Confessions of a Cave Dweller

Dirty Mitsu Diaries, Episode Thursday: Turntablism and Temptation

Microphone check, one-two, one-two…

Hello kids; I know, I know…it has been almost forever again since I last posted. Life has been extraordinarily full these last months. You may be wondering why I named this post as I have. It came to me as I was driving into the office this morning and yes, the Mitsubishi is dirty. So what about the turntablism and temptation part, you ask? Let me explain.

First let me say that I am unashamedly Christian. That means that I believe in the sovereignty of God, the purity of Christ, and the power of the Holy Spirit. We could get into a discussion of my beliefs, but this is neither the time or place. Suffice it to say that I try to live a life that exemplifies the teachings of God. That said, I do spend time reading the Bible and Bible-related texts (commentaries, books not included in the non-Catholic canon such as the Apochrypha and the Book of Enoch to name a few) as well as various faith-inspired devotionals. I read one yesterday about temptation and have been thinking about it ever since.

The point of the particular devotional was that we should avoid those things which cause us temptation. Now, I happen to agree with  the Apostle Paul who suggests that we should not fault another for being tempted by certain things that do not tempt us. He tells us in Romans 14 that there are things that face all of us  1) so we are in no position to judge and 2) we all have answer individually for the things we have done.

So I was drawn back to remembering a conversation I had with a sister in Christ some many months ago. She mentioned something about gaining comfort from driving and listening to spirituals and hymns, and that I should do that whenever I get stressed out or whatever. Now I have absolutely nothing against driving and listening to “Christian music” and have myself done so on occasion. However, I explained to my friend that I find my comfort through listening to House music and various DJ mixes in my car. She was shocked, as if this was one of the most ‘un-Christian’ things I could be doing with my time.

All this brings me back to my morning drive today. I was listening to two of my favorite mix masters–or to use more current vernacular, turntablists–DJ Krush and DJ Shadow. I drive with my windows open, which necessitates a certain decibel level for effectiveness. As someone who spent an enormous amount of her free time during her undergraduate years on-air at the campus radio station, I am passionate about the beat, the mix, the drop. I rock my neck to the rhythm while I drive. Such an exercise in the morning prepares me for the day ahead, while it relaxes me on the drive home in the evening.

But there is more to it than the beat, the mix, the drop; in the cut you might find lyrics or samples, some of which contain words that one would not say in church.

Does being unashamedly Christian as well as a closet turntablist equal oil and water? I hope so, particularly if it’s blessed oil and the Water of life to someone.

I am not tempted to start shouting four-letter words because of something that shows up in a mix. Watch television sometime and you will probably hear worse than what is thumping through my speakers. Am I justifying such language? Absolutely not. Everyone who knows me also knows that I am no fan of cursing. However, what I am a fan of is the brilliance and technical skill of folks like Krush and Shadow. I hope to one day find time to create my own mixes that do not include some of those “forbidden” words, just to show that you can be down, hip, on, right, and righteous all at the same time.

Do I judge them for their choice of samples? Nope. Do I smile when a sample is particularly fierce, even if it contains some language I could do without? Yup. So to sum it up, let me sample Brother Paul right quick:

If we live, we live for the Lord; and if we die, we die for the Lord. So, whether we live or die, we belong to the Lord…  You, then, why do you judge your brother or sister? Or why do you treat them with contempt? For we will all stand before God’s judgment seat… So then, each of us will give an account of ourselves to God… Therefore let us stop passing judgment on one another. Instead, make up your mind not to put any stumbling block or obstacle in the way of a brother or sister.

Ya dig?

Thursday, August 9th, 2012 Confessions of a Cave Dweller No Comments

Zero: Easter Sunday

“Happy Easter Sunday”–isn’t that what we say? Yes, those of us traveling in Christian circles tend to say that, suggesting that we are pleased that Jesus rose.

For me today marks the end, officially, of my Lenten journey. I learned that yes, I can survive without chocolate, that in fact it was not the necessity I thought it was. In essence, I broke an addiction. Yay, me. However, through my efforts to fast from hate I discovered that I am probably depressed. I am emotionally weary. Yet still, yay me for getting to that point of recognition. And now the journey begins…

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Monday, April 9th, 2012 Confessions of a Cave Dweller 1 Comment

Lenten Countdown: 2

The day after tomorrow is Easter Sunday. If your math skills are on par, you should have figured that I am writing this on Good Friday. Despite its faith-based significance, it has actually been a good Friday; we talked with distant friends today and that generally made me happy. I even snuck in a bit of leisurely reading–something I have been taking the time to do more since Lent began.

But if asked about what changes have been he result of this year’s Lenten celebration, I would be lying if I said I’d had any great, positive epiphanies. This has been a tough Lent. I have found a very ugly interior hole and am struggling with its repair. Recognition, however, is a first step to healing and that gives me hope.

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Saturday, April 7th, 2012 Confessions of a Cave Dweller No Comments

Lenten Countdown: 5

I am reading Masterson’s 40 Days Without Food and in it he documents his journey on a 40 day fast; he describes what he learned through the process. I am only about 20% into it but I am struck by the new clarity about various non-food aspects of life.

My Lenten ‘give-ups’ are chocolate and hate; as I mentioned, the easy one was chocolate. I’m still working on the hate part but find that I have found quite a bit of clarity through the process. I realize how many issues cause me to experience intense emotion, particularly those things which relate to other things. For example, I watched Spike Lee’s “Malcolm X” earlier–I can’t make it through without crying, and today was no exception. I get stuck during the scene that is accompanied by “Change Gonna Come” (in fact, I just turned it on from Youtube while I write this…) but I become a real mess during the Ossie Davis eulogy part of the movie. Even the words move me. Then, I flip over to the news and watch more about the shooting at Oikos College. Where’s that change, Sam?

I must act, I must stand up; where are our heroes today, those who give hope to the hopeless? The young man who shot those people on the college campus is said to have retaliated for being picked on. Brother Malcolm and many others through time have been taken away for their part in the fight for equity.

I told my husband, as I wiped tears from my eyes during the movie, that if I ever had the pleasure of meeting Mr. Spike Lee, I’d have to tell him both how much I admire him for his talent and skill at weaving a story together and how much I hate him for his talent and skill at weaving a story together. I want to be like Mr. Lee when and if I ever grow up.

If I had talent like Mr. Lee, I could channel my desire for chocolate and my sin of hate into something meaningful. If I had talent like Mr. Lee, maybe I could make some significant change in the world around me.

I still have five days to figure out how to get there…

Wednesday, April 4th, 2012 Confessions of a Cave Dweller No Comments

Worth Remembering

I am sitting on the floor in my living room, watching NBC News with music playing in the background and a brown dog looking lovingly into my eyes. Despite all that activity, I sit here contemplating Lent, love, friendship, and loss. I continue to miss my greatest friend, Don Buchanan on this, the day before he came and went. In that space between spaces, I see him from time to time; the last occasion was in a dream, the specifics of which I no longer remember. Nonetheless, it was a good and familiar reunion.

Tomorrow will mark four years since Don left. What was April 1 like? I pray that it was a day of peace, despite the departure that soon followed. I comfort myself, selfishly, with that thought. I believe it wholeheartedly, particularly since the Don who happens into those spaces between spaces occasionally is smiling, content, and seems glad I stopped by for a visit.

It has been about 20 years since last I heard Don’s voice and he rarely talks when our spaces between spaces meet these days; the spoken word becomes nonessential at those times. What is important is the emotion, the feeling that comes when true friends, separated for a while, reunite; it is as if only a moment has passed since last we stood in the glow of one another’s aura.

I send extra prayers and positivity to the family as tomorrow dawns with memories. My knowing cannot compare to yours, but I pray that you are well and are finding some comfort through our tangential connection, through pleasant memories, and through loves shared.

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Monday, April 2nd, 2012 Confessions of a Cave Dweller No Comments

Lenten Countdown: 12

According to my abysmal mathematical skills, it is as of today 12 days until the end of Lent. So what does that mean, particularly if Lent means nothing to you (at least that you know of)?

When folks say “Lent,” they commonly talk about the things they’ve given up. For a fabulous post on why it’s more than that, click here to read from the Washington Post. I ask that you take a moment to read the post and then indulge me as I share with you what I gave up and why I’m writing about it now.

Why?

There are many reasons why folks give up things for Lent. The idea is that we are taking a short period to step away from our usual distractions in order to focus on our walk with Christ; I know that I am reminded at this time about the fact that no hardship I have will even come close to comparing to the walk Christ took for me. However, cutting out a vice or two for 40 days can seem like hell, so that’s part of why I give up something. Thanks to a series of circumstances, I decided to give up two things this year–one that is completely silly and one that is quite serious.

Chocolate

Yep, I gave up chocolate for Lent. Haven’t touched the stuff since Fat Tuesday. Even had a nightmare the other night that I’d bought a bag of M&M’s and as I started munching, was struck with horror since it was still the Lenten season. Corny, yes, I know.

However, when one’s focus is consumed by a desire for something, it might behoove one to step away from it in order to get a better perspective. I was at a point that I had to have chocolate every day. Even if it was just a little nosh, I had to have it. Was I giving that sort of attention to my faith or my family? Hmmm. The chocolate had to go.

I am pleased to say that, other than the nightmare, I’ve had no desire for that treat every day. I even have some chocolate in the house. I must admit however, that I was ever so slightly jealous as I watched my husband eat the dark chocolate-covered cherries, but it’s okay because the chocolatiers will make more. No biggie. And there is still a bag of chocolate-covered cashews in the fridge, should I get the urge 13 days from now.

That’s what makes giving up things like chocolate silly. While it could become a dangerous vice if I suddenly replace all real food with chocolate or if I develop issues with blood sugar, I can pick up and put down chocolate on a whim. It is not, at this point in my life, a game-changer. However, the very act of walking away from it in order to focus on the important things in my life is the reminder I needed. Unless I have an extremely interesting chocolate nightmare in the next 12 days, I shouldn’t need to speak on this one again.

Hate

The second thing I decided to give up was hate. Your eyes do not deceive you–that’s right. I needed to give up hate. Now by this I don’t mean the general sort, like “Dude, I so hate global warming (said with a dramatic eye roll and followed by a sucking of teeth).” I mean the all-consuming sort of hate that leads to terrible things toward another. Nope, not just a random passer-by either. This one was real. For Lent, I had to fast from hatred toward my very own son.

It has been said that powerful ways-of-being often stand in juxtaposition to one another: love/hate, sanity/insanity, faith/lack of, etc.

Due to circumstances too detailed to outline here, suffice it to say that my one and only child had stepped across a line that no child should cross. At least not with me. Or anyone I know. I had reached a point of nearly no return and then it was Lent. How could I focus on my faith walk while carrying a big steaming pile of hate? I had to fast from hate or this thing was not going to work. Like Masterson says in his book, a “layer of comfort” typically covers our “stuff” and quite frankly, hate had become a very comfy blanket over my stuff. To briefly channel Masterson again, I had to get to a point where I could see God’s grace, even in the face of actions I found to be deplorable.

In the course of this part of my Lenten journey, I have found it necessary to separate myself. I seek to hold on until He blesses me, and unfortunately I have been (and AM BEING) dragged through some pretty awful places as I hang on and wrestle with this thing. It is a lonely, unpleasant, dirty journey, as I am sure wrestling through darkness with an angel must have been. And instead of an out-of-socket hip, I hope to come out on the other end with an out-of-socket love. As I mentioned in a Google+ response to a post, I haven’t managed to completely fast hate and instead have made it to general disdain. I pray that by the end of the countdown I will have found my way a bit closer to love.

Monday, March 26th, 2012 Confessions of a Cave Dweller No Comments

Get Started with Annotum

Get Started.

Maybe it’s the name, or something else, but I stumbled upon this site from Knol and decided to snoop around. For those interested in sharing their writing, getting involved in a bit of peer review, or just having some online literary fun, check it out.

Tuesday, February 21st, 2012 Confessions of a Cave Dweller No Comments

Dreaming of You…

I believe that, in our times of distress, God parts the eternal curtain and allows our non-tangible selves to meet with loved ones who are already in His presence. I would submit that such meetings occur in the haze of our dream life. I have had a trying couple of weeks, filled with upset, hurt, fear, despair; I had a dream and in it my most wonderful of friends showed up–Don Buchanan. He was as I remembered from so many years ago, smiling and leather-jacketed. I could feel the texture of his hand, warm and guitar-playing tough. We talked of I don’t remember what, and I woke up, sad and missing him still, but better for having seen him. I can only imagine how his family feels based on the void I have carried since the early 90s that stayed in the background as a dull ache while I carried hope of seeing him again in this place. Now, I am left spent, randomly leaking tears of loss, regretting the span of time and the ‘should haves’ that cannot now even be embarrassingly laughed about.
But occasionally I can meet him again, as we were over two decades ago, as if time and space had held their breath for us. My heart breaks still and yet I hope to one day embrace my most wonderful friend again when we meet at the Great Crossroad…
I hope that on your side, you felt the warmth of my hand too. Look for me, when my time comes, so we can once again laugh together, when time and distance and existence will separate no more.

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Friday, February 17th, 2012 Confessions of a Cave Dweller No Comments

Remembering

Hello kids. Remember me?

It’s been a while since I’ve visited the cave, primarily because I’ve been so involved in so many things that I have barely been able to find myself these days.

As we stand on the edge of April, I am brought back to my memories. I lean over the precipice of sorrow; April 2 marks another anniversary of the day that my most excellent friend, Don Buchanan, left this existence. I am saddened still to know that I will not have a chance while I am still here to see him again, to laugh with him again, to enjoy his warm and sharp wit.

Since the beginning of the year I have been taking a class at my university; this week we were given an assignment to write a psalm of lament. I wrote my psalm about my sorrow (and general upset and anger at Death) about you, my friend. Know that you are loved and remembered and that I look forward to the day that we will meet again on the other side of the River. I am sure that you will be there, somewhere.

Friday, April 1st, 2011 Confessions of a Cave Dweller No Comments

From San Bernardino to Phoenix

Hello kiddies!

It has been just about forever since I’ve posted here; actually I’ve posted in a few other places but not here. Anyway, I’m sitting in Phoenix Sky Harbor airport on my way to Philly International. I’ve got a two hour layover so it seemed the best time to share the story of my trip so far.

My plan was to get on the plane in Ontario CA, fly as quietly as possible to Phoenix AZ, and sleep for as long as possible on the flight to Philly PA since I’ve got a full day planned after landing at 6am.

And then I got on the plane in Ontario.

It was just about empty, which was a surprise. I’ve never been on a flight that had so many empty seats and I am hopeful that I won’t be cramped in on the way to Philly; last check however the plane is basically full I think (hope I was just looking at the image wrong). As I approached my seat, 10D, I was greeted by a beatific smile of my new row-mate, who turned out to be Brian. Brian said he was from the Philly area but was originally from Kentucky. The accent gave that away immediately. He shared that he has about a zillion airline miles and almost as many miles on his car from work-related travel. His nickname is “Bruce Bruce” and he likes various Philly-area R&B music. Brian is a Christian and so we talked about the Lord. Although we are both headed to Philly, he managed to get a multi-airline situation which took him out of the US Air terminal and off to whatever airline was connecting through I-forgot-where to Philly.

Did I mention the flight left Ontario at around 7pm?

On an average Thursday, I get off work at either 7 or 8pm. This week is one of my 7pm weeks and typically at the time the plane was hurdling down the runway I am quietly driving home. Just music, no conversation.

Today was not a typical Thursday. I was in conversation all the way from before take-off to after landing. There is quite a crowd here by the gate from which my next flight will leave, so I think I’ll be mashed in the flying tube with a whole bunch of folks. Hopefully none of my row mates will be the guy who just walked by, talking to himself.

Brian shared that he had graduated from a Christian college (that piece of conversation was sparked by my Azusa Pacific University bag I’m sure) and that he’s spent time preaching. He described himself as essentially a work in progress. Aren’t we all.

I prayed with Brian before taking off for the gate from which my flight will leave in two hours. I prayed that both of us would be safe and be returned to our families safely. I mentioned that God brings His children together in the most unlikely places for the most unlikely reasons, and that hopefully our conversation was purposeful.

Sometimes it is important to put ourselves aside and be more than a silent fellow traveler through this life’s journey. I’m still looking forward to that nap, but am not upset about the not-so-silent trip to Phoenix. If I’ve touched a life in a positive way, then I guess I’m doing exactly what I’m supposed to.

Until the next installment…

Friday, November 5th, 2010 Confessions of a Cave Dweller No Comments