Wednesday, May 31, 2006

Verse and Quote of the day

"Charm is deceitful, and beauty is vain,
but a woman who fears the LORD is to be praised.
Give her of the fruit of her hands,
and let her works praise her in the gates." Prov. 31:30-31 (ESV)

"She kept her hands very still, wondering at them. They had been so busy with one thing and another in the world, continually shaping something. What many objects had rested against those palms--chair-backs, cups, tennis rackets, the hands of her friends, birds, books, bag-handles, umbrellas, clothes, bedclothes, door-handles, ropes, straps, knives and forks, bowls, pictures, shoes, cushions--oh, everything! and always she had had some purpose, her hands had been doing something, making something that had never been before--not just so. They were always advancing on the void of the future, shaping her future. . . . It was no doubt a thing to wonder at, the significant power of man's hands." Charles Williams, The Greater Trumps, p. 223-224.

I've been reading the novels of Charles Williams this spring. He was a friend of C.S. Lewis and a major influence on some of Lewis' work, especially That Hideous Strength. I was really struck last night by the image of the day-to-day power of our hands to create new situations and arrangements. It reminded me of Adam and Eve's work of naming the animals and tending and extending the garden, subduing the rebellious powers of the earth. Tolkien described us as subcreators in our ability to create new worlds of imagination, story and art. I think Williams catches that vision here and identifies it in the everyday.

Tuesday, May 30, 2006

Wedding and Marathon

It was definitely a full weekend (leading to harrassment for not blogging). My friend, former roommate, and coworker Matt Ostercamp got married this weekend. Yea Matt! But the fun started Thursday night when I was surprised at 5:30 by a phone call from my friends Nicki and Erick in China. It was 6:30 in the morning their time, but they were used to being up early for classes--they're English teachers--and decided they could use the time to call me. That was a great surprise, though I didn't recognize Nicki's voice at first and had to ask to whom I was talking.
Friday night was Matt's bachelor party. We grilled hamburgers and hot dogs at his friend Brian's house and then went and played Whirlyball. Whirlyball is a sport that is kind of a combination of basketball and lacrosse played in bumber cars. You use trackball rackets (a.k.a. "flippy things") to pass the ball and shoot at a net that is where the square would be on a basketball backboard. It's a great game at which I am not very ept, though I got more ept with a faster car. I started and finished in a car that was a yugo when everybody else was driving beamers. It also gets you good and sore between driving the car and getting bumped all over the court. When I got home I read for a while, and finished In the Company of Cheerful Ladies, the 6th in the Ladies' No.1 Detective Agency Series. It's a good light book and involves a very pleasant moment for Mma Makutsi. After that I watched The Big Lebowski and then stumbled off to bed around 3:30.
Saturday was the wedding rehearsal and dinner. The rehearsal was alright but the air conditioning was not on in the church, or at least wasn't noticable, and this was a hot weekend. This was more than made up for by the delicious Chicago deep dish pizza at Stefano's in the city and spending time with Matt and Unity's friends and family. Matt also gave a copy of the War of the Ring strategy game, which I look forward to figuring out and playing with him sometime. He gave each of the groomsmen a game, which is very Matt. I like mine, though I'm a little jealous of the guy that got Conquest of the Empire--that's a sweet game that I used to play with some other Hewitt guards. Saturday night also included a viewing of X-men 3. I enjoyed it but thought there were too many characters and too much plot for the time alotted. I often think the latter about movies. I don't have any investment in the X-Men as a comic book series so I wasn't as disturbed by the movie as some fans have been.
Sunday I got to hear a good sermon on Mark 10:35-45 and secret servanthood delivered by Nate, our youth pastor, and grabbed a quick Culver's lunch with some guys before rushing down to Elmhurst for the wedding. It was a good ceremony but a long time to be standing on the steps in my groomsman shoes. At least I wasn't standing there in bridesmaid shoes and at least the AC was on. A couple of cool things I appreciated in the ceremony: Matt and Unity each read a letter that they had written to their in law families thanking them for the influence they had had on the respective partner; also during the lighting of the unity candle (it didn't seem quite fair that there wasn't a Matt candle as well) Matt and Unity stood head to head and prayed for one another after the candle was lit and while the song progressed. The reception was fun. It was a good meal and the dancing was fun. I got out there for some of it. My friend Jennine, who was up from Tennessee said it looked like what her father would do if he danced. It's probably about one terpsichoric evolutionary stage beyond what Daddy and Don Miller do, but she didn't see me let loose on "Cotton-Eyed Joe" Unity's family is Puerto Rican so there was some salsa, including the father/daughter dance. Another cool thing they did instead of tossing the bouquet or "pulling the sock" was to call all the married couples out on the floor to dance. Eventually the d.j. would ask all the couples that had been married less than 1 yr. to step to the side and then progressed to see which couple at the reception had been married longest. I think it was 42 years. That couple got the bouquet.
Monday it was over to my friend Sarah Beyer's for a Lord of the Rings marathon. We started at some time after 10 a.m. and watched all three extended editions, taking a couple of breaks in between to get some good pizza for lupper and to watch a nice sunset. It finished a little before 11 p.m. Those are some great movies. Combine the movie marathon with the fact that I'm listening to the last few chapters of The Two Towers in my car and you've got my quote of the day.
Well, it doesn't rain but it pours as they say in the Shire. Hopefully this satisfies you post-callers for another 12 hrs. or so.

Verse and Quote of the Day

"Every word of God proves true;
he is a shield to those who take refuge in him." Proverbs 30:5 (ESV)

"Aiya Earendil, Elenion Ancalima!" Frodo's cry in Torech Ungol that illuminates the phial of Galadriel. In Quenya (High Elven), "Hail, Earendil, brightest of stars!"

Thursday, May 25, 2006

Verse of the Day and Amusing Quote

Starting with the serious:

"As Jesus was approaching Jericho a blind man was sitting by the road begging. Now hearing a crowd going by he began to inquire what this was. They told him that Jesus of Nazareth was passing by and he called out saying, 'Jesus, Son of David, have mercy on me!' Those who led the way were sternly telling him to be quiet; but he kept crying out all the more, 'Son of David, have mercy on me!'
And Jesus stopped and commanded that he be brough to Him; and when he came near He questioned him. 'What do you want Me to do for you?' And he said, 'Lord, I want to regain my sight!' And Jesus said to him, 'Receive your sight; your faith has made you well.'
Immediately he regained his sight and began following Him, glorifying God; and when all the people saw it, they gave praise to God." Luke 18:35-43 (NASB)

The prayer of the blind man (Bartimaeus acc. to Mark 10) is combined with the prayer of the tax collector earlier in Luke 18, "God be merciful to me, a sinner" to form what is known as the Jesus Prayer, "Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God, be merciful to me, a sinner;" or "Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God, have mercy on me." In the Eastern Orthodox tradition this is a prayer that monks or devoted persons learn to pray all the time so as to fulfill Paul's command to pray without ceasing. It is described in Kallistos Ware's book, The Orthodox Way and also in the Russian book The Way of the Pilgrim.

Finally, a humorous quote from a 2 disc sampler cd set I've got of alternative Christian music from the late 90's called "Toast and Olive." From disc 1:
"recipe: 'toast.' (you will need toast.) directions: 1. boil toast. 2. drink hot toast water. 3. rue the day."
From disc 2:
"bonus recipe: 'olive.' you will need: a crock-pot. a manta ray. directions: 1. turn on crock-pot. 2. turn manta ray into olive somehow. 3. put olive in crock-pot. 4. boil it."

Wednesday, May 24, 2006

Happy Anniversary (4 days late) Lydia and Geron

Obviously the anniversary wasn't late, just my recognition of it. My sister Lydia and her very cool husband Geron celebrated their 6th anniversary over the weekend.

Fun weekend and New quote

Well I had a really good time back home for Ann's wedding. If it was somewhat chaotic before and after, it was a great ceremony and a good reception. It was also fun spending some time with Uncle Mike and Barbara. I always enjoy going home. I know people who don't and I feel sorry for them to that extent.

Last night with the youth group we had a time called "Pizza and Gab." As you may have guessed this is where we order some pizza and then talk about stuff. More specifically we ask the students to submit questions and then discuss them in a quasi-talk show kind of format where the leaders are the "experts". We let the students discuss the questions as a large group and the leaders will pitch in when it seems helpful. It can be a very fun time but can also raise some tough questions. The students are in 6th-8th grade and often ask questions about family relationships and dating as well as more theologically oriented questions like, "What do I do when I'm talking to a friend about faith and something doesn't make sense and I don't know how to answer," or "Which came first the chicken or the egg? (chicken, easy)". Because our youth pastor was sick, I got to MC the whole thing. That's tough. I'd much rather just be one of the experts.

Finally, the new verse for the day:
"Their heart was not steadfast toward him.
They were not faithful to his covenant.
Yet, he being compassionate, atoned for their iniquity
and did not destroy them.
He restrained his anger often
and did not stir up all his wrath.
He remembered that they were but flesh,
A wind that passes and comes not again." Psalm 78:38-39 (ESV)

Thursday, May 18, 2006

Happy Anniversary

Happy 3rd Anniversary (1 day late) to my friend's Nicki and Erik in China!

Quote of the Day

I intended yesterday to start entering a scripture verse and maybe a quote each day (or each day that I can access the site, I may be busy over the weekend with Ann's wedding and all). I didn't. So here's yesterday's verse and today's as well

"The highway of the upright turns aside from evil
Whoever guards his way preserves his life" Prov. 16:17 (ESV)

"Just so I tell you, there will be more joy in heaven over one sinner who repents than over ninety-nine righteous persons who need no repentance." Luke 15:7 (ESV)

I'll be heading down to Kentucky this afternoon for Ann and Daniel's wedding. It should be a fun time.

Tuesday, May 16, 2006

Post Graduation Short Update

I need to start working but I wanted to put something on here just to demonstrate that I'm alive, especially after Anonymous called me out several days ago for not posting. I graduated from Trinity Evangelical Divinity School on Saturday May 13 with a Master of Arts in Religion degree. It's good to finally be done with my degree after 11 years. I had a wonderful time over the weekend with my Mom and Dad and sister Ann who came up to celebrate with me. It will be fun to get back to normal life now for a while before I start looking into Master of Library Science degree programs. That's the next planned educational step. Thanks to all who have supported me so far.