June 19, 2013
In addition, the emotional rollercoaster of life has taken me for a ride. My grandmother was finally honest with our family (since my mom will be arriving in town tomorrow and the truth cannot be hidden anymore). She has been going through chemo for lung cancer that returned. She's lost 20 pounds during her treatments these past few months, which makes her 80 pounds right now. She's thinking it's time for Hospice. Please just pray for mercy and comfort for her right now. Thank you friends.
June 10, 2013
Summer is also the season in which Timothy and I are learning how to do all things baby-related. Last week, we began birthing classes at our hospital of choice, Missouri Baptist. We will also be taking classes in a wide range from infant care to parenting choices to breastfeeding. Some friends have lent us several books over lots of different baby topics that we are currently reading. We are also picking up most of the books available to us through our local library. We will be attending a seminar on cloth diapering. We are going to be some of the most book-learned soon-to-be parents by the time Baby arrives in August. (Not that we think in the least that any of these classes or books will prepare us for life with our little blessing, but we can try.)
As June ticks away, I find myself wondering just when Timothy and I will get to meet Baby. I suspect two weeks after the due date, so the end of August (likely the 30th or 31st). Timothy thinks around 3-4 days late, so August 20-21. There are our predictions. Now, let's see when Baby actually makes an appearance :)
May 29, 2013
If you've never read 1984 before, doublethink is defined as the acceptance of two mutually contradicting beliefs as correct. An amusing example of this would be the Dufflepuds in C.S. Lewis' Voyage of the Dawn Treader. When their leader says something they are quick to agree with him and say how smart he is, but when Lucy disagrees with him they are quick to also agree with her and say how wise she is. Truth is nothing but what is "right" at the moment. In our culture, we can even further to say truth is whatever "feels right" at the moment.
If you do not know anything about relativism, it is the current standard of today by which banners of "toleration" and "coexistence" are flown. Their motto is, "What you believe is right for you and what I believe is right for me." That is, unless you believe in an absolute truth. Then you're just wrong. The problem with flying the banner of relativism is by stating, "There is no absolute truth," you are stating an absolute truth. A bit contradictory, don't you think?
So why is relativism so appealing? Relativism frees us from the obligations and social responsibilities of our beliefs. It allows us to say, "I would never do it, but it's okay for them," or "I don't need to defend my beliefs because what I believe is right for me and what you believe is right for you." What fascinates me is the fact that relativism itself parallels in a society with the obsession of evidence and proof. How often have you heard the phrase, "I don't believe in God because there is no evidence for Him." Yet, with relativism there is no debate and no argument. No evidence is necessary and I don't need to reevaluate my beliefs and opinions based off of external evidence or arguments because they are mine and so they are right for me.
Furthermore, champions of relativism would have no way of condemning hate groups like the Westboro Baptist Church, or the KKK, or Skinheads, or Nazis. After all, "What they believe is right for them." To condemn them is to say there is some moral ground on which we stand, some standard outside of ourselves by which we judge, and some absolute truth to which humanity is held accountable. Yet argument and reason is not going to get through to the relative generation. What will get through to them, and what our challenge is as pastors of the relative generation, is to share with them personal experience. After all, that's what relativism is all about.
We need to some way share with this generation the personal, loving God. We need to expose them to the Father in heaven, who knows the number of hairs on their head, who loves them despite everything they have done, and who welcomes them with opened arms. However, our job does not just end there. Jesus's parables about lost sheep, lost coins, and a prodigal son does not end with the account of finding the lost, but with bringing the lost back into the fold. The church has a great, long history that is rich and plentiful, full of fellowship and liturgy. It is our connection to the Church through space and time that makes us part of the church. Personal experience is the lead to bring back the lost, but it isn't until we connect them to the communion of saints that the task is complete. This is how we win back the relative generation, and this is our task as pastors of this age.
May 15, 2013
Baby continues to be healthy and active. I have lots of happy dancing feet pounding my tummy throughout the day. However, I am in no place to complain. Baby is active, which is a good sign. Baby is healthy, based on all the tests that the doctor can run. Baby is growing. I am healthy and not experiencing any of those "pregnancy side effects." While I am more careful, I can still be as active as I want to be. I have a great excuse to eat lots of healthy foods. Bottom line, there is no cause for concern. As long as everything continues as it has been going for the past six months, there's also no reason to believe that Baby will be born dangerously prematurely.
Timothy and I are very thankful to have been blessed as we have with Baby and a healthy pregnancy.
May 5, 2013
We got back late last night from our trip to Atlanta. We left Thusday night to head down to her brother's graduation. We drove most of the night and arrived by 7:00 in the morning and had a small breakfast. Marie's brother was busy so we headed off to Olympic Park, the sight where they hosted the 1996 Olympics. We walked through the park for a bit and then went to the World of Coke. We went through the museums and then had a lot of free Coke-a-Cola product samples. After that we went to our hotel, checked in, and crashed. We were able to sleep a couple of hours before Marie's parents arrived. After they got there we went with them out to dinner and stuffed ourselves on Mexican. Once we were done with that we finally met up with Aaron to get tickets for graduation.
Graduation was long, but we got to watch Aaron walk and receive his masters in Mechanical Engeneering! And after that we went back to the hotel, had a couple drinks, and then decided that we needed some Chinese and stuffed ourselves again. Not long after we decided it was time to go to bed. Besides, Marie and I were exhausted. In the morning we went down to the lobby with Marie's parents and spent a couple of hours talking and having coffee. After the 'designated time,' we met up with Aaron again and we decided to go to Ikea. Marie and I had never been before, and let me tell you it was an experience. Before we headed out we decided to stuff our faces yet again at Taco Mac's. It was pretty good. But, as all good things, it had to come to an end. So Marie and I got back on the road and headed back home. It was a long weekend, but it was good to see family that we don't get to see often!
May 1, 2013
We're excited for all of our friends receiving calls and vicarage placements, specifically our friends Hunter and Elizabeth from Alaska. They will be receiving a vicarage placement, most likely not in St. Louis. They are thrilled to have an opportunity to be traveling (something a native Alaskan doesn't have much chance to do). They will also be getting a break from the stressors that they have found in St. Louis through the Seminary. Although we will be sad to see them go, we are beyond thrilled for them!
That's one of the hard things about Call Day. We will not see the students receiving calls and vicarage placements after they move this summer (unless we go to visit). When the current second years return from vicarage, we will be leaving on our own vicarage adventure. When we return, they will be graduating and entering first calls. It's a bittersweet time, in the midst of all the excitement.
April 16, 2013
See, we can look back on Israel in judgement and condemnation (And let's face it, what Christian hasn't at one point said, "I would have recognized Jesus as the Messiah if I was there?") now because it's already a thing of the past. You foolish people, each time you turn from the Lord and worship false idols bad things happen to you! I can see it plainly because I am reading this in the histories of the Bible. But "Why do you look at the speck that is in your brother's eye, but do not notice the log that is in your own eye?" It's easy to condemn Israel for their foolishness, but if we are honest with ourselves and with God, we are just as bad as Israel. I do not have enough fingers for the amount of sins that I can think of that I have committed this week (and it's Tuesday morning!). And that does not include the ones that I am ignorant to. Before we condemn Israel or anyone else for their sinfulness, we must first examine ourselves and he who is without sin be the first to cast the first stone. In other words, don't worry about condemning others for their sin, instead bring your own heart before the cross to repent of your own sins. Only after you have done that can you then gently encourage others to do the same.