I suppose I'm one of those weird Catholics that reads the Bible every day.
It started in my early high school years when I first got serious about my faith. I felt that in order to have any credibility as a Christian, I should be able to say that I've read the entire Bible. At the time, I was self-aware enough to realize that there was no way I would be able to keep up with one of those Bible-in-a-year programs, but on the flip-side, I knew that I was in it for the long-haul and wasn't in a rush. As a result, I decided to read a chapter a day from the start of the Bible to the finish.
With 1074 chapters in the Old Testament (of the Catholic Bible) and 260 chapters in the New Testament, it took me almost 4 years! There were obviously days when I was reading just to keep up with my commitment, especially through some of the dryer books, but among the cool moments I encountered was just how many worship songs I recognized in the scriptures.
My worship song background started with my Protestant mother who taught us mostly Maranatha and Vineyard songs during our weekly family worship night growing up (I mean like this and this). That was combined with some of the older, what I like to call, "Catholic Epics," like Be Not Afraid and On Eagle's Wings. As I got older, I started to get into Contemporary Worship Music like Michael W. Smith, Chris Tomlin, Passion, Shane Barnard, etc., as well as music by Hillsong. Then it was fun to discover contemporary Catholic music like Matt Maher and Audrey Assad.
So when I recognized songs that I knew in the Bible, it was exciting to see the context that various songs were based on and imagining the experience of the songwriter being inspired to pen the melody. However, with some songs, I have this weird neuroses where when reading the inspiring passage, I can no longer read the verses without my mind getting distracted by how the lyrics of the song fit into the passage instead of thinking about what the passage is actually saying. For example, I've always associated the song, He is Lord, with my mom singing it and that has meant that whenever I read Philippians 2:10, I tend to read it so that the song plays smoothly in my head, glossing over the lines that aren't part of the song. That's the case with Psalm 91 and many other passages.
With all that said, it's kind of an annoying reflex.
Wednesday, September 21, 2011
Sunday, September 18, 2011
Thursday, September 15, 2011
Wednesday, September 14, 2011
Saturday, September 3, 2011
I can always tell how comfortable I am with a person based on how non-awkward our greetings are. It's not just the way it looks to witnesses, but also how it feels internally as you see the person, anticipate the greeting, and then go in for it. This mainly goes for friends, peer co-workers, and the first generation Chinese relatives who aren't touchy-feely, but want to show their love to their ABC nephew and give extra-super awkward one-handed side hugs that are the lovechild of the dead fish handshake and the hover hand.
There are few things in life more awkward than a missed greeting.
For example, with best friends, not only is the greeting smooth and majestic such that it sometimes even sparks a tad bit of envy in any witnesses, but because I know the greeting is going to be super comfortable, it makes me that much more excited to greet the person. Incidentally, it also creates potential new awkward greeting situations like during the Mass at the Sign of Peace when said witnesses also then assume they'll get the same bro greeting of peace awesomeness, but I unconsciously (consciously) don't reciprocate.
However, when I see someone that to me is more than an acquaintance, but seems a stretch to call a friend, I start to over-think the situation due to my introverted, don't-rock-the-social-situation-Chinese-influenced self. It's like, you probably like the person enough to not want to pretend like you didn't see them (especially if it would be even more awkward <pause> BUT IT'S EASIER.....RUN!!), but you don't know if you should go in for a professional handshake (too stiff/serious and if he doesn't expect it, we might accidentally interlock fingers <shudder>), some kind of jive handshake variation (are we that close?), or a fist bump (but I'll need to be very clear lest it becomes this). It doesn't even really help to have a go-to game plan. Sure, sometimes you avoid some of the awkwardness if your non-verbal communication is clear, but you also risk alienating the person if it's awkwardly professional or looking like a total dork when they don't respond with the same enthusiasm. Or this happens. I usually settle for a head nod and hope we move past the feeling of lack of physical contact quickly.
So it's usually pretty great to have a set greeting with people that you know to enact. For this person, it's a one hand over the shoulder, one hand under the arm hug. For that person, it's the SoCal slap and bump. For my black friend, it starts with a jive shake pulled into a one-armed hug and bending the fingers (monkey or thumb-war grip) upon release. For my nerdy Asian friend, a regular one or two shake handshake. For my trying-a-bit-too-hard friend, an exploding dap. And for my obscenely tall white friend, a hug with my arms around his waist and my head resting on his chest. Just kidding! But seriously, what are you supposed to do when homie is 6'6?
Sometimes I wish that we could just settle on something like the standard European greeting.