Tuesday, February 27, 2007

My Travel

I plucked this off Ann's blog. I don't like the idea of judging how well travelled you are by whether or not you've been to key cities they've selected. For instance I'm 100% well traveled in the Midwest without their knowing if I've ever been to Cleveland, Milwaukee, St. Louis, or Balltown, Iowa. Likewise are you really well travelled in the South if you've been to Memphis, New Orleans, Atlanta and a bunch of resort cities in Florida but you've never been to Kentucky, Eastern Tennessee, Virginia, the Carolinas, or Alabama and Mississippi? I'll accept that I'm mostly untravelled I just don't think I like the limitations of the quiz.

Your Travel Profile:

You Are Extremely Well Traveled in the Midwestern United States (100%)
You Are Somewhat Well Traveled in the Southern United States (31%)
You Are Mostly Untraveled in Canada (20%)
You Are Mostly Untraveled in the Northeastern United States (14%)
You Are Mostly Untraveled in Latin America (7%)
You Are Mostly Untraveled in Southern Europe (7%)
You Are Mostly Untraveled in the Western United States (5%)
You Are Untraveled in Africa (0%)
You Are Untraveled in Asia (0%)
You Are Untraveled in Australia (0%)
You Are Untraveled in Eastern Europe (0%)
You Are Untraveled in New Zealand (0%)
You Are Untraveled in Scandinavia (0%)
You Are Untraveled in Western Europe (0%)
You Are Untraveled in the Middle East (0%)
You Are Untraveled in the United Kingdom (0%)

Wednesday, February 14, 2007

Valentine's Psalm

I try to read a psalm each morning. I started on New Year's with Psalm 1 and haven't missed a day. This morning I hit Psalm 45 reasonably enough since it's the 45th day of the year. I'd never noted the header "a love song" that the ESV uses (it's "a wedding song" in NIV). It also had never occurred to me that Valentine's day is the 45th day of the year. I find the two a pleasant combination. I also think the Sons of Korah rock. They're probably among my five or so favorite psalmists.

Psalm 45

Your Throne, O God, Is Forever
To the choirmaster: according to Lilies. A Maskil[a] of the Sons of Korah; a love song.
1My heart overflows with a pleasing theme;
I address my verses to the king;
my tongue is like the pen of a ready scribe.

2You are the most handsome of the sons of men;
grace is poured upon your lips;
therefore God has blessed you forever.
3Gird your sword on your thigh, O mighty one,
in your splendor and majesty!

4In your majesty ride out victoriously
for the cause of truth and meekness and righteousness;
let your right hand teach you awesome deeds!
5Your arrows are sharp
in the heart of the king's enemies;
the peoples fall under you.

6Your throne, O God, is forever and ever.
The scepter of your kingdom is a scepter of uprightness;
7you have loved righteousness and hated wickedness.
Therefore God, your God, has anointed you
with the oil of gladness beyond your companions;
8your robes are all fragrant with myrrh and aloes and cassia.
From ivory palaces stringed instruments make you glad;
9daughters of kings are among your ladies of honor;
at your right hand stands the queen in gold of Ophir.

10Hear, O daughter, and consider, and incline your ear:
forget your people and your father's house,
11and the king will desire your beauty.
Since he is your lord, bow to him.
12The people[b] of Tyre will seek your favor with gifts,
the richest of the people.[c]

13All glorious is the princess in her chamber, with robes interwoven with gold.
14In many-colored robes she is led to the king,
with her virgin companions following behind her.
15With joy and gladness they are led along
as they enter the palace of the king.

16In place of your fathers shall be your sons;
you will make them princes in all the earth.
17I will cause your name to be remembered in all generations;
therefore nations will praise you forever and ever.


  1. Psalm 45:1 Probably a musical or liturgical term
  2. Psalm 45:12 Hebrew daughter
  3. Psalm 45:12 Or The daughter of Tyre is here with gifts, the richest of people seek your favor

Just because, here it is in The Message, a paraphrase by Eugene Peterson:

Psalm 45

A Wedding Song of the Sons of Korah
1 My heart bursts its banks, spilling beauty and goodness.
I pour it out in a poem to the king,
shaping the river into words:

2-4 "You're the handsomest of men;
every word from your lips is sheer grace,
and God has blessed you, blessed you so much.
Strap your sword to your side, warrior!
Accept praise! Accept due honor!
Ride majestically! Ride triumphantly!
Ride on the side of truth!
Ride for the righteous meek!

4-5 "Your instructions are glow-in-the-dark;
you shoot sharp arrows
Into enemy hearts; the king's
foes lie down in the dust, beaten.

6-7 "Your throne is God's throne,
ever and always;
The scepter of your royal rule
measures right living.
You love the right
and hate the wrong.
And that is why God, your very own God,
poured fragrant oil on your head,
Marking you out as king
from among your dear companions.

8-9 "Your ozone-drenched garments
are fragrant with mountain breeze.
Chamber music—from the throne room—
makes you want to dance.
Kings' daughters are maids in your court,
the Bride glittering with golden jewelry.

10-12 "Now listen, daughter, don't miss a word:
forget your country, put your home behind you.
Be here—the king is wild for you.
Since he's your lord, adore him.
Wedding gifts pour in from Tyre;
rich guests shower you with presents."

13-15 (Her wedding dress is dazzling,
lined with gold by the weavers;
All her dresses and robes
are woven with gold.
She is led to the king,
followed by her virgin companions.
A procession of joy and laughter!
a grand entrance to the king's palace!)

16-17 "Set your mind now on sons—
don't dote on father and grandfather.
You'll set your sons up as princes
all over the earth.
I'll make you famous for generations;
you'll be the talk of the town
for a long, long time."

Tuesday, February 13, 2007

Simile of the day(?)

"...he said, smooth as a snake in a butter churn." Neil Gaiman, Anansi Boys

I've been listening to Anansi Boys in the car. It's about the two sons of Anansi, the West African spider god. One, Fat Charlie Nansi, is a non-descript fellow living in London looking forward to his upcoming wedding and working a nameless job for a talent agency. When his father dies Fat Charlie is introduced to his heritage and, especially, to his brother, Spider. Spider is cool and slick (though not the subject of the simile above) and causes all kinds of trouble for Fat Charlie. It's a fun book and different from what I usually read in that it uses West African/West Indes magic and myth for its fantasy. It's not hard to see why Gaiman has often collaborated with Terry Pratchett.

Monday, February 12, 2007

Week in Review

It's been a good week. Last Monday night we had a good discussion of 1 John 5:6-15, talking about the witness of Spirit, blood and water and about confidence in prayer. I took Tuesday off to prepare for a three week youth group class I'm teaching about the end times, called The End. Last week we discussed some of the associations the students have with the end times and some of their questions. We're starting at the end and working backwards so we talked about the New Heavens and the New Earth, and the last judgment. Tomorrow night we'll look at the return of Christ and next week we'll talk about the Kingdom of God that is both present and future and about the "So what" question. How should we live in light of the end? Wednesday night I spent reading and taking Anthony over to Showplace and back. Thursday we had a meeting of our Library task force on Information and the Future where we decided to study Web 2.0 prior to doing a presentation on the concepts involved to interested staff next month. I also got to sport a Colts Super Bowl championship hat that Cindee brought me from Indianapolis. That night Steve and I went over to the Walters's where Steve vanquished his foes in a game of Starfarers of Cataan. Friday I got to help sort books the library was considering buying and pick a few for myself. That night it was Smackdown and reading before Eric came over to challenge Steve to some gamecube action. On Saturday I worked, watched some of the Pro Bowl and then headed over to play some games with Sarah, Becky, and Steve. I learned Rook. We also played Scattegories, Imaginiff, and I got to play Lord of the Rings Trivial Pursuit. For some reason I have trouble finding people who will play that with me. Sunday we heard a good sermon on the Trinity before heading to Panera for lunch and then a college ministry meeting. Last night we had a good information meeting at the church.

Verse of the day
"And this is the testimony, that God gave us eternal life, and this life is in his Son. Whoever has the Son has life; whoever does not have the Son of God does not have life." I John 5:11-12 (ESV)

Monday, February 05, 2007

Following Ancient Paths

This Sunday 1st John began a five part sermon series on being a trinitarian church. The first sermon in the series was based on Jeremiah 6:16 "Thus says the LORD: 'Stand by the roads, and look, and ask for the ancient paths, where the good way is; and walk in it, and find rest for your souls. But they said, 'We will not walk in it.'" (ESV).

Staying on the Path of Truth

John began with the example of John Bunyan, the 17th century English Baptist who was imprisoned for preaching and wrote Pilgrim's Progress while in prison. Bunyan was told he would be released if he promised not to preach any longer. He responded that if released today he would be preaching the gospel tomorrow. He spent twelve years in prison where he wrote the majority of his books. In the Pilgrim's Progress, Pilgrim's guidebook is the Bible. When he stopped attending to the book he went astray from his path to the celestial city. John recommended we all read Pilgrim's Progress and commended Spurgeon's practice of reading it twice a year.
John explained that the ancient paths refer not to old cultural practices or to the use of the KJV. Rather it is a call to listen to God's word. He pointed to the context where the people have become deaf because they have made God's word an object of scorn and where the prophets and priests are servants of their own greed. Therefore judgment is coming because the people have abandoned truth for the voice of culture and lying priests and prophets. According to John it doesn't matter how much progress you are making on a path if you're going the wrong way. He closed this portion of the sermon by looking at Proverbs 14:12 "There is a way that seems right to a man but in the end it leads to death." One of the problems with a pragmatic approach that depends on letting results speak is that you may not find out you're wrong until too late. The burden for the traveller is to follow the old path so there is a responsibility to stop and ask whether we're on the right path.
From here John turned to an illustrative story from 1 Kings 13. An unnamed prophet from Judah heroically rebuked King Jeroboam of Israel and pronounced a curse on the altar at Bethel. The prophet had been told not to eat or drink until he had returned to Judah by a different way then he had come. He obeyed this despite the king but on the road home he met another prophet who lied to him and said he had a message from God saying the first prophet should come eat with him. He did so and on his way after that he was attacked and killed by a lion in judgment. John said that this story had bothered him as a young Christian but that it now terrified him as an older leader now that he understands it better. It shows that you can serve God and do wonders in his name but that does not release you from the obligation to obey what he has said. The lion does not always come on the day of the first disobedience but there will be judgment even in spite of apparent success. John referred here to the example of the Episcopal Church in the U.S. and the trials it is going through after abandoning God's word. He also pointed to 3 John 3-4 "For I rejoiced greatly when the brothers came and testified to your truth, as indeed you are walking in the truth. I have no greater joy than to hear that my children are walking in the truth." The way of joy is the way of truth.
Finally he turned to two specific examples of people leading the church away from its ancient paths pointing to the hermeneutical work of Kevin Giles in his book on the trinity and subordination and to William Webb's "redemptive movement hermeneutic". John accused both men of elevating the voice of contemporary cultural standards over the words of scripture in the Christian life. Giles takes a postmodern approach claiming that scripture does not interpret scripture but is lifeless signs on a page until given meaning by a human reader and that if we are truly to understand what God is saying about faith and practice we have to read it from contemporary culture. Webb denies the clarity of scripture using a complex system of interpretation and claims to have discovered a number of points wherein contemporary culture has a superior ethic to the New Testament. These two are important because their work has had a major influence on the national board of the Association of Vineyard Churches.
John closed by reminding of us of C.S. Lewis' words about chronological snobbery, the belief that modern ideas are better merely because they are modern. John believes that much of our culture has uncritically accepted the premise of technology that new is better. The question is not, "Will the past influence us?" but, "Which past, the ancient past or the past of yesterday."
John closed by looking back to the word "rest" in Jeremiah 6 and pointing to its recurrence in Matthew 11:29 where Jesus' yoke brings rest for our souls. We will only find rest when we stay on the path of truth.


Colts 29 Bears 17 Huzzzzahhhh!!!!

That was a fun game, especially since I was watching it with a group of middle school students and adults who were cheering for the Bears. They knocked off my Colts cap when I came in. I'm very happy for the Colts organization and particularly for Tony Dungy. Great game, sloppy and wet, but the right team won.

It made for nice morning. It was bright and sun-shiny, of course the temperature was only positive if you were counting by Kelvins, and the Colts are Super Bowl Champions!

Friday, February 02, 2007

3 Amusing Quotes

The first of these is in honor of Becca's 1st weird thing.

"Drinking 5 or 6 Mountain Dews on an a.m. [overnight shift] doesn't ensure that you'll stay awake. It just ensures that when you fall asleep your heart will be palpitating." unnamed Hewitt guard

"The 2nd rule of excessive drinking, the 1st, of course is never take a sudden shine to a woman larger than Hoss Cartwright, is never drink in a place on a steep slope" Bill Bryson Notes from a Small Island

"Young Abe would get out there with his axe, and he'd split hundreds of rails at a time, and people would come from miles around. 'Dammit, Lincoln,' they'd say, 'those rails cost good money!' But in the end they forgave young Abe, because he had the axe." Dave Barry Dave Barry Slept Here

Thursday, February 01, 2007

VI Weird Things About Me

So I've been tagged. And at last am dutifully responding. I'm thinking of this as a cross between weird things about me and things my blog readers don't necessarily know.

I. In keeping with the family weird eating habits, I like to eat peanut M&M's by biting them so as to separate the chocolate and shell from the peanut. Then I split the peanut into its parts and eat the "little man" if I can get him and then eat the rest of the peanut. Then I eat the chocolate. All of this occurs in my mouth.

II. I have a mild compulsion to solve simple math problems. One of my former pastors in a sermon said something about the disciples being able to ask Jesus anything, they could have asked him the square root of some random number, say 142,673. I spent the rest of the sermon trying to figure it out doing little computations all over my bulletin. I got it to within a few decimal places. Eventually I used a calculator to get it the rest of the way.

III. I hate pencils. Since sometime in elementary school I would always use a pen if I could. I don't like the feel of #2 pencils and I especially hate the scratching sound that pencils can sometimes make. Mechanical pencils mitigate both of those a little, enough that I don't mind using them to write the call numbers on title pages at work. But I'd still rather use a pen.

IV. I like to pull out beard hairs. There are these hairs that can grow several times thicker than any others. My friend Kit used to call them "rogue hairs". They're very thick and usually very short. I like to pull them out and admire them before throwing them away.

V. I like rivers and other bodies of water. Ever since I was little the prospect of crossing a creek or river, or passing by a big lake, especially if it's one I haven't seen before, has always been an exciting part of car rides. One of the reasons to go new places is to see new water. One of the most frustrating things is the fact that I've only once ever seen the Laurel River from a vehicle while going to and from Corbin. It always bothered me as a child that you could see the Rockcastle River but not the Laurel River. Once when I was sitting in the passenger seat of the van I saw it. It was nice to know there was really a river there.

VI. I like to sing Johnny Cash songs when doing karaoke even though the range doesn't always work.

VII. I like Roman numerals.