XXXI: Political Science


War is peace. Freedom is slavery. Ignorance is strength.

I received a degree in Political Science because I wanted to seek out ‘truth’. At the time I had no idea what that looked like, how it could be used, and why it even mattered. Through lectures, textbooks, essays, and forums I spent my time trying to understand concepts such as rhetoric, manipulation, persuasion, and politicking.

Several years through college and several after, I still seek after that ‘truth’. I’m still curious as to the functionality of humans when it comes to interaction with each other, unspoken hierarchies, and the systems of which we have decided to govern one another.

Truly, there is no better time to be alive like today in order to witness all these questions unravel before your own eyes.

Receiving a degree in Political Science, as I’ve joked with my students, allows you to go one of two ways in life:

  1. Jump in over your head in the enjoyment of politics and the study of it
  2. Realize how unstable the world is and run away

…I’m still in the process of running.

My Facebook friends list is getting shorter by the week; pro or con arguments against political enemies or corporate conglomerate actions are enough to cause me to step away from the social media world. Reality is, everyone is upset about something or someone, and they firmly believe that their viewpoint is the dominate view compared to any other opposing thought.

There is a reason I do not speak much when it comes time for politics at the dinner table. In the past year I’ve witnessed teargas in Missouri, I’ve studied riots in California, and tried to understand economic sabotage by business both local and abroad.

I do desperately wish I had an answer that would explain the way that this world works. I’ve seen churches divide, and Christian’s step away from their faith, I’ve breathed in hypocrisy and on several occasions witnessed that a physical church building does not indeed keep the devil away.

I’m not overly sure which is harder to be in today’s world:

  1. One who holds a Political Science degree that tries to avoid political conversations
  2. A Christian that tries to avoid political conversations

In several instances I’ve come to believe that my social anxiety doesn’t stem from struggling to communicate with other sentient creatures. It stems from trying to understand that one election, one riot, one building on fire, or one country at war doesn’t describe our world as a whole.

The truth is far more painful to accept I’ve learned.

We are ruined.

We live in a global society that is dictated so strongly by the ways of which a secular culture breathes; in many instances the faith…a faith…is hardly recognizable. The reality is understanding that this world is so messed up, and personally from my education, I was taught that concept a long, long time ago. Additionally, if we’re thinking that the action by the masses is something new, we’ve obviously lost grasp of what history has taught us.

I can’t take a stand on political matter. I can’t examine and explain racial profiling and reactions that so many have towards one another. I can’t determine the cause of inflation, oil prices, or self proclaimed terrorists and their actions throughout the world.

I can only explain the fact that our world was ruined from the beginning (give or take a few days and one piece of fruit). I can examine and teach that in many ways, most likely, global life will continue to struggle. Masses will die, dynasties will end, and civilizations will collapse.

History tells us that.

I can also use historical text and ancient religious scholars to condemn the acts of so many; especially those who claim to be of one faith…or another.

Finally, I can take note that through my own religious teachings and upbringing, that my job isn’t to condemn, to judge, to execute, or to reject. I’m only supposed to love and protect.

Life is not a battlefield between…
…Hillary & Trump
…white & black
…USA & Mexico
…Christian & Muslim

It is simply about…
…love & hate
…good & evil
…ignorance & truth

-D-

XXXI: Failed Institution


GreetingsHands

Written in a form coinciding with political ideologies and humanities lack of conviction; I type this with sorrowful hands, a trembling heart, and a burning soul.

The institution has failed.

Perhaps one of the more polarizing pieces of publication written in the past five years churns alive on the screen. Trying to appropriately find the justification and words to transcribe the flowing thought of organic opinions is a struggle in these lazy hours of life. However, the truth needs to be shared with the public. The reality is that the institution has failed.

What is the institution? It isn’t a government, a system, agency or even a group of people. It’s a thought process, it’s a standard, it’s a form that has been recycled over the years in repetition without qualm of the people. Now, the cracks are showing, the people are vacating, and true images and colors are being displayed.

The institution…is the Church.

The institution has failed.
The Church has failed.
We have failed.

It’s troubling and nearly feeling sacrilegious in typing such troubling words. But, what else do you do when your heart breaks? When your soul is crushed? When the idea of love disappears, replaced with jealousy, rage, and hypocrisy? The truth is, the largest population in the land that I call home has left church…and they’re currently of no interest in returning.

Why are we ignoring this reality? I can walk into nearly any church today and get my fix of guitars, pianos, organs, and choirs. I can hear redemption, education, “three points and a poem”, and walk out the door. If this new generation doesn’t enjoy the comfort of fast food, why would they settle for the same of their spiritual guidance?

I’ve been in church of some sort since I was seven years old; I even went to a Christian affiliated university. I took courses on theology, studied my brain out of history of Christianity, argued nearly every denomination, and finally obtained degrees mixing sociology with a global faith. Yes, I am the person that sounds the bells when I see the failures of our past and our present. Out of twelve people inside a core youth group I was apart of when in high school, only two are currently active in their church (we’re all adults now). That was from a church in a town of 1200. What happened to the rest? Why did they stop, and why are we not going after them?

Currently, as reported by the Pew Research Center, Christians within my own homeland have decreased by nearly 10%. Much of this is being attributed to the Millennial generation not going to church, not seeing its importance, and not necessarily being reached.

From the person who struggles to step into the building each Sunday; it isn’t because of politics, it isn’t because of ease of access, it isn’t because of lack of coffee shops, it’s the struggle of feeling wanted, needed, and reminded that our objective it to rely on God and change the world.

That is my personal conviction, my sin if it’d gloss over the image a bit better. I can’t get enough of God. He guides me, He loves me, and man He takes care of me when I continue to screw up as some awful, trashy piece of human that I am. He picks me up, He cares for me, and He reminds me that I’m worth it.

The Church no longer does.

Can you imagine the strange sensation of being attached to your Father, knowing that God is the way, the truth, the life, the…everything. At the same time, nearly in a split personality, the idea of congregating with other people to hear about the political spectrum, reused candid terminology that establishes Christians similar to corporate jargon, and to repeat it weekly…really, what’s the point?

Yes, you cannot grow in your faith without the construct of the Church body (check out 1 Corinthians for a glimpse of that reality), but are we growing when we do arrive? That’s not just a corporate question, but a personal one.

I have seen cities created, societies manipulated, and hope delivered to millions. I’ve witnessed advancements in health and technology, assisting the people of this world. I’ve seen economies grow and cultures thrive. Now, why are the current leaders of those magnificent concepts no longer a part of the body of Christ? Why do we ignore the elephant in the room, and turn a blind eye to the fact that below our Sunday School/Small Group classes of 30-40 year olds; below that…it gets rather sparse in population.

I caution the Church. If you do not invest in the current fleeing generation, they will make no attempt to return. Additionally, understand that a return isn’t about their number in your box at your church; it’s about the return of understanding God’s love.

Perhaps we’re just a little too focused on us.
Perhaps we’re just a little out of touch.
Perhaps our arrogance has been called by the largest population on this planet.

We have nothing to show for these realizations except the opportunity to apologize, to ask for forgiveness, and to go forward and continue to reach this beautifully flawed world.

-D-

XXXI: Cowboys Cry Too


Yesterday I received word that my grandmother was not doing well at her nursing home (she’s 93). Darco and I were going to meet a few family members there around lunch today.

At 9:30 AM this morning I was notified that she had been moved to hospice.

I’ll let you fill in the rest.

Today took me north to the land of my father, literally and figuratively. I was around truckers, drinkers, racers, and dreamers. I saw a family that has more strength in a single toe, fairly compared to some full scale countries.

I saw my childhood rendition of the cowboys of the Wild West.

…and I was humbly shown that those great cowboys can cry too.

Throughout the day it was emotional swings of laughter and deep thoughts. It was catching up on what was, while carefully thinking about what quickly could be. I saw heroes from my childhood eyes, resting on canes, crutches, and couches.

The cowboys are tired.

I saw misty eyes while talking about ’66 1/2 model cars that ran 12.5 pistons instead of 12.6.

I heard simple political conversations, end smoothly as any cowboy would have:

The day my second amendment is gone is the day I become an outlaw.

I witnessed a dying monarch that had known nothing but love, family, and faith, rest easy as her time here begins to pass. My heart hurt of knowing about the other wounds suffered by these rough riders, how fate dealt such cruel cards to the kindest souls that roam the earth.

Through days end and the sun’s rest; these riders disembarked on another sealed journey’s past.

My concept of these cowboys has changed since my childhood.

They are so much stronger compared to what my past’s minds eye could have ever comprehended before.

-D-

XXXI: No Formula


I did not go to church today.

I sat in our living room; marveling at the beautiful, frozen landscape that had created itself over the night.

My wife did not go to church today.

She sat beside me, half asleep, taking in the warmth of solar radiation and a pristine paralysis that surrounded her.

We did not go to church today.

Continue reading

XXXI: Dreams Are Made Of


Let’s talk about money.

Because what would a fun monologue be without such a joyful, uplifting topic (especially right after Christmas).

It’s been mentioned a few times throughout FilingThePapers.com that student debt, payday loans, and selling all my DVD’s have been either cursed or used in order to determine not sucess, but survival. Continue reading

XXXI: Full Circle


I tried on several different occasions to record a video that demonstrates the current setting and situation that I’ve been in. However, between multiple cats, a malfunctioning phone, and well…time, I’ve come to the conclusion that the reality is, it’s better for me to write.

For those of you, the reader, who pop in and out of this site, you’ve known about my journey for the past four…going on five…years. It’s the sadly standard story of so many lives; lost, left, and praying for a second chance at life. Mine began with a divorce, financial collapse, and the utter helplessness and recognizing and accepting that I was all alone.

My, how the times have changed.

The point of this piece isn’t a recap as much as it’s an opportunity to demonstrate a dream coming true for myself: Continue reading

XXXI:Taste & See


It’s all because of Facebook and its memory feature. It, in some ways, can be that painstaking reminder of the life that you left and the life that you’ve currently chosen to live.

Curious of the random image from five years ago that came across my social feed; Darco and I dived deeper into the world of a time when we didn’t know one another. Through the past posts of five, ten years went by. Resulting in at least one prior post on this day from FilingThePapers.

The story revolves around one of my journey’s with Subway. I traveled deep into the southern part of our region. I went back into the town that I called home during college and enjoyed sushi for the first time since my divorce earlier that year. There’s so much to be thankful for, as illustrated in the post.

However the writing of the past doesn’t even compare to the undeserving manner that my soul currently resides in; in this strange euphoric realm that allegedly is referred to as ‘life’.

As strange as it sounds, I try earnestly to forget the world that once was. I purposefully try to forget about people, events, actions of the past in hopes of allowing scars to become hidden. I love waking up in the morning, forgetting that I’m divorced, that I had a life before this one. I’m not sure if that’s the Christ-like attitude to have, but the present is so much clearer, wonderful, and truth-be-told it’s so, so much sweeter.

I wrote in that post, from four years ago, a simple verse that I recalled at the time of biting into the most emotional piece of sushi ever…

Taste and see that the Lord is good…
-Psalm 34:8

Jobs have come and gone, apartments have disappeared with friendships, and lifelong connections have grown like the licking flames in this evening’s fireplace.

I have tasted.

He is so good.

Darco and I sat on our living room couch tonight, staring at our fireplace while the cats laid in front of the mantel. Toasty, warm, and safe. It was one of those moments where words weren’t even required, because everyone was at peace within the house. Last night Darco and I spoke more about the fact that there’s nothing deserving in the lives of ourselves that should allow us to be in this house. There’s no reason that we should enjoy a fireplace at night and the country sun during the morning. She shouldn’t have an amazing job that she loves in the coffee shop, and I shouldn’t be able to enjoy walking into a classroom every day.

Too many times we stare into each other’s eyes wondering whose lives we’ve taken over. I was alone and she was lost; how did we come to this moment?

There’s no equation, logic, or solid answer. It’s only God. How on earth could I stand before the multitudes and foolishly try to answer with any other key? How could I state that my hard work has equalled this moment of tranquility? I can’t!

Whether it’s sushi from four years ago, or a fireplace tonight, I will never be able to express how glorious my God truly is.

-D-