Showing posts from August, 2013

Grace and Consequences

I don't think we realize as "good church people" how sinful we are because (a) we lack imagination to compare ourselves to Christ rather than to others around us, and (b) we do not see how grace covers the unforeseen, unknowable, and unrealized consequences of our sin.  I don't think grace just covers the sinful act; it erases, or negates, or mitigates, or perhaps transforms the after-effects of it.  I made many mistakes as a parents, But God forgave me and allowed my son to thrive despite it.  I have been protected from knowing, seeing, and living the consequences of my sin but more, I believe others have to.  Much of my sin is in my heart and in my mouth. 

The Valley of Vision continues to amaze me.  "Thou dost stand as a rock between the scorching sun and my soul, and I live under the cool lee-side as one elect."

Hillary for President?

Oh, please.  She couldn't even throw her cheating husband's clothes out the window.  How can she lead the country?

Yesterday I was forced to listen to "The View" because I took my mother to the doctor's office and it was on.  How I despise that show.  Barbara Walters acts like she has never had an original thought in her head (although I know she has), and Whoopie Goldberg, oh, my, word.  She tells how America has been replaced as the fattest country in the world by Mexico, and that 33% of Americans are obese.  She was not the one to tell that story.  She is huge.  Then they get into some discussion about how old Hilary would be if she was elected president, 69.  "That's ok with me, I like the person in charge to have some experience and age and wisdom" she says.  What a hypocrite!  She voted for Obama, the least experienced person ever elected president.  She just looks for something to justify her choices.

I don't usually get so adamant and op…

Life Sort of Imitates Art

While I was getting my picture taken in the group for National Seersucker Day (below), I was also waiting to have my picture taken for Blue and Silver Day, the school colors.  That one attracted a lot more people.  I was standing with another professor who is a biologist with a Ph.D. from Oxford.  She's delightful.  She laughingly asked, "Where are the cheerleaders?"  Now that we have sports at our college, we also have cheerleaders, and she is fascinated by them "in their little skirts and with their bows."  We talked about how this was a new cultural thing for her.

Ironically, even as I said that, I remembered that I wrote a novel about a professor from Cambridge who had her first experience with an American football game.  I have posted it below, hoping to get some book buzz.  This is from Cross Road

National Seersucker Day Lives On in the Hearts of Many

I love this picture.  Thank you, Linda Massey, Dalton State's wonderful photographer.
Yes, white does make one look heavier.  Apparently so does seersucker.

Anyway, Thursday was National Seersucker Day and last year a couple of teachers (the ones in the middle with the hats) decided to start a tradition of having the seersucker-wearers be photographed at the bell tower.  So, the above photograph.  I would name the people but a couple I don't know, and they may not want their names on this blog.  But I'm third from the left, trying to hide because I look like I weigh 250 pounds.  The woman fifth from the left is tiny and she looks heavy in this picture for some reasons.

Ignorant of the Faith

Christians concerned about evangelism often say that when you talk to someone of a different faith, those persons often do not really know anything about their faith.  He/she is a ___ for family, ethnic, or cultural reasons but not because of choice, knowledge of the teachings of the faith, or personal commitment.

Well, don't jump to criticize too much.  I believe that is probably true of most people who call themselves Christians in this country.  Barna has proven how little the average church person knows about the Bible and doctrine.  I find it in my own teaching.  I cannot even assume that people know the difference between John the Baptist and John the Apostle.  They define religion as denomination, so a Methodist is a different religion from a Baptist. 

Bible study is hard and most of the books that purport to be Bible studies are unsystematic, emotion- or self-oriented, or agenda-driven.  I hope to write a book on Biblical hermeneutics for dummies one of these days. 

I had…

Great Minds Think Alike

I am reposting a Joni Tada devotional a friend sent me.  I was going to post on this but hers is better.  It's a reference to Hezekiah in Isaiah.  He had a faith but it was self-oriented.  He is not alone; he would fit right in today.

Joni is my hero.

Guard the Storehouse"The word of the Lord you have spoken is good," Hezekiah replied. For he thought, "There will be peace and security in my lifetime."        Isaiah 39:8Based upon his pleadings before God, Hezekiah had been spared a painful death and guaranteed another fifteen years of life. Upon his recovery, God had also promised that his kingdom would be spared from the Assyrians. Hezekiah was doubly blessed.     It seems, however, that Hezekiah's gratefulness had only himself in mind. A Babylonian emissary visited Hezekiah upon hearing of the king's recovery. He was shown the king's storehouses containing armor, silver, gold - everything to whet Babylon's appetite for conquest. Afte…

Millenials, the Church, and Honesty

Interesting look at Millenials by a Millenial

He Had More Than a Dream, by the way

Very good thoughts on Dr. King's speech.  I agree.  I teach Letter from a Birmingham Jail and consider it more important than I Have a Dream and one of those texts necessary for graduation.

One poster wrote:  MLK was not a saint or orthodox Christian, but he was influenced by the teachings of Jesus of Nazareth like Gandhi, William Wilberforce, and many other civil rights reformers of the past, and would be marginalized in today's society for this reason. What passes for civil rights these days is an attempt to normalize morally questionable behaviors, rather than the protection of society's most vulnerable members. MLK believed rights are given to all by God, as opposed to today's movements that advocate force or bribery to take rights from one group and give them to another. Public discourse has become a platform for demonizing and talking past ea…

Just thinking . . .

It seems that as people get older and retire, there is a direct connection to their starting to send out silly emails (the kinds with jokes and animation on them).

Leadership without Empathy

I have seen a lot of leaders come into organizations over my life.  Most of the times, these so-called leaders have their own visions and enough clout, at least early on, to enact their own vision.  The message is often "you guys are screwed up and I'm here to fix you and this situation."  Rarely have I seen any one of these leaders come in and just listen, develop empathy for the people to be led, negotiate visions and goals, and co-lead rather than forge ahead.  Why is that so hard?  Is it a matter of impatience or of timing, of charging through while the "leader" still has enough charisma to get away with things? 

Microwave Grieving

When I was on vacation, there was a national news story about a bus crash in a large midwestern city (I don't want to be too specific here).  A young couple was killed, as was another woman, a mother of five.  The group was returning from church camp and was only a mile or so from the destination.

The young mother who was killed is the daughter of a college friend.  I have not seen her in decades, and only know of her life through a mutual friend.  I saw her on TV speaking at her daughter's memorial service.  I am glad that at least through this tragedy so often there were words of Christian hope and truth presented on television.

I sat down last week to write my old friend a letter.  I did; I still have it; I won't send it.  It was rude, tasteless.  I think I will keep it to remind myself that our good intentions sometimes need to be kept under wraps.  The letter came off pretentious; that's the nicest thing I can say about it.  I have no right to write my friend at s…

As Good As It Gets

The movie with the title listed above is a favorite of mine.  I can watch it every year or so.  It's just plain good in every way.

There is a line in the film when Jack Nicholson is leaving the psychiatrist's office, and he looks at those sitting in the waiting room, and says, "What is this is as good as it gets?"

But, the movie slyly proves him wrong.  The way it was for his character was not as good as it was going to get. It got better; it gets better.  The movie is about hope.

In a bigger sense, beyond a movie, this is not as good as it gets.  It gets better, in many respects; spiritually it truly will get better.  My students were discussing suicide online (it's a half-online class).  I pointed out what a psychologist friend told me once; suicide is about losing hope.

What drives us corporately and individually is the belief that this is not the end; there is not just a chance, but a likelihood, of it getting better not because of blind, dumb luck but becau…

Star Trek: Yes, I Went

I have given up superhero movies--no more Iron Man or Superman and Batman (although I don't consider him a superhero).  I am not ready to give up Star Trek, so I went to see the latest iteration last Sunday at what we call the dollar movie that is now $3.75.  Inflation.

I really like Benedict Cumberbatch, and I didn't know he was Khan and this was the reboot of the Wrath of Khan (true confession, that's the only Star Trek movie I haven't seen, and not sure why.  It's on Netflix so I guess I will).  So, I was experiencing the movie without preconceptions.  I enjoyed it, but the whole conceit of the ship saving the day no matter what the problem, and the ruse of everything being at the very last minute, get old.  The characters use too many slang expressions that wouldn't be used in 200 years (or whatever it is), such as "throw me under the bus."  (Buses in that world?)  It is truly an issue of buying into the characters who have been around since the &…

Status of My Doctoral Work and Reality

Yesterday I mailed off the prospectus for my dissertation.  I am taking two research methods classes this semester.  I edit an online journal, I am the vice president of a professional organization, I teach six classes right now (with another coming, constituting four preps), sponsor a student organization, lead a writers' group, and oh, yes, have relationships with lots of people.  But . . .

Yesterday I was in a Panera, standing at the drink station, getting my water.  A tall young man stood beside me.  I happened to look down and saw that he had not one, but two, prosthetic legs.  To that point, I thought--"basketball player."  I was overcome, not knowing the reason for his loss of limbs but feeling acutely that I had both of mine; I have never even broken a bone. (Lately I have been surrounded by people with major  broken bones).  How we  whine and complain about inane things.

Yet the idea of being driven to gratitude because of the misfortune or tragedy of others is …

The News Media gets it wrong

Last Saturday I went out to get the mail from our mail carrier.  Sometimes she has heavy packages and she has a disability, so we don't want her to have to deal with them, so we watch for her. 

"I thought you guys were going to stop delivering mail on Saturdays," I said.

"Why did you think that?"  she asked. "They haven't said anything to us about it."

"It was all over the Internet back in the spring that the Post Office was going to stop Saturday service."

"They lied," was her two-word answer.

How often I could have said that about the news media in my life.  How often have they not lied but told the partial story.  The other day Michael Yousef, the Egyptian pastor, was being interviewed on Janet Parshall's show, about what's going on in the Middle East.  His organization has "boots on the ground" doing ministry there.  I trust his word a whole lot more than AP, Fox, or New York Times.

Someone posted on Face…

Detective Fiction and Western Civilization

I am a fan of procedurals.  My husband has gotten me onto "Foyle's War" and I find it quite irresistible.  It helps that it is on Netflix (our cable has been cut dramatically because the company found out we were getting lots of stations for free that we weren't supposed to have, and this is maybe for eight years).

Detective fiction started with Poe, or maybe Wilkie, in English speaking countries.  I believe detective fiction is a particular Western phenomenon.  First, it emphasizes that the death of one person is important.  There is something about the value of an individual life and finding justice for that one person that permeates detective fiction.  I am not saying that other cultures do not value these things, but Western culture does in a particular way.  Second, it values logic, although as my husband says, sometimes it seems like the detectives pull the solutions out of their ___.  Third, the detective is not always a good person per se; he/she is relentles…

Why blog?

I have not been blogging much lately, for a few reasons that boil down to other pressures of life make it hard to focus on blogging anything of value.  Yet I have this compulsion to come back to this page and type in ideas, reviews, observations, experiences.  Maybe it is just an electronic diary that I have to censor.  Maybe I want to drum up business for my novels.  Maybe I fancy myself a writer people want to read.  A lot of spammers apparently do.

Maybe I just want to share things like this that I just can't share on Facebook.

Some of my more conservative friends would misunderstand, maybe.  I think the Onion is terribly funny, but it's also terribly offensive at times.  This article is a good discussion of humor.  The editors of the Onion point out that 1. they make their headlines follow the style of news so the style elevates it to something that gets attention, and 2.  sometimes they just tweak one word to make it funny.  

So I'm going to catch up on my blogging t…

This article explains it all

What does this explain?

First, I have heard all my life about the great saints who got up to pray at 3:00 in the morning.  But they probably went back to sleep!  yes, if you wake up at night (and apparently you should, from this research) use it to pray, to write, to read!

Second, I have slept like this for years and thought it was just to go to the bathroom! 

Third, we don't sleep enough, and we think we are special if we don't.  Baloney.  If we slept like our body wants us to, we would be thinner, happier, and more productive.  I must sleep eight hours a night to function, and I'm not going to feel guilty about it just because someone else says they sleep six.  Good for them. 

We would be much better off if we slept the same every night.

Homeschooling parents: MUST READ

This writer is spot on. 

I have taught college for over 30 years, in two Christian colleges, a technical college, a community college, a university, and a state college.  Plagiarism became rampant with the Internet, and most college professors take it seriously.  I do not always fail a student but I don't give them credit for plagiarized work, either.  I use plagiarism detection software and assignments that do not allow for easy borrowing, although it happens.

What struck me in this excellent article is that narcissism is alive and well and doesn't just exist in the Kartrashian family.  A parent who would defend a child's lying and misrepresentation is saying, "I am so involved in my child's life that it's all about me, and I can't separate from him or her."

However, I edit a (small) scholarly journal and had to deal with plagiarism from a professor at another college this summer.  …

A Day at the Beauty Shop

The other day I went to get my haircut.  I will be the first person to admit that hairstyles are a low priority for me.  They should be higher--I am a professional woman and do care about my appearance.  But I am very busy and do not want to have to make appointments, get touch-ups to color, or wait for long periods.  Or pay much. So I go to a chain "budget salon" and get my hair trimmed every 6-8 weeks.  It is what it is right now.  No color, no perm, short, a little curly.

I need a haircut a few days back and went to said budget salon chain near me, where I always go.  I usually get a different stylist, although in the past I used to ask for a certain woman who did a good job.  My stylist today was a talker.  Sometimes I get one who is as silent as the grave and my attempts at small talk go as flat as my hair (cliche day, I guess).   I want to say to the mum ones, "Don't you know you're never going to make any money in this business unless you have some person…

Dreams and visions

I may have a limited perspective on this subject, but I believe I have very vivid dreams.  They often have long, complicated plots.  While all dreams have juxtaposed, surreal elements, mine tend to be coherent narratives.

The other night I dreamed that I left teaching--gave it up.  I was taking a job with an insurance company making six figures, and very pleased with myself, although I was conscious in the dream of how much I would miss teaching and that kind of life.  Then I saw the actual title of my new position:  Executive Vice President in charge of assessment of Cremains (cremation remains). 

Assessment is a big term in higher education today, so I guess that's where that came from.  But cremation?  I had been having some discussions about it.  And people in this part of the world think of one thing when you say cremation--Noble, Georgia, the little community where the man who was supposed to cremate bodies from the local funeral homes did not, for several years.  This was a…

American Exceptionalism