everything you ever wanted to know about nothing at all...

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

I ain't the world's best writer, ain't the world's best speller but when I believe in something I'm the loudest yeller...

The above title is taken from a Woody Guthrie song, I wish I could attribute that to myself, but unfortunately I can't. I've been reading this book that Jr lent me called "Blue Like Jazz" that really got me thinking about my beliefs. Every now & then I read something that resonates so true that I wish I'd written it myself. That is most certainly true of the following paragraphs:

"My most recent faith struggle is not one of intellect. I don't really do that anymore. Sooner or later you just figure out there are some guys who don't believe in God & they can prove He doesn't exist, and the argument stopped being about God a long time ago & now it's about who is smarter, & honestly I don't care. I don't believe I will ever walk away from God for intellectual reasons. Who knows anything anyway? If I walk away from Him, & please pray that I never do, I will walk away for social reasons, the same reasons that any of us do anything.

My friend Julie Canlis from Seattle has this beautiful mother named Rachel who is small & petite & always remembers my name when I come for a visit. One morning I was sitting at the counter in the kitchen talking to Rachel about love & marriage, & she was gleaming about her husband a little, & I told her in one of those rare moments of vulnerability that I was scared to get married because I thought my wife might fall out of love with me, suddenly, after seeing a movie or reading a book or seeing me naked. You never know what might trigger these things. Rachel looked at me through the steam that was coming off her coffee & said, very wisely & comfortingly, that when a relationship is right, it is no more possible to wake up and want out of the marriage than it is to wake up & stop believing in God. What is is what is, she said.

And that's when I realized that believing in God is as much like falling in love as it is like making a decision. Love is both something that happens to you & something you decide upon. And so I bring up that story about Julie's mom not because I want to talk about love, but because I want to talk some about belief. I have come to think that belief is something that happens to us too. Sure there is some data involved, but mostly it is this deep, deep conviction, like what Julie's mom feels about her husband, this idea that life is about this thing, & it really isn't an option for it to be about something else."

Donald Miller, Blue Like Jazz, Nonreligious thoughts on Christian Spirituality

I really like this book, it seems to mirror a lot of thoughts I have about being a Christian, most importantly, it gives many examples of how you can learn about your own faith by examples of non-believers. I've always thought that whenever you are trying to convince somebody of anything that subtlety is the best method, especially when it comes to trying to evangelize. I remember walking to class at Grand Valley & walking past a man everybody called Preacher Tom (I'm not making this up). Preacher Tom would hold up signs admonishing everyone to quit their sinful ways & repent. He was also known to let young ladies know that they were dressing like girls of ill-repute, or some such thing. I'd usually laugh, but deep down, I thought how damaging this might be to anybody who is a non-believer.

For these reasons, I've never been the most outgoing about my faith & I'm somewhat conflicted about this. Part of me thinks that I look for the right times to share my faith with others, but I'm afraid I'm content with staying in my little bubble where it's safe & I don't have to "embarrass" myself.

"But the trouble with deep belief is that it costs something. And there is something inside me, some selfish beast of a subtle thing that doesn't like the truth at all because it carries responsibility, and if I actually believe these things I have to do something about them."

Donald Miller, Blue Like Jazz

In sales, I've always found that you have the greatest successes when you target people who show signs that they might be interested in what you're selling. At the same time, you have to be open to the possibility that you can change people's minds. It's my prayer today that I can step outside myself in order to provide the opportunity to anyone I come in contact with to hear the gospel of Jesus Christ.

Five Favorite Songs of the Day

Ring Them Bells-Sufjan Stevens, I'm Not There Soundtrack

The cover song is a tricky animal, especially when it comes to a Bob Dylan song. I have a hard time separating the singer from the song. There are very few Bob Dylan covers that hold my interest, & only two in my opinion that eclipse the original, those being Jimi Hendrix's All Along the Watchtower & Jerry Garcia's Senor. When I first heard the lineup for the I'm Not There soundtrack I was excited because many of my favorite artists cover Bob Dylan songs. The key to a good cover song is to make it your own. Johnny Cash was the best at making every song he sang his own. Sufjan does this with Ring Them Bells, giving it an elaborate, upbeat arrangement, that is grandiose in scope.

Dark Eyes-Iron & Wine/Calexico, I'm Not There Soundtrack

You Don't Know What Love Is (You Just Do What You're Told)-the White Stripes, Icky Thump

Jacksonville-Sufjan Stevens, Come On, Feel the Illinoise!

Ring Them Bells-Bob Dylan, The Great Musical Experience, 1994

the mountains are filled with lost sheep...

Happy Wednesday, friends, see you in the funny papers...



Pam said...

I think you might be one of the world's best writers - at least in my book--wow! What depth and insight this morning. Lots of food for thought. Thanks for sharing your thoughts! A song comes to my mind, "They'll know we are Christians by our love!"

Christie said...

This is the best blog you've ever written, hands down. I have to say you really mentioned some things I've been thinking and feeling lately... I loved it.

Mary said...

Andy - What an amazing writer you are - this was wonderful. I stayed at Opa's last night so I could get him up and to his Cancer Treatment. The house is so full of memories that it is hard for me. One thing I can say is it is a house that is full of love and most importantly God's love. I can't look at a corner in the house and not see Oma's smile and remember her faith and commitment to her family and Opa. You my nephew are well on your way to creating a home and a marriage full of memories.

Joyce said...

There's more than one way to yell. Many important ideas get lost in the noise. "With deep belief comes responsibility." That is the cutting truth. My mom used to tell me that if you never tell anyone what you believe, then you don't really believe it.

jessie said...

as i read your blog i think you and your friends might enjoy reading a new book just out: Brown Like Coffee. i found it at brownlikecoffee.com

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Grand Haven, Michigan
the sun shines on a dog's ass every now & then...