East Of Eden

"A curious mix of the relevant and reverential"


Some Saturday Stuff: November 2nd.

1441334 10202638780157050 1988886988 n

Yesterday, after destroying the apartment, Zoe tucked herself in using my scarf.

 

 

Happy Saturday, Folks. No traveling this week. In fact, I only was in a car one day this week. Nice change.

 

I've received a few questions about how I'm doing after that "SomewhereinAmerica" experience. I'm okay. I'm not bugging out, hiding under the covers or cozying up to Jack Daniels. Look, the doctors at Northwestern are extremely thorough. That's why they had me undergo all those tests- tests that doctors here in Jersey had undertaken in the past. Two years ago, my regular neuromuscular specialist, Dr. Grewal, had some of my blood tested for one of the antibodies related to Paraneoplastic Syndrome. Dr. Allen is testing for them *all*. My point is, the theory that I may have a rare form of cancer has been floated for a while now. The result was negative in 2011 and I have no reason to believe it'll be any different now. I just can't get caught up in "what ifs" right now. If it comes back I have it, I'll cross that bridge when I get to it.

 

I did get a call from the wonderfully sweet Paula on Tuesday. Dr. Allen and Dr. Burt had their consultation on my case. I'm in. They concluded I am a candidate for a stem cell transplant. Next up, trying to get my insurance company to cover the treatment. So yeah, pray... or keep praying!

 

Let's get to the links, shall we? My blogger buddy Rod Dreher on why you don't want to be a writer:

 

The thing about being a writer is in most cases, you can never stop being a writer. I mean, you are always writing, even when you’re not writing. You can’t turn the damn thing off. My wife has a habit of coming to me at parties, and whispering in my ear, “Stop writing, Thurber” — this, because she once read that James Thurber’s wife could see when he was at a social gathering apparently present, but was really lost in his head, writing something. It’s really true. I’m almost never fully there; I’m always thinking about how I would describe the thing I’m seeing and doing if I were to write about it, what the lessons would be, or thinking about something I wrote earlier in the day, or planned to write. I’ve learned over the years that I rarely know what I really think about something until I’ve written about it, even if I never commit a word to page.

 

This can be exhausting, both physically and emotionally, as Lott says. It is taxing on your spouse and children. Most kids’ dads and moms work normal hours, and can leave the job behind when they knock off. Not the writer dad, the writer mom, or the writer spouse. It doesn’t work that way, any more than a man stops being a husband when he’s not at home with his wife. I wish it did, and I know Mrs. Dreher and the Dreher children wish it did. This is why writer’s drink: because they desperately need to get out of their heads, and can’t. It is a secret blessing to me that I feel intolerably bad when I’ve had too much to drink, and even when I haven’t gotten drunk, just overindulged. It keeps me from doing it. I’d sure as hell do it if I had a stronger constitution, just to short out the little internal light that won’t stop flashing, no matter what, and to drown the klaxon embedded in my head that won’t shut up, even when I want it to.

What’s more, nobody cares about this. They really don’t. If you saw me from the outside, you’d think I did nothing but sit on my ass all day in front of the computer, having fun. And I do! I mean, I do sit on my ass all day in front of the computer, and I do have fun. But I also sit on my ass all day in front of the computer and sometimes open a vein, and bleed out. My dad told me that one reason my sister resented me was that I was making good money as a writer, which she didn’t see as real work. That really pissed me off, but the truth is, I think that’s how most people see the writer’s life. When I was a professional film critic, people would say, “What an easy job you have, going to watch movies and writing about them.” Well, yes, it was a good job, but easy? I would challenge them to explain succinctly why a movie they just saw succeeded, failed, or somewhere in between. Most people can’t do it, and certainly can’t do so coherently, in professional prose, written under deadline. All they see is a layabout having a grand old time sitting on his ass in front of a movie screen for hours, and then in front of his computer, typing out a few words. That ain’t working. Money for nothing!

 

Don’t you believe it. If you’re any good at what you do as a writer, and if you take it seriously, it’s hard. If you ever get to the point where you make it look easy, that’s because you will have worked like a dog to master your craft. I can’t re-read the things I wrote when I first started my career, because they seem so rough and primitive. Because they were. I’m a lot better today than I was back then, because I’ve been working at it almost every single day for 25 years. And I do that knowing that nothing I ever write will be as good as the worst paragraph most of the writers I admire have produced. More on this in a moment.

And as we come around to the point, I must tell you that the writer does all this in the face of great uncertainty about his financial prospects. When I entered the journalism field, it was possible to have a long career in newspapers and magazines. That’s not true anymore. Nobody knows where this is going, or how to survive it professionally. Freelancing as a way to pay the bills is an illusion. Most writers will never get rich off their labor. No new writer wants to hear it, but something between 90 and 95 percent of all books published lose money for the publisher. Just before Crunchy Cons came out in 2006, a publisher friend of mine took me out for a beer and told me he wished me all the success in the world, but that I should prepare myself for the book’s commercial failure. This is the fate of almost every book published, he said. I believed him at one level, because this man was an industry professional. But I thought I would be the one to defy the odds — a conviction I held on to throughout the great press Crunchy Cons got. The book got a cover story in the Washington Post Style section, a full-page review in the Sunday NYT Book Review, a rave in the Wall Street Journal, lots of radio coverage, and more. A lot of people talked about the book, and still do (e.g., Sen. Rand Paul described himself in his recent autobiography as a “crunchy conservative.”)

 

And yet … Crunchy Cons lost money for the publisher. It never made back its relatively modest advance. People are shocked to hear that, but it’s true. Think of it: I became an author who brought a book out with a major publisher; it was well-reviewed in big mainstream publications and got great media attention. It provoked lots of debate and discussion on the Right. And it still didn’t make me a dime over the advance. (You can help rectify that grave injustice by buying a Kindle copy. Heh.)

 

Read the whole thing. I totally get what he's saying. I sometimes laughingly say to people, "I was supposed to be a writer," when I discuss my college major in English with a minor in Communications. Thing is, I write, and have since about age 8, because I feel compelled to do so. I sit and get lost in thought "writing" in my head, too. Every. Single. Day. It's like I've got the adult narrator from "The Wonder Years" running in my mind. The narrator is making note of people's conversations, clothes and our surroundings. Some of my friends find it freaky that I'll remember a date, the time, the setting and *exactly* what they said... on a day ten years ago. It's not that I have an amazing memory. I don't. It's just that dang narrator took such great notes that the event imprinted on my brain.

 

Sometimes, I write just to get the narrator to hush up. My brother Joe was amazed that I wrote about our sister's death within days of her passing. He couldn't string together the words. I had to blog about it because the words were already strung up in my mind and I felt if I didn't get them out, they would string me up. Lynched by my own thoughts.

 

Next up, Zack Hunt with the phenomenon known as Christian Haunted houses.

 

I’ve said before and I’ll say it again, I am not a fan of so-called “hell houses” or “Christian haunted houses” or “judgment houses” or whatever you want to call them.

I’m just not interested in scaring people into heaven…if that’s even possible.

No matter how we want to spin it, or the number of on the spot conversions we want to claim as souls saved, forcing people to watch graphic scenes of rape, murder, drunk driving deaths, and gang violence isn’t evangelism.

It’s pornography.

Obviously, it’s not the sexual stuff we usually associate with porn, but as Merriam-Webster’s defines it pornography is “the depiction of acts in a sensational manner so as to arouse a quick intense emotional reaction.

Jesus calls his follower to “go and make disciples,” not pander to their baser instincts in order to A) scare them into an emotionally charged, unreflected decision and then B) get them coming back for more.

What Christian haunted houses evoke is really no different than the reaction somebody gets from watching regular porn. It’s exciting, it’s stimulating, it gets your emotions revved up…and then it’s over.

Just like regular porn, evangelism porn gets people addicted, but once the high runs out and the things that once got them stimulated finally go stale, then Jesus gets boring, the faith becomes irrelevant, and people move on to the next high.

The problem is we’ve confused making converts with making disciples.

Christian haunted houses can definitely make converts because all that takes is a moment of intellectual assent. But Jesus said “go and make disciples,” not “go and make converts” and those are two very different things.

Making converts give us numbers to brag about.

Making disciples changes lives and together those lives can change the world.

I know the people behind these things probably have their hearts in the right place, but Christian haunted houses don’t change lives and they’re certainly not the sort of world changing work we’ve been called to do as the church.

If you really want to change the world, and you should because there are plenty of people in desperate need of help, then befriend the widow who lives next door who’s too frail to mow her lawn or drive to a doctor’s appointment. Reach out to your co-worker that’s going through crisis and doesn’t know where to turn. Donate your money to one of the countless charities trying to end the famines which claim tens of thousands of children every month. Donate your time to your local soup kitchen or food pantry. They always need volunteers. Next time don’t ignore the beggar on the street, but instead find a way to offer them hope and healing or just a bite to eat. Or simply learn to love and care for your neighbor, even your enemy, as if the fate of the world depended on it.

- See more at: http://theamericanjesus.net/?p=11020#sthash.LfHY8fjV.dpuf

 

I’ve said before and I’ll say it again, I am not a fan of so-called “hell houses” or “Christian haunted houses” or “judgment houses” or whatever you want to call them. I’m just not interested in scaring people into heaven…if that’s even possible. No matter how we want to spin it, or the number of on the spot conversions we want to claim as souls saved, forcing people to watch graphic scenes of rape, murder, drunk driving deaths, and gang violence isn’t evangelism. It’s pornography. Obviously, it’s not the sexual stuff we usually associate with porn, but as Merriam-Webster’s defines it pornography is “the depiction of acts in a sensational manner so as to arouse a quick intense emotional reaction.” Jesus calls his follower to “go and make disciples,” not pander to their baser instincts in order to A) scare them into an emotionally charged, unreflected decision and then B) get them coming back for more. What Christian haunted houses evoke is really no different than the reaction somebody gets from watching regular porn. It’s exciting, it’s stimulating, it gets your emotions revved up…and then it’s over. Just like regular porn, evangelism porn gets people addicted, but once the high runs out and the things that once got them stimulated finally go stale, then Jesus gets boring, the faith becomes irrelevant, and people move on to the next high. The problem is we’ve confused making converts with making disciples. Christian haunted houses can definitely make converts because all that takes is a moment of intellectual assent. But Jesus said “go and make disciples,” not “go and make converts” and those are two very different things. Making converts give us numbers to brag about. Making disciples changes lives and together those lives can change the world. I know the people behind these things probably have their hearts in the right place, but Christian haunted houses don’t change lives and they’re certainly not the sort of world changing work we’ve been called to do as the church. If you really want to change the world, and you should because there are plenty of people in desperate need of help, then befriend the widow who lives next door who’s too frail to mow her lawn or drive to a doctor’s appointment. Reach out to your co-worker that’s going through crisis and doesn’t know where to turn. Donate your money to one of the countless charities trying to end the famines which claim tens of thousands of children every month. Donate your time to your local soup kitchen or food pantry. They always need volunteers. Next time don’t ignore the beggar on the street, but instead find a way to offer them hope and healing or just a bite to eat. Or simply learn to love and care for your neighbor, even your enemy, as if the fate of the world depended on it. - See more at: http://theamericanjesus.net/?p=11020#sthash.LfHY8fjV.dpuf

I’ve said before and I’ll say it again, I am not a fan of so-called “hell houses” or “Christian haunted houses” or “judgment houses” or whatever you want to call them. I’m just not interested in scaring people into heaven…if that’s even possible. No matter how we want to spin it, or the number of on the spot conversions we want to claim as souls saved, forcing people to watch graphic scenes of rape, murder, drunk driving deaths, and gang violence isn’t evangelism.

 

It’s pornography.

 

Obviously, it’s not the sexual stuff we usually associate with porn, but as Merriam-Webster’s defines it pornography is “the depiction of acts in a sensational manner so as to arouse a quick intense emotional reaction.” Jesus calls his follower to “go and make disciples,” not pander to their baser instincts in order to A) scare them into an emotionally charged, unreflected decision and then B) get them coming back for more.

 

What Christian haunted houses evoke is really no different than the reaction somebody gets from watching regular porn. It’s exciting, it’s stimulating, it gets your emotions revved up…and then it’s over. Just like regular porn, evangelism porn gets people addicted, but once the high runs out and the things that once got them stimulated finally go stale, then Jesus gets boring, the faith becomes irrelevant, and people move on to the next high. The problem is we’ve confused making converts with making disciples. Christian haunted houses can definitely make converts because all that takes is a moment of intellectual assent. But Jesus said “go and make disciples,” not “go and make converts” and those are two very different things.

 

Making converts give us numbers to brag about. Making disciples changes lives and together those lives can change the world. I know the people behind these things probably have their hearts in the right place, but Christian haunted houses don’t change lives and they’re certainly not the sort of world changing work we’ve been called to do as the church.

 

If you really want to change the world, and you should because there are plenty of people in desperate need of help, then befriend the widow who lives next door who’s too frail to mow her lawn or drive to a doctor’s appointment. Reach out to your co-worker that’s going through crisis and doesn’t know where to turn. Donate your money to one of the countless charities trying to end the famines which claim tens of thousands of children every month. Donate your time to your local soup kitchen or food pantry. They always need volunteers. Next time don’t ignore the beggar on the street, but instead find a way to offer them hope and healing or just a bite to eat. Or simply learn to love and care for your neighbor, even your enemy, as if the fate of the world depended on it.

 

Have you heard? Rapper Kendrick Lamar most recently on Kanye's controversial tour, has accepted Christ as Savior. From The Christian Post:

 

To some, this may come as a surprise as the rapper recently rose to fame in the hip-hop community after releasing his platinum major label debut Good Kid M.A.A.D City in 2012. But those who listened to the album would know that Lamar has had a Christian experience where he accepted Jesus at a younger age-- several skits on the record imitate young souls getting saved.

Good Kid M.A.A.D City is a concept album that tells the story of Lamar as a youth growing up in Compton, Calif. going through various trials with troublemakers from his area. He and his friends are eventually confronted by a woman who urges them to accept Jesus Christ towards the end of the album and change their behavoir. After this skit, the songs become less aggressive and more introspective. His father is also featured in another skit where he emphasizes the importance of God to his son Kendrick.

The album sends a mixed message, though, as it contains strong sexual content and harsh language together with positive uplifting stories and an altar call.

Lamar also appeared in a video promoting well known Christian rapper Lecrae's mixtape Church Clothes back in 2012. The two appear to have built a relationship with one another and Lecrae's influence could have been a catalyst for this recent conversion or re-dedication to Jesus Christ.

 

I wonder how (or if) his music will develop with this change in his spiritual life? I'm a fan of Kendrick's by the way, his mixtape and all. His style reminds me a lot of early 90's, West Coast rap. You might recall I used some of his lyrics in my post "Sing About Me". I'll be keeping him in prayer. It seems extremely hard (if not impossible) to be a performer AND serve God.

 

And keeping with the spirit of being the antithesis of the materialistic superstar, here's Lorde with "Royals". Have a great weekend, a solemn All Souls Day to my fellow Anglicans and Catholics, and a delightful Diwali to my Hindu readers. Love you!

 

Recent Blog Posts


Popular Blog Posts

Alisha DeFreitas
25 August 2017
John Lennon, Yoko Ono and Dick Gregory. (Image Source: Yoko Ono's Twitter account)   Dick Gregory, comedian, entertainer, and civil rights activist, died last Saturday, August 19th, at the age o...
Alisha DeFreitas
17 September 2016
September 2016, and I have (some) hair.     ... to get better, but haven't. Yet.  It's been four months since I had the Hematopoietic stem cell transplantation (HSCT) at Northwestern ...
Alisha DeFreitas
09 November 2013
  Happy Saturday, Folks! Pretty good week for me. Cooked almost every day (except yesterday when I had plasmapheresis which usually leaves me feeling wiped; it didn't though-woohoo!- but we stil...

Reviews

"... the awesomely gifted Alisha DeFreitas... tells her story of  her brush with the Culture of Death and her refusal to play the world’s game. I love that she gives two well-aimed upraised middle fingers: one to the abortion culture of the Left, and one to the Randian Makers vs. Takers class warriors of the Right. She’s one of my heros."

Mark Shea, author and blogger


"While reading your blog I often sense a certain amount of conviction on your behalf, which makes me wonder why isn’t everyone reading the blogs of a woman who actually “gets it.”

Don, at Minus The Bars


"A curious mix of the sacred and profane...too nice for a run of the mill blog? "

Joe, my brother, author of The Blog of Blogs


"Are you really bored or something?"

Joscelyne, my sister


"Pretty f****ing intense."

Reader Brooke Farmer, on this entry.


"A great outlet for such a prolific mind and an entertaining mix of spirituality and current events."

Keiron, my husband, also known on here as K, or my Knight & Sunshine

East of Eden on Facebook

Drop Me A Message

Fields with (*) are required.
Please prove you are human!