Further Musings

Beauty smote his heart, he looked up from the forsaken land & hope returned to him

Archive for March 2008

Any Guesses?

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What famous landmark did I travel to yesterday for the first time that was just so stinking cool?


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March 29, 2008 at 7:03 pm

A Quote from the Sermon (from the archives)

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Laughter is a divine gift to the human who is humble. A proud man cannot laugh because he must watch his dignity; he cannot give himself over to the rocking and rolling of his belly. But a poor and happy man laughs heartily because he gives no serious attention to his ego.

Terry Lindvall

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March 25, 2008 at 5:42 pm

Posted in Church

Thinking on Work (dredged from the drafts folder)

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Over the last couple of months, as I’ve begun to mentally transition out of graduate and into “a career,” I’ve begun to wonder at just how complex the different people’s work lives are and I’ve begun to wonder again about how people in the church who gather in a spiritual and interpersonal context conceptualize work.

Somewhere on this blog before I’ve mused about how church is really a strange vehicle for viewing people’s lives. When you’re a kid and you run around church you see that Mr. Key is you’re buddy’s dad and an elder and you know that he’s an accountant . . . but you don’t see him function as such. The adults I saw growing up with either all in academic or religious contexts.

I think this is kind of weird because people spend 40, 50, 60 hours a week at their jobs and I wonder what we as a church have to say to them. The first thing that always comes to my mind is an alleged Luther quote: “when a good cobbler makes a shoe he does it to the glory of God.”

It seems to me that the things that everybody in the congregation have in common are spiritual issues, As such I’ve taken a typically academic approach, I’ve delved into the depths of Davis Library and come out with a book.

So before I start my new job on Monday I’ve been sitting down to skim through Church on Sunday, Work on Monday, a sociological book written out of a series of interviews with Christian businessmen and clergy from across the religious spectrum.

I thought this quote was really interesting,

“Most conceptions of religious happiness turned out to be subtractive in form: spending less time at work and more with family, needing less money, buying fewer consumer items. At no time were the potential contributions of business seen as a path to faithfulness or the happiness of faithfulness.” pg. 141.

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March 23, 2008 at 8:16 pm

Posted in Reflections

Two Weeks!? (since I’ve last blogged)

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Alas! Most of the blogging I think about doing these days is related to explaining how and why I’m not blogging these days.

Since that’s a relatively boring topic I’ll purge with this post and share a picture that caught my eye as I was playing hooky today from church (yes on Easter Sunday!). It’s been cool today to watch it open and shut with the light; beautiful.

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March 23, 2008 at 8:09 pm

Posted in At the House, Pictures

A Zinger from Wendell

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Yesterday I picked up Home Economics by Wendell Berry to begin my alternative readings in economics series.  I flipped to the essay titled “A Defense of the Family Farm” in which he gives a particular variety of professors this stinging rebuke,

Perhaps (the bad advice of experts) could be dismissed as human frailty or inevitable bureaucratic blundering – except that the result is damage, caused by people who probably would not have given such advice if they were themselves in a position to suffer from it.

Serious responsibilities are undertaken by public givers of advice, and serious wrong is done when the advice is bad. Surely a kind of monstrosity is involved when tenured professors with protected incomes recommend or even tolerate Darwinian economic policies for farmers, or announce (as one university economist after another has done) that the failure of so-called inefficient farmers is good for agriculture and good for the country.

They see no inconsistency, apparently, between their own protectionist economy and the “free market” economy that they recommend to their supposed constituents, to whom the “free market” has proved, time and again, to be fatal.

Nor do they see any inconsistency, apparently, between the economy of a university, whose sources, like those of any tax-supported institution, are highly diversified, and the extremely specialized economies that they ahave recommeneded to their farmer-constituents.

These inconsistencies nevertheless exist, and they explain why, so far, there has been no epidemic of bankruptcies among professors of agricultural economics.

Whew! Don’t hold back Wendell!

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March 9, 2008 at 9:43 pm

The Idiot

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It’s Saturday night and I can hear a cold wind howling over the tree tops through the jazz I have on in the living room. Last night I at last finished The Idiot by Fyodor Dostoyevsky which was a long and complicated novel about Prince Myshkin and the two loves of his life, Nastasya Filippovna and Aglaya Yepanchin.

These three are a triumvirate of characters that I’m not likely to forget: a Christian of such innocence and selflessness that everyone mistakes him for being mentally handicapped, a woman who is so divided between self-hatred and love that she burns down her own life to lose the man that she loves, and a spiteful girl of twenty who is cruel to everyone and especially the Prince, though she is the only character to actually see the Prince for who he is.

Part One was breathtaking for its speed and building fury and Part Four was notable for its devastating tragedy. I still have a sinking feeling when I think of the end . . . and there was a lot of philosophy and 19th century Russian social criticism that I didn’t follow sandwiched in between.

Both the first and last sections had me wondering what it is that people love in art. This art was terrifying: Part One in its whirlwind and Part Four in the disaster that wrought upon the characters. After the first section I was left wondering if this would make a workable movie, what pace! At the end I was left wondering whether or not anyone want to see a movie in which the major characters meet such ruin.

All this has me wondering what the point of the book was in the end. I wonder if there is some larger social point that Dostoyevsky was trying to make about a Russian society and the noble class of the time. So much to wonder about . . . so little time.

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March 8, 2008 at 8:16 pm

Posted in Reviews

Feeling Unfaithful

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I once ask a friend if he was planning to get a new dog when his current dog died. We talked about it uncomfortably for few minutes and he finally said “Talking about this makes me feel . . . unfaithful.”

That’s about how I feel endorsing Google Reader over Bloglines. I’ve used Bloglines for many years now. It was a great invention when it started, allowing me to survey all the blogs I subscribed to at a glance and see who had posted without checking every single one. I’ve been very pleased with it but now Charity has started using Google Reader and . . . and . . . I’ve converted.

It’s set up to do all the same things as Bloglines except it has one great feature hidden under Settings then Goodies. When visiting this page you simply drag the Next » button onto your bookmarks.  From then on new posts are just a click away.  And the best part is that when you click on Next » button the blogs themselves appear, not just the text and pictures.  No more formating issues or missing pictures.

Not only do you get to read all the comments that other people have made but you also get to see the beautiful formats and designs of their websites.  Suddenly reading blogs is a very colorful experience!  I now read all my friend’s blogs this way and have been slowly feeling less “unfaithful” to a product that served me so well for so long.  Soon I’ll be ready to declare “Come!  Give your life and information to Google!  It’s better over here. ;-)”

(and I also really like it because when there are no more new entries to read it directs you to go read a book!)

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March 6, 2008 at 3:01 pm

Posted in Geeky Blogs