Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Goals for 2011

Now that we are three quarters of the way through 2011, I thought it would be good to reflect on some goals I had set. If I haven't met any of them, then there's time to get on it still.

1. Slow down: rushing has become a pattern even when unnecessary. Epic Fail. This year seems worse than any year in the past. Two kids involved in multiple sports, Lynn's work, my work, homework, etc. Feels like we're rushing all the time, even when we're laying in front of the tv.

2. Enjoy my pipe at least once a week. Nope. Can I make up for missed weeks by smoking every day till the end of the year?

3. Learn to enjoy the mundane. I do think I've gotten better at this. I even enjoyed mowing the lawn this year, or at least hated it less.

4. Reflect on my readings more (a post-it-note inside each book with one thought it stimulated). Did better at this, but as a lot of my reading came from the library, I should've written reflections in a place that would be permanently accessible. Still room for improvement.

5. Drink less beer. Nope - but I have tried some interesting new beers.

6. Drink more wine, and maybe some Scotch. Nope. Red wine still tastes like cough medicine to me. Like scotch though.

7. Read more dead theologians. Yes. I've been working through Calvin's Institutes and Luther's commentary on Galatians. I've also been reading early reformers, though not their work as much as peoples summaries of their work (not so good with French, etc.).

8. Don't feel guilty for reading fiction. I may have been too successful here. I've read a ton of fiction this year.

9. Stay in better contact with old friends. Some. I've made contact with good old friends that I had fallen out of contact with. Still need to do better. For my excuse, so #1.

10. Play more - not just watch more. Yeah. I've been pretty serious about playing with the boys - baseball, soccer, football, action figure and power rangers (with Luke).

11. Golf at least twice - which is two times more than last year. Nope - but I can make this up! Golf anyone?

12. Get better at woodworking. Maybe. I think I've got another desk project coming my way.

13. Finish the icemaker. NOPE. Six years it hasn't been finished. Do we really need it now?

14. Change my own oil - it's really not that hard! Nope. See #1.

15. Teach Caleb how to change the oil. Ok, I need an oil change. Maybe this week.

16. Go birdwatching more - I've got the books and the binoculars. No.

17. Be on the internet less - especially at home. Yes. Not having a home computer for 4 months made this goal an easy one to meet.

18. Read the Institutes (finally). About half way there.

19. Take more walks - in the neighborhood, in the woods, on campus, in the mall - who cares. Definitely no. Don't remember the last time I went for a walk, unless it was a rushed walk across campus to get to my car before I got a ticket.

20. Do less via email and more over the phone. No. Phone calls are so hard.

21. Do less over the phone and more face to face. Yes. I have had lots of wonderful meeting this year, meeting that I wouldv'e done vial email or phone a year ago.

Ok, so I have a lot of work to do. Better hurry up and get to it.

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Song of the Week

Psalm 40 has been a theme psalm the past week. It was the Scripture reading in the 1st service this past Sunday and John shared a great devotional from Psalm 40 at staff meeting this morning. This song seems to fit that psalm pretty well.

Waterdeep, 'You Have Redeemed My Soul'

Monday, September 19, 2011

Song of the Week

Heard this song at Connexion two weeks ago and I really like it.

Gungor, 'Beautiful Things'

Monday, September 12, 2011

The Appeal of Legalism

I had an epiphany this morning in Starbucks while discussing the book The Life of a God-Made Man with my good friend Aaron. I've enjoyed the book and our discussions together, but today I was mildly frustrated with a paragraph in the chapter "A Man and His Wealth." Here's what the author, Daniel Doriani, writes,
"Being rich towards God means [seeing] that an old car can be viewed as an embarrassment or as a gift to the kingdom. If you have $40,000, which is the nobler use - to purchase one 'cool' vehicle or to provide a century of food, clothing, and Christian education for impoverished children overseas (ten children for ten years at $400 per year)?"

I certainly agree in substance with what Doriani is saying, but where do you draw the line. Should I choose a $5000 clunker of a mini-van or a reliable and comfortable $15,000 mini-van? It could certainly be argued that using the extra $10,000 could be used for more noble purposes? Ok, what about a $10 movie (which is really $20 because I never go alone)? Can I justify going to a movie or should I find a nobler use for the money?

In my conversation with Aaron this morning I was pushing for a line, a clear black and white - this is how much you can spend without feeling guilty. Then it hit me (thanks in large part to my friend). I want the line, the rule, the clear black and white, so that I won't have to wrestle with the heart issues involved. Ouch. That's pure and simple legalism of the Pharisaical variety! I wanted to say, 'There, I followed the rules. I'm good, go away guilty feelings'. (By the way, I refuse to feel guilty for going to a movie on occasion! How you spend your money isn't the point of this post really.)

We're all drawn, by our nature, to legalism. In part, I think, because it allows us to dodge tough heart issues (and in part because it fuels our pride). Steve Brown just might be right when he contends, "I believe that we show our depravity less by the bad stuff we do than by our reversion to Pharisaism" (A Scandalous Freedom: The Radical Nature of the GospelReligion & Spirituality Books)).

Song of the Week

Haunting song from one of my new favorite groups (at least for this month).

Black Label Society, "Shallow Grave"

Wednesday, September 07, 2011

Song of the Week

Some unexpected developments kept me pretty busy and preoccupied yesterday and I forgot to post a song of the week (amazingly, the earth kept spinning). When I've had time I've been reading Luther's Commentary on Galatians preparing for my ACG. So, in honor of Luther...

Chris Rice, "A Mighty Fortress is Our God"