Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Islamic scientists predicted the computer chips

My hosts

When every Sunday rolls around, I ask myself why I'm not making it to church. I ask myself that question almost every single Sunday, and have for years. Since college, actually. I read John Updike's lauded article about faith, and he mentions slipping into a pew each week, almost despite himself, and I wished I could get that far.

What's hard for me about church is the same thing that's hard for me about living in a rural area—community. It's difficult to break into any community, especially to find a place where I belong among people of faith. What I loved most about living in a major urban center was the complete anonymity. No one knew who I was. No one knew what I was buying at the grocery store.

Here, people do. I feel judged for my choices—the tomatoes in the dead of winter, the bedraggled package of blue cheese shipped from who-knows-where, the day-old bakery wheat bread, unsliced. It's not so much judged as observed. As someone accustomed to anonymity, observation feels like judgment. I worry the same thing about church here, that my choices--of clothes, boots, peripatetic lifestyle—will be judged.

As Immortal Technique says so eloquently, it makes me want to "dead 'em all then escape in green Chevy." If only I had a green Chevy.

I wish I could just accept myself enough to make the choice to belong, no matter my differences. I keep thinking about this xerox-copied anti-Muslim treatise someone distributed at the YMCA before I left Chattanooga. It said that Islam wasn't a religion, but a full, 100-percent, total system of being, in its truest sense. I keep thinking about it, because that's the way I want to live my life.

A total system of being--that's what being a person of faith means. Faith is the most fundamental part of my existence. No matter what I have faith in, that's how I determine how I live my life. Some people believe in capitalism. Some people believe in status, prestige. Some people believe in mere matter in motion, in science, in hedonism, in just having a good time.

The first thing is what we believe. Everything else comes afterward. We're not all that different after all, the gentle citizens of Aroostook County and I. "Y'all are my sons like Ibrahim and Ishak," says Immortal Technique. Maybe so.

6 comments:

Jase said...

Point of clarification. The artist who said that quote you used is Vinny Paz, not Immortal Technique

Melissa said...

Thanks for the correction. I got my info from Pandora and Google, never the most reliable of sources. Did Immortal Technique quote earlier lyrics? Or was it a line of Vinny Paz's from an Immortal Technique song?

These are things that historians are going to argue about for generations, as they do now with jazz from the sixties.

luqman hakim said...

vinnie paz is a muslim....vinny paz is a boxer

Melissa Jenks said...

I love that I'm still receiving corrections on this post after all these years. The casting and attribution of hip hop is always arcane, to say the least. At least for me. Despite my mistakes, I want to do more Immortal Technique posts--clearly we're in need of some kind of curator.

Omnisense said...

Here is a quote I plucked from an Immortal Technique video I found on youtube:

"If your religion hasn't made you a better person, then it has failed you as a religion." ~Immortal Technique

I was trying to find more information on Islamic Scientists predicting the computer chip, however I cant find much except vinnie paz stuff.

I just love Philosophy of Horror. Why are you reviewing a song you never heard? At least listen to it. Just giving honest feedback, i do like your demeanor and respect the writer of this blog.

Melissa Jenks said...

I love Immortal Technique and "Philosophy of Horror." I have heard the song (although I haven't been listening to it as much lately) and I think I was less trying to review it here and more trying to relate it to my own faith practice. The quote about religion is right on--but I argue that everyone is "religious." The root word for religion is the same as the word for ligament--that which binds us.

As Charles Dickens said, we wear the chains we forged in life. All of us are bound by our religion, whether that religion is Christianity, Islam, sports, self-hatred, an eating disorder, or whatever else. Our religion is what we do, and as evidenced by our society, many of our religions are failing us.

I repeat that I need to do some more Immortal Technique posts. He speaks such eloquent truth to power, and is really honest about things that many more mainstream artists don't address. I love him and I love his work. Thanks for your comment.

As far as the Islamic scientists predicting the computer chip, my interpretation is that he's referring to the invention of 0, without which we couldn't have binary code.