Emerging Self-deluded Artform

Lyrics, thoughts, food and other good things, brought to you by Brian...

A bit tardy...

I had meant to post this on the day itself, but I, unfortunately, forgot. I recommend that you try and read through the whole thing, since it's quite exceptional. If you have questions, feel free to express them and I'll attempt to explain. Enjoy.

Good Friday, 1613. Riding Westward

Let man's soul be a sphere, and then, in this
The intelligence that moves, devotion is,
And as the other spheres, by being grown
Subject to foreign motions, lose their own,
And being by others hurried every day,
Scarce in a year their natural form obey;
Pleasure or business, so, our souls admit
For their first mover, and are whirled by it.
Hence is 't, that I am carried towards the West
This day, when my soul's form bends toward the East.
There I should see a Sun by rising, set,
And by that setting endless day beget:
But that Christ on this cross did rise and fall,
Sin had eternally benighted all.
Yet dare I almost be glad I do not see
That spectacle, of too much weight for me.
Who sees God's face, that is self-life, must die;
What a death were it then to see God die?
It made his own lieutenant, Nature, shrink;
It made his footstool crack, and the sun wink.
Could I behold those hands which span the poles,
And tune all spheres at once, pierced with holes?
Could I behold that endless height which is
Zenith to us, and t'our antipodes,
Humbled below us? Or that blood which is
The seat of all our souls, if not of his,
Make dirt of dust, or that flesh which was worn
By God for his apparel, ragg'd and torn?
If on these things I durst not look, durst I
Upon his miserable mother cast mine eye,
They are present yet unto my memory,
For that looks towards them; and thou look'st towards me,
O Savior, as thou hang'st upon the tree.
I turn my back to thee but to receive
Corrections, till thy mercies bid thee leave.
O think me worth thine anger; punish me;
Burn off my rusts and my deformity;
Restore thine image so much, by thy grace,
That thou may'st know me, and I'll turn my face.

John Donne, 1633


As if there was any doubt

Well, the long awaited showdown between BvO and myself fizzled on Saturday. Y'see, we had a pinstripe showdown. We both wore our slick pinstripe suits to the Redeemer Banquet with the intention of proving once and for all who's suit was slickest. Unfortunately, it was barely a contest. In a unanimous decision, I was declared the victor. Seriously. You can ask anyone, they'll totally tell you I won. I'm just glad BvO managed to keep his tears bottled up on the inside, where they belong.

Seriously though, a great time was had by all, or at least most. Pictures to follow, I hope.



This just in... fresh-faced new journalist Daniel Zacharius Postma asks our star the tough questions! He gets the dirt that you all love to hear! Is Brian up to the task? Is he over the hill, or can he display just one last time that he has the goods to play with the big boys?

Seriously though, thanks to Dan Postma for the well thought-out interview questions.

1. Argue both sides of Redeemer’s on-campus pub debate (such as it is). What arguments do you make for it, what arguments do you make against it?

On the "pro" side, the simple fact is that people who want to drink will drink. And on-campus pub is more than a place to get alcohol. It is a place where fellow students would actually go at night, where commuters would feel as welcome as those living on campus. Also, they could price a pitcher of beer at 1/2 of what Williams charges for a Frutopia and still make a profit that will go towards our tuition, not towards Boston Pizza's home office.

On the "con" side, a number of people at a number of Bible colleges already look down at Redeemer for our "liberal" ways. I, personally, don't particularly care. However, it would be best if we don't try to antagonize people. An on-campus pub would be a hard sell for our public relations team. As for the question of students getting drunk and whatnot on campus... we ought to open our eyes to the situation. Those that want to mess themselves up will do so, either in the relatively safe confines of Redeemer's own pub or huddled in the bushes on Kitty Murray.

2. What do you feel are the distinguishing marks of a Christian relationship, over and above one that is loving but secular?

As far as visible (or semi-private) marks are concerned, those in a Christian relationship ought to pray and worship together. By worship, I mean a host of things including but not limitted to attending church together, discussing their faith and helping each other through doubt and trouble. Also, people in a Christian relationship seem to become more serious much more quickly. Perhaps their throbbing biological urges are to blame. Perhaps God simply does this to Christian couples. I'll leave the readers to decide for themselves.

3. What do you think should be Redeemer’s benchmarks of success: academically, spiritually, socially? What can Redeemer be proud of in its graduates? Alternately, you can answer this question: How do you hope to develop during your time at Redeemer: academically, spiritually, socially?

Redeemer's benchmark of success academically is simply graduation. Every effort is made to make sure students graduate, but that's the end of it. There are no research projects, no post-grad programs, no guaranteed success if you finish first in your year. Despite the fact that Redeemer has many excellent students and top-notch faculty, we have no reputation for academic excellence. Zero. I think that's something we all should come to terms with.

Spiritual matters is where Redeemer excels. We students are both trained theologically in a wide variety of classes as well as given every opportunity to join spiritually-based activities outside of class. Almost everyone I know who has left Redeemer has done so more committed, passionate and confident about his/her faith.

Socially? Well, c'mon... everyone knows Redeemer folk have the most fun, right? Right. Well... at least we would, if we had a pub.

In the end, Redeemer ought to be proud of its graduates as people, not as students. Most graduates leave as "better" people than when they came in, but not because of our GPA.

4. You are hoping to enter a career in Christian education. How important is that “Christian” distinction to you, and how do you interpret the Christian’s mandate to “go into all the world” in the context of both secular and faithful venues of education?

The "Christian" part is essential, but not in the way you might think. I will be a "Christian" teacher one way or another, but not necessarily in a Chrisitian school. If I end up in a public school, I'm fully aware that I'll be fired within a year. I can't teach history or english in a secular fashion and I don't intend to try. If I get a job in a Christian school, then great. If not, I'll do the best I can in a public system. After all, non-Christian kids deserve both good education and God's Word as much as any of us. To be honest, it would be kinda fun to see how long I would last if I taught John Donne's Holy Sonnets at Ancaster High.

5. How have you been shaped by sports and by music?

Wow. Interesting question. First of all, my interest in music is largely academic, since I either don't have a lot of talent or haven't put in the necessary work. However, I also put in considerable time studying and reading about music of various kinds and, with the help of Joel Harsevoort, have tried my hand at song writing several times. Music and poetry are, as far as I'm concerned, intimately linked. How to put this into words...... well, I find in both a gentle, delicate beauty that cannot be found anywhere else in this world. I'm a much different person today because of them, but not in any way that describe.

As for sports, well... I LOVE sports! Most people who know me well realize that. Playing sports has made it possible for me to quit smoking, to make friends that I never would have had otherwise, to clear my head of unwanted thoughts. Following professionaly sports is just something I like to do. Love to do. Need to do. Okay, okay, I have a problem. By the way, the NFL draft is coming up, April 23-24.

Anyone else interested? Send me a note or leave a comment. Here's the rules.

1. Leave me a comment saying "interview me." The first five commentators will be the participants.

2. I will respond by asking you five questions.

3. You will update your blog with the answers to the questions.

4. You will include this explanation and an offer to interview someone else in the same post.

5. When others comment asking to be interviewed, you will ask them five questions. (Write your own questions or borrow some.)


Shed a green tear for me...

So, today is St. Patrick's Day. Yippy-skippy... but for one thing. I am currently bogged down in the middle of paper season and I find myself somewhat unprepared for the multiple assignments I have due tomorrow. So, I shall retreat into my basement and type until my fingers bleed. While I do that, I hope at least some of my friends will be raising glasses of green ale together tonight. Cheers.


Helping or hurting?

Emotion in music is a good thing... right? Sure. I don't think anyone would deny that songwriters who pour their heart and soul into their music end up with the best songs. All I'd have to do is mention Bob Dylan and David Bowie to make the case, not to mention all those classical composers, although most of you know a great deal more about any of them than I do. I wonder, though, if this outpouring is always a good thing. Take teenage angst, for example. Bands such as Sum 41, Billy Talent, Green Day and others have made careers on it. At first I thought it was great, hoping that these bands could show depressed high school kids that they aren't alone. I've talked to people that say music like this "pulled them out of a pit" and so on.

But is it possible that teenage depression is only being propogated by this type of music? It would be hard to argue that it's a cure. I think that you can see a link between a decline in popular Christianity and a rise in depression, anger, angst or whatever else. So, is angry music the solution? At times it helped me, but perhaps it's not for everyone. What then do we do about it?


My ears are bleeding...

Okay, I know I make fun of a lot of bands and musicians and such, but it's largely in good fun. For example, BvO's taste in music does not actually make me break down in tears. Not quite. But today I heard the newest single by 3 Doors Down, "Let Me Go," which is currently rocketting up the charts. This is honestly the worst music I have ever heard. Ever. 70 year old off-key dutch people have nothin' on this guy. It makes me want recruit some rabid badgers to claw my ears off... or maybe just change the station.

Oh, and for anyone looking to watch some fun basketball this weekend, we play Heritage on Friday night and Tyndale in the FINALS on Saturday. Not sure what times, though.


Stickin' to the plan

When I first started up this blog, I made a promise to myself never to let it descend into the emotional realm. I'm more than willing to share my life and my feelings with my friends, but unwilling to have the entire land of the interwoo examine my personal relationships.

On that note, let me say that the last 4 days have been VERY good. I truly am a lucky man. Sometimes, I think, people just need to sit back and realize for themselves how things really do work out for the best.

Oh... and here's a touching new Avril Lavigne lyric to get you all through those darker times. It may not bring a tear to your eye, but it'll probably bring something up...

Nah naah nah nah naaah
We've all got choices!
Nah naaah nah naaaaah
We've all got voices!

I don't know how she and her 13 member writing team do it. Stunning.


All time favourite

Today, whilst reading in the Caf, I heard several of my all time favourite songs in a row, completely at random. It got me thinking, "what exactly is my favourite song ever?" Or, for that matter, my favourite band or album. Some artists have stood the test of time, like Radiohead. Fully 8 years after the release of OK Computer, it remains fascinating and amazing. Others are more recent, like k-os, John Frusciante, Jackelope... but I feel that maybe they haven't been around long enough to qualify. It's like the difference between listening to Q 107 against any new rock station. Classic rock has stood the test of time, and remains relevant.

Still, I have come to a decision... for now.

Song: Ani diFranco - School Night
Solo artist: John Frusciante
Band: Radiohead (in a nailbiter over Bran Van 3000)
Album: with my upset pick... Placebo - Without You I'm Nothing

Feel free to express your shock and disapproval, or your own personal choices. I'd be fascinated to hear them.