28 August 2012

The Three Ultimates

What if, beyond the human spectrum, there is an infinite palette of colors invisible and impalpable to the human eye?

What if there is an inaudible pitch, a voice filled with light, that transcends organic voices?

What if there were literally MILLIONS of Genders in the universe, and Male and Female are the only two we know of?

Just a few of the thoughts I am thinking about constantly when I find myself stuck in another boring conversation about career goals and politics. There is a word for this type of ineffectual banter. My friends and I call it "The Rind" while philosophers call it "The Penultimate".

Pen, being the Greek prefix to ultimate, basically means before the ultimate. On the surface, The Rind, as we will call it, is the first Ultimate. The Rind consists of thoughts and conversations like how old you are, what is your line of work, do you side with Romney or Obama, whether to take I90 or 405 to get to the James's party. You get the idea.

Then there's the Ultimate.

The second type of Ultimate, or under The Rind, is thick with the cries of battle. The rebels are at war with the Black Archon of Tellus and his followers now pillage the face of the Earth as you read these words. They are annihilating the weak-hearted, deceiving the intelligent, and fighting those who are both strong and intelligent.

The Ultimate follows the story of how the Master, who is a Power, a Being, and a Person, created a universe from sheer will and life from the dust with absolute perfection, and how the Black Archon declared war against His innocent abbey walls. The Master retaliated by sending in troops to protect those who remained, and the Enemy has continued to make devastating counter-attacks of fear, pride, and greed. Our side had begun lose all hope until one, great (relatively recent) victory. The Master held an attack in Bethlehem that has permanently damaged the Enemy's powers, using His fiercest weapon of all.

This weapon being of Love.

That is the Ultimate, the story of Love that triumphs over all weapons. The story of retribution against evil. THIS story, the story of a God who forgives.

And it's not over yet. The war still rages on, and the Black Archon is still brewing away somewhere, his troops are still lurking in the dark corners of the Earth. He is planning another attack, and here we are, and we still haven't decided whether to take I90 or 405.  Silly mortals.

But wait! I still have not mentioned the THIRD Ulitmate.

The third Ultimate, which is mostly a theory, was an Idea that seemed to have discovered me while I was listening to a sermon that was not entirely related to it. We have a PNEULTIMATE story, which is the immediate details of everyday life. Then you have the ULTIMATE story, which is the complete account God's defeat over evil (this is why all great literature and art focuses on good vs. evil, love, and sacrifice).

But what if this Ultimate Story was just ONE Ultimate story in a whole SAGA of Ultimate Stories, universes and dimensions that operate on entirely different principles than our own, levels of rationality unreachable and unfathomable far across the fabric of time and space? Ultimate Stories that God has written (I speak with the human limitations of Time) that focus on a COMPLETELY different aspect of Himself?

Does this make sense at all? Let's scale this down. It would be like the robot in WALL-E, who was only programmed to compact trash, suddenly discovering he is capable of love. Or someone born colorblind, who has no way of grasping the concept of Green and Blue, sees a grassy field for the first time.

Light. Colors. Masculine and Feminine. Love. Good and Evil. Is this all there is, or is it just all we know of? Maybe The Rind is thicker than we thought.

"In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth."

Notice it says HEAVENS. That's plural. Then the Earth, singular. In one of the heavens. Could we be part of a Transultimate Story?

And if a Transultimate Story really exists, could the Transultimate Story be a part in a series of Transultimate Stories, and layers upon layers of Ultimates that multiply through God's infinite creativity, forever? When this world ends and we meet Him in Heaven, will we have knowledge of this or be able to interact with these other Ultimates? Will we all meet together in Heaven in one perfect choreographed movement?

Man, don't you love questions we can never answer?

24 August 2012

Mis Adventure

Just an interesting young lady I came across this morning.  I'm not quite sure where she came from, but I'm dying to hear her story.

20 August 2012

To tame an Idea

Remember when Faline meets Bambi for the first time, and she keeps on licking his face and disappearing among the reeds in a fit of giggles? Bambi was so frustrated that when he finally caught her, he was so angry he scared her away.


Ideas are, in a way, much like that.

If you think ideas are the sort of things that fall out of the sky into your lap, you've been watching too many movies. The uncultivated idea plays games with you. She pokes her head around the tree, stuffing her little fist in her mouth to stifle her laughter, and when you dart after her, she's gone, giggling behind another tree. She's too young and fast for your sluggish old body to catch up with, but if you lose your temper, you'll frighten the fragile thing away, and there's a chance she might never come back.

There are several ways to catch an idea. But first, of course, you must find one. Ideas can be found in all parts of the world, but in order for them to come out, you must be very, very quiet. You must wait, like Charlotte the spider did in Charlotte's Web, with undeterred faith that they are there.

And when an idea finally peeks out of her rabbit hole, you have a few options. You can, like Bambi, get all excited and lunge for her. But as you know, that will only scare her off.

The more impetuous idea-seekers will simply shoot their ideas to proudly mount her up on their mantle. There is nothing particularly wrong with this strategy, except for the fact that she is dead, and what good does a dead idea do you?

The third approach is to trap her. Put in some old ideas as bait, and wait for her to get snared. But if you cage an idea, she will never be happy. She will never be able to grow. She will only be a miserable unblossomed beauty locked behind bars.

And this, reader, is an even sadder thing than death.

You see, I think a common misconception among mortals is that ideas are something you come up with. This is wrong. Ideas are living things and ought to be treated as such. They are meant to be free.

But this begs the question: How DO you catch an idea?

The answer is, you don't.

But reader, you can tame one.

To tame an idea is much harder than chasing, killing, or trapping. You must be patient. Leave little crumbs of your imagination by her burrow. Sit from a distance, and gently, oh so gently, coax her. Nurture her with your soul, your heart, your love. Value her. This is important. An idea knows if you don't care. And over time (it varies depending on the idea) she will shyly creep towards you. Then you will stretch out your hand and allow her to decide whether or not to take it. And if she does, you have finally bonded with your idea.

Then something amazing happens. She will bloom. She will burst forward in directions you never would have expected. She will unfold her dazzling, ruddy colors and sing. But more importantly, she will be YOUR idea. She will follow you everywhere and obey your commands. She will trust you--in fact, she may even return to the rabbit hole and bring back even more ideas!

But remember: These are still very WILD ideas, even when they are tamed. They're not always the most well-behaved lot, and they're also quite dangerous. Of course if you're a sissy, you can always go to the store and buy some domesticated foo-foo idea, but they are much more boring.

Shh! Look! Did you see that? T'was the indiscriminate revelation of a truly brilliant idea. Listen! A whole chorus of them, all singing the same beautiful words, humming to a thousand different melodies. Careful now, this is a mystery too precious to crack.

10 August 2012

The Character Triangle

Have you ever noticed how people react differently to society? Some are born adventurous, some achieve adventure, and some have adventure thrust upon them. Either way, adventure is going to catch up with you. The way I see it, these are the three types of people in the world.

This is not a stereotype, because it's a constantly changing label. People are often combinations of the three, or alternate over time.

You see these people all over literature and art as well as everywhere you go, and it's what I call The Character Triangle.

These are the three different ways people react to society. These names aren't the exact definition of these people (I'm not talking about real angels) but they sound cool and I want you to remember them.

Angel: The conformist. The angel doesn't put up a fight. She doesn't want to cause trouble, so she does what she's told. She gets along with people, wears the normal clothes, listens to the normal music. She really doesn't give you any reason to dislike her, but there's nothing really extraordinary about her. Sound familiar?

For angels, adventure is always thrust upon them. In the Character Triangle, Bilbo Baggins is probably somewhere right here:

 "We are plain and quiet folk and have no use for adventures. Nasty disturbing uncomfortable things! Make you late for dinner! We don't want any adventures, thank you!"

Of course, not everyone views adventure this way. There are others who see the "nasty disturbing uncomfortable things" as a way to spice up their life. And that leads us to....

Hipster: The non-conformist. This guy breaks the rules, just because he can. He sees whatever society is doing, and does the complete opposite of that. He achieves adventure, looking for a way to stand out. Needless to say, he's still letting the the society define who he is, he just goes about it in a more passionate fashion than the angel.

Example: Nemo.

Then there are those who have a totally different mindset engrained in their heads from the beginning. They're different, weird, hard to understand, and even harder to find.

The Warrior: These are the people who live outside of society entirely.  They don't try to break the rules, but they don't naturally think on terms with them. Their actions are based off what they think is right, regardless of the cultural framework. Sometimes they follow the rules, sometimes they don't. And (usually inadvertently) they always get into trouble.

There once was a girl whose fate landed her as the wife of the king of Persia. She had never asked to be queen, she merely accepted it. But the king was a naive soul, and his deceitful courtier malevolently tricked him into slaying the Jewish race. Little did the king know they were of the same blood as the queen herself. As was the custom in that day, anyone who entered the inner court without the king's summoning would be put to death, but the queen went anyway, defying the pillars of society for the sake of her people.

That's right, her name was Queen Esther, the girl who was born adventurous.  She never caused anything, yet she was always the cause for everything. You feel me?

Let see...who are some other warrior types? Joan of Arc, Ghandi and the Indian Revolution, William Wilberforce and the slave trade, Anne Shirley from Anne of Green Gables, Neb from Castaways of the Flying Dutchman, Katniss in The Hunger Games.  They never tried to start a ruckus, but they always end up changing their world because of who they are. We all know them, we're all a little bit like them.

When you look at things through the character triangle, things make a lot more sense. It's a very classic character trio:

It makes great love triangles...

The three types of teenagers...

I couldn't resist.

Like I said before, no person is defined by one single architype. People are way to complicated for that. We all have the head of an angel, the heart of the hipster, and the blood of the warrior.

The question is, which extreme do you live on?

These people can become legends, they can hold our world together or tear it apart. Which one are you? Which one do you want to be? Which one is your destiny?

After all, it's ultimately not your choice. Some are born adventurous, some achieve adventure, and some have adventure thrust upon them.

07 August 2012

There's no place like home.

The world sure looks like crap now, and it's only going to get worse.  But there have been darker times in history. We've seen nothing yet.

My friends and I often fancy ourselves escaping the world and living in the mountains, away from the mess, like the Narnians in Prince Caspian. Bit now I realize our idea of living out in the mountains appeals to us only because it's far away and beyond our reach. Even if I did go hermit, I'd never escape the "mess". I'd still be me, you'd still be you, and we'd have the same human problems we did at the foot of the mountain. We always feel like somewhere besides here is home, after all, there's no place like home, right? But our home isn't anywhere here.

You see, dear reader, there is no such thing as Home.

Our home is not on earth. We try to find it here ("if only I lived in the mountains" or "if only I lived in this time period") but it's just the same in those places too. Really.

The answer?

Give up.

Let's stop letting ourselves rot away in your efforts to be sure of everything. The definition of faith is closing your eyes and taking God's hand, trusting He's going to lead you home. And if He doesn't (uh-huh, sure, the Creator of the universe could totally slip up) then it's not your fault.

A while ago, Jared and I were on a backpacking trip. I wish you could have seen it. It was like climbing Scotland's thumb. Deep, craggy mountain spires, thundering waterfalls towering so high they disappear in the misty clouds, moss and lichen clad the rugged stones, great, gnarled oaks, taking showers beneath the fierce waterfalls, glissading down the mountain peak, pulsing through the deepening shadows a cold night abyss, fear, noises in the night, elk, sharp, cold rivers, ice caves, romantic stories.

And this crazy, unquenchable craving.

We found our eyes tracing the rugged landscape of Mt. La Crosse, a 977 foot peak. Having nothing else to do all day, we grabbed a water bottle and a machete and began scaling it.

Everything is bigger than it seems close up. Climbing on our hands and knees and digging our fingernails into the glacial snow, the peak always seemed to be getting farther away the higher we climbed. It was always in sight....yet....always out of reach. And just when we hoisted our weary bodies up the final narrow stone tooth, there it was again, even higher than before.

Always in sight...but always out of reach. Like a starving man in the desert who sees a pool in the distance, but when he arrives he realizes it was just an illusion, the hot sun reflecting the barren sky.

Have you ever read The Little Prince? It's like the most quotable book out there.

"The stars are beautiful," said the little prince, "because of a flower that cannot be seen."

I replied, "Yes, that is so."

"The desert is beautiful," the little prince added.

And that was true. One sits down on a desert sand dune, sees nothing, hears nothing. Yet through the silence something throbs, and gleams...

"What makes the desert beautiful," said the little prince, "is that somewhere it hides a well..."

"Yes," I said to the little prince. "The stars, the desert--what gives them their beauty is something that is invisible!"

In the moonlight I looked at his pale forehead, his locks of hair that trembled in the wind, and I said to myself: "What I see here is nothing but a shell. What's essential is invisible to the eye..."

Always in sight but always out of reach. Our home...it's somewhere beyond the rainbow.

There's just no place like home.

03 August 2012

Back in the world of chat conversations

me: I've been far away from the world. What are computers again?

Emily*: What were you off doing?

me: Backpacking. in the olympics

Emily: Oh nice!

me: Yeah. I'm so tired. We went night hiking too. The SPIDERS that hang out at 10:00 are as big as....as...my NOSE or something

Emily: Oh man, I don't doubt it... =P

me: haha, it was pretty sweet. But was really stunk was when we got to the trailhead at like 8:00 in the morning, and my dad was still camping somewhere way up there, and we had to wait literally all day with nothing to do but slowly starve to death and plunge into senility.

Emily: Well... it builds character? =P haha

me: Right. We were perfectly miserable. All because we wanted to be macho and go night-hiking.

Emily: Who were you with?

me: Jared. You know what really stunk? (and this is the moral to the story)

Emily: What?

me: So, we thought we were way too cool to meet up with my dad again, But HE happened to run into hikers who had too much food, and they gave him all their hot dogs.
we didn't find that out till afterwards. And we had NO food left.

Emily: Hahaha! That's hilarious!

me: Oh, but it gets better. After telling us that, my dad added: "Oh yeah, and you know who else I met on the trail? A whole group of Christian teenage girls." And I was like "shut....up...."

Emily: Hahaha! Wow, I'm just laughing right now...like, really hard.

me: Yeah, I think God was just rubbing it in. In spite of myself, it was pretty hilarious. I will laugh at this many a time as an old man.

Emily: Haha, well, I need to go eat breakfast. Enjoy reintroducing yourself to technology! =)

*More words from this lovely lady on her blog. You may read them here: http://theramblingem.blogspot.com/

02 August 2012

Hey sunset...

Hey sunset, nice to see you from this distance. I've been hiking athwart the horizon, sleeping among the stars and drinking in your ardent beams. That's right, I know all your secrets. Don't worry, I don't tell. I'll wake you up in the morning. Breakfast is at seven.

Yeah. Jared and I living out in the Olympics blazing through the Enchanted Valley taking showers beneath the waterfall and clambering up stone peaks with our bare hands. We've been booked all week. Full story coming soon.