May 30, 2013

The Wedding Industrial Complex

In response to Debra K. Fileta's recent article, "Wedding Planning: How Much is Too Much," which is very well put, I think that the gargantuan nature of wedding planning and presentation compared to the trivialization of the marriage relationship is quite ironic.

This irony suggests a question. Well, maybe two questions . . .

Has the rise of wedding commercialism diminished an understanding of covenantal marriage? Or, rather, has confusion about marriage allowed, if not indirectly encouraged, the “wedding industrial complex” to usurp the truth?

And what is this wedding industrial complex anyway?

Apparently this phrase has been used before, though I formulated it today without such influence as my own blatant reference to what President Dwight D. Eisenhower in his farewell address called "The Military Industrial Complex." (On that note, the somewhat liberal documentary, Why We Fight, is a great source of thought on the subject of the business of war.)

Back to the dance floor of weddings and marriage . . . Honestly, there are books written that far surpass anything that I can contribute at this point. For example, Mike Mason's The Mystery of Marriage profoundly examines God's sacrificial love as the ultimate source of understanding and meaning in relationship. Furthermore, Tim & Kathy Keller's The Meaning of Marriage really expounds on the subject with challenging practical terms. Even Elizabeth Gilbert's Committed: A Skeptic Makes Peace with Marriage adds some honest questions and legitimate outsider's perspective to the discussion. In the briefest of terms, then, based on my perception of American culture's "Enlightened" thinking, I perceive the wedding industrial complex to possibly be one of the fullest manifestations of self-actualization-oriented consumer individualism around. (As if that is not a mouthful in itself . . .)

What do you think?

May 28, 2013

Naked, though not utterly revealed

Glass house can’t exclude
your fresh, sweet regard stirring
my desire for more.

by J.D. Grubb
24 May, 2013

* * *

Read those three lines once more, only slower.

Now read them a third time, slower still.

It takes discipline, but I was taught that poetry needs to be read a few times in a row. Even then, understanding is not guaranteed. More than prose, there is a purpose hidden in the intentionality of the few words used. There is rhythm in the grammatical structure. There is meaning in the spaces between.

Honestly, I have not delved deep into the world of poetry. I have given more of myself to the novel. Yet poetry has always held a stirring appeal. Its nimble purity. Its naked thought and emotion. Naked, though not utterly revealed. Through patient repetition, as well as an open and careful attentiveness, the reader may discover the heart of the idea - the message the poet wishes to give. This is true for the writer as well. Furthermore, by journeying through a collection of works, one may even learn something of the poet's soul.

I believe that while much of this is true with the literary novelist as well, a difference may be that a poem is more like a photograph while a novel is more like a film. Is that a fair analogy? Both require different sensibilities from both creator and recipient. They need to be examined differently. The expectation should not necessarily be the same.

For example, more so than the novel, a poem takes a reader into a moment. If I care about such things, I examine into what that moment offers as though, for a while, there is nothing else around me. It is like looking through a microscope, perhaps. Or in the more dramatic instances, like staring into the eyes of another person. Those eyes do not reveal the person's whole story. Or, at least I do not have the discernment to know the whole story through that gaze. But they do offer something of that person - a message, a language - even if it is just reflected in a moment. A photograph captures an instance of light and perspective that may not be repeatable, or at least is rare considering the myriad of variables influencing it. It is difficult to express. Therein lies the writer's potential. Alongside other mediums, poem is part of the journey to understand what I am witnessing in life. It is one way to try to make sense of it all.

But I digress into more wandering prose than are appropriate for such a discussion.

What I would like to know is what you think the haiku above is about? I want to tap into your conscious for a moment. Like with a Rorschach Test, I am curious to know what you see - what the words rouse in your thoughts? (This is, of course, assuming that you even find the poem interesting or good in the first place.)

Should you find this subject engaging, I would, furthermore, welcome the challenge of writing a few more poems for you. But I would appreciate your help. What do you find alluring about a poem, if anything? What subject?

May 10, 2013

What are you trying to understand?

What questions are unsettling you?
What topic(s) interest your time and energy?

Dear reader, I would be honored to know. I want to ponder with you, to struggle with life's paradoxes and complexities alongside you - to consider the lands that your eyes see: the places where your hopes and despair reside. This is my desire - as a writer, yes, but also as another human being. I explore language and attempt fresh perspective because of you. Let us continue this curious conversation together.

In a sentence or a phrase, or even a word - whatever you fancy - please share what is most compelling to you as a reader or writer right now in the comment thread below. I intend to write on all of it, for whatever that is worth: to share some of my own musings and struggles and/or to direct toward wiser minds. To see where the road less traveled by may lead.

Soli deo gloria.