Thursday, May 30, 2002

excuse me. i've been sick for the last week. too tired to even use capital letters, much less to blog regularly. but don't feel bad for me. my car had it much worse. ol' rusty started coughing up blood last thursday, and we decided to have her put to sleep, as noted below. somehow i made it to cleveland and back in one piece, but i'm still a bit weary.

life goes on.

Sunday, May 26, 2002

Sorry about the lack of blogging lately. I've been pretty sick. I had the flu, which has somehow morphed into a cold.

We saw "Clones" today. It was ok. Lots of eye candy, but none of the characters seemed to have much in terms of motivations, outside of Anakin. (BTW I would probably turn to the dark side too if everyone started calling me Annie).

John Perkins book is very good. Its wonderful to me to see how people from very different theoogical backgrounds come to the same conclusions about particular issues. Mr Perkins spent most of his life doing urban community development work. He came from a very poor black community in Miss.; even saw his brother beaten to death by whites. Yet his conclusions about this sort of work are almost indistinguishable from what I've read from Tim Keller, Marvin Olasky, and what I've heard from Durham Rescue Mssion founder Ernie Mills. Given the work that all of those men have done, I suppose I should listen to what they have to say.

On the literary side, Avram Davidson has been something of a serendipity to me. All I knew of him was that Gene Wolfe respected him a lot, so that wa enough for me. The Phoenix and the Mirror is inspired by a set of medieval tales about Vergil (yes THAT Vergil) as a great magician. So the story is, more or less, about an alchemical quest in Roman times. The author's vocabulary is quite astonishing, but somehow never holds up the narrative flow, which I sometimes felt was one of Wolfe's flaws. He's certainly worth a try for you sci-fi fans, if you can find his stuff. I believe most of it is out of print.

My car died last week. But fortuitously my sister-in-law just bought a new car and was looking to get rid of her old one, so we don't have to buy a new one quite yet. Unfortunately I have to drive up to Cleveland and back to make the swap, so I won't be writing til at least late Tuesday. 'til then

Saturday, May 18, 2002

I coveted a vehicle sticker I saw the other day. It was on the front winshield of a pickup truck, and it said, printed backwards so I could read it in my mirror, "Slower traffic keep to right".

I'm reading Job again, and I keep coming up with the same troubles. How is what is said by Job's friends significantly different from the theology of Deuteronomy? How is what Job says correct and incorrect, as God seems to both praise and rebuke him? Is Elihu right, as God doesn't answer him at all? Is there someone who has made the whole book make sense?

Wednesday, May 15, 2002

Here we have perhaps the most offensive G rated website of all time.

Tuesday, May 14, 2002

Back and Blogging again.

I know y'all missed me terribly. Had a good time at a wedding up in the D of C. For those of you who know that area, we stayed in Waldorf, MD, the wedding was nearby in Bryantown, but the reception was in Bowie--30 miles away. In any event I got lots of birthday wishes from people I didn't really know at the wedding, so that was fun for me. We also got to visit with out friends Scott and Terri in Mannasses.

Finding a church on Sunday was a bit of an adventure. I found a PCA church in the Yellow pages and determined from the map roughly where it should be and noted they had a 9:30 service. So we checked out and headed over in that direction. The street where the church should have been was an industrial park. There were two signs for the church, but we couldn't find it anywhere. I decided we should just go to the first reasonable looking protestant church we could find.

Just down the street we found a United Methodist church. We pulled in the lot where about 4 or 5 people were standing around, then went into to the building. Completely empty, apart from a solitary elderly lady who sai nothing to us. I found two stacks of bulletins and noticed one stack said 8:45 and another said 11. As it was only 9:30 we decided to get back in the car and try again.

My wife had noted a tall steeple in town; a sure sign of baptists she informed me. So we went. I was slightly hesistant since I hadn't been to a baptist service since I left my parents church after college. he parking lot was full and we followed a stream of folks to the door. Once inside we were quite immediately geeted and asked for our names by a woman a few feet inside. And immediately (I feel like St Mark now) we are led to another woman. "This is Paul and Lenise" spake the first woman. The second woman replied "Greetings, can we get thee into a Sunday School class". She led us away. And lo, there was a Sunday School class which served breakfast. We partook of the food and sat down, having been introduced to the teacher.

The class was pretty good. They spent about a third of the time just taking prayer requests from the class and praying for them at the beginning. This insured that the length of the lesson was fitted around the prayer time. (Note to self, make sure to do this if you teach a SS class again). They were following a printed curriculum and how to minister in various situations. The particular lesson was on natural disasters, with the story of Paul's shipwreck as the text. This was particularly interesting as there had very recently been a terrible tornado in La Plata (pronounced La Plate-Ah), the next town to the south. Many of the class members either lived there or had close family there. The tornado went right through the middle of town, completely destroying everything in its path.

I won't belabor you with the rest of my trip. I'll just say that I'll give the baptists a bit higher regard next time I'm looking for a church out of town. God Bless 'em.

Tuesday, May 07, 2002

My birthday is on Saturday. I'm afraid I'll be out of town at a wedding that day, so phone calls will do you no good. However, buying me something from my wish list would of course be the next best thing.

Sunday, May 05, 2002

Something happened to the cable in our house such that we stopped getting a signal. That was about two weeks ago. We decided to just cancel our subscription, rather than fix it. As a consequence, I've been getting more reading done. I finished the massive Davies book yesterday, Pipes' Russia book today, will finish the Wright book tomorrow, and most like will finish the Card book this week as it's fairly light. If something important happens in the world of tv, I'll rely on y'all to let me know.

Saturday, May 04, 2002

It hadn't really occured to me til my friend Tom pointed it out last night, but our quaint little town is home to an unholy business triangle. We have manufacturing facilities for a tobacco company, a mattress company and a fire extinguisher company. hmmmm

Friday, May 03, 2002

I am thankful today that I've had a chance to read some many wonderful writers over the last few months. So many of the books I've been reading are just terrific. Here's a passage from Davies that I read last night. Darcourt, BTW, is the priest, and Al and his wife are very soon expecting, but it would be impossible to give you the full context for this:

. . . she and Al were quick to say that they did not believe that a few words mumbled by a parson over their child could make any difference to his future life.

Darcourt forbre to tell them that he thought they were wrong, and silly in their wrongness. He had reservations about many of the things which he, as a clergyman, was expected to believe and endorse publicly, but about the virtues of baptism he had no doubt. Its solely Christian implications apart, it was the acceptance of a new life into a society that thereby declared that it had a place for that new life; it was an assertion of an attitude towad life that was expressed in the Creed which was a part of the service in a form archaic and compressed but full of noble implication. The parents and godparents might think they did not believe that Creed, as they recited it, but it was plain to Darcourtthat they were living in a society which had its roots in that Creed; if there had been no Creed, and no cause for the formulation of that Creed, vast portions of civilization would never have come into being, and those who smiled at the Creed or disegarded it altogether nevertheless stood firmly on its foundation . . .

Wednesday, May 01, 2002

BTW comments ARE working again. I know y'all have developed severe itches in your typing fingers as you have been waiting to add your witty and insightful words.
Did some interesting reading in russian history yesterday. I'm starting to have more respect, or better, slightly less disrespect for the communists as I see how messed up pre-revolutionary Russia was. If you read Pipes book you get the sense from the first chapter that Russia was not designed by God to be a place for vry many people to live. The soil is just too unfriendly to gow much. The fact that in 1913 Russia had the fifth largest economy in the world is quite a testament to their hard work.

In any event, Russia never developed the common European idea of primogeniture. Hereditary possessions were always divided among all the sons. You can imagine the esult as the centuries roled on. Thousands and thousands of tiny impoverished land holdings. About 90% of the dvoriane, the closest russian equivalent to european nobility, were virtully inditinguishable from the serfs. There were, in the 19th century a group of roughly 1000 dvoriae who were fabulously wealthy (I should quote you one of the descrptions later), but they were primarily interested in finding new ways to spend their money. The group in between, something less than twenty thousand people, was the only russian equivalent to the middle class. That's 20,000 in a country that in size was three times as large as Europe. There were several cases of people making money in various enterprises, but generally whenever someone was successful, the tsar would urn it into a national monopoly so as to be able to take all the profits. Thus a nation with essentially no middle class; and frankly no upper class either.