Work v. Play

If you grew up in a Jewish or Christian household, you've heard the phrase "keep holy the sabbath" before. For both religions, a big part of this is to not do work on one day of the weekend.  For Jews, this is Saturday; for Christians, this is Sunday (the Lord's Day). For the sake of keeping things easily readable and as accurate as I can write them, I'm going to continue this post from the Christian tradition.  Side note: if the difference in days piques your interest, check out this passage of a book that chronicles the history of the Christian Sunday (and partially inspired this post) or this article. From the outset, this command seems pretty simple. Don't clock in to your job on a Sunday, or if you're a student, don't do your homework on a Sunday. Of course, there are some exceptions like nurses, firemen, police officers, etc. But, for most of us, we aren't exempt from the "no work" command.

I know there might not seem to be much mo…

Dealing with Norms

It's not uncommon to hear phrases containing the "pull yourself up by your bootstraps and just do it" mentality. The motivational "you can do whatever you set your mind to" also comes to mind. These aren't inherently bad phrases. They call out complacency and remind you that not everything is going to just fall into your lap. But, as most quick phrases go, they aren't one-size-fits-all and tend to downplay just how extraordinary such an act actually is. There's a reason why the reluctance exists in the first place, and telling someone "get up and do it" isn't necessarily going to do the trick.

While a lot plays into why we can find it hard to do or be what we'd like, I want to hone in on one: norms. Frequently talked about within public health circles, I couldn't help but share it here. Now, I'm not going to take on the whole "our society is awful" approach. That isn't very tangible, and I don't know about…

What Am I Supporting?

Sometimes, you hear people say they won't support a certain store because it backs an organization or promotes an image they do not agree with. Or maybe someone tries to only buy local products, or at least things that are American made. Another thing people might be conscientious about is buying clothing that doesn't come from sweatshops. All of the people who are doing these things at one point or another asked themselves this question: "What am I supporting by choosing to consume this product?"  Over the course of my college career, I've found myself asking that question in various ways. After all, that's where the question was first posed to me at a time that I felt I had the ability to act on it. While the question of support sounds pretty self-explanatory, I want to spell out what I mean by it. What we buy things from, we fund and thus contribute to their ability to stay in operation. Give them enough support, and they get the message that they're d…

How I Got Goals Wrong

As I mentioned in my first blog post of the year, I don't really do the resolution thing.  To be honest, I haven't really done the whole goal thing.  My rationale was that goals are usually overly ambitious resulting in them not being met, and if I want something enough, I'll do it without needing to really articulate it.  But, every spring I find myself writing a big goal list for the upcoming summer.  It usually features things like "read x books," "finish project y that I started a year ago," and "exercise z times per week," for example.  And, every year, I'd meet maybe half of these goals, further providing evidence to myself that goal-setting doesn't work for me.

  But recently, I had a light bulb moment.  It isn't that goal-setting doesn't work for me - I just haven't been doing it right.  It took 3 rounds of me being exposed to the right approach for it to click.  So, what needed fixing?  Recognizing goals and obje…

A Different Type of Virus

A couple months back, a friend lent me a sizable book titled The Coming Plague that chronicles the journeys of epidemiologists who confronted diseases that were new as of the 20th century. So far, I've read about the discoveries of Lassa, Machupo, and Ebola. Now, I'm exploring various strains of influenza (P.S. Swine flu was/is actually pretty terrifying and now I understand why people were freaking out about it). While reading about this specific virus, a thought struck me: heresy actually parallels influenza viruses pretty dang well. Before I get into it, I'm going to quote a couple of paragraphs I read that brought about this realization.

When the [influenza] virus reproduced itself, the chromosomes had to unwind and make duplicate sets of their proteins and RNA. In the process, parts of one chromosome might overlap with another, extraneous bits of RNA from the cell in which the virus resided might get copied as well, and the whole mess would be reassorted and reassemble…

A Heavy Silence

It is easy to forget the heavy silence that had existed between the first Good Friday and Easter Sunday.  To limit the sorrows and adoration of the Passion to Friday and focus on the upcoming resurrection after Friday's service.  In doing so, we inadvertently skip over the fact that God let Jesus lay in the tomb for a full day and a half.  For a day and a half, God was utterly silent.  For a day and a half, darkness appeared to have won.  We often meditate on Christ dying, but rarely sit with Christ's death.  
In response, I wanted to write a reflection of both.  I'll be drawing from three different sources whose links can be found at the bottom of this post.
Sitting in the Silence What had I done before the silence?  My God sweat blood out of anxiety and anguish knowing one of his own would soon betray him.  That I, a trusted friend, decided maybe $90, $200, or $3,000 was worth ending his transformative ministry and handing him over to a brutal death.  Oh, how readily I s…

Dark Corners

Everyone have a part of themselves they would rather keep to themselves.  That part that's referred to as your "dark side."  In that corner of our hearts, we keep those memories of times we've failed others or ourselves, those faults that define the chasm between who we are and who we want to be, those desires that we know are not good.  We keep these things in that corner with a determination to keep anyone from finding them.  Maybe we hope that if they stay there long enough, we won't be able to find them either.  We tell ourselves that these things are unlovable and will in turn keep us from being loved.

We decide these parts of ourselves are the darkness.  Perhaps we believe that whatever touches them will be stained by their darkness.  So, they need to be kept in hiding to protect others from being hurt by our own pain and failings.  Or maybe we believe that no one would want to be near such darkness.  That once it is discovered, those whom we care about wil…