Showing posts from July, 2008

Creepy and Satisfying

I, like many people, have had enough of Obama the Rock Star. This website says it all.

Of course, the website is somewhat tongue-in-cheek, and I am not implying that all Obama supporters are ready-to-drink-the koolaid types. I can understand, to some extent, why some are sincerely behind him. But the public statements made by many, especially celebrities, are just plain creepy.

To be fair, his ability to communicate something, anything at all, conveys to people that he will listen to them, and being listened to is one of the most important human psychological needs. What good is having a voice if no one listens? I guess I am too cynical to believe everyone will be listened to equally; in fact, some groups won't be listened to at all. Those with a prolife position will definitely not be heeded. There are many others who won't be either.

A second human need is to accomplish something. I painted a bedroom yesterday that should have been pai…

Political opinions

Yesterday someone implied I was negative. HMMMM. Occupational hazard and probably temperament, but I don't think I'd be as healthy and stable as I am under the circumstances (I live with a person suffering from chronic depression) if I were negative. I am analytical. Ha! My recently published novel (that was a shameless and shameful plug) deals with all the subjects you're not supposed to talk about in polite conversation--religion, politics, rape, and abortion. And it's dark.

Anyway, it's hard not to be negative about this presidential race.

First, McCain. He really doesn't seem to be working very hard. The people who are potentially going to vote for him need to be courted. The Republican party has laid down and died since the primaries. Why aren't we registering voters? Why aren't we making a big, honking deal about what Obama is going to do to this country? It may a the lesser of two evils (I don't think so), but the more evil candid…

Book Reviews

Because I am a college professor, I read a lot. Probably much more than the average person, at least a book a week. I have to rotate what I read, and usually I am reading four or five books at a time. I read from categories of fiction for fun, literary fiction, spiritual/philosophical help, teaching and learning, and professional reading (communication or humanities). Below are some reviews/comments on my most recent reading in these categories.
1. Fiction for fun. Looking for Salvation at the Dairy Queen. I picked this book up only because it is set in the town I live in, Ringgold, Georgia. It's hard not to read a book about where you live. The setting is early 1970s, more or less (she makes some mistakes on this; at one point the characters are talking about President Carter, which would be hard to do in 1971). It's .... cute. Sometimes you know who she is talking about (the identity of a prominent dairy farming family is obvious to us locals) and always where she …


Encouragement is the virtue all Christians must practice. Why? Because fear (de-couragement) is so common and because discouragement is so devastating. Everyone needs encouragement. All of us can provide encouragement, with little effort but with a lot of consciousness-raising.

Acts gives us a portrait of a world-class encourager, Barnabas, son of consolation. I love this character. He pops up in the book of Acts (and in the epistles) at various times. He doesn't preach; he doesn't perform signs and wonders (at least we are not given specific examples of his doing so); he doesn't have a formal role of pastor, apostle, prophet, or elder. He is an encourager. From studying Acts 11, 13 and 14, I see Barnabas showing his traits as an encourager in the following ways.
1. An encourager can be anybody, but he/she accepts his/her role and abilities. Paul did the heavy lifting, it would seem. And Barnabas was okay with that. One did not work more than the other; if Pa…


I now hold my first novel in my hot little hands. It's hard to believe--ten years of work actually paid off in something. Of course, it would be good if someone reads it, but at least a very skillful and credible editor liked it a great deal and felt it was worth publishing.

I also live outside Chattanooga, Tennessee, and we learned yesterday that Volkswagen is going to build a plant here. That is extremely good news for the economy here.

I have also made a mental breakthrough this summer about teaching, perhaps from reading the book Boundaries and perhaps from all the constructivist theory I've been trying to digest. The students must take responsibility for their own learning, which includes reading the materials outside of class. My job is accountability. I really do think that could be my new mantra. I plan on lecturing a lot less but scaffolding a lot more. I plan on holding them to the "two hours of studying for ever hour in class" and give them time to i…


I am attending a Bible study at church on mentoring. It involves a better-than-average book and some good discussion. I don't know if we will all end up being mentors, but it's food for thought. Many more women should be in the group, and I am only there because my summer teaching schedule allows it, for which I am glad.

Mentoring can be a lifestyle, I think, more than just a role, a short-term position, or a "relationship" (one of our most overused words). I don't think a mentoring partnership can be forced or really assigned either. Deep calls to deep, iron sharpens iron. Praying for a mentoree to be led to you might be more effective and efficient than being assigned one. There's a serendipity to these things, and at the same time there is proactivity.

The main question is, however, should I mentor? Being outwardly someone older, wiser, more advanced on the Christian path (as if it were linear and not always looping back on itself) should qualify one, but it…

Patriotism and the 4th and Death and Cell Phones

The two candidates have weighed in on patriotism.

Both have good sentiments. I will not compare. As Dr. Johnson said, "Patriotism is the last refuge of scoundrels," but he was only half right. To be a true patriot is to live the selfless life, to put one's self interest aside or cast it aside altogther for others to live in freedom and in a better country.

For Christians, the country comes after Christ and thus is in its right place. Putting it first would skew everything and justify a lot of behavior that should not be justified. The most patriotic people now are the Christians; I would lay money on the proposition that those who are serving in the military now are more proportionately religious believers than in the country as a whole. This is not to say nonChristians are by nature are nonpatriotic; of course not. It only means that balanced patriotism is part and parcel …