend? I have to believe that giving serious thought to these things will do much more than giving up CSI or kettle-cooked extra-crunchy potato chips. Yes, I will reflect on my purpose in life… over an ice cold brew.

A serious entry for once: Lent…

February 27, 2004

The movie The Passion of Christ seems to be getting a lot of press. Some say it takes the old school position of blaming the Jews for Christ’s death. Others have rebutted saying that the criticism is based on an early version of the film, an incomplete movie that is nothing like the final version in theaters now… I wouldn’t know what to say since I have seen neither. All I know is that the movie is in Latin and Aramaic, and I would have to read the subtitles to watch a story I have heard countless of times in my youth. I am, to be honest, the kind of person who dislikes reading subtitles. I think it takes away from the movie, don’t you?

Now this may sound rather strange coming from a guy who teaches a Japanese film course in which the vast majority of students do not know Japanese or at least not enough to understand it without the subtitles. The course is very popular but, given my feelings, I often look at my many students and wonder–What the heck are you guys doing here? Hahahah! What an attitude for a teacher. I think the movies are great, and they have a lot to offer, but they can be appreciated so much more by knowing the language. I guess that’s why I don’t like watching movies in languages I don’t know, cuz I always suspect there is something I’m not getting… I am such the pharisee.

Which brings me back to my original thought: The Passion of Christ. The movie is about the final hours of Christ’s life as man, when he died for out sins. And not coincidentally, the film was released to coincide with Lent. As a Catholic who no longer goes to church and rarely follows the “rules” of being a Christian (I am so excommunicated), I was surprised to find myself pondering about the Bible, Lent, and my own set of beliefs.

I believe the Bible is a book that provides easy to understand stories and guidelines for conduct that can be intepreted by any changing society; it is not a collection of fast and unbendable rules–which is true of any text but that’s another topic. Did God creat the universe in six days? I don’t think so. I’m an evolutionist, not a creationist–although I am inclined to think he took Sunday off (now I’m really excommunicated). So is the Bible lying? Of course not! The Bible presented ideas–God created all life and it’s an amazing feat–in a manner that was easy to understand for people back in the day. Given this attitude toward the Bible, I often questioned the practice of giving things up for Lent.

Lent, which starts on Ash Wednesday, and ends on Easter, is 40 days long and is considered a time of sacrifice, of self-denial, a reminder of the ultimate sacrifice Christ made for our sins.And while I’m not sure if Lent is based on the following passage, reference is often made to it during this time.

Matthew: 1 Then Jesus was led up by the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted by the devil. 2 And when He had fasted forty days and forty nights, afterward He was hungry. (NKJ)

As a child, I had heard this passage countless of times, reminding me of the suffering Christ went through, how Satan had tempted him with food, riches, power, and yet he never gave in. Oooooo. He was SO cool. He was SO strong–God knows, as does everyone else I know, that I would give in in a second. So how were we to apply this passage to our lives? Go out into the wilderness and fast? Ok, ok, more realistically, we were supposed to be strong, too, and give up something for Lent. For the adults around me it was chocolate or coffee or *shudder* TV. So we gave up one or–for the stronger among us–even three of our creature comforts. But what did we learn from this? Anything? Hmm, I didn’t… So, many years ago when I began to move away from my church, I decided to focus on, among other things, why did Jesus go into the wilderness.

Well, for me, Jesus went to reflect on what he was supposed to do. Indeed, his 40 days is preceded by being baptized by John and followed by his inexorable journey to his death, starting with the gathering of his apostles. So he went into the wilderness alone to focus on his purpose, his raison d’etre. His self-denial reflected a seriousness of purpose more than anything else, I think. So how do I apply my own interpretation to my own life? Do deny myself, as the priests and sisters of my youth told me? What happens to my life if I give up chocolate–dark chocolate!–for Lent? Or maybe a beer? Right, like that’s gonna happen. How about my absolutley most favorite sport, football? The fact that its not season makes it rather convenient. I mean anything I give up, will ultimately do nothing for me if I just go back to it after Lent. I mean, what’s the result of giving up chocolate, if you’re going to gorge yourself on chocolate bunnies and eggs on Easter? No, I will not give up anything for Lent. It is, to me, a practice that has no point. (So excommunicate me already.) Instead, I will reflect on my life, as I always do during Lent. I will consdier what I need to do to better myself, and in the process provide a better environment around me. How can I be a better husband or teacher? Colleague or friend? I have to believe that giving serious thought to these things will do much more than giving up CSI or kettle-cooked extra-crunchy potato chips. Yes, I will reflect on my purpose in life… over an ice cold brew.

Holding Hands: THE Response…

February 25, 2004

If you visit Barberic‘s site, you probably saw this, but I had to share it with ya’ in case you haven’t seen it. These are mittens couples. I mean, lovey-dovey couple! There’s a lefty and a righty mitten, then a U-shaped thing that you wear TOGETHER! (Click on image for larger view.) With this, you can hold hands, skin-to-skin, and still keep the elements out! There is one problem, of course. What if something terrible happens and you have to use obht hands suddenly to avoid getting hit by a stray basketball or falling bricks… Hmmm. I guess I’d have to use my body to protect my sweetheart? Well, that’d be okay too. But still, isn’t this soooooo cute? I want to get this. Hey Eric, where the heck do I buy this thing?

Also, I got this random question from a basketballer named Vlade Somethingorother (I can’t spell it; it’s too Russian). Some of you may know him, he plays for the Sacramento Kings. He is always on the road and is apparently dying for some serious advice. I was going to direct you guys directly to his site, but he’s kinda bashful and I don’t want to expose him–kinda like this place actually. So if you could answer this question for him, I’ll make sure he gets it in pronto. Of course, he might contact you directly. He’ll likely read the responses here and may ask you for more detail… hehehehe. Come to think about it, I could ask this very same question. It is, for us guys, the age old question:

Can somebody please explain to Vlade the secret to understanding a woman’s heart?

Man, is that a loaded question or what!

Holding Hands: THE Response…

February 25, 2004

If you visit Barberic‘s site, you probably saw this, but I had to share it with ya’ in case you haven’t seen it. These are mittens couples. I mean, lovey-dovey couple! There’s a lefty and a righty mitten, then a U-shaped thing that you wear TOGETHER! (Click on image for larger view.) With this, you can hold hands, skin-to-skin, and still keep the elements out! There is one problem, of course. What if something terrible happens and you have to use obht hands suddenly to avoid getting hit by a stray basketball or falling bricks… Hmmm. I guess I’d have to use my body to protect my sweetheart? Well, that’d be okay too. But still, isn’t this soooooo cute? I want to get this. Hey Eric, where the heck do I buy this thing?

Also, I got this random question from a basketballer named Vlade Somethingorother (I can’t spell it; it’s too Russian). Some of you may know him, he plays for the Sacramento Kings. He is always on the road and is apparently dying for some serious advice. I was going to direct you guys directly to his site, but he’s kinda bashful and I don’t want to expose him–kinda like this place actually. So if you could answer this question for him, I’ll make sure he gets it in pronto. Of course, he might contact you directly. He’ll likely read the responses here and may ask you for more detail… hehehehe. Come to think about it, I could ask this very same question. It is, for us guys, the age old question:

Can somebody please explain to Vlade the secret to understanding a woman’s heart?

Man, is that a loaded question or what!

Holding Hands….

February 23, 2004

Musubichan and I always hold hands. We are a year away from the big 5-0 but we still hold hands when we go out. Some people find this strange. they’ll look at us and wonder how old we are. But I don’t mind. We still act young, cuz we feel young. And holding hands was my first indication that I had to marry her. Call me Stupid. When I first held her hand, I knew I had to marry her… I still feel that way now. It was like some electric shock or something corny like that…

We hold hands everywhere. Although, I remember distinctly that she would never hold my hands at HER place of work in Japan. She said it was too embarassing for her to get caught by co-workers and club members–she was an aerobics instructor. But, of course, she HAS to hold my hands when we’re walking around MY school. I don’t get this double standard crap… Anyone wanna explain it to me?

At night, we will hold hands when we go to sleep. Okay, you can stop rolling your eyes, alright? In the morning, we are usually not holding hands anymore as I usually toss and turn and I guess we separate…

And we’re always playing! I’ll sometimes lick my hands before I hold her hands to freak her out! Slobber it up real good. Hahahaha. But once she out freaked me! She grabbed my hand and licked it in the same place! Eeeeeyuuuu! Gross! I bet you’re thinking. But we just laughed and laughed. Yeah, we really can play around a lot. But more, we really like each others company…

Anyway, holding hands has become an issue. We now clasp hands (like we’re wearing mittens). I prefer to intertwine our fingers, but I’m the fidgety sort so I have a tendancy to rub my fingers and they kinda grind my wife’s knuckles which then hurts and she gets pissed off… *sighs* She claims that her knuckles are getting larger and that she is developing arthritis.

So how do you hold your significant other’s hand? Is there a specfic way you prefer? Or is holding hands “old school”?

so leave already!

February 23, 2004

–Bane_Vixen

Hahahaha! No kidding! But before any of you get upset, the Vixen was joking. I was mean by leaving out the rest of her comment. It was, in its entirety:

so leave already! hehe, a joke, a joke!

I will miss bantering with her… really. Bane, I will have nothing but fond memories of you, as I will with all of you… well, except for maybe one…

And so, the Final Entry….
A number of people have tried to talk me into staying, but as I have stated, I do not leave to feel protected, nor do I leave with a tail between my legs. I leave to make a statement, that there are consequences to certain actions. The only way I would come back is if japblk, bane_vixen and sorjen posted a photo of themselves in their profile pic. I am soooooo curious… hehehhe. just kidding, of course. The only thing that would make me come back would be if the responsible person would confess to his/her deed, and make a public apology. But I wouldn’t hold my breath waiting for that to happen…

If you’re still interested in what I write, I will be posting on the JAJournal occasionally–in fact there’s a new one now. I will post notices here when there are updates so you don’t have to waste your time going there just to check. So you can continue to be subscribed if you want, or you can go to that O-man blogring *shakes head* to check as well, or you can cancel to lessen the traffic in your e-mails and subscriptions pages. I certainly would understand…

I will also try to check up on you guys periodically, although I’m not sure how often that will be.

It’s really been a gas, as we used to say…

Sayonara…

Holding Hands….

February 23, 2004

Musubichan and I always hold hands. We are a year away from the big 5-0 but we still hold hands when we go out. Some people find this strange. they’ll look at us and wonder how old we are. But I don’t mind. We still act young, cuz we feel young. And holding hands was my first indication that I had to marry her. Call me Stupid. When I first held her hand, I knew I had to marry her… I still feel that way now. It was like some electric shock or something corny like that…

We hold hands everywhere. Although, I remember distinctly that she would never hold my hands at HER place of work in Japan. She said it was too embarassing for her to get caught by co-workers and club members–she was an aerobics instructor. But, of course, she HAS to hold my hands when we’re walking around MY school. I don’t get this double standard crap… Anyone wanna explain it to me?

At night, we will hold hands when we go to sleep. Okay, you can stop rolling your eyes, alright? In the morning, we are usually not holding hands anymore as I usually toss and turn and I guess we separate…

And we’re always playing! I’ll sometimes lick my hands before I hold her hands to freak her out! Slobber it up real good. Hahahaha. But once she out freaked me! She grabbed my hand and licked it in the same place! Eeeeeyuuuu! Gross! I bet you’re thinking. But we just laughed and laughed. Yeah, we really can play around a lot. But more, we really like each others company…

Anyway, holding hands has become an issue. We now clasp hands (like we’re wearing mittens). I prefer to intertwine our fingers, but I’m the fidgety sort so I have a tendancy to rub my fingers and they kinda grind my wife’s knuckles which then hurts and she gets pissed off… *sighs* She claims that her knuckles are getting larger and that she is developing arthritis.

So how do you hold your significant other’s hand? Is there a specfic way you prefer? Or is holding hands “old school”?