Friday, April 30, 2004

No Bible Sunday?

I get the point of what they are saying, but frankly, this sounds pretty dumb.

Might as well try "No Breathing Saturday."

Thursday, April 29, 2004

Tyrranous and Wretchedly Urgent Time

Here, the rains come sweeping in from the west. I see the Doppler green hovering over Arkansas and Louisiana, and I know it's moving this way. Soon, drops will fall on Mississippi, then Alabama...then Georgia. And I'm waiting. I'm waiting because this is the one rare weekend I don't want it to rain. The one weekend I've had marked on the calendar for months. The weekend I gave up other perfectly good opportunities to visit some old college friends to see some other old camp friends. This is the weekend I am going back to Riverview. This weekend I plan to play in the trees and swing from airplane cables and jump out of tall platforms. However, thunderstorms and metal wires, belays, and steel 'beaners don't mix well. So I wait to see what will happen.

I've realized I spend most of my life waiting. Waiting for the work day to end. For the clock alarm to go off. Waiting for the stores to open, waiting for the clothes to dry, the water to boil, and the dentist to see me now. Waiting for the weekend, for the iron to get hot, and for the computer to boot up. Waiting for my husband to come home. I've decided in those in-between moments, the times when the sense of dreaded urgency overwhelms and the fretting starts, I need to stop waiting and just live.

I should enjoy the calm before the downpour, savor the early morning moments before the alarm, and keep the commandments in my heart and on my lips. I want to be always thankful for every moment, substituting those sudden stretches of waiting with Scripture meditation-- to redeem the time and tread carefully through my days.

"Look carefully then how you walk, not as unwise but as wise, making the best use of the time, because the days are evil. Therefore do not be foolish, but understand what the will of the Lord is. And do not get drunk with wine, for that is debauchery, but be filled with the Spirit, addressing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody to the Lord with all your heart, giving thanks always and for everything to God the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, submitting to one another out of reverence for Christ." Ephesians 5:15-21

The Simpsons are going to Brazil!

My maid of honor, co-Head Counselor at summer camp, road-tripping buddy, and best girl friend is leaving soon to be a missionary in Brazil. Jen will be leaving Birmingham, her job at CVS, and all her friends and family to be a pharmacist at a clinic in Rio for 6 months. Years of prayer and seeking wisdom and counsel have led her to this place, and I'm grateful she is going to be a part of what God is doing there. I'm proud of her, but she will be greatly missed!

I'm just thankful she finally jumped on the technology bandwagon and started a blog so we can keep up with her adventures!

Wednesday, April 28, 2004

So, I figure I'd jump on the bandwagon for the inauguration of Douglas Wilson's blog.

In honor of this special time, I'm bumping A Serrated Edge up to the top of my reading list. Let the sarcasm fly.

Speaking of sarcasm, Richard posted the lyrics for "Mohawks on the Scaffold," a deliciously satirical unrecorded song by Andrew Peterson, who unfortunately (but understandably) has stopped playing it

Tuesday, April 27, 2004

Totally 80's

I am not ashamed of being a child of the '80's. Or the fact that my friend Cheryl and I went to see 13 Going on 30 last night. It was hilarious!

We were laughing afterwards how much we WERE the 13 year old characters. I mean-- the sweater with the purple hearts? I had the same one and wore it all the time. Dorky glasses? Check. Metal braces? Yup. Wanted a Barbie Dream House? Oh yeah. I eventually got some monstrous 3-story pink cardboard mansion with a plastic elevator. It was, like, rad. Some other higlights of 80's nostalgia in the film: Trapper Keepers. Fruit Roll-ups. Thriller. The Clash. Rick Springfield. Side ponytails. Thinking pina coladas were the grown-up drinks. I must've missed out on Razzles, though. I'd never heard of "the candy that's also a gum" until this movie! (Of course, I was actually born in 1980, so I probably missed a lot along the way.)

I was pleasantly surprised at the innocence of Jennifer Garner's character. There were very few innuendos and very little vulgarity. It was just a fun movie that I might actually take a real 13 year-old to see. Although, I don't think they would appreciate all the "in-jokes" as much as we did. This is definitely a movie for those who lived through the decade!

One last blast from the past: Online M.A.S.H. You know you want to!

Confessions of a Recovering Bibliophile

I finally finished reading The Potter's Freedom. I never could make it through Geisler's Chosen But Free, so although I can't describe how deftly White destroys Norm's arguments, I can say that he holds nothing back-- laying out the major tenets of the doctrines of grace succinctly and efficiently. However, his thorough writing style began to grate on me the last few chapters. I was like, "We know already! Get on with it!" Maybe I've just been in a theology funk. Or maybe I'm just tired of reading stuff with lots of block quotes. Either way, I'm gladly moving on to fiction.

I have a battered, yellowed paperback copy of Thomas Hardy's Return of the Native that I inheirited from my high school AP English teacher when she retired. It's been that long since I've read it (at least 6 years) so I think it's time for a reintroduction to Egdon Heath. I noticed last night that the edition is exactly 40 years old, and since the pages are all falling out, it's probably time for a new copy-- but not before this one gets another good read.

Of course, I'm still making my way through my stack of non-fiction-- McArthur and Wright and Dillard -- I just need some variety every now and then. That Mc Arthur book hasn't seen daylight in weeks, though. Maybe I'll pick it back up tonight, since I'm indulging in Hardy during lunch. Yay!

One of my secret indulgences is to find AP Reading lists and then check off how many I've read-- to see what's left. Of course, it always makes me want to visit Barnes and Noble, for some mysterious reason. There are too many good books in the world!

Monday, April 26, 2004

The great thing about blogging is that if I post something quickly (say, right before I leave for a break) and then forget about it for a while, I can always come back and edit it later to correct grammar or complete a thought. (If only posting comments worked the same way...)

However, all that becomes unnecessary in light of my recent discovery: the "draft" option. (Silly me! I can be quite oblivious sometimes.) Better later than never, I guess.
Although I'm not one to read Christianity Today that often, or to put stock in its polls and rankings, today I was pleasantly surprised to discover that Apartment Life has been named the #1 Best Christian Workplace in the Parachurch and Missions (30 or Fewer Employees) Category.

There are only 26 employees in Apt. Life, and thankfully, the organization is not expected to expand anytime soon, especialy since the President's plan is to dismantle the organization within the next 8 years. He then hopes to hand the ministry model over to local churches, so that outreach can be implemented within local apartment communities by church members. Spiffy, eh?

I just want to commend Apartment Life for attempting to merge "business principles" with "proclaiming the Gospel." It's an odd mix, but we've seen the practical, life-altering ramifications of being faithful to the latter while navigating the former. Though it is difficult to find sincerity in the constantly shifting and highly competitive apartment industry, I think Apartment Life is succeeding in establishing that through hands-on, incarnational ministry. And I'm grateful to be a part of it.

Another confession

Somehow I made it through school without ever having to read Orwell's 1984. I've finally been able to rectify that. I now feel sufficiently warned against totalitarianism from both without and within.

Thursday, April 22, 2004

I'm not sad to see this guy go to jail.

But I wonder what they're going to do with all the cool pyramids at their compound?
I needed to read this wise anecdote tonight.

Like the shoe people say, "Just Do It."

Wednesday, April 21, 2004

If you've been wondering....

Every night for the past week or so, and all day today, I've been in front of my laptop, which has no internet connection. (And it's a good thing, too, or I may never have gotten any work done! I did resort to Snood breaks every now and then, though. I've forgotten how addictive that game is!)

As of this evening, I finally finished a HUGE application for a graduate scholarship from the Jack Kent Cooke Foundation. Whew! It was quite a doozie! I'm just glad it is done.

More great news: this evening, I got an acceptance letter from Georgia State University! I applied to their TEEMS M.Ed. program in January, had an interview with the faculty on April 8th, and have been waiting on pins and needles ever since. This is quite a relief! And it is all happening so fast-- I have orientation next Friday!

Oh, and this past weekend we went to my cousin's wedding at this very cool old Episcopal church in Montgomery, Alabama. We stayed at Gaines' parents' house, but they were away, and so the mice (his sisters and I) played. (OK, so I worked on my application. But it was still great to see them. And to listen to Nintendo inspired rock.)

Next on my list of humongous tasks: cleaning the apartment. And with the neglect it has seen over the past couple of weeks, I may not emerge for a few days.... wish me luck!

Monday, April 19, 2004

back in the day ...

So, every now and then, I dip into my music archives, specifically, the stack of CD's and (gasp!) tapes that I don't listen to anymore, but haven't yet found the strength to sell or give away. The other day, I found a mix tape with some Bad Religion on it. As the name might imply, they espouse (in no uncertain terms!) a worldview completely antagonistic to my own. On the plus side, they play some crunchy punk rock with delicious vocal harmonies. But, despite their penchant for writing fairly smart lyrics that require a sufficiently enriched amount of word power, I think prolonged exposure to their stream of anger and cynicism is a tad unhealthy.

An interesting excerpt:

no control

culture was the seed of proliferation
but it has gotten melded into an inharmonic whole
consciousness has plagued us and we can not shake it
though we think we're in control
questions that besiege us in life
are testament of our helplessness
"there's no vestige of a beginning,
no prospect of an end" (Hutton, 1795)
when we all disintegrate it will all happen again

time is so rock solid in the minds of the hoards but they can't
explain why it should slip away
history and future are the comforts of
our curiosity but here we are
rooted in the present day

if you came to conquer you'll be king for a day
but you too will deteriorate and quickly fade away
and believe these words you hear
when you think your path is clear

we have no control
we do not understand
you have no control
you are not in command!

I think this portrays the atheist's plight with great consistency. Although I would agree with him that, in the grand scheme of the universe, we mortals have no real control over the forward progress of history. But, for him, this results in a bleak hopelessness, "rooted in the present day," which is the extent of our meaning and existence. This life is all that we've got, in his view, and we have no significance compared to the vastness of time. How different is the conclusion I reach, even when agreeing with the premise of having "no control." I can take hope knowing that, although I might have no control, there is One who ultimately has all under His control, and that He is the one that ultimately assigns significance to our lives.

Greg Graffin (Bar Religion's prime lyricist) is at least being consistent, and the result is embittered, rebellious, angry music, which stems (I think) from realizing the utlimate consequences of his beliefs.

Ironically, one of my favorite smart-guy anti-theists is the least consistent with his own beliefs. Neil Peart, of Rush, is one of the smartest lyricists around. His words are often filled with hope and expressions of humans reaching their potential. This seems a bit out of sync with his belief that we ultimately emerged from primordial goo.

But at least he can play a mean drum solo.

This is scary.

How long does it take to learn all those video game songs, anyway?

Thursday, April 15, 2004

My confession

For the first time ever, I waited until April 15 to file my taxes. :(

[Disclaimer: Actually, it was only our GA return that got filed at the last minute, since we owe them $$. But still, the principle ...]

Tuesday, April 13, 2004

Old School

I just discovered The Wayback Machine.

Ah, the memories...
Why can't Hollywood use the actual college campuses depicted in their films?

"In the span of two days in October, Agnes Scott College became Emory University, Georgia Institute of Technology, Grady Hospital and Harvard University for the upcoming motion picture Bobby Jones–Stroke of Genius."

I can understand not being able to use Harvard's campus due to geographical restraints, but both Tech AND Emory are within 15 minutes of Agnes Scott!

It was the same with Big Fish-- film crews used Huntington's campus, a small school in Montgomery, Alabama, to portray scenes set at Auburn University, just 40 miles down the road.

It just seems shameful to pretend Agnes Scott Hall is actually Tech Tower, or that some Huntington building is Samford Hall, when the real thing is so close.

Although, I do think it is cool that Agnes Scott has a Gaines Chapel.

And it was fun to read about the various misadventures of the "T".

Sunday, April 11, 2004

Sugar for the Mind (and Mouth!)

Okay, I'll admit it. Every so often, I like to read what my mom and I call a "beach book." Usually it's fiction, probably an Oprah's Book Club reject, most likely badly written, sometimes makes the NYT bestsellers list, and it's a good excuse to turn off my brain for a few hours. C'mon, you know you read them, too...

Yesterday, we organized a yard sale for the residents in our apartment complex. We got up way too early for a Saturday, drove to our church, loaded tables and chairs, and drove back to our complex-- all before 7:45 a.m. Like I said, it was early for a Saturday. It was also very, very chilly. So once everything was set up, and we had chatted with all the residents and made sure everyone had taken advantage of the free doughnuts, we just sat around waiting for people to show up. Apparently, no one gets up at our complex before noon on Saturdays. And you think I'm kidding. Although, I will clarify that over thirty people eventually showed up to shop, but most of those faithful few came after 10:30. So, in the end, I'd say it was successful.

Gaines used the long early morning lull to walk around the complex, holding up a "Yard Sale" sign for the occasional car. I saw it as an oppurtunity to read a book. I wandered over to a table to check out their stash of paperbacks. Score! I spied a bunch of books by Mary Higgins Clark, "The Queen of Suspense." My mom will vouch for the insane number of old MHC novels I collected back in high school--she found a shelf of them recently while cleaning out a closet-- so it was surprising to see some unfamiliar titles. I picked up one called Daddy's Little Girl. I didn't have any cash on me at the time, but the lady behind the table told me to go ahead and read it anyway. When I tried to return it to her at the end of the sale, she told me to keep it! Hey, a free book is a free book. My guilty pleasure was finishing it this afternoon. Gaines told me that since it was Easter, I should've read something "more holy." Whatever! MHC included at least one paragraph about the main character visiting an Abbey and "making her peace with God." That counts, right?

Oh, and speaking of doughnuts (see second paragraph), we stopped at the Krispy Kreme on Ponce this morning after the joint sunrise service at Piedmont Park. Mmmmmm. Hot chocolate and melt-in-your mouth sugary goodness in doughnut form were a welcome treat on this cold, rainy Easter morning. And, as our friend Patricia requested, they were "One dozen glazed. Hot. Now!"

Friday, April 09, 2004

Ladies all the time be asking me:

"Gaines R, how come you don't dance no more?"

I wish I had an iron cup full of Brunswick Stew.
Finally finished reading What Saint Paul Really Said. Very good stuff. At the risk of sounding like a broken record, the more I compare criticisms of N.T. Wright with Wright's actually writings, the more puzzled I am. Do these people actually read the sum total of his writings, or just dissect (out-of-context) the parts that set their "Reformed" Spidey senses a-tingling? It's also frustrating to hear people dismiss (or worse) him for not being "Reformed enough," whatever that means.

An analogy (and warning - I'm not good with coming up with analogies): it's like getting directions from your house to a friend's house. Even if you don't follow the directions your friend gave you, you can still arrive at the destination. Wright seems to be saying that Luther et al ended up at the right house (the directions gave a pretty good description of what the house looked like, what neighborhood it is in, etc), but didn't really follow the directions very well. Wright is saying, "Sure, we could take the route Luther took and still get there, but why don't we take the original directions that Paul gave us?" Perhaps this way is faster or safer or has better scenery. Maybe Luther was envisioning a bicycle ride, when Paul actually had a carpool in mind. Either way, you'll still get to the right house in the end.

I think it's time to read some fiction for a change ...

Tuesday, April 06, 2004

Growing up, I absolutely loved to watch the award-winning Disney Channel series Avonlea. The show was based on L.M. Montgomery's novels The Story Girl and The Golden Road, which I read countless times.

Today, perhaps to cheer myself up from the hours of tortured Tech basketball we suffered through last night, I found the website for Sullivan Entertainment, the company that produced the Anne films and the Road to Avonlea television series.

Apparently, they have the first three seasons available on DVD! They are fantastically expensive, at about $100 each, but I think it is well worth the price to own 36 episodes of a high-quality family show based on books by one of my favorite authors. Well, of course we can't afford it now, but one day, perhaps...I hope that my (as yet imagined) children will be able to enjoy the adventures of Sarah Stanley, Gus Pike and the whole King clan in all their technicolor glory.

Monday, April 05, 2004

Once last NCAA-related tidbit:

My co-worker, a big Oklahoma State fan, was talking some serious smack last week about the semi-final game. Today, he has lowered his little OSU pennant/flag to half-staff. I thought that was funny.

I just hope my GT flag isn't at half-staff tomorrow (if I had one).

Exciting stuff

Only one more to go

On the news last night, they were discussing how Tech is securing the campus to stave off rioting, chaos, and assorted pandelirium for tonight's game. There's nothing more frightening than GT students going wild. ;) Actually, there is truth to that statement, since Tech students have a penchant for burning stuff ...