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Showing posts from November, 2011

Blessings

I began pondering a question last week. What do you do when you’re not yet 22 and you’ve already achieved a major career goal?My dream before I graduated was this: Someday I wanted to have a job I loved, in a little town I enjoyed, and to have my own place. I wanted it to be full time and pay enough for me to live on and have a few adventures. I wanted to be challenged and never to be bored.Guess what my first job after graduation has been? At the risk of repeating what I’ve said in earlier posts, allow me to summarize for you the position I started in the day before graduation.First, it’s taken care of the tangible requirements—it’s full time and I earn enough to rent an apartment on my own that’s “practically perfect in every way.” I have enough funds that I can save some, contribute to my church, and still take road trips to Boston every now and then.Then there are the intangibles—what some would say are the more important pieces to job satisfaction. I have a fantastic boss, a Chri…

Compendium of Links #19

I spent a lot of time on Thanksgiving reading random links. Ahh, I was so thankful for a day off and prolonged exposure to the Internet. That was the first time I’d spent any significant number of hours just reading miscellaneous Internet articles!From College Major to Career—chart of how various college majors help students succeed (or not) in the job market.The 2011 Facebook infographic, showing that, theoretically, 11 percent of the world has a Facebook account. Never mind that some folks have multiple; it’s probably statistically insignificant.One Christian wife (and author and college professor) writes about seven misconceptions she’s encountered about submission. A short but interesting read, if you’re into the egalitarian/complementarian debate.You know how things get really… interesting when you try to translate them? Brands are even better. CitiBank becomes “the star-spangled banner bank!”C.S. Lewis and Rob Bell both hold/held questionable theological beliefs. One writer thin…

Thanksgiving

I’ve devoted very little space on this blog to my favorite holiday, I noticed. But it’s coming up in just two days now, Thanksgiving that is, and with it all the pure holiday joy associated with it.I will not name the first reason I had to consider the holiday a special one for me. The main reason, however, is the positively Christian reflection it inspires in each of us. For what are we thankful? What blessings have we overlooked this year, until now? Where do we find contentment in the midst of difficulties, or for what should we worship God in times of peace?On  my part, I’m thankful for my family. The best part about Thanksgiving is the chance I have to spend several hours on car rides with my immediate family to spend a rambunctious weekend with most of my extended family. I get along well with everyone in those groups, so the time we’re forced to spend together feels nothing like an enforced gathering. On the contrary, when we have to part I’m invariably loth to do so.Thanksgivi…

Walking to church

The church I’ve started attending since moving into my apartment is near enough that I can walk there if I want. Granted, I went to a residential campus college and rather enjoy the slower modes of transportation to start with, so my estimation of “close enough to walk” may vary from that of others, but this distance, I think, would generally be considered a decent walking distance.So, I do walk to church, about 95 percent of the time. (Once it was raining, and another time I was leaving straight for the next town over after church, so I drove in those cases.) And nearly every day after church, I am asked, “do you need a ride?”What kind folks! I thank them graciously but briefly explain that, really, I like to walk, and besides it’s a nice day out.I’ve been rather obstinate on this one too, walking even in the chilly weather and after dark. The cold will eventually get to me—I’d rather be in Costa Rica—but the dark, that isn’t a problem.In fact, it casts a whole different glow to the …

Compendium of Links #18 (Comedy and economy)

Well, I covered my first election. That experience might become a blog post in itself. And I nearly hit 20,000 words last night in my NaNoWriMo novel. If I had been able to stay awake any longer I would have written the 308 more words required to actually reach 20,000!But now for your weekly dose of really random links…ban Comic Sans – oh my. It’s a haven of hilarity for graphic design nerds. And there’s even a host of alternatives to Comic Sans. How’s that for a positive approach to what could become a wholly negative campaign? (HT: Wesleigh)The United States Department of Fear – parodying the real Dept. of Homeland Security. It’s amusing, though I don’t entirely agree with its politics. And I’m always a fan of parody and satire because, done in the right way, it can point out inconsistency, hypocrisy and/or subconscious assumptions that need to be recognized. (Stuff Christians Like is by far my favorite parody website.)Along those same lines, the Chicago Tribune recently profiled a …

John Piper’s book on missions (part 4)

At last—we return to missions and worship to conclude the book.It’s obvious by now that Piper is strongly influenced by Great Awakening pastor Jonathan Edwards, and he says as much here. Then he goes on to explain that missions is necessitated because “creation is telling the glory of God, but the peoples are not treasuring it…. The ultimate issue addressed by missions is that God’s glory is dishonored among the peoples of the world.” Then he connects worship with missions and all that with compassion for the lost: “Unbelief not only dishonors God but destroys the soul….And so missions is driven by a passion not only to restore the glory of God to its rightful place in the worshiping soul but but also to rescue sinners from everlasting pain.”The final chapter, probably the one that most enthralled me, deals with the nature of worship itself—what is this that we’re trying to propagate throughout the world? I’ll let him tell it himself, in abbreviated form:Worship in the New Testament m…

John Piper’s book on missions (part 3)

The second of the three sections in John Piper’s book “Let The Nations Be Glad!” dealt with the necessity and nature of missions work, and to be honest this was where I got really bogged down in reading.The necessity of missions, according to Piper, lies in the fact that people simply can’t be saved apart from belief in God as revealed through Christ in the Scriptures. And in the fact that the thing they’re getting saved from is eternal, conscious torment—no more, no less, no annihilation nor other escape available. Piper won’t have any of this salvation-through-general-revelation, wishy-washy watering down of the truths that by their existence implore us to get busy about evangelism and missions. (OK, so he didn’t actually say “wishy washy watering down of the truths,” but he may as well have done so!)That chapter was mostly proving the truth, via demonstration in Scripture, of the preceding statements—theological and doctrinal paths I’ve walked before and wasn’t too keenly intereste…

John Piper’s book on missions (part 2)

So. After that thrilling first chapter relating missions and worship, Piper followed with two more chapters relating missions to prayer and suffering, respectively.The gist of the prayer chapter is this: “Life is war, so prayer’s for all-out fighting, not making a nice living room more comfortable.” (That’s a paraphrase, by the way.) Piper likens prayer to a walkie-talkie between the front lines and central command, meant to keep those essential supplies and reinforcements coming. (Again, there’s a multi-page set of Bible quotations, this time illustrating all the things the disciples prayed for… healing, boldness, unity, discernment, and I could go on.) Seeking God for everything, he says, gives God that much glory—and we’re back to the whole point of a Christian’s life, glorifying God. So missions cannot exist without prayer; that’s the way God set it up to work, apparently.The feeling of being in a war, with huge stakes, and with prayer as the walkie-talkie for supplies and reinfor…

Compendium of Links #17

Yeah. I don’t get online all that much (except if I’m at work—maybe someday I’ll compile a work-links compendium). But real life is more rewarding: hitting the 8,000-word mark for NaNoWriMo last night; listening to the sports editor try to stuff as many Tootsie Rolls as possible into his mouth; walking down Main Street (or rather, the local equivalent) on a sunny November afternoon; talking to the pastor over the back fence.Dr. Randy Carlson, radio speaker and author of The Power of One Thing, has a website devoted to teaching people how to achieve their goals, and the neat thing is that it’s Biblically based. I heard about him and the book via a Boundless podcast and he sounded like he was right on target, though the cheesy language on the website made me giggle a bit.Speaking of Boundless, they had a post on what to do (and what not to do) on a blind date. Because meetings through mutual friends still surpass online dating as the number one way that couples meet.Child sacrifice is a…

John Piper’s book on missions (part 1)

As promised, I tracked down “Let The Nations Be Glad!” by John Piper, read it, thought (preliminarily) about it, and am here to convey a rundown of the book. This post will be dedicated solely to the first chapter, that being one of the three that most stuck in my mind.Sure enough, his statement that “missions exists because worship doesn’t” appears on the very first page of the very first chapter! (It’s the third sentence of the book.) So, he says, “worship is the fuel and goal of missions”: goal because, well, what’s better than worshiping God? And fuel, because as Piper writes, “you can’t commend what you don’t cherish”—so a Christian has to worship God with his life before he can convey that passion to others (the unreached).The bulk of that first chapter is spent fleshing out what it means to make worship the central goal of all of life, and why in the world God would be so selfish as to ask that every soul in the world spend its energy glorifying God. (Trust me, it’s the best th…

NaNoWriMo

Just like tearing petals off a daisy, I have asked myself whether to participate in National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo) or to forego it this year. If I participate, I’ll feel obligated to write 2,000 words a day. If I don’t, I’ll kick myself for not trying.Oh, why not? Onward with the novel-writing challenge! It’s not like it’s a big deal if I don’t write the 50,000 words by November 30.And after all, if I write more than I ponder, I could get an easy 2,000 words in a couple hours. 2,000*(30-5)=50,000, assuming the Thanksgiving holiday and one day a week are all that I spend not writing. This just means I won’t watch any movies for the next thirty days. (Also that I might take one of my extra vacation days just to spend on housework and such that I’m sure to put off in favor of writing….)Therefore, in honor of my second year participating in NaNoWriMo and with every hope of finishing again: I do declare that I have an excellent reason to slack off on blogging, e-mailing, Facebook…

Life on my own #16: Wax on, wax off

My dad has bugged me twice about winter’s onset and the necessity of waxing my car before its arrival. I responded both times: “I’m getting there. I have to wash it first, though, and ______ meeting/event is happing so I can’t wash it immediately.” Or something along those lines.Finally, the weather and my work schedule cooperated for a favorable car-care day last week! I spent my mid-day break filling up the gas tank, inflating my tires to the proper pressure (a Boston road trip really takes it out of them), and purchasing a few things to wash the car. I didn’t even have a sponge anywhere in my apartment… but now I do! A big honkin’ one that’s practically the size of my arm!I have never seen liquid wax before, though.The wax I found at the dollar store was the same brand as I was used to, but came in a bottle, not a round green tub that resembled an oversized tuna can. I purchased the strange item anyway. Couldn’t hurt.Between getting off work and covering the opening of a new wing i…

At the beginning of November

I can hardly believe I’ve spent two and a half months… make that four months… in my apartment, and have been working at the paper for nearly four… rather, over five months. It doesn’t seem like it’s been nearly that long.I suppose that’s what adulthood feels like—the days smush into each other, the weeks blur together and the months pass before you know it.Case in point: When I wrote those two paragraphs, I had titled this post “Halfway through September.” And it’s already November 1st.