I wonder how many times Saprissa fans can call La Liga fans “putas”…

Boatswain’s Log September 28th.

 

I had a big day yesterday. I woke up late after dancing and ate breakfast. Then I headed out to the internet café and spent some time updating blog and checking email and whatnot.

 

After that I headed over to San Pedro to play soccer with some awesome Costa Rican folks. Game started at 3PM. It was really fun, we mixed our teams pretty evenly with Ticos so things were a bit more even. If they had all played together I think we would have lost, especially considering that they all had matching jerseys with names on them. We had enough folks to make 3 teams, and the Ticos wanted to be keeper which I was okay with. I ended up playing defense and offense and even scored a goal. I was pretty pleased with that. I did just fine and enjoyed myself.

 

Sadly in order to get to the Clasico on time we had to leave about an hour early. That pissed me off a bit, I think at the end of the day I would have liked more soccer and less clasico, but hindsight is 20-20.

 

We taxied over to Matt’s house where the group met. There were about 8 of us or so. We then took a bus for a bit from El Carmen de Guadalupe to El Alto de Guadalupe. Not that far really. We then walked for about 45 minutes to get to the stadium. I don’t even understand why. Matt’s Tico brother asserted that it was the way to go. We got some food at a biggish sort of supermarket on the way and had some pleasant conversation while we walked. I am pleased that I get to live in the same house as Andrew Brauer. He is on the trip with me and the man is awesome.

 

Before I talk about the game you should know that Saprissa is the Costa Rican soccer team from the province of San Jose whose colors are purple and white and whose mascot is a huge purple dragon. On the other hand, La Liga is the team from Alajuela (another province). Their colors are black and red. When La Liga plays Saprissa it is called “El Clasico”. La Liga has lost the last 4 clasicos (including the one I saw last night).

 

Anyhow, eventually we got near the Saprissa stadium. It took just a moment to feel like I was in the 4th harry potter book when they go to the quidditch world cup. Absolute madness. People were milling around, everyone wearing purple (Saprissa colors), street vendors selling jerseys (I bought one for 6 dollars), scarves, blankets, hats, things of all sorts with the colors of the teams. Of course I would have been a fool to buy anything of a La Liga nature while in Saprissa Stadium. My family likes Saprissa, so I snagged a jersey with A. Alonso on the back. I think he is the guy who wears a headband and is really good. Him and the guy who wears green cleats. I think they are key to the team.

 

Stadium rules: No change, cameras, or big umbrellas (people throw crap or so I am told). We got searched as we came in. As we waited in a huge line at the entrance of the stadium there was a lot of milling about happening. I had my hand in my pocket on top of my wallet out of precaution. Wise choice on my part. I felt a hand touch my pocket and try to get in there only to find my hand blocking the path. In your face pickpocket. I looked around and saw this guy who looked really suspicious and I thought he might have been the guy, but I couldn’t be sure. He did have a handful of change, but people could have given it to him. Shortly there after, within about 30 seconds my friend Craig cursed loudly as he discovered that his wallet had been stolen. He only lost about 20$, but still. That sucks. I wondered if I should have bothered the sketchy guy to see if he had the wallet, but that might have been a good way to get stabbed. Oh well.

 

We got into the stadium and stood in Zona Sur. South zone. Where “La Ultra” sit. “La Ultra” are the crazy over the top saprissa fans. They wear lots of purple and cheer almost the entire game. They smoke lots of pot and no one seems to be bothered by it. I was. Also the cigarette smoke is a bit out of control. Clearly no one has done an effective “Don’t kill yourself by smoking” campaign in Costa Rica. At first sitting with La Ultra was fun. They sang team cheers (some of which were quite catchy), jumped, and surprisingly enough produced fire works at least twice during the game. Shockingly large amounts of fireworks. The songs were hard to understand, but they seemed pretty harmless. The people threw streamers on to the field and obviously hated La Liga as evidenced by the sea of middle fingers that regularly rose up at the Liga fans in the opposite corner of the stadium. They were made evident by red road flares that were going the whole game.

 

However, it got old. The constant disparaging remark made by La Ultra was “puta!” (or “whore!”) All the time. I tried it out a few times…not so great. There was so much in fact that it got really old. There was a cheer in which they called the goalie a whore and a coward. It was really offensive. That is not what I would call sportsmanship. Furthermore, the hour of soccer and near hour of walking made me tired and by the second half I was more or less out of it. I kept singing to keep the crazy man to my left happy. Apparently he almost got owned by some Ligistas after the game. I started to get why soccer games are so crazy. The fans. When Saprissa scored it definitely got more dangerous to be a member of the crowd. When La Liga played in a sketchy manner, the response was middle fingers, songs, and “puta”.

 

But I was ready to go when the game ended. Yet, in order to try and keep La Liga fans from getting owned, the folks in Zona Sur were told to wait for about a half hour until after the stadium had emptied. The Fuerza Publica backed this order with night sticks and riot gear. No one tried to leave early. Eventually we escaped, walked for about another 40 minutes to escape the traffic and then waited another half hour for an empty taxi to appear to take us back to Matt’s house. There were a bunch of horses on the road that were the result of the horse parade that had happened earlier that day. It was like a weird old west dreamland. When we got to Matt’s house he wasn’t there because we caught a taxi before he did. We waited a good half hour until he got back (so I could get my house keys out of his room) and then my friend Kayla and I caught a cab home.

 

It doesn’t make a whole lot of sense really. The whole situation with the Saprisistas and the Ligistas. If they weren’t wearing team colors and shouting “puta” at each other during (and after) the game, they would probably be very friendly with each other in the streets. I bet a saprissa fan and a La Liga fan would sit on a bus and perhaps idly chat without offending each other. But you put them in the same stadium and suddenly one side has to wait 30 minutes so the other can escape safely. Makes me wonder about things like wars. What would happen if an Afghan citizen and a US citizen met somewhere without knowing where the other came from and could speak the same language? I bet they would get along okay. Especially if there was food.

 

Now that I have shared. I should do homework. Sigh. These next two weeks are going to be busy. 2 presentations. A position paper due. And another test. Not to mention trying to experience Costa Rica in the process.

 

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Thanks for all the comments!

I like your comments. Keep ’em coming! Mara especially. Hurray for Chilean pen pals. The role of a spanish teacher has to be a bit hard core for kids to learn. Bring the heat. Rob, I ended up buying soap…and I took one of those rain/lake showers yesterday. Way fun.

I am going to play soccer and watch a soccer match today with the cross town rivals. Apparently the game is wicked intense. Sounds fun.

Thoughts.

Boatswain’s Log September 26/27th.

 

Well. It is currently 1:41AM on Saturday, this feels like I am in college still.

 

Why am I up so late you ask? Well, let’s start at the beginning.

 

I went to Spanish class today and had my last class with Gabbi. She is a great teacher who is at the same very entertaining. So far all my teachers have been great. It was wonderful to have so much more practice with the subjunctive…I hope we get more. We listened to this song that was pretty snazzy. It’s hard to explain, but there was this line about “que gane el quiero en la gurra de puedo”. That means roughly “may desire win the war of possibility”. I was all about that. I think that we can do mostly anything we want, it just takes us believing more in the desire than what may or may not seem possible. Think about it. Parents tell their kids that they can be whatever they want. Mine did. I believed them. I still do. Never doubted it for a second. In essence that line was a “Go for it” sort of statement. I dunno, I thought you might like it too.

 

So after class I went to get pizza…by myself. I had thought that friend Nikki and I were going to go get food and hang out, but apparently there was a bit of a mix up. She thought that we had rescheduled the trip to the zoo for next week and so we weren’t doing anything today. I didn’t really catch the “not hanging out today” memo. I’m not gonna lie, I was disappointed. However, later I had confirmation that she wasn’t trying to ditch me. So no worries.

 

Today at 2pm we had our “spiritual journey” time. It was really pretty great. What it was turned out to be was listening to roughly 3 minutes (more for some people) of talking about the things they should know about what had made them who they were. It was really fascinating to get an idea of everyone’s story, to be honest it helped explain a lot of things. It really helped me to A) hear from everyone about their lives and B) be able to understand them a bit better. It was interesting to hear some people from the South talk about their frustration with legalistic churches and more fascinating to think about the amount of great things that people described as coming from friends who weren’t Christian. That really got me thinking.

 

I have seen God in people who aren’t Christian, so have other Christians. I can list people off, but really I have seen a whole lot of very Jesus-esque things in some really good friends of our family who aren’t Christian. I think that a whole lot of pluralism I talked about yesterday stems from the idea that we don’t want to exclude these people from the Kingdom of God. At the same time I think that my statement yesterday came from interacting with pluralistic ideas on a very intellectually frustrated level. However, I don’t think that that approach is the best way to describe why we should desire to share the truth of Jesus.

 

Sometimes it is easy to forget that Christianity is not a series of things to be believed. Really it’s not. It’s not a checklist. It’s about a relationship with the being who created you and loves you more than anyone ever could. This being loves you in an absolutely unconditional sense as you are, and wants to make you more than you are at the same time. It’s really almost too good to be true (but it is) that the One who created us all wants us to have a relationship with him and also wants that relationship to pour over into relationships with others to the extent that the world is changed. The reality we are called to seek is the best possible reality here on earth and in the world to come and we seek it through a being who makes it possible. I could give you biblical context that really make a clear idea of what I am talking about, you ask me. I think that’s more than enough to give this truth that we cling to a sense of not badgering people into something, I guess it becomes more of loving them until they see God in you and then ask you why you are so different. That love isn’t just to “convert” people, it is because people deserve to experience the love of God that we know and because they are worth loving because God loves them. I guess all that to say, we don’t relinquish truth, but nor are we called to throw bibles at people and expect them to want a relationship with Christ. Still, there is some element of how do we as Christians evangelize that needs to be discussed. Another time though.

 

Anyhow, after my thought process occurred and I listened to folks, we ate pizza and hung out. It was easier to hang out after having heard everyone. Side note: During the break we had for snacks my friend Ryan from Tennessee and I decided that since it was raining so hard we ought to go run around in it in our underwear. It just seemed like a good idea. We got really wet (that was why we went in underwear and not clothes) and it was really refreshing. To be honest I think people were jealous. I got home and had to explain to my family why I had a pair of wet underwear in my hand. My host mom responded with “que barbariadad” (what barbarity!) and my brothers laughed. It was funny. I guess that is what I get for having lived in the dorms at school for three years and having worked at camp so long…I do silly things with great ease.

 

After I got home I took a strategic nap to try and sleep off a headache I received. I evaded bean-allergy related migraines for about a month…I think they caught me today. I ended up needing 2 ibuprofens and an Excedrin to conquer it. Sigh. Stupid thunderstorms. They happen everyday. The thunder interrupts people and shakes houses. Also it reminds me of how big God is, to an almost scary degree.

 

The strategic nap was so that I could go dancing with a group of folks tonight at Castro’s Discotecha. We got the shaft from a cabbie on the way there who charged too much for the ride and when we got there I figured out a few things. Firstly, dancing in Latin America isn’t quite as much fun as I thought it would be. It’s very form based and not really that enjoyable. I think I enjoy dancing to hiphop more, there’s way more room to make up your own moves and enjoy yourself. It gets old doing the same thing over and over to music that isn’t great. We danced for awhile and I noticed the second thing. Some of the Tico folks on the floor sucked as much as me. That was encouraging. Some were way better and smooth though.

 

After dancing got boring, we went and did Karoke. I sang Michael Jackson’s “Will you be there” and failed to hit the high notes…as usual. I had fun though. The only hypothetically frustrating thing is when one might be around people who choose to disregard the thing they signed that says they won’t do certain things. If that actually happens…Now, it’s not my job to police others. Thankfully I am done being a PA. Still though. I wonder what happened to the idea of a person’s word meaning something. People will say that Jesus isn’t about rules, true. Jesus isn’t a legalist, however I do think Jesus is about honesty and integrity. I think Jesus wants people to do what they say they are going to do. It sucks not doing certain things that I am of age to do because of the contract I have signed, but at the same time that contract doesn’t kill me. In fact I think there is value in it. Some people get pissed about it not being biblical and whatnot, but as my friend Paula Green pointed out “Neither are speed limits, but we’re okay with those”. Just doing what the contract says has value because people see you as someone to whom their word means something.

 

Anyhow, after being surrounded by cigarette smoke and not having fun I came home and chose to blog before bed. My strategic nap made me not tired. It’s now 2:30AM.

 

Last thing. I really started to miss Christmas time. Not the presents, just the people, the music, the lights, and the weather that makes people wear jackets. I am tired of being sweaty after 15 minutes of being outside. I am still pumped to be here, but I think being here really does remind me of how much I like the pacific Northwest. Especially the climate. Bed time now. Keep it real.

 

 

More things about my life.

Boatswain’s Log September 25th.

 

You know, I bet that school is starting soon at SPU. Young little resident munchkins are packing their things, getting ready to head to their first time in the dorms. Peer advisors are getting nervous, wondering if they will do well at the job they were selected for (implying that there are people who believe in them). Paula Green is getting ready to write disciplinary letters (hopefully not though). The leaves are probably turning brown in the Northwest…or at least red. It’s a beginning of new things. My parents can probably start harvesting their pumpkins soon. Fall starts that cycle that brings y’all through a long period of cold darkness with rain to the wonderful sunlight and freshness of Spring. You might say that we wait for Spring, but at the same time there are so many great things to be had in Fall. I guess what I mean to say by all this is that you ought to enjoy the Fall for me. Fall in the Northwest is something that I love, especially during the school year. So many new things start. Anyhow, jump in a pile of leaves for me. I dare you.

 

I was sitting in a bus today with 3 people from the South. I think 2 were from Tenessee and one was from Texas. For the first time I caught all their accents. They’re guys in my program and they’re pretty cool. They were talking about cornbread and chili and stew and biscuits and gravy…I smiled a lot. Being around people with fun accents is pretty awesome.

 

The assignments that we are issued for Spanish class are somewhat awkward. Take for example today. We had to find Nicaraguans and interview them about their experience here. The only issue is that how can we tell Nicaraguans apart from Costa Ricans? It’s a big exercise in trying to guess a people group by their skin tone. It was really awkward. Eventually we asked the people who work in the Musmanni bread store where we could find some. The lady I asked laughed and said that they’re everywhere and directed us to a few that we could talk to. Go team.

 

Class was interesting today. We had a woman come and talk to us about “liberation theologies”. She had interesting things to share about the context of theology being old, white, male, middle class theology…I dunno that I agree. Furthermore she was very pluralistic to the point of almost leaving Jesus out of the entire process of being a Christian. It was as though we could do the right things and get eternity through this. Moreover, she made this neat diagram that really served to emphasize the differences between us that in my opinion failed to fully talk about the need to emphasize the things we share in common. I wasn’t overly pumped about what she had to say. There’s an Oscar Romero thing that I’d like to place here in the blog as a response to her:

 

“If there is not truth in love, there is hypocrisy. Often, fine words are said, handshakes given, perhaps even a kiss, but at bottom there is no truth.

          A civilization where trust of one another is lost, where there is so much lying and no truth, has no foundation of love. There can’t be love where there is falsehood.

          Our environment lacks truth. And when the truth is spoken, it gives offense, and the voices that speak the truth are put to silence.”

 

Now, here Oscar Romero was speaking about the situation in El Salvador and while I cannot quote him out of context effectively (because not all of what he said applies here) I can highlight the bit about truth. I tend to agree with the man. If we’ve got the truth…I reckon it may offend some people. I don’t think that the people in the first century church pussyfooted around with what is true. Maybe we should follow their example. That’s not to say that we become intolerant jackasses, but at the same time in the process of dialogue we do not have to relinquish our hold on what is in fact true: There is only one God and His name is Jesus. Any other way of “conceptualizing” God isn’t good enough. I am forced to interact with this stream of thought quite a bit in the program, I don’t like it. Chauncey is not a pluralist who allows what is true to be subjugated to that which is not just so people can feel comfortable.

 

I was offered a free haircut today. I didn’t have time, but I might have taken the offer if I did. Here in Costa Rica there are these places that offer “unisex” haircuts. I dunno that I will ever get one. Ever. I would like a haircut that applies to me as a man. Just like pants. I want pants that are man pants. Pants with pockets that don’t hug my hips in a fierce rage.

 

Speaking of clothes, I found a shop here abouts that sells cheap T-shirts. Cool ones with spiderman and beer logos. Things like that. You either become someone who everyone considers a boozer or someone who everyone thinks should go back to third grade. My sort of place, I really enjoy giving people the wrong impression at first. Thus the reason I traveled to Costa Rica in my Moosehead Beer shirt (thanks Marcus), I wanted to make those other Christian school kids feel awkward. I think it worked.

 

After most of today happened I went to hear this old man talk about his book which was called “undevelopment is a state of mind” he had some good things to say about the role of education and parenting in encouraging development in underdeveloped nations. I thought he would actually be offensive, but it turned out that he was a mostly boring oldish man who looked a bit like a tortoise. Very nice man though.

 

On the way out of the building I poked fun at my friend Bethany who goes to Trinity Western University. She was wearing a jacket. Jackets are unnecessary here unless you go to the volcano.

 

Okay, so last thing. I am listening to Les Miserables right now. Let me tell you that this is quickly becoming one of my favorite musicals ever. So very epic and filled with Jesus in a well-written musical manner. You should listen to it. At the very least the songs are amazing.

Thoughts and stuff.

Boatswain’s Log Septermber 24rd. Yep. That’s the month. Septermber.

 

Breakfast was abnormally large this morning. Gallopinto, egg, tasty little bread thingers, fruit and juice. I was late to meet my class folk because of my desire to eat more of it.

 

I went to class and gave a lengthy presentation on the history of El Salvador as I understood it from my research as a prelude to my class watching the film Romero. I got really sweaty and irritable in the process. I get sweaty when I do anything, but when I talk in front of people it happens to a more extreme degree. The reason for the irritability is I failed to use the correct tense and butcher my use of ser and estar. Usually when I talk I don’t have to make huge discourses and the sweaty nervousness didn’t help either.

 

Then we watched Romero, again. Great film that is very challenging. After reading Oscar Romero the film became better. The life of Oscar Romero is one that makes me feel like I still have a long way to go. After we were done my friend Jazmin said that she was bored during the film…I was kind of disappointed by that. I find it to be a very engaging film.

 

After class we ate lunch. I had the options of going to a library or LASP to talk to Andres, but when it came down to the brass tacks of the matter…I didn’t want to do either. I needed a break from school and wanted to take a break from heavy life-decision thinking mode that happens after one watches Romero. So I went to the movies with a bunch of folks for ½ price Wednesday at the VIP lounge in the Terramall here in San Jose. I am going back next Wednesday. Check this out.

 

Firstly, let me say that I hate the mall. The goodness of my experience was not linked to the mall in any way. That mall was like a tiny piece of US soil surrounded by the wonderful mountains of Costa Rica, a total contrast of ghastly shops with crazy cool view. The good thing about this mall, is the movie theaters.

 

For 2400 colones (less than 5$) you get to go see a really entertaining film (we say Taken with Liam Neeson) and sit in ridiculously fancy leather chairs that lean back and have enough room while a lady waits on you if you have something you want to order. Also, there is a really awesome waiting area with leather couches and a sushi bar. I didn’t buy any food. Those theatres rip you off on food.

 

The movie was in English with Spanish subtitles. Basically, the premise of the film is that Liam Neeson’s daughter gets kidnapped in Paris. He is an ex-CIA agent whose job wrecked his family life. He goes to rescue her and finds out that she is trapped in a human trafficking ring about to be sold as a sex slave. He proceeds to kick every persons ass that is available to be kicked, shoots a nearly uncountable amount of guys, electrocutes the guy who took his daughter to death in the process of getting information, stabs a guy with his own knife, and generally pisses of the French. Also he saves his daughter. I didn’t spoil it for you. I promise. Really entertaining violent film. I was shocked by the way Liam owned some of the bad guys, it all happened so fast. I know that I probably shouldn’t be entertained by gratuitous violence…but I was.

 

The people I went to see the movie with were very cool people. I enjoyed spending time with them, and at the end of our time in the theatre I really felt better.

After the film I came home and shaved, washed my face, and headed out to buy soap. I asked this kid at Mas Por Menos what soap he liked best and he pointed to the soap that was cheap. He’s a smart shopper. While I waited in line I saw that he was buying milk in a bag…odd things happen here.

 

Now I am a man with soap, 3 bars for about 1.50$. Maybe I should wonder why it is so cheap…but in any case my night is wide open. I wrote my essay for class last night…Really I am not stressed out at all. Maybe I can trick my brothers into watching a movie.

 

Well, that’s all for now. Carry on.

 

PS: I am going on an adventure with my friend Nikki on Friday. Dunno if you’d call it a date, but I wanted to get to know her better and I want to go to the zoo here. Isn’t it more efficient and fun if I do both at the same time?

 

My address is on this one…I like mail. Hint.

Boatswain’s Log September 23rd. Putting off yet another paper to blog.

 

It rained again today. Remember on Sunday when I said it was raining really hard? Well today I got caught out in that rain. The streets had turned to rivers and despite my umbrella I got really wet. Luckily the director of our program was there to give me a lift part of the way, he was the reason I was not completely soaked. When it started to rain so hard I started laughing. It was raining so hard that it was just silly. It felt like Jesus had told a funny joke and the punchline was that I was wet all of a sudden. That was something I wanted to share with you. We in the Northwest think we know rain, we do not. Costa Ricans know rain. I told my host mom about the rain and she responded with “That’s nothing.” I fear the day when we get real rain.

 

I woke up and went to class early. We had a lovely woman named Dr. Irene Folks come and talk to us about Jesus and the political/economic situation in the first century. She was really kind and elderly, but she had a doctorate and could teach really well. It was like your grandma was teaching you about the bible, but your grandma knew her stuff.

 

The situation in Jesus’ time is disturbingly similar to ours. Imperial government that wants to extract resources from other nations, poor people getting poorer, rich people taking land and making crops for export instead of food, local people in power scrambling to hold on to power and wealth. Interesting stuff. She made some good points about being able to see the economy of Palestine in the parables of Christ and in the fact that there were huge crowds following Him. “Didn’t they have work? How could they follow Him?” She asked. The answer was that they didn’t have work because there was not enough work to go around. She talked about the social fabric of the culture being broken down as people got poorer. It was a really interesting and sad situation. She proceeded to talk about people’s responses to the problems, but obviously focused on Christ’s perspective of announcing the Kingdom of God and denouncing what problems were about. Our goal was to learn to make Jesus’ vision of the world as our own.

 

One thing that stuck out was when my friend Matt asked something about the Quakers and the Mennonites and whether they were examples of escapists (she had talked about the Essenes, who in Jesus’ day lived in the desert to avoid the world) in today’s society. Firstly, a bit insulting to the three Mennonites in the room and to me who has a very good friend who happens to be a Quaker and is one of the least escapist people I know. Secondly, she responded saying that the Mennonites had been doing a fantastic job of learning Jesus’ vision and siding with the oppressed and that they had been doing it for a long time. I was pleased.

 

Another thing that I found interesting is that some of my friends here are getting rather frustrated with the manner in which Liberation theology stresses social action, but seems to leave out the parts about prayer, and meditation and things. I was at first very irritated especially since people from the US never hear liberation theology and the first thing they choose to do is criticize it as not being our version of understanding God. Conversely I don’t think that our North American church’s theology does a good job emphasizing the way we are supposed to live in a radically different way regarding politics and life. For us the message of the Kingdom becomes a very personal salvation that lacks other people in the mix. However, as I thought about it I suppose they have a point. While we lack the social action part, liberation theology at times (Oscar Romero is one who breaks the mold, yet again being awesome) fails to emphasize the importance of spiritual formation. After thinking about this for a bit it may be that these things are meant to be the basis by which we get to know God and then we have a nice foundation from which to engage in social action…or maybe we do both at once. I don’t know why people get so up in arms about not hearing what they have heard their entire lives.

 

After this I went to talk to my paper advisor (Karina) about these thoughts. She challenged lots of ideas. Things about what defines a person. Is a person defined by their actions? Things about the way we view the gospel. Things about how narrowly we define a relationship with God. It was an hour and a half conversation. Good stuff, but she kept forcing me to define my terms and we were talking in Spanish and I lacked the ability to clarify myself well. Plus they were hard questions, like “What is being in relationship with God?” I felt like it was a really great conversation, but at the same time I do my best processing after the fact. I let her get away with a few things that maybe weren’t entirely fair.

 

But in response to her question I think that a person is defined by what they believe, because that determines their actions or at least should do so. I eat cereal (not here obviously…I would be excited to get a bowl of grapenuts with milk and honey some morning, but I should be realistic), but eating cereal is not Chauncey. Right? I think part of Chauncey may be that he likes cereal, but by no means is eating cereal something that is essential to who I am. Especially considering the fact that here in Costa Rica I don’t eat cereal and I am still Chauncey. Some of you might say that since I don’t eat cereal here I am no longer Chauncey…I disagree. A guy named Carlos told me that “You are what you believe, and if what you believe in is a person then hopefully you will become like that person.” I like that. Also, you can tell when I am hungry by the times that I use food allegories.

 

After I talked to Karina I ended up deciding to go see the “Clasico” on Saturday night. This is a game of soccer that features the crosstown rivals in an intense match. I also talked to some classmate folk who seem to have this idea of me as a super-intellectual type. I realized that I come off this way in class, which is mostly the only context in which they see me…However, this is a long shot from the “Smartest dumbass” award I got at the end of the year. Clearly the folks in class don’t know me as well as the dudes on my floor did. I miss those kids. We gotta go curling again. Last time I had just stepped on a bolt.

 

On my way home in the rain I realized that I don’t do much at home. I get back from wherever and I end up doing homework because there isn’t much that is better to do. My family watches TV a lot, but I can’t deal with that for more than a half hour when we watch channel 7. My brothers spend a whole lot of time at church, and their friends aren’t (for the most part) super fun. In any case I asked Andres for help to find something fun to do this week. He said I should come find him tomorrow. Game on Andres. Game on.

 

This is my address in case you want to send me a letter or card of some sort:

Mr. Chauncey Handy

Latin American Studies Program

Apdo. 54-2070

Sabanilla, Montes de Oca

San Jose, COSTA RICA

New info

Boatswain’s Log September 22nd. Gee Whiz guys.

 

New discovery, the artist Rachel Yamagata is really impressive. She’s got this really jazzy sound that reminds me of Natalie Closner and Courtney Fortune at the same time. It makes me happy. You may not know Natalie or Courtney, but really…they’ve got some pipes. Why do I bring it up? Because I found her on my music device and I am listening to her now.

 

Moving on.

 

Spanish class today was interesting. We played with the subjunctive and what do you know…it isn’t that hard when you actually get practice. No thanks go out to SPU on that one. Although, perhaps I should have done practice on my own. Yet, on the other hand you figure that this sort of practice would be facilitated for Spanish majors…

 

After class a few folks and I went to a meeting with a Theologian who teaches at Fuller Seminary and at another seminary here in San Jose. We asked him all sorts of questions about Liberation Theology and stuff. He had some good things to say, like “Theology is all based in context.” I came away from what he had to say feeling like I was really lucky to have read Oscar Romero. The theologian said that his problem with Liberation Theology was that there was no spiritual formation as a part of it, it became too social. That made me so happy to read Oscar Romero because his homilies were a mixture of calling people to relationship with the Lord and calling people to be faithful to what that calling meant. He loved Jesus and loved people. He managed a prophetic message to the world and at the end of the day they killed him for it, but I guess if I had to have a  modern day example to follow…that would be the one I would follow. Calling people to love their neighbor in action and love Jesus isn’t a bad thing. Reminds me of those apostles…

 

Theologian man (whose name I have forgotten) also had lots of great things to say about a faith in Christ being the anchor that holds us when things get rough and the particular theology we hold on to doesn’t work in the context. He also made the point that there was a growing amount of people saying they’re not religious in Costa Rica while the catholics and the evangelicals bicker.

 

The other day (Sunday) I walked to the internet café after reading all day like I said that I would. I totally got splashed by a car, just like happens in those rainy movie scenes. It was funny, but at the same time I was wet. I proceeded to update the blog and check the email and whatnot. I was mentally processing my reading the whole way. People in the books I was reading were trying to make Oscar Romero out to be this man who supported the revolutionary violence in El Salvador. That made me worried for a while, but after reading his homilies there is absolutely no way that he would be about that. He made hard statements about violence not solving anything in his homilies for 3 years. At the same time he also stated the church’s opinion that revolutionary violence in certain situations is okay in one pastor letter and specified the sorts of violence that occur in another. This is a complex issue.

 

Clearly as Archbishop of a nation the man’s words made a difference, if they didn’t I doubt that he would have been killed. Furthermore (as one author pointed out) if he made too much of sweeping claims against the violence of the revolutionaries he would be supporting the government’s “just war” ideas. So he separated out the sorts of violence that existed in order to have moral command over the ground (which he was given as Archbishop) on which everyone stood. He condemned the repressive violence and structural violence of the government most and with good reason called it the source of the rest of the violence that existed. He also spoke out against violence in general every single Sunday in homilies. Sometimes directed against the rebels and mostly directed at the government. The following is the one of the many reasons I cannot say that he was okay with the violence in any way.

 

“This is the fundamental thought of my preaching:

Nothing is so important to me as human life.

Taking life is something so serious, so grave-

More than the violation of any other human right-

Because it is the life of God’s children,

And because such bloodshed only negates love,

Awakens new hatreds,

Makes reconciliation and peace impossible.”

March 16th, 1980

 

That is clear right? I think so too. The man had to say what the church had already said was valid, especially as a good catholic archbishop. But he only did that in 2 pastoral letters. Furthermore I am not sure that his words are not taken out of context by the authors trying to back up the revolutionary violence as valid. If a man preaches 3 years of Sundays with messages like the one above and states twice the opinion of the church…I think that we can tell what he meant to get across.

 

Anyhow, I thought about that a lot. At the end of the day though, I have to acknowledge the fact that our heroes are flawed people. Every single one, except for Jesus. At the end of the day out heroes may disappoint us, not to say that Oscar Romero disappointed me…and yes he is one of my heroes. People let you down though, Jesus doesn’t. I guess that at the end of the day it doesn’t matter how many people are against you or let you down, if you are truly following the will of God and living what Jesus wants…He won’t let you down.

 

So anyhow, I hung out with my family for awhile this evening and watched the simpsons in Spanish. Fun times. Then I talked to my parents on the phone about the situation in the US. I swear, you step out of the country for a month and everything goes awry. Financial system failure, almost great depression number 2, Republicans calling Barack Obama’s citizenship sketchy…balls guys. I dunno about you, and I am sorry if I offend you people who are republicans…but I really don’t think the world or our country can take another republican president. I don’t want another man in office who sells our people lies like trickle-down economics, sells the world lies about Free Trade Agreements, and is okay with using torture when it is convenient. Really. Maybe the third one won’t change, but if the other 2 do…I think lots of people will be better off.

 

Something that really frustrates me in life is the tendency of so many Christians to vote solely based on one category: abortion. Yes life is important. I agree with what Monseñor Romero said up there. But let’s ponder something. The Republicans have talked smack about being pro-life for a long time, but A) they don’t do anything about the abortions that exist and B) they, like most presidents, kill people in wars in a rather heartless manner.

 

The Ronald Reagan that lots of the Republicans hail as one of the best presidents ever gave money/arms/military training to the El Salvador government so they could “stop communism”. What happened was a continued slaughter of innocent people by the government…with better guns and training via the US.

 

George Bush Senor did the same thing in other countries. George W. started or allowed Guantanamo Bay internment camp, which is generally agreed upon as a severe violation of human rights in the international community.

 

So…you see where my frustration with their claim of “pro-life” comes from. Are they just pro-life with regards to fetuses or in general? I guess that is an important question one should ask, because if it’s just about babies then I don’t think one can call that “pro-life” maybe it should be qualified to “pro-babylife” or “pro-lifeforunbornkidsinjusttheunitedstates” (we don’t care too much about other nations kids, I think the things we do in foreign policy reflect that pretty clearly…)

 

I guess that might have made some of you angry, frustrated, or uncomfortable…but when a Costa Rican woman tells you that “a lot of people are going to suffering soon and it will be the US’ fault.” It makes you think, plus now lots of you know what I actually think about politics. Maybe we can engage in fun discussion. You never know.

 

Hey. If you’re not doing anything right now, maybe you should read the news on BBC.com or research the claims I made. I think that we could use a few more informed people in the US.