Monday, April 30, 2007

Comment

The quarterly print issue of Comment hit our mailbox last week, and this issue's theme was "Things We Love." Here are but a few of the many enjoyable articles found found within its pages:

  • The Things We Love - An editorial by Gideon Strauss
  • Loving Technology, Loving God - Musings on how to love technology for God's sake.
  • Bruce Herman: Painter of Violent Opposites - Interesting artist profile

    (Comment is a publication of the Work Research Foundation, whose stated aim is "to influence people to a Christian view of work and public life.")
  • Thursday, April 26, 2007

    Wednesday, April 25, 2007

    Jackets Fans Get the Double Deuce

    Guess which Georgia Tech basketball stars entered their names for the NBA draft this week: Thaddeus Young and Javaris Crittenton. D'oh!

    However, it's not a done deal. Both players have stated that they are only "gathering information" at this time, and both are still eligible to play for Tech next year. We'll see what happens.

    Monday, April 23, 2007

    Augustine on Errors in Interpreting Scripture

    Whoever, then, thinks that he understands the Holy Scriptures, or any part of them, but puts such an interpretation upon them as does not tend to build up this twofold love of God and our neighbour, does not yet understand them as he ought. If, on the other hand, a man draws a meaning from them that may be used for the building up of love, even though he does not happen upon the precise meaning which the author whom he reads intended to express in that place, his error is not pernicious, and he is wholly clear from the charge of deception.

    ...

    Whoever takes another meaning out of Scripture than the writer intended, goes astray, but not through any falsehood in Scripture. Nevertheless, as I was going to say, if his mistaken interpretation tends to build up love, which is the end of the commandment, he goes astray in much the same way as a man who by mistake quits the high road, but yet reaches through the fields the same place to which the road leads. He is to be corrected, however, and to be shown how much better it is not to quit the straight road, lest, if he get into a habit of going astray, he may sometimes take cross roads, or even go in the wrong direction altogether.

    (On Christian Doctrine, Book I, Chapter 36)

    This passage left me wondering: How different would theological discussions/controversies look if participants operated with a mindset similar to what Augustine describes? Food for thought.

    Thursday, April 19, 2007

    Comfort Food

    Does anyone else find it strange that the foods we sometimes detest as kids can become some of our favorites as adults? I've never been a big fan of meatloaf or sloppy joe's, but the last two nights have found those very things on our dinner table. And we both liked them-- we really liked them! They were both easy recipes that took very little preparation, which was great considering Gaines had a cold last week and has now passed it on to me. I thought I'd share my secrets with the masses.

    Souperior Meatloaf

    Recipe can be found on the back of Lipton Onion Soup Mix. It's surprisingly moist and tasty. I used ground sirloin per Gaines' mom's suggestion (and since it was on sale). Served with a side of green beans and instant mashed potatoes, it was a hearty meal. The dinner preparation time took no more than 20 minutes plus the one hour for cooking, in which I advise using that time to take a nap. Also, the recipe serves eight, which leaves plenty for leftovers the next day. I saved half in the freezer for another night.

    Slow Cooker Sloppy Joe's
    • 2 pounds meat (we used ground beef)
    • 1 large yellow onion, chopped
    • 1/2 cup brown sugar
    • 1/4 cup wine vinegar
    • 1 tablespoon ground cumin
    • 1 teaspoon chili powder
    • 2 tablespoons minced garlic
    • 1 tablespoon prepared Dijon-style mustard
    • 1 cup ketchup*
    • salt and pepper to taste

    *I substituted BBQ sauce b/c it'a what I had available

    DIRECTIONS:
    Brown meat and drain. Put onion, sugar, vinegar, cumin, chili powder, garlic, mustard, ketchup, salt and pepper in slow cooker and mix well. Add meat and stir together. Cook for a minimum of 6 hours on low setting. Serve with sharp cheddar cheese on toasted whole-wheat buns. Serves 8-10.

    Bon Appetit!

    Books

    Two things:

    Westminster Bookstore is now offering weekly book specials through their website. Some of these prices are pretty dang good. Be sure to check them out each week. This week's WTSBOOKS Sale of the Week is built around the theme "Reformed Classics."

    Also, ChristianAudio has the audio book of Augustine's On Christian Doctrine available for free download this month.

    Wednesday, April 18, 2007

    The Jonathan Edwards Institute

    The Jonathan Edwards Institute has a snazzy new website. Check it out.

    (You can even go ahead and register for their summer conference. This year's theme is "The Sufficiency of Jesus Christ," and it should be top-notch.)

    It's blooming babies!

    Spring is in the air, and lately I've been getting lots of birth announcements and cute baby pictures in my inbox. I just wanted to celebrate by posting congratulations to my friends and family!

    Belated congrats to my friends Sara and Stephen on the birth of their daughter Isabella on March 14th!

    Congrats to my friends Jeff and Jamie Lyn on the birth of their daughter, Erin, on April 2nd. And happy belated 3rd birthday to big brother Will on April 8th!

    Congrats to my cousins, Stuart and Carla and big brother Garrett on the birth of their daughter, Collier, on April 12th!

    Congrats to our friends, Jonathan and Christine and big sis Maggie on the birth of their son, Jack, on April 14th!

    Yay for babies!

    Tuesday, April 17, 2007

    Today, we are all Hokies, indeed.

    We weep with those who weep.
    We mourn with those who mourn.
    We offer hope to those with none.

    I cried during the moment of silence. The convocation, though moving, was not the cause. It was the lack of true hope found in the speakers' words. Pray that the hope of Jesus Christ, Lord and Savior, would be proclaimed on the Virginia Tech campus to the students, faculty, and administration today and every day. I know there are ministers of the gospel, counselors, faculty, students who are Christians. Pray that they would comfort those in need, and if necessary, be like Job's friends, who upon arriving from a long way off, "raised their voices and wept... And they sat with him on the ground seven days and seven nights, and no one spoke a word to him, for they saw that his suffering was very great."

    Pulitzer Ponderings

    Natasha Trethewey is one of my favorite Southern poets, so I was delighted to hear that she won the Pulitzer Prize for Poetry for her most recent collection, Native Guard. I've attended two of her readings, the latest which included poems from the winning collection. I look forward to purchasing a copy soon to enjoy all of the poems. To those new to her work, I gladly recommend Domestic Work and Bellocq's Ophelia. Perhaps someday I might find a way to take a creative writing class from her at Emory.

    Perhaps I also should check out the writings of Cormac McCarthy. I've heard good things. And it was nice to see a fellow Alabamian win. Who knew the world of community colleges could ellicit such intrigue? I was surprised at Cynthia Tucker's award, but perhaps I should give the AJC another chance? On second thought--nah. There are better things to read.




    The Future of Video Games

    This article about the effects of too much Wii-usage got me thinking. We've tried to avoid owning any video game console because we know how much we love playing them and it would probably take too much time from other things, though at this point in our transition into parenthood any "free" time I have is spent trying to sleep, and we probably watch way too much TV. I would like to spend more time outdoors and at least have some reading time at some point in the day, but that will most likely happen when I get off this computer and catch up on my sleep.

    That said, if we ever do own some video game playing-device, it will probably be when our son is old enough to appreciate it, which will be a few years down the road. You all probably know the Wii encourages movement when playing, so it had me pondering about the next evolution in video game abilities.

    In a few years, perhaps you won't need a controller at all. Perhaps Wii-type games will no longer need to be played with any type of controller. A camera on the device records your movements and transfers them straight to the character on the screen, no handheld controller or glove or wristbands or vest necessary. With this type of setup, more people could play at once. You'd have little kids banging around all over the place in front of a screen. As the number of players expanded, of course, you'd have to move things outside. Larger screens (or smaller, individual screens), more players, more room to move. Soon, you'd have large groups of kids playing the same game, interacting with each other, moving around in physical activity, outside, in real time, competing for points....

    Hmmmm. Sounds like something we've got already, doesn't it? Parents lazy enough not to limit their kids' video game playing time (14 hours a week on average?! and that doesn't factor in time just watching TV!) are wasting precious hours that could be spent in real interactions between the kids and their parents or in interactions with other children in real physical activity. I'm not saying we shouldn't ever have video games, just that we should limit them, and better yet, play with them. Then we should go play sports. And they don't have to be "organized"!

    I played video games as a kid (how I loved Super Mario and now lust after an opportunity to play Super Paper Mario), but I remember spending more of my time hiking through the woods, building bridges and forts, playing homerun derby and war games with the neighborhood kids, and riding my bicycle. I lament the death of recess. Kids need more time for Red Rover and Simon Says. Do kids these days even know how to play those? Or better yet, do they ever take the initiative and make up their own games?

    Bottom line: Parents should get kids off the couch, away from the TV/video game/computer and go be active with their kids. I, for one, need to heed my own advice. It's a beautiful day!

    Tuesday, April 10, 2007

    Yay for Georgia

    I filed our Georgia state tax return last Monday (April 2), and yesterday (April 9) our state refund was direct deposited into our bank account. That's a pretty good turnaround time! If only the federal government could be so quick ...

    (And, yes, I know we technically gave the state an interest-free loan over the past 12 months. Please don't remind me!)

    Friday, April 06, 2007

    O Come and Mourn with Me Awhile

    O come and mourn with me awhile;
    And tarry here the cross beside;
    O come, together let us mourn;
    Jesus, our Lord, is crucified.

    Have we no tears to shed for Him,
    While soldiers scoff and foes deride?
    Ah! look how patiently He hangs;
    Jesus, our Lord, is crucified.

    How fast His hands and feet are nailed;
    His blessed tongue with thirst is tied,
    His failing eyes are blind with blood:
    Jesus, our Lord, is crucified.

    His mother cannot reach His face;
    She stands in helplessness beside;
    Her heart is martyred with her Son's:
    Jesus, our Lord, is Crucified.

    Seven times He spoke, seven words of love;
    And all three hours His silence cried
    For mercy on the souls of men;
    Jesus, our Lord, is crucified.

    Come, let us stand beneath the cross;
    So may the blood from out His side
    Fall gently on us drop by drop;
    Jesus, our Lord, is crucified.

    O break, O break, hard heart of mine!
    Thy weak self-love and guilty pride
    His Pilate and His Judas were:
    Jesus, our Lord, is crucified.

    A broken heart, a fount of tears,
    Ask, and they will not be denied;
    A broken heart love's cradle is:
    Jesus, our Lord, is crucified.

    O love of God! O sin of man!
    In this dread act Your strength is tried;
    And victory remains with love;
    For Thou our Lord, art crucified!

    -- Frederick William Faber

    Listen or Read -- But Not Both

    Alastair linked to this article which discusses recent research investigating the effectiveness of Powerpoint-type presentations. The general gist is that the usual "read through the bullet points" presentation isn't effective because (researchers claim) the brain has difficulty processing identical information coming simultaneously from multiple sources (e.g., reading and hearing). This is all very fascinating, but I found this excerpt to be especially interesting:
    [The research] also questions the wisdom of centuries-old habits, such as reading along with Bible passages, at the same time they are being read aloud in church. More of the passages would be understood and retained, the researchers suggest, if heard or read separately.
    If accurate, this research has some direct implications for Christian worship.

    Thursday, April 05, 2007

    True Womanhood Blog

    I am excited to let you all know that a female-friendly group blog I contribute to, once known as "Got Me a College Girl," has broadened its focus to become:

    True Womanhood in the New Millenium

    Please feel free to visit often and join in on the great discussions happening over there. I try to comment when I can and I hope to have a post or two up soon, but there are already so many interesting topics popping up I'm having trouble keeping up with those! Go check it out.

    N.T. Wright Maundy Thursday Sermon

    The Word of the Cross (Durham Cathedral, April 5, 2007)

    Tuesday, April 03, 2007

    Dust bunnies, beware!

    A 5 minutes for mom contest to win a Dyson vacuum!

    (If I don't win, and someone has oodles of money and wants to buy me a birthday present in June...you'll know what to get me.) ;)

    New Derek Webb Ready For Pre-Order

    Derek Webb's new album, The Ringing Bell, is now available for pre-order. Plus, even though the album doesn't release until May 1, you can listen to the whole thing online -- right now.

    Read the whole story here.