February 28, 2005

The Joys of Hardcover

I love books. I really do, I love to read them, I like the way they smell, I like the way most of them look, and I like how they fit themselves so well onto my shelves. I got to take my wife to Barnes & Noble yesterday, ostensibly to buy her a new journal. But of course, what should happen, but I discovered the discount books section - and I walked out with two hardcover books (novels) for like, $10. Which is fantastic, as far as I'm concerned.

I have this thing with hardcover books, especially. They're so much more special than paperback, somehow. I like the feel of hardcover because I (and anyone who borrows it) can't break the binding, and I like that the pages stay open better. Which makes me feel kind of guilty, really - I never like lending out paperbacks because I selfishly hope that they won't break the binding (my books are very special to me).

I'm kinda tough like that - I never like lending out anything, so when I do, it's an act of sheer willpower. And yet God calls us to be generous. I think that's the lesson that God's been teaching me lately - how to be generous. I've had so many situations popping up lately where I have to give more money than I'm comfortable (usually more than $0), and where I have to give just a bit more time than I'd like, or just a bit more of resource X that I'm starting to wonder just what's up with it all, anyway.

It turns out that the whole tithing thing seems to apply to more than just your finances too. I tithe - I think it's important, it's scriptural, and the church needs the money more than me (who'd just buy nifty computer gadgets with it - not to mention, as a future pastor, I figure it's important to practice what I'll really want to preach). I'm thinking that it's supposed to apply to every resource - your time, your money, your ... take your pick, especially of what's important to you. Anyway, that's my bit for today. I'm going to read a book.

February 23, 2005

The Reformation Mistake

I'm becoming increasingly confused. We've been reading a book called The Voices of Morebath in my Christian History class as a tool to discuss the English reformation. The more we talk about it, the more confused I get - I'm sort of torn between "it was a good reformation that had to happen" and "what dumbass got it in his head to let this happen?"

The views are both valid, and I hate that I'm thinking either of them. To make matters worse, it turns out that England is like, the second most secular country in Europe, right after Sweden (who knew, it's NOT France!). I'm more or less convinced at this point that there was a reformation that HAD to happen, but it didn't, and in it's place, a bastardized reformation that screwed the English people out of church leaders who had backbone or religious stamina.

This is not to say that the Anglicans or Episcopalians (their American counterparts) are terrible or un-Godly people. I'm sure a bunch of them have a spirited heart for God, the same way that lots of Catholics and lots of Protestants have a heart for God. But, I'm pretty sure that, moreso than in Protestantism or even Catholicism, the Anglican church is a place of Sunday Christians. I'm in no way claiming that ANY church is devoid of this problem (the problem of devotion dates back to ... well, Adam and Eve), I'm simply saying that the more I read, the more I worry that the Anglican/Episcopalian churches are founded on the whim of a ruler who couldn't wait to bed a new wife, and eventually (at my last count) had a total of six of them, most of whom ended up dying in some grisly fashion or another.

I'm not sure what to do with this information. Does this mean that I judge the Anglicans in a way that's different from the way I judge a Protestant or a Buddhist or a Jew? No - I'm not supposed to judge anyone - that's God's job, and frankly, He can HAVE it. But man, it's way disappointing to read Christian history - God came all the way down here to help us, and in return, we screw up His church something awful. It's like taking a bonfire and dumping a bucket of water on it, then a hose, and then aww heck, let's just unplug the dam and let the lake put it out.

So I guess the point is to learn from our past mistakes. And man, we've got a LOT of them. Back to the books.


Six months of being married, yesterday!

Current Status: Very Yes!

Dude - I highly recommend this marriage thing; way cool. My only regret is having to spend the whole day working (school, coffee shop, etc). But that's ok - life goes on, and we'll do something tonight. :)

February 17, 2005


It's a wonder that I've made it through college at all. Seriously. Like, with the amount of time that I've spent by myself and yet did absolutely no work at all ... how did I even pass most of these semesters?

I've been thinking about the whole "being alone" thing. It's not that I'm regretting my decision to get married or something, far from it. But I spend a lot of time by myself now. There's this sort of awkward period between when I get home from class and when my wife gets home that I'm supposed to fill with doing homework, and yet more often than not I find myself wanting to just ... slack off. I find that being alone, by myself, solo, etc. is totally a bad thing for my studies. I don't have a sufficient workload (which was what I had last semester) to motivate great amounts of productivity. I say "aww, heck, I can do it later." You know what they say - there's no time like the present for putting off what you don't want to do and could do tomorrow.

And incidentally, does anyone else think that the word "awkward" is like, word painting?

Anyway, so what would it take to get me productive? More work, I guess. But not only that. Last semester, the amount of work I had was also work that I felt actually justified in doing. I've been trying to sort of sludge through my senior thesis reading, of which I have an abundance, but a guy can only read so much. I'm doing about as much this semester as I did last semester in my other two courses (which are carry-overs from last semester).

The other thing it would take is work I actually care about. I love my thesis topic - I'm deeply passionate about Emergent Christianity and its implications. If you want to know, just ask, I'll ramble on about it for hours. Anyway, for some reason, I've hit this point where I've got to write everything down ... and my brain is having trouble wrapping around the immensity of the project. Almost like there's too much work to get done.

Which sucks, because it's like, what the heck, can't I get the right balance at all?

The truth is, I've got this nasty bug called "senioritis." It's a fairly contagious pathogen, derived from the common virus of the same name found in most high schools. Except this one is more lethal, beause most seniors who get it don't go back to school ever again. Which is very tempting, given that I could theoretically go far in the field I've chosen without ever going to seminary.

The solution? I'm totally open for ideas from everybody, but I guess it's going to take serious willpower to get to May and Graduation. Then I can get involved in church and music and the real world again. Sweet.

February 16, 2005

Motherhood 1.1, c.2005

I had a surprise today when I opened up hotmail to check my email. Well, not when I opened it, but when I closed it and, as I usually do, checked the news. There was an article on today's mothers.

I read it and was shocked. The basic tenet of the article is that mothers of today (who were coming of age around the time of Carter and Reagan) were basically educated to say "you can be just as good or better than the boys and you should! Girl Power! You can do anything you want, including be mothers (but what fool would do that?) and raise children and work all at the same time! Go you!" And so basically she says that women of today have this idea that they can not only raise their children, but they can also work part-time (or full-time), that their husbands can work more than full-time, and that they can still raise wonderful children, fitting everything into the schedule for the low-low price of a middle class income.


I'm sorry, but it's just not like that (as the article discovers). In the real world, you can't have everything the way you want it - and yet the author clearly mentions that it's basically the government's sole responsibility for getting the American people out of a mess that society seems to have created in the first place. In other words, you can't have your cake and a full dinner with gourmet courses and eat all of them and still leave room for dessert AND have it all be low-carb ... perhaps it's extending the metaphor a little too far, but the hyperbole is necessary to make my point.

These people think that they have a right to have the income that they want AND have so-called "wonderful children" and have the job they think they're supposed to. They don't like the idea that they might have to sacrifice something for motherhood.

I was under the assumption that perhaps it would be best if the middle class families decided not to have such easy lives filled with so much consumerism - we wouldn't buy as much stuff, consequently wouldn't have to have a place to keep it all, and suddenly fathers and mothers - yes both - could have the time to spend with their children and raise them appropriately. Instead of BUYING lots of stuff, going lots of places, and spending all your time at work, why not instead take a slight pay cut by not working so much and spend the time raising your kids.

I don't think that it's too much to ask. My parents did it - we didn't have a ton of stuff growing up, and the extra that we did have was a generous gift from my grandparents. But I don't feel particularly scarred that I didn't have a monstrous home or travel to Cancun or Grand Bahama on a cruise for vacations every year. I was fortunate that my parents cared more about me than their own comfort - they sacrificed so that I could take horn lessons, that I could be in drama at school.

It was my parents' sacrifice for me that makes me want to be a good parent to my future children, that makes me want to say "you're more important than the new computer I want" to my future son or daughter. What's more is that God has led me to be a pastor - not exactly high-income. So my kids might have to grow up playing make-believe instead of with lots of toys. Wow, they'll have to use their imagination??? I think that it'll do them more good than if they HAD all that stuff.

So there you have it - my politically incorrect idea of parenting. Seriously people - it's not the government's job to solve your problems. It's not somebody else's responsibility - it's your own. Parenting is a job for BOTH parents. I understand that today it's hard. But why is it that different from yesterday? From two centuries ago, when parenting was coupled with working a farm for your whole life? From a millennia ago, when parenting meant hoping your kids don't die in childbirth?

I'm thinkin' that you don't have it as hard as you think. Be good to your kids - sacrifice of yourself for them - they'll love you for it.

Fathers be good to your daughters
Daughters will love like you do
Girls become lovers
Who turn into mothers
So mothers be good to your daughters too
~John Mayer

February 15, 2005

To All the Lonely People

I used to put up this really snotty away message on Valantines day: "Happy single's awareness day". Man, I was a snot. But seriously, I used to hate this "holiday". It had something to do with being desperately single and hating it, and then being reminded, very painfully, that I wasn't likely to change that situation soon.

I've never been much of a people person, so that I hated this holiday was rather odd. I mean, honestly, if you're not a people-person, and yet you feel bad about a holiday simply because society says "you shouldn't be single," and you say "I know, I'm trying!" you've obviously got issues. I tried so hard for a year and a half to get even one date, to no avail. V-day that year (and the next, actually) sucked royally.

But then I started actually listening to what God was telling me. And it occurred to me that maybe I was supposed to be single then; maybe I was just supposed to focus on Him, on His love for me, on my devotion to Him. When I had this realization (in the spring), suddenly the world began to change in my mind - the sun came out more often, the grass was a little more brilliant green, the sky just a little bluer.

I started thinking about who I am, how I think and behave, the sort of guy that I am. Last week, my wife summed it up well when she said "I think you're a one-on-one kind of guy." She's right - I'm best off not alone, not in a crowd, but talking one-on-one with one or two good friends. In that sort of world, my lonliness made sense, but still it bothered me. Until I realized - it's ok to just have friends too, it's ok to just BE and to make the most of the present, because a) the future hasn't happened yet and there's only so much you can do to make it change, and b) because the past is only part of who you are, you have no control over it, and it's already happened - why worry about it?

And so I became much happier with my situation in life. I think I finally became a guy people wanted to be around because I stopped sulking all the time. And wouldn't ya know it, God introduced me to Liz about three months later. Funny how it all works out in the end.

And so I guess what I'm saying is that I've been on both sides of the fence. I'd not give up my wife for anything, but if you're single, it's where you're supposed to be right now. God's got a plan, so don't worry about it! If you like being single, don't try to conform just because people say you should! You can put more energy into the cool things in life you wouldn't have time for if you were dating or married. If you'd like to be dating, chill out - she'll (or he'll) come along at the right time.

I guess on this day of hearts and candy and the like, just remember - God's crazy in love with you: don't trade that for anything.

This is for all the lonely people
Thinkin' that life has passed them by
Don't give up until you drink from the silver cup
She'll never take you down or never give you up
You'll never know until you try

Cause I'm on my way back home ...

February 10, 2005

Reflections on Being 22

So I'm 22 today. At exactly 4:10pm, anyway. I feel like I should do some sort of reflections piece, but I'm not really feeling that reflective. All I can think of is "you should be getting work done." And with that thought, I sit here writing. Brilliant.

But it hasn't been half bad, as birthdays go. Last year I forgot about it, only to remember when my girlfriend (now my wife) called to wish me happy birthday when I woke up. That was wierd, but nice that it was her that reminded me. Come to think of it, that's about all I remember from last year. This year I had class in the morning, but I don't have to work tonight; also a plus. Had lunch with my parents and sister, which was nice. Tonight I'm going to an opera, which I'm told is supposed to be somewhat risque ... not sure what to do about that one, but it's for a class, so I have to go. Liz is cooking me good food for dinner, and we're going skiing tomorrow.

I don't really feel that different. I guess the older you get, the less it matters. Mike left me a "happy birthday" in Greek, which looked kinda funny until I realized what it was. And even stranger, the older I get, what feelings I do have tend to be along the lines of "wow, I don't know much, do I?" Is that humility or just memory loss?

I think I'm going to play my guitar. It seems like a good idea, given that it's my birthday and it was half a birthday present (but I got it at Christmas). Anyway, happy birthday to me, it's been a decent enough 22 years (from what my limited memory can dredge up). God's been way too good to me, so here's to passing it around ...

And maybe I'll treat myself to a nap ...

February 9, 2005

Emergent Thoughts

From this point on, I'll be posting my emergent Christianity thoughts on another blog, in addition to the occasional post here. This one gets to have all the randomness that some people seem to enjoy, but the other site is pure postmodern Christianity, I hope.

The reason for this is mostly so that I can organize my thoughts. I've started writing the paper - well, more like started writing and hoping it will turn into a paper - and so I need to make sure that I have something I can present to my professors.

Anywho, I'll keep posting both places, so don't you worry, you can still keep track of good 'ol Chris like ... um ... before. Yeah.

Anyway, the url of the new page is: http://emergentthoughts.blogspot.com Terribly original, I know. But it does the job. And this way, you can skip all of my theological rambling and just read the funny stuff.

BUT!!!! I'd really appreciate feedback on the emergent stuff. This paper is not easy (I'm working with a TON of material) and so anything you can give me would be awesome. Thanks! ~C

February 7, 2005

Oh ... Da Cheat!

I was greatly amused by this one. Not only because it's a terribly inaccurate portrait of me, but because I don't think that I can squeak in quite the same way as The Cheat can. Nameh!!
Anyway, it's one of my favorite websites, so go check it out: www.homestarrunner.com. Enjoy.

Which Homestar Runner character are you?

this quiz was made by jurjyfrort

February 3, 2005

The Ultimate Adventure

We learned about Calvinism today. And it's been another one of those days when I wanted to appologise to the rest of the world for what Christianity has done to the face of the earth nad humanity as we know it. As it turns out, the reformation was pretty messed up in a lot of ways. These guys tended to practice most of what they preached, but not entirely.

The part that was most embarrassing sitting in the class was the part when Cadorette mentioned that the Christians during the 16th century were mostly just duking it out with each other. Like, they had no enemy (that they could percieve, anyway) on the outside, so they turned in among themselves like adolescents and started beating the snot out of each other. Calvinists would burn heretics at the stake because they wouldn't conform to the laws of the city, Catholics and Lutherans were always at each other's throats, and everyone hated the Anabaptists. Instead of being God's kingdom on earth, each sect decided that they were already good enough, but the rest of the world - now THEY were messed up.

The arrogance of this astonishes me. I don't pretend to have anything together - that would make me a hypocrite - but I worry that lots of people have gotten this notion that their whole life is fine because somebody else's is worse. Take Calvin for example. He said a lot of good things in his Institutes. I haven't read the whole thing, but it seems pretty solid. Then he gets to the bit about predestination. I'm sorry, but ... he missed the boat on this one. Predestination is used in the theology not as it is in scripture (in scripture, the paradox is that predestination and free will are BOTH true), but as a tool to make people afraid enough to conform to the governing system.

In some ways, this was brilliant, because you can make people behave however they want to. But it's terribly un-Godly. Forcing your view on somebody is not a Godly property. There's another paradox - it's living the lifestyle and showing people that it really is better to know God than not, but not forcing it down their throats. I'm not in any way condoning relativism - Jesus really is the only way to God, and if you think scripture says otherwise, you're kind of fooling yourself. But this doesn't undermine Jesus' other teachings about compassion and mercy and protecting the lost, the broken, the losers, the unwhole, the confused, and the downtrodden.

Which, as I'm growing to understand it, is pretty much this whole freakin' planet.

I was at Willow Creek last year and had the good fortune to hear Erwin McManus speak, and then got to meet him in person. Very cool guy, by the way. But I asked him something that had been nagging at me for a while. See, I go to this way liberal university where being a Christian is a horrible thing, but anything else is ok. And through his talk, Erwin talked about all these ways to reach the lost and broken. And I asked him, "how can you reach a campus of people who are rich and have everything they could seemingly want? I don't get it, they've got everything and seem perfectly content!" And he looked at me and said "that's easy, see, they just don't know that they're missing something."

And so I guess you have to show them what they're missing. Not by pointing your finger at them and yelling "you're lost in a sea of your own sin. Repent or burn!" That's not the right way. You live the life. You show them that Jesus makes your life (as He really does) worth living, that life is deeper and better because Jesus is involved. No, it's not easy, and it's not care-free, and it's not a guarentee that you'll never doubt again, but it's more fulfilling, more satisfying than any other life - in short, it's an adventure. You never know what God might tell you next, where to go, or where to stop.

I love that image of my faith more than any other. Christ is a guy who's worth knowing, and worth devoting your life to - you can take my word on that.

February 1, 2005

Conservative Dipshit

So I had another weird day today. That's two days in a row, for anyone who's counting. Yesterday I felt sick in the morning, went to school, got home and had my wife tell me that I was learning how to drive standard on the way to a dinner meeting. Yes, I'm still alive, the car works as well as it always did (not saying much), and I learned to drive the stupid piece of junk in half an hour. And I'm allowed to drive my Santa Fe once again.

Today was another weird day. I went to my early class as always, got out, went to the coffee shop and goofed off with Jutz and CP, and then had Bible study. Well, apparently February is Black History month, which is all well and good, and so somebody got the idea to put up a display in our commons area. Still ok, until you realize that the blacks they were displaying were of the Bob Marley variety. No Martin Luther King Jr, none of the underground railroad/Harriett Tubman types of people, but instead, all of the druggies and people that made the news in a bad way. Incidentally, I hear that OJ Simpson (another of the displays) is still looking for the true killer on every golf course in America.

Anyway, so that was really weird, and then we find the poetry/art magazine that comes out once a semester on the river campus. Jutz and I are artists, so he picks it up and starts thumbing through it. And what does he find, but a list of "positives" and a list of "negatives" that the editors had compiled. It seemed amusing enough, so we read it.

And we were on it! Of course, on the negative side: "Campus Crusades" was listed towards the bottom (they got the name wrong, it's Campus Crusade for Christ ... but I guess they're not allowed to mention the name of Jesus because that would be intolerant), and two names after that, "that conservative dipshit in the campus times". Now, this is UR. There aren't that many conservatives on the campus at all, and only one that's got the gall to write a column in the CT. Yes, that's right - Rob.

The poor guy's gotten hate mail from like, every active liberal on campus (usually name calling - they're not that creative), and yet somehow manages to let it roll off like water off a duck's back. The guy is seriously cool about it. So here's to you, my friend, for your bravery and courage in dealing with the place we call school: I salute you, for I am proud friend of the man who UR Logos magazine calls "that conservative dipshit in the Campus Times" ...