Archive for November, 2009

20
Nov
09

Alas T-Pridg

Thomas Pridgen

T-Pridge in his natural habitat

So after a baffling month long series of events, Thomas Pridgen has confirmed that his time is spent with those enigmatic visionaries, The Mars Volta. Events came to head last month at a gig in Columbus which saw our favorite kit destroying banshee take a taxi home alone during sound check. Fans were entirely SOL and worse rumors began quickly of a fight between Cedric and Thomas. Band poltics don’t concern me, however I will miss T-Pridge. I’ve come to love the level of joy he brings intp every insane roll and paradiddle he inflicts on the drum kit. Thomas was simply fun to watch the two times I saw him. He gave his debut with the band 2008’s The Bedlam in Goliath a frenetic terrifying energy and for that he will be missed. The question now remains as to who has the chops to live up to Omar Rodriguez-Lopez and his drive for perfection. Best of luck.

08
Nov
09

Phi Journal the Second

Search “Where Am I?” by Mono on youtube and listen to it while reading this entry.

Oh what a weary traveler I am. I’ve been thinking a lot about how I interact with younger members the last day or so. I’ve always been used to looking up to others and I guess I’d never considered myself to be a role model. Even with my blood brother, I always felt my example was something that was good to follow but that I never actively told him what to do and not to do with his life. I’ve always felt more comfortable following someone else’s lead. Even from my first days in the chapter I modelled myself for better or worse after the brothers I admired; taking Justin Levine’s take no prisoners love of the organization, Dima’s warmth and openness, and even learning things from the examples of brothers who are contemporaries like Sam and Luke. But when I go to events like the KSD mixer with Chris some how it makes sense, I am that role model for him. I could sense him taking my lead as we talked to the girls and absorbing every word I have to say about my vision of this chapter and it’s history. I can’t be passive about mentoring anymore when it’s clear now that I am a mentor.

Thinking about younger brothers who I want the absolute best for in their lives, I begin to reconsider the image I portray to them. Yes I do want to retain my openness, my ability to be goofy and ridiculous and ultimately honest about who I am with them. I do want to put people at ease around me. But at the same time I need to “Model the Way” Coming back to my last post with serving the chapter and task completion, I  know that my words can only tell my younger brothers so much. To cement my legacy and also to leave the chapter better for having me I need to show through action that this chapter is worth it. Every time that I don’t hold myself to finish a job to it’s conclusion, I send a clear message to my younger brothers that this chapter is not worth a full and honest effort. Conversely, a job well done instills in them the idea that  work is worth doing for all the love and vested attention that I hold in my heart for SigEp. And that’s part two of my goal in mentoring, to instill a love of this organization.

A note quickly, on conflict resolution. I have made quite plain my distaste for how our chapter is headed socially. From a combination of stubbornness and fear of certain character flaws of mine I hadn’t gone to a mixer this semester. But I honestly can say the field day yesterday was one of the best events of this semester for me. It was good that I could swallow my pride and see the value of meeting people in other organizations and sowing these friendships. But more so than that it gave me a chance to reconnect with Tony and other brothers. Those bonds which had been strained by my sometimes difficult personality snapped right back as we just had a good time letting of steam. Coming away from the mixer, I realize that it’s true that there is a strength in admitting when we are wrong. I am not always right about every issue in this chapter and the humility that takes is part of what it takes to be a Balanced Man. I’ll never forget having an intense fight with Christina last year over our political identities (the stupidest thing we could fight about). After saying something particularly cruel and angry she retorted “Maybe you are right, unbalanced man”. The remark cut me to the core. How balanced can we be when emotions and pride make us cut off relationships especially amongst brothers? As I grow this semester, I need to stay mindful of my anger and not to let petty arguments damage again my relationships with my brothers. After all what type of example would I be setting if I did?

HFF

Lou

07
Nov
09

Sig Ep Phi Journal #1

A preface: While reading these 1417 words on my idea of how I’ll function in this fraternity and as a person for the rest of my life.
Listen to http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ApNSnzQciTQ and then this http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yrU2Upud518 while reading to better understand my perspective. The lyrics are a good accompaniment to my essay. http://www.songmeanings.net/songs/view/3530822107858685562/

 

One of the things that I like to do on Thursdays is go with Dylan to speak to a Rabbi at the Bronfmann Center. He mentioned early in the semester that he wanted to do some Torah study and that with my background in theology he thought I might enjoy it. I’ve always found Hebrew Scripture to provide nuanced thoughts on moral dilemmas. I guess it’s somewhat appropriate that now as I try to figure out where my role as a leader is in this chapter. I’ve felt a strong deep love for this chapter as a force for good since when I was a Freshman. Now as I consider it more, I realize this love must bear action for the betterment of myself, my brothers and my community. But how do I best serve the chapter?

Bearing these thoughts in mind, Dylan and I went to what we have affectionately dubbed “Jew School”. When we got there, I asked Rabbi Nathan what the Torah has to say about principled leadership, about how to settle dispute and how to best serve. Judaism must be analogous to SigEp, both are based I feel in a deep set of values and traditions. I see in Yahweh a complex leadership over his chosen people. While frustrated by their follies he is ultimately forgiving and their constant shephard. Where better than this leader to seek lessons on how to realize my potential in the fraternity?

I found two stories Nathan told us to be of particular interest to my growth personally. The First is about how to deal with conflict. The Torah says that God on the second day divided the waters of the earth; this is the only day of the Creation story that is not “good” because it brought the first division, the basis of all dispute. But while dispute is seen as terrible, God commands the Israelites to rebuke the sin of their brothers, to sow dispute itself. How then does one navigate disputes both here in the fraternity and in our everyday lives? How do we confront our brothers when we feel they have strayed?  There is a proverb Nathan told us that states ” Strike with your left but embrace with your right”. The idea is that while it is important to correct our fellows sternly, we must dedicate more of our strength (signified by using the right hand) to bringing them back to us with love. I think a problem I have had in my relationships with people is I am too quick to respond to disagreement and division with anger. This idea of using love rather than anger in diputes is thus very foreign to me, especially when the dispute concerns things which I hold dear. While it’s important to stand for what we believe in strongly as I do in my vision of the chapter, it is more important this proverb says to not let that sever our relationships. I think after this I need to re-evaluate how I’ve come to regard some of our own members, I’ve damaged relationships through a need to be right.And the worst thing is it doesn’t make me feel good to know in my own mind that I’m right since I’m the only one who is convinced. These answers won’t come easy.

The second story I’d like to relate is this: Abraham, patriarch of the Jewish people, three days after circumcising himself for Yahweh decided to put on a great feast for his family and town. At his advanced age he labored long and hard to make the preparation. However, when it came time for the celebration, no one had came. Abraham began to despair. But Yahweh looked down on Abraham and saw goodness in what he had done. He sent four of his angels in human form to Abraham to share in his feast. What could an abstract story as this tell us about how to live?

Abraham is compelled by a need to give, to give fully even in pain and old age. As humorous as it may sound, none of us could consider such an undertaking after such a drastic thing as circumcision, the pain would be too great. Abraham though is great, he is what a good Jew should hold themselves to be one who gives fully of their time and talents. Sounding a little familiar? This story made me think about what service to our organization and at large means. I think beyond else, the giving of one’s own time and talents with honest intensity is what we are called to do by diligence to our chapter. I feel now that this has not been the case for me now that I reflect on it. I’ve lived in half measures, jobs like recruitment captain last year done 75% as well as they could have been. Recruitment has always been something I’ve prided myself in and even that I can’t say I’ve given my best effort. Worse still are my feelings about ym performance as a Big Brother. I feel myself more inspired than Paolo’s unhesitating desire to give than he has by something in me. And yet I see the frustrations and aggravations that arise from investing oneself so much as he has, things don’t always go as you planned it, stresses eat at us. How can we give and not count the cost? Is it even worth the cost!?

From thought and writing on the subject, I see three futures for myself. One of them I never would have considered. The first and easiest is I can give none of myself to the organization and give up. I was shocked when the thought crossed my mind while writing this blog of quitting. But it seemed strangely sane. After all, it seems right now as though this organization is turning into the polar opposite of my dream for it, that of a group of men who build each other and the University community into something greater than it once was. Paolo once told me he saw SigEp as something that through being a part of gives you the tools and forces you to achieve your dreams. I don’t see that happening in our chapter right now. So why should I care? I can run away and be free and drop. Option 2: Is to continue at my current pace, that of giving myself 50%. Now this is not at all pleasing to me because I do not make an impact with my vision. I do not “Leave my Mark” as Conclave called us to do. I remain as I am now, unfulfilled. The third option, the difficult one, to dedicate myself as much as I can to my endeavors and my brotherhood, to truly excel and lead. This would not be easy, it would require the greatest effort and tenacity.

In considering these choices, I feel that my current state is not the one I can stay in. I cannot have this aggravating impotency and continue on as part of the Chapter. So all or nothing. Quite the split. Could I live with the regret of leaving all of this? I know myself well enough to realize that five years from now I will look back and say I made the wrong choice if I quit now. I’m worried about being good enough for my brothers about being able to give 100%. I’m worried if it’s worth it. Ben gave me a damn good reason why it is. My Brothers. You are all worth it to see this organization be great. I think I can make this service project my test of myself. I can direct a project to completion, I can do this because it must be done for you all to be made better by me. This is my gift to you from what I’ve known in my life, service and enjoying each others company while we do it. I can share with you something that was such a huge part of my identity and why i joined this organization in the first place. I’m going to close with an Ignatian prayer, ironic considering my recent embrace of atheism.

Teach us, good Lord,
to serve you as you deserve,
to give and not to count the cost,
to fight and not to heed the wounds,
to toil and not to seek for rest,
to labour and not to ask for any reward,
save that of knowing that we do your will.

This is it.

HFF
Louis Guberti