I overheard some ladies at the Chinese restaurant where I picked up lunch yesterday, grumbling about how the men in their Bible study were just so obsessed with the little details of the Bible that they missed the big picture. "It's just all that... theology. Ugh."

I felt very pleased with my self-control that I managed to keep my wails of dismay to myself, and very pleased indeed that I also held back the lecture on the fact that everyone has a theology, it's just either a good one or a bad one, that theology just means "the study or knowledge of GOD," for crying out loud, and everyone on the PLANET possesses beliefs about God (even atheists!) and if you think theology is about arguing over whether Martha and Lazarus were half-siblings or if the punctiliar emphatic aorist in the Greek indicates a completed action, YOU NEED HELP! AUGH!!! But I didn't say it. Nope! Self control, right there.

So I'm just saving THAT rant for my students. HA.

In the words of a wise friend: "You [ought to] study theology the right way, where truth moves your heart to joy and praise. If more of us would do it this way, maybe it wouldn't have such a bad rap in some circles. Theology should not intimidate the uninitiated, but cause them to want more of it, like a thirsty man who finds water in the desert. "


Ch-ch-check it out...

My buddy Paul is an awesome writer and wicked smaht. So do yourself a favor and head over to his blog, where he's doing a series on whose job it is to train pastors. Get movin' and join the conversation!


Evangelism and the Single Girl

I stink at evangelism. Really. I can't remember the last time I shared the Gospel, or even had a spiritual conversation, with an unbeliever who wasn't a) related to me and under age ten or b) my student. No, I can, it was probably with one of my neighbors in the apartment complex I lived in two and a half years ago. The only reason I knew my downstairs neighbor, Jasmine, is because she liked to listen to hip-hop while studying at 1 a.m., and the only reason I knew my across-the-hall neighbor is because he was completely insane, not unlike several of the other people who lived there. I don't think I ever told you about the time that one of the downstairs residents kidnapped (catnapped?) my next-door neighbor's cat and refused to return it.

Anyway, I digress.

I live by myself in my condo, which I totally love about 75% of the time, particularly when I don't feel like cleaning. The other 25% of the time, I feel either like a cloistered nun (who, uh, is on Facebook) or a weird recluse. Good thing I don't have any cats. I've met a few of my neighbors, and they're nice people, but I haven't felt comfortable going door-to-door and introducing myself or trying to form relationships with them. And herein lies my problem.

I totally believe that God has put me in this place for this time. It's not an accident that I live here, or that I have the neighbors I have. But what's a single girl to do? This is a pretty good-size metropolitan area I live in, and while it's quite a safe neighborhood, you just never know. I honestly don't feel right about going out by myself to knock on doors -- apart from the safety issues, what do you do with the propriety issues that arise, like finding yourself on the front steps of a house full of college-age boys? But how else besides meeting my neighbors am I supposed to even be in contact with adult non-Christians?

It's a very angsty issue for me, really. I want to be wise and safe, but I must be obedient.

I don't have any concluding thoughts, because I haven't concluded my thinking on this subject. If anyone has any suggestions, insights, or practical considerations, I'm all ears. Or whatever the online equivalent of ears is.


...and this is why I love classical education.

"True virtue, my dear Mrs. Graham, consists in a conscious resistance to temptation, not ignorance of it."

-- from The Tenant of Wildford Hall, BBC adaptation


A Mixed Bag of Randomness

Bit of randomness #1: I rarely watch The Simpsons, but I happened to be home when this week's episode ran. It was my favorite kind of Simpsons' episode, made up of a handful of mini stories that the characters tell each other. While The Simpsons' sharp political critique has been blunted of late, this episode leveled some mid-range missiles at public education, showing the brilliant Maggie's efforts at daycare creativity being thwarted and suppressed by a mediocrity-obsessed headmaster who knocks over her block sculptures and ruthlessly enforces conformity. Good stuff.

Bit of randomness #2: Chowhound, a foodie-type message board that is priceless for seeking out info and advice about everything food-related -- grilling burgers, sourcing uni, pairing wine, finding a great Lebanese restaurant in Sydney, using an immersion blender -- you name it, you can find it on Chowhound. One of the recent topics asked what typically "foodie" foods we just will not eat. Here's what I came up with (partially):

Pate and/or liver mousses and/or meat-based terrines
Sea urchin
Raw bivalves in general
Offal (except maybe sweetbreads. MAYBE)
Raw seafood in general
Pork belly (except in bacony form)
Blue cheese
Washed-rind cheese
Mushrooms, unless chopped so finely that I can't detect them

Now, dear friends and sharp-eyed readers will recognize a common theme here: texture! 95% of the time, if I dislike a food, it's not the flavor that puts me off, but the texture! Anybody else have texture "issues"?

Bit of randomness #3: In the last few months, I've watched a half-dozen French movies (yay, Netflix!). I couldn't tell you what any one of them was about, but I can tell you that I liked them all. What is it that is just so satisfying about French cinema? Languid, unhurried pace? A decided lack of the overwrought melodrama that pervades even the best American movies? The deliberate avoidance of the obvious? Yeah, it's probably all that, but the verdict is that French movies are teh awesome.

Bit of randomness #4: I am at last getting around to that blasted no-knead bread everyone was going on about all over the interwebz last year. I'm not what you'd call a "joiner" with the latest fads, and besides, I was pretty sure you needed a big covered enamel cast-iron pot with a lid that doesn't have a plastic handle on it, in which to bake the bread, and I was just not willing to go out and buy one. I'd love one. I'll probably get one eventually. But just so I can bake one kind of bread? Probably not.

Bit of randomness #5: Yay! School! As much as I am enjoying my summer (and I am!), I'm really feeling ready to get back in the groove of teaching. I function much better with a schedule, and I struggle to finish tasks when I have days and weeks of unscheduled time to kick around in -- I can always excuse my laziness with, "Oh, I can just do it tomorrow, right?" Strangely, when I have more to do, I can get more done at home. Hm, maybe I should get started with lesson plans? That's an idea.