Tuesday, October 30, 2007
It is prayer alone, then, that gives the whole strength and efficacy to our different administrations: and that man ceased if I may use the expression, to be a public minister from the time he ceases to pray."
Prayer therefore is one half our ministry, and it gives to the other half all its power and success." The Christian Ministry Pg. 146-148
Monday, October 29, 2007
Saturday, October 27, 2007
One other entertaining thing to note. Some random lady just pulled over on the side of our street and went on a rant to our neighborhood for about 5 minutes saying, "If gay women don't like who I am, then so be it." I'm not sure who it was directed at, but the whole neighborhood could hear her. Finally a guy came out and told her to leave and she said, "Ok, thank you for listening to me." Then he told her to leave again. I have no idea what just happened. I don't think the people with the bumper stickers that say Keep Portland Weird have anything to worry about.
Wednesday, October 24, 2007
I'll just leave you with a few passages from the book:
"It is far too common among us to develop a problem-solving habit of approach to the Bible, figuring out what doesn't seem to fit and then sanding off the rough edges, so that it slips into our way of thinking more easily. We want to use it for comfort, and if it doesn't work comfortably we reconfigure it so that it will. One good friend warns his students against becoming expert text-nicians. Text-nicians learn this text, master it inside and out, so that they can repair it when we sense it's a little "off," so that it will run smoothly and get us where we want to go with our needs and want and feelings. But nothing in our Bibles is one-dimensional, systematized, or theologized. Pg. 65
The most frequent way we have of getting rid of the puzzling or unpleasant difficulties in the Bible is to systematize it, organizing it according to some scheme or other that summarizes "what the Bible teaches". If we know what the Bible teaches, we don't have to read it anymore, don't have to enter the story and immerse ourselves in the odd and unflattering and uncongenial way in which this story develops, including so many people and circumstances that have nothing to do, we think, with us." Pg. 66
And finally a great reminder on the importance of good exegesis (this is in the context of not letting our exegesis divert us from Jesus and helping us to submit to the text):
"But without exegesis, spirituality gets sappy, soupy. Spirituality without exegesis becomes self-indulgent. Without disciplines exegesis spirituality develops into an idiolect in which I define all the key verbs and nouns out of my own experience. And prayer ends up limping along in sighs and stutters." Pg. 58
Tuesday, October 23, 2007
So what's the problem?
The 15 lines of translation! That, like I thought it would be, was a brutal part of the test. I honestly believe while reading some of the sentences I translated the professor will laugh out loud because it's no where in the ballpark of what the sentence means.
So how can you know all the vocab and verb paradigm and still translate like crap? I have no idea! But that's the case!
Anyway, I believe I got at least a C which was my goal. Now I can stop talking and thinking about this and get on with my life! Until the Final that is. ...
All in all...I actually feel pretty good. I know the Qal verb paradigm and have written out the entire thing about 50 times. I know all 150 vocab words like the back of my...well, whatever you want to add there. That is 2/3's of the test right there. I think if I could at least get all of those right, I will pass. The translation section is out of my hands! At this point, you can either do it, or you can't. It's too late to play catch up for the time being. That is the part that I will need divine inspiration!
At 1pm pacific standard time my fate will be revealed!
Just out of curiosity, Bob, how did you do in Hebrew the first time?
Monday, October 22, 2007
Larissa and Kelli were nice enough to make us a finish line at the end and present me with the victory prize (Settlers of Catan).
By the time we were almost done I was hurting pretty bad. There was a final incline which almost did me in and I may or may not have said, "Devin, I hate you and your entire family." It's debatable. I don't remember anything.
The night was just beginning however. We had an awesome Oktoberfest community dinner at the Leonardo's and then we were off to play Settlers at Devin and Larissa's. Kelli went on to victory! Congrats!
Did I mention that it poured rain all day before our run? It was a mudfest. To quote Devin, "the run was epic."
Friday, October 19, 2007
Eugene Peterson - Christ Plays in 10,000 Places
1. VRP (Very Resourceful Person) - These are the people that you go to when there is a need. They are people with resources, connections, influence to get things done that need to get done.
2. VIP (Very Important Person) - These are more of the influencers, those that are already leading in some context. Could be staff, elders, pastors, etc.
3. VTP (Very Trainable Person) - These are the people that could become the VIP's. They are the future leaders who are teachable and have a desire to learn and grow. It is crucial that these people get the majority of our time.
4. VNP (Very Nice Person) - These are people that are fun to be around, people like them, they're a blast to have around the church, but they will never really step up like you wish they would. They're just nice people.
5. VDP (Very Dependent Person) - And, our favorite people. Those who cannot and will not do anything on their own. They will not take responsibility for anything, but will want the pastors and leaders to do EVERYTHING. They are usually those that complain the most and desire the most time out of the pastor but are willing to give little to nothing to make church better.
This obviously could become simplistic when you only think of people in these categories especially when we do not take into consideration that God's grace is enough to make a VDP a VIP! But regardless, I find this helpful while processing the question, "who should get the most time on our calendars?" Time is limited and we have to be wise when we choose who to spend it with as a pastor.
A constant problem is that the VDP's will try to suck up all your time but the result of that time will be little to no progress. Plus if we spend all our time on the VDP's we will miss out on training those who are trainable and these are the people that need most of our time.
Anyway, I hope you find this helpful as well as you consider who needs your time.
Wednesday, October 17, 2007
Yesterday I also ACED my Hebrew test and I am feeling more confident in the language as we approach the midterm next week. Suffixes can't freaking handle me! I can actually translate whole sentences now! Woohoo! Steep learning curve, the first six weeks were definitely the toughest but it's starting to make more sense now.
And finally and most importantly, today I will complete the Catan Running Challenge and secure my victory in the annuls of Devin's mind for eternity! Unless I get struck by a bus or kidnapped on the way to our staff meeting, I am pretty sure I will run my final mile for this challenge around 4pm!
Saturday, October 13, 2007
From Publishers Weekly:
Pollan examines what he calls "our national eating disorder" (the Atkins craze, the precipitous rise in obesity) in this remarkably clearheaded book. It's a fascinating journey up and down the food chain, one that might change the way you read the label on a frozen dinner, dig into a steak or decide whether to buy organic eggs. You'll certainly never look at a Chicken McNugget the same way again. Pollan approaches his mission not as an activist but as a naturalist: "The way we eat represents our most profound engagement with the natural world." Pollan's narrative strategy is simple: he traces four meals back to their ur-species. He starts with a McDonald's lunch, which he and his family gobble up in their car. Surprise: the origin of this meal is a cornfield in Iowa. Corn feeds the steer that turns into the burgers, becomes the oil that cooks the fries and the syrup that sweetens the shakes and the sodas, and makes up 13 of the 38 ingredients (yikes) in the Chicken McNuggets.Indeed, one of the many eye-openers in the book is the prevalence of corn in the American diet; of the 45,000 items in a supermarket, more than a quarter contain corn.
2. The Year of Living Biblically by A. J. Jacobs
From Publishers Weekly
What would it require for a person to live all the commandments of the Bible for an entire year? That is the question that animates this hilarious, quixotic, thought-provoking memoir from Jacobs (The Know-It-All). He didn't just keep the Bible's better-known moral laws (being honest, tithing to charity and trying to curb his lust), but also the obscure and unfathomable ones: not mixing wool with linen in his clothing; calling the days of the week by their ordinal numbers to avoid voicing the names of pagan gods; trying his hand at a 10-string harp; growing a ZZ Top beard; eating crickets; and paying the babysitter in cash at the end of each work day. (He considered some rules, such as killing magicians, too legally questionable to uphold.) In his attempts at living the Bible to the letter, Jacobs hits the road in highly entertaining fashion to meet other literalists, including Samaritans in Israel, snake handlers in Appalachia, Amish in Lancaster County, Pa., and biblical creationists in Kentucky. Throughout his journey, Jacobs comes across as a generous and thoughtful (and, yes, slightly neurotic) participant observer, lacing his story with absurdly funny cultural commentary as well as nuanced insights into the impossible task of biblical literalism. (Oct.)
Friday, October 12, 2007
Thankfully yesterday was also our weekly Office Party at the Leonardo's so that really had a positive effect. There is nothing more healing for a day like that than being around friends and laughing. And let me say for the record that The Office is fantastic this season! I wish every episode would be an hour.
I'm thankful that today is a new day and the sun is shining! I feel much better! I'm even doing Hebrew work and not complaining. Speaking of, the Hebrew Midterm is a a week from Tuesday and is 20% of my grade for the semester so all extra-curricular activities are pretty much off for about a week and a half.
I have four more runs and then a graduation run next Saturday of 3 miles and then I officially will receive Settlers of Catan. This has been a fun challenge in many ways. I'm glad I did it and I plan on continuing to run about four days a week. Five is a little too ambitious of a pace to keep up with for now. But after the last three weeks I have started to enjoy the challenge of running, although many days I still hate the running itself, until I'm done and then I feel great!
Wednesday, October 10, 2007
Charles Bridges in "The Christian Ministry" (which I never thought I would be quoting) said this:
"There is an art and benefit in the right choice of books, which we should be familiar, as there is in the election of other friends or acquaintances with whom we may most profoundly converse. No man can read everything; nor would our real store be increased by the capacity to do so. The digestive powers would be overloaded for want of time to act, and uncontrolled confusion would reign within. It is far more easy to furnish a library than our understanding."
Over the past two years I have been trying to be more selective in my book selection. One of the ways I am protecting my time is by not selecting every new book that looks interesting, but weighing very heavily trusted friends opinions and seeing if the book will add any value to my life rather than just useless knowledge or redundant opinions. Just because it says 2007 does not mean I have to read it. In fact, with the ever increasing publication of books and seeing all of the crap that comes out, I am becoming more skeptical of newer books. C.S Lewis was on to something when he said for every new book you read you should read one old book. Wise.
So, for me to read a book, it's got to be either...
A. Ground-breaking (something that 35 books haven't already said in a different way)
B. An author I respect and know to be consistent.
C. A classic novel (Dostoevsky, Steinbeck)
D. A book or author that is a hot topic of conversation (N.T. Wright, Mclaren, Da Vinci Code)
E. A book I know I will disagree with. I do this to keep myself thinking critically.
F. A book that reflects the attitudes and values of our time (keeps me up to date).
G. Spiritually challenging (Merton, Peterson, Willard, Nouwen, Foster)
H. A book or series that is just absolute fun (Harry Potter, Lord of the Rings)
Just having some type of criteria helps me from just picking up whatever is new at the bookstore that looks interesting and then realized I wasted my time. This is basically why I only read about 1% of current fiction. There is SO much coming out that how much could possibly be good? Does anyone else feel cheated a majority of the time they read popular fiction?
What's your criteria?
Tuesday, October 09, 2007
Quite a bit of time for one little quiz that we have once, sometimes twice a week. I thought I had everything memorized perfectly and was expecting to ace it! I memorized the Imperative, Infinitive and Participle paradigms and all the vocab from chapters 1-9 which is almost 100 words. But I get there and it turns out we didn't just have to know vocab from chapters 1-9 but also for chapter 10 which I hadn't studied at all! I do not recall him ever saying we needed to know vocab from 10. In any case, I got everything I had studied right, but I missed two of the vocab from chapter 10 so I ended up with a 12 out of 14.
Unfortunately that is a C and does not improve my chances of passing! Crap!
The other thing is, the Midterm is worth 20% of our grade (which is in two weeks) and the Final is worth 30% of our grade. 50% of my grade is left up in the air of these two huge tests! Ouch! That's not so great considering I'm already probably getting a C in the class. I can't imagine these two tests helping that C improve any!
I'm just not a language guy, what can I say?
Monday, October 08, 2007
Another observation I have had is that running outside is MUCH harder than running on the treadmill. I don't care what anyone says, running on the treadmill where the ground moves for you is not equal to actually running on a hard surface.
I have almost done all that is necessary to win Settlers of Catan which makes me pretty happy. Only 7 more runs plus a graduation run with Devin and I will own the game (by the way, you better have the game in your hands the day I win Devin! Order it now!) I know Devin is still praying for injury but it looks unlikely at this point.
A final observation that I will make today is that while the distance may increase that you are able to run, running itself does not get easier! I think Devin would concur with this.
Sunday, October 07, 2007
Now, the Bears are another story. Granted it's only 7-0 in favor of Green Bay but man, the Bears look awful. I wonder what they are going to do in the long term for Quarterback. They need to make a move. I would hate to see Kyle Orton back out there! I'm hoping Griese has a good showing tonight regardless. Well, off to our home group! Now that's commitment!
Saturday, October 06, 2007
Friday, October 05, 2007
Next semester I will NOT be taking Hebrew 2 in class at Western! I will be taking it as an online class from the Seminary connected to the college I graduated from back in Illinois! No in-class quizzes every week! No super stressful Midterm or Final exam, but simply exercises I do and send in every week as we translate the book of Deuteronomy and one Final exam which I take in the comfort of my own home! You have no idea what ease this puts my mind at.
It's not that I'm trying to bail out of Hebrew but I am not gifted at language, have plenty of language tools and truly just hate the stress of reading and translating a language in class and feeling stupid all the time. If you want someone to study something, read a ton of books and write a paper on it, I'm your guy, but if you want me to memorize 500 Hebrew words in a semester, plus hundreds of verb endings, that's where I'm at my worst! I just can't do it. So I'm excited to do Hebrew online without the public humiliation and stress that comes along with doing it in class. That means I just have to survive this semester! Phew!
Thursday, October 04, 2007
"Can you please explain to me why Piniella, after letting Zambrano bat and not using a pinch hitter in the top of the 6th with the bases loaded, took him out of the game before the bottom of the 7th when he had only thrown 85 pitches??? Then Marmol comes in and serves up two runs and the game to the D'backs. I don't get that. I was a little surprised they let him bat there, but he was dealing on the mound. I'm just thinking that if you let him hit there then you're pretty much banking on him going at least 2 more innings unless he gets shelled."
That is a great point! Piniella's decision (after letting Zambrano bat in a bases loaded situation where the Cubs could have scored another run or two) was to try to save Zambrano's arm since he's pitching him again in Game 4, but how about this Lou? How about you focus on winning THE FIRST GAME!!!!!
Wednesday, October 03, 2007
I like Jayson Starks spirit!
By the way, the Cards are actually my hope at winning the world series this year. They managed to win last year when they were the worst team in the playoffs and I'm hoping the Cubs can do the same thing this year!
Really, once you make the playoffs in baseball, it's up for grabs. Just depends on who is playing the best ball right now and thankfully the Cubs are playing some pretty good ball.
Tuesday, October 02, 2007
“The greater the wrong suffered, the more it gets ingrained into the identity of the person who endured it. Such a person sometimes comes to view himself-and others also come to view him-primarily as a sufferer of that particular wrong, for example, as a “survivor of the Rwandan genocide”. It is as though the wrong suffered is the most defining event of his life-an event that trumps creative accomplishments, friendships, joyful events, whether old or new, and all else. When wrongdoing defines us, we take on “distorted identities, frozen in time and closed to growth.” Pg. 79 - Miroslav Volf
I would even say that when we hold on to how we have victimized others in the past (regretfully) we are also distorting our identity and closed from growth. I would also add being victims to wrongdoings such as addictions. When our identity is wrapped up in, "I'm an alcoholic" I think something has gone terribly wrong. When a personal identity is wrapped up in a disease, addiction, behavior, etc. there is a rejection (conscious or otherwise) of the identity as a "beloved of God".
Volf does a good job in the book of talking how we should "remember rightly". For example, the Israelites could have formed their identity around their suffering in Egypt but instead their identity was formed around God redeeming them from Egypt. There is a large difference in how they remembered. Because they remembered themselves as being redeemed by God rather than enslaved by Egypt, they were able to live and grow.
Monday, October 01, 2007
I haven't pushed myself much this week so far as I have only been running a mile a day mostly because at the end of last weeks running my knee was starting to fill with fluid and I didn't want to overdo it. But tomorrow and Thursday I really want to push myself. On Thursday I want to run 2 miles. Now, for a non-runner like myself on his second week, that is stretching it for me! But it has been nice during the last two weeks to see the progress. To feel it getting easier on my legs and on my lungs has been encouraging. I think I can definitely be able to run 3 miles consistently when I'm done with the four weeks and that has been my goal.
I feel better physically and it is a nice challenge. I find myself during the day now thinking about running and actually having a desire to run! Weird!