Wednesday, December 24, 2008

8-bit Christmas

This dude has some really funky christmas songs in 8-bit gaming console style. Check it out:

http://www.doctoroctoroc.com/video-games/8-bit-jesus-full-album-release/

INFP

A friend's facebook status reminded me of the Myers-Briggs personality analysis again, so I retook the test and had another look at my personality type:


Click to view my Personality Profile page


This time when I took the test it came out even stronger than last time. The characteristic description for me according to this analysis is "Dreamer." It's funny that my parents used to call me that all my life. I always got upset about that, partly because to my parents it had a very negative connotation. To them dreamers wouldn't amount much in life.

A really cool thing is that I'm in great company with the INFP type. Some of the coolest people are supposedly INFPs, like:
  • J. R. R. Tolkien
  • William Shakespeare
  • George Orwell
  • Aldous Huxley
  • St. John
  • St. Luke
  • Mary, Jesus's Mother
  • Peter Jackson, director for LOTR
  • Calvin (from Calvin & Hobbes)
  • Fox Mulder (from X-Files, my hun's favorite tv show)

Another funny thing is that I seem to be in the totally wrong profession for me. I wonder if I'll ever manage the huge jump of a career change to musician, counselor, minister. I'd love to...

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Transcendence of the Supernatural

I have been struggling lately with thoughts like:
- Is God real?
- Is God only a figmant of the collective Christian imagination?
- Have we made up God?

I find one really potent argument for the presence of God is his (indirect) reference in all of art, music, casual talk, etc. What I mean is this yearning for eternal love, something transcending the natural, that is apparent in many songs, in paintings, in other things. The surprising thing is that the supernatural theme is so prevalent, even (or rather especially) with people that don't consider themselves Christians.

I know this isn't proof for anything but I find it to be very potent evidence for the reality of God.

Slow Grace

It's almost two in the morning and I'm still up. Again... and I wonder again whether things will change, do change, have changed. And I wonder whether God has any foothold in my life, whether He has any room to change things... I wonder because I am so imperfect...

But then I am thinking that God's grace isn't working the way I want but the way He wants. Sometimes (and for some people) it's fast. We all heard of people who came to God, repented of their sin and *wham* since then they didn't do that certain sin anymore. But at the same time there's evidence that God works slowly. Moses spent I-don't-know-how-many-years in the desert before God "called" him. God doesn't have to work fast. What matters is that we don't stop trusting Him, in our sin, in our despair and depression, in our success, in everything...

If God chooses to work slowly with me so be it. I don't need any reason for why He does the things He does.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

ASBO Jesus


I stumbled on this website two (or three?) days back and have since then read all of the comics and even been skimming the comments. Check it out. Very (thought-)provoking.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Music

I'll keep making music even if sometimes I feel like giving up.

Carol and I had our second gig this past weekend and it all felt rushed and unprepared. In fact it was. I did some pre-recording of the songs. We jammed to them a bit but we never practiced the whole set solidly together. I think we were both a little nervous and it showed. I felt inadequate when playing and felt like I didn't perform to my ability.

Still, I love music and to express myself in this way. If I can make the world only a little more colorful; If I can make someone smile with my music; If I can make someone think with my music; If I can grow through this process; If this makes any difference I won't give up (and I know it makes a difference in me at least).

So now on to more productions. And maybe we'll manage to get a record eventually. I'll try to post some songs on our myspace soon and will let you guys know (if anyone is reading this).

Sunday, November 9, 2008

My engagement with Carol

Many of my have been asking and waiting to hear how I got engaged so I'm finally putting it down on paper (err... bits and bytes).

Carol and I have been going out for a while. It was more than three years this last summer and I've been thinking of getting engaged. I think we both have been thinking of that and everyone once in a we'd say "Man, I wish we were married." So at the end of July I started to think that it's about time and started my search for The Ring.

I'll cut the ring story short as to not bore you to death. I basically decided early on against a diamond center stone for various reasons and then found out that Carol's birthstone is a ruby. Now, despite all that jewellers will tell you rubies are much rarer and costlier than diamonds, at least perfect rubies. After long research I finally had one type of design in my head and got a jeweller to make that ring for me. A ruby in the center, two diamonds on the sides.

I initally thought of proposing at the beginning of September but since Carol went to work in Edmonton that plan had to be abandoned. I then planned to take a trip out west (we were talking about that already) and propose somewhere on the trip. While I was planning the trip Lake Louise started to stick out, being the "Jewel of the Rockies" and just being beautiful and special in general.

I got the ring about a week before flying out and still had to talk to her parents. Since I still had to pick up stuff for Carol for our trip I combined the two. So I called, her dad picked up, and I asked him when I could come by to pick up the things and to talk to him and his wife about something. He already guessed what it was and asked whether it was serious. I said "yes, sort of" or something like that and, of course, was pretty nervous on the phone. He then invited me to come and have dinner with them. After dinner we went to the living room and they asked me what I wanted to talk about. Despite trying to formulate beforehand of what to say I went totally blank and then basically just said what it was about. I got the green light. :)

So, I flew to Edmonton, spent a day at home (where Carol was staying as well) and the next day, Sunday, October 11, we left early in the morning and drove to the mountains. Carol was tired and slept most of the way. This was good cause it allowed me to hide my nervousness more easily but also bad cause I was afraid my plan would get spoiled. It was also cloudy and I think a little rainy which added to that. My plan was to hike up the Big Beehive at Lake Louise and propose on top with the lake as backdrop. This would have been quite the hike.

Well, when we got to Lake Louise it was still mostly cloudy but otherwise pretty nice. Carol went up for a "short hike" and so we started going up. I already guessed that we wouldn't make it all the way up the mountain but I still wanted to get away from people. After a long, tough and fun hike, during which the sun started coming out we arrived at Mirror Lake. It was all frozen but it was beautiful and really warm with the sun out. We still wanted to try to go to a teahouse a little further up and started on our way but soon got tired since the path was terribly icy and steep.

We ended up stopping at this place where there were tons of big and small rocks. It was nice and sunny and hardly anybody walked by there. We sat down and ate a bit and then Carol went to look at rocks, trying to find ones that look pretty (one of her favorite things to do). When she did that I thought "That's your opportunity. You have to strike now." So I took the ring and took a note that I prepared, when a few steps out of direct sight from her and dropped the ring and the note there, placing them so she would see them when she came. Then I pretended to look at rocks too.

After a minute or so Carol asked me if there were any nice rocks where I was. I hesitated at first since at that exact moment people were walking by but then said slowly that "Yeah, there are some here that look sort of interesting." So she walks over, sees the ring and her first though is "Somebody must've dropped it and be really sad right now." She then picks up the note and starts reading (or rather skimming it) and recognizes that it was my handwriting. When she got the part where I wrote "Will you marry me?" I got on my knees, held the ring and asked her. She couldn't wait to say yes. :)

After that we took a few pictures and went down the hill, smiling til our face-muscles were tired, and then enjoyed a nice dinner at Banff and some soaking in the Hot Springs. A wonderful day.

P.S: This isn't proofread yet. I'll do it some other time...

Friday, October 24, 2008

the bird and the bee


To add to the list of quirky, interesting music, here's a gem. Interesting melodies, harmonies, instrumentation. Very dreamy music. Nicely pleasing vocals.

Why I seem to dislike church right now?

Well, first of all it's not totally clear to me either. It's been coming at me from a few angles which I'll try to mention (Most of my question marks will be of rhetorical nature. I don't necessarily want them answered):

a) Church is so friggin institutionalized and formalized. "No jeans allowed when playing on the worship team." There's many other such man-made rules that don't make any sense to anybody but get upheld because we have to. Why? This just makes people uncomfortable and is pretty pharasaical. There's many other unwritten rules about how to behave and how to not disturb formalisms in church or in the service. There's no room for people be themselves, to share, to open up. Everything caters to masking yourself.

b) We don't like sinners. They're so friggin annoying. It's so vulgar when they're honest. But honestly, we don't know how to face them. Their pain makes us uncomfortable. Oh, and I think we might've forgotten that we're sinners as well and sort of lost (without Christ).

c) Let the little children come to me. Our worship service is so formal that kids are bored and any disruptions from them aren't very welcome. Of course this holds for other participants as well.

d) We're a little judgmental. Now I'm certainly stepping on toes here. No, Christians aren't judgmental. They just try to point out sin. And they try to fix it. Yeah, I know. I always try this to my girlfriend too when she's had a bad day and don't really get why she's pissed at me when I do (note that this is entirely fictional). We don't seem to know how to provide a safe environment for sinners (without endorsing sin). We've sorta missed what pubs and clubs seem to accomplish well.

e) Some of us think that our church is the only good church. No, we won't admit it cause we feel like there's something wrong with it but we won't move to a city that doesn't have a church like ours. And we strongly try to convince people that went to another church to come back. Isn't there something off with this?

f) We've build a wall, a comfortable shelter (or should I say hole) so we don't need to trouble ourselves with the things that make us feel uncomfortable (our own inner being and other people's inner beings).

Disclaimer: I know there's a lot right about church but I'm not trying to get at that. I'm trying to just point out the things that aren't.

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Club des Belugas

http://www.myspace.com/clubdesbelugas

Classifying themselves as Lounge / Nu-Jazz / Soul these guys rock. They got a great groove and are everything but boring old jazz. Very swingable and listenable.

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Tell me about your life

What would happen if one would sit down in a public space, a park maybe, or a mall, once a week at the same time, every week, with a sign that invites people to sit down and tell about their life?

The inspiration comes from:

It would be interesting to do this (and continue it for at least a year).

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Soulstice

As promised, here's another interesting artist. I've been listening to them a lot lately. Whenever nothing else works (because I'm down and it's too Christian, too negative, too energetic, too anything) I find myself listening to Soulstice.

Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Persevering Grace

I watched one of the best sermons ever yesterday: http://www.marshillchurch.org/media/religionsaves/grace. I say that a lot about Mark Driscoll's sermons but they really are amazing. One of the aspects of grace he talked on was persevering grace, a concept that I'm sure a whole lot of christians struggle from time to time and the thing that he says he struggles most with out of all things.

Anyways, just thinking about this and God-pokes I'm noticing that God is constantly active in my life, poking, whispering in my ear, drawing my attention. His persevering grace is amazing.

Monday, September 29, 2008

God behind Brothel Doors

“Every man who knocks on the door of a brothel is looking for God.” - G.K. Chesterton

I saw this quote while reading through the sermon guide for Mark Driscoll's new series http://www.peasantprincess.com/. It's like a re-appearing epiphany to me. This truth has found me a couple of years back and grabbed a hold of me but over time it got blurred and almost lost.

It's time now when I knock at the virtual brothel door again to remember who I really am looking for...

For pleasure
For love
For the one who loved me and still does
For the one I love and desire here on earth 
For the one I love and desire in heaven

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

right and wrong or what's better for me


no longer do we make decisions on what's right and wrong, if we ever did, but simply decide on what leaves us better off... my heart's with ahmadinejad and all the nations oppressed by western and american supremacy. shame on us... how can we support these wars and oppressions? we're no better than our ancestors during the imperialistic years.

Friday, September 19, 2008

DobaCaracol

I'm going to try to post interesting, lesser know, artists here as I discover them. The following I found on aurgasm.us. A group from Montreal that does Afro-beat / Dub / Folk according to their myspace page. Check them out. They rock.


The Need to be on Stage

As i'm sitting here and listening to music I'm feeling the strong urge to be on stage, with friends, making music, entertaining, having fun.

I'm weird. I actually love being on stage. Others get stage fright and even though I can't say that I haven't experienced it usually I'm beyond (or below) stage fright. I like performing but I'm lazy.

Saturday, September 6, 2008

why i like coldplay or thoughts on songwriting and the perversity of christianity

we were dying of frustration
saying Lord lead me not into temptation
but it's not easy when she turns you on
[...]
God only, God knows i'm trying my best
but I'm just so tired of this loneliness

so up they picked my by the big toe
i was held from the rooftop, then they let it go
~excerpts from "yes" by coldplay

right now i'm into coldplay, especially their latest album "viva la vida." i used to be very much into christian music, despising secular music but i am making a switch. it's not that i don't like christian music anymore, but there's something about much of it that doesn't satisfy. i find christian artists struggle with honesty. i'm not saying they're dishonst but their honesty seems to only touch a few, very christian areas of their lives. this seems to hold for much of the christian community. you only talk about certain things, others are better left untouched. this is what i like about secular artists. they touch upon much of what christians are afraid to touch. they allow themselves to be cryptic. not everything has to be explained or even needs to have a definite meaning. could you imagine the same thing in the christian world? this would be instant death to you. everybody would jump on you, interpret you their way and tear you to pieces. it's kinda funny and sad that this is how christians behave. i haven't seen as much of that in the secular world. especially in big cities people live and let live. you're entitled to your own worldview and if i don't understand it i won't tear you apart. cryptic songs are still open to interpretation by everyone and many people have different interpretations. the thing that matters is that people can connect with these songs, and can connect in different ways. that's the beauty of it all.

now on to the side-topic of christians leaping onto each other like fighting wolves. isn't it sad? we stand against gays. jesus hung out with prostitutes and would've surely embraced gays. we don't allow them to get married. yes, true, we don't think that's right but who are we to choose for them? we do not in any way have any authority over anyone else, nor do we have the right to judge. yes, we do have the right to say this is wrong but how much good are we doing with this in most cases?

the thing that strikes me most is that while we hold on to our so-called "christian" values and not just merely defend them, but attack everyone who thinks differently, we have lost many key values. what about love? can we call ourselves christian if we go and rip everyone apart who thinks differently? can we call ourselves christian if we don't even make the effort to sit down with the sinner and listen and understand? not just a half-ass effort but a real effort that costs us something (most christians talk much about sacrifice but hate the very thought of it with passion). perfect love drives out fear. are we trying to convert people by fear or by love? what about the gospel being life-changing? what about Christ changing lives? why the heck are we trying to force people to change their own lives? isn't there something very perverse with this?

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

depression

when you look at people's lives you'll notice a certain depression in most of us. i think depression is more common than we think. the thing that's different is how different people deal with depression.
some let it sink in
some let it take over their lives
some ignore it
some deny it
some numb it
some distract themselves so they can ignore it
some give it to God and receive peace
some can't handle it
some handle it well

what do i do with my depression?
what do you do with your depression?

Thursday, March 13, 2008

Hypnosis

Reading a (critical) article about Scientology I started to wonder: Is hypnosis possibly very simple? Could it be that most of hypnosis consists of skillfully leading a person from a rational to an irrational mindset? A person who thinks rationally is not easily controlled. He evaluates everything and makes his own decisions. A person who does not think rational is much more easily controlled by someone who knows their weakness. If you know someone's fears and are even able to place fears into someone's mind it's easy to control them. Same goes with delusions. Could it be that hypnotists are mostly just skilled artists who are able to play with their subjects mind, preachers who call for blind faith?

Could it be that blind following in religions and cults is simply a form of hypnosis?

Friday, February 15, 2008

i've been a half-hearted christian

dear friends, i know some of you are thinking pretty highly of me. this is only an indication how easy it is to live a half-hearted christian life while making everyone believe that one is on fire for Jesus.

friends, i have to confess that i am a half-hearted christian. no, i didn't deceive anyone consciously and this is beside the point anyway. the point is that i want to make a new start, humbling myself, and letting God work in me. i know i am weak and try to evade His searching eye very often but He is stronger and He knows ways to bring me to Him. I want to follow Him again full-heartedly and be honest with myself, you and Him.

in weakness,
harry

a personal scrum

i'm a very disorganized person who is hopeless when it comes to planning or keeping track of things. nevertheless, over the last year and more i've learned a process that is helpful and works for people as disorganized as me. it's the scrum process.

often enough i've come to the realization that my personal life needs better planning but i never managed to do anything about it. i want to try to use the scrum process for that. i want to create "stories" (projects to do), divide them into tasks and give good estimates to the whole thing. the idea is to use sticky notes on a wall in my apartment to do this. then i commit to a few "stories" over the next two weeks and knock them down task by task, a bit every day. over time this will give me a good idea of how much i'm capable of doing and it will give me bite-sized tasks that can be done without getting overly side-tracked. in addition i can measure progress which is gonna be a confidence booster.

i'll keep you posted on how this works.

Thursday, January 31, 2008

humility

in the past couple years God has been humbling me. no, not just teaching me humility but actually humbling me. teaching me humility would imply that i can learn humility. but no, he humbled me, broke down my high ideas about myself, showed me who i am, not merely teaching me humility but actually humbling me.

every day i'm seeing my limitations and imperfections, my sin, my inadequacy for any task at hand. in all this He has taught me not to throw the towel, give up, but to accept my limitations, me, and move on. He has taught me honesty. to do that He broke me.

He broke this dishonest person. i am dishonest mostly with myself and about myself. i don't like to accept who i am but pretend i was someone else, someone better, perfect. but His honesty is greater than my dishonesty and is conquering this land.

our God is an awesome God indeed.

Friday, January 25, 2008

longing for a substitute sufferer

everyone is longing for a substitute sufferer. people hate it when others are detached, not knowing suffering. people hate people who always have everything going according to plan. people hate the flanders in this world. on the other hand people like people who suffer. people like the simpsons. people like it when other people screw up or experience pain and this might not just be an evil desire, or schadenfreude. i think people like it when others suffer because we have an inherent desire for a substitute, somebody who suffers for us. we know we should suffer cause we're bad people but we inherently want somebody else to suffer instead.

that's why Jesus is so awesome. He didn't remove Himself in His own go-merry world. He came down and suffered, took beatings, took people's hatred and stuff. He suffered what we feel we should suffer. when seeing that we feel better cause we can let go of the feeling of condemnation. yes, we suck, but we don't need to suffer for it anymore.

Saturday, January 12, 2008

"i'm a terrible person"

i don't think highly of God. i rather watch tv than read my bible or pray. i'm constantly needy. i get easily angry. i watch porn. i pretend i'm good. these all are indicators that i'm a terrible person. sin is in my life.

this is what God thinks of me. "the soul who sins shall die" (ezekiel 18). it's pretty hopeless. nothing i do can really make me better. i can try to make myself better but in me there's a growing cancer. i can try to cover it but in the end the cancer will even take over the cover and expose me. sooner or later. likely sooner than later.

then why even bother? we bother cause we're afraid of God's wrath. we know that His wrath is certain so we either try to be better (a hopeless endeavor since we can't ever change the past) or we simply give up and do what we want.

why would we even try then to please God if we really knew that God's wrath for sin is certain. we don't love Him. yes, He deserves love, but He didn't do a thing in our lives to make us love Him. He put us on this earth. He allowed sin to take over the human race. were it not for that we wouldn't be hopeless. so every attempt to please God is at best self-righteous non-sense and at worst just plain stupidity and hopelessness.

yeah, i know there's a lot of people who fake serving God and loving Him, but what about those who seem to find their happiness in loving God? those are weird. no, honestly, they don't seem to make any sense or do they? why would anyone love God?

cause He loved us while we were hating Him, while we were sinners. He loved us, became one of us, united Himself (a holy God) with us (a sinful, disgusting, terrible people) so He can take our punishment and we can get His righteousness. now, this doesn't make sense easily but let's go with me on this little excursion that hopefully makes things a little clearer.

"But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us." (romans 5:8) He loved us, disgusting, sinful, terrible people. "For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life." (john 3:16) but how can he give us eternal life? we're sinful and no sin can be in God's presence. "It is because of him that you are in Christ Jesus" (1cor 1:30) God put us in Christ, us being the "whoever believes." but what does this mean? it means that if we were in Christ God had to punish Christ. we and all our sins were in Christ. God has to punish sin. so He must punish Christ, meaning that Christ has died for our sins, He became the sacrifice for our sins. but more than that. let's look at 1 cor 1:30 again: "It is because of him that you are in Christ Jesus, who has become for us wisdom from God—that is, our righteousness, holiness and redemption." Christ is our righteousness. because we are united to Him His righteousness is ours.

now that we are freed from sin and have His righteousness we may come to God and receive from Him whatever we need for our lives. He loves us and gives us the Spirit who helps us overcome sin. yes, there's still the flesh who wants to sin but we also have the Spirit who doesn't want to sin.

i don't know if this all makes sense. just a few thoughts. just trying to say that if we feel it's a burden to please God and if we don't love Him or if we think He hates us than we might not understand the Gospel and God well. then we should rather invest energy in getting to know God and His Word rather than waste energy trying to white-knuckle-please Him.

Thursday, January 10, 2008

From hope to frustration... again...

... but that story shall be confined to my personal blog (and those who are genuinely interested in knowing).

Friday, January 4, 2008

Things to do (possible dates but not necessarily)

Just wanna keep down a few things for possible dates here. Please comment for any suggestions. :)

  • Toronto Architecture: http://canada.archiseek.com/ontario/toronto/ (it'd be cool to be touristy and explore Toronto)
  • Snowmobilling (http://www.skidoorentals.com/ or http://www.ridethewilderness.com/snow.htm)
  • Skiing/Snowboarding (maybe with small group ppl)
  • Hiking (Bruce Trail around Webster's Falls, etc., http://www.brucetrail.org/explorethetrail.asp?id={459E67E1-7954-433E-B457-71C6BBDD2A5D})
  • Visit Carsten and Denise Link in Hamilton
  • Mini Golf
  • Visiting Galleries
  • Toronto Symphony
  • Musical
  • Opera (http://www.coc.ca/ or http://www.fourseasonscentre.ca/)
  • Play
  • AGO (when it's done?)
  • Toronto Film Board (John & Richmond) to watch some random movie/stuff/loiter
  • Spa (I'd have no clue about that, we'd have to do/research that together)
  • ...
  • Run around screaming (I don't know what this means... not my idea :P)
  • Skating at Mel Lastman, Nathan Phillips or Harbourfront and hot chocolate afterwards
  • Go to an Indie Concert (at El Mocambo, Silver Dollar, etc)
  • Take street people out for Dinner
  • Help at some street mission
  • Shopping in Buffalo
  • Fancy Dress/Suit shopping
  • Study a book of the Bible (would have to be something more regular)
  • Take time for friends who feel lonely and/or just need someone and hang out, do something fun, listen
  • Take ballroom dance classes
  • Take contemporary dance classes
  • Watch the moonrise/set over a lake (http://www.timeanddate.com/worldclock/moonrise.html)
  • Watch the sunrise/set over a lake (or a beautiful landscape)
  • Bruce Trail hiking
  • Hiking through Toronto (Don River Valley)
  • ...

Thursday, January 3, 2008

Day 17

God's helped me since my last entry. My time off and at home was beneficial. It was good simply to get away from life, worries, busyness, temptations for a while and talk, read, make music. Things I mentioned in my last entry have improved as well. Yes, given, they're not where they should be but my thinking is better, my priorities are better, my lifestyle has improved. In general, my life is more in alignment with God and His Grace.

But temptations have come lately and they've been a reminder to trust Grace and not myself. Changes won't happen overnight and I shouldn't expect them to. It's also forced me to ask what am I counting when I'm counting days. I need a fixed line against which to measure this. So, even though I've thought about it before let me simply write this 'line' down here. What I am counting is how long I've gone without masturbating all the way (i.e. orgasm or wherever it stops naturally). This might include viewing pornography or not (viewing pornography would lead there unless I stop).

The reason I'm measuring progress at this level is that I want to teach myself grace and the ability to stop half-way (if the Spirit catches me) along the way. I'm doing this as an encouragement to progress and so I don't stop and give up as soon as I start giving in to temptation a little. At the same time having this measure will have an effect on viewing pornography and other areas as I realize that I do not hold up for long if I start giving in to porn.

Having said this Day 17 shows God's grace in my life. Were it not for Him I'd be at Day 1 again. There have been a few minor hickups on the way but nothing close to where I always went. No masturbation and no porn yet, by God's grace.