bye bye bye.

Hey, I’m taking an Internet break for a bit. Don’t know when I’ll be back. I might check my e-mail once a week or so, but if you want to get in touch call or write, k? 🙂

In the meantime, entertain yourselves with these:

thursday 13

This week: 13 of your favorite sensory experiences.

1. Having my hair stroked for a while–I normally don’t like people touching my head for some reason, but if I’m having a bad day and someone comes along and strokes my hair, it’s one of the most comforting things ever. I honestly can’t explain this.

2. Congregational singing, no matter where I am. This is part of the reason I don’t like big, big sound systems in church anymore–it drowns out the people singing.

3. Sunsets in central Texas, in the country. No skyscrapers in the way, just the green fields and the huge sky, all orange and red and purple. (I’m sure the sunrises are equally lovely, but I was never awake enough to see them. 🙂 )

4. Driving through the mountains, which I’ve only done once, but it’s fun.

5. Being on the beach, by the ocean (and I mean real ocean, not the oil field in Galveston), with a friend, watching the sunset.

6. Candlelight services.

7. Being in the middle of a choir, in a building with excellent acoustics. It’s different from being in the audience watching them, both sonically and experientially, since your own voice is in the mix, and you have a more intimate experience with the overall sound.

8. The smell of bookstores or libraries. Paper and ink.

9. My friends, when they’re laughing uncontrollably, make one of the greatest sounds, like, ever.

10. Seeing the look on the guy’s face when his bride is walking down the aisle. Amazing. (During my own wedding I’m probably either going to cry or get weak in the knees when that happens.)

11. Driving with the windows rolled down, music going, on a late summer evening.

12. Being snuggled under a lot of blankets when it’s cold outside.

13. Holding hands with other people while praying.

sabbath musings

1. I’ve been going through 1 and 2 Peter (some more of those books I’ve never really heard preached about…), and as a result I have to ask: Why, in America, are we so surprised when people bash Christianity? Why do we get so offended? Jesus guaranteed us that as Christians we would always be hated by the world; in his letters, Peter’s writing to Christians that expected death or discrimination all the time (much like our brothers and sisters in many other nations). Scripture assumes that unbelievers are always going to come after us.

I think that sometimes we get angry for the wrong reasons–our rights are being violated! We’re being discriminated against! Well and good, and I do believe we should seek justice where possible, but not angrily, not selfishly; we have to do so with the end game of the glory of Christ. Apologetics, reasoned argument, and intelligent discourse are all necessary, and so are gentleness and respect.

2. I found this article the other day–if you don’t want to switch pages, it’s about the Sikh tradition of providing a free meal at the temples to anyone who wants one, regardless of religion, social class, or race. It’s funded by donations from the community. Interesting stuff.

3. Since I’ve been back at Target, my intense dislike for consumerism is back. 🙂 I mean, really, do we need to spend $20 on a dog sweater? (Then again, I say this as someone who will buy a $20 CD in a heartbeat, so I’m sort of preaching to the choir here. Christ, have mercy on us.)

4. It’s been interesting, pondering how to live the gospel these days–a great deal of which involves contentment, which I’m not very good at. I know I’m always going to be where God wants me, for whatever reason He has up His sleeve, and the trick is to learn how to be His wherever that is. I think we could all use some prayer there, right? 🙂

t13

(Happy summer solstice, by the way.)

This week: 13 random things that can be found in your bedroom.
1.  A voodoo doll (it was given to me by two of my friends for my birthday–I lost the pins somewhere, and it’s not like I’m going to be using it anyway).

2. A copy of The Purpose-Driven Life (my grandparents gave all of us a copy for Christmas a few years back…).

3. More than one calculator. I can’t explain this, either.

4. I still have my Korean passport, even though it obviously expired the moment I became an American citizen–it’s pinned up on my bulletin board.

5. A small collection of Jones Soda bottles, some of which are acting as vases.

6.  A postcard I picked up at an Edinburgh bar that says, “CAUTION! BEARS. They’re Hard As Coffin Nails.” (I found it amusing mostly because of my alma mater’s mascot. Sic ’em, indeed.)

7. A tall green cup full of knitting needles.

8.  A stack of old cassette tapes. A sampling: Psalty’s Non-Stop Sing-Along (does anyone else remember Psalty?), Steven Curtis Chapman’s Signs of Life, and The Chipmunks Christmas Album. I’m not entirely sure why I’m keeping all of this stuff, except for sentimental value.

9. A jar that previously held 4 pounds worth of Jelly Bellys–now it’s the home of all my loose change.

10. More pairs of scissors than is probably reasonable…

11. Library books.

12. A Netflix DVD.

13.  This massive collage I did with stuff I picked up in Edinburgh. Like, you don’t understand, it’s pretty big…

and we’re still fighting it, we’re still fighting it…

1. Apropos to the title, I start work tomorrow (well…today, now, I guess). Back at Target.  Shouldn’t be too bad now that I’ve gotten kind of better at it. 🙂 So it’s not so much that Im fighting it (not the job, anyway); these days it’s more the “everybody knows it sucks to grow up…” that’s been getting to me.
2. Here’s a thought that’s been boggling my mind for a month or so now: Not only is time a created thing, but so is space. This may seem fairly obvious, and it also obviously leads to the possibility of God being omnipresent, but also–outside of creation, there is no concept of space, at least probably not in the way we think of space. God isn’t limited by left or right or up or down. Like I said, this is fairly obvious, but the idea that there were no such things as physical dimensions before God made them makes my head hurt a little bit.

3.  Harry Potter madness has set in a bit–I’ve been re-reading the series in anticipation of the last book, which comes out next month, but I need to take a break soon, as I’ve been having dreams about them lately. It’s making my head feel like mashed potatoes. (This is a weird side effect of having just graduated, although I think it may just be me–I mostly want to read fluff these days. Maybe I need some time to decompress all the “serious” books I’ve been consuming for the past four years?)

4. I’ve been trying to study for the GRE, which I haven’t registered for yet (going to find out my work schedule before that happens). The ridiculous part is that I haven’t used math more complicated than basic arithmetic for nearly four years, and so every time I study it my brain starts going, “DANGER! DANGER, WILL ROBINSON!” Help.

5.  Finally, if y’all could, please be praying for my #2 nephew–we’ve found out he probably has some sort of rare disorder, since the bones and cartilage in his hip is apparently eroding somehow. Little guy turns 9 in November.

In fact, how can we all be praying for you? (I say this assuming everyone who reads me is a believer, which may not be the case–if you’re not, then I think we all know how to pray for you. Beware. :))

oh my.

This is really, really funny (albeit rated PG-13 for drug and alcohol references and some language):

(this reminds me: national poetry slam is in austin in august, and part of me is terribly tempted to geek out and go watch, but…yeah, no.)

thursday thirteen

This week: 13 things that, if you could, you would ban.

1. Celebrity culture–let them act, let them make music, let them play sports, but for Pete’s sake, don’t give them 80 million dollars and news time to do so.

2. Hummers.

3. MySpace pages owned by anyone under the age of 18/who refuses to use correct grammar/who has really obnoxious music or backgrounds that render the text unreadable.

4. Fighting on the Internet. Proper debate, fine; rounds of “you’re stupid!”, absolutely not.

5. Any high-school-type drama that has somehow transferred to college.

6. Any further writing of fiction books about the end times. Left Behind filled the dispensationalist quota for good, and amillennialism or postmillennialism don’t make for very compelling plot lines. 🙂

7. Most of reality TV. Not all of it, just most of it.

8. Infomercials.

9. Whose brilliant idea was it to start the presidential races this early? Cut it out.

10. Allowing people to take their young children into PG-13 or R movies.

11.  Shows on MTV that don’t play music videos.

12. Road construction in Houston until the year 2027, so we can at least get a break for a while. (Finish what you’re doing, then quit.)

13. Comic Sans. No kidding.

meep.

1. The thought occurs to me that we Protestants are angry, reactive folks–or reactive, at the very least–by default. I mean, think about the root word of Protestant, protest, and what we’ve been doing since Luther nailed the theses up on that door–nay, since Wycliffe thought it was a good idea for people to read the Bible in their native tongue. And ever since then we’ve been fighting for something, whether it be political power (the Reformation eventually ended up as much a political revolution as much as a religious one, which I in turn blame on Constantine…but that’s another post) or ecclesiastical changes or even social changes (this phenomenon probably explains the Religious Right, *sigh*). And we fight about things with each other. We’re fighters. No wonder there are so many different kinds of us. No wonder the Catholics think we’re ridiculous. No wonder the world thinks we’re crazy. No wonder we fight so many wars. I don’t know if this is good or bad.

We should fight for and about certain things, and rightly so–the gospel, for example, and the health and the purity of the church, which I think most of us do so about. But we have to be careful to fight about what’s actually important, and to do so “with gentleness and respect”.

2. I have to promote this, because it’s actually really good: Andrew Osenga, i.e. the guy who took Derek’s place in Caedmon’s/used to be the frontman for The Normals, just put out an EP yesterday (he wrote and recorded the whole thing in less than a month), which is available for free download as a .zip file here (although he would appreciate it if you chip in a few bucks if you can). It’s good. For real. He’s one of my favorite singer-songwriters and I think most of you will like him, too.

3. I think I was going to say something else, but it decided to escape through my ears. If I catch it, I’ll bring it back in a jar and show it to you.

je suis le walrus…

1. First of all, a meme:

1. Grab the nearest book.
2. Open the book to page 23.
3. Find the fifth sentence.
4. Post the text of the sentence in your blog along with these instructions.

(This is going to be interesting, since my bookshelves–which are full of books, and I mean full–are right next to me. *grabs blindly*)

“I think they are equal.” —The Old Man and the Sea, Ernest Hemingway. Huh.

2. I have a solution for getting the starlets off of the media radar for a while: We drop them off with the Sisters of Mercy in Calcutta (that’s Mother Teresa’s organization), and keep them sequestered there for at least a year. The sisters wouldn’t let the media near there, knowing them, unless they didn’t focus on Britney or Paris or whomever; the spoiled rich kids get a chance to actually do something worthwhile with their lives (can you imagine Lindsey Lohan washing sheets for lepers?) and maybe hear about Jesus; the rest of us get a break. 🙂 Severe mercy. Or something.

3. Interesting article on how the lack of a liturgical soul makes American cities, well, soulless. I kind of like this idea that the gospel will transform the way we as Christians see the city–they are mission fields, of course, but in changing the people Christ also changes the soul and rhythms of a place, too, I think. The thing in America is that we were put together as a country post-Enlightenment, which means that we were built on reason and science, without the same sense of history and spirituality as other places were. Even in Europe, which was hit harder by the Enlightenment and is more thoroughly secular than the United States, you can feel the oldness of the place, the deep roots, the faint whispers of the Christians that went before them and moved in the rhythm of the church and of creation. Here in America, we don’t really have that. What can you say.

4. Oh, yes, the Tonys were on last night…I wanted Raul Esparza to win really badly for Best Actor in a Musical, but alas–David Hyde Pierce won instead. And he was surprised. Also surprising: Did anyone else know he’s gay? (Niles Crane?!) What can you say. Quote of the evening, from the Best Featured Actress in a Musical: “Everyone’s been so articulate…” *pause* “WOOOOOOOO!” Fantastic. I love being a theater nerd.

5. Jabber jabber jabber, blah blah blah.

6. Oh, oh, yes: The PCA’s doing General Assembly this week, so all the pastors and their wives are chilling out in Memphis and hearing about what’s going down and probably getting into fights about Federal Vision (which I still don’t really understand, and most of you probably don’t, either, but it’s a big controversy within the denomination, guys are getting excommunicated over this, so it’s important, I guess), so pray that it all goes well and there aren’t punches thrown or whatever. The Southern Baptists are doing their big meeting down in San Antonio as well, so pray for them, too, if you think of it. I don’t know what those other denominations do or when they meet, but it’s not this week.

7. Y’all are creative people; I’m running out of Thursday 13 topics. Any ideas?

8. Well. This was certainly a rambly one, wasn’t it?