On the heels of an easy week turned sour, I was kept alive by the hopes of returning to my beloved motherland: Camp Willow Run. This place makes me more excited than Christmas. It makes me more excited than any spot on the globe, and I don’t think I am lying. I’ll get there in a second.
This turned out to be a hard week. I really wish I wasn’t doing as much as I am. Education gets in the way of life. I decided to skip some classes to listen to our friend Donny the fundamentalist. I wrote plenty about that and had many conversations with people who Donny confused outside in the ampitheater and over email. It drained me spiritually. Wednesday morning I watched the sun come up from the top of Humback Rock on Afton Mountain at 7:30am. There were these Minonite girls there too, freezing their arms off in their shawls. They began to sing like angels when the first red beakons of light crept over adjacent mountain line. We were all entertained. I also recorded on thursday with Alex from “Portrait of Another” – we are making a 4 or 5 song EP for our church. It’s called “The High Street Church Project.” I guess I’m part of it. I play djembe on all of the songs. Recording in a real studio with real equipment and a 5,000 dollar flat screen computer panel with ProTools is fun. The sound engineers had this dog that ran around the studio. I was recording my part in the studio room, and this dog ran into the adjacent room and was barking at me through the sound proof glass. It was funny. I don’t think he will appear on the album.
I met Gabe Devin and Mallory in richmond on Friday and we drove to Camp together, going 85 most of the way. Gabe drives like me, only about 5mph slower. We argue about who holds the land speed records on certain roads. Surely, imminent death awaits us both. I beat her into the state of North Carolina by an inch (my hands are longer). When we showed up at Camp, I was so excited that I jumped out of the car and wanted to hug the flag poles. I burst into the office and hugged Robbie and Kim with vigor. Then I bounced to the dining hall – I was wearing Davis’s Student of the Month hat (sorry davis, I brought it back though!) – and then rejoiced at seeing my brothers and sisters. Man that place is heaven. I feel so refreshed when I am there. It was great to catch up with lots of people. Its also so great how honest we are there. At least I feel like when I talk to people they can be honest with me. I hate walls, I think I’ve mentioned. I don’t know how to lie anymore. If someone were to ask me a the “how are you doing” question without narrow parameters or specifics, for example : Harrison, are you ok? Is something wrong? – I am likely to answer honestly with a “Yes, I’m not okay.” But I won’t dive into the issue with a question like that. But if someone asks me with more specifics “Harrison: it looks like you are contemplating something big – what is it?” I will just bust it out no problem. I hate hate hate holding things in, because I know how great life is when you have nothing to hide. Its how we were meant to be in the garden: emotionally naked and vulnerable (alongside the physical sense). And walls not only prevent you from community with others, but with God too – true fellowship. And you don’t know what you’re missing until you taste it. You can think God knows your thoughts and true feelings – and he always does – but when you acknowledge them to other people and get all of the crap out of your system, then you will be surprised how God begins to meet you in completely new ways. He can always know you even more than he currently does. I’m not going back to life with walls. It’s just lame. I have faith to trust that God won’t let people who know whats really going on hurt me.
Ok, so I had a big talk with Mr. B about the marriage ammendment that I wrote the essay about. He made great points about sociological studies of homosexuals, our forefather’s intentions about the seperation of church and state, and the long term effects of civil unions. Essentially, there is a lot of research that I need to do here, but the gist is:
- Studies done on large groups of homosexuals show that comparatively, their life expectancies are shorter that heterosexuals (disease and AIDS), and they typically end up alone without a companion for life (the civil unions don’t last). Surveys done for happiness and fulfillment show that the majority of homosexuals feel unsatisfied and unfulfilled in their later years. (*** arguments can be made for correlation not causation here, ie, America’s discriminatory policies lead to these results, not simply homosexuality itself – but I am not interested in agreeing with them)
- That the “one nation under God” ethos vs. the seperation of church and state issue is one that has been skewed by common day jurisprudence and postmodernism. Mr B argues that Jefferson and other forefathers intended the seperation for purposes of protection for the church. They were afraid that government would influence and corrupt the church, and that the governments role (played out by democracy) was to challenge sin and instruct its citizens’ personal lives from going askew by way of social guardrails. They did not mean it the other way around: that the church shouldn’t influence politics. Apparently there are many letters back and forth between our religious forefathers that show their fear for the corruption of the church. *** I need to find these letters, I’ll let you know when I do.
- Secon to Lastly, that marriage benefits are simply that: benefits. They are not rights. Nowhere in our constitution or legislature are marriage benefits gauranteed for all couples regardless of sexual orientation. Tax relief and all of those other things are ideas set up to encourage the population of nuclear families that breed children and raise them with morals and values. They simply are not rights.
- Lastly, civil unions would encourage rates of homosexuality. It wouldn’t simply allow homosexuals to live peacefully in our state – it would encourage more people to come out of the closet. And they would. If the moral guardrails are removed, more people will feel comfortable expressing their sinful desires. This is not good.
- Ask yourself: why is polygamy illegal in all states except for utah? That is an example of state govts intervening into the personal sexual lives on its citizens, isn’t it? Why should homosexuality be any different? Just because it is more widespread and more accepted as a “natural disposition” is no excuse.
So basically, I have changed my mind and I think I’m voting yes. Even though the language is quite vague, I am now of the opinion that civil unions are not good and the current notion of the seperation of church and state is postmodern hogwosh that will lead the nation into more of a deprived state that it is currently in.
Saturday at camp I belayed something like 45 kids on the climbing wall all afternoon. Gabe and I hung out. I napped a good deal. Stony point won the church gym games trophy (the mattress carry, the balloon stomp, the noodle race, the knotted shirt relay, and dodgeball) by a sizeable margin. I was proud of my home church. Presbyterians breed winners. Then we hung out at jeremy’s and I experienced spiritual attack on my thoughts. I ended the night by climbing naked into other people’s sleeping bags.
Sunday morning I cleared things up, said goodbye to my friends, and wished that weekends were longer. Here are some recent thoughts: I really really wish that I could go to heaven now, and I think for new reason. My desires are stronger because I think I can almost physically feel the pull and stretch of time these days. It’s weird to think that your waking life (non-dream-state) could simply be a slideshow of memories, being revealed one after another. Because if you think about it (and believe me I do) – what does now mean? How can you EVER point to now?! As soon as you do, its gone. And in a few days you will forget the specifics of the moment you just pointed to. Right now I am sitting at my computer looking at my cell phone, listening to Damien Rice, wishing I was talking to someone in particular. My lamp is on, it makes all of the papers on my desk look yellow, I am a little bit thirsty, I have bad posture, and my ear itches. That is it. That is now: but really, it is then. And my writing it down, as shakespeare, in his sonnets, was one of many to theorize, is the only way to immortalize the moment. If someone finds this paragraph in ten years, they will be able to reconstruct an impartial image of what was once “now.” But my question is: is it ever really now! No, I don’t think so. I think life is just this string of memories, at present are the most vivid and clear, with a continuum on either side. Into the future, it is darkness. Unless you receive revelation from God (and I believe some people do, I’ve seen it done) you cannot see the memories that are advanced of your current point and time in the universe. Into the past, it is fuzzy and it is fading. Your memories lose clarity, but trauma and emotion, among many things, help them crystalize. This is one of the biggest reasons that I journal and photograph – to fight this notion of the loss of memory. Of course, all of this philosophy would indicate my belief in determinism – that my life is mapped out and I am only along for the ride. Hmm. Currently I am of the opinion that it must be both Free Will and Determinism at the same time. Somehow, it has to be. God knows our thoughts and future (perhaps he does not make our decisions for us, but we can safely say our decisions are already made for us somewhere out there in the universe. Perhaps our spirits chose them for our conscious earthly minds in that mysterious place without time, so in a sense, I (my soul) is in control of my destiny, but as I reside right now in my little moment with my lamp and my itchy ear, I am helpess to the vicious throws of fate as my memories are revealed to me one by one. Time is the enemy.
I think about these things even while I chew on an apple in the dining hall. That is why it is always dangerous to ask me what is on my mind.
This leads to my next realization. I want to go to heaven because I want to know everything all at once. I am tired of conversations and miscommunications. I want to be known 100% by everyone all at once. And I want to know other people that well. But as it is, I only know most of my friends about 50 or 60% if I am lucky (the close ones.) Most people I probably only know 20 or even 10%. I’d like to know everything about everyone and be able to say it all at once. So then we would be able to go on grand adventures with each other and not have to worry about all the social dynamism that is earthly conflict: we could wrestle panda bears and put our hands in viper pits and lay down with lions and fly off of the tops of mountains. That’s what I want to be doing. Not this worldly conversation thing. I’d like to be able to think that when I speak, I am speaking portions of the truths of reality. But I know that I can’t and that even if I could, I couldn’t do it all at once. I just want to be able to have no unanswered questions and no people that I need to get to know more. I doubt this makes sense, but I had to write it. It’s been bugging me all day.
If I didn’t write this stuff out, I would explode. I will be more normal with my next post, I promise. Maybe I’ll tell a story or something. Who wants to read B rate free-written philosophical garbage? I have no idea what I just pounded out on the keyboard. Ugh…. Obviously I am overwhelmed and I just need to sleep.