Monday, February 26, 2007


When my siblings and I were small, we came into possession of a tape some old person had recorded which was simply labeled "Movin.'" It turned out to be fabulous totally 60s instrumental music.

One day, I told Brandon about this music, and sadly admitted I'd probably never find out what it was, and might never hear it again. But I went on the internet to find out if I could discover the artist. It was a difficult task, but I did find a reference somewhere to an LP of instrumental music created specifically to use with children for interpretive movement and dance. It was copyrighted 1963 and there was a cassette tape of it at one branch of my public library's system. I requested it.

And it was the right one! Yippee! I love happy endings. It really is just titled Movin' and the artist is Hap Palmer. Someday, when I have kids, I'll have to find my own copy.

Thursday, February 22, 2007

Ash Wednesday

Yesterday was Ash Wednesday. According to some tradition somewhere, which some Christians follow, you're only supposed to eat one meal on Ash Wednesday. You are allowed to eat two small meals if necessary for the strength to do your day's work, but even so, this is a concession, and the two small meals combined must be no larger than the one big meal.

I tried to follow this rule yesterday. After a full day's work, I was very hungry. As I walked along the icy sidewalks (not toward home, mind you--but toward the library, to do more work, this time proofreading), I thought to myself:

The one comment on fasting I've heard from numerous people is how much time it frees up. I don't know that I've ever heard anyone talk about how it deepens their spiritual life, or how they learn from it and grow as persons, but I have often heard people say "It's amazing how much time I normally spend on planning, making and eating meals!" True as that may be, I don't think it does justice to the purpose of fasting.

Fasting is one way we can choose to suffer. Character is the ability to choose suffering over comfort. Sometimes the right thing to do means discomfort. Like Brandon quitting his job. We both knew it meant we'd have to put off buying another car, and that we'd be anxious about having money to pay for our next cross-country trip--or, heck! money for paying the rent and heating bills. But the company he worked for was making its money through dishonest means. So, basically, we have to trust in God's provision for us.

Being able, as in that case, to choose the discomfort of a car that doesn't work so well in the winter, not turning the thermostat above 55 degrees, and not knowing how we're going to make it to California this Fall, or make ends meet even before then--as I say, being able to choose those unpleasantries means freedom. It means we are not controlled by our desire for comfort and security.

So, I suppose fasting can help a person to cultivate an attitude that is not comfort-seeking, but always ready and willing to choose discomfort, or even pain, if it be God's will.

my birthday

On my birthday, we went into Boston with some friends from Whitworth (they now live in CT). The highlight of the trip was the New England Aquarium. It was fun. Pretty small, and I would guess they haven't changed their placards in over 20 years, but they had sea dragons! Yippee! And jelly fish. Yay!

We also visited some old Unitarian church which is of historical importance, Boston Common (where people were ice skating--or just sliding around in regular shoes, like us--on a plain old pond outside!), a really old graveyard where some not very well known famous historical people are buried, and probably some other places of mild interest I'm forgetting.

We were walking by the bar where Cheers was recorded and I thought to myself "Hey! I'm 21 now! I could go in there if I wanted to. Oh, wait! No, I can't. I forgot to bring my wallet. I don't have my ID." So we couldn't go out to a bar together and I couldn't order wine with my dinner. On my 21st birthday. (Later on, Brandon and I went home, got my ID and went to a bar. It wasn't very exciting, but we did get some delicious onion rings.)

Tuesday, February 20, 2007

not so preachy blogging ...

Okay, so thus far I have not written any really preachy posts. The one about violence not being a virtue came close. Okay, maybe it was preachy--but not as preachy as I imagined my blog would be.

I was *just* thinking the other day of some preachy thing to write about, but now, gosh darn, it's gone. If I continue at this rate, I'm not sure how I shall ever reach the status of self-righteous hypocrite in time for my ordination. Oh well. Perhaps Fuller has some kind of accelerated program for the pharisaically challenged.

Maybe I'll post some short preachy essays I wrote a long time ago. If any of them were actually finished ...

Wednesday, February 14, 2007

Oh no! I'm boring!

I'm not actually boring. Or maybe I am. But I chose the title because I haven't been entertaining y'all by writing posts. Darn. I've been busy. We went to the New England Aquarium for my birthday. Highlights included the Sea Dragons, of course, and jellyfish. If you haven't seen Sea Dragons, you *must*.

Ummmmmmmmm ... I forgot what I was going to say. Oh, yes. I'm just writing briefly while I wait for the newest version of sister-in-law Stephanie's dissertation to download so I can help her with the proofreading. Oh! It's done. I guess I'll go. I will try to post more interesting stuff soon.

Oh! And if you found my last post interesting, be sure to read Ben's comment. It's very good. (This is not to imply that Miranda and Jaime's comments are not good--just that they are of a more personal nature).

Monday, February 5, 2007

violence is not a virtue

Friend Jaime asked via email a question of her friends: "how do you get to be a man unless you learn how to fight?" This question was originally posed by a professor of hers who believes there would be fewer problems with road rage if people considered it normal to pull over by the side of the road and duke it out.

I was reminded to write a response to the question because we watched a documentary about an Iraqi family grieving the loss of their brother/son in the war. My response to the question is based mostly in my personal experience. The idea of hitting someone is very different from the reality of it. Bloodthirsty rage, as I have experienced it, feels self-satisfied in its own righteousness and potency--it feels like a glorious and even noble thing--the impulse to destroy "evil." I can think of two instances wherein I actually did intentionally physically hurt someone.

There was one time when I was about 12, and trying to get my, then probably 5 year old sister to do her share of cleaning the room. After hours of using every persuasive technique I could imagine, I was beyond frustrated. She preferred to sit on the floor doing *nothing* rather than put away her clothes. I finally got so fed up, I was just about weeping, grabbed her and shook her by the shoulders--just once--but hard. I find it difficult to describe the black, acidic, abyss that immediately began to eat away the inside of my soul. I felt awful. And my sister didn't even make a noise. She silently curled up in a ball and cried. I was so terrified by the horror of what I'd done, I got up without a word and left the room.

The other time I committed a violent act was when I slapped Brandon across the face for something. He deserved it, and I didn't hit him very hard, but it did *not* feel glorious and noble the way my original *desire* to hit him had made it out to be.

I think this is just the way of violence. It *sounds* like a good idea, but the reality of it is just plain awful.

As for how you become a man without resorting to violence: what ought really to be considered "manly" virtues are things like courage and unswerving devotion to justice. These virtues are much better expemplified in the lives of iconic people like Martin Luther King Jr. and Gandhi--as opposed to, say the detestable Brad Pitt character in Fight Club. (Incidentally, I probably just hate that character because Brad Pitt often annoys the heck out of me.)

Friday, February 2, 2007

Oh no! I don't have anything interesting to say ...

So why am I writing in my blog? I now feel as if it is my duty to write regularly in my blog, even though no one is reading it. And even though I have nothing interesting to say. Nothing to say at all, in fact. I just want to waste my time, and waste yours, too.

Do I use too many commas? I definitely used too many commas earlier in life. I used them even when it was not just stylistically, but grammatically inappropriate.

A little bit before Thanksgiving last year, we were having a hard time not prematurely singing Christmas songs in anticipation of that glorious season. So we sat down together one night, (an unspecified "we" refers to me and Brandon) Brandon with his guitar, me typing up the lyrics on the computadora, and we wrote and improvised some real doozies. I wish there'd been a tape recording going. I'm going to come back after putting dinner into the oven and write some more fond memories, I think.