Monday, April 30, 2007


I'm not quite sure what to think about Charlestown. It very much reminded me of being back in Europe with the small buildings packed pretty closely together. When we took our walking tour we found that there are plenty of places that you just have to know if you're going to get there. We would open a gate, walk through a narrow path, and find ourselves in some garden. I definitely got a deep sense of old-world charm.

I also learned that the government of Charleston can be liked to that of Springfield in the Simpsons in some respects. For example, there is a beautiful neo-Gothic French Hugenot church. The Hugenots came there to escape the persecution they found in Catholic France. They originally built a very simple building and the town didn't like it. One day a fire began to sweep through the city, so the government decided to blow up the church as a firebreak. What they didn't consider was the wood inside the church which ended up serving as a flaming arrow and spread the devastating fire even further.

Maybe it's my Yankee sensibilities, but I got a strange feeling with how service works in that town. There seemed to be a bit of a laissez-faire attitude from many of the service people. We had a sense of that when we had breakfast at our B&B's sister facility. We also got that when we ate breakfast at a local cafe the second morning. I went to Italy with low expectations. I'm not sure why they were higher in Charleston other than it is a tourist town in the US. Somehow I don't think that any problem with service will keep people from going there, nor should it.

Our next stop in the south will be Savannah. That should be fun too, especially if we get to do the Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil walking tour.

Friday, April 27, 2007

Back in Action

I do apologize for the delay between posts. What has happened since my last post? Plenty:

- I took my Systematic Theology final. I think I did well enough to get an A in the class. Time will tell.

- Amanda and I went to Charleston. I'll write more on Charleston later, but it was a great trip no matter where we went. I think that we set a record for the amount of talking we did in a 3-day period. We didn't even turn the radio on while going down, despite having some new CDs to listen to.

- I went back to work. This has been kind of anticlimactic. I guess it's good to be back in the routine.

- I chatted with an old coworker about the Bible. He goes to a Unitarian Church, but is interested in the Bible as an historical document. I remember starting out that way...

- I found out that my manager's manager is leaving the Bank. This could potentially be a good thing. I'm kind of excited to see how things shake out.

- Amanda had a good OB appointment today. Sweet Pea's heartbeat sounds good. Amanda had to drink some kind of glucose solution and they are going to measure her sugars. Hopefully all is well. July 17 looms closer and closer each day!

I'm trying to sort out how to spend my time this summer. I want to relax a little bit, but I also want to make sure I stay on top of things like my Greek. I also see the need to get ahead for my upcoming class in June on Missions and Evangelism. We have a Piper book to read that looks promising. I'm going to make that the "dessert" after I read the thick book on Missiology. The important thing is to get on it and keep plodding along.

- My small group discussed 1 Corinthians 7 last night. We have 2 guys who are happily married (me included), 3 guys who are divorced, 1 guy who is dealing with some stuff in his marriage, 1 who is legally separated, and 1 who is separated because his wife is out to get him for some reason. It was cool to discuss this chapter and see what the Bible has to say about divorce (hint: God isn't fond of it).

Tuesday, April 17, 2007

Greeked Out

So it's finally over for a while. I took my Greek final last night and I think it went OK. I did the math and, assuming that we get to throw out one quiz grade, I'm pretty sure that I only needed an 88 to get an A in the class. I would be surprised if I got less than 92, so I feel pretty good about it. I could have been more prepared for the vocab part though. I kick myself every time I miss a vocab word because I know that is only due to poor preparation.

It's hard for me to get up for the Theology exam coming up next Sunday. I know that I likely don't need to do great on that one either. But I also like my professor and want to do well out of respect for him. Plus I am ostensibly pursuing this degree to learn more about the Bible, God, etc. If I start seeing it just as a piece of paper I know that I'll be in trouble.

I guess that means that I need to be ready to hunker down and start studying. I felt like I got lucky on the last one because out of each group of questions there was at least one I could answer satisfactorily. I guess that's what every test comes down to though. It's hard to be ready to answer every possible question.

I'm just ready to start my own self-study with Greek and to get ready for my class in June. I keep thinking of what Yoda said about Luke Skywalker (paraphrased) "Always to the future this one looks. Never where he was...what he was doing." That's been me with my academic career to date.

I remember not being too excited to get my books as an undergrad. Now I can't wait to get them and read them. I like this way better.

Tuesday, April 10, 2007

Leaping for Joy

We had our first real Greek class in almost a month last night. Last week we were off for spring break and the week before that our professor was getting over some sickness to which he did not want to expose the class. Some of us still gathered, but we could hardly call it a real class.

I've been sort of dreading this final. I've done OK on my homework, but that was only by leaning quite heavily on our textbook. Our professor had told us that the final would be closed-book. My head has been spinning thinking about all that I had to learn. First, there is the stuff that I learned for the midterm that I would have to review. I'd have to review all the indicative verb stuff plus all the stuff about participles. Then there is all the stuff after the midterm with all the non-indicative mood stuff for verbs. That too was kind of overwhelming because of all the endings I'd have to learn. Add to that all the vocabulary review plus finishing up our translation of 1 John and I was feeling underwater. Oh, and I have a paper to revise that is due on Sunday as well.

But last night he announced that the final would be open-book. He decided that it was too much work to give us verses to translate and also have to worry about what vocabulary we knew. It was easier just to let us use the lexicon in the back of the book. I'm not sure what moved him to this, but I'm glad for it. Perhaps this is an answered prayer from the class :)

Whatever it is, I'm glad for it and it takes a huge load off my mind. I still know that I have much preparation to do. We're responsible for knowing 19 chapters of vocabulary (though toward the end we didn't have many new words) and we will be tested on the vocabulary before we can open our books. But I'm still glad that I can use my book to do all the parsing.

Now the only reason not to do well is a total lack of understanding or laziness.

Monday, April 09, 2007

Men in Leadership

I got this today in my daily Tozer email:

Prayer: Men Who Do Not Pray

Therefore, brethren, seek out from among you seven men of good
reputation, full of the Holy Spirit and wisdom, whom we may appoint
over this business.
--Acts 6:3

Let us watch that we do not slide imperceptibly to a state where
the women do the praying and the men run the churches. Men who do
not pray have no right to direct church affairs. We believe in the
leadership of men within the spiritual community of the saints,
but that leadership should be won by spiritual worth.

Leadership requires vision, and whence will vision come except
from hours spent in the presence of God in humble and fervent
prayer? All things else being equal, a praying woman will know
the will of God for the church far better than a prayerless man.

We do not here advocate the turning of the churches over to the
women, but we do advocate a recognition of proper spiritual
qualifications for leadership among the men if they are to
continue to decide the direction the churches shall take. The
accident of being a man is not enough. Spiritual manhood alone

This has obvious ramifications for the church. But I also wonder how many Christian homes this affects? By that I wonder how many men expect their wives to show Ephesians 5 submissiveness if they aren't loving their wives as Christ loved the church?

It's incredible to see our marriage compared to how it started. I was pretty spiritually meek. I barely had any foundation because I didn't become a Christian until 2 months into our marriage. I was addicted to porn for the first 4 years and that didn't help either. But then things finally started to break through as I dealt with this in my life. Now I think we do a better job of modeling the right kind of marriage, though some in our family might think that Amanda is in charge. I think we have a good thing going now.

At any rate, I want to make sure that I am someone who spends his time with God to be an effective leader. Otherwise I'll just be a spiritual despot.

Friday, April 06, 2007

One Down...

I submitted my 1 Corinthians class homework today. That included a paper and a list of everything I read for the class. It feels good to have it done. I have no idea what kind of grade I'll get. I'd like to think that I could get an A, but I'd be happy with a B. And I would be surprised if I did worse than that. At least I think it is well-written for the most part.

I'm really struggling with work today. It's hard to get motivated. And it's also hard for me to stay focused on what Good Friday is all about. Perhaps it's a good time to pray...

Thursday, April 05, 2007

How to Spend It?

I'm glad that baseball is back. I love the consistency of having the daily news and watching what goes on. I pretty much hibernated all winter and didn't pay any attention to the hot-stove league. I was surprised to find that Barry Zito signed with the Giants for $126M over 7 years. The fact that he signed with the Giants doesn't surprise me because it makes sense that he would want to keep his ties in the Bay Area. What surprises me is that the Giants were willing to give him that much security.

We're taking a class at church called "Beyond Budgeting". One of the tenets is that you pick a standard of living and stay there. As you are blessed with more material wealth you can use that to serve God. Given that, I tried to imagine what I would do with that much money. His salary comes out to $18M/year. Very conservatively, I would imagine that he will clear at least $12M after taxes.

I currently make less than $100k/year. But if I were to round way up to $100k/year that still leaves me with $11.9M to think about (now this is just for one year). Off the top of my head, I could:

  • Pay off our mortgage
  • Make sure that Lily and "Sweet Pea" do not have to worry about paying for college
  • Pay off the debt at our church
  • Increase the funding we give to the college missionaries we support
  • Fund our friends in Hungary
  • Fund some more children through World Vision
  • Significantly fund my seminary
I think I could do all of those things with just a year's salary. I'd still have $72M more to think about how to spend for the rest of the time of the contract. And I also realize that I'm thinking just small potatoes here. It seems like that would be enough money to start some kind of foundation to do even more good things.

The point is that it is an overwhelming amount of money. I wonder what Barry Zito will do with it?