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“That Guy” Entry Thirteen: None of Us Die Alone

At first it was more intriguing and curious than unnerving.  The idea of a suicide forest near Mount Fuji was unreal in a fantastic kind of way.  I had heard and forgotten about it in a matter of hours.  But then this video…

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I had to write something about it before the whirlwind of “obligations” swept me up again.  I don’t think it matters if you are the quiet, stoic man who seldom says a word or the chatter-box woman who is always talking but not always saying anything, I keep feeling more and more that something is desperately wrong with the depth and means of communication.  We each do our best to justify our specific brand of avoidance and escapism, pointing fingers and vilifying the caricatures of personality stereotypes, but when all is said and done, the problem is pandemic.

Just thinking about the laundry-list of responsibilities, expectations, social exigencies, and personal stresses, I feel overwhelmed.  And I know I am not alone in this.  Each day of life is another lesson in social and emotional intelligence, and when we are still struggling to deal with what we have learned so far, the thought of actually being who we think we could or should be becomes more and more daunting.

On a good day, I check enough off of the list to feel accomplished; on a bad day I hide in either literal solitude or walls of sarcasm and accusations.  On most days, though, I get so caught up in trivial distractions, menial duties and evasive conversations and interactions that I never stop to think about how much my life has diverged from the path I wish I was on.

What scares me is how much I, as well as many of you, could probably relate to the people whose bodies are found in this forest.  The same disconnected feeling, the desperation for something, anything to validate our life, and feeling trapped by tasks and jobs we don’t take anything away from but a paycheck.  What is the difference between them and us?  Scares me to death to think that some of th0se people asked themselves the same question, then got their answer.  Something is wrong.

“That Guy” Entry Twelve: Choreographed Perfection

Working with children is one of the most convicting experiences you will ever have…if you are honest with yourself.  I remember one of my disciplinary motifs: when a kid came to me or a counselor brought them to me for something they had done wrong and they said they couldn’t help it, I would say “Raise your right hand.  Stand on one foot.  Now say ‘Nants ingonyama bagithi baba’.  See, you have control over what you do.  So why did you hit so and so again?”

Which led me to the next logical step:

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Ok, so a friend from college tells me to go download another friend’s album off of ITunes.  This is not a new story.  There are plenty of artists in my and many other people’s ITunes libraries that maybe have one play of the first three songs and never get heard again except by accident;  That odd moment when you hit shuffle and think “What? Who is this…oooohhhh, that guy.”

But now, I am devoting not only the 30 minutes to listen to the album but also another 30 or so to write up a post because I gotta admit, I love it.

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treehouse

Parker’s Treehouse Project in 30 words or less:

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5 Tips for Improving Your Church

spiritual forcast

I was raised in a Southern Baptist Church in the heart of the “Bible belt”.  I was educated in Christian elementary, middle, and high schools.  I went to Grove City College, a liberal arts Christian College in Pennsylvania.  I had and have Christian parents, friends, teachers and mentors.  And the world is completely justified in saying that Christians are terrible people (bet that wasn’t where you saw that going).  Now before you have an aneurysm, I am not saying that all Christians are awful.  I am simply saying that the majority of people who call themselves Christians are not living lives that even begin to reflect it.   I am even lax to call myself a Christian, not because of shame or fear or because I am not, but simply because describing myself that way means immediately having to dig myself out of a hole of preconceptions and judgements.  And that’s just terrible.

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Top 5 Justin Timberlake Moments

suit and tie

I must admit, I am quite the Justin Timberlake fan.  When I accidentally stumbled across the news of his new single coming out (I happened to find it literally within 20 minutes of the release), I bought that bad boy so quickly there weren’t even comments on ITunes yet.  So, in anticipation of the new album, I had to throw together a quick post for all those nostalgic fans who, like me, are counting the days.

So I present my personal top 5 favorite Justin Timberlake moments (in no particular order…I refuse to decide) View full article »

Bruno Mars: “Unorthodox Jukebox” Album Review

Saturday Night Live kept Bruno Mars busy when he stopped by…

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Between doing a quite impression range of musical and character impressions, Bruno Mars found the time to take the stage and perform.  With a couple months left before his new, highly anticipated album came out, he gave an incredible rendition of the introduction track, “Young Girls”.  He is a man with everything to prove, and from the sound of it, took his time to make sure he got every detail right.

There’s really nothing to be said except that this was clearly a preview of something incredible ahead. View full article »

5 Tips for Sharing Your Beliefs

street preacher

Between the incredible progress of technology and social media inundating our lives, we now live in a world where anyone can have a voice.  The problem is that everyone uses it.  I remember Dr. Malcolm in the original Jurassic Park saying “You’re so busy asking if you could, you never stopped to ask if you should”.  That’s one of the biggest problems facing the world today, in the corporate world, the scientific community, society as a whole and each of us individually; should we.  I hate to be that guy, but “with great power comes great responsibility”.  So as I begin to use my own voice in this world, I try to remind myself of these 5 things. View full article »

“That Guy” Entry Eleven: Weltanschauung

I remember riding in the car with my dad once when he asked me a simple question that changed my life.  He just asked “What do you think a comedian sees when they walk into a room?”  Since then, I have tried to walk into a room and create observational humor from first glance.  I’ve tried to train my brain to see the humor in the mundane things that Jerry Seinfeld thrives on.  Then I remember the Jason Bourne movies…especially the scene where he is in the diner, listing how many cars are in the parking lot, what their license plates are, and the best place to find a gun.  I had on some level accepted that people see the world differently.  Being a peculiar personality type myself, I had gotten used to people thinking a bit differently and having different interests and preferences.  But I don’t think anything prepares you for a difference in Weltanschauung.

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“That Guy” Entry Ten: Age Ain’t Nothin’ but a Bummer

I know you have come to expect much wittier word play from me, but I’m just letting this post flow stream of conscious.  The past six months in a nutshell: quit job, moved to Japan with wife, same job reacquired in Japanese setting.  And playing the odds that 5 people will ever read this, I am gonna just take off the gloves and start swinging.  David wrote poetic Psalms to capture his momentary frustrations and struggles with faith and opposition, I write emo-esque blogs.

There is a moment after marriage where it sinks in that your fate is forever intertwined with someone else.  And someone who is fundamentally the opposite of you.  When two people can look at the same object and find completely opposite perspectives, there are two choices.  Accept the other person’s view, in hopes that your understanding never gives way to emotion, or fight it out until one of you caves and changes.

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“That Guy” Entry Nine: Anything But Jesus

A string of hackneyed titles crossed my mind before I chose this one…”In Christ Alone”, “Nothing But the Blood”, “I Surrender All”.  But recently I was faced with the truth that I am 99.9% reliant on anything BUT Jesus.  The sad thing is there aren’t many who would find fault in some of the things I’ve used to help manage stress, anger and disappointment.

 

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For recurring sins in my life, I’ve found accountability partners to encourage me.  That’s biblical.

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