Some grammar and wording corrections made on Dec. 24, 2005
The last few weeks have been a strange mix of relief, depression, happiness (at times), and most of all inner turmoil and questioning… along with a good bit of reassurance and remembrance as to why I’ve undertook the journey I’ve been on these last few years (both my law school experience, as well as the spiritual journey that began in earnest a few years before that).
From this maelstrom of conflicting and confusing emotions, I’ve had several moments of clarity that have come together for me. Most of that process is not something I will write about here (but will stay between me, God, and maybe a friend or two), but the effects of that process are going to be manifest in some areas of change in my public life, so I will talk about that.
Probably the biggest bit of change is that I’ve decided to refocus my activism efforts into those things that either are related to my career in some way, or that are related to my spiritual path in some way, and in time will be dropping those areas of activism that do not fit with those bounds. As a result of this, I plan to serve the Green Party of Oklahoma in providing legal advise (once I pass the bar) and maybe in some local work (particularly on bicycle issues), but I will be stepping down as state secretary and national committee alternate delegate in March. I also hope to find other folks to take over most of the work involved with OKIMC.org (the IMC is a wonderful thing, but is something beyond what I think I can effectively do right now). I do plan to continue my work with OCCO, but want to focus my energy there into military counseling work.
Beyond those things though, I am hoping that by refocusing my energy that I can also seek to find a way to make a living doing good through the law. I have to earn a living (and unfortunately this means I have to pick what I’ll focus my energy on, including saying no to many good and worthwhile things), but I think if I work hard I can find ways to do much of the same kinds of good through my professional life as a (hopefully soon to be) lawyer.
With regards to this blog, I have two big concerns that I hope to progressively address as time goes by. First, I am going to endeavor to recover the joy and purpose I had when I first began this blog. I started doing an online journal back in 1999 (check out this a recent find from Archive.org— I thought this was lost for ever) after reading a NY Times article about H.A. Halpert’s website which was a blog before blogs were called blogs. The website was lemonyellow.com (sadly gone but can still be found in the bowels of Archive.org) and was a strangely compelling in those days (again before blogging became so common)
Anyway that didn’t last for long (too much work to do an online journal without blogging software) but did set the stage for when I started blogging in earnest in 2001. Those days I did talk some about politics, but mostly I was interested in the obscure, the interesting, and most of all the beautiful. I wrote about music I liked, authors that inspired me, theology, and all kinds of other stuff.
Over the last few years, the blog has gone through a million and a half gyrations, mostly due to the troubling side of what to do with political commentary. Politics tended to upset me and anger me, which in turn tended to dry up my ability (or just willingness) to see the beautiful and to write about the beautiful.
I’ve thought about just not writing about politics at all, and I may in the end do that, but right now I think that is a resolution I would not keep. But, much like dieting, I tend to eat better when I focus on eating good and healthy food, instead of fixating on the “bad” food, so maybe it is the same way with blogging. Maybe I will still talk some about politics (why I don’t know… it’s not like I can really say anything new or genuinely worthwhile… I think it is clear that Bush is a well-meaning tyrant who has become drunk with power, but he is far from unique and I’m concinced that most other politicians if given his position would fall into the same trap, including the liberals. — I also believe that war is always wrong and there’s no justification for killing of any kind, but the truth is I’m not pursuasive in arguing for either of these points, because I take these beliefs as matters of faith and conscience, not as any kind of pragmatic belief system that can be logically argued, etc.), but really I want to focus on blogging about the beautiful.
This also relates back to my faith. I don’t believe in God because it is logical to believe. Logic failed me long ago when trying to explain the truth of Jesus’ teachings or of the traditions of the Church (or for that matter any religious path… many of which I’ve also found compelling), but faith remains, mostly because the world has so much beauty. Evolution didn’t have to be graceful and beautiful, but it is. Life itself is too breathtakingly and downright achingly beautiful for me to not believe in God, and it is this same kind of heart response that leads me to believe in Jesus because his teachings make my heart jump and feel alive, not because they are more logical than other teachers and philosphers.
So if beauty is what gives me faith, and if I need more faith to make it in this crazy world, then the obvious solution is that I need to search out the beautiful (and recognize it when it sneaks up on me). So I’m hoping that this blog can return to that kind of mission.
Also for the second thing, I’m going to endeavor to argue less with folks online (either through commenting on other blogs and message forums) who I don’t agree with on all points. Arguing does nothing for making friends and bringing about good in this world, and moreover seems to not be effective in changing people’s minds. There’s a lot of good folks out there who may have a different perspective on things than I might have. Instead of pushing them away, I need to find ways to build bridges between myself and them.