"You've got to lose.
You have to lose.
You have to learn how to die
If you wanna wanna be alive."
~Wilco
     If you want to know what kind of world we live in, take Theater History I & II.  You will see that, though lots of people want to think the human race is progressive, our souls haven't changed
since Greek Tragedy.   You see, theater is based on reflecting reality.  Playwrights use human motivations for characters to create believable conflicts.  So, if you compare the plays and motivations, you'll see that  Aeschylus' and Sophocles' characters want the same things as Shakespeare's and David Mamet's.  They all want satisfaction, and they all will break laws to get what they think will satisfy them.  That's what we learn in theater school, anyway. "What's my motivation?"  It usually comes down to two things: love/lust, or greed/money.  Those are the "strongest choices."  So, are we progressing in our root motivations?  I'm going to watch the news and say, No.  And I think it's because we live in a dead world.  The only life, Jesus says, is himself.
"I AM the life."  What would have happened if Hamlet got his life from Jesus?  What would have happened if Oedipus did?  We learn in theater history that people once thought that with evolution and science discovery, humans were progressing.  That was before WWII.  Once that hit, alot of people
lost faith in that.  I think it's because they realised that with science and industry "development" we were making bombs and killing people with them, because the human condition/motivation has remained the same.
      Okay, so if we do live in a dead world, then how do  we get life?  Jesus says, and Wilco says, we have to die.  We have to be resurrected, and the only way to be resurrected is to die first.  What
does that mean for us?  I have a few friends right now that believe part of that means we need to stop trying to be comfortable.  Americans, esp, put so much energy into being safe and comfortable, that we forget to turn that energy into trusting God.  We forget that Jesus never was comfortable in
this world, and if we are going to be like Him, we aren't going to be comfortable either.

      I was just talking to my friend about the movies "American Beauty" and "Fight Club."  He said he liked American Beauty at first, but kind of lost his love for it when it got so popular.  "Why is it," I asked him, "that popularity ruins movies like that for us?"  And we kind of arrived at the conclusion that it's because movies like American Beauty and Fight Club are making harsh statements that are meant to impact people into re-evaluation of whatever the movie is criticising--but the impact gets lost because popularity allows us to breeze over it, to say "isn't that interesting" without ever trying to understand it.  Or let me put it the way my friend did.  He said that the people go see the movies and feel proud because they have thought of the deep philosophical ideas the movies propose, but then don't do anything about it.  They should go home and talk about the ideas, to "stew over them," but they don't.  You see, they say "I liked that movie" rather than "That movie impacted me, now how do I change?" 
      And that, my dear reader, is the same thing that is wrong with the church today.  We hear words like "Blessed are those that mourn," or "are poor in spirit,"  or are hated or persecuted by the world, but when we do mourn and when we are persecuted, we lose our faith.  Or we try to make it better with material things.  I do it; we all do it.  Jesus says alot of things that make us uncomfortable, that will make us mourn if we take them literally.  Read the Sermon on the Mount or the Upper Room Discourses (Matthew 5-7 or John 13-17) and take them literally.  If you don't feel like dying, you read them wrong (I think Haskell Stone might have said something like that, I know it wasn't my original idea... but what ideas are original?).  But it's a good thing, to die to this world.  We have to do it in order to follow Jesus.   Don't let His words amuse you like American Beauty amuses people,  let his words kill you so you are forced to go to him for ressurrection.  That's what you have to do if "you wanna wanna be alive."
December 1, 2003
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