as a follow-up.

Merry Christmas Taylor University.

As a little gift to TU this winter, Kevin Diller has decided to join the Philosophy department. Perhaps this is a sign of things to come, for instance, becoming our own department and getting further funding to grace ourselves with more people of the caliber of Mr. Diller and the current profs.

I hope so.
I don't want to be in the BICEP department anymore. I don't even have those really.


Lunch Today.

Princeton, St. Andrews, Notre Dame.
Taylor University.

Yes, Taylor may become affiliated with these prestigious institutions via a new professor of Philosophy (potentially), Kevin Diller.  

Today five philosophy students ate lunch with him and I think it is a consensus that we want him here. Now.  He is a terrific conversationalist as well as a man highly interested in truth. Also, he vocalized his man crush on Alvin Plantinga (a personal friend of his) early on in the meal, which solidified our certainty. He must come to Taylor.


Sorry for all the undeveloped thoughts but...

I like it when my plans get changed.  It makes me aware of two things:

1. I have the ability to choose. I am not a puppet on string.  But coupled with that:

2. God is still in control.

Maybe someday I'll flesh out why I am not a Calvinist.  
And perhaps I'll write an essay, hopefully a more influential essay than C.S. Lewis's "Why I am not a Pacifist"...but instead "Why I am not a Calvinist."  

But really, great conversations about this lately. Edifying conversations, which is hard to achieve with such "hot" topics in evangelical circles.

All i want to do is write about this right now...but i need to sleep. Suffice it to say, there is just a whole lot more mystery involved in this than the Calvinist position, as I see it, seems to allow.  Also, i cannot seem to figure out why God would give us the illusion of choice, if we really cannot resist His grace, and if we really cannot choose something that is not His desire.

Obviously if you are a Calvinist you have a lot to say to that. I just wrote two sentences about it, so please don't think that is the entirety, majority, or weight of my thoughts on the subject. I would love to talk about it with you. It fascinates me.  It is a secondary issue, but really, it says a lot about one's view of God. Which is, to me, the more important discussion.


Curly Hair. I have it.

I straightened my hair for Halloween. [my last minute costume was an impersonation of a girl on my wing who...yes...has straight hair]

I hadn't straightened my hair this year at school, or last year for that matter.  Before each time I do it, I get excited, thinking that I'll probably end up loving it [like i did freshman year of high school] and then decide to take an hour out of a couple mornings a week to do the straightening deed.

hate it.

This is not because I don't like how it looks, or because I love how my curly hair looks. Its because I'm constantly AWARE of how it looks.  

This seems silly, or trivial, but I think i finally put my finger on why I love everything to be natural (including my crazy curly hair). When my hair is straight, all I can think about is myself. I have this weird self awareness that makes me think about what my hair looks like, what other people think about how my hair looks, if they think I'm trying to hard, if they would prefer if i never had it curly again, if they would prefer if i had it straight.  Every conversation centers around my hair.  Everyone wants to tell me it looks great or that they like my hair either way.  And then i realize...
                      I DON'T CARE.

And yet, I'm always reminded of it.  All that this drastic change does is make me focus on me. But not really me, just an aspect of me. 

Yes, maybe this is ridiculous, I'm talking about hair.  But really, its something a LOT  bigger.  It really deals with a mindset:

When my hair is straight, i think about me.
When my hair is curly, i can be me, who thinks about a lot more than just me.

[not to say that i am not, essentially, myself when my hair is straight. However, if i wish to define myself as someone who can think of more than just how others perceive me, then i guess i really am not my essential self when my hair is straight]

ergo, i am, essentially, not myself when my hair is straight. 
end of story.


I lied.

Maybe it was because it was 2 in the morning and lately i've been addicted to early bedtimes, or maybe i just enjoy tricking people...but the fact is, I lied to you.

In fact, the song that has been stuck in my head for the past week is not "Jesus Paid it All" (thought it was last night...so it wasn't ENTIRELY a lie), but actually it is "In Christ Alone."  Similar themes? yes.  Same song? no.  I think my mind didn't grasp that last night....

In Christ alone my hope is found;
He is my light, my strength, my song;
This cornerstone, this solid ground,
Firm through the fiercest drought and storm.
What heights of love, what depths of peace,
When fears are stilled, when strivings cease!
My comforter, my all in all—
Here in the love of Christ I stand.

In Christ alone, Who took on flesh,
Fullness of God in helpless babe!
This gift of love and righteousness,
Scorned by the ones He came to save.
Till on that cross as Jesus died,
The wrath of God was satisfied;
For ev'ry sin on Him was laid—
Here in the death of Christ I live.

There in the ground His body lay,
Light of the world by darkness slain;
Then bursting forth in glorious day,
Up from the grave He rose again!
And as He stands in victory,
Sin's curse has lost its grip on me;
For I am His and He is mine—
Bought with the precious blood of Christ.

No guilt in life, no fear in death—
This is the pow'r of Christ in me;
From life's first cry to final breath,
Jesus commands my destiny.
No pow'r of hell, no scheme of man,
Can ever pluck me from His hand;
Till He returns or calls me home—
Here in the pow'r of Christ I'll stand.

It is simply not a coincidence...

that EVERY day for that last week the song "Jesus Paid It All" has:
a. come up, unexpectedly, in conversation.
b. been increasingly relevant to any and every topic (which makes sense, i suppose).
c. been stuck in my head.

I hear the Savior say,“Thy strength indeed is small;

Child of weakness, watch and pray, Find in Me thine all in all.”

Jesus paid it all, All to Him I owe;

Sin had left a crimson stain,He washed it white as snow.

Lord, Now indeed I find, thy power and thine alone

can change the Leper's spots, and melt this heart of stone.

Jesus paid it all, All to Him I owe;

Sin had left a crimson stain, He washed it white as snow.

And when, before the throne, I stand in Him complete;

Jesus died, my soul to save, my lips shall still repeat.

Oh Praise the One who paid my debt, and raised this life up from the dead.

Oh Praise the One who paid my debt, and raised this life up from the dead.



Old Earth Creationism.

Annie Dimond

Dr. Guebert

Geology MW 2

29 October 2008

The Decision that Only Indirectly Matters to Me

One thing must be stated before I begin this essay and reason in favor of one explanation of creation over another: this argument, as I see it, only indirectly concerns to me. I really have no personal interest in the debate besides the realm of possibility that a non-christian hinges his faith decision on this matter of creation. Other than that, there are two inhibitors in my care for and/or attention to this matter of the manner of creation.  First, the fact that there is no way to ascertain direct proof, scientifically, Biblically, or otherwise, to solidify either of the main claims, I feel that we are caught up in a, many times, needless debate, primarily when it divides or causes hostility between and within the body of Christ.  Secondly, it is enough for me to know that God did it, that He not only set it all in motion, but is sticking around and is in utter control of it. To me, the “why” is much more fascinating that the “how.”  But, I’m an idealistic philosophy major, so perhaps that somewhat explains my bent towards cutting out the realistic application of the absolute truth that God did, in fact, create the world and the orders contained within it. (Not that I should allow my indifference to become an excuse for ignorance in the subject matter.)  I suppose what I really mean is that I consider the fleshing out of how God created the world to be a secondary issue, one not to be confused, however, with the fact that God did, undoubtedly, create it, which is indisputably, in my mind, primary in it most strong sense.

As I previously stated, there is no doubt in my mind, due to the order and beauty present in this world, that God created it.  There is uncertainty, probably because of my conservative, Presbyterian upbringing, surrounding the “how” of creation.  I’ve been taught my whole life that creation is a literal 24-hour, 6 day process--condemning all who would adhere to this “faulty” theory that rests on little more than equally faulty carbon dating.  It is made to sound like anyone who does not agree with their “how” is denying the “what,” denying God’s power and presence in the act of creation. Well, as one who currently adheres to the centrist view, resting on the idea of old earth creation, I cannot believe and do not believe that denial of the less scientific view makes me somehow less holy. Mostly because I know that my opinion in this matter really changes nothing about how I live out my life in Christ. 

It is a dangerous and slippery slope to begin asserting that just because an atheist may have made us aware as to the age of the earth, we must automatically reject it.  Why do we have to be so prideful?  Are atheists not able to discover God’s natural processes; is this not a part of General Revelation? Should we reject all kinds of other natural findings merely because they weren’t discovered within the evangelical community?  I believe that a good Christian can adhere to the Old earth creation view, without believing that God had to use this process.  This may, in fact, be the main difference between theistic scientists and their atheistic counterparts.  Christians can believe that God used these processes in his ordering, while atheists believe that somehow this order created itself.  We do not say that God needed millions of year, but if he used  them, does that in any way diminish the amazing work of a creation ex nihilo? And if we are to use this same line of reasoning, I suppose He didn’t need to send his Son either, but He did, and praise Him for that.  In the same way, we can praise God whether he created the earth over millions of years or millions of seconds.  

Perhaps if those in the Evangelical community have such a problem taking evidence and research from those outside the faith, they must be proactive in discovering these things for themselves instead of waiting on other people’s research.  We don’t need to be a community constantly reconciling what we believe with scientific study.  We need to be a community convinced of what we believe, allowing science to only add to and solidify our faith, not divide and detract from it.


Love my enemies.

I'm pretty sure that I'm not sure (yes, figure that out) how I ever thought it was ok to be annoyed with people.

I'm also relatively positive that being annoyed has absolutely nothing to do with loving other people, since the very act of being annoyed is only seeing others' actions in relation to myself.

I'm also quite positive that while I was an enemy of God, Christ died for me.

So remind me why I thought it was ok for me to be annoyed when someone uses too many hand gestures in conversation, or idiosyncratic, ridiculous vocabulary, when God sent his Son so that he could reconcile himself to me, a person that falls way short of His perfection, in more ways than just conversational tendencies? and oh yea, even the guy that was hammering nails through the hands of Jesus, He died for him too?  

I'm not sure where I got the notion that annoyance is an appropriate response, but I'm darn positive that it isn't, ever, not if I'm called to love even those people who hate me, or intentionally hurt me.  Too bad its hard for me to love those people who aren't even trying to hurt me, but merely infringe upon my definition of pleasant.  I have a long way to go I think.


3 strikes...

So today in geology (strike number one..blech i hate rocks) on our campus walking tour, i got stung by a bee (strike number two).  I realized i have never been stung by a bee before, and i was telling this fact to Trevor, who was (ironically) stung by that same bee about 4 seconds before.  As we commiserated together (as my teacher spoke about igneous, metamorphic and sedimentary rocks), my teacher came around the tree and said "please stop talking and listen," (strike number three), to which i whimpered, "i just got stung by a bee."

End of story.
I wish three strikes meant i was out of geology, unfortunately it just means i've probably fallen out of my prof's good graces.  Great.


Text MESSages.

I am reminded of the movie "Meet me in St. Louis" as I endeavor to write the first line of this post (which is not this one, but the one under this paragraph).  There is a line where Rose says to her father: "I hate, loathe, despise, and abominate money," to which her father replies, "you also spend it."  And with that:

I hate, loathe, despise, and abominate text messages. (and facebook and twitter, for that matter)  To which one may reply, "you also use them." Right, right, right.  As with the movie, most people laugh that conversation off with a light-hearted, "he's got her there."  But does he?  To the casual viewer, Rose is dubbed a fool, as if her father's argument had stumped her, as if she had never thought about the practicality of money before, as if, somehow, once again, the realist had brought the idealist back to earth.  To this i would say, "not so."  

Rose wasn't an idiot.  She spent money. She knew she spent money.  She never proposed that money or capitalism or credit cards (did they have those in 1904?! :)) be done away with.  She simply spoke about her feelings towards money.  Her father made the assumption that she had a problem with what people do with money, but what Rose really had a problem with was what money does to people.  So too with little technological advances like text messaging. 

The big problem has never been what people do with text messaging.  I mean, I suppose people can employ it to use foul language, to gossip, or to degrade the english language by use of LOL and TTYL and the like, but this can be done in just about any medium.  The real problem lies within the way technology uses people.  The way that it can trick a person into thinking that text messaging is a quick, efficient way to transport thoughts--UNTIL it becomes a medium that envelops all of one's time.  A medium that was intended to expedite communication has had the opposite effect, it has slowed down true conversation, real person-to-person interaction.  In the words of Shane Hipps, "it had reverted into its opposite intention."

I have often laughed when people say that technology makes people dumber. (eg the calculator)  However, if not the technology itself, our reliance on it, no matter what it is, probably degrades our intelligence more than just a bit.  If we rely too heavily on something, if we use it because it is "rational," our thinking may become truly irrational.  A quick way to alert someone of something (a text message)=rational.  A way to spend a class period, the walk to class, your time in the library, your time at lunch, and on the walk back to your dorm (a text message "conversation")=irrational. 

Rational:  (In a text): Wanna meet at the union at 10? 
                             Reply: yes, see you there. peace.
                   (In person): How was your day?
                             Reply: (Long answer that gives the ins and outs and dirty details of the day.)

Irrational: (In a text): Hey, how was your day?
                              Reply: It was so so, how was urs?
                            Reply: Purty good, so why was yours so so?
                                Reply: Just not the best, ya know?
                              Reply: yea i know. what are you up to?
                            Reply: (short answer that will easily be forgotten by the reader in ten                                                        minutes and if the reader sees their texting buddy later, will proceed to                                            ask all the same questions that were answered via text conversation,                                                because the "conversation" was not a conversation at all, it was an                                                    addiction to interaction and attention and nothing real was said)

All that to say, there is nothing wrong with being an idealist. Rose was, so you should be too. It doesn't mean you stop text messaging, but it does mean you become aware of what you can become if you let your attitude towards technology, or anything really, go unchecked.

Don't let yourself become a textMESSage. (ha. that was lame.)


Auditory Learners.

I'm an auditory learner.  Guess what that doesn't make me--a visual learner.  This is not to say, however, i shouldn't stretch myself and grow in my ability to learn and understand via my eyes and the page, but is IS to say that what gives me the most understanding and comprehension is speech, spoken word.  I like to read, really, I do.  But, if i ever need to fully comprehend something, it would be best for me to talk it out, rather than go back over my notes.  I process things verbally. 

So why, then, has it never occurred to me (before 2 weeks ago) to read the Bible out loud?  I become easily distracted when I sit and read (no matter what the material), but when i read things out loud, I am caused to focus on what I am saying, take in the words I am speaking. What a powerful time with God I am having, reading and speaking through the Psalms.  And, how different from anything I've ever done, or from the classic "quiet time."  I guess its not really "quiet,"  but I'm not sure how much I agree with the notion of a "quiet time" actually having to do with the presence or lack of sound.  

I do know two things:
1.  Though there is a presence of sound, it is sound that quiets my spirit, and therefore not noisy like everyday life.  Not to mention, what a different kind of sound than what one is accustomed to hearing in the day to day.
2. For a person who lacks the ability to feel much emotion, or emote in general, the reading of the words of passionate Psalmists is a good practice.  It gives me the correct context in which to feel, to be joyful, to mourn, to cry out in the presence of God, for and about things that actually matter, that actually should, and do require emotion.



Don't lie, you got really excited when you read this title, you thought i was going to confess a thing or two to you.  Well, no, but yes. Here it is: This whole sabbathing thing is working out AMAZINGLY for me.  And, tonight, it has allowed me to do something that has alluded me quite a bit since i've been at school: leisurely reading.  So, here i sit, having read only 2 chapters of The Confessions of St. Augustine, and I love my life.  I kinda want to stay up all night and read it...too bad Greek is at 9.  

Here are some nuggets. yum:

"You are matchless, O Lord.  So our praise of you must rise above our humanity..."

-an amazing list of "oxymorons" which may be helpful if I ever write a thesis or dissertation about the necessity of contradiction.

"Let me die that I may not only die..."

 "All things changeable flow from the spring of Your unchanging Being.  In You live the eternal reasons of all the time bound things that cannot reason in themselves..."

"Who was the 'me' who lived in my mother's womb?"

"Nor does 'today' ever come to a close for you.  Yet because of you each day does come to a close for us.  The day finds its closing in you, for it has no way to end unless you uphold that ending..."

the end for now.  


The Fourth Dimension

Yes, its Friday night. Yes, I'm sitting in my room blogging.  Yes, when you're older maybe you can aspire so such things as well. :)

So, every semester there seems to be a class that "keeps me going" as it were.  This semester=C.S. Lewis and Wendell Berry.  Great class.  In general, it is a discussion class, but the first class (well, i guess it was the second, technically, but i slept through the first one...oops) he lectured on a Chapter of "The Weight of Glory" called "Transposition."  I read this back in the day, like, Junior year of high school or something, so I'm not quite sure i haven't read it MANY more times since then. Terrific stuff.

The basic idea that Lewis addresses here is that of how "supernatural" things manifest themselves in the "natural" world.  He begins with the seemingly striking parallel between speaking in tongues and hysteria, between the the acts that comprise justice versus revenge, the consummation of conjugal love versus that of biological lust.  It seems that it is impossible to separate those things that we consider "higher" from those which seem base, or natural.  

Lewis discusses these dichotomies by making a parallel: "If you are to translate from a language which has a large vocabulary into a language that has a small vocabulary, then you must be allowed to use several words in more than one sense...We are all quite familiar with this kind of transposition or adaptation from a richer to a poorer medium.  The most familiar example of all is the art of drawing.  The problem here is to represent a three dimensional world on a flat sheet of paper.  The solution is perspective, and perspective means we must give more than one value to a two-dimensional shape.  Thus in a drawing of a cube, we use an acute angle to represent what is a right angle in the real world.  But elsewhere an acute angle on the paper may represent what was already an acute angle in the real world..."

The interesting thing about this picture is, though, that if one were not accustomed to the three dimensional world, the cube would be nothing but two dimensional lines, with no way to be understood outside of the two dimensional world.  What is happening in the lower medium can only be understood if we know the higher medium.  Therefore, the skeptics conclusion that the "so called spiritual" is really only a derivative of the natural world is a conclusion that is to be expected from one who is only in touch with the lower medium. Spiritual things are spiritually discerned.

Even those who can spiritually discern a higher dimension are limited to natural words.  We can only talk about this in terms that exist within the fourth dimension.  And, those who have not experienced this fourth dimension can only explain things in terms of the third dimension.  It seems as if we are conversing about the same things, however in one case the language is a limitation, and in the other the language is a representation.

Perhaps, Hell is being obsessed with our own dimension, as if there is nothing more, as if those who strive for more are seemingly striving for something less, when all those wrapped up in this dimension can see is a cross-section of that which exists in the fourth dimension.

It is not that this fourth dimension is a dream, a flimsy thought, a see-through, phantasmal mirage that with the blowing of a slight breeze might vanish into obscurity, no. "Our natural experiences are only like the drawing, like pencilled lines on flat paper.  If they vanish in the risen life, they will vanish only as pencil lines vanish from the real landscape, not as a candle flame that is put out but as a candle flame which becomes invisible because someone has pulled the blind, thrown open the shutters, and let in the blaze of the risen sun."

"If flesh and blood cannot inherit the Kingdom, that is not because they are too solid, too gross, too distinct, too illustrious with being. They are too flimsy, too transitory, too phantasmal."   

Anyway, it has just become more clear to me, after reading this chapter, that this was one of those ideas that the writer, Lewis, was obsessed with for his whole life.  It permeated most of his writings.  The whole idea of "The Great Divorce" rests on it.  In the Silver Chair the kids try to explain the overworld to those in the underworld (with little success).  In Til We Have Faces, three dimensional speech (yea, what a cool concept) will not provide the necessary words for the utterances she wishes to speak, things that may be too definite for language.  In Perelandra there is as constant relation between the higher and lower dimensions and when it is at one point being described to Ransom (a man), a higher being tells him that there is "no holding place in his mind for this." And the list goes on...

Also, it deepens my respect for fiction.  Stories, abstraction, may, in fact be one of the only ways that this can become clearer to us, in describing things that could be labeled "out of this world," we  may get a picture of that which is existing in a higher dimension, within this world.

Sorry to be a bore, but how exciting is it to think that this fourth dimension may, indeed, require different senses to sense things that, when on this earth, were pitifully sensed with the senses which are only suited to perceive that which exists in the third dimension.

Recommended reading: Many Dimensions by Charles Williams, A Wrinkle in Time (after all, just like we can fold two dimensional paper to make points touch, could not something in the fourth dimension fold our three dimensional time so that points could touch?), Flatland by Edmond A. Abott (I have not read this.), The Image in the Mirror by Dorothy Sayers (haven't read this one either)

Alright, i suppose thats plenty for a friday night.


I'm not so talented..

Especially in the area of long distance relationships.  Right now this is painfully obvious in the areas of communication with:
-St. Louis friends
-California friends
-Lithuania friends
-2nd East Olson friends (i mean, its a whole flight of stairs above me and a little to the right.)
-This blog.

It's as if I'm just now realizing that my ability to blog has returned.  Because i was away for so long, i got out of thinking in relation to or with the facility to interact with the blogosphere.

Just like when an old friend returns home or becomes available for human to human interaction after a long absence, sometimes you forget that it is possible to be physically present with them, since you had so long been unable to do so.  This is where i am with blogging right now:
Physically, quite able to interact with the keyboard, but living life as if i cannot.  The typing of these words honestly feels altogether very awkward, as if there is an uncomfortable silence between old friends as both ponder the fact that one or both has had more than a few experiences in their time apart, and neither is at all sure where to begin.

So really, i am not sure where to begin.  And may never do so.  The facts and experiences may just have to work themselves out as i continue to live life, changed and yet the same.  Experienced and waiting.  Different, and thus wholly unable to be what i was before, yet entirely dumbfounded and mute when it comes to actually relaying and therefore affirming the experiences. I suppose it will be my actions and not my words that must attest.  There is no need to begin, only to continue.  Perhaps these things become visible over time, one must hope, or else life would be spent explaining one's self and actions away.  
All this to say, I'm not going to pick up where i left off.  I'm going to continue, starting now.


Life Updates from Branson, MO.

Here I sit, in Panera, in Branson, in Missouri.  I'm, bodily, an hour and a half away from Kamp, I'm, mentally, sitting in my cabin with 12 girls, each with a heart wrenching story.  I don't have time now to write about what the last month has meant to me, suffice it to say, transitioning from working with 12 inner city 15-year old girls for a week at a time, to ministering to and loving 40 middle to upper class 18-20 year old girls for a whole year is going to be one heck of a change. I'm not ready, not at all. 

HOWEVER.  Excited, i am.  Assured that my upcoming duties will be more in line with the gifts I've been given, i am.  Wishing i had even a day in between, i am. Entirely aware that when I am weak He is strong, i am. Blessed and challenged by the experience that i am getting ready to finish up, i am.  Thankful for the friends i have made in the last couple weeks, i am.  Overjoyed that i will be able to eat something healthy and good for my body for a change, i am.  Confident that He will equip me for all that I have to quickly adjust to, i am.

sure that this is way too short of a post considering all i have experienced, i am.


I am...

a planner.

If you don't believe me, check this:  I have the next 3 summers pretty well planned out--including the hairstyle of the summer after my junior year. I will have dreads, and Alexandra will have a shaved head as we take our month long trek through Europe. You think I'm kidding, but I'm not.  I know my class schedule for not just the fall, but also the spring, and the summer of 2009. (even though, as a philosophy major, its not like i have to cram hours in). I have, in my head, and idealized version of what is going to be occurring in the year to come, and even farther on into my life.

Its not that I don't trust God to take care of it, but rather that I enjoy planning.  It gives me something to be excited about, something to look forward to.  However, that looking forward almost inevitably turns into idealizing, turning my future into something worthy of a best selling autobiography.  This doesn't happen on purpose, of course, but really, who plans a difficult future for themselves? Not I.  

The Lord knows me.  So, as I think back to the beginning of the summer when i was plagued with sickness and not allowed to go to Kids Across America Staff Training, I realize what the Lord was shielding me from.  NOT from Staff Training, mind you, but, from myself, and my planning, idealizing ways.  You see, a just a couple days ago i started thinking about Kamp, there has really not been an opportunity to do so until now, nor would there be anything of substance to think about.  Since I missed staff training, I am going in somewhat blind to this whole affair.  I have NO idea what to expect.  

Will I be with a cabin of girls who know each other or will they be simply grouped by age?  Will I be expected to have serious basketball skills or just sit back and watch them play?  Will I have a co-counselor in my cabin or no?  Are the themed parties one every week or a couple a week?  Will I build life long relationships with my staff or mainly with the campers, or both?  What will my typical day entail, any rest, no?  Am i crazy and loud enough to contribute, or will I be a quieter type in this atmosphere? What is this atmosphere?

I don't know.  And I don't know about you, but when I don't know something, I don't like to think about it.  Thus, my thoughts on camp have been few and far between.  All I can think is, Lord, I have absolutely no idea what I am getting myself into, so prepare my heart for whatever happens.

Had I not been forced to go home instead of attend the beginning of the summer training, my heart could not possibly be where it is right now--ready and waiting.  Right where it needs to be. The Lord is doing great things.



just don't do it for me. My eyes were, instead, unwaveringly brought back to the beautiful, parchment papery sliver of the moon. Unassuming, especially amidst the fireworks, yet demanding an attention, a reverence and awe. There is much more quiet beauty and mystery involved with the moon, less smoke, less earsplitting noise. I prefer the moon to fireworks.

No thanks on the fireworks front.

Also, you know something is wrong when your little sister has no idea what independence day is. Or, when asked, can't produce an answer for what we may actually be shooting off fireworks to commemorate on the fourth of july (independence day, as some, apparently not her, call it).


i expect letters.

Annie Dimond
Rt. 1 Box 1288
Golden, MO 65658

That is my address at Kamp. Really people, hopefully you can muster up a postcard or something.  Encouragement will inevitably be necessary.  Care packages are also appreciated :) (ahem, mom)

Anyway, i leave this thursday morning.  Gracie and i will drive 17 hours to colorado.  I'll spend the fourth with the grandparents and grace and then i'll leave early on the fifth and make the rest of the journey to st. louis all by my lonesome.  Phone calls are also greatly appreciated during my july 5 drive.  I'l be in st. louis from late on the 5th until july 12, when i will be heading to Kankakuk, Kids Across America for a solid month.  I'm so excited.  Remember to keep me in your prayers as i minister and am ministered to by these 15-18 year olds (weird that i'm 19).  Love you all, and I may blog a few more times before Kamp and on my 24's (breaks) at Kamp.

Love to all. California people, goodbye.  St. Louis people, see you in a couple days.  Taylor people, see you in a little over a month!


a prayer when considering that converstion

As a little addendum to my last post, perhaps John Donne's Holy Sonnet #14 should be our prayer when attemting to discern what our particular conversation would look like, and also in the process of ridding ourselves of ourselves.

Batter my heart, three-person'd God ; for you
As yet but knock ; breathe, shine, and seek to mend ;
That I may rise, and stand, o'erthrow me, and bend
Your force, to break, blow, burn, and make me new.
I, like an usurp'd town, to another due,
Labour to admit you, but O, to no end.
Reason, your viceroy in me, me should defend,
But is captived, and proves weak or untrue.
Yet dearly I love you, and would be loved fain,
But am betroth'd unto your enemy;
Divorce me, untie, or break that knot again,
Take me to you, imprison me, for I,
Except you enthrall me, never shall be free,
Nor ever chaste, except you ravish me.


that conversation.

Finally I'm sitting down to write a blog that has been a long time coming. Perhaps it is the nature of this post that makes it a difficult one to write, or perhaps i just haven't had the itch to write at all for a while. Either way, the topic is Heaven, or Hell, or, rather, the state of our soul now as it sheds light on eternity.

I just read "The Great Divorce" again. I plan to make it a yearly ritual. Why not, right? Its 146 of the easiest, story-like reading I've ever done. (OK, perhaps the Hardy boys were a bit easier to read). Not only its simplicity, but its poignancy makes it a little book i will not soon forget, but will relentlessly recommend.

I am not in the summarizing mood, so i will let you read what that back of the book says to entice you to read what lies within:

In The Great Divorce C.S. Lewis again employs his formidable talent for fable and allegory. The writer, in a dream, boards a bus on a drizzly afternoon and embarks on an incredible voyage thought Heaven and Hell. He meets a host of supernatural beings far removed from his expectations and comes to significant realizations about the ultimate consequences of everyday behavior...

The focus of the book is on the one-on-one conversations that are had between his bus mates and the supernatural beings. Each of the voyagers has some particular attitude, question, or opinion that the supernatural being is trying help rid them of.

In the case of one man, an artist, he wishes to know if he can paint in heaven, and if so, how soon he can start. He cannot let go of the talent, the way he found worth, even happiness, on earth. After a couple pages of fleshing out the man's real problem, the supernatural being answers, "It was all a snare. Paint was necessary down there, but it is also a dangerous stimulant. Every poet and musician and artist, but for Grace, is drawn away from love of the thing he tells, to love of the telling till, down in Deep Hell, they cannot be interested in God at all but only in what they say about Him. For it doesn't stop at being interested in paint, you know. They sink lower--become interested in their own personalities and then in nothing but their own reputations."

In the case of another man, a theologian, he is convinced of his relevant" ideas which are in line with the "spirit of the age," fashionable theology. He meets a supernatural being who used to be a colleague of his. Upon the being's request that he come with him deeper into Heaven, the man asks for a guarantee that he will be able to find a "wider sphere of usefulness" wherever the being takes him. He is given the answer, "No, I can promise you none of these things. No sphere of usefulness: you are not needed there at all. No scope for your talents: only forgiveness for having perverted them. No atmosphere of inquiry, for I will bring you to the land not of questions but of answers, and you shall see the face of God...hitherto you have experienced truth only with the abstract intellect. I will bring you where you can taste it like honey and be embraced by it as by a bridegroom. Your thirst shall be quenched."

Unfortunately, in both situations, the eyes of the men were not opened. Their ideas about art and truth meant more to them than the reason they became interested in them in the first place, the God from whom all beauty and truth emanates. In so deciding, the men were caught in what Lewis called the "subtlest of snares" (examples include: a lover of books who, with all his first editions and signed copies had lost the power to read them or an organizer of charities that had lost all love for the poor)

There is, however, another kind of conversation that occurs later in the book. This one includes a man with a lizard on his shoulder. The lizard whispers things into his ear, consumes his attention. When a supernatural being asks if he can kill the pest (for it is the only way to be rid of him), there are a few pages of banter as the being convinces the man that the only way the man will be free is if he is given permission to kill the lizard, which may, in fact, end up killing the man. However, the man ends up convinced that "it would be better to be dead than to live with this creature." So, the being kills the lizard. Immediately not only the man, but the lizard also, are transformed. The lizard became a stallion and the man rode off into the high country with it.

I probably just wrote out about half the book for you, really its short. I've been intrigued by these stories in the past, by each persons journey, faith, stupidity, etc, but as much as I've enjoyed reading it or been challenged by each or certain conversations, none of the stories fit me exactly, duh.

So, I was thinking that if I could, if you could, get to a place where we can identify the kind of conversation we would have, then it would no longer be our conversation. I don't really know how clear that is, but I just mean that if i can figure out the questions i would ask, the earthly things (even good things like love, happiness, beauty) i would hold onto, or the personal aims that i wish to see fulfilled above the goals that God has for my life, then, and only then, can i begin to look for those answers, let go of those earthly ideas, and reorient my goals.

It is all about taking our focus off of ourselves so that we can become ourselves. It starts with pinpointing a conversation that we are already having, but just may not know it, for "this moment contains all moments". For each of us, what is that conversation?

This is part of the song that breaks forth after the lizard is transformed into a horse:
Overcome us that, so overcome, we may be ourselves: we desire the beginning of your reign as we desire dawn and dew, wetness at the birth of light.


Alexandra Comes to Visit.

Well, my darling, fountain hopping, SIP partnering, parking lot sleeping, adventure companioning, California visiting, conversation having, future flatmate, friend Alexandra Jane just left me. She was here for 10 days. These were ten of the most active days I have had in a very, very long time. It was magnificent. Besides daily walks and challenging ourselves to not drive whenever we were able (gas is freaking $4.65), we biked 15 hilly miles to the beach on bikes that were too big for us one day, which now seems like nothing in comparison to our greatest feat--climbing half dome in Yosemite. Check out the photos from the trip, and then stay tuned for my thoughts on it, unless the pictures are enough, in which case, don't stay tuned.

Its hard not to have a lot of thoughts when you are in the beauty of God's creation. So I am going to limit myself to three major points. Perhaps I'll allow myself more later.
1. Part of the reason thought life is abundant in the mountains, on the beach, or in any part of nature in general, is that nature provides us (i've anthropomorphized nature, but I really mean that it is provided by the Provider, in the Form of nature) with an infinite amount of metaphors. Its interesting for me to think about the sheer number of comparisons that I drew as I looked at the river flowing through our campsite, the trail that wound endlessly on, the journey back down the mountain, the vast landscape from the top as compared to the enclosed sections of the trail. The list goes on. I think metaphors are important, in fact, Jesus himself used the parable of the Sower, to lay out how it is that the Gospel has been, and will be received. Comparing an element of the natural process with a personal process. I don't think it is a coincidence that there are are numerous parts of nature that, when abstracted, resonate quite poignantly with the lives of those who will take time to reflect.
2. A little anecdote: Alex and I were trying to find the bathrooms at our campsite one night, and then we looked up. We no longer cared whether or not our teeth were brushed for bed, but rather that we took time to capture beauty of the stars and night sky in that moment (see night picture above). As we sat down on the ground to figure out the appropriate shutter speed and how to simulate a tripod in a moment's notice, i just got excited. We sat there for a while, as the camera began to collect all of the light possible so that it could make a picture in which stars and trees were discernable. In the middle of one of the pictures, a car drove past, making a lot of noise, and as it did that I got really frustrated, as if the unnatural sound were somehow going to mess with the natural beauty of the picture. This, of course, was not the case.
Immediately after this little incident, my mind wandered to a recent passage in the book I am reading by Neil Postman, "Amusing Ourselves to Death." In the section that came to mind, Neil is discussing photography and telegraphy and the ways in which they give us a "psuedo-context." Of course, by the mere use of the prefix "psuedo," we might assume that Postman isn't neccesarily pleased by the presence of these mediums--or rather, that he is critical of them (i suppose its a critics job to be critical). "But there is no such thing as a photograph taken out of context, for photograph does nto require one. In fact, the point of photography is to isolate images from conext so as to make them visible in a different way." This little sliver of this enormous chapter leavese me with mixed feelings. Feeling 1: Joy. I'm extatic that in my photograph, the context is taken away. You can't tell by looking at the photo that there are tons of tents all around, you can't hear the sound of the truck as its many cylinders create noise and sound pollution...all that the onlooker can see is the beauty of the night sky. Feeling 2: Dissatisfaction. The photograph doesn't do the night justice. Though the onlooker can see the beauty of the night sky, that is the only sensory experience that will connect them with it. There are no cicadas chirping, no sound of river rushing nearby, no smell of campfire, no cool night air, the entire experience, save the particular visual one, is lost.
This has given me plenty to think about concerning the role of certain artisitic mediums, their strengths and their weaknesses, and their truth value (assuming, as I do, that there is, in fact, a truth value).
3. Well, I planned on typing a third, but it IS father's day, so I will retire upstairs to where the family has congregated to watch a classic--Remember the Titans.
Until next time.


On Repeat.

So, its weird. Lately, I haven't had any songs or melodies running round and round in my brain, but, i have had the quote from Mere Christianity playing over and over in my mind, countless times a day. At this point I have no apparent connection to make between it and the current goings on in my life, except the continual affirmation of its truth in daily living. So here it is, perhaps after I write it out, it will cease permanent residence in my day to day thoughts, sort of like the myth that if you listen to a song when it is stuck in your head, it will magically become uncatchy and thus depart. That's crap, but I'm gonna try it anyway.

"...It is dangerous to describe a man who tries very hard to keep the moral law as 'a man of high ideals,' because this might lead you to think that moral perfection was a private taste of his own and that the rest of us were not called to share it."


The Pants (revisited)

I was alerted tonight at my first (and only) wedding i will be attending this summer, by one of my faithful (perhaps of 3) blog readers that i failed to revisit a anecdote I had shared and fulfill a promise I had delineated when I composed it. See March 2nd to read the story behind these pics. Aunt Steph, I apologize for the major blogger faux pas I committed by failing to follow through on this. But, better late than never, right? (probably what that boy thought about getting his pants back...better late than never.)

If you wish to see these pictures with captions, there is a facebook album devoted entirely to this story.
Hope you enjoy, Aunt Steph!