Saturday, October 02, 2010

Letter to LSU fans

I wrote this earlier in the week after being upset by the boos and earlier departure of "LSU fans" in a close game against West Virginia.

It's hard when you look down from the top of the mountain to realize where you have been. But what if we remember this season in a different (more grateful) context of where we have been:

Remember those seasons before Saban where our team was poorly coached and the great players from Louisiana all played for FSU, Miami, and other SEC schools. Remember the frustrations of having a mediocre team, and grasping tightly to any glimpse of hope and progress, believing this play or young player might be just what we need to turn the game, and maybe the season, around. Remember sitting in your parents bedroom watching the nationally televised games in black and white (for the rest we chose the radio with Jimmy's magical voice). Remember believing we were a team with promise on the verge of busting out. Remember being grateful for the good seasons that were barely less than great. Remember the major upsets and how we stormed the field, and how those upsets changed the expectations for who our Tigers are.

It's exciting to have a program on top, but with it come the weighty expectations to always perform at the highest level. Yet these are just overgrown adolescents with a physical gift.

If you are like me, you remember the first time you realized that our football gods were just a small sample size of students trying to make it on a major college campus. Sure they are revered as the highest form of college student, but when you sit next to them in class you remember that they are no older than you, no less prone to the pressures of life, and no less likely to crack when the pop quiz comes. We want them to be great men, but they are hardly more than teenagers.

I don't write this to give them a pass. I mean to say that the responsibility to make these young men great is with their coaches, their teachers, and their fellow students to help prepare them to make greatness happen under-pressure.

For the rest of this year, remember the football gods of our youth and be grateful for the abundance of gifted athletes we have today. This team may not have the best offense in the nation, but we surely has one of the greatest defenses LSU has seen. So if you are inclined to boo these athletic students, if you regularly ache to leave your seat before our 60 minutes are up, if you give these students anything less than encouragement, send your tickets to Philly and I'll gladly take your place to stand and yell as loud as I can for 60 minutes of hell to anyone who stands in opposition of Death Valley.

T. Rockett.

Thursday, September 24, 2009

a new post and aspirations

so i haven't written in a while and frankly i haven't felt like writing since i finished that mammoth thesis back in May. but i think i am turning over a new leaf. some jobs are calling me back for interviews, after not hearing anything all summer, and i've decided to take part-time or volunteer work if nothing else works out in order to gain experience and connections with an organization i respect. i came up with this strategy after sitting around waiting for three months, but it was mostly inspired by my brilliant little sister who is also unemployed but has a hopeful and creative spirit in here situation. she created this blog called the unemployed lunch that is exactly her and so smart that i'm a little jealous. as a result, i feel a bit more inspired to write about my life and my experiences and i hope to share them here more regularly.

Thursday, April 09, 2009

"Go in Unrest"

On Maundy Thursday we come together to remember the sacrifice, the servitude, the pain, the sorrow of a sinless Savior replacing our just penance for his own mutilation. What good is there in this "justice"? Why should we, should I, not suffer the consequences of our birth, our lives, our faults?

Only love greater than all mystery could see this as justice.

The only adequate response then is silent reverence; sorrow for a way of greatest sacrifice. What pain this world underwent in these historic moments, knowing and experiencing the sorrow of God in its deepest form? the sorrow of God losing his ultimate whole-y-ness.

For this we should go unsettled; though still remembering the end, we must come face to face with the painful experience of these moments in the journey, realizing the power that changed the foundation of history, that shook the core of humanity, that redefined justice.

Without these unsettled moments, there is no joy or peace, no unconditional love or gentle release.

Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Obsessed with TED

If you haven't seen this website or heard of this conference, you need to watch these lecture clips:

J.J. Abrams
Elizabeth Gilbert
Ken Robinson

All of these are both entertaining and stimulating, but there are hundreds of other lectures from some of the most brilliant people in seemingly every field of study on the planet.

I have a new life goal: do something important enough that TED people want to know about it.

Tuesday, March 03, 2009

My Superpower

I am completely stealing this post idea from a blog i just read, but that blog was about their kid's superpower and it was more satirical than serious, so i don't feel to bad about it.

i think i have a superpower.

as some of you know, (if there are people who read this), i donated bone marrow for a 63 year old woman with an acute form of leukemia in the fall of 2007. she has made a wonderful recovery and is doing quite well. i talk to here on occasion. what was extraordinary about the bone marrow match to me was that i had just registered in the late spring of the same year. it's quite rare for any non-family member to find a complete match, and many people on the registry never get called regarding even a potential match. so i was surprised that it happened so quickly, that we matched on all the necessary levels, and that it worked out so well for the patient.

fast forwarding to 15 minutes ago, i received a phone call from the registry again saying that i was a potential match for a second patient. two matches in two years? how is it possible that i have been given the opportunity to potential help save two individuals lives with my blood, when thousands of other registrants go without a match entirely?

superpower = healing marrow

if you want to consider joining the National Bone Marrow Donor Registry, click this link and find out how to join online. (not to sound like a cheesy philanthropic t.v. commercial, but it's really easy and quite rewarding.)

Monday, March 02, 2009


over Christmas, I was home in New Orleans (or at least that geographic area) and one of the things that struck me most about the culture of my home is the central role that food plays in our lives. people from New Orleans or South Louisiana, not only eat some of the best food in the world on a regular basis, but we can't stop talking about food. while we eat lunch, we talk about what we would like to have for dinner. we compare the way this dish was prepared to the way others have made similar meals. we reminisce about the best Cajun meals we have ever had. we not only talk about food, but we allow food to be a point of connection for our lives.

i've also really enjoy over the years the conversations i've had in my parent's kitchen at home. our whole family gets into the act of cooking and if there is nothing to do, we sit on the counter or sit at the table and talk about our lives, our desires, our troubles, trivial stories, and of course food. the kitchen is a central place in my parent's home and i would assume that many people have a similar experience. when i meet with friends in their homes (especially in Louisiana), i notice how we nearly always have the deepest/most significant conversations in the kitchen.

it's amazing to me how central food can be in our lives for two reasons. One, food is or should more often be seen as communion. removing the word "communion" from the Christian context for a second, communion can be defined as an act or instance of sharing, and/or intimate fellowship or rapport. having meals with family, having meals with friends, having meals with coworkers, acquaintances, or strangers is an opportunity to act communionally. not only do we share food (or at least share a space to have a meal) but we share stories, experiences, and pieces of our lives. we create a connection with others that builds the foundation for depth, love, and mutual understanding. now consider, how these ideas inform the Christian idea of communion. How is every meal we have with anyone not an act of communing with God and with people?

Two, we can become obsessed with food as comfort, as pleasure or as necessity. with any of these obsessions, we choose and control what we eat (which could raise a whole different question about people who have to eat what others feed them without choices, but i don't want to go there now). i've been fascinated with the idea of fasting, especially since i finished reading Mudhouse Sabbath, as a way of releasing control of a part of myself and allowing God to remind me that food is not as significant as i make it out to be and that there are parts of me that can't handle the loss of control. i think it goes against the very nature of a New Orleans native to fast from any meal. but food can be so central that it distracts us from seeing that we need more than just ourselves to be good or contented people (i'm simplifying with the terms "good and contented" but i think those are core things that people want out of life). What would fasting show me about my life?

last year during Lent (i think), liberti, the church i attend, decided to fast from having communion in church (see how these thoughts are fitting together) for the entire season leading up to Easter. i'd never been in a church where we had communion every Sunday until this church, but i found myself longing regularly for the elements of worship that communion brings. but more than the bread and the wine, i missed hearing one of my peers call me by name and say "body of Christ broken for you, blood of Christ shed for you". it was a significant absence of being reminded that i am in control too often and that i should step aside. but more than that, it was an absence of the reminder of God's affection for me. in its place, liberti set time aside for quiet reflection about what God is doing in our lives and where God is leading us personally or as a church. this fast from communion taught us to seek God more than even the elements of our "meal". and when Easter came, communion was a time of celebration for something all of us had deeply missed in our lives.

food is central and it is meant to be central, but the people and creator we share it with are what makes food significant and powerful.

Snow day thoughts

today has been a glorious snow day with sledding, snowball fights, and food with good friends. but in the down time of the day, i've also realized that i genuinely want to write more on this blog. so if by the end of the night i have five new post, it's an explosion of a number of thoughts i've been exploring without words for a while. sharing my thoughts (and feelings) in words are my best muse and when i don't do it, i neglect that part of me that likes to reflect on my life and observations. although i have a thesis to write over the next two months, i realize my need to get some of these other thoughts out before they fade away and i forget their significance. so here it goes...

Monday, December 29, 2008

Homeless blunders

On a Friday night in December I led the homeless ministry prayer and scripture before a meal that my church serves in Logan Circle every Friday night. It was the first time that I had led anything in this ministry and I had a plan for how the night would go. That plan failed miserably.

It was super cold and breezy that night and I knew that I needed to keep it short. I planned to just read the passage from Isaiah about the suffering servant and pray, keeping less than five minutes if possible. I was going to explain how our God knows what suffering is like, knows what homelessness is like, and can relate to the deepest pains we have as humans, because he chose to live it. I thought it would be simple and relate well to the Christmas season, reminding all of us why we celebrate Jesus's birth. However, it was extremely hard to gain anyone's attention. I assume that the general inattentiveness was in part a result of the cold, the food being late, and my lack of assertiveness in the situation, but I felt for a moment like a street corner evangelist, yelling to get anyone's attention, and it irked me. I fumbled my message and preached a prayer, all the while having a glaring sense of myself as a fake.

Despite this awkward moment, it wasn't the most awkward of the evening. I was hanging around to have conversation with some of the people who come for the meal, asking how their lives are, and if they need anything that I can offer. One of the guys told me that his life really sucks. That it's not at all like what he expected it to be in Philly. I asked if he wanted to talk about it, and he just shrugged it off, generally implying that it is what it is. I wanted to care a bit more, so pried asking if I could pray for him and he glaringly responded that he was an atheist.

Now on normal days when I have some tinge of extroversion, I would like to think that I respond with a curious tone, wanting to know why he doesn't believe anything more than non-belief in everything, how that has shaped his life. But this day, I was already dejected and I really just wanted to crawl back into my shell of introversion, and I shut down.

I think I said something like, "Oh. Alright then. I might still pray because I think it matters, but you are welcome to continue to come and bring anyone to this meal. Especially to the Christmas service next week."

Actually, I think I'm watering down how awkward it actually was and what I actually said. I thought later about it and still think that conversation as a complete laps of real care, concern, or representation of what I want to be like as a Christ-follower.

But I guess that's just it. This blog isn't meant to be a lament of Christ-following failure; it's meant to point out that MY CONCEPT of righteousness is flawed. Look at how my plans and ideas shaped everything about that night: I had a plan for a message. I had an idea of how to communicate effectively with homeless people. I had an idea of what it looks like to share love from God with non-Christ-followers. Instead of my actions being an outpouring of belief, my concept of righteousness shaped my disappointment.

This flaw is, as most are with me and I would wager with us all, a control issue. If we control our plans, our ideas, our concepts of goodness, then we can measure the quality of our work and convince ourselves that we are doing good. By this measure, most of the time, I find my work to be less than adequate. I know what excellence is to me and I rarely, if ever, measure up. In fact, I sometimes feel trapped by incompleteness.

What if I lived by a different measure? What if that measure was already determined about me and nothing I did could change it? What if an entire community of people lived this way/What would that look like? Would it make a difference in the way we live? Would it make a difference in the world?