I can sub!

Posted by Tim Posada On 11:24 AM 0 comments
I got my CBET results back, I can now become a substitute teacher. I am one step closer to quitting Starbucks, thus making life a happier one. I've been excited about this idea for a while now for several reasons. I'll be able to make enough money for rent, food, health insurance, and whatever else. I can make own schedule-work just enough to pay bills or work more. Subbing will allow me the time off I need to visit people for weekends or whatever. Plus, I won't have to work on weekends. Lastly, subbing will give me a little bit of teaching experience, helping me prepare to do adjunct teaching in the spring. Things are happening...

Church is over

Posted by Tim Posada On 11:41 AM 0 comments
I led worship for the last time as the worship leader at MosaicRC. Two months ago I met with my pastor and told him that I'm ready to move into the next phase of my life. I'm graduating from Fuller in three weeks and will hopefully begin stitute teaching soon. It'll be wierd without grad school or the smell of coffee in my hair anymore, but I'm excited. With only a commitment to pay rent, I'll have more freedom to visit friends that moved away. I'll also be able to read for fun and play video games with guilt.

Leading worship for the last time was a surreal experience. I loved what I was doing, creating new ways to do worship was a joy in my life, but I'm ready to go somewhere else. My church was great but I need to find a church body in the isn't in the suburbs. I've been plagued by guilt for the last two years for always talking about social change but not doing it. Finding a more established church body in an urban context will hopefully solve that.

My father gave me the idea to go check out the big wig churches around here like Harvest, Saddleback, and the Dream Center to see what the fuss was about. I rather like that idea and plan to do that, going to places like All Saints in Pasadena, churches in LA, and wherever else people suggest I should go. I don't expect to find spiritual fulfillment in a church for a while. It's become too much of a habit (and I can honestly say that I have never felt God in a church [I'm not making that up]). So it only makes sense to look around to see what's out there. In the mean time, I'm hoping to join/create a small group/book club/weekend cult to keep me in line. Things are changing and I'm very excited about no knowing where the fuck I'll end up in a few months/years/decades/life times.

Superbad was super good

Posted by Tim Posada On 1:47 PM 0 comments
Last night I saw the teen comedy Superbad. But unlike the American Pie franchize or the lates about Tucker's demise, Superbad has something to go with its raunch. This is the third film in a growing trend of comedies that are at the peak of perversion in order to return to morality. While not by the director of The 40 Year Old Virgin and Knocked Up, it was written by the actors of such films and produced by that director. Superbad, while not smooth and sincere as Knocked Up and lacking the character chemistry of The 40 Year Old Virgin, had a soul. It's a film about three nerds' last chance to get laid before they graduate from high school. Their tactics are shady and the film's events are ridiculous, causing a severe amount gross out dialogue and some rather off-colour situations. But the film's conclusion is not a promotion of questionable behavior, like one-night stands or sleeping with a drunk girl, but a hope for deeper relationships. The driving theme of the film is that high school politics are a paradox. Drinking does not make sex okay but adds to an evening's drama. Trying to get with someone just for one night does not help loneliness but adds to depression. Perhaps that greatest joy of high school is the charish the frienship one has and let things happen naturally.

This new wave of moral raunch comedy reminds me of the idea, finding God in the trash. These films are first comedies to make us laugh. It was incredibly perverse, but luckily, I, along with a large majority of this country, love such jokes. I find the reality such conversations far too real. These comedies voice how people really act or what goes on in their repressed heads. Many would say that such a movie is destructive to society. I can only respond by saying that films and shows like Die Hard, The Passion of the Christ, Braveheart, 7th Heaven, and The Pursuit of Happyness have proven to be much more detrimental to society by promoting false images of reality through issues of race, difference, conflict resolution, and the meaning of life. Of course people will say this is an exageration, but I'm saying is that a film like Superbad can only be accused of bad taste, while a film like The Pursuit of Happyness, which could be promoted by a church or watched with a family, implies that anyone can get over financial and racial downfalls through a good job, thus the social system that created the problem is allowed to continue. Atleast Superbad avokes a real emotion rather confirms of submissive place in society.

Stardust: Surprise of the summer/week/day

Posted by Tim Posada On 3:21 PM 0 comments

I saw the fantasy film Stardust and was actually quite blown away. The previews looked ridiculously cheesy, but critics were giving the film good reviews. The pace and feel reminded me of the original Pirates of the Carribean film with a epic film score to accent it as well. The characters were engaging and there were not tangents-everything came together in the end. It was also quite hysterica, but not at the sakee of the plot-of course British films usually are better than American films at maintaining narrative integrity. The special effects weren't overbearing but well done and realistic. The events of the storyline flowed while maintaining an element of unpredictability. In the end, God bless the Brits and their graphic novel adaptations. I wish we had more films like this one.

Jack Bauer gets results in real-time

Posted by Tim Posada On 12:05 AM 0 comments
My friend Casey and I have been going through the show 24 over the past two weeks. We are half-way through season 2. Gotta say, it's pretty damn good. The first season was frustrating and rather repetitive. Season 2 has been more consistant and twice as intense. It's no Battlestar Galactica (not intensity wise, but good show wise), but so far the second season has put it up there with the calliber of Lost. While the first season of Lost might be one of the most sensational starts to a show, each season to follow lacked the edge and consistancy that made that show so addicting (I hear great things about Heroes and will confirm such rumours soon enough). My other friend told me that he didn't like the show because it was too unbelievable. I agree, it is very unbelievable. But alas, I don't watch shows for believability but for the intense writing that connects everything through unexpected circumstances, thus I find that show to be one of the best out there right (I have heard that later seasons dwindle and I will, once again, confirm this later). It's amazing to watch a show that dares to kill off any character. I do, however, find that Elisha Cuthbert (The Girl Next Door and Captive) to be there simply because she is attractive. I have never been less engaged with a major character and more annoyed with the choices she makes. I could never watch 24 on a weekly basis because it would ruin me. Watching Lost and BSG cause enough stress in my life-and I still can't shake the season finale of Scrubs. 24 would make my life a living hell because of how into shows I get (oh the days of The OC and House).

I must say though, it is very interesting to watch a show that raises so many ethical issues. The show, so far, does not portray many appealing female characters (season 2 has some, but seaon 1 had none). Further, there are several torture scenes done by the governemtn, and they are by lead character Jack Bauer, who "get's results." Call me an idealist, but I am an aspiring pacifist who does not believe in any forms of violence for they only seem to reinforce the system they are trying to take down. 24 is a prime example of this. We condone what Jack Bauer does because millions of lives are at stake, yet we do not condone what the terrorists do because they are trying to kill us-even though they may have the same convictions and motivation as Jack. Further, Jack's blatant disregard for authority reminds me of the updated cowboy. He's the resourceful lone ranger who flips off the rules and always gets his man with no regard for his own life-and in true updated form has a great care for family. This is John McClaine (Die Hard) on TV but darker. Yet, when I watch this show, I don't care about such things as ethics. This show takes away my moral misgivings about such actions that do not protect the sanctity of life for the sake of the moment. I submit to the will of this and other films and shows.

I know that my theological studies should tell me that I do it for a higher reason than entertainment. I should be looking for a the theological implications of Jack's patriotism and relating them to my committed to God. Perhaps I should be understanding this show in such vague terms as sacrifice, bravery, courage, love, and justice. But I don't give a shit about them when I'm watching the show. Such things will come later, if at all. I watch this show for release. Release from a long or even short day. I suspend my disbelief and watch Jack fight for America (something I would never do) because the show is enjoyable on a very superficial level. Of course I watch other things for that deeper level: Pan's Labyrinth made me question my definition of heaven and hell; Hero took through a martial arts film that spoke against the use of violence to bring change; and Children of Men made me tear up when a world filled with hatred of immigrants was given a bleak glimpse of hope through the sight of the first child burn in almost 20 years. But 24 is, while layered and intelligent, truly enjoyable because it is escapist. This serves as an important example of the significance of aesthetics in art. Anything art worth the process it took to gain an audience will engage people on this level. Some art will go deeper, but this "superficial" is the most important part. This is something socially driven art must learn-artistic mediums must be properly used with talent in order to create an effective message.

is straight up good. Call me a TV whore, but I enjoy and get more out of the community I form watching this and other such shows than I would from church or a prayer group. I'm not a bad Christian. I'm just being more honest than those who claim to have a more holy purpose in life. 24 serves no greater purpose in my life than giving me a story. I see little wrong with this for we do it all the time. And if anyone has a problem with it...I don't care.

Prayer and the art of paralysis

Posted by Tim Posada On 3:51 PM 0 comments
I have had many arguments recently about the idea of prayer. First, I am quite exhausted from arguing as it is destructive and when you win you really lose. Rhetorical debates optimize much of what I am trying to be against but constantly fall prey to. Thus, I write this as a way to hopefully end my argument on this front-or at least verbalize my views in preparation for the next round.

I don't know what to do about prayer. My mother often tells me to simply talk to God as is he/she is next standing/sitting/eating/chillin' next to me, but I can't. I find God in many places but this supernatural presence that my mother, and others as well, feels is not of my world view. I can't simply pray. I find most church practices to be destructive and its view on prayer falls under this category. I have been asked to prayer before/during/after I lead worship some weeks and I just can't do it. I don't talk to God like that. There is something very encouraging/unique about the Orthodox view of prayer. The idea that prayers are predetermined takes away the narcissistic notion of God-talk and brings Christianity back into its original context-with the people. I know, I've had a few people say that such a focus on community is too much like socialism. I can only say about that is, "Fuck off, and read more." The my buddy Jesus just doesn't do it for me, and when I do pray by myself it's completely for selfish reasons and rarely in a form that would seem to serve the proper purpose.

Prayer must have a wider definition than the usual-head-bowed-eyes-closed formula. Prayer must be more than words that are thought up on the spot. I find that when I write, play music, watch a film, discuss theology (not argue about it), read, and commune with others, I am closer to a holistic definition of prayer that actually encourages me to move. Prayer in the common form does nothing for me but remind me of how boring mainstream Christianity is-and that is the great tragedy of the 21st century. Too often to I hear of groups that come together to pray but do nothing else. This is not only counter-productive but contradictory. From what I can gather, prayer is not about a two-way conversation but a three-way one: God, the individual praying, and the surrounding community. When we forget about praxis, we have turned Christianity into a self-help guide that is only suited for privileged people that have no need for a better life. The prosperity gospel is far to prominent in its many deceptive forms. Speaking in tongues and prophecy have become euphemisms for a hyper-spirituality that does not cause social change but reduces the gospel to an "inner peace." Such a thing does not sound bad until we realize that we have been manipulated into believing in something that Jesus did not teach. Internal and external issues are equally important to God, but American privilege has allowed such divisions.

The power of prayer is a vague concept I can only hope will gain meaning in the future. As of now, I am sceptical. Prayer meetings have little use to me (I say this acknowledging that my own social location has influenced my view and in now way am I making these claims universal). I have seen prayer be used as an excuse to remain unmoved. I seen prayer used to misinterpret the guidance of the Holy Spirit. And I have seen prayer used in such vague ways that do nothing but remind me that it has lost its power amongst the Western privileged. I do not say this as a pessimist for I am happier than I have been in quite some time. I say this because I, and many others before me, have thought this but feared the wrath of the less educated who would demean it with claims of blasphemy. I can only hope that I will see prayer become something more substantial. Until then...amen.

Post-Harry Potter Denial

Posted by Tim Posada On 11:17 PM 0 comments
I am sitting down right now watching Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets. Why this film? Because I have already gone through the other three films out right now, saw Harry Potter and the Order of the Pheonix in the theatre twice, watched The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers this afternoon, and Fellowship of the Ring earlier this week. I have also recently watch Spirited Away and, as usual, can't stop talking about how flippin' awesome the film Pan's Labyrinth was. All of this because I read the seventh and final installment of the Potter series Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, which-I still stand by-should have been named Harry Potter and He-Who-Must-not-be-Named. I read the 700 plus page book in two days and am rather sad that it's over. Lord of the Rings is over, Eragon was an awful film, Narnia was just decent, and now, I know how Harry Potter ends (don't worry, no spoilers here). Fantasy is truly my favourite genre of films, books, and life. I love every page I turn and wish I was a part of every world I see on the big screen-even the screen version of Narnia...but not Eragon.

The Harry Potter books were just about the only fiction I read. With them gone I only have Chuck Palanhiuk to turn to (Fight Club, Survivor, Diary), and he just doesn't have enough books out right now. So here I am, whining about the end of something, once again. I don't care if people say it would ruin the credibility of the books, I really want Rowling to do the seven years of school Harry's parents went through. That would be frikkin' awesome...and allow me to stall my fictional grief for another 4,000 pages. I can only take so many academic books that try to enrich my mind. And why is it that I can remember all these little details from a fictional book or a movie, but I can't, for the life of me, remember the book I just finished on the subject I'm studying.

Fantasy has the magical power of showing us a utopian world within the world. It shows us that our lives might be missing something important. Unfortunately, I interpret such films literally and find that what I'm missing could not possibly be found in this life (and if not here, maybe not ever if there is not afterlife [that one's for you Garrett]). When I was visiting Colorado, Garrett told me his ideal heaven was Hogwarts. I told him I would agree with that, but say that my heaven was Hogwarts and Jedi Academy school. Picture it: my lightsaber is my wond. I saber fight and then cast a spell in the middle of the battle. That's just good entertainment. But until then, here's for all the upcoming fantasy and perhaps a dream come true when VR technology lets me chill in middle earth, take a road trip to the Death Star, and be pack for pumpkin juice at Hogwarts by 6.