Friday, June 30, 2006
Say Hello, Goodbye
...To Blogger. Visit the brand-new This Beautiful Mess, now located at http://michaelaforbes.com.
See? I told you there would be a new one. Eventually.
Oh, and please change your links accordingly.
Tuesday, June 27, 2006
After a fun and exciting time with the Hollands eating Chick-Fil-A and Waffle House while bonding with Lizzie the Cat, I came home to an empty house (Mom stuck in KC for various family and house reasons, and my brother staying the weekend with a friend after saying hello to me) and immediately got sick with the flu.
So I've basically been in bed or only half-awake in front of the TV watching Cosby reruns and crappy VH1 reality TV, all achey and feverish. Such a great way to start any vacation.
I did get my new computer today though. Eventually I'll figure out how to make things on the screen bigger, so as not to make my nausea and headache worse. Speaking of which, it's definitely time to turn this nice new computer off and close my hurting eyes.
(All that is to say...I know I need to get in touch with many of you, and see many of you. I will soon.)
Wednesday, June 21, 2006
The Summaries That I Hate
I generally dislike those catch-all posts in people’s blogs that just talk about what they did today, but that’s exactly what I’m going to do. Sorry.
For those who don’t know, my grandmother was recently diagnosed with terminal pancreatic cancer. They were originally only giving her a few more months to live, but that has been increased to possibly a year, with chemotherapy and treatment. In any case, I need to go home to see her. So I’m flying back to the States tomorrow for about a month. (Work has been really gracious in allowing me to take some of that time as compassionate leave instead of all of it as holiday time.) So, aside from Grandma being sick, it’ll be nice to be back with the family for a while.
But it makes this week a teeny bit stressful. I’ve needed to get some work done before I go, since the Holiday Club (Vacation Bible School, for you Americans) that I’m organizing is happening only 2 weeks after my return. I’ll actually be taking some work with me and doing it while I’m back, but I don’t really mind. What must be done must be done. Besides, I’ll get to do it on my fancy pants new computer, complete with much-needed Publisher and PowerPoint. (Thanks again, my friend.)
And then…I’m moving flats (for the last time….for a while) again today. And then I fly tomorrow. So realistically, it means packing, and then moving, and then repacking again to fly. Oi. Ah well.
The lovely stuff is that I get to see several friends this time. I managed a night’s layover in Atlanta to see the lovely Hollands, and eat some Chick-Fil-A and drink some sweet tea. Heather and Jeff (and a guy I've never met but am supposed to really like....?) are planning a weekend trip to St Louis so we can see a Cardinals game in the new stadium, and Chrissy is coming for a few days. All very exciting, indeed.
So…that’s the scoop. Now you know. Knowledge is Power.
Thursday, June 15, 2006
To answer those who have inquired...
Yes, you can be both a Calvinist and a credobaptist. John Piper (who, incidently, I was able to hear speak for the last three days, and yes, he's fantastic) is the most famous of those in said category, and his church is affiliated with he Baptist General Conference. (More information on the matter from his perspective can be found here.) There are also MANY Southern Baptists who are Calvinists (which is causing more than a few problems in the SBC these days.) While those who are "Calvinists" are also often "Reformed", the terms cannot be used interchangeably, as they are not the same thing. Strictly speaking, one cannot be a "Reformed Baptist", since Reformed Theology is more specific to Covenantal Theology, and, therefore, paedobaptism. However, most Calvinist Baptists tend to use the term "Reformed Baptist", probably because it just rolls off the tongue easier.
Personally, I am somewhat ambivalent on the matter, as I will not claim to have done enough research into Covenantal Theology to make a firm decision either way. My lack of a declaration tends to ruffle feathers in both camps, and I'm okay with that. I'm pro-baptism. The hows and whens are still up for grabs.
Thursday, June 08, 2006
Letters to Old Friends (#1)
Dear J –
I remembered today, how much I miss you. It was so wonderful to read about your good review. I knew – even when I used to make fun of your innate “artsy-ness”, or that painting of yours that you said symbolized “the darkness of the small everyday” that I thought looked like a microwave – I knew that you would always be J. I knew that people would recognize how beautiful you are, and how clearly that shows in your work. I knew that you’d “make it”, even if that meant living hand-to-mouth, and baking bread at Whole Foods on the side.
You know, you were one of the only friends that made high school worth it. I valued – still value – every second of every late night we spent at Denny’s. Somehow our dreams felt so much bigger then. Maybe dreams are always bigger after midnight, though.
We felt so grown-up, didn’t we? Maybe we were. We would sit in our corner booth, the only customers aside from the late-night truckers, and bounce our big ideas off each other’s hearts over a plastic pot of coffee and 5 different flavors of pancake syrups. I always knew I could trade you my oatmeal for your bacon, taking secret personal pleasure from the fact you couldn’t properly digest meat products.
And everything was game. No secret was a secret around you and hash browns. And at the end of the night, as the sky turned from black to blue, we could sing Phil Collins songs in the safety of your 1988 Crown Vic on I-70. If that’s not true friendship, I don’t know what is.
I miss your fire escape. I miss talking about who we were, and who others thought we might be, knowing each evening we were possibly taking our lives in our own hands, and that the rickety, moldy fire escape could, ironically, come crashing down at any moment.
You were the friend that loved people well. I’m sure you still do. I miss that feeling of clarity when you are around – the feeling that things would always be alright, because you had a faith one step beyond mine. You were so good at prayer, so good at praise, even when your bike was broken, and you were living solely on rice, when being a Christian was so unpopular at the art college.
Few people I know can do your special brand of seriousness and humor, of joy and compassion and depth of feeling. Perhaps a bit of me was jealous – jealous that you seemed to see things with eyes that I wanted. But all that was countered by my feeling sorry for those people who didn’t know you. If I were not me, I’d be jealous of me, just because I knew you. Because I was the one who got to share cigars and coffee with you, because I got to stand next to you when you married the man God created just for you. To this day I don’t care that the dress made me look like a tent. Well, maybe only a little.
Tonight, I secretly wish we could sit outside on your fire escape and smoke cigars, listen to the Counting Crows, and dream a little. I hate that I feel too old for that anymore. Somehow, I’m sure that having you around would fix that.
I love you and hope to visit. Your photos tell me New England is indeed as lovely as you insisted.
Monday, June 05, 2006
The concern of those who see mission primarily in terms of action for God's justice is embodied mainly in programs carried on at a supracongregational level by boards and committees, whether denominational or ecumenical. The concern of those who see mission primarily in terms of personal conversion is expressed mainly at the level of congregational life. The effect of this is that each is robbled of its character by its separation from the other. Christian programs for justice and compassion are severed from their proper roots in the liturgical and sacramental life of the congregation, and so lose their character as signs of the presence of Christ and risk becoming mere crusades fueled by a moralism that can become self-righteous. And the life of the worshipping congregation, severed from its proper expression in compassionate service to the secular community around it, risks becoming a self-centered existence serving only the needs and desires of its members.
(Lesslie Newbigin, The Open Secret)