Category Archives: what this blog is about

Reflections On Things That Do Not Exist

Refelctions ofThirteen (13) has ever been an ill number, and I feel sick in the pit of my stomach, in the depths of my soul, on this the 13th anniversary of the 2001, 9/11 terror attacks. Those Satanic attacks wreaked havoc on The World Trade Center, The Pentagon, the US economy and most importantly took the lives of more than 3,000 of our fellow citizens and foreign workers, and terrorized the larger numbers of their extended families. The martyred US citizens and foreign workers, came from every walk of life, truly representing the multicultural “melting pot” that is the United States of America. 9/11/01 changed everything and ushered us into a truly apocalyptic era; we are no longer post-modern or even post-ironic, we are post-everything…and we do post everything. We post it here, on the web. Here then is my post, in memoriam.

On 9/11/01, I arrived at my relatively new desk at WebEx, Sacramento, (now Cisco Systems) at 6 AM PST, to begin remotely calling on my sales territory…to begin calling on The World Trade Center. I was specifically chosen for a tough, New York sales slot, because I was, and am, a “big mouth”. I was brash and brazen in the interview process with my superiors at WebEx, and they correctly pegged me to sell web conferencing to similarly, loud, no-bullshit New Yorkers. I was honored! I was finally selling at a level that merited my first six-figure salary! My superiors were proven correct, as I maintained a 102% of quota figure for the year leading up to the attacks. That ill morning, as I stirred my coffee and muddled around, while firing up my 2nd PC, a co-worker, with another “early” and East Coast territory, emailed me something like this: “Hey Jenkins, a good reason to call into your territory?…attached was the earliest AP news report, indicating that “It appeared that a small plane has crashed into the side of the North Tower of The World Trade Center” The time stamp on the story indicated 9:04 AM EST, but we would later learn the first plane hit at 8:46 AM EST. I was nonplussed. I couldn’t imagine what kind of inane pilot was flying so low in the City. I quickly scanned web radio and found continually updated news reports. Almost immediately came the report of a second plane hitting the South Tower, and I knew our country was under attack. A small crowd of reps had gathered around my cube, and those of my neighbors, as more people became aware of the breaking news. We listened in horror, and then saw the first pictures of the damage from the planes. (I have included a link to a 10th anniversary pictorial story by The Atlantic at the bottom of this post) We were all dismayed, and all work came to a halt, as we began to pray and consider what was happening in and to our country.

We were not content to take our reports from the web, so a large contingency of us left the office, crossed the street and entered the lobby of a Marriott Residence Inn, where there was a TV in the lobby. The buildings were already on fire and great plumes of black smoke-filled the morning, New York air, darkening the skyline. I stood in rapt attention, in deep and unsettled prayer, and something like dismayed awe as we watched first the South, then the North Towers fall. I remember that I began to cry, finally, as I watched the South Tower slink down. In my memory, it simply gave up, rather than exploded, and it seemed to never stop descending down, down, down, in it’s sinewy death.

I cried because people I had video-conferenced with and sold software to were dying in those moments. I cried because I was unsure how much of a sustained attack our country was withstanding. I cried because I knew with prophetic certainty that the entire world was changing in those very moments. I cried as I preemptively mourned the lost naiveté our country was surrendering, along with security, along with the age of American Empire. We were losing all of this in the City of Empire! We lost it in a moment. And surely we had lost Empire in countless moments leading up to that one. We lost Empire when the hippies and gurus hit the scene in the 60’s, we lost it when Roe v. Wade declared an open season on unborn Americans,
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mea culpa, apologia, and democracy in blogging

Dear Generous Reader,

I recently re-read my earlier blog entries, and I noted a pretty pedantic voice coming through. I’m not sure I can prevent my personal dogma from bleeding through in my topic choice or the “opinion” content of a post. Not sure I want it too. This is my blog, and I held myself out as a kind of digital prophet, so you knew I was going to pop off, right? I would like, however, to acknowledge that I am probably already angering friends and foes alike with some of my editorial bent. Mea culpa, then, is thus: I am sorry for irritating you a bit, and even sorrier that I am not really toooo sorry! I can’t thank you enough for reading some words you may not love at first sight, that is why I addressed you as a “generous” reader. I can..not..believe..any one of you has read more than a sentence! Thanks! (As part of my apology, I have attached a “virtual” gift of one of my succulent plant creations at the bottom of the post. We’ll be talking about succulents soon enough! If things go well for you in this forum, you could end up with a nice, “actual” gift of potted succulents ;)).

Regarding apologetics: I went to Bible college, and even though I never entered public ministry, I demonstrated an early, and apt grasp of Christian Apologetics. I love the explicit power of words in studying, and debating in philosophy, theology, and apologetics. An apologetics discussion we could enter in to could be as simple as; The COEXIST bumper sticker, seen here, there, and everywhere. The coexist sticker’s ubiquity unintentionally demonstrates an almost universal truth, “people want to believe” in something. All those world religions weren’t created in a vacuum! There are finely settled arguments about man being a “religious” creature in disciplines as subjective as Sociology and Anthropology, to more objective, scientific insights about how religious experiences impact the human brain chemically and even structurally.  I won’t rehash all that here, because most of my readers will hold to a faith or belief system of some sort, unless I draw a humdinger of a statistical anomaly for readership (atheists are welcome here too, but you will be routinely put through the spanking machine ;)). Same topic, different angle; all the religions represented by the symbols on that sticker don’t want to coexist, some of them want you to join their deal or die! Yikes! Same topic, different angle; I agree we can coexist peacefully with our differing views, and enjoy lively debate, but debate we must! Look at all those symbols again…each faith there makes truth claims about life, the universe, and everything. Any two of those belief systems will undoubtedly disagree with one another on a very significant aspect of the nature of existence itself! Peace as we live and work together, peace as we respect one another, but fight like hell over the rest of it, because in my belief system there is a Hell, and I believe that literally. What kind of person would I be if I believed in Hell, but didn’t care enough for you to at least point out the edge of the cliff for your consideration??? I just listed three ways we can squabble over the coexist bumper sticker! 🙂 I am cantankerous! I want to fight with you too, though we both know I’ll win the debate. If we already know I am going to win, you have no reason to fear engaging me. 😉

The call for democracy in blogging flows from my last bragging claim. Even though I think I am right about almost everything, I would love to interact with you regarding any topic you may have a differing opinion on. I will be gentle and respectful in my responses because you are generous, and the Bible tells me so! I hope you’ll contribute any thoughts you have via comments, as the web, and this blog are truly democratic. If you’re comments call for it, I may invite you to guest blog on this site, even if I disagree with you. You could really put it in my face if I piss you off! Even though I want to persuade you with my rhetoric, I’d rather engage with you; person-to-person, mind-on-mind, word-for-word.

Click the “WORD up!” link on the right column and subscribe. I will probably make you angry at some point, but now, you know, that I know, how to deliver a “kinda sorry” apology. Word to all you mothers and brothers and others!

With gentleness and respect,

scribblerjeff


logophilic, bibliophilic, graphoholic, quite possibly logorrheic…

I love words and language, perhaps as much as I love anything. I am not sure if this is because I enjoy a particular brain structure, background, or touch from God, but words and language resonate with me the same way a Yo-Yo Ma, cello concerto might resonate with a classical music lover. Often, reading or hearing a certain word or group of words can induce in me a neural firing that is a physically discernible sensation. In the presence of a particularly powerful use of language, I can actually feel those dendrites and synapses waving around with acclaim and acknowledgement! Alas, words are so much more than an itch in the mind, or a pull of the emotional bow across the heart strings, they are truly the medium in which we live, move, and have our being.

Symbolic language is one of the most distinctive traits in the divide between Homo sapiens and the rest of creation. Words allow humans to transcend the limitations of a seemingly deterministic, physical reality and create! Since the Garden of Eden, when Adam named the animals God brought before him, mankind has been categorizing and cataloguing everything we interact with in this world by means of words, whether written, spoken, sung, or signed. We reflect on the world we encounter, ourselves, and the nature of existence itself through the clarifying and classifying lens of language. Indeed, words allow us the freedom to think beyond natural categories and enter into the world of philosophical abstractions, such as, justice, truth, or love.

The Koine Greek for ‘word’ is ‘λóγος’, (lä-ˌgäs), which can be rendered as ‘study or discourse concerning’. In English, we often use λóγος as a suffix for academic subjects. For example, biology is the study or discourse concerning living things, just as anthropology is the study of humans and human culture. Given this definition, wordswurdswirds aspires to be a study or discourse concerning words, language, how we use them, and how they move us from my perspective. Since I believe it is self-evident that language is culture, there are an infinite number of subjects this blog may attempt to address in future posts. Hopefully, this exercise in writing will yield some light that might otherwise not have been seen. I also hope it generates a little heat!

You can’t blog without log.

Word!