Browsing articles from "June, 2011"
Jun 23, 2011

What I Believe

I don’t talk about my faith very much on the Internet. I think it’s because I have this idea that I want you to see me, not my beliefs, but I’m starting to learn (even if I’m, oh, 25 years late on this one) that my beliefs are me. I act this way because of what I believe. I react to you that way because of what I believe.

I don’t list my religion on Facebook because I can’t find a term that seems to fit. “Christian” is too generic. “Evangelical” seems politically charged. I don’t have a distinct denominational affiliation, so that won’t work either.  I don’t want to look like I’m waving my little bit of knowledge around by listing my favorite doctrine or theological term. Listing myself as “slave to the Most High Creator of The Whole Universe  i am but a lowly worm” looks a bit overkill. Besides, I wasn’t a pastoral major. (Moody joke. Rimshot.)

I don’t list my faith in my Twitter profile. I only have 160 characters there, so I had to get the important things in. You know, the part where I say I like food.

I think I was going for something like “win them without a tweet”.

Everything was just fine, until I had a rude awakening the other night. I tweeted about my little sister, who is braver than I am, and who can’t help but talk about her Jesus. Some Guy saw the tweet, clicked her profile, and read this: Student at Moody Bible Institute// Lover of Youth Ministry// Follower of the only God// General havoc wreaker

Now, my tweet concerned the most amazing robot earrings in the whole world which my little sister had just given me, not anyone’s beliefs. But Some Guy didn’t comment on the earrings. He responded to my tweet with “Follower of the only God? #lololololololololol #readasciencebook”.

When I saw that, my first reaction was to try to kill the guy. How dare he pick on my little sister? But I knew yelling wouldn’t get me anywhere. So I told him that Twitter was for being nice, and he should try that. I also said that he didn’t have to follow me if he didn’t like my beliefs, he didn’t have to follow me. That’s when he said it.

He said “Oh, sorry. I didn’t know they were your beliefs too.”

Ok. First of all, let’s set aside the fact that he thought I’d be all for him making fun of my little sister’s beliefs that I didn’t share. That he thought he and I could have a little hashtag heckle-fest at my little sister’s expense. Nod knowingly at her ignorance. My little sister. Maybe he’s an only child. Maybe he doesn’t get the whole sister thing. Maybe. Anyway.

The point is, he had no idea that I am a Christian.

I don’t know how long Some Guy has been following me. Maybe it’s only been a few days. But whatever. I’m not really leaking the love of Christ like I thought I was. Nobody’s getting saved by osmosis here.

Worse, no one even knows. I have all these Twitter friends, and they can only make a half-hearted guess at the most important thing in my life. But hey, they know my position on oxford commas and falafel. (Yes and yes.)

So, in case you were wondering, here it is. This is what I believe.

I believe that we were created for fellowship with God, and we broke that fellowship.

I believe that Jesus Christ is the Son of God, who lived a perfect life as fully man and fully God. He died because he loves us, and because his sacrifice was the only way to repair the relationship that we broke.

I believe that the Bible is the true, inerrant word of God.

I believe in the one true God, maker of Heaven and Earth.

That’s the brunt of it. There’s more, really. Lots more. But these are the four things that I’m not going to fudge on, and I’m not going to argue about.

Honestly, I don’t know how I’m going to change my behavior on the Internet. I’m not a theology blogger, and I’m not a Christian-living blogger, and I don’t tweet C.S. Lewis quotes all day long. I don’t plan to be or do any of those things. I usually avoid any real depth of feeling at all. I assume you’d rather read funny little stories about my conversation with the Falafel Man then hear about the depths of my soul. That bit’s private. I’m not sure what I want the balance to be. I’m not sure what it should be. Maybe I’m using this post as a cop-out because I’m scared of what would happen if I did tweet C.S. Lewis quotes all day. Or lived 100% authentically on all fronts.

Anyway, something’s got to give. I’m afraid of being mistaken for someone I’m not.

Jun 15, 2011

This is Why I Don’t Blog

Id: I’m hungry.

Ego: Just remember, you have to blog over lunch. You put it off yesterday and the day before that.

Id: But I want to run around and yell!

Ego: Jesse, be a grown up.

Id: Blogging isn’t grown-up. Babies blog. I want to run around and yell!

Ego: Jesse. Seriously. You’re not allowed to go to lunch if you don’t blog.

Id: You’re not the boss of me. I know where you put my lunch.

Ego: OK, if you can think of a realllllly good reason not to blog, then you can have your lunch. But you can’t run around and yell.

Id: Twitter!

Super-ego: I LOVE TWITTER!

And then we go eat lunch and we don’t blog, we run around and yell and look at Twitter.

Jun 3, 2011

In Honor of the Printers–Past, Present, and to Come…

A few weeks ago, I found myself at the only museum dedicated to stained glass in the country. My sisters and I were giving my mom a Louis Comfort Tiffany tour of Chicago for Mother’s Day, and the Smith Museum of Stained Glass at Navy Pier just happens to have a large collection. The Tiffany pieces are incredible. The man was a genius. If you ever have the opportunity, go see his work in person. Pictures can’t do the windows justice. Anyway. I loved the Tiffany, but my favorite piece at the museum was definitely this window, dedicated to Henry Oldendorf Shepard, a real-life Printers Row printer.

20110603-124503.jpgIt says:

In Honor of the Printers–Past, Present, and to Come–
The Multipliers of Recorded Thought,
Carrying Down the Centuries the Evidence of Man’s
Advancements in Knowledge–
The Heralds of Peace and Good Will–
The Conservators of Wisdom–The Antagonists of Error–
The Champions of Good Works–
The Glorifiers of Achievement–
The Preservers of Art, The Promoters of Culture.

I know that this about printers, not publishers, but this is exactly the reason that I wanted to go into publishing. This is the point. We’re the Multipliers of Recorded thought, the Conservators of Wisdom.

I keep a few printers blocks on my desk. It’s funny to think about how I just change some HTML code around and send a book out the door (or, rather, over the Internet), and these printers had to place each word or letter individually. Crazy. Anyway, these blocks are my reminder that no matter how the industry changes, the point is the message, not the medium. We make books, and that’s so much bigger than arguments over whether or not ereaders smell nice. We’re here preserve history and disperse ideas.

The other thing that I realized as I read this was that if I were a super hero, I’d want to be known as The Antagonist of Error. My symbole would be Æ. But that’s just a sidenote.

I’m headed to the Printers Row Lit Fest in Chicago this weekend, which I highly recommend. I’ll buy books and hear authors and generally have a wonderful time, but I’m also going to take a few minutes and think about good ol’ Henry, and how things haven’t changed very much at all.

Jun 1, 2011

L’Esprit D’Escalier

Look! It's my wits! I keep them on my staircase.

Oh, hi. You found me.

I moved my blog. Or, well, changed the name. Apparently, I get itchy if I don’t change my blog/site once a year. I think it’s a Spring thing.

I’m changing things around because I want to have a little more freedom with what I blog about, and not be so concerned with just blogging about books. I follow a lot of  book bloggers, and I have a ton of respect for them and what they do. I just don’t think I have the focus to do that.

Also, I’ve never been totally sold on the name Short Version. One, I’m often long-winded, and two, I’m short, but I know a lot of people shorter than me. (Hi Mom.) The name just didn’t really fit. And abridged versions make me sneeze.

I learned the term staircase wit from John McIntyre’s excellent blog. The phrase is a translation of the French term l’esprit d’escalier (literally: the spirit of the staircase). It’s the name for that perfect retort you think of as you’re leaving the building. The perfect response just a little bit too late. Aren’t you so happy to know there’s a name for that? Now, while you’re lying awake, angry that you didn’t have the presence of mind to say what you needed to say, you can also wonder at the marvels of language.

This seemed just right. I am, quite regularly, a little bit late. To most appointments, family gatherings, to go to sleep at night, and to wake up in the morning. But I’ve also had this nagging feeling that I’m just a little late to most life events. It seems like I come in after the group is already formed, or after the rules have been established. It’s not a bad thing, necessarily; I’m used to being late.

I’ve also had a bunch of major changes since Short Version came about (busy year), and since then, I moved into my apartment with the Staircase to No Where that I love so dearly. Why would I not incorporate that into my life as often as possible?

So, stay tuned for more of the same. My lunch is ending, so I have to post this now. I’ll probably think of a totally appropriate and clever ending for this post in about five minutes, but such is my life.