age | e

in front of you in line alphabetically since 2006

Sunday, October 19, 2008

bright spots

  • We helped Todd and Tammy paint the outside of their house this Saturday. Sure, we just loved slowly around the walls and moved our arms a lot, but we were pretty wiped out at the end of the day.
  • Our friend Tim also showed up for the painting party. As the keeper of the sprayer, he walked away after clean up with a green head. He looked like the Incredible Hulk, if Bruce Banner had been a red head. He was the Irish Hulk. You definitely don't like him when he's angry.
  • This little article about Mr. McCain and Mr. Obama poking fun at themselves at a New York charity dinner reassured me in my conviction that most successful politicians only get so far by being generally likable people.
  • Chrissy saw Anchorman for the first time last night. I think I definitely found it funnier than she did, but she did laugh pretty hard at the news team brawling scene. I don't know if I can accurately call this "broadening her horizons," but well, you know.
  • The new Andrew Peterson CD, Resurrection Letters: Volume II, that I'd pre-ordered arrived a week earlier than I'd expected. I haven't got to listen to it much, but AP never disappoints.

Monday, October 13, 2008

reading, lately

One of the biggest stings of leaving the "Greater Prague Area" community was losing touch with my deep and fruitful pool of interesting readers. Thankfully, there are interesting readers all over the world, including little Auburn, California. Here's some of the books they've given me lately.

Exclusion and Embrace by Miroslav Volf
I tried to read this without an Aaron Williams or a resistant C.A. team to keep me on track and gave up quickly. Somehow I found three other guys who wanted to pick this one up and are good filters. This is a very difficult read, but is has lived up to the acclaim so far.

Watchmen by Alan Moore
So it was the chance to hear a lecture about this well-regarded graphic novel (by the graphic novelist who wrote V for Vendetta) at a L'Abri conference that got me interested, and then seeing this movie trailer sealed the deal. This is a comic book for the literati and for people who think books need more pictures, and it's a more interesting way to see how the fall of modernism and the postmodern connundrum can be discussed than from reading wikipedia. Plus, the blue guy is naked all the time.

The Shack by William P. Young
I don't really get the controversy on this one. Again, this novel is a more entertaining distillation of a broad swath of theological meditations. Some of the metaphors are initially surprising, but a few turns of the pages lets us know that surprise is a critical part of our encounter with God. This book is not the Bible, but not since Rick Joyner's The Final Quest has a work of theologically-driven fiction struck a deeper chord in my heart. I already understand why people have been grateful for this one.

Life of Pi by Yann Martel
Long after its fifteen minutes of fame have passed, I finally read Life of Pi. If you haven't read it, read it for the first section---when he's growing up in India---which is one delightful scene after another. The ocean crossing is the heart of the story, but becomes tedious towards the end. And---spolier!---the epiphany at the end both satisfied and disappointed me. While I fully agree that telling the story of life is "a better story" when God is behind and at the center of everything, by the end of Pi's interview we are left to believe that the incredible story of a boy and a tiger is just an aesthetically superior interpretation of very different events. That, according to Pi, faith may be compelling and satisfying, but it is a leap from reality.

catching up in broad strokes

This week I wrap up my third session as a teaching credential student at Chapman. This was probably the easiest part of the program. Three months until the great student teaching juggle show begins. It's all uphill from here.

We started volunteering on a more committed basis at our church's junior high group at the end of last August. We're still really enjoying our time with the students. We feel like our main "ministries" there are (1) the ministry of attendance, (2) the ministry of sympathetic looks exchanged and post-meeting debriefings shared between the other leaders, (3) the ministry of purposeful silliness, and (4) the ministry of liking people.

Chana High School has its ups and downs, but Chrissy seems to be progressively blooming on this rocky hillside. The faculty at Chana has been much more welcoming than at Chrissy's previous teaching job, and Chrissy already feels much more a part of a team and a community, if I'm to summarize what she's been telling me over the past few weeks. It's still the Chana continuation school that I always heard about growing up in Auburn, but unencumbered by such prejudices, Chrissy has done well there and done a lot of good so far.

Being teachers, New Year's Day for us actually happens sometime around the end of August. So this past August we started our second year back in the states since returning from Prague in July 2007. God has blessed us here in Auburn
  • with more good friends than we were hoping for when we were packing our lives into four suitcases at the flat in Červený Vrch
  • with a comfortable place to live
  • with jobs that we mostly enjoy
  • with hope and hopeful directions to walk in
  • with a church community we're loving more all the time
  • with beauty from the ashes from my mom's unexpected death almost a year ago

Saturday, October 11, 2008

baby shower with a twist

Our friends Kyle and Colette, who...
  • are cool
  • have a last name that is fun to say
  • are having a baby girl in a few weeks
...had a baby shower this afternoon at Kyle's parents' house (two of three of the above items also apply to them). The "twist" to this baby shower was that it was a co-ed baby shower. This is simultaneously "as" and "not as" fun as it may sound.

The "as fun as it sounds" part was that having guys there doubled the size of the party and tripled the hilarity, I'm sure. Kyle is a charmer of women to be sure, but his comedic talents shine amongst his male brethren of the masculine gender. For the "not as fun" aspect, I leave you to a Google search of "co-ed," and recommend that safe search is "on" and the Bible is "open right next to you." Actually, just take my word on it.

For pictures and the rest of the story, I'm sure that there'll be a post on the booterblog sometime this weekend. Just know that it was fun, it was cute, and it was windy.

Monday, October 06, 2008

people in process

Any time we meet someone we're encountering them at only one point on a line. That point---such as Sunday, October 5th at 9:55pm or Thanksgiving 2007 or the day they took up the clarinet---is just that: one moment in the whole span of his/her life. He/she is a person who is growing, or at least a person who is becoming the person who he/she will eventually become. As much as it is useful to remember that our living, thinking, speaking and acting happens only in the present, we would do well to be mindful that we are all persons in process.

This would give us
  • humility to accept that we all must grow
  • patience not to stamp and fret upon the pace of that growth
  • space to let the Spirit be the quiet power that compels our growth
  • safety to speak the thoughts of our minds and work out the movements of our hearts
  • freedom to speak correction and disagreement without being dogmatic
  • freedom to listen to our brother and to be thankful for God's gifts to him
  • freedom to receive our sister and not to make our thoughts of her only worries
  • a fresh call to prayer every day

Saturday, October 04, 2008

because you have to start again somewhere

Writing in a journal (you know, the paper kind?) threw us off track here on le blog. Facebook compounded the problem. And excuses like dust in an abandoned back room layered up until I never even visited blogger anymore. So here's a little dusting.

An angry woman got her frappuccino later than she'd have preferred, and she let three or four of us know. I wasn't one of them, thankfully, and not getting yelled at let me place where I'd seen her before: oh yeah, she was the one at Chrissy's Back to School Night who was offering anger management sessions at an affordable price.