and i can’t sleep…

1. So, I took a quiz online, and apparently the candidates I most line up with are John McCain and Barack Obama. (No kidding.) How’d this happen? The occupational hazards of being an independent moderate. Maybe I’ll vote for McCain?

2. I don’t know. My dad made the good point the other day that we’re probably ready for a third party, a good strong third party, to emerge and actually be able to have a fighting chance against the Democrats and Republicans. A combination of evangelicals who are tired of our “spiritual leaders” putting their feet in their mouths politically, and a general discontent with the political system everywhere might just make it happen. It might take my generation (and maybe the one before) to begin to rework the system, and it might not become totally viable until our grandkids are old enough to vote, but who knows? Maybe it’ll be worth it.

3. Ash Wednesday is a week from today, and while repentance is something I’ve been trying to learn for a while now, for some reason this year Lent feels like a good time to really dig down deep into it, and the spiritual disciplines alongside. Discipline’s not one of my strong points by a long shot, but I guess I’ve been growing in it for a while, which is nice (and worthy of a “hallelujah”). We’re fragile beings, us humans, and it takes a long time to form good habits and break bad ones–but we have been made new and are being made new. I want to spend a lot of time in the Word and the sacraments this season, and not just during Lent, but after, too. So pray for me, too, that I would love God enough to give up my laziness.

4. Uh, what else? Oh, huh–just heard a blurb on TV that says that eating super-spicy food may be related to our need to impress people of the opposite sex. Endurance of pain = strength = HOT (uh. no pun intended). Or something like that. Some of us, like myself, may just be masochistic. Now where’d the Tabasco go? (That being said, Target carries these spicy chips that are really, really good, but only if you want your sinuses cleared, or the top of your head blown off.)

5. T13 to come. Stay tuned. Have a good evening, kids.

random use of colons.

1. Odd thought: I think that, by the time I turned 21, I’d been on an airplane at least that many times, and five of those times were transoceanic (LA from Seoul, Honolulu from LA, LA from Honolulu, Edinburgh from Newark, Newark from Edinburgh). And ever since I turned 21, I haven’t been on an airplane at all. Heck, I haven’t even been out of the state. No wonder my wanderlust is getting so amped up.

2. Worst cover song ever, discovered recently on iTunes: Archibald Asparagus and Mr. Lunt doing “Crocodile Rock”, with the substituted lyric, “Susie wore her dresses white.” *sigh*

3. Wacoans: I bought my Sing ticket today–i.e., I’ll be in town February 27. The end.

4. Note to self: Little sleep leads to your having brief lapses in sanity. Fix that.

5. I found a hitch in my gender-bending version of Les Mis: “Master of the House”. It’d take a serious rewrite. Oh well…

t13 (the “dang, i almost forgot” edition)

Or, the “shoot, Internet Explorer doesn’t like WordPress, does it?” edition. (Seriously, the visuals are all wonky. This is why I use Firefox.)

This week: Your 13 favorite female vocalists. For some reason, this is more difficult for me than you would think.

1. Patty Griffin.

2. Sandra McCracken.

3. Feist!

4. Emily DeLoach (she’s an indie artist–if you remember the video of Andrew Osenga getting a haircut, she was the barber).

5. Reba McIntyre (no, really).

6. Allison Krauss.

7. Aimee Mann.

8. Aretha Franklin.

9. Pre-reality TV Whitney Houston. “I Will Always Love You” gives me goosebumps. No, really.

10. Christina Aguilera. Seriously, she has a great voice, even if I don’t always like her songs.

11. Imogen Heap.

12. Sara Watkins (of Nickel Creek).

13. Idina Menzel.

no, i will not go quietly…

1. I am totally listening to Steven Curtis Chapman right now, and am not ashamed to say it. Hey, he’s a PCA guy, and his daughter goes to Baylor. Can’t be all bad.

2. So I’m in the middle of a book called The Supremacy of Christ in a Postmodern World (a birthday gift from the parentals–thanks again, Mom and Dad), which is based on a conference John Piper held at his church a couple of years ago. If you’re a theology nerd and need any incentive to click that link, or read the book, contributors include D.A. Carson, Tim Keller, Mark Driscoll, and Voddie Baucham, among others. Hot.

Anyway. While reading this, and a book about home life, the thought occurs to me that the postmodern ethos is really about a homelessness of soul, the feeling that there’s nowhere in the universe a person can take refuge. If there’s no meaning in the world, after all, then trying to find a home here is like trying to find warmth in a cardboard box: It may do the trick for a while, but it might also kill you eventually. And it’s equally as true for the Christian as the pagan; anytime we try to make our home here, it usually backfires. But, thank God, He gives us meaning. Christ the master Carpenter builds us a household to dwell in, not just as servants, but sons and daughters. We have a place where we can feel safe and accepted–indeed, be safe and accepted, truly–where we can feast, where we can put down roots, where we can welcome other people in, both neighbors and strangers.

It’s important for us, then, to reflect this truth in the church and in our own homes, and make them places where people can come in and have a seat without feeling excluded.

3. A random, kind-of theological question: Do you pronounce Augustine “AW-guh-steen” or “Ah-GUH-stihn”? I have been told that the latter is the right, proper way, but then again J.I. Packer pronounces it the first way, so I guess it’s a matter of taste. *shrug*

4. Finally, I was reminded of this guy the other day, and figured I’d kick it old-school a little bit:

t13

this week: your 13 least favorite books, ever.

1. Joseph Conrad, Heart of Darkness.

2. Mark Twain, A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur’s Court.

3. Paulo Coelho, The Alchemist.

4. Randy Alcorn, Lord Foulgrim’s Letters.

5. F. Scott Fitzgerald, The Great Gatsby (this may be because I read it in about three hours, though; I’ll have to give it another chance).

6. Elfriede Jelinek, The Piano Teacher (the best part is, I had to give a presentation on it, so I had to finish it. Otherwise, I would’ve quit about chapter three or so).

7. John Milton, Samson Agonistes.

8. Imre Kertesz, Fatelessness.

9. Kate Chopin, The Awakening.

10. Edith Wharton, Ethan Frome.

11. Cormac McCarthy, All the Pretty Horses. (To be fair, I don’t hate it with a vengeance like I do some of these other picks, but I found it pretty overwrought.)

12.  Gabriel Garcia Marquez, The Autumn of the Patriarch.

13.  E.M. Forester, A Room With a View.

(untitled poem that i thought about saving for lent)

and forty days would cease the drowning gates of heaven
pouring out the weight of glory on the grass and dust,
to cover the earth like the seas of forgetfulness,
to remember us sinners no more
(have mercy on us, he said, have mercy)

for thorns and thistles we have borne
and choked the garden You had planted,
thorns grown from the serpent’s seed,
weeds to spring up from the stony ground
the water of Your word won’t penetrate,
and we’re left wandering the desert of our own decrees,
blind to the blinding light of truth that leads us through the night
(miserere nobis, Domine, miserere nobis)

and we have stumbled like the blind following the blind
and listened for Your whisper in a hurricane but
You were not there
(what are we doing here, You ask,
and we confess an ignorant zeal),
so You blow against our tidings of things you already knew,
burn like wrath and a lover’s passion
to light up the deep down things in us
(have mercy on us, Lord, have mercy)