This past weekend we learned about the danger of the word "mine". We learned that nothing is ours, everything is God's, and we are just taking care of it for Him.
The church I work at has some random wonderful musical things in it, none of which belong to me, but most of which are at my disposal. I use them, practice with them, and even play with them on stage. But none of it is mine.
The idea that nothing is mine has me up late, thinking about a lot of things. I mean, this blog is a rant blog about "mexicans with resources" and such, but I think about that title... and we are all just people with resources that are given to us by God.
Without God, we have nothing... we are merely people. We don't even have the air to breathe, or the time to live, so we cannot even function as people. Our money, our talents, our possesions... our breath, our live... our salvation, our purpose... all of it is handed down from God, and placed in our hands for His glory.
So what does this do with our "free time"? Is there any time that is ours? Is there any room, any space, that is ours? And if not, is that a bad thing?
I mean, we cannot function as humans without a source of life, and that source is God. So for anything to be ours would be to give us a place where we could rightfully be apart from God, rightfully unplugged from our source. We often think this is a good idea, but ultimately it is like a lamp deciding that unplugging itself from the wall or disconnecting it's batteries would be a good idea. If it were ever to succeed, it would no longer produce light. It would be utterly useless.
I hear often about the need to be "wise" or "smart" by not going to certain places or helping certain people. But God uses the foolish to confound the wise, and derides the man who is wise in His own eyes. Yet, He calls us to pursue wisdom while she may be found, and implores us to be wise.
It seems like a contradiction, but it isn't. The only way to have a heart humble enough to not take pride in the wisdom it is given is to know the One who gives wisdom, the source of all knowledge. "The fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge" we hear in the Proverbs.
So I am now in Arizona, working at an awesome church here in Mesa. I am loving every moment of it. This is definitely an example of a Mexican With Resources.
I am able to practice on many instruments, and watch high quality recordings to see what I can improve upon. I am part of an amazing team of guys that love the Lord, and I consider their wisdom one of the most amazing resources I could ask for. The sound system I get to play on is cranked enough to shake the ceiling of this huge church, literally. This is amazing.
I am telling you this to give you a context for my rants in the coming months. I will be ranting on certain resources, and the difference between South Texan churches and this church. I can tell you right now that there is exactly one church in South Texas that comes even close to this one, and most churches there would be ridiculously happy with the youth sound system at this Arizona church being their main system. I can also tell you that my old band, Cultivate, would pee their pants if they could play on this system.
I would continue, but now is not the time for rants. For now I will simply say that this residency is perhaps the most rockin' thing to happen to me, ever.
I think it's time to tell you, my avid readers (in other words... no one), the grand scheme of the glorious Hispanic civilization. Yes... this is what will one day lead to our domination of the country, and perhaps the world, which will lead to a world of peace, cheap delicious food, and a significant reduction in sunburns.
Domination by Multiplication.
Yes, this is why we've been having so many children. We've created a rapidly growing population base all over the country, become an integral part of the logistical well-being of the nation (doing jobs no one else wants to do), and become a social acceptable alternative to the boring "black and white" dynamic of American life (thank you Paul Rodriguez, George Lopez, Jennifer Lopez, Cheech Marin, and Eva Longoria... and no thanks to Carlos Mencia, or should I say, Ned Arnel Holness/Mencia?) .
Now, we have moved on to phase 2, which can best be described by a braveheart quote...
"If we can't beat them out, then we'll breed them out"
I mean, face it... we're irresistable! We are in every socio-economic group and every major and minor non-white-supremacist division of America, and we bring a strange combination of peace and passion wherever we go! Plus, we've got great food, big fun families, and good looking people. Finally, we are able to blend in almost anywhere (not so sure about east texas yet) and make the most of any situation (hence the name of this blog).
So yes, we are sending our best people out to meet your best people (I'm talking to all of you... whites, blacks, asians... we're equal opportunity), and create a new race of taco-eating, tex-mex speaking AMERICANS, in the truest sense of the word (since the United States is not the only country in America). We've got some keeping the bloodlines pure, of course, and those that you see that seem poor and irresponsible, having too many kids... it's simply trial and error, finding one to send out and help the cause!
Welcome to the future, ladies and gentlemen... it's a bright one, with a slightly darker skin tone!
(note: I post jokingly about these sorts of racial issues because I don't think racism deserves to be taken seriously anymore... those who still cling to some false sense of superiority based on their skin color or country of ancestry only do so because they have nothing else to cling to, no other way to lift themselves up but at the expense of others. I feel sorry for them, more than anything, but I will also make fun of them mercilessly, because racism is stupid. There are amazing, talented, beautiful people of every ancestry and skin color and socio-economic level, and as soon as the racist dunderheads realize this, the better off we'll all be.)
You ever notice that when you need energy, you are stinking tired, but then when you should be asleep, your mind won't stop racing?
So I added some music to the site. It's in one of the right hand menus... if you want it to stop, just go to the little player thing and press pause.
You probably won't want to press pause, though, because the song is invariably going to rock your face off. Or convict you of some deep spiritual truth.
But, if not, there's a pause button. The current song is "A Praise Chorus" by Jimmy Eat World.
I remember when all of this music was new, in 2002 and 2003, and I felt like my music world would never be the same. There is something awesome about finding new music, that makes me really stinkin' giddy. I want to dance around and play some sort of air instrument.
When I was a mexican with only a few resources, the radio and the cassette player were my best friend. I would record hours of music from the local rock station, pouring over it for those few songs that made me feel all warm inside. I would play and record and re-record and do whatever I could to make the best mixtapes ever. I would take my tape player on the bus with me to middle school, and from then on my life had a soundtrack.
Well, it had one before, but it consisted of me singing the songs I had heard on my mom's country or pop stations. I have fond memories of the Beach Boys' "Kokomo" and Alan Jackson's "Seminole Wind" being on my lips as I stared up at the sky in my elementary school courtyard.
Anyway, now I have more resources, and it seems like it is getting harder and harder to find those songs. Perhaps I just don't appreciate the music as much. Ungratefulness is yet another consequence of obtaining resources.
I think we need to get rid of mp3's, and bring back cassette tapes. Make kids listen and search every song for that feeling, whatever their preference may be. Make them earn the right to listen to that re-recorded mixtape on the bus, with big puffy generic headphones and a tape player that plays faster when you spill water on the batteries (don't ask me how I know, but it works, trust me).
So today one of my roommates, Shaffer, comes into the room and examines his Chinese take-out box. He asks the question many of us have often wondered...
"Why is all Asian food better than American food?"
The conclusion this eventually leads to is that American food sucks, namely those foods native to the Anglo-American culture. Another roommate, Jacob, begins to test this assertion by naming good "American" foods, defending the honor of America. Eventually he comes up with the Hamburger.
Now aside from the obvious fact that Hamburg is in Germany, and therefore this probably cannot be considered an American food, the argument rested on the assumption that America had perfected and spread this simple culinary marvel. My response to him?
"Mexicans make better burgers."
"Out of what, goat? Are you talking about Mexicans or South Texans?"
I responded, "South Texans. Mexicans with resources."
This got me thinking about a lot of things, namely what Mexicans do with the few resources they have. Once, traveling in a lesser known border town, I was taken to the freshly painted, pepto-bismol pink house of a mexican family. At this house, I saw what they had done to remedy their lack of electricity and need to wash clothes. The man of the house had rigged an old lawnmower engine to run the agitator of the old washing machine. It was a marvel of ingenuity.
I also remembered a conversation I had with my uncle about the difference between North Texas grilling and South Texas grilling. When North Texans grill, they will put some hamburgers and hot dogs on the fire and call it a barbecue. Their food will come out pretty much the same every time, rather plain yet filling. South Texans, on the other hand, will put every kind of meat they can find, with Fiesta seasonings that kick you in the gut and make your mouth dance with happiness. There will be ribs, fajitas, chicken, and all kinds of things.
I believe it is inherent in Mexican culture to make the most of what you have. What this means in an environment of very limited resources is the ability to survive. What this means in an environment of plenty is a culture that produces things that people of other cultures tell their friends about. In South Texas, they added the amazing things they could do with their culinary resources, including spices, spicy peppers, and tortillas, to the newfound resources of their imperialistic conquerors, to make foods that South Texans rave about and miss upon their journeys to the north.
I also believe that Americans once had a little bit of this trait in their own culture, although they came from a land of plenty and eventually turned this into a land of plenty through their imperialistic drives. I think the success of America's drive to thrive has been at the expense of the benefits of a history of struggle, or a history period. This new, young nation has dominated in militaristic and economic endeavors. Yet, perhaps it's greatest success has been the assimilation of many cultures, even at the expense of their own.
However, perhaps some foods that are attributed to others can be claimed by America. Pizza, Lo Mein, Nachos, and other foods have thrived in America because of the strength of the consumer culture. Otherwise, they would just be regional dishes.
Mexicans with resources can do amazing things, as I'm sure we will find in the future. I'm so sure of that, I've devoted a blog to it. Actually, tis just a rant blog. Enjoy. Don't take any of this seriously.
Church Plant Worship Leader, Youth Minister, Husband, Corporate Drone, Grad Student, and a Texan in a strange land known by the locals as "Arizona", which, when translated from the original Greek, means "Place that is not as cool as Texas."