Tuesday, March 31, 2009
But that hasn't prevented the 2 knee surgeries, being on seizure medication for 5 years, or the unbelievably high Triglycerides that has brought me to the Cardiologist for the last 9 months on top of other things. In the last 10 years I feel like I've had every test imaginable. Ultrasounds, MRI's, CT Scan's, EKG's, a bazillion blood tests, cortisone injections, on and on. I won't even go into how difficult this makes it to get insurance. Absolutely impossible.
I've always felt weird about telling people about my partial seizure disorder because I feel like people think I'm a weirdo somehow, or they're afraid I'm going to have a seizure in their presence or something which is certainly unpleasant. I've only had one grand mal seizure in my life, on the New York subway which was a blast. The others have all been of the smaller sort where I retain consciousness. I remember in college a few times I had them while I was driving alone. I didn't know what was happening at the time. Had I known they were partial seizures, I may have acted before the big daddy happened in 2004.
All of this weighs on me and frustrates me to no end. I feel relatively helpless and keep fearing what could possibly be next. Just when I think there is a good stretch ahead, something gives.
But I say all of that because today is a good day. After 5 years and no seizures, the time has come to discontinue my medication which I have as of Monday. That is a large step and it feels great. Certainly frightening as I wait to see what will happen, but the end of a season nonetheless.
On top of that I have a GREAT cardiologist who has taught me, encouraged me, challenged me, and has brought all kinds of blessings to our lives in the last 9 months. I am very thankful for her. Today she gave me the news that my triglyceride level has gone from 560 to 215 in the last 9 months due to a huge diet change, exercise (not as much due to this), and a few medications. The good news is, in 6 weeks it looks like I could break the 150 mark at which point we would start to discontinue some of the medication and I wouldn't have to go back for a year!
Once again I'm praying for a good stretch of health for the rest of 2009! I'm feeling confident that it's going to happen this time!
Tuesday, March 17, 2009
Two of these really connected with me:
5. Believe evil of no one unless fully proved; take heed how you credit it. Put the best construction you can on everything. You know the Judge is always supposed to be on the prisoner's side.
6. Speak evil of no one; else your word, especially, would eat as doth a canker. Keep your thoughts within your own breast till you come to the person concerned.
At my graduate school there have been many times that I have thought the worst of students, two in particular. I've been learning this past month however, that the problem isn't as much with them as it is inside of me.
Yesterday God confirmed this as I was in a separate class with each of these guys. In the first class, the student in which I have lost my temper on a few times came over, sat by me and told me that he appreciated what I had to say a few weeks back. Man, talk about killing with kindness. I felt dead indeed.
After my second class, a student whom I've always thought of as being one of those smug neo-reformed guys (that I just wrote about) came up to me and shook my hand and asked me how I was. It is rare that we've ever really talked but the fact that he approached me and showed me kindness once again confirmed that God is in the process of teaching me a few lessons.
I realized yesterday that these two guys, that I have a tendency of thinking the worst of, are actually quite kind and normal; in Seminary for the same reason I am, to be stretched and serve God faithfully for a lifetime.
Monday, March 16, 2009
15. Wishful Thinking (A Ghost is Born)
14. I’m Always In Love (Summerteeth)
13. Red Eyed and Blue (Being There)
12. Please Be Patient With Me (Sky Blue Sky)
11. Misunderstood (Being There)
10. Nothing’severgonnastandinmyway (Summerteeth)
9. I Am Trying to Break Your Heart (Yankee Hotel Foxtrot)
8. Shouldn’t Be Ashamed (A.M.)
7. She’s a Jar (Summerteeth)
6. How to Fight Loneliness (Summerteeth)
5. Passenger Side (A.M.)
4. Theologians (A Ghost is Born)
3. Ashes of American Flags (Yankee Hotel Foxtrot)
2. Via Chicago (Summerteeth)
Sunday, March 15, 2009
He says, "The NeoReformed movement of which I speak is an attempt to capture evangelicalism, redefine it by some clearly-defined doctrines that are Reformed, and kick the rest of us -- and there are lots more "of us" than the NeoReformed -- off the village green."
And then he says this which I thought was extremely accurate:
"Furthermore, the NeoReformed have come to equate the meaning of "gospel" with Calvin's "Reformed theology." And those who aren't Reformed are somehow or in some ways denying the gospel itself. When gospel is equated with double predestination, often said in harsh terms, we are seeing a good example of the spirit of a NeoReformed approach. This leads, inevitably, to seeing what they call the "doctrines of grace" as defining both "gospel" and "evangelical."
I just read a fellow student's blog asserting the exact thing last week!
In any case, here are the posts.
And then, for fun Roger Olson joins the discussion.
These are relevant for me as I am a non-Calvinist/non-Reformed pastor in a seminary setting that is heavily populated with those of the neo-reformed persuasion. This can be very agitating as the smugness and the sureness they exude is enough to smother most people. I will say this, my air supply is running out.
To be honest, I don't really believe in "systems" of theology. I find that most times people simply resign to believe in a complete system when they get weary of the tension that they read throughout Scripture. Finally, one day they give up and just say, "Fine, I'll just be a Calvinist", or "I'll just be an Arminian." I'm not sure this describes everyone who believes strongly in a system of theology, but I imagine it includes many. Who knows, maybe one day I'll join them. But not today.
In the last few days I read through a short biography called “Strangely Warmed: the Amazing Life of John Wesley” which I highly recommend. His life, struggles, work ethic, heartbreak, and vision are very easy to connect with.
One of my favorite things about Wesley is his openness to correction.
He said in his preface to his sermons something we ALL need to hear (especially the self-proclaimed “discernment blogs”, as well as those who listen to Rush all day :) ….
“Are you persuaded you see more clearly than me? It is not unlikely that you may. Then treat me as you would desire to be treated yourself upon a change of circumstances. Point me out a better way than I have yet known. Show me it is so, by plain proof of Scripture. And if I linger in the path I have been accustomed to tread, and am therefore unwilling to leave it, labor with me a little; take me by the hand, and lead me as I am able to bear. But be not displeased if I entreat you not to beat me down in order to quicken my pace: I can go but feebly and slowly at best; then, I should not be able to go at all. May I not request of you, further, not to give me hard names in order to bring me into the right way. Suppose I were ever so much in the wrong, I doubt this would set me right. Rather, it would make me run so much the farther from you, and so get more and more out of the way. If you are angry, so shall I be too; and then there will be small hopes of finding the truth.”
He says this in Christian Perfection…
“Be patient with those who disagree with you. Do not condemn those who do not see things just as you do, or who think it is their duty to contradict you, whether in a great thing or a small. O, beware of touchiness, of testiness, of an unwillingness to be corrected. Beware of being provoked to anger at the least criticism, and avoiding those who do not accept your word.”
This is not easy. It is much easier to make over-generalizations, call names, or discount people due to the label that has been placed on them by others than to actually intelligently and compassionately engage with an idea.
Friday, March 13, 2009
Great Lake Swimmers - Lost Channels
I loved their first two albums and thanks to Jon Irvine , I saw them and Centro-Matic at the New World Brewery in Tampa, which is basically just a patio. Check out their Myspace and listen to "Moving Pictures, Silent Films".
That was also the location that a drunk guy threw a beer glass that came close to hitting me, shattered on the floor, and the glass of which hit Kelli's foot which of course instantly infuriated me. I almost had to be restrained, just ask Kelli. :)
Radio Moscow - Brain Cycles
I will admit that this is unlike anything I typically listen to but I'm loving it. Total blues rock band. Apparently they were signed by Dan Auerbach of the Black Keys. That would make sense. Check it out here.
The Soft Hills - Painted World
Indie band from Seattle (how cliche). Check it out here. Nice chill record to do work to.
Tuesday, March 10, 2009
Rolling Stone = 5 stars (out of 5)
Obviously the criteria for critiquing an album is much different.
But I'm going to have to go with Pitchfork on this one.
I watched all of their performances on Letterman this week, I honestly thought they were making a mockery of themselves with "Get On Your Boots". It was hard to watch. I felt embarrassed for them.
Friday, March 06, 2009
"Hipsterdom is the first “counterculture” to be born under the advertising industry’s microscope, leaving it open to constant manipulation but also forcing its participants to continually shift their interests and affiliations. Less a subculture, the hipster is a consumer group – using their capital to purchase empty authenticity and rebellion. But the moment a trend, band, sound, style or feeling gains too much exposure, it is suddenly looked upon with disdain. Hipsters cannot afford to maintain any cultural loyalties or affiliations for fear they will lose relevance."
Read the article here.
Thursday, March 05, 2009
Read the rest here...
Tuesday, March 03, 2009
I also found out there is a Bagby, UK.
And a Church of Bagby.
And finally, there was also a Grover Cleveland Bagby.
Monday, March 02, 2009
This was an actual comment by a student whom raised his hand to impress us with this:
"So, are they kind of like the militia?"
Me: Absolutely dumbfounded
Seriously, can I please graduate early?
Portland has found itself at the top of another list, but not the kind you can brag about.
A staggering jump in calls to a crisis intervention hotline, high rates of depression and divorce have landed Portland atop BusinessWeek's list of unhappiest American cities. The magazine looked at a range of factors - crime, unemployment, and cloudy days (an average of 222 a year in case you're wondering) - and concluded that the Rose City is one miserable place.
read the rest here...
Sunday, March 01, 2009
March means a few things to me...
First, baseball is here. There are some spring training games on television next week and I don't even care that they are absolutely meaningless, just to watch a baseball game happening in a dry, warm place is soothing in some weird way. If just one time I can go to Arizona to watch spring training games for an entire week I will die a happy man.
Second, March Madness. For the last two years I have had class during most of the first round action. This year, not the case. I will actually be able to watch most of the first and second rounds. Kelli will be in Illinois, and I have no class on those days!
Dear Bob and Chris, I will be working at home those days. :)
Third, DST. Say what you will about George Bush (of whom I have said plenty). If he got everything else wrong, he at least made DST earlier and for that I will always remember him with praise. There is something encouraging about being in class on Monday nights and having it still be light at 7:30. Another sign that graduation is near.