Tuesday, July 27, 2010

that sure is 'nas'

While eating breakfast this morning, this other guy came in, and then started talking to me. He told me he was from Korea, and asked where I was from. When I told him I was from Texas, he acknowledged that that was far away from Minnesota, too, and then said "Texas is nice. [pause] but they say 'nas' there, don't they?" Apparently, a friend of his had visited Texas, and came back saying 'nas'. It took me half a second to figure out what he meant by 'nas', then I started laughing, but had to admit that, yes, some people in Texas do say 'nas'. Talk about cross cultural education. I think they could probably skip the travel part of that degree requirement and just make all of us from various places sit in one room and talk to each other for a while.

In other news, a group of us went out to a place called Old Chicago for Mary's last night before moving to her new job. I had a good pizza there, and her dad apparently really enjoyed talking to me. The next day (Sunday), I went to a worship service at Rachel's teaching parish, which is a small bilingual (Spanish/English) congregation. They operate on Latino time (and even claim that themselves) so the noon service started around 12:30, but the music was great and the people were nice. I came back, bid Mary and her dad and sister good-bye, and that evening we went to Chatterbox Pub for Rachel's birthday, where you can play games while you eat. We played Apples to Apples, which I actually had never played before, but it was fun. I also had a great root beer float. (they home-make their root beer, but I'm not sure it beats A&W from the tap)

I have finished Hebrew, and might have finished my ethics paper (I submitted it to the prof for either approval or suggestions..), so I am going to hopefully get a little reading of random things done before I go to CT to visit Livvie and start CPE and the fall semester. I should probably enjoy these last couple of weeks of breathing.

Monday, July 19, 2010


So, the funny thing about seminary and theological education is, there's often so much time spent theologizing that simply reading the Bible for the sake of reading the Bible can get lost. I've had that problem (which may partly be my fault, but there are only so many hours in the day). Regardless, I admit I haven't really just sat down and read the Bible much in a while. So today I pulled out my old Bible, the one I had as my primary take to church and everywhere else Bible for about 9 years, junior high and high school ages mostly. It's the New King James Version, not the NRSV that is the more common one in my circles now, but that Bible has all sorts of underlining, some notes, and I have read it cover to cover twice (at least), with a million smaller readings in between. It's become sort of like a favorite blanket or pillow or something. The words are familiar even in their not quite so modern English, and I still can find stuff in it based on where it is on the page. So I pulled that one out today and started reading some Psalms.

And I remembered how much I love the Bible. I love the whole Bible, even the parts I don't understand or don't like. I love reading the genealogies, the laws in Leviticus, the Psalms and the epistles. As I was reading Psalms today, I started thinking about the people that wrote them. Some of the psalms are quite personal, but I got the impression that some of them were intended to be shared, that the author knew these things would be read many years into the future.

Ignoring all the debates about truth and Truth and TRUTH, etc, I share this quote from Rich Mullins, because it's something to think about: “I don’t think you read the Bible to know truth. I think you read the Bible to find God, that we encounter him there.” Perhaps there is a truth in encountering God, but not truth in an all the answers sort of way. However, I think the we do have the Bible as a very important way to encounter God, and I think God was glad of the time I got to spend with Her while I was reading the Psalms. It's been a while.

So I leave you with this, from Psalm 33:
"Behold, the eye of the LORD is on those who fear Him,
On those who hope in His mercy,
To deliver their soul from death,
And to keep them alive in famine.
Our soul waits for the LORD;
He is our help and our shield,
For our heart shall rejoice in Him,
Because we have trusted in His holy name.
Let Your mercy, O LORD, be upon us,
Just as we hope in You."

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Language and the Bible

I had a great time at the LC/NA assembly this past weekend, Let Justice Roll. It was great to be with all those people and the speakers were awesome! Good times.

I only have one more week (after this one) of Hebrew left. I am glad of that, means I'll only have two classes to work on then. I would prefer it be my Romans class ending instead, but alas. Some weeks I feel swamped with work, and others I feel like I must have forgotten to do something. Not sure why. Hebrew leads me to something else I've been thinking about, though. Language. After looking at the Bible in its Greek and Hebrew origins, and realizing just how gray translating is, it's sort of a wonder we find these texts normative at all. For example, in my Romans class, the prof is pretty into telling us that maybe Luther misunderstood Paul. This week, this misunderstanding centers around a prepositional phrase, διὰ πίστεως Ἰησοῦ Χριστοῦ, (from Rom. 3:22) the controversy being over whether it means, as a genitive phrase, through faith IN Jesus Christ, or through faith OF Jesus Christ. If taken in certain theological directions, it apparently has significant implications over works and the role of our faith and how that happens and where it comes from and there seem to be attempts to overthrow entire theological frameworks through this one phrase. To a certain extent, I think, holy crap dude, who says either of you is right? Sometimes it just makes me wonder if we aren't making mountains out of molehills, and is this really what we need to think so hard about? Does it not lead to the same conclusion? That may be next week's answer... Sigh. But overall, it makes me think, since the prof is so concerned about getting to what Paul was actually saying...I don't know that that is possible. At all. And even if it is, how important is that? Language evolves, cultures evolve, and none of those things translate completely across borders and time. This raises significant questions about how we use the Bible and how we should. Understanding is always good, and I certainly don't want to claim that we should wander around ignorant and throwing the Bible unwittingly at people, but at the same time, are we asking more from it than it is capable of giving? Is this another way to worship the creation rather than the Creator? It starts to feel like one needs a master's degree just to be able to read the Bible properly. Just a few thoughts that have been chasing around inside my head. Maybe that's just my own prejudices getting in the way, who knows. Thoughts?

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

blowin up stuff

Howdy, y'all. I got a chance to light some fireworks on the 4th. I had a lovely afternoon with PL, then on my way back to my room I saw Felix, and he said they were going to watch some fireworks and then set some off, if I wanted to join them. I figured that would be a good thing to do, so I turned around and followed him. The fireworks show(s) -we could see about 5 over Minneapolis in different places- were pretty nice. Then we went down to the softball field to set off the ones Felix's roommate's parents had brought. There was a box full, and they were pretty cool. Nothing aerial, but some cool stuff. I've never really done fireworks before except sparklers, so this was new and exciting (not least because I am also fond of fire and explosions). We lit a few by themselves to see what they would do, then decided to set up a few 'shows' by lighting several at once. This was not as easy as it sounded, because we only had one lighter. We ended up lighting sparklers and then lighting the fireworks with those, which usually meant that someone didn't get theirs lit as fast as the rest of us, and you can't just hang out next to them to finish. They do, in fact, explode. It was fun and exciting nonetheless, a worthwhile adventure, and there were no injuries (always a plus).

In other news, I have finally achieved a static temperature in my room lower than the outside temp by nearly closing the window, closing the shade, and leaving the light off. Yes, I am aware that that seems a bit absurd, but no, I do not want to go buy a fan. I am just glad this method is successful. It shouldn't be warm for more than another month and a half or so anyway. No big deal. I'm from the south, which sometimes means I'm a little crazy. It's okay.

The World Cup is drawing to an end. I watched the first semifinal game today, and tomorrow Germany plays Spain in their semi. I have the LCNA assembly this weekend, though, and Saturday is also the third place game, so I am not sure how I'm going to manage both. If Germany makes it to the final it will be a bit easier to concede that game without watching it, but if they don't...I don't know. Hopefully Augsburg College has wireless or a television. Or something. haha.

Academically speaking I translated (we use the term loosely) the first chapter of Jonah, and did some work for my first ethics paper. For some reason I still don't feel like I've been terribly productive, but I'm not sure what I'm looking for. Ah well.

Friday, July 2, 2010

the letter P

So, I was going to write a post, brought to you by the letter P, about patience, and talk about how I often run headlong into things and get overzealous so that I crash into the wall rather than walking up to it and stepping over. However, that was about a week ago, so I'm not sure I even remember half the witty and profound things I was going to say about that. Sorry. The moral of the story, though, is patience. Just chill out sometimes and things will be okay, everything is not going to make perfect sense and all line up right from the beginning.

As for the next set of things to tell you, wow. I'm not even sure I remember what I did the last couple of weeks, except go to Hebrew class. There was some soccer in there too. The Germany/England game was a total nail biter. Super exciting. I am very nervous about the Germany/Argentina game tomorrow. I really want Germany to win, but I doubt Argentina's going to just lay down and get run over. Why is Germany my team? I have been asked that a lot lately. I don't really want to get into patriotism and stuff, and I totally cheered for the US team in their games, but Germany's just my team! So there. I love Germany like I love soccer, and there's no longer logic or reasoning behind it. It's deeper than that.

On that note, though, I sincerely wish I were bilingual. At least. English and German, and then Spanish would be my next language. I can't decide if I've failed in that regard, or just not had the right opportunities. Alas. Perhaps one day.

It's actually rather warm today, and according to the weather on my iphone, actually warmer by a few degrees here than in TX thanks to rain from the hurricane. It's sunny up here. Still okay, but makes my room a bit warm. I think the mornings and evenings are cooler, though.

I am determined to get my room finally arranged and decorated this weekend. I only have about a year before I will probably have to pack it up again anyway, so might as well have it decorated the longest.

I also had thought I might have more kernels of wisdom to impart, but I seem to have forgotten them. Wisdom is indeed so fleeting. I should probably try learning more Hebrew, too. Adios!