Saturday, December 25, 2004

Reflections on a Holiday, Part 2

Well, the day has come and gone, and the bulk of my "loot" has been plundered. I can honestly say I came out ahead, as I got an iced-tea maker, a crock pot (doesn't that rock? A CROCK POT!), orange bedsheets (Tricia will surely pay for that one!), various movies (including special editions of The Two Towers and Return of the King), and among others, a "modern" panini grill. A panini grill! They made the best grilled cheese sammiches and french toast when I was a wee bairn, and my mom still has her ancient one, in perfect working order. In fact, when I'm done with this one I think I'll go make a grilled cheese sammich on it! But I had no more procured all this loot when a good bud sent me a thought-provoking cartoon from a strip called "User Friendly." It can be found here: Wow. Doesn't that make you stop and think about all the neat stuff that was under your tree? Those guys (and girls) over there can't enjoy the luxury of a crock pot or of LOTR special edition DVDs. They don't even know if they will enjoy the luxury of another day of life. At any time they could be sent into combat. At any time during combat they could be killed. And we're worried about whether or not we got everything on our lists. Think about this, people. These guys are over there in OUR place. It could be any one of us sitting in a mess hall in Iraq right now instead of in a warm and cozy living room with hot chocolate and a mound of presents. These people are there so that YOU AND I can enjoy the luxury of a crock pot or iced tea maker. Why, WHY should we be complaining about these boys and girls being off to war when it could be any one of us in that position? No, we should be grateful that they were willing to enlist and serve their country while the rest of us are too busy looking for the next buck or the next big present. We can sit here all day and whine and moan about whether or not this war is justified, it still does not change the fact that at the end of the day, those soldiers are there so that you and I can continue to enjoy the luxuries we have. We Americans are so spoiled. So before the New Year starts, take a moment to say a prayer, and maybe shed a tear or two, for our brave brothers and sisters fighting the good fight in Iraq and elsewhere around the globe. God bless them and keep them safe. Amen.

Friday, December 24, 2004

The Grinch is Real!

Check this out: I really only have one thing to say about this guy: Wow. Nick (mentioned below in me last post) doesn't know whether to applaud this guy or hate his guts. I'm of the same mindset. What would you do in this guy's shoes? Me, I might have made them get up at 4 AM, and instead of opening presents, I might have made them go to a soup kitchen. Heck, if I wanted to give away their presents I might have made them give their presents to poor children. A deeper lesson is instilled rather than just wantonly selling gifts. But an even deeper principle is illustrated here: parents these days are WAY too lenient with their kids! "Back in the day," if I misbehaved, oh dear God. "Oh sweet Lord you did not," mom would say, right before giving me a good spanking (or a good yelling when I got older). I mean, dang, my generation actually got punished! These days what do they do? People give their kids a "time out." Yeesh. Don't misunderstand me, I'm all for less spanking, but "time outs," in general, don't work. I've always believed spanking is a preferred method of punishment, but only to be used as a last resort. And don't give me any of this silly guff about how spanking is "abusive." Oh sweet Lord you did not! Abuse is beating a kid. Spanking is not the same as beating. Get over it. Perhaps if parents would actually punish their kids instead of being wishy washy about "hurting their feelings" and "not wanting to abuse them," we'd have fewer children acting like spoiled brats. No liberal parenting philosophies here, folks! Okay, that's enough ranting. Wow, my first rant on this blog! I'm so proud! With that, I give thee leave to enjoy thy holiday! Eek, I mean Christmas!!! ;-)

Thursday, December 23, 2004

Reflections on a Holiday

Oh dear! I'll have to change the title of today's post, I didn't use the word Christmas! ;-) But seriously, let's reflect for a moment on this great holiday. For years (and even today, I'll freely admit) I have looked forward to this day because I get to see my family and create an unholy mess when I destroy the wrapping paper on my gifts. My cousin Charley and I took great delight each year in seeing how much paper we could strew around my grandmother's living room! These days, however, we seem to be a lot neater, though I'm sure Grandmother would disagree. Recently, Deaf Cafe had their first ever Christmas event. It was, to be blunt, hell in a handbasket. No one was ready, despite knowing since August what was going to happen. I had told the team that I would write a full Christmas production, and all they had to do was pick their parts and tell me what music they wanted to do for it. However, the team decided at the last minute (immediately after Thanksgiving) that they didn't want a big Christmas program. Out went my meticulously crafted program (the result of late nights and weekends when I had no homework), and back I went to the drawing board. In three days (give or take a day) I rewrote the entire thing, gave the team the exact same deal mentioned above, and waited. Nothing. Absolutely nothing. No amount of reminding, and not a little cajoling, could get anything done. So finally, at the extreme last minute (the Tuesday before the show), I just started assigning stuff. However, it was revealed that fully 2/3 of the team would not be in attendance. Sheesh. So we were limited to a crew of 6. Out of 15 (I think) total. So we asked my good friend and new roommate Nick (who is a tech god) to step in and do tech for us, and thankfully he agreed. Little did Nick and I know that this was only the beginning of struggles. Well, we arrived Saturday to prepare for the show, and discover that absolutely nothing in the tech area at the church we were using was labeled. We couldn't find anything! This perturbed me greatly, but none more so than Nick. Lord Voyager, as he is nicknamed, is the type of person who will not let hell nor high water deter him (until he gets pissed off, that is), so he wrestled the tech area and bent it to his will. But this nearly became for naught, as the team basically refused to leave him alone to do his work! Constantly changing things after settings were agreed on, frequent intrusions (not counting my own intrusions to make sure he was okay), children running amok despite our longstanding rule for team members to leave the kids at home, total and unequivocal hell. Nick was, to put it politely, not happy. Finally, I'd had enough, and declared to Deaf Cafe's bossman that where tech was concerned, what Nick says, goes, and if they don't like it, that was just tough. The other option was no tech at all. Total disgust on my part. The tech area quickly became a "Nick and Stephen Only Zone," which quite thankfully I was able to remove myself from almost totally, knowing Nick's technical prowess as well as I do. I can say I achieved my goal of basically becoming Nick's gofer where tech was concerned. He might say otherwise, but hey--it's my dang blog and I'll say what I want to. ;-) We finally got through three full run-throughs of the show with music, and I was far from pleased. My mind, tortured from "Bloopers"-style slip ups in my lines and that of others, was running at Mach 3. No one, NO ONE was ready for this! I silently declared in my mind that this will never happen again. Totally and completely unprofessional. Well, showtime neared, and I made a point to mill around and get my head clear. The team prayed, and afterwards I just wandered around the auditorium with no real purpose in mind. Then I noticed Steve (Deaf Cafe's bossman) sitting off in a darkened corner of the auditorium and decided that was a good idea. I shared today's post with him in abbreviated format and discovered he shared my feelings. Thank goodness. Then showtime came. Can you say "shabbat shalom?" The show, quite frankly, kicked muchus tuchus. For the first time ever, we had perfect tech! Heck, I knew with Nick in charge the only thing that would "ruin" the tech was if we had a power outage. Yes, this is a shameless shout out to the tech god named Lord Voyager! But see, every Deaf Cafe has been like this--a monumental struggle just to get to showtime, and then a flawless or near-flawless performance. More proof that God is God and ain't nuttin' stoppin' that Fatha'! Okay, okay, I'll throw the Ebonics out the window now. The more I reflected on this trend of ours, the more distressed I became, especially during the show itself. But we reached a point in the show when I was going to sing "Mary, Did You Know?" by Mark Lowry. I had set this song very poignantly--Mary and Joseph kneeling in the stable next to a newborn baby Jesus laying in his manger (okay, it was a "borrowed" life-size nativity set Jesus). I sat behind them in the position the angel usually takes in every nativity scene you see. As the song went on, the words just pierced my heart and cut through the layers of frustration and attitude I had developed throughout the afternoon. I felt like I really was the angel who watches over them. As I "asked" the different questions the song asks the young Mary, I couldn't help but think of Mary watching Jesus die on the cross. I nearly broke at least 4 times during this song. I had to exert a great effort of will to compose myself. When it was all over, this is what was running through my head: Mary, did you know that your baby boy would give His life on a cross? Mary, did you know, that your baby boy would pierce your heart with His loss? Did you know that your baby boy would die for all our sins? The Child will fight the Devil, and He shall win! That, my friends, is the true meaning of Christmas. That's why we struggled through that hellish day. If Jesus had never come, there would never be a song by Mark Lowry. There would never be a Deaf Cafe. Heck, it's quite possible none of us would be here today if not for Jesus! Think about that. "If Jesus had never come, would I be here today?" The Son truly does bring life. And He wants you to have that life abundantly. The greatest gift of all time is the gift of Life. And that Life is in God's Son, Jesus Christ. If He had never come, you might never have been born. Shouldn't you repay Him by accepting Him as your Lord and Savior? Shouldn't you show your thankfulness by wanting to live with Him forever in Heaven? He's already given the greatests gifts you could ever receive through His birth, death, and rising from the dead. Give Jesus the best present he could ever receive from any of us--your faith and love.

Wednesday, December 22, 2004

Christians Face 47 Years in Prison for Preaching

Never thought I'd see something like this in my lifetime. For now I'll just post the link and save the ranting for another time. It's just more proof that the "homosexual agenda," among other radical liberal endeavors, are out to brand the Christian message "hate speech." And that's saying a lot: I'm much more moderate on these issues than a lot of people I know! You can find the story here.

Monday, December 20, 2004

CNN: "Minimum Wage Doesn't Pay the Rent"

Imagine my surprise as I made a lunch stop today during my trip home to Tennessee to see this CNN report on the minimum wage. I happened to look up at an opportune moment to see the caption under the announcer (yeah, the scrolling caption) declare for all to see, "REPORT: Minimum wage does not pay the rent." Oh wow. We need a CNN report before we can figure out that minimum wage doesn't quite cut it. This is progress, folks. I really wish there was a story on outlining this monumental revelation (which is on par with the giving of the Ten Commandments), but apparently someone in Atlanta realized the silliness of stating the obvious.

Sunday, December 19, 2004

Welcome, Readers

Greetings! Welcome to the Silent Holocron! This is my little spot to journal, ponder, theologize, pontificate, rant, and other things of a written nature. I was inspired to begin this by other friends who have their own blogs. In truth, I have given serious thought to starting my own blog, ever since I created a blog for Deaf Cafe several months ago, but never really got to it due to quite a few responsibilities in and out of school and work. Now that the semester is over, I have decided to get off my literary posterior and do some blogging! A holocron, for those non-Star Wars buffs out there, is basically a cube of some sort that projects a hologram. But this is no ordinary hologram. The holocron is like those portable USB drives that can fit in your pocket. You save all sorts of information in it. In the Star Wars universe, history, wisdom, teachings and lore were stored in the holocrons by the Jedi. I'd like to do sort of the same thing in my own faux-Jedi way. I call this "The Silent Holocron" simply because I happen to be deaf and heavily involved in Deaf culture. But see, I grew up in hearing culture, leaving me more likely to do something like this blog! Any and all subjects are open for posting in this blog, including religion and politics, so at times I may express views that are not exactly politically correct. Which is fine and dandy with me, I think we've gotten too enamored with this silly political correctness thing! True thought and debate is stifled by this newfangled tendency to say "I don't want to offend anyone." In fact, I may use this blog to periodically journal for my counseling supervision, in hopes that it will make it easier for me to meet this requirement of my ongoing training as a professional counselor. Then it will get really interesting, seeing how I get into people's minds and turn their brains into even deeper puddles of mush than they were before! ;-) So it is with expectation and excitement that I begin this blog, and I hope you enjoy it as much as I intend to!