“There is not a flower that opens, not a seed that falls into the ground, and not an ear of wheat that nods on the end of its stalk in the wind that does not preach and proclaim the greatness and the mercy of God to the whole world.” – Thomas Merton

“My personal life may be crowded with small petty incidents, altogether unnoticeable and mean; but if I obey Jesus Christ in the haphazard circumstances, they become pinholes through which I see the face of God, and when I stand face to face with God I will discover that through my obedience thousands were blessed. ” – Oswald Chambers

Wednesday, March 5, 2014

Books read February 2014

February was a good month for taking care of sick children and trying to put together a class syllabus. It was not a good month for meeting reading goals.

My goal is to read at least 52 books in 2014 (at least one book per week); I've finished 7 books so far this year: I finished the following books in February (~427 pages).:

Los orígenes de nuestra cultura autoritaria by José Ignacio Garcia Hamilton
The King Jesus Gospel: The Original Good News Revisited by Scot McKnight

García's tome on how the colonial history of Latin America (and specifically, Argentina) continues to plague its progress was very interesting, and I put up a long review/summary (in Spanish) at Good Reads.
McKnight's little thesis was good and reached a lot of conclusions I've already reached from reading John Driver.

Monday, February 10, 2014

Books read January 2014

My goal is to read at least 52 books in 2014 (at least one book per week). I read the following books in January (~1086 pages).

The Secret Thoughts of an Unlikely Convert: An English Professor's Journey Into Christian Faith by Rosaria Champagne Butterfield
The Naked Anabaptist: The Bare Essentials of a Radical Faith by Stuart Murray
On the Edge of the Dark Sea of Darkness by Andrew Peterson
Piense: la vida intelectual y el amor de Dios by John Piper [Think]
Guía para preparar monografías y otros texto expositivos by Ezequiel Ander-Egg and Pablo Valle

  1. Piper's Think was probably my favorite.
  2. The most riveting reading were the chapters surrounding Miller's Bridge in On the Edge of the Dark Sea of Darkness. As my two-year-old would say: "Oh my!". Oh my! indeed.
  3. Most pleasently surprising/personally challenging was Rosaria Champagne Butterfield's which I offhandly picked up on New Years and couldn't put it down.
  4. I liked The Naked Anabaptist, as would be expected, but it seemed like a more exact title would be  An Emergent, Postchristendom Church, in Anabaptist Clothing

Tuesday, April 2, 2013

Music find: Hiram Ring

Under the Radar led me to Hiram Ring:

His bandcamp site describes him as follows: "Hiram was born and raised in Ghana, West Africa. A globe-trotting musician, his music has been compared to a mixture of JackJohnson and Bob Dylan. He moved to Singapore in 2010 and is currently working on a PhD in Linguistics, documenting an unwritten language in India."

Christian mix of Jack Johnson and Bob Dylan? Yes, please.

Upon first listen, I really like the track "Live" for its Jack Johnson feel. Check it out:

Monday, March 11, 2013

Running (like a) log

While my last running log was rather optimistic, the above graph hints at the difficult I've faced in running over the past four weeks. The blue line shows what I should have run each week, and the red line how much I actually logged. Inclement weather, unscheduled events, and a familial medical crisis have made getting out to run very difficult.

Yesterday however I did get 5 miles in, which was what was scheduled for Saturday, so I could modify the graph to look like this:

Wednesday, March 6, 2013

On Fröhlich-inspired Nazarene separatism

The library where I work recently discarded some 800+ old books (mostly in English and German, some dating before 1900). I only snagged one, a book published in 1931 by E. H. Broadbent, and published by Pickering & Inglis (London) titled The pilgrim church: being some account of the continuance through succeeding centuries of churches practising the principles taught and exemplifed in the New Testament. I was leafing through it yesterday and found that it contains some material on the Nazarenes, or the Apostolic Christian Chruch as it's known in the United States. This is from page 345:
Owing to his own experiences, Fröhlich wrote with unmeasured condemnation of the formal religion prevailing in the great Churches, Catholic and Protestant, and the Nazarenes generally are unsparing in their denunciation of what they believe to be contrary to the teaching of the New Testament. Among them a Lutheran church may be described as a "den of thieves", while many of them seem hardly to believe in the possibility of salvation outside their own circles. This exaggeration shows itself in Fröhlich's teaching.
The entirety of the text is available at Project Gutenburg Australia. The part on the Nazarenes is on pages 342-346 (in the chapter titled Russia). Fröhlich is also mentioned on page 373.

Monday, March 4, 2013

A chill morning

Today's a day off, and with the arrival of minor storm, the temperature dropped 20 degrees yesterday afternoon to a chilly 65°F this morning. So I was chilling out in the front room this morning, doing some reading and drinking mate, and this came crawling across the floor:

This is only the third or fourth scorpion I've seen in Paraguay, and the first I've seen at this house. She was probably brought out by the flooded state of her normal hiding places. Still, it's a little unnerving to see this little monster crawling across the floor where your baby romps all day, with her tail curled and ready to strike. A quick Google search reveals little helpful information about scorpions in Paraguay, mostly articles about the rock band's cancelled concert last year.

One 2002 newspaper article says only one person has died from a scorpion bite in 1980, but warns that some bites could be fatal for children under 9 and the elderly. Apparently the only poisonous species of scorpion in Paraguay is the Tityus trivittatus (which interestingly doesn't have a Wikipedia page in English; it's not that often that I find a page on the Spanish Wikipedia that doesn't have a corresponding (and usually more informative) page in English). From the pictures, it seems that the one I killed could be this species.

I was finishing up reading 1 Corinthians as she appeared, right in the part of chapter 15 where it talks about different kinds of bodies and death being swallowed up. Her appearance definitely brought a different vibe to the text.

After that, I had a great breakfast: homemade chipa, and a chai latte (which only tastes better in the beautiful work of art from J. Fetzer Pottery).


Sunday, February 24, 2013

Marilynne Robinson on God's "jealousy"

"For the Lord your God is a devouring fire, a jealous God." - Deuteronomy 4:24

Upon reading this yesterday, I was reminded about what Marilynne Robinson says about the word "jealousy" as ascribed to God. I was reading in Spanish, and the word "celoso" is a much broader term than jealous in English--in accordance with Robinson's comments (see below). "Celo" can mean both jealousy and zeal, but it can also refer to an animal that's in heat. So her suggestion of "impassioned" sounds like a better choice, especially considering that seven verses later God is described as "a merciful God, he will neither abandon you nor destroy you; he will not forget the covenant with your ancestors that he swore to them." (4:31).

Here is Robinson's commentary, from p. 109 and 110 of When I Was a Child I Read Books.
"'Impassioned' is usually used by the Jewish Publication Society to translate the word other English translations render as 'jealous.' The Hebrew stem apparently means 'to grow red.' 'Jealous' comes from the same Greek root as 'zealous,' and the Greek words that derive from it are usually translated in the New Testament as 'zeal' or 'zealous.' In its earliest English uses, for example in John Wycliffe's fourteenth-century translation of the Old Testament, 'jealous' often has that meaning, suggesting ardor and devotion. In modern translations the Hebrew word is usually translated as 'zeal' when the subject is a human being (as in 1 Kings 19:10), which must indicate an awareness of the wider meaning of the word. But 'jealousy' is virtually always imputed to God. Jealousy has evolved into a very simple and unattractive emotion, in our understanding of it, and God is much abused for the fact of his association with it. Since translations are forever being laundered to remove complexity and loveliness,and since tradition is not a legitimate plea in these matters, one cannot help wondering how this particular archaism manages to survive untouched."

(P.S. In preparing this post I came across the Marilynne Robinson Appreciation Society. Excited to follow their blog!)