10.30.2008

Flow Theory/grinding my gears at uvic...

Today in class we learned about this theory of motivation called flow theory, and, from what I understand, it goes like this.

Learners who are pushed to their limit in all areas will excel because they are being fully engaged. I think this makes sense, I wish I had been pushed more when I was in high school.


in other news, you know what really grinds my gears? I go to UVIC right now, and there is a debate going on about a pro life group called Youth Protecting Youth. They are a club and deserve club funding. They are being denied the funding based on their political view that abortion should be illegal. They don't believe that a woman has the right to choose.
The UVIC student society has decided that since it believes in the freedom of a woman to choose, this group who wants to limit that freedom, does not get funding.

The irony is, this is not about abortion, it is about censorship. The UVSS is a student society, representing students at a university. The last time I checked, students are studying ideas and are meant to form a worldview by spending time debating ideas and standing on the shoulders of giants. If the UVSS has their way, they will censor a group based on their understanding of the world, that is, they will curtail their freedom of belief and expression.


let me try again, I think I am confused.

UVSS says that YPY is not allowed to exist, and will not sponsor or fund their group because of their pro-life position. UVSS says this is due to protecting the freedom of choice held by women over their bodies. nobody could deny that every man is a free agent. but to deny fredom of expression to one group because of its beliefs is censorship, especially in a place where ideas are supposed to be freely exchanged. I think my article says it better. ah well. stupid leftists. I mean, I am fairly left leaning, and I wouldn't even say that abortion should be illegal, I don't think it should ever happen, but I don't know that that should be left up to the government to decide...but I do think that anyone who believes either way should be allowed to discuss their ideas and worldview with anyone who will listen, ESPECIALLY on a university campus. honestly!

10.29.2008

Son.

reading.

I have been reading, and I realize that I am going to have a son. I can't fathom how much this will teach me, how I will be humbled and how I will become so much more than I am.
Laurenn is 25 weeks I think, there are pictures on FB. but I so often don't think of the reality that is the baby boy inside her. Its different, and I don't know what makes me say it differently, but sometimes its Lord have mercy on our unborn boy, and sometimes its Lord have mercy on our unborn child. There's a difference between a boy and a child, boys are rambunctious, find their value in their father's opinion of them far to easily, and no doubt he will show me my weaknesses.
My Dad was good to me in many ways, but like all of us, he has his faults. I too will leave good and bad marks on the soul of my son, but gosh I want him to grow up and be a better man than I ever will be. God grant, and if so, that I will accept such a thing. My pride wouldn't like that.

Things are on the move these days. Dan is going to Gibsons at pascha. I am in school, but I am always applying for government positions, I think one of these days it may pay off. whether or not it is in Victoria, who knows.

55 maxims.

click me for Fr. Thom's list of 55 maxims. Best thing I have read in a while, got the link from Ochlophobist, a new favourite read.

10.28.2008

Belief

I have been thinking lately that to believe in something isn't actually a thing that we do in the way that we talk about it, as though it is a choice. someone asks you if you believe in God, its not because you decided one day to do that or not to, its a result of how you interpret what you see and experience.
You see the world, and you are thankful and you say that it is not possible for this to exist without the hand of a Good God, you investigate and find that there are truth claims that make sense to you, it is because there is sense in the world, logic and order to the world, and it all fits together. This is the result of how you see the world, your worldview. You can't decide to change it, but it can slowly be changed, for better or worse I think. I wonder about people I know who at one time seemed very dedicated to what they claimed to believe in, and then go through subtle processes that change how they live, though they don't say anything different, or think they believe differently, they act in a way the shows they believe something different than what they say, either about themselves or the world. Often they don't even see it until it is too late, and God grant that they ask for mercy and try to come back to themselves and their family, but who knows. God knows.

I have been catching shrimp in the shrimp trap lately, if I move, I will certainly miss this place. more on that later.

I really enjoy being the choir director, especially when we have practices that go well. Our practice last night was great, so much fun and so productive. They worked hard and it payed off.

I want to find a way to post music here, I have a few recordings of the choir doing russian stichera, but we are moving to a byzantine vespers, which is also going to be cool.

10.23.2008

honestly!

I presented in class today on whether or not popular music should be used a subject or even as part of a teaching method for music in schools. I also attended english class.

Both classes managed to end up in discussions/arguments about religion, specifically Christianity. Its amazing how many people have the same arguments saved up for why they aren't christians. I honestly am fine with you not being a christian, it doesn't threaten me, you don't have to justify it. please, enjoy life, or not, go to church, listen to music, whatever. don't try to convince me that your reasons for not being a christian are good, and I won't try to convince you of anything either. I don't think convincing anyone ever convinced anyone. Perhaps with the exception of Fr. Justin, and then it wasn't one person, it was history, which is really hard to argue with if you really are seeking the truth. but whatever. It was fun. I even got to diss the book of mormon in English class, and the most unexpected person got offended. The girl with the huge long three year dreads turned around and was offended when I said the book of mormon reminded me of a cheap knockoff of King James English. Don't get me wrong, the mormon people I have befriended from time to time over the years, especially Joseph Olsen and Toni and a few others at Fat Camp were among the coolest, most sane people I know. anyways, it was unexpected and fun. She is not a mormon anymore, but felt like she had to defend herself.
Its weird being in school and already having been through a few times, to talk to young students who know that they are right and that they have examined their beliefs and convictions and are confident that they can tell you their views and not be offensive or offended...

I also love when I tell folks I am a christian and they tell me that the church has done terrible things and organized religion blah blah blah. honestly? what-effing-ever. I could not care less about these arguments, because I have so much of my own soul to clean up and kick into shape that those issues, as real as they are, don't affect right here and now and aren't good enough reasons for anyone to believe or not.

10.22.2008

10.16.2008

hockey

I love hockey. I love the intensity I saw tonight when the canucks beat the red wings. I love playing floor hockey with the guys from church, we have such fun practices. I love playing against St. Hermans because I know all the guys, and they know me.
The game this year was too much. It was too intense. I saw some guys out there ready to throw down. and it was out of Christian love for their brothers, they saw their brother being unjustly treated and they were going to defend him. I saw it in their eyes, heard it in their voices. The blood they would draw would be justified due to righteous anger.
so then, should we even put ourselves in this situation? should we engage in a competition with people we don't know that well? I don't think it breeds brotherhood among those who don't know each other. I think that this is because pride is an all encompassing tradition, like orthodoxy. except that it is the opposite.

I see competition, in any situation, as inextricably linked to pride. I heard this from Fr. Gregory, but I see it and will defend this position as my own. Pride and competition come from the same place, our desire for identity and security.

If I want to know who I am, and where I stand, I can cast myself alongside another person, as though they are the measuring stick from which I can acquire identity.
A close friend of mine and I did this a lot. He's going to be a monk, and I am going to be a father, so we can't really play the competitive games anymore, and we even came to the point of noticing it and talking about how we were competitive with each other about grades, school, and musical things. It was quite...the process. anyways.
we used to measure ourselves next to each other, because we saw in the other things we valued. That is the beginning of the sin of Pride. why? If I was better, I am finding my identity in a place other than who I am before God. If I am worse, I am finding my identity in a place other than who I am before God. This is the problem with self esteem. We shouldn't be worrying about self-esteem, we should worry about how God esteems us. and because we know (cause the bible tells us so) that he loves us, then we need to act as though it is true.
Then, we need to know that our identity comes from this, that we are not who we are based on our relationship with our friend who is better or worse than us, but we find our identity based on our relationship with God who is perfect, in Jesus Christ, in the church.
somewhere in the bible it says "do not think of yourself more highly or lowly than you ought to" ( I think that's in the bible?)
aka: know thyself.
Pride. Sin. Hockey. Competition.

Competition and Compare sound similar and I bet etymologically are related, though I haven't checked.

Hockey (Pro) makes money off of our obsession with who is the best compared with each other. It is the opposite of humility. Competitive sport is driven by this underlying current. If we truly found our identity in who we are before God, we would find it bizarre that we continually went around spending hours (or entire lives) to be better than the next guy or girl. why not submit, and say that the other person is better, just let them win? so what?

I am half preaching to myself, I get so bitter when I am losing at settlers, its ridiculous.

but honestly, competition, where in the bible does anyone mention the benefit of sporting events!

(don't get me wrong, I still like watching hockey, though I think I shouldn't. its an intellectual quandary, or is it?)

cloves.


Cloves Study

if you click that link, you will find a study that shows that smoking djarum cloves is not any healthier than regular cigarettes. Still nicotine and carbon monoxide shredding your lovely oxygen rich blood cells.

music education.

I am taking education classes right now, and it is interesting. I have just started a blog for one of the classes. but the other one is a Jazz Pegagogy class, and I have to improvise a solo today.

I don't like solo performance, philosophically speaking. Today we talked about world music, and there was a brief mention of how in Ghana there is no such thing as the observer, but everyone participates. Its kind of like that in the orthodox church, there really is not a distinction between performer and observer. The priest leads us all, and we are all both producers and consumers, if I may be so crass. we all sing, we all pray, and we all partake in the gifts. I think that is the ideal, as then it can't be about monetary exchange, because nobody is receiving anything from anyone that wasn't produced by all.
In the places I used to come from, there was a clear distinction between those who produced the music and those who responded to it. I mean, we have a choir who leads, and maybe it is unfair to cast such a stone at the past, but our culture leans so far towards the economic model of performer and consumer, separated by the direction of the flow of money.

I think music should be a participatory situation, where all are engaged in some way. I don't like egalitarianism, I like the way that humility suggests that we all know our abilities and can contribute in one way or another. This is played out (theoretically) well in church, where the musicians sing, the priest prays and preaches, the subdeacons light candles and clean things, readers read, etc.

everyone has a role to play, nobody should be bored or unengaged. I think that if you are going to church and are not doing something, you should be. those who are just learning, that is a little different, but it is the work of the people, and if you aren't working, someone else is doing your share.


Time for class.

10.15.2008

I like the ochlophobist. you should read his ( I think ) blog.

ochlophobist

well...

So,
a close friend of mine is going to become a monk at the fabled moldovian monastery (let the reader understand)
I am joyful for him, and I won't miss him because I can visit there if I am near enough to do so.
but when he told me, I got a little teary because I know that it will be so hard, but so beautiful because they live such a simple, quiet beautiful life. Congratulations brother! (he won't read this, but still)
My Dad, among others, doesn't see the value in monastic life because it is not evangelical, in the manner of 'going out' but in the manner of telling others the good news? It is the most evangelical because it is taking full advantage of the peace offered to us by Christ in saying to us 'do not worry about tomorrow, because tomorrow has enough worries of its own'.
lovely.
fishing. I don't get fishing. maybe I just don't do it often enough, but I used to be really good and really confident at it even, we went salmon fishing and I just never catch fish anymore, the last large fish I caught must have been at camp when I was like 14, since then I have had lots of fun, but never any really large fish. but again, its probably because I haven't done it enough. I am too much of an interdisciplinary hobbyist. I want to do everything. I think I have inherited that too.
I want to mountain bike, rock climb, fish, hike, go crabbing, sing, go snowboarding, travel, hitch hike, and all of these things have taken my time over the past decade(s?!) or so, so focusing on one and really getting to know it isn't what I have done.

and, is killing animals necessary? I mean, I have this neverending debate with myself about eating animals. I like the taste, but many things that feel good aren't necessary or even healthy. so that is not a good reason. but taking a life equals genuine cost, it really costs you and the world something when an animal dies. the animal loses their life. I am not saying the feel things, but that life itself is valuable. eating animals is not sin to be sure, but is it necessary? let it be clear that I still eat fish from time to time, and even a burger now and then when I am on the run with no time for a proper sacramental sit down with friends.

I am going to be a father, I can't imagine anything more daunting.

10.09.2008

behaviourism, work.

So,I work in a place that is behaviourist. I Think that is a word, and it bothers me. I mean, I like the people I work with, on all sides, but I don't like how behaviourism only looks at behaviour. I think that it is narrow minded to look at someone with only one lens.
Sometimes, tests that are supposed to provide irrefutable empirical evidence are shown to be faulty. we had a situation where a test said one thing, but then the client indicated a different thing, which indicated to me that the test itself was faulty.
I hate running, my knees hurt when I run, I would much rather ride my bike. we have to run at work.

If God judged us only on our behaviour, and not at all on our motivations, we would have to live in an explicitly legalistic world. But, God being loving enters into a kind of knowing that is relational. don't ask me to explain it. and I think that is the point, it is hard to explain the nature of relating to a person and knowing them. There is a hebrew word that I can't remember that means "to know" that is translated as "lie with" we colloquially joke by saying "knew her in a biblical sense"
I think that really knowing someone means that you look past behaviour, or you take everything into account, not just behaviour, which, while important, is only one aspect of a persons being.
I will say that I see it as an effective tool for teaching people who are non verbal, because it ends up circumventing the need for spoken language, and instead gives symbolic meaning and value to actions.

So, while I acknowledge that ABA has a lot to offer a lot of people who are disabled, and also can help us teach babies things before we can communicate with them (like toilet training, we can talk about that later) I think that it can't be seen as a whole worldview.

10.08.2008

The Pink Poles


P1050447
Originally uploaded by pasivirta
These poles remind me of and symbolize my youth in a way.

perhaps...perhaps...perhaps...

well, there's a lot happening, so maybe it behooves me to write a little more. encouragement notwithstanding.

I had great tacos with Steve this morning, so that was nice.
I am back in school, studying music education at UVIC. I am the choir director at my church, and I remember now how much I love music and being a director. I love managing people, it is hard, but so rewarding, especially when people make progress, I can almost see people's souls clamoring for tough love. Nobody in our culture tells people the truth. "you are making a mistake, stop it and life will be better" that is my goal in life. help people stop making mistakes.
speaking of Goals, I am going to be a father. Laurenn is pregnant.

In case you haven't read for a while, if you used to follow, and are unaware, here is a brief update.
Married, 02 02 08. Baby coming Feb 1 2009. Living in Victoria, directing choir at All Saints Orthodox Church in Victoria. New Tattoo last december. less cloves and hookah since Laurenn is pregnant. Working with a young person with Autism and in school full time to be a teacher.

I also may (MAY) end up in Edmonton, but we won't know for a while I think. right now, I am planning to be here in Victoria, to finish school and become a teacher.
I love life, its hard from time to time, in fact more often lately it is really beautiful and really intense.
Laurenn was sick for four months, to the point of puking every 45 minutes all night, that was fun. oh man.

I have not been able to visit the monks for a long time now, getting there from Victoria is an ordeal. I could drive to Prince George from Vancouver in the amount of time it takes to get there from Victoria, even though it is only about 50km across the water. I need a boat. I wish so bad I had a boat, I have been crabbing and I will go fishing next week, which is also exciting.

I love living here, but I wish I could catch more fish, and Laurenn doesn't love fish either. Oh man. so many good topics to discuss.


Forthcoming, you can expect blogs on the following subjects.

Orthodox music Byzantine (2 part) vs Slavic (4 Part)
Pop music in the music classroom
priesthood
fatherhood
confrontation and canadian politeness
to eat meat or not to eat meat
to eat carbs or not to eat carbs
violence, competition and pride
academia
callling
amateur vs professional

inane TV shows like the unit. oh man. shamefully admitted.

hockey.

relationships. marriage. friendship. love. babies.

silence.

smoking.
drinking.
escapism.
beer.
hiking. camping.


music.