Derek Johnson Muses

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Monthly Archives: May 2013

Why Jim and Pam’s Struggles Didn’t Bother Me

When I read the criticism of Jim and Pam’s relationship, I shake my head. The Office‘s perpetual sweethearts, who moved seamlessly from crush to couple to married couple over the shows nine seasons, spent the better part of the show’s farewell season fighting over Jim’s absence, in direct contraction to their relationship over the previous 180-some episodes, where they moved on from fights in a heartbeat.

This is, America what you expect have in your relationships. Don’t be surprised when you see this generation’s Harry and Sally come close to calling it quits. It speaks to how the concept of marriage being a stable and permanent institution in our culture is long over. But I digress.

Jim and Pam Halpert just go to show how much even secularists want to believe in marriage, even when they find the institution “unrealistic.” Yes, Jim and Pam’s behavior this year has not as consistent with what they have been, but Jim undermined Pam’s engagement with Roy, and Pam proclaimed her feelings for Jim while he was in a relationship. The show has never dealt with their emotional infidelity.

And to be fair, it wasn’t just Jim and Pam fighting. One of the best episodes this season was “Junior Salesman”, that took place after the Halperts had a huge fight on the phone. Instead of just throwing Jim and Pam back into bliss after that fight, the show did something more realistic: they showed Jim trying to do the right thing for Pam on that day. When two people are having fights as big as they were, you can’t just go back to happy bliss without some work. It goes one day at time.

I’m actually glad that The Office went the way it did with Jim and Pam, and I’m not a fan off TV relationship drama for the sake of drama. Unlike the storyline with Jim being tempted with Cathy last season (oh please), this storyline was believable. And honestly, what could the show have done that would have been better?

Almost happily ever after...

Happily ever after…

Stuff upon Stuff: What’s at the Bottom of that Blue Tote

The Mess is Beautiful as It Is.

The Mess is Beautiful as It Is.

One of the practical reason for me to marry is that I need someone to organize and throw out my old stuff. I hate organizing -my brain just doesn’t get the point of going through boxes of random things, putting it into files or in carefully labeled boxes, and throwing stuff I don’t need out. If I think about de-cluttering too long, my mind will go on pins and needs, and I will get angry and have to do something else. Seriously, I hate organizing.

But I still have to write this blog, and I figured going throw one of the blue totes I have stuff in would make a interesting post/writing exercise. Here’s some of what was in some of it:

A blue folder that has a sticker on the top that reads “Seminary Application Packet.” I’m surprised it doesn’t have more wear on it, because I must have had it for eight or nine years.

Husker ticket stubs and schedule cards, more than I care to count. I have saved all of these with the hope of selling them as memorabilia years from now. (When Ndamukong Suh was a senior, I grabbed a ton of his cards.)

An old popcorn tin from the Scouts. I have put all ticket stubs and schedule cards mentioned above in it. Now I have to figure out how to decorate it.

Fifty-some postcards from my last two art receptions, last October and back in February.

The Invitations and a Ticket from the 2005-1006 Nebraska-Oklahoma Basketball game

The Invitations and a Ticket from the 2005-1006 Nebraska-Oklahoma Basketball game

My good screw driver. This needs to be someplace where I can use it, which is why I need to build cabinets in the utility room.

A traveler’s wallet I bought at Eddie Bauer a few years ago before I realized that it was completely impractical for every day use. It has a shoulder strap, and you can put a pen in it. Debating whether or not I should start using it again, maybe I will take on a trip next month. In it I found a business card for the Chief of Interpretation of De Soto National Memorial (went to the Tampa area for a conference in February 2009), a punch card of Cici’s Pizza in Lincoln, a page from a Huskers’ day calendar in 2009, and a receipt from the Kennedy Space Center.

A cup warmer I got on a trip my dad and I took to the 2011 Husker-Minnesota game. It was from a Velveeta demonstration where I got a great cheese and fiesta chip sample.

A free game program from the 2009 Nebraska-Iowa State game that is 50% advertising. Interesting quote inside: “See you in two weeks! Oklahoma comes to town Nov. 7 to renew one of the most storied rivalries in all of college football. It’ll be the Sooners’ last visit to Lincoln until November 2, 2013.” Instead, Nebraska will be hosting Northwestern on that date. That was the last Nebraska-Oklahoma conference game in Lincoln.

The Blackshirts did do well on this day

The Blackshirts did do well on this day

A box of invitation envelopes. Hope I can use these.

A recent receipt from the Dollar Store. I don’t buy most of my groceries there, but the chips and crackers are cheap.

A brochure for the Associate of Confessional Evangelical Lutheran Churches (ACELC).

I remember this

I remember this

An outlet expander with six plug-ins. Praise the Lord I didn’t already buy one for my TV/DVD corner.

A small case for an USB cable. I don’t know why anyone would need a case for a USB cable.

This deserves to waste away at the bottom of a box.

This deserves to waste away at the bottom of a box.

Binoculars. Need to remember to take these on my upcoming trip to Idaho, and loan them to my mother when we go to sporting events.

A whistle I bought in Death Valley in 2010, which also has a small light, thermometer, compass, magnifying glass, and small storage compartment. After attending a presentation on hiking in the desert, I figured I had better have an usable signal in case I was bitten by a rattlesnake, since I have a tendency to ward off on my own.

A 2011 calendar with photos from that trip to Death Valley.

Great Memories...

Great Memories…

A 2009 calendar with watercolors that I bought in California.

And the relic of the collection, camera that actually uses film and its case. It’s so shiny, and I likely have taken no more that two or three rolls of film. Wonder if they even make the film it uses anymore.

I put away may of those things were I could use them or find them, but the bottom ten percent of the box I just dumped on another box stuff. I’ll get to that when I feel like it…or when I need something else to write.

Seward, Tear Down Your Unused Buildings!

Could have done it back in the 90's

Revenge of the 80’s?

Seward has been my home base for my nearly thirty-years of life, and one of the constants has been the empty buildings on the Jones Bank lot. One was a Napa Auto Parts store, and the other use to be a roller rink, but I can barely remember a time when either front was used. (Someone I knew reminded that a flea market was in there nearly twenty years ago.) But finally, with the renovations underway at the bank, both buildings have been reduced to rubble.

Good freaking riddance.

As I record here, I traverse a lot of country, and there’s one thing you see everywhere: empty storefronts. I’ve seen them in Bay Area suburbs where my aunt and uncle live, in major Midwest cities , and in small towns everywhere. Rotting wood, cracking paint, rocks with holes in them. It’s sad, and it says a lot about how a town cares about its image. Frankly, if I had had money, I would have bought the old Napa Auto Parts store and turned it into a trendy townhouse/loft. Of course, the reason I don’t have any money is probably related to the fact that I would build a trendy town home in Seward, Nebraska.

But back to my point. The point is, America has way too rotting empty buildings. Some of this is probably inevitable (like the employment rate never hitting zero). But a building sitting vacate in the same town for twenty-some years is unacceptable, in the middle of downtown no less. At least the building across the highway from Wal-Mart south of Seward that has kept various restaurants rotating through it. NOTHING was in this two buildings for nearly twenty years. Couldn’t we at least have pulled it down and made a park?

But now these are gone, an accomplishment this town can celebrate. Here’s to Seward. And while we’re at, let’s try and get something permanent in the old hardware store across the street from Cattle Bank. Not to mention that there’s several old, empty homes around our city, paint cracking and ivy flowing out of them. Let’s do something about those too. Anyone got some loose capital lying around?

Even if it Weren’t True…

Rogate

Why doesn’t this work for you?

The socially liberal lifestyle (or progressive, as it likes to be known by) is a tempting proposition. For the most part, people can do whatever they want in that life and can follow any kind of whim that they, and if anyone wants to challenge you, you just have to claim personal autonomy.

But I still follow conservative Christian social teaching for a simple reason: Christians are kinder.

Of all the half-truths that are propagated about Christianity and “religion” on TV, this is the one that the world gets the wrongest. They keep portraying Christians as stuck in their ways and unchanging, and sure, I know some Christian people who are bit crusty and who come off as cold and unfeeling.. But all of my Christian friends have better countenance, are better educated, and generally more pleasant people than the non-religious people I know.

There have been times in my life where, yes, I was wandering about, and I would have happily adhered certain liberal positions. But I missed the Lord, and even though Christians are a bit rigid and unwavering, at least they are for the right reason. The modern leftists are so insecure they don’t just want to win, they want the other side’s argument completely silenced in the public square. Why? What is it about Christianity that makes you so afraid?

In my observation, the simple difference between secularists and Christians is that Christians believe in joy over happiness, and secularist just believe in happiness over joy. Secularist look to whatever makes them happy in the moment, to whatever gratifies their fancy as something that deserves moral public standing. Christians believe in joy, that whatever is happening to them, God never lets go, and in fact, whatever happens is part of God’s plan. This is no more different when look at a Christian’s attitude toward having children versus a secularist’s attitude toward having children. Secularists say, “Have a child if it helps you realize yourself. Don’t compromise your lifestyle because of it.” Christians see children as a gift from God, and no matter how much work they are, they have intrinsic value beyond this life. (As someone who really struggles with the idea of having kids, that does help me.)

And even if that wasn’t true, who wouldn’t want to believe in that?

House to Sort-of Home: Lessons in Thrift Spending & Garage Sailing

I used hit up thrift stores and garage sales every weekend, reveling in the thrill of a great find for seventy-five percent of the price. But such habitual shopping caused my closet and rooms to overflow. I cut back on it, but since I moved into my new place, I was at liberty to go shopping for furniture. I am fortunate that I moved when garage sales season was just starting up. My uncle advised me that high-end garage sales have great bargains, and in one trip into southwest Lincoln, I found two couches and a patio furniture. Not bad.

I always remind myself not to buy by something just because it costs a dollar. If it’s shoddy, after two weeks you will kick yourself if you see a similar product that’s basically new at another garage sale or thrift store. Yes, you can buy the nearly new thing, but you are going to spend time and money moving another thing (Side note: if there’s one thing I’ve noticed about marginally successful people is that they don’t understand that time is a commodity.) Hold out; this is America, and there’s always someone who bought something, only to find they didn’t need it ten minutes later and will put it on their garage sale.

Even if something is a little more expensive, it will be worth it if it’s something that I will use all the time. I found this out with my messenger bag I bought a couple of years ago completely new. Paid full price, but I use it every day and would be lost without it, as I carry essential electronics, books, snacks, tape, glue, meds, you name it. (Yes, it’s my purse). Same goes for the big couch I paid $80 for last week, but this is a rule that I have to work at not abusing. If not sure about something, I take time and think about it.

But I now have a living room full of furniture, with pictures hanging on the walls. My dining area is empty, and I should really move the table I eat at in there. I’m still looking for a breakfast nook-style table with high chairs for the kitchen, but that can wait. I still have to set up the office, but at least my house is presentable enough. Can’t wait until I start accumulating stuff and outgrowing the place.

DSCN9770

First Washer/Dryer I’ve Owned

Best Episodes of The Office

I got pretty emotional when The Office ended last night. While they final ten minute-sequence was a pretty typical, planned series finale material, it cut straight to the heart. It’s terrible that we’ll never see those characters together again. And I told NBC last summer, “Let this show end with grace.”

The Office revived comedy on NBC by becoming a parody of what the network had been doing since Seinfeld went off the air. For seven or eight years, all of NBC’s new comedies featured nothing but bad jokes. The Office just told those bad jokes and showed how uncomfortable they made everyone. That was funny.

So in lieu of the show ending, I thought I’d list the episodes that stood out. Nothing from the last two seasons; not enough time to get perspective. Can’t really pick one, although “The Whale” and “Moving On” were really good.

“The Injury”: Everyone else has this in their list of best episodes, along with “The Dundies”. I didn’t think of it personally, but it has a lot of great stuff. Michael trying to justify his status as disabled, being so brazen as to call in the guy in the wheelchair. The scene of Pam helping concussed Dwight to the elevator is classic, girl-next-door Pam.

“The Job”: There isn’t another Office episode that I would say is better than this one, and while it’s seems almost too easy to pick the third season finale, it holds up. The two big arcs of the first fifty episodes, the Jim/Pam dynamic and the Michael/Jan relationship came to huge heads. Jan was unveiled to be more screwed up than Michael, almost psychotic in fact. This was the perfect twist-it came out of nowhere, but made complete sense once it happened.

Karen reaching the end of her term, Dwight getting a taste of being the manager, Ryan’s big jump, and Pam finally coming into her own all highlighted the episode. Dwight and Andy’s nerd-vona conference room session was amazing in and of itself, and it was the fifth-most important thing in the episode.

But Jim finally asking Pam out on a date was the cake of the episode. Pam talked a lot in this episode, but was speechless at the end. After fifty episodes of “will-they-or-won’t-they?”, Jim and Pam were together for the rest of the show.

“Dinner Party”: In an article on TVGuide.com in which Jenna Fischer said this episode, whose filming had been postponed due to the Writer’s Strike of 2007, was going to be one of the funniest they’d ever done. I had my doubts, as the episodes that fall had been a bit stale, as four hour-long episodes glutted September and October.

I had to wait six months to eat my words on this one, but I was more than happy to.

There was conflict in every scene of this episode, from the cold open where Michael tricks Jim and Pam into dinner with a fake Friday-night work assignment to Michael and Jan’s putting their internal dysfunction on full display, to Dwight’s wedging his way into the party with his former babysitter as a date. Jan’s paranoia against Pam is what make this episode worth repeat viewings.

“Stress Relief”: The post-Super Bowl hour-long episode’s opening scene is probably the funniest in the show’s history. By the time everyone was running into the annex, I was laughing out loud (and I rarely laugh out loud at something I haven’t seen before). When Kevin breaks into the vending machine, I was laughing on the floor. Every subsequent time I’ve seen Kevin doing that, I’ve laughed.

The episode deals with a lot of meaty themes, starting with Stanley’s heart attack , Michael’s struggles with death, and the roast of Michael Scott, an obvious storyline where a normally subtle show could over the top. Even though Jim and Pam’s storyline is less believable (we knew they wouldn’t break up), Stanley’s laughing at the end showed us it was all right.

“Gossip”: The season six premiere creatively worked in the reveal of Pam’s pregnancy to the office into a great Michael Scott scheme to get out of trouble. The intern storyline was just the tip of the iceberg.

Michael was a man defined by being an insecure outsider and wanting to be liked, emotions that come into brilliant conflict in this episode. He shifts from trying to be a part of the gossip at any cost, to distilling to damage by creating wild, new rumors. What a five year-old complex.

“The Chump”: This episode has an unconventional take on how Michael, in his head, weaseled around the fact that the woman he was infatuated with had a husband. The subplots, Jim and Pam trying to stay up at work after their baby has kept them up all night and Andy’s investigation into Sabre’s faulty printers, could have been great A-stories. Favorite part: Creed’s talking head, which includes the episode’s title.

“The Inner Circle”: I know everyone supposedly hated Will Ferrell on the show, but watch any season eight episode and say that this episode isn’t funny in comparison. It’s funny. The shear notion that Deangelo would think for a second that Kevin could figure him out is hillarious.

A Modern Civil Divorce

Divorce Court 15 Years Ago:

Judge to divorcing couple, “What’s your reason for divorcing?”

Couple, “Irreconcilable differences. All we do is yell at each other.”

Divorce Court Today.

Judge to divorcing couple, “What’s your reason for divorcing?”

Couple, “Irreconcilable differences.”

Judge, “What, you fight all the time?”

Couple, “No, we don’t fight. We just recently had a disagreement, and it’s going to lead to a bigger fight, so we’re just getting a preemptive divorce.”

Judge, “A preemptive divorce?”

Couple, “Yes.”

Judge, “You mean, you’re not really fighting..”

Couple, “No, but we will be. You see, your honor, Joe is taking a job that is eight hours away from where we live now.”

Judge, “So, Jane, why don’t you move with your husband?”

Jane, “I have a job I love here, and our children are just starting school. I don’t want to move them and leave my job.”

Judge, “So, Joe, your wife is happy here. Why don’t you want to stay here?”

Joe, “I do want to stay here.”

Judge, “You do? So why are you taking the job if you are willing to stay here with your wife?”

Jane, “Oh judge, I can’t ask Joe to stay here.”

Judge, “Ma’am, why are you speaking for your husband?”

Jane, “Please let me finish, your honor. He would resent me because he’d be staying in the same job he has now. It’s a mid-level management job, and he can do so much better. I don’t want to stand in the way of his happiness.”

Judge, “Joe, do you currently resent your wife for standing in the way of this job?”

Joe, (Pause) “No, but I will.”

Judge, “Jane, if you acknowledge that this job is what’s best for your husband, why is the right thing to get a divorce instead of moving? Can’t you find a job in the city he’s moving too?”

Jane, “It wouldn’t be the job I have now. I’ve worked so hard for my position, and I couldn’t possibly leave it.”

Judge, “And the two of you haven’t found much over this…”

Couple, “Oh, we’ve fought, but not as much as we are going to fight. We both know what’s best in the long-term is to split up now and spare each other the emotional damage.”

Judge, “It appears that you don’t have any serious emotional damage right now. And if you have no serious emotional damage, what business do you have in my courtroom?”

John 17:20-26: One Because of Christ’s Glory

John 17 is a prayer, the sacerdotal prayer, that Jesus prays in the midst of the disciples, somewhat as a sermon. What is prayer? Jesus knew what was going to happen and what the Father was going to do, even after he ascended. But he prayed for His own strength, and that His disciples would be strengthened. In the prayer that Our Lord gave us, we ask for him to do things He has already done (“hallowed be Your name”), but we ask them because we are weak.

Throughout this prayer, Jesus connects himself to His Father, and then Himself to His disciples, and finally, His disciples to His church. It is through this line we receive the Gospel.

Jesus has spent the last couple of hours giving His final teaching to his disciples, and with this prayer, He first looks at himself. He needs His father’s help as much as His disciples. Then he turns His attention to His disciples, those He has trained and prays for their strength.

v. 20 “I do not ask for these only, but also for those who will believe in me through their word,”

Note how Jesus connects the church to the Apostles. Jesus has first testified to the father, and now the disciples will testify to what they have seen and believed about Jesus. (16:30, and post-resurrection). Throughout this prayer, Jesus has connected his work (His “glory”) to His union with God, and the work that God sent him to do.

Grammatical point: the word of the disciples comes before in me. Faith always come through hearing the message, God’s word to us. (Mary conceived through her ears.)

v. 21 that they may all be one, just as you, Father, are in me, and I in you, that they also may be in us, so that the world may believe that you have sent me.

We have access to the Father via the Son. Through the Son’s work, we can stand forgiven before the Father.

Where are we one with Christ? In His supper. This is an uncomfortable topic. In the age of ecumenism and our ELCA cousins badgering us, we de-emphasize how we are united to our fellow believers at the Lord’s table. It is an easy trap to fall into-we only talk about the forgiveness we receive at the table, and then, we feel awkward when we tell our neighbors they can’t go to the supper, and they take it personally. We need to take seriously how the Supper judges us.

Through Christ word’s here, we can be assured that no matter what disagreements we may have, we will always be one in Him, because of how He is one with God.

v. 22 “The glory that you have given me I have given to them, that they may be one even as we are one” God’s glory is through suffering. Glory doesn’t just mean shiny stuff. Glory is the work of Jesus, that He would set His majesty and titles aside, all so that we should be forgiven.

Resetting 24’s Clock

I enjoyed the nearly two year wait between 24‘s sixth and seventh season, not just because the sixth season was terrible, but because I’d gored myself on endless rewatchings of the show on DVD. After I waited for the eighth, I wished to myself that show could come out with a new season every two years instead of every year.

Guess Fox has taken the hint.

24 was the perfect show (along with Alias and Lost) to move television into the DVD and online age. Built around cliffhangers and every little plot twist, you had to get the show on DVD if you missed an episode. And when Netflix started streaming episodes without commercials, 24 was the perfect show to sell it. Combined with contemporary themes about terrorism and riffs from twenty years of classic action yarns, the show was like a mini-action movie every week.

I’m not betting that Fox will for sure bring 24 back. Honestly, where Jack Bauer was left at the end of the series was a good way to end things (or to move into a film franchise that wasn’t to be.) There was talk that JJ Abrams and ABC would revive Alias, sans Rambaldi mythology and Jennifer Garner, and that was just talk. This talk, I kind of buy because  Netflix probably is involved, and if Netflix raised the critical darling but seldom watched Arrested Development out of the abyss of canceled shows after seven years, reviving 24 should be a cakewalk. (And who knows how much Netflix has said they’ll pay Fox for more 24.)

Bringing Jack back into action will be like the how can still be called 24 if the timeline is broken after twelve hour (as is reported by David Fury on Twitter), or however long it runs. (Fox almost split the show’s seventh season into two halves, after seeing the eight so-so episodes produced before the writer’s strike halted production.) Listen, people: don’t think about. You still watched 24: Redemption, and it was just two hours. Just enjoy the fact that, if a season is terrible, the door to a reboot is that much closer.

And with a 12 episode series, the season plot doesn’t need three or four levels of conspiracy, each one more preposterous than the next. The show could get by with two, or at the very most, three. No more seasons ending with trying to nail the super-villains with a recording, or thinking “really, there was a guy behind Jon Voight or Ramon Salazar?” And maybe they will even be able to do the story without a mole.

And if you are wondering about the memories of your favorite show getting ruined, just watch the second half of The Following‘s season this year and say to yourself: that the best Fox can do, a 24-wannabe that can’t even make the FBI believably competent. Might as well bring back 24. Murder, She Wrote and Dallas movies that followed the conclusion of those series. In a way, the short run series has become what the TV movie was back in the 80’s and 90’s. Thanks, Netflix.

And with the going on three years that have passed, there’s new stories that 24 could do a take on, like a politician trying to cover up the government’s failures in a terrorist attack, ALA the current Benghazi scandal. Now that wouldn’t be interesting TV, would it?

Ready for more?

How an Old Person Should Ask a Young Person to Church

“…always being prepared to make a defense to anyone who asks you for a reason for the hope that is in you;” 1 Peter 3:15, ESV

A lot of times when I visit a church (or sometimes at my own church), I get this eager look from old people, as if they want to cheer, “Yes, finally someone under the age of forty is showing up! All is not lost!” And just like that, those eager eyes send me running in the opposite direction (okay, not like that.)

But seriously, a large percentage of young people leave the church in their twenties, and since I am still in my twenties and have gone to church consistently throughout the last ten years of my life, let me give some advice to the AARP crowd about how to talk to Gen-Y about church.

First, listen to where they are in their lives. Young people get a lot of messages from the culture about what the church is, and have a lot of things vying for their time. Let them give voice to some of them before you offer yours.And know that, of all the options that they have, you have one that speaks of true life and salvation, so…

Go to them in hope and optimism. As I alluded to before, if you come off as eager, you’ll just look desperate. If you say “What are you looking for in a church?”, it puts the onus on them. They may not even be looking for a church or want anything to do with a church, and will look at you as if you are coming to them to fulfill a need. Instead, talk to what knowing God in this place has meant to your life, and how the ancillary support system has helped you.

Speak in humility and have a message about how God has called you. They will expect you to preach at them, so make sure to make it personal when you talk about your relationship with God and His church on earth. Remember, they can listen to any message that they want to hear. You need to give them a reason to listen to yours.

And make sure you have a message that has theological content, albeit basic. Most young people won’t go to church just for the sake of going, so talk about your specific beliefs and about how Christ comes to you in His word and sacrament.

Do all of this in confidence, because it’s God’s work. Our socially liberal culture may seem appealing and act as if the church will eventually die out, but the peace that passes all understanding only comes through Christ. Churches may rise and fall, but God sustains them all.

Our culture preaches a message that accepts the breakdown of the family in all areas: divorce, premarital sex, living together without marriage (for many, many years even), and homosexual relationships. Many young people simply accept that a lifelong marriage is an unrealistic goal. This contemporary world is very similar to the one Jesus sent His apostles into to preach the good news and offer an alternative to the pagan lifestyle of the day. That is what you and the church have to offer Gen Y, thanks be to God.

Where I watch the sermon from when I'm on Worship Committee Duty

The Lord’s House, not ours

Prayer Books Just Sitting There…

My Treasury of Daily Prayers stares at me from its post on the kitchen table. I try to read it over breakfast most days, and I hope I succeed more than I fail. I rotate other devotional books through-a daily Luther book, a daily Walther, both of whom are worth reading. The daily Luther blog was great too, when it was being update. (Whoever did that, please come back and continue it.) A word of advice to Christian youth: you never think that you’ll get caught up and need devotional time until you really do.

Devotions always feel sluggish to me, but that’s just how they are supposed to feel. That’s probably the devil too, telling me I already know what’s in the scriptures. It’s the same thing I hear in my ear when I go to listen to Issues, Etc., podcasts and choose the quick, 10 minute social issues-cast over the in-depth Bible study. Yes, it’s easier to get into that controversial, call-to-arms, but I still need to carve out time to listen to God’s word. I keep having to remind myself how low the standards of our culture are.

I keep theology books in my bag. I don’t read them that often; they serve more as a talisman than anything else. Sometimes, I peruse them at stops when my brain isn’t going too fast, or when I’m out in Lincoln and don’t want to go home yet. I remember hearing an antidote once that, just like you can’t remember every meal you’ve ever eaten, so you can’t remember every sermon you’ve ever heard, or every devotion you’ve ever read for that matter. I hope that is true, but what concerns me more is when I forget sermons hours after they’re preached or spend my free hours thinking about drivel rather than what Pastor Todd says on the radio.

This is what the hypocrite does: he carries around something just for others to see, or more importantly, for himself to believe that he is a good person. But I do have them with me. Perhaps I need to remember that my vocation isn’t to just read theology books or listen to podcasts; it’s too be a good worker, and a good writer. I listen to sacred music and read God’s word because Jesus died for me on the cross, and I need to be reminded of that over and over.

Right here for you...

Right here for you…

Moving In

If I had to, I could clean out my desk in five second, and nobody would ever know I had ever been here. And I’d forget too. -Ryan on The Office

If I were not so lazy, I could have moved out of my apartment in only a day. It’s a small apartment, and I kept a lot of stuff at my parents’ house. When I was telling people that I couldn’t participate in such-and-such activity this past week because I was moving,  I got a lot of “that must be so big and hard” looks. Thanks for the hall pass.

Moving was good for me. Closing on the house took fifteen minutes (alarmingly short-hope the bank didn’t make a mistake approving me), and I drove over to my new home with a loaded truck. Since then, it’s been a blur of boxes and new space, most of which where moved yesterday before it started to rain. Praise the Lord.

DSCN0173

Lots of stuff in boxes, still

There was one item I waited to move out of my apartment until it was raining Wednesday morning: my futon frame, which is now held together with duct tape rather than screws. I taped it together because I was tired of fighting the bent connectors every time I put it back together, which meant I had to carry a frame three feet taller than I am down stairs and drag it across my new lawn to the cellar. Yes, I cling to certain things. It’s a problem.

Of course, that was nothing compared to going to Lincoln the other day to pick up a washer/dryer in a May Day wintery mix. The person who I was buying the set from told me the last time that Nebraska got snow in was sometime in the late 1960’s, so here’s to hoping it’s another forty years until we get May snow.

My new house has a certain charm to it. It was built in 1900, and had to have part of its foundation redone in the last ten years. The lack of a garage and convenient parking space right next to the house is really annoying. There’s no closet space whatsoever. But the yard is huge, and I have a great deck, and all the interiors are modern. I’m going to be very happy here, once I find a couch and some other furniture.

Kitchen

Kitchen

As I enter into this new stage of bigger investments and life on my own, I am going to try to stop waiting for myself to turn into an adult. Yes, I will probably never value my success as much as I should, but I’m just going to commit to reflecting on Jesus and praising God every day, doing what’s best for others, honing my skills, and educating myself.

A lot of possibilities...

A lot of possibilities…

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