Archive for May, 2009

31
May
09

Weekend Update

Novel Ideas

Wow…it’s really been two weeks since I last wrote a new installment to my novel? My apologies to the small number of readers who are fans of it. I’ll get up off my butt and write something in the next couple days. I have been doing a lot of writing lately (fiction) but not the novel. I’ve been trying to spread my wings a bit and get some variety. Won’t be sharing that other fiction here, though, for a variety of reasons.

In any case, have to get rocking on my novel. I doubt I’ll be able to finish it before summer as I had hoped, but I think I can complete it before the end of summer at least.

At the Pulpit

Went to church today, and was disappointed in the sermon and the pastor. Well, temporary pastor, anyway. Our normal guy is on a sabbatical for a while and the associate pastor has been waylaid with breast cancer treatments, so we have the former pastor of the place filling in. Truth be told, if he had been pastor when we checked out this church some months back, I doubt we would have felt moved to join.

It reminds me that while a church is more than a pastor, the person at the top of the administrative and spiritual heap really does have a strong effect on how much one wants to be in a given church. Which is a shame, really. Church is partly about hearing the Word of God, but frankly, it’s rare that I feel truly edified these days. Instead, it’s more about being in a communityof worship and interacting after sermons with people of like faith. Guess I need to go back to visiting Charles Stanley’s Web site for the edification part of things.

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30
May
09

Standing Out by Miz Pink

pink-tie-black-suitSometimes being different is not such a comfy thing ya know?

I’m a liberal. Very liberal. I’m a Christian. As in, I really believe Jesus is the true way to God.

This poses problems.

Nah…not with my personal faith or the way I conduct life but with the people around me.

When liberal friends (most of them pretty much not churchgoing types) find out I’m a Christian and a bible reader they kind of go all googly eyed and such and don’t know what to make of me anymore. I suddenly become the village idiot who used to be cool but now isn’t because she believes in the flying spaghetti monster in the sky.

When Christian friends find out my political leanings it’s like I’m suddenly branded a heretic who doesn’t REALLY believe in the bible I guess. No matter how much I point out how much things shifted from the old to the new testament and how even religion is an evolving entity as people and societies changes…I get looked at like a traitor who doesn’t deserve the Lord’s Supper anymore.

So what’s the answer? Do I have to hide my faith from my liberal friends? That’s not cool because Jesus wants us to be open about our faith. Do I nod when my Christian friends go off on a Obama-as-antichrist rant and act like it doesn’t faze me? That’s dishonest and I should call them on self righteous bull dookie.

I don’t have any answer to the quandry. I guess I’m just glad that Sir Pink is liberal enough that we agree on most politics and religious enough that he’ll tolerate going to church on the regular.

28
May
09

Out of Synch

bible-readingCertainly, I’ve never been as avid as Mrs. Blue in terms of morning and evening prayer on a regular basis nor reading my Bible everyday.

Ironic, since I’m the deacon in the family. Not that I currently have any formal posting in which to do any deacon-ing.

But  a lot of my troubles right now in terms of dealing with things in life (interactions with my daughter, dealing with stress, making decisions) I think are tied into the fact that I haven’t even done my modest level of semi-regular time with God.

Sure, I think about Him and I write here on matters spiritual, but I’ve been praying less, reading the Word less, even posting less often on religious and spiritual matters.

In other words, my head is spending too much time here on Earth and not enough in the world of the spiritual.

And I think that is at the root of a lot of my problems, because when I do spend more time on my spiritual exercises, I am healthier for it. Just like when I do physical exercise…which I also need way more of.

So, time to hit the books. More specifically, the Good Book.

26
May
09

Married Life

Gotten off the blogging track again. *Sigh* Difficult space right now. Too many things to do, trying to keep my thoughts and emotions reined in…not enough time.

Many, perhaps most, of you know the drill.

Anyway, just a quick thought today. Maybe I can at least manage quickies for the rest of this week, and maybe sneak in another installment of the novel before the weekend.

Today, marriage in on my mind, if for no other reason that my own is going through some changes right now.

No, not getting divorced, unless Mrs. Blue is planning something behind my back. Unlikely, since if she wanted out, she’d just tell me straight out. 😉 No, not separating. No, not fighting. No, not sleeping in separate beds.

Just changing.

Part of it comes from our youngest child, who in now almost four years has turned our life upside down (and that’s not always a bad thing) in ways Son of Blue never did. In fact, at 17 years old, Son of Blue never turned our marriage inside our or upside down at all. Little Girl Blue, whole different story.

Part of it financial woes and stresses related to them.

Part of it is just getting older.

Part of it is changes in each of us, the wife and I, where we haven’t necessarily drifted apart but where we don’t synch in all the ways that we used to.

It’s hard, because on top of all my other life stresses, I don’t want to deal with big changes in my marriage. After 12 years of doing this, I don’t want to try to discover new ways to connect and to re-evalaute the ways we relate to each other.

And that’s understandable. It’s also selfish.

Things do change. That’s a fact of life. And marriages are among them. People change and marriages consist of two people.

Not all the changes are bad, but there are one or two things that have gotten lost recently that I would like back. Fact is, they might never come back into the equation. Or they might with some work. But I have to be prepared that their loss may be a permanent thing, and I may need to find other things to replace them, or simply adjust to the changes and focus more on what’s still there.

The Bible tells us that a man and woman should cleave together and become one. I agree with that. But marriage is always a work in progress. Hell, when I was single, I had to deal with changes within myself, and they weren’t always pleasant. I didn’t get rid of myself, and I’m not getting rid of my wife, either.

In the end though, the question I have to ask is, what’s most important? Love. And the question is, do I love my wife and do I look forward to making this marriage work better, even when things change in big ways?

And to that, I can only say what I said some 12 years ago.

I do.

23
May
09

Sticking Your Neck Out by Miz Pink

Pink_Lips_darkpinkSo maybe the title and topic of today’s post has more to do with having gotten sucked into playing Vampire Wars on Facebook (and starting to play Bloodlines and Vampires on it too) than anything else but it does seem a timely topic. (I’ve balancing a sleeping baby on my lap as I type this Deke so I hope you’re happy you slavedriver)

I see Deke is throwing out his work/schooling concerns and fears and tentative plans for all to see and I know it’s stressing him out. So he’s trying to put his neck out on the line but its been a long time coming and I know he feels like he didn’t stick his neck out soon enough so now he feels like it’s on the chopping block instead.

For my part Sir Pink has a job where he sees some things going on that aren’t quite right but if he says something he might be collecting unemployment. It’s nothing that violates any laws he’s aware of but its something that some people should be called on and it bothers him that he doesn’t feel like he can risk doing that.

For my part I’ve cut back on my work to be home with Mini Pink Model 3 pretty much full time for the first year of her life if possible and that means less money in the family pocketbook and I think it’s the right call but still it’s scary and making things rough.

We’re in a time and place with a lot of uncertainty in the world in terms of financial survival, environmental balance, peace vs. war and so much else. Often the people who look like they’re sticking their necks out actaully have huge safety cushions and safety nets backing them up and aren’t really risking much. A lot of common Joes who look like they aren’t doing anything are making quiet choices like dropping health insuracne to pay the mortgage or rent and keep food on the table, and that’s a huge risk but no one see that and no one would probably care if they did.

Bible tells us to have faith but as Deke pointed out in the comments of his latest thread, we have to do some heavy lifting ourselves and sometimes make some tough choices.

Sticking our necks out isn’t easy but it’s sometimes necessary. We need to pray and have faith as we do so…and we need to think things through…but sometimes we also just have to pull down the collar and stretch our heads out and hope that it will end up with a medal around our necks and not axes coming down on them.

22
May
09

Career Notes

My brain is fried today, like a box of Popeye’s chicken but not nearly as tasty. Lots of stuff on my mind and wading through some life challenges.

So, why the heck not just toss out one those challenges and use y’all as a sounding board?

My career is in shambles. I am a journalist (editor and writer, with some layout/design skills as well) with nearly two decades of experience. I am currently stuck in a place that is not a major media market and not a hotbed of other opportunities either that might fit with me (like corporate communications and such). I’ve been making a decent living for some years as a freelancer, with clients who employ me from other states to do work on their magazines, newsletters, etc. on a regular basis.

Problem is that because of cost-cutting, I’ve lost several clients over the past few years (several of them non-profit organizations, but one of them a fairly major management magazine, too). I have never been able to rebuild, and it’s killing me.

Moving isn’t an option, and I cannot make work appear, so I find myself looking now at graduate programs (which would mean a second master’s degree for me).

Thought about dental school, since there’s a paucity of dentists nationwide and in my area in particular, but I can’t make it through organic chemistry, inorganic chemistry or calculus.

Thought about counseling programs, but they all require substantial work under another person with certification for a year or two or three before I could hang out my own shingle.

Currently looking at graduate IT programs, since I write about information technology fairly often. That seems my best bet right now.

But, for those of you who follow me regularly, any ideas, or input on my current one? I’d love to hear from you, if only to talk about this with someone other than my wife for once.

😉

20
May
09

Random Thoughts

the-thinkerFirst, if anyone sees Miz Pink, tell her to put down that new baby and get back here to do some posting. I don’t care how sweet her breath is or how nice it feels to cuddle her. Slap on a sling and get to typing, woman. (Deac gets ready to dodge incoming virtual projectiles.)

Second, after promisinng to try to get back to daily posting, I’ve already missed a day this week. No time for massive posts, so a couple random thoughts.

Change Happens

I see two powerful and equally untenable schools of thought in my travels through the blogosphere and personal interactions. There are those who advocate that all religious insitutions and traditions should be brought crashing down and either tossed aside entirely or rebuilt into something entirely new and all-embracing.

I also see those who argue that tradition is not just habit but evidence of such fundamental truth that it must not be touched. That the institutions and traditions we have had through the centuries must remain as they are, because their endurance is proof that they are right.

Both camps are dead wrong. Change must always occur, but that doesn’t mean we destroy all cherished traditions or decree that if God remains invisible to our eyes, He is either nonexistent or dead. Likewise, the fact that we hold to traditions doesn’t make them right. For a long time, slavery was quite the tradition, wasn’t it? Or conquering other lands for personal gain. We tend to frown on such things now, and rightly so. The fact is that many traditions do come from habit, and also from enduring misinterpretations of the Word of God. Let’s not forget that even the apostles had some disagreements on points of doctrine back in the earliest days of the church. That has never changed, and remains the best proof that we must always be open to change, though we must also remain guided by the Holy Spirit as much as possible in such things.

No, no….YOU sing!

This thought comes courtesy of Mrs. Blue:

If you have enough people with voice talent to have a choir in your church, they should do the singing. Oh sure, I don’t mind us in the congregation doing our share too. Community and fellowship do suggest that we should sing a couple hymns together and all that.

But I am tired of going to churches where we are expected to stand and sing WITH the choir most of the service. If they have talent, we’re doing nothing but ruining their good work. Trust me. Deacon Blue’s voice is awful in song, and mine isn’t all that great either unless I’m in the shower.

Bad enough to go to a church where there is no choir and we are FORCED to rely on the whole out of tune congregation for uplifting music. But if you have a choir, let them lift up our spirits for most of the songs. Everyone will be happier…well most of them anyway. TRUST ME!

Fellowship Via the Stomach

Consider this a shared thought of me and Mrs. Blue:

More churches should have a little coffee and snack fellowship time right after services. Really, it’s a nice way to get people to stick around and connect over more than hymnals, collection plates, and sermons. Church is about edification about the Word and bringing our spirits closer to God as a group, but it’s also about people with a common connection getting together. Let’s not get so caught up in the spirit that we forget entirely about fostering community.




Deacon Blue is the blogging persona of editor and writer Jeffrey Bouley. The opinions of Jeff himself on this blog, and those expressed as Deacon Blue, in NO WAY should be construed as the opinions of anyone with whom he has worked, currently works, or will work with in the future. They are personal opinions and views, and are sometimes, frankly, expressed in more outrageous terms than I truly feel most days.

Jeff Bouley

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Jeff Bouley

To find out more about me professionally, click here. To find out more about me generally, click here.

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E-Mail

You can reach Deacon Blue/Jeff Bouley at deaconbluemail@gmail.com.

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