-1 Corinthians 14:26-28
That's a somewhat humorous, but also sobering, reference, given the situation.
(I'm not claiming to have the gift of speaking in tongues. Just that I know this passage, and it sheds light on another issue.)
We had a new guy at study last night. Knowledgeable person, experienced with the community we're part of, about ten years older than me - I was on one of my EXCITED! nights, and spoke fluent...me.
I hadn't really thought about it, until the second time he said, "Okay, I heard what you said but I didn't understand it," and realized later the number of times I've heard, "I know that was English, but I have no idea what you just said." At the time, I'd offered an off-the-cuff remark about Jewel being able to translate.
But I hadn't thought about how,
I speak quickly (years of Gilmore Girls at an early age)
With a mixed accent (born in NY, grew up in Midwest, lot of British tv, year in WY, couple of good friends are Texan - my sisters and I have a peculiar accent that we're unaware of but people recognize between us and nowhere else)
An unnecessarily-extensive vocabulary (I'm largely unaware of this, until someone points it out. Combination of my mother's verbosity and my bibliophilic lifestyle)
An intimate knowledge of grammatical rules, paired with a callous disregard for rules in general
A dry, whimsical sense of humor (I will often bury the point I'm making in the middle of two other things, just because it amuses me to do so)
...the list goes on. I don't really think of any of these, they're just all part of how I speak...but last night brought home to me that my pattern of communicating actually impedes communication.
I've been reading through the tail-end of Exodus this week. Good night, is there a lot of detail about the making of the tabernacle (the sacred tent this nomadic people had in place of a temple, to worship). This time around, though, something hit me; there are all these precious items being used in the making of the tabernacle, things beautiful, carefully wrought, and very valuable. (Rightly so, if you view your god as being beautiful and valuable, or if you want to make it clear that you value your god and want to give the best you have.) But I started thinking, somehow, about the ARRANGEMENT of all these things.
See, this is a very bloody religion - there's a LOT of animal sacrifices going on, and there's very clear detail about what sacrifice is appropriate for which situation, and there's also clear instruction about how to PREPARE the sacrifice - how it's killed, which parts are burned, which parts are thrown away, whether something gets incense sprinkled on it, which parts are offered as sacrifices and given to the priests to eat...lot of detail. By investing effort into getting all the details right, you showed that this matter was important to you. (I've long held a theory that that was Cain's issue - both Cain and Abel offered sacrifices, but I kind of have the impression that Cain wanted to offer a sacrifice according to the way HE wanted to present it, and Abel thought it was very important to know how GOD wanted it presented).
I started thinking about how all these precious items to make the tabernacle were given by the people - so much was given, in fact, that Moses had to tell them, "Okay, we have more than enough to do this, it's time to stop giving." But just the giving of precious things wouldn't honor God. You could just pile the beautiful fabric, the dyed rams' skins, the silver and bronze and oil, and it would be a mess. Yeah, you gave up something precious, but for what purpose? How is that mess honoring God?
And that's running very close to how I give to God. I'm not a very intentional person, and previously I held that as sort of a merit: "I'm a free spirit!" That celebrates me, maybe - but looking at the way I give to God, in that light...I have NOT been intentional. Opposite, really - it took a long time before I realized that I had anything God would value, but once I understood His giving nature, His love and that He delighted to give things to His children, I started to see what He had given me that I might be able to give back to Him.
But it's been fairly haphazard. "Oh! I have THIS. THIS is a good thing!" And then in my eagerness, I hurl it in God's general direction, or in the general direction of His people.
One of the other oddball skills all three of us have is a sort of chameleon-talent. I use it in a choir setting - listening, I can listen to the people on either side of me, and sort of average out their tone/pitch/vowels into a third supporting voice - that doesn't sound like a third. It sounds like those two just got stronger and blended. I love doing that, and no one noticing that's what I'm doing. (There are a LOT of things I like doing because they're a good thing to do, and I get a sort of thrill when I can pull it off without anyone realizing I'm the one who did it.) Butterfly uses this socially - she'll listen and figure out what people value, and craft a conversation that brings people closer without clashing (she's probably the most elite of the three of us with this). Starfish uses it to hide - she'll adapt her personality to whatever the general personality of the group is, so she doesn't stand out or attract attention (good luck with that - she has the most striking looks of the three of us).
Now I'm looking at each of these talents, thinking, "Huh. Can this be better used, somehow?" I've basically been using language to impede communication - that wasn't my intention, but that was the result. In a group, I would probably do very well to sit and listen a great deal, and follow the speech patterns to figure out what THIS group thinks is English, and then match that.
Because, without Jewel or Nike around, no one's going to be able to interpret.
Why do you allow so much violence in our schools?
a concerned student
DEAR CONCERNED STUDENT,
I'm not allowed in schools.
To which I responded: To suggest that what happened in Newtown was because of the absence of God in our schools is absurd and spiteful. We cannot take belief or disbelief out of schools. Last time I checked, we don't live in Old Testament times. Frogs and world floods don't fall out of the sky anymore. It's ironic that God only gets thanked for happy shit, but immediately after something unexplainable happens, it is birdbrained to blame it all on the lack of God. That shit belongs to the disillusioned, and I hope you'd never teach that to your kid. If you think God had his hands in this out of spite, then I hope he also puts his fists in your face. So instead, think about invoking the name of God to help people cope, which is one of the primary reasons for religion, instead of using it to explain violence on kids.
Safe to say she deleted me within hours with no rebuttal or comment. And all I have to say is: pathetic.
A teacher of all people. A teacher.
Anyway, students asked me today what I think of it all, because they had been talking about the shooting in all of their other classes. I did not address it on Monday or Tuesday. They asked me today if teachers should have guns. I only responded with that's ridiculous and a terrible idea. Another student chimed in and that was that. I decided not to talk about it. I will, however, discuss it tomorrow. I find it important to give the tragedy some time. Out of respect for the kids and adults who died, and the others who survived, whom I imagine would detest anyone who wore that shirt.
I'm sure my students will ask many of those questions, to which I will reply with my opinions if they wish to hear them. I've thought about it, and I think they can handle one of my opinions, all of which I keep to myself. In my classroom I play devil's advocate, challenging all, because students most of the time don't have the evidence or logos to back their arguments. Sadly, most adults don't either. But I do feel like people have their minds set on one issue when they are really more involved. Gun control, mental health care, and culture all play a role.
I've always been an advocate of spreading the word on what happened in Beslan School One on September 1st, 2004. It was only a matter of time before something even close to that scale happened here. It has that same feeling to it. That tragedy was one of the reasons I became a teacher to begin with.
Sadly, the problem here, more than gun control, more than mental healthcare, more than culture, is ourselves. We, as people, need to realize that all we are is human. Anyone is capable of committing terrible acts of violence because we are human. I think this tragedy is a time for introspection rather than outer judgement and public debate. These are the times to ask ourselves who we are as people? Are we capable of doing things like this? How can we prevent ourselves from ever acting out in such a way, then ask how we can prevent others from doing that? Sure, many acts of extreme violence have been committed by "people off their rocker." But look up statistics of violent crime and the interviews of their neighbors. "He was normal. She was sweet. They'd never do something like this."
These people are human, just like you and me. What can truly prevent this?
It is everything but me.
"You know who will inherit the earth? Gun dealers. The rest of us are too busy killing each other. That's the secret to survival. Never go to war, especially with yourself."
We enable ourselves and each other by thinking about what ourselves would do or would not do. But unfortunately the world is bigger than us. People kill. And semi-automatics (or the euphemistic Modern Sporting Rifles) make it easier. We cannot accept the fact that mental and behavioral disorders are impossible to fix. If we do, why would we try to fix anything else about society (and ourselves)? It's about time we think about what is really important. If violence meets children, something has to change.
People think because they own a gun they're safer when in fact they themselves can be the danger. We try to convince ourselves otherwise by using words like sane, Christian, and American.
I've never spoke out for or against gun control. It took me years or hearing arguments to come to my own conclusion. Ridding ourselves of guns completely won't work. It wouldn't work for drugs or nuclear weapons.
Regardless of what we think, we need to think about those kids. And what we can do to make it as difficult and reasonable as possible to prevent this from happening again because what we are doing now, clearly isn't good enough.
That being said. Here is a puppy.
My life has been turned upside down.
I got caught sneaking out.
I should have seen it coming.
Right now, my parents don't trust me,
trip to Europe is questionable, a car when
I'm 16 is doubtful, I cannot go out of the house,
not even to church. Internet is banned (except
for right now, obviously), my hot water was
turned off for awhile ... I got that back, thankfully.
No phone calls, no socialization, no civilization,
no dating until I'm 102 years old.
The list goes on...
What hurts me the most is the fact that my parents
don't trust me anymore.
I look into my fathers eyes, and where I once
saw things like Trust, love, & support - I now see
shame and dissappointment.
And this time, it's all my fault.
I want to update sometime soon, but
I don't know when it will be.
I want to let you all know a little bit more
than what this entry says. This is just the basics.
I want to let you know what I feel, and how I'm doing...
because that's what I need to talk about.
However, I need to get off right now.
I hope to be on again soon.
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