Soul Music

A group of fifteen were gathered on a Wednesday night in the basement of a golden brick church; their singing was accompanied by a keyboard, a string base, and a worn guitar.  In front of me sat four women, living on the edge of middle and old age, bellowing with great volume while struggling to follow the song leader.

To my right a young grandmother held her young granddaughter.  She rocked the girl back and forth as she breathed life into each word of each melody.  She understood written words, based in scripture, weren't just real; they were sacred and specially designed. 

Across the aisle sat an older gentleman.  I couldn't help but watch him.  He was forced to take hold of his own hand in order to control the ticks and tremors. The rough, unpracticed music seemed to calm him. 

To my left sat my parents.  They requested my attendance at this informal worship service.  I initially protested.  My mom and dad sang and read aloud, held hands, and hugged each other.  I couldn't help but feel a bit invisible, like my presence was unnoticed.

It's not that I was unwelcome.  The intimacy of that half-hour removed any exclusion; the intimacy removed personal identity. We were all there independent of one another but invested in the same God.  It was hard to understand why I was being moved by such an uncontemporary version of contemporary worship, but as the last song was played the small crowd rose to their feet.   Everyone was tapping their toes and clapping their hands, soulfully and joyfully off-beat.   I scanned the group and found perfection radiating from their smiles.  I would argue with anyone who called them simple, yet these people renewed their faith, and my own, by the "simplicity" of their worship.  Humble? Maybe.  Beautiful?  Undoubtedly so.

Written September 27, 2008

Study of Human Mating Rituals

The following is a scientific journal excerpt, written by Dr. Les Ismorr (1791), describes observational findings and researched facts about the mating habits of people, specifically man-folk:   

The human male has learned to expel great amounts of time and energy in order to attract a mate. Due to generational preferences, we see a wide variety of courtship rituals among this population of humans.  Though it is in the youngest generation of matured males we observe the most elaborate behaviors.

One courtship behavior documented in a small percentage of males is the practice of expressing approval of a female by yelling, honking, whistling, barking, and/or gesturing from an automobile. (For more information on the automobile, see Appendix A.)  Often validated by other male companions, or playmates, the human male indubitably interprets such courtship behaviors as fruitful.  Unaware of the detrimental effect this conduct has on their attempts at finding a suitable female, males quickly develop a false sense of confidence.  This brash assurance later causes this group of males to make increasingly impulsive decisions in regards to finding a female, frequently yielding no reward. 

Ismorr, L, Dr. (1791, Septembruary). Animal Behavior: Mating Rituals of 
the Immature Human Male.  Journal of Completely 
Legitimate Observations, 44(55), 22-33. 

It's the Quiet Ones You Have to Worry About

It was a normal day at work.  As I was emailing in the office I could hear clients chattering in the background and music playing (at a slightly louder than acceptable volume, I might add).  The security cameras were down, so a technician had arrived to remedy our situation.  For the first hour or so he worked quietly, occasionally mumbling a word or two out of frustration.  Finally, after stewing in the awkward reality that we were both sharing the same small space and yet not saying a word to each other, I decided to inquire about his progress.  (To be completely honest, I didn’t care about the progress, but I asked out of social obligation.)  What I didn’t realize was that my simple question would fuel a rant lasting more than a half hour.
You see, this technician had a very important agenda once I opened that can of worms.  For the next 30 minutes it was his duty to educate me about the security threats the World Wide Web so richly cultivates.  This technician described countless examples of how each computer owning citizen on this globe is being tracked.  Our information is being harvested and hijacked in order to promote and feed governmental agencies as well as internet companies and the entertainment industry.  Yes.  This is true.  The internet is used to gather information about its users, no matter how ethical or unethical it is, but this gentleman was one Julia Roberts short of starring in his own version of Conspiracy Theory. 
I learned about his family in that half hour.  I learned that he was networking computers throughout his house, even his children’s rooms, before broadband existed.  I learned that he purposely sabotages certain standard computer programs to dissolve any unwanted barnacle-like programs that might encrust themselves on his hard drive.   He was candid about the precautions he takes.  He was almost proud to share his tips and techniques.  He was also very fond of his homemade recipe of software he had cooked up to save him from “Big Brothers” always watchful eye. 
In all reality, there are a lot of sketchy practices when it comes to the internet.  The internet has great power in today’s culture, meaning it also has a great responsibility to protect its users and not take advantage of them.  The problem is there is a lack of accountability for the big wigs sitting pretty in their cyber mansions.  So…here’s to you, Big Brother; I know you're reading this.