Monday, August 31, 2009

A Great Intensive...Surprisingly

I found myself too busy to blog all last week as I was absorbed in church history from 9:00 in the morning to 4:30 in the afternoon each day. Most of my classes this summer were intensives...and I dreaded each one. That format is terrible for learning because you are mentally exhausted by about 2:00 each day, causing the final 3-4 hours to be a total waste. The professor is forced to cover an immense amount of information in a small amount of time and is not able to do any of the material justice.

Church History was a different story, however. The professor, Craig Barnes, is a part-time professor at Pittsburgh Seminary and a part-time Presbyterian pastor. He was incredibly knowlegable, had the heart of a pastor, and possessed an uncanny ability to tranfer this ancient information into life-transforming practicality. He was able to bridge the gap of time to make these ancient thoughts and ideas relevant once again for our current church culture. I even find myself excited to get to work on my research paper for his class...and let's just say that doesn't happen often.

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Thoughts From Wendell Barry

Over the past few years I have heard so many good things about the writing of Wendell Barry, but still have not found my way to any of his books. A Seattle pastor, Richard Dahlstrom, quoted Barry on his blog today and I loved the words so much I thought I would share them with you. Enjoy!
Let me be plain with you dear reader.
I am an old faishioned man I like
the world of nature despite its mortal
dangers. I like the domestic world
of humans, so long as it pays its debts
to the natural world, and keeps its obligations.
I like the promise of Heaven. My purpose
is a language that can pay just thanks
and honor for those gifts, a tongue
set free from fashionable lies.

Neither this world nor any of its places
is an 'environment'. And a house
for sale is not a 'home.' Economics
is not 'science', nor 'information' knowledge.
A knave with a degree is a knave. A fool
in a public office is not a 'leader.'
A rich thief is a thief....

The world is babbled to pieces after
the divorce of things from their names.
Ceaseless preparation for war
is not peace. health is not procured
by sale of medication, or purity
by the addition of poison. Science
at the bidding of corporations
is knowledge reduced to merchandise;
it is a whoredom of the mind,
and so it the art that calls this, 'progress.'
So is the cowardice that calls it 'inevitable.'

HT: Richard Dahlstrom

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

A New Issue in Athletic Competition

An 800-meter race today at the track and field world championships in South Africa has brought with it new problems for the athletic community worldwide. Caster Semenya, an 18 year old female runner from South Africa, crushed her competition by 2.45 seconds, an alarming victory in this rather short race. Following the race, the world track and field federation requested that Semenya be put to a gender test. She has seemingly lived as a female for all of her life, but genetically may not be eligible to race in the female category. The tests are quite extensive and time consuming, so the results will not be ready for quite some time.

Until the tests results are received, the committee is unsure about what to do, but this instance does raise awareness of an issue that may become more prevalent in a culture of increasing gender reassignment. I would guess there will be no gray area if fraud is involved, where people are trying to gain an advantage through said surgeries, but we all can imagine other scenarios that would not be as black and white. It will be interesting to see how the athletic world deals with this and other issues, perhaps setting precidents for how the rest of the world will respond. wrote an informative article about Semenya recentely, that you can find HERE.

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

I Wish This Weren't True

Once again, another prophetic word from ASBO Jesus. It's unfortunate that the place that ought to be the most gracious is too often the least forgiving, inviting, and accepting.

HT: The Ongoing Adventures of ASBO Jesus

Simply Amazing...

Check out this video for some amazing feats of athleticism. This is good stuff.

Monday, August 17, 2009

I'm Back

Hey everyone. I was just looking at the date of my last post and it has been exactly one month since I last wrote on here. I can't believe it. I was so regular and consistent for so long that it feels strange to have not been frequently writing.

As you can imagine, this summer has been incredibly busy. I'm assuming the same schedule faced you all over the past few months, though. Since I last wrote I have spent 2 weeks in Montana, a week with Mandy's family here in Seattle, and a week trying to finish all my summer course work before the fall semester begins. I have had so much fun in all I've done, but it has still been insanely stressful and time-absorbing. It feels good be typing these words, knowing that my life is finally slowing toward regularity and routine. It feels good to breathe deep once again, knowing that the coming week brings no deadlines or timelines, but simply a chance to rest and relax.

Our first week in Montana was spent at Templed Hills Baptist Camp near Yellowstone National Park. This is the camp I grew up going to as a kid, and now they had me back to be the camp pastor for the week. In addition to speaking each night, we rock climbed, hiked, and white-water rafted. The week was an amazing time of experiencing God and spending time with some of our best friends. What a blessing. The second week in Montana was spent at my family's cabin near Glacier National Park. This is one of my favorite places in the whole world, so I always cherish our times there with my family. Two days after returning to Seattle, Mandy's mom, dad, and sister came to visit us. They were here for a week and were able to see most of what makes Seattle special. It was so great to have them here, but once they were gone I had to quickly get to work on 3 projects that were due within the next week in order to finish my summer courses. I finished the last project this afternoon and am basking in my temporary freedom.

Finishing that project brings my first year of graduate school to a close. I can't believe that a year has past since we were comfortably living our lives in Sioux Falls, SD. So much has changed. We are completely different than the people we once were. It is quite surreal to think about all that God has called us out of, in to, and through. I thank God that we chose to listen and follow. This has been quite the ride and really takes my breath away to be reminded of God's goodness and faithfulness. I pray we continue to listen and follow for years to come. I can't imagine life any other way.