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Showing posts from December, 2010

One favorite author on another

The heroine of many a modern novel writhes and reels her way through the story, chews and flings away fifty half-smoked cigarettes, is perpetually stifling a scream or else not stifling it, howling for solitude or howling for society, goading every mood to the verge of madness, seeing red mists before her eyes, seeing green flames dance in her brain, dashing to the druggist and then collapsing on the doorstep of the psychoanalyst; and all the time congratulating herself on her rational superiority to the weak sensibility of Jane Austen.That is, the “weak sensibility” of a woman who (according to G.K. Chesterton) “was certainly not of the fainting sort.” The obvious irony that he pointed out made me laugh. (Quotes from his essay “On Jane Austen in the General Election,” included in Come to think of it… published in 1931.)

“On the sixth day of Christmas…” = Books!

Well, thank goodness I haven’t received any six geese a-laying, though I don’t think I’d have minded the five golden rings.Being the holiday season, not much has been going on in my life. I’ve been able to curl up in a corner of the couch all day and read, write, or blog… and really, “all day” is not much of an exaggeration. But it’s highly relaxing.The only thing I’ve had to do besides lounge around is go Christmas shopping with my mom. It’s a tradition we have—the two of us are the only ones in the family that like shopping, so every year I help her pick out the Christmas gifts for all our extended family in addition to our immediate family. (Sometimes I even pick out my own, as I did this year.) So on Monday and yesterday we went shopping for my mom’s side of the family, whose family Christmas will be celebrated this weekend.Of course, while shopping for Christmas, we happened to find some things we wanted ourselves. Especially at this one store called Ollie’s. This store has a hug…

“Long time passing…”

Where have all the young men gone?I know the original song was an anti-war song; but every time I read something of this sort, it’s what runs through my mind. “The Death of the Grown-up,” you say? What about the death of the young man?I’m five months away from graduating from a Christian college. I’ve been here nearly four years—and my complaint is that so many people here don’t seem to be very grown up. It’s the subtle difference between girls and women; between guys and men.Guys, you see, are not bad or anything; they’re kinda fun, decent, don’t necessarily slack off on their schoolwork or anything. But men—well, the men are capable of long-range planning, for starters. They’re fun and decent, too, but they also have more wisdom. They can restrain their spending to be able to afford books next semester, for example. Or they are conscious that the opinions they currently have might change in the future. They know what they want to do with their lives, and they’re pursuing that.It’s h…

The After-Christmas

On the first day of Christmas, my true love gave to me /
A partridge in a pear tree.
On the second day of Christmas, my true love gave to me /
Two turtledoves, and a partridge in a pear tree.
So, I know that the Twelve Days of Christmas come after Christmas and before Epiphany (January 6th, I believe), but I never know whether the “First day of Christmas” is Christmas Day proper or if it’s Boxing Day…Anyways, I’ve had two family Christmas celebrations so far—one with my dad’s side of my extended family, and my immediate family Christmas. My most exciting gift was a passive guitar pickup for my acoustic guitar.(Google Images is handy for this sort of picture.) I got to use this pickup yesterday at church, where I play guitar for our praise team, and boy did it sound MUCH better than trying to mic my guitar with a normal mic! And this way I didn’t have to worry about hitting the mic with my hand while strumming.The last family Christmas—with my mom’s side of our family—is this Saturday. I’m…

“Up”

My dad got “Up” for Christmas from my uncle’s family (that’s my uncle who’s his brother). And we are now watching it, supposedly to make sure that the DVD isn’t scratched. I know it’s partly that, but also for the pure entertainment that Dad finds in this movie.And it is highly entertaining—for once, it’s a good movie that’s neither a sequel nor a new version of an old superhero.The main reason I like this movie is that it’s witty and true—Carl is so much a member of the elder generation that it’s perfect! (He reminds me of my dad sometimes.) And little Russell is a perfect male version of my eleven-year-old friend Bee and her younger sister. The interaction between the two of them kinda reminds me of Dennis the Menace and Mr. Wilson in the comics. (I never saw the Dennis the Menace movie, though.)It’s great to see a movie encouraging interaction between these generations… and such a well-made one, too. Maybe more kids will talk with older adults now. (And maybe older adults will tole…

¡¡Feliz Navidad!!

Y que uds. tengan un buenísimo día de celebrar el nacimiento de nuestro Señor y Salvador, Jesucristo.Blessed be the Lord God of Israel,
  for he has visited and redeemed his people
and has raised up a horn of salvation for us
  in the house of his servant David,
as he spoke by the mouth of his holy prophets from of old, that we should be saved from our enemies
  and from the hand of all who hate us;
to show the mercy promised to our fathers
  and to remember his holy covenant,
the oath that he swore to our father Abraham, to grant us
  that we, being delivered from the hand of our enemies, might serve him without fear,

in holiness and righteousness before him all our days.And you, child, will be called the prophet of the Most High;
  for you will go before the Lord to prepare his ways,
to give knowledge of salvation to his people
  in the forgiveness of their sins,
because of the tender mercy of our God,
  whereby the sunrise shall visit us from on high
to give light to those who sit in darkness and …

“Taking Immanuel next door”

In honor of tonight, the Christmas Eve Pre-party:After leading the people out of Egypt, one of Moses' first tasks was  to build the tabernacle, a place where God would descend to dwell among the people. This was a temporary, movable meeting place. Many years later, Solomon would build the temple, a more permanent, glorious place for God to meet His people. It was while the temple was still serving its purpose that the prophet Isaiah gave an astounding prophecy: “Therefore the Lord himself will give you a sign: The virgin will conceive and give birth to a son, and will call him Immanuel” (Isaiah 7:14). Immanuel — God with us.What made this prophecy so incredible was that one day, God's presence would not just inhabit a building; it would manifest itself in human form, the person of Jesus Christ (Matt. 1:23). In the coming of Jesus, God dwelt among us in the most tangible and personal way possible. He became us.…But if God is with me — and in me — it stands to reason I can and …

“Map of Online Communities” circa 2010

Remember that map of online communities that I loved? There’s a new and improved version….*does happy dance*By the way, you can see the larger version on xkcd.

Observations on “Dawn Treader”

My sister treated me to “Voyage of the Dawn Treader” at the local cinema yesterday. I enjoyed it so much, I wanted to re-read the book immediately.Of course, I do not own this book; my sister does. She had first dibs and finally finished it late last night.Now that I’ve also finished it (a feat accomplished early this afternoon) and have also been able to compare the two (my memory of the book was kinda foggy), I have a few observations:At least they didn’t add too much of a love interest this time… but still…The way in which they sliced, diced and spliced adventures from the book to make the movie was kind of odd, but it seemed to work.There were more wishy-washy “believe in yourself” type messages in the movie than in the book.Eustace in the movie was PERFECT! As in, the movie seemed to capture his character quite well.The movie was definitely darker than the book… but aren’t all modern movies? I’d at least feel comfortable reading the book to younger kids, whereas the movie would p…

Blog upkeeping

Just figured I’d post a public notice: since Yahoo is making the silly move of shutting down the Delicious bookmarking service, I’m in the process of moving all my bookmarks (now 824 of them!) over to a service called Diigo. And then, when I was changing over the linkroll in the sidebar from Delicious to Diigo, I noticed that I could add a couple more little widgets to the sidebar/footer. So, now there is a list of “well-read letters” showing the posts with the most views, and at the bottom there is a pageview counter. I haven’t quite figured out how to make the pageview counter center…. but I’ll figure out something to make the formatting look better.

Things I’ve suspected #1,520 (Erroneous quotes edition)

You know all those famous quotes that people attribute to famous people? Like the quote “A woman’s heart should be so hidden in God that a man must seek Him in order to find her.” Probably not a C.S. Lewis quote (or a Maya Angelou one either). I think it’s Max Lucado but I haven’t found the source for it yet.But anyways, here’s another one, coming from the theological types: “In essentials, unity; in non-essentials, liberty; in all things, charity.” At the theologically Wesleyan university that I attend, this line has always been attributed to John Wesley, beloved father of that theological tradition. I wondered this morning where he had said that, so I did a Google search… turns out it wasn’t him at all, though he no doubt subscribed to that school of thought.Instead, it is a translation (poetic, too) of a line in a 1617 Latin book called “De Republica Ecclesiastica Libri X” by Marcus Antonius de Dominis—a man I have never heard of before now, but with a name and a book like that, he…

The problem with Twitter

I don’t have texting. Yet I have a Twitter account. I accomplish this via a desktop widget on my laptop.Of course, this means I use Twitter only when I’m at my laptop.Sometimes I think of something that I want to post on Twitter—a quick reflection on a piece of news, or whatever—but I realize that, because of Twitter’s extremely time-sensitive nature, it doesn’t really make sense to post anything about it even just a couple hours after the fact. I’d just be behind the times.Then there are other instances when I can think of something to write that is quite timely, but much too long for a Twitter update, even if it comes to me in response to something I saw on Twitter.So these are my problems:Twitter has a memory of about thirty seconds; no long-term memory exists for it.Twitter allows thoughts about ten seconds long, no more. No logical, well-developed conclusions can be permitted; they’re just too long.And that is why I still haven’t abandoned my personal blog.

Living as a sacrament (Tozer again)

I often fret about the comparatively little time I spend reading my Bible.It’s as if the time spent reading the Bible, praying, reading devotionals or singing worship songs must be equal to the time I spend in my waking hours doing anything else… which would, of course, amount to a solid 7 or 8 hours a day doing those things.But then what of the other 7 or 8 hours? Are they wasted hours, because I am not steeped in God’s Word then?It pushes me to despair. And then I am refreshed by something like this, part of the A. W. Tozer book I’ve finished (re)reading tonight.One of the greatest hindrances to internal peace which the Christian encounters is the common habit of dividing our lives into two areas, the sacred and the secular. As the seas are conceived to exist apart from each other and to be morally and spiritually incompatible, and as we are compelled by the necessities of living to be always crossing back and forth from the one to the other, our inner lives tend to break up so that…

Tozer’s secret of community

Yeah—community is a buzzword in Christian circles (and octagons for that matter). People wonder how to define it, how to create it, how to nurture it—I do too. Who doesn’t want community?But it’s elusive.Maybe we’re barking up the wrong tree, though, by focusing on community itself. If it’s anything like humility, the moment you turn your attention to it in and of itself it begins to break down…Has it ever occurred to you that one hundred pianos all tuned to the same fork are automatically tuned to each other? They are of one accord by being tuned, not to each other, but to another standard to which each one must individually bow.So one hundred worshippers meeting together, each one looking away to Christ, are in heart nearer to each other than they could possibly be were they to become “unity” conscious and turn their eyes away from God to strive for closer fellowship. Social religion is perfected when private religion is purified.--A.W. Tozer, towards the end of the chapter “The Gaz…

Futile vows to myself never pan out…

Remember how I used to post fairly often on my blog, before I was a junior in college? And then how it all dropped off sometime last school year, and I haven’t yet learned to pick the pace up a bit?That was the days before a lot of homework that involved my computer. Also before the days when I got really distracted during said homework, browsing Facebook and re-watching favorite YouTube videos.I bring this up to provide the background for this past week. Over Thanksgiving break—just one week from today, I believe—my brother and I determined that the power supply for my laptop had basically died. Without my laptop, I was forced to rely on the school library’s computers for most of my homework.That was great incentive to do it efficiently—who really wants to spend all day in the library?And then, after getting back to my apartment after supper (or whenever), I was without my laptop all night.It was pleasant—I read, I wrote in my journal, I talked to my friends, I read some more, I thou…