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Monthly Archives: August 2007

This is an excerpt from Natural High 3, which you can find out more about by going to www.sundtmemorial.com. Video via www.switchfoot.com.

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Along the lines of the last post comes this entry from my journal made last year around this same time. It’s one of my favorite “a-ha” moments ever. I scribbled it down in the middle of the night, but I hope it makes sense. 🙂

Thursday, September 7, 2006:

[…]

The parish at St. Nicholas has been very warm in its welcome. Great conversations with several people, with one of the most memorable surely being with Annie, a student at Virginia Tech. Our discussion, lasting long into Sunday afternoon, has led to one of the most profound realizations of my entire life.

And, I say “profound” not because of the depth of my intellect—no. Rather this revelation is having a profound impact on me. I dare say—I dare to hope—that it will..that it is…changing my life.

In our discussion, we ended up on the topic of psychological therapy. She noted that simple behavior modification is empty due to the fact that, if the subject at any time returns to his old habits, he’s ruined. Cognitive therapy, on the other hand, requires the subject to change the way they think—the way they perceive what they are doing. This idea of changing perspectives has stuck with me since we talked about it.

This is Christian transformation. In Romans 12:2, St. Paul commands that we are to be transformed by the renewing of our minds. “Mind” is actually the Greek word “nous,” which is in truth the very soul of a person. So, change your perspective on what you do, take it to your soul and make the change at that level. This is the transformation that must take place!

First time ever in my life I’ve truly felt the instruction of that verse. And, I’m trying to apply it….

…and I’m still trying.

God give me grace.

In my Medieval Philosophy class today, we discussed Plotinus’s writings on the descent of the soul. As Dr. Kress was breaking down Plotinus’s view of the cosmos, soul, body, etc., he placed on the board the Greek phrase which he told us was the best description of humans coming from the standard Greek point-of-view.

“zoon logon echon”

“This translates to ‘living beings with logos.’ Logos,” Dr. Kress told us, “is ‘speech’ or ‘intellect.’ The Latin equivalent would be ‘rational human beings.’

Yet, I know (as does my instructor) that logos is also “word.” And, the Logos is the Word of God, who is Christ. Now, if we’re defined as “living beings with logos,” what does that mean for us if we don’t know Christ?

If you ask me, it’s the clearest demonstration that there is a “God-shaped hole in all of us.” We are made to follow Christ, to desire Him, indeed, to commune with Him. If He is absent from us, then we are missing an integral part of what makes us us. Without Him, we have no completeness of life. Essentially, we have no life at all.

I love it how ancient teachings and ideas, especially in scientific or philosophical matters, line up perfectly with the truth of the Gospel.

Yesterday, I went to a psychologist to be tested and re-certified as having ADHD. The battery of tests included an IQ test, a personal history, and a couple of other things.   This is required (and was paid for) by an organization which will hopefully help me pay for school.  At any rate, here are a few moments from the session:

Me:
And, then, I lived on my own for a year and racked up eight thousand dollars in debt.
Dr. B:
How’d you manage that?
Me:
I applied for a credit card and accidentally hit the Submit button twice.  They sent me two cards with a four thousand limit for each.
Dr. B:
So, you accumulated eight thousand, not eighty thousand?
Me:
Yes, only eight. lol  [Though, I couldn’t help but think how one might go 80k in the red in as much time.)

(In a series of trivial questions)
Dr. B:
Who wrote Hamlet?
Me: 
(actual answer) Shakespeare.
(initial thought)  Francis Bacon!

(Same as above)
Dr. B:
What is the meaning of the expression, “One swallow does not make a whole summer”?
Me:
(actual answer) Hmmm…I’m not sure. I’ve never heard that one.
(initial thought) Is the swallow African or European?

This is from my friend Jill. Check out her Ears to Hear music podcast.

My Educational Psychology textbook says this:

“Studies have found that children who make extensive use of private speech learn complex tasks more effectively than do other children.”

In other words, talking to yourself makes you smarter.

I knew it.

Your study buddy,
J. Lawton, M.D.

I’ve performed a much needed update to the About page.  You can now also find a link to my contact page, which you may utilize at your peril or whimsy, however you prefer to think of it.  🙂

Now…Plotinus on Beauty, then bed.

Adults don’t understand anymore what it means to be a nerd. Have you noticed this? “Nerd,” somehow, has become a badge of honor. You meet all kinds of people who say proudly that they were nerds in high school. It’s like…anybody who had anything that made them feel different now says that they were a nerd. And that population—the population that thinks that it was different—that’s, like, everybody who went to high school. You know: people who were chubby, people who were in band, people who liked comic books, people who just didn’t…drink… I’ve met people who were actually popular, who actually had a social circle and boyfriends or girlfriends, who now claim they were nerds. That is just…wrong. I believe that we have forgotten the sweaty, unsexy, cringe-inducing face of hardcore nerd-dom.

-Ira Glass, This American Life #338, “The Spokesman”

Here is what some famous people would have said about waking up for an 8:00 A.M. class, if they had thought about it:
–ALBERT EINSTEIN: The amount of energy expended in waking up in the morning can be determined by multiplying the mass of the classes you had yesterday by the number of classes you have today, divided by the number of hours of sleep you got last night—and adding the speed of light for no good reason.
–FREDERICH NIETZSCHE: The truly powerful man doesn’t need to wake up. He has someone else to do it for him.
–ALBERT CAMUS: Why wake up? You’re just going to die.
–BILL CLINTON: What do you mean by “wake up?”
–CONFUCIUS: Do not wake if you mean merely to go back to sleep. on the other hand, do not go to sleep if you will not wake up. Is anyone writing this down?
–BUDDHA: How can you ever know that you are really getting up and not just dreaming that you’re getting up?
–DENNIS RODMAN: *#*%%#$!
–SALVADOR DALI: Please help me. My eyes have turned to spiders, and I am melting.

Zach Arrington, Confessions of a College Freshman

Jeffrey
On a late-September night in 1996, Dark Side Of The Moon blared from the stereo in my brother’s room as he gathered things he would need to enter rehab. It was his first trip, and my family had been given news of his drug addiction a week before. Our emotions that night weren’t just stirred or shaken. To be honest, I can’t think of a way to describe how we felt.

As the music played on toward the end of the record, my dad began weeping, quickly escalating into forceful (though brief) sobbing. “What’s wrong?” I remember asking.

My dad, between tears and gasps for breath, mournfully stated, “He had to play that song.”

“Well, it’s one of his favorites, dad. Why wouldn’t he?”

“It’s not that. I’m just so scared that it’s true: that he’s heading to the dark side of the moon, and he won’t ever be back.”

So far, he has been wrong.

But, based on an angering discovery made this evening, it looks like he might be well on his way. And it’s so ironic that I was listening to the CD for the first time in months, simply because I wanted to listen to it. And, as I often do when I hear the final two songs, I thought back to that night…

Prayers for my brother Jeffrey and our family would be so greatly appreciated.


Brain Damage/Eclipse
words by Roger Waters

The lunatic is on the grass
The lunatic is on the grass
Remembering games and daisy chains and laughs
Got to keep the loonies on the path

The lunatic is in the hall
The lunatics are in my hall
The paper holds their folded faces to the floor
And every day the paper boy brings more

And if the dam breaks open many years too soon
And if there is no room upon the hill
And if your head explodes with dark forebodings too
I’ll see you on the dark side of the moon

The lunatic is in my head
The lunatic is in my head
You raise the blade, you make the change
You rearrange me ’til I’m sane
You lock the door and throw away the key
There’s someone in my head but it’s not me

And if the cloud bursts, thunder in your ear
You shout and no one seems to hear
And if the band you’re in starts playing different tunes
I’ll see you on the dark side of the moon

All that you touch and all that you see
All that you taste, all you feel

And all that you love and all that you hate
All you distrust, all you save

And all that you give and all that you deal
And all that you buy, beg, borrow or steal

And all you create and all you destroy
And all that you do and all that you say

And all that you eat and everyone you meet
And all that you slight and everyone you fight

And all that is now and all that is gone
And all that’s to come and everything under the sun is in tune
But the sun is eclipsed by the moon

Switchfoot @ Bijou

Over and over again, I make references to the band Switchfoot on this blog. Lyrics, song titles, entire songs, quotations, pictures. I’m sure some of you wonder if I ever listen to anything else. And, I do. But, so often, these songs by this little band from San Diego affect me greatly. They make me angry, cry, want to change, and they make me think. And this thinking is not just about myself, but about life, about the world, about problems we all face, and about so many other things.

Tonight, I am in the process of listening to their first album for the first time. And, with this listening, the invariable punch in the face….


You (Always Something)
words by Jon Foreman

There’s always something in the way
There’s always something getting through
But it’s not me
It’s You, it’s You

Sometimes ignorance rings true
But hope is not in what i know
It’s not in me
It’s in You, it’s in You

It’s all I know
I find peace when I’m confused
I find hope when I’m let down
Not in me
In You
It’s in you

I hope to lose myself for good
I hope to find it in the end
Not in me
In You
In You

It’s all I know

In You
In You
It’s in You
In You
There’s always something in the way
There’s always something getting through
But it’s not me
It’s You
It’s You
It’s You (It’s all I know)
It’s You (It’s all I know)