Thursday, October 28, 2004

I don't know what it is, but ...

... every time I read James White's blog, part of me (and it might be the petty, vindictive part) wants to spend large amounts of money over at Discerning Reader.

(Of course, I don't have large amounts of money, so it's not really a concern.)

Monday, October 25, 2004

For the concerned ...

The good news: the City has completed their sewer replacement project down the street from my office. The road is re-paved, although traffic is restricted to allow access only to those who use the swimming pool parking lot.

The bad news: the City has begun sewer work directly in front of the office. Hooray for heavy machinery. As a co-worker stated, "Today sounds like a good day to work from home." If only ...

On "lung-ripping"

Andrew Sandlin laments the death of rational political discourse, which has been supplanted by ever-intensifying seek-and-destroy tactics:

Amid this lung-ripping escapade, the language of warfare has replaced the language of debate. We cannot merely have opponents these days; we must treat them as enemies. Reasoned, passionate debate is a thing of the past. It is not sufficient to win arguments; we must assassinate characters. We must do more than defeat; we must also destroy.

But, the real tragedy is the spread of this "total war" mentality into our churches. There is little room for vigorous yet charitable discussion of important issues. Increasing numbers seem content to wage war against theological "enemies," rather than develop thoughtful critique. Says Sandlin, "these sorts of people will never reclaim culture. They must, like Israel of old, die in the cultural wildness, so a newer, more charitable generation can supplant them."

Friday, October 22, 2004

Well, it looks like we're going to get a new car. Wish it had been under different circumstances, though.

Tuesday, October 19, 2004

MMM BOP, er ....HUH?

This will be a very interesting lineup. Check the tour dates section, starting on Nov. 5.

Rory's Reading List

So, on tonight's Gilmore Girls episode, Rory's grandfather asks her what good books she's been reading lately. You know what she answered?

P.G. Wodehouse

Man, I need to get me some of that. I keep hearing it's good stuff. Of course, someone could always buy it for me...Christmas is only 9 and 1/2 weeks away, after all. *grin*

Really though, does anyone have any suggestions for a good first introduction? What are some of your favorites? The DeKalb Library has tons of titles.

Crash Into Me

(I know, I know, I've been too busy to blog lately. Actually, I've made up lots of posts in my head, but I haven't really found time to type them out. I probably don't have time to write this one, but it just seems like a must-blog topic. Also, you'll find out the reason Gaines got to leave work early on Monday.)

So yesterday afternoon, as I was driving to Georgia State for classes, minding my own business, cruising down Courtland Street through a green light--- just as I was belting out the line "En El Senor es siempre bueno"-- I experienced a loud CLUNK, airbag explosions, and a sudden infusion of acrid smoke. Some idiot had tried to make a right turn directly into my Honda! The nerve!

The good news is, I'm okay. There were no injuries, except for a few minor bruises and some soreness on my part (which is to be expected from the bursting air bag). Needless to say, I didn't make it to class last night. My wonderful husband brought me home to get some rest and relax. (And eventually, finish some homework...)

I'm not sure how to describe the accident since I can't draw you a picture of the crazy downtown street where it happened, but I'll do my best. I had just exited off of Interstate I-75/85 onto Courtland Street. Where the exit lanes (there are two) merge onto Courtland, the powers that be have placed some of those white traffic pilings all the way to the intersection to keep people from merging into the other two lanes. And for good reason, too, as I found out yesterday afternoon.

I was in the left exit lane and heading through the intersection with a green light, and the other guy was in the lane to my left, on the other side of the pilings. (This is the middle two lanes of a one-way street, btw.) The guy apparently didn't see me and attempted to go around the pilings and turn right onto Baker-- another one way street (downtown Atlanta is full of 'em all going crazy which ways). I guess he thought he was clear to turn, but he thought WRONG. I'm pretty sure it's illegal to turn right at that intersection if you are anywhere other than the far right lane, but hey, maybe that's just me. Silly road rules.

Anyway, the impact was enough to set off the air bags, destroy my bumper and left front headlight, and shatter my windshield. I'm just thankful I had sense enough to get out of the car quickly. That air bag smoke is putrid. I think that was my only moment of panic. Since I've never experienced the whole "air bag exploding in my face with lots of talcum powder smoke" bit before, there was a split second when I thought my car was on fire and that I couldn't get out because of trouble with the seat belt. I jumped out as soon as I could free myself from the safety restraint. Also, some nice guy in a car behind me called 911 and offered to be a witness if needed. Yay, Providence.

All parties were very polite. We swapped info and assessed the damage, and in the process gathered a few security officers from the hotels on either side of the street. According to the security officers, it is a popular spot for accidents. Apparently, lots of stupid drivers attempt a right turn in the middle of the intersection (I felt foot-in-mouth disease coming on tonight when one of my classmates said she'd done the very thing many times before! eek!).

All's well that ends well, I suppose. I had yesterday evening to catch up on some homework and get some much-needed rest. (The first week student-teaching in a local middle school has been killer. I'm quite drained. I'll update more information on, later. Maybe this week. It's a lot of ground to cover.) Anyways, I just hope we get our car fixed SOON. I spent what felt like most of today on the phone or stationed at the fax machine trying to work out all the details to get my car out of the tow yard, to the collision place, and authorized to be fixed-- and that better be worth something! I was missing valuable lessons on transitive and intransitive verbs! (Seriously!) At least the other guy's insurance is paying for the repairs, thank goodness. And we're getting a rental car this week. Yay! God is good all the time. (Say it with me: "All the time, God is good!") What good little youth group alumni you are!

how bizarre

Today has been a strange and disorienting day. When I left work yesterday, the building was afflicted by sweltering heat, due to the (oft)malfunctioning HVAC system. When I showed up today, clad in my usual dress shirt and tie, I was bewildered to see all my co-workers in casual dress. Apparently, management had dispatched a notice at the end of the day allowing everyone to dress down until the AC was restored. (I left early yesterday and, hence, did not see the e-mail.) Ironically, the AC is back with a vengeance today, and it is actually COLD. Fortunately, I'm wearing long sleeves.

But that's not all. Thunderstorms have been rolling through all day, with heavy rainfall in tow. Part of the parking lot is at a low elevation, so we've got a small lake filling up. Unfortunately, several folks have not learned their lesson about parking down there. So, we've enjoyed the guilty pleasure of watching these motorists try to wade through the waters* and rescue their vehicles.

And, if that's not enough, a small airplane crashed less than a mile from the office.

What's next?

* It's bad enough that these people had to wade through a foot or so of water to get into their cars. But even worse, this is right near the sewer construction project. So, guess where some of that water is coming from? Or maybe you shouldn't.

UPDATE: The building just sent out an e-mail advising folks to start evacuating the parking lot due to the rising waters. Most of my team members had the sense to park on higher ground, but we are watching the situation very carefully. Also, the consensus (from those with much more construction and site planning experience than I) is that the city's sewer project blocked the drainage that prevents the lot from turning into a pond. Oops!

Monday, October 18, 2004

I rarely agree with Slate, but they've got this one pegged: these things really are a grievous offense.

weekend update

Tech's victory over Duke this weekend was good because (other than the obvious fact that it was a win) 1)it was homecoming and 2) we actually lost to them last year. Unfortunately, we couldn't make it to the game, but we did have a good time at a "Fun Day" for all of the area Apartment Life teams. And, in an appropriate twist of providence, I won a Tech ballcap in a raffle. Woohoo!

I also finished my re-read of James White's The Forgotten Trinity, which has proven quite useful in preparing for Sunday School lessons on the Trinity and the Incarnation. Ironically, I'm using this book alongside a good deal of N.T. Wright (on issues of Christology and Messiah-ship) in my preparations. Go figure.

Oh, and this morning the City has begun re-laying asphalt over the giant sinkhole/sewer repair project across the street. Of course, it looks like they just paved over one of the storm drains. Uh oh.

Friday, October 15, 2004

By the way, I finished the Wright article on Galatians that I started earlier this week. Very good read. I'm still digesting it. One of the big criticisms lodged against Wright's view of "gospel" is that it inadequately accounts for Paul's usage of "another gospel" in Galatians (typically understood to denote the denial of justification by faith alone). Wright explains how the term fits into his overall scheme, and so far, it seems quite tenable.
Listening to the radio during yesterday's evening commute, I posed (to myself) a very important question:

Which is the best Van Halen song to drive to, "Panama" or "Unchained"? I think it's the latter, but I'm not sold yet.

Wednesday, October 13, 2004

By the way, "Renewing Your Mind" is focusing on Predestination for a couple of weeks. I used to listen to the show regularly during my lunch break. But, I'm working out of a client's office now, and I don't get that chance very often. Fortunately, the website archives previous broadcasts. I always enjoy R.C. Sproul, and this seems like it will be a good series. The first one (Monday's) set the groundwork and established the tone quite well. I especially liked his plea for discernment in approaching the subject of predestination. But, I especially liked a comment he made about dealing with difficult questions of theology. He recounted a time when he was the guest on a radio show, and a caller asked him a very deep question. Due to time constraints, he couldn't give a full answer. So, R.C. actually opted out of answering. He explained that, for a question of deep theological significance, he would rather give no answer at all than give an incomplete answer that was inadequate or incoherent. Very wise, and definitely worth taking to heart.

Two for Tuesday

Yesterday was a great day for music at the Redd house. Not only did our copy of Andrew Peterson's Behold the Lamb of God arrive, but we also picked up the new Caedmon's Call album Share the Well.

Simply put, Share the Well is a great album. It must be confessed that we've been burned by the last few Caedmon's offerings. But, after talking with Randall Goodgame this spring, we have been eagerly awaiting the album. It did not disappoint. Musically, it is a marked departure from the indie days of Caedmon's, but, thankfully, it is also a great change from the pop sound they were beginning to adopt. The influence of the various ethnic musical traditions is well used. Lyrically, it is very good, thanks to some stellar writing from Randy G., Andy Osenga, et al. The message of the whole album is pretty powerful and is a much-needed reminder to American Christians about the global church. I look forward to repeat listenings.

As for Andy P's Christmas album: what more can be said, really? I've been able to see his Christmas show each of the last four years, so none of the songs were new to me. Yet, they are still just as powerful. Partly, this is due to the great production of the album. But mainly, it is due to the great storytelling by Mr. Peterson. Words fail to describe what he has accomplished with this project. It should be listened to repeatedly and shared with others. It's that good.

Tuesday, October 12, 2004

The N.T. Wright Page has uploaded a new article on "Gospel and Theology in Galatians." I haven't yet finished it, but so far, it is a pretty good read. Wright begins by examining the contexts behind "gospel" in its 1st century, and he explores how Paul ties together Jewish and pagan notions of the term. As he reminds us, church tradition has shaped our interpretation of "gospel" terminology and often blinds us to the complexities of the actual language. But, quoting C.S. Lewis, he cautions: "we turn to the helps only when the hard passages are manifestly hard. But there are treacherous passages which will not send us to the notes. They look easy and aren’t."

Such is the case, Wright argues, with many New Testament uses of "gospel."

Monday, October 11, 2004

Where have all the bloggers gone ...

Some of you might be thinking, "Gaines and Allison haven't been blogging much lately. Their lives must be pretty boring." But, you'd be wrong. It's actually the opposite. So much has been going on, it has been hard to find time for updates. If we had been blogging more frequently, we probably would have written about:

- Our super-fun Fall Festival at our apartment, featuring games, arts, crafts and lots of grilled items donated by Lonestar Steakhouse;
- The VP debate (if only Cheney could pinch-hit for W at the other debates!);
- Our visit to Alabama to see Allison's sick grandma (your prayers would be appreciated);
- My sister's crazy new dog;
- The second Presidential debate (More repetition! Less substance! It's the American Way!)
- Georgia Tech's victory over #23 Maryland;
- Nickel Creek in concert (they rocked!);
- Anxiously watching the mailbox for Andrew Peterson's new cd;
- Allison's first day of student teaching (which is today);
- Learning that the sewer construction project across the street from my office hit a natural gas line (but it is -- supposedly -- not serious);

and much, much more. Maybe one day.

Tuesday, October 05, 2004

Andrew Peterson is my friend ...

It may (should?) come as no surprise, but Allison and I think that Andrew Peterson is fantastic, both as a musician and a cool guy. In years past, it would not have been unusual to find us at AP concerts throughout the Southeast, and then driving through the night to get back home in time for school or work the next day. Unfortunately, we rarely undertake those infamous concert roadtrips these days, which is a sign that we're either (a) more responsible or (2) much busier than we once were. But on occasion, we hit the road in search of adventure.

Friday night, we drove up to New City Cafe in Knoxville, TN, to see Andy in concert. We really dig what New City does. They are located in the middle of "The Old City," which is an historic district filled with all kinds of restaurants, nightclubs, boutiques, etc. New City's goal is to provide an outlet for quality Christian art and education within that setting. Andy always puts on a great show, and this time was no exception. As usual, pianoman Ben Shive provided musical backup and comic relief (and a decent Han Solo imitation at one point). Additionally, Andy Gullahorn (husband of Jill Phillips) played guitar and sang with them. Andy G. has a penchant for writing humorously offbeat songs. Friday, he showcased one about America's favorite hairstyle ("Business in the Front, Party in the Back"), as well as a delightful ditty about an enterprising grocery store owner who brilliantly marketed a Pope-endorsed breakfast cereal ("Holy Flakes"). Be sure to check out his website, since it showcases his dry and offbeat sense of humor.

As I said, it was a great concert, and Andy (P., that is - it's getting hard to keep track of all these Andy's!) recorded it for possible use as a live album. I love Andy's music because he is a terrific storyteller. He has a knack for writing songs about specific people and circumstances, all the while making sure the themes are universally recognizable and applicable. He didn't play many new songs, but somehow - as always - he managed to thoroughly enchant and entertain the audience, even though we have heard those same songs innumerable times in the past. I've figured out that this occurs because the songs are merely an extension of the man, who is a very real and down-to-earth guy. Plus, he's pretty funny. Definitely worth the drive home in the wee hours of the morning.

Of course, it's Tuesday night and I'm just now writing about the show from Friday. That should indicate how busy things have been around these parts! But, I hope to have time to share more anecdotes soon, such as the never-ending saga of the sewer work across from my office. I'm sure everyone is turning blue with excitement.