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What a crummy week

This was supposed to be my power study week. My husband has been away since Tuesday at a conference and without having someone to cook for or socialize with, I had visions of accomplishing great things. I have decided to take a little social media break, although in order to get traffic updates and news, I did decide to check Twitter once a day. I have deactivated Facebook altogether for a while so there is no temptation. So, here I am at the end of the week, without having accomplished what I wanted to accomplish and still feeling the sting of yesterday's very bad quiz experience. In a word (or, to be precise, four words) I crashed and burned. I have no idea what happened other than I drew a blank on many things. The first thing I blanked on was the first vocabulary word: απολλυμι. It means to destroy. Once I blanked on that one, and then I suspect got the next one wrong, my confidence was completely shaken and I felt like a puddle of goo. 

Oh well. We all need a little humbling. When I spoke to my husband yesterday and bemoaned my poor performance, I did say to him that even more than the bad score which I will no doubt receive, I am frustrated that I am mixing things up and forgetting vocabulary words this close to the end of the semester. I am not where I wish I was with my Church History term paper, either. 

Seminary is hard work. And for young men and women who attend while raising a family and being married and serving in the church, it is no doubt even harder. My heart goes out to those who juggle seminary, family, and work. It is hard work, but it is good work. And after I handed in my Very Bad Quiz yesterday, my classmate and I commiserated together. That is one of the things I love about being in school: people who are sharing the experience. I am so thankful to be able to do this, crash and burn moments notwithstanding.

And now, I shall get on with this day, and resume my internet silence. Hopefully by the end of it, I will no longer be confusing the second person plural imperative with the second person plural subjunctive.


O, the Deep, Deep Love of Jesus

O the deep, deep love of Jesus
Vast, unmeasured, boundless free!
Rolling as a mighty ocean,
In its fullnes over me,
Underneath me, all around me
Is the current of Thy love;
Leading onward, leading homeward,
To my glorious rest above.

O the deep, deep love of Jesus,
Spread His praise from shore to shore!
How he loveth, ever loveth,
Changeth never, never more;
How he watches o'er his loved ones,
Died to call them all his own;
And for them he intercedeth,
Watcheth o'er them from the throne.

O the deep, deep love of Jesus,
Love of every love the best;
'Tis an ocean vast of blessing,
'Tis a haven sweet of rest,
O the deep, deep love of Jesus,
'Tis a heav'n of heav'ns to me;
And it lifts me up to glory,
For it lifts me up to Thee.


You've lost that blogging mojo . . . 

. . . oh, that blogging mojo. Bring that blogging mojo; now it's gone, gone, gone. wooooah.

Two blog posts in one day. Don't expect much from either post. My brain is officially fried.

I thought that seminary would give me lots of blogging fodder. It has, but not for a general audience. Most people don't want to hear about your struggles with the elusive participle, or may not care how about how the German Enlightenment affected North America. I don't think I've ever been what one could call an appealing blogger, and I think it's getting worse. 

A good friend today called me a "Kranky Kanadian" (his unique spelling not mine; I kind of like it). Maybe I am just kranky. 

Whatever it is, I find myself needing to turn down the "noise, noise, noise, noise" for a little while. If I ever had a blogging mojo, I don't know if it's coming back.

And for now, I have to find a way to get some focus.


Honesty or indiscretion?

Update, 8:23 am: It occurs to me that this post may come across as an exhortation to remain silent about serious issues like abuse or mistreatment. That is not what I am talking about. Those things need to be discussed, and we ought to listen to those who want to be honest about those things.

When I got married, the man who did the toast to the bride, a man who had known me since I was born, made a comment: "Now, Kim can be quite direct." Laughter ensued. What was funny about that? That laughter made me stop and think, even as I sat there in my bridal finery. Of course, I didn't think long, but the reaction of people in the room, and the implication has haunted me ever since. Is what I think of as honest just indiscretion? I've thought about it a lot.

Discretion is more than knowing when not to speak. It includes knowing how to be honest without being a steamroller. It's a quality I admire in others, but I fear I don't have. I have a friend whom I trust implicitly. I can tell her anything (and I have in the over twenty years I have been friends with her) and I know it's safe. She's a safe friend. But am I? Does being too direct, and lacking discretion inspire mistrust in other people?

Ten years ago, I was at the beginning of one of the most difficult times in my life. And I talked about it. A lot. I said things on social media about it; nothing specific, but references to my sorrow and grief over the matter. I regret it so much today. My pain involved someone else, and I wonder how that person felt when reading those things. To me now, those comments look like they were coming from someone who didn't really trust God and wanted people to feel sorry for her. I was hurt, and I wanted everyone to know it. One of the reasons I visit Facebook daily is to take advantage of "On This Day," to go back to those years and delete my comments. When I read them, I think to myself, "Shut up, woman."

Three years ago, I was in the midst of another difficult time: anxiety. I didn't talk about it, though. I didn't open up a vein and let my grief pour out. With anxiety, there is a sense of shame, so I didn't want to talk about it. Even though that sense of shame was not warranted, I'm thankful it made me cautious. I didn't want to talk about it a lot. I did have two or three good friends with whom I did talk; friends who are in the flesh, up close individuals. I didn't tweet about it. I had trouble getting out of bed and facing a day alone in my house with my anxiety, so sharing was the last thing on my mind. What I did do is pray a lot myself. The people who needed to know did.

Lament is good, and it is necessary, but questions come to my mind: do we lament first and foremost to God or others? How much lament is too much? For those who promote lament and sharing of grief, is there a balance with rejoicing in God? Does our lament look like reading Psalm 13 and never getting to verses 5 and 6? Are we able to lament without social media? There will always be a place for lament, so learning to do it well is a good thing.

I want to grow in discretion. It's a good quality to have. Of course, I value honesty, but I'm learning that sometimes there are better ways to be honest. And there are quite simply times when silence is better. I hear people talk about how "brave" and "courageous" people are who share their grief, and it is indeed a brave thing to do. But there are times when it is just as brave to keep silent, to keep rejoicing in God's goodness even when we are dying inside and only God knows it. There are, after all, people watching. What do others learn from our example? That we should only lament and never rejoice? Especially when we have younger children, do they ever see our rejoicing or only our grief? 


What's in a name?

I didn't grow up in a Christian home, so the use of the name Jesus Christ was not especially revered. Neither was the name of God. I heard my relatives use both names as curse words, and as I got older, I did myself (when no adults were around, of course). Even as I used those words wrongly, I didn't feel right about it. I knew, even in my unregenerate state that those names meant something. Christ just isn't a name. God isn't just a name.

This morning, as I was studying Ephesians 1, I was noting how many times Paul talks about being "in Christ," and I saw how many times Christ is referred to. At the end of the chapter, Christ is on the throne, seated at God's right hand in the heavenly places, far above all rule and authority and power and dominion, far above every name that is named. His name is above all names, and it's not just because of the letters used or the way it sounds when we say it.

What's in a name? An identity. And when it comes to Christ, the Messiah, the Anointed One, it is the identity of the one who bled and died that we could be reconciled to God and live in newness of life. When I hear people using it as a curse word, I cringe. I feel the same about the ridiculous "OMG."  I like what D.A. Carson has to say about the matter:

The reason we are not to say "Oh, God!" when we hit our thumb with a hammer or say "Jesus!" when we are disappointed is precisely because it diminishes God.  If you were to be so bold as to turn to a person who has use Jesus' name because he has hit his thumb with a hammer and say, "I wish you wouldn't use my Savior's name like that," he would probably reply, "I do not mean anything by it."  But that is the point:  he does not mean anything by it.  That is precisely why the usage is "profane," that is, common.  Using the name of God or Jesus when you "mean nothing" by it is not profane because you have spoken a magic word that you are really not allowed to use, as if only priests can say the right abracadabra.  The usage is profane beause it is common, cheap.  We are dealing with God, and we must say and do nothing that diminishes him or cheapens him.  It is at best disrespectful, ungrateful, and demeaning; at worst, it de-gods him and thus sinks again in the level of idolatry.

We bear the name of "Christian." To some, that is an ugly name; it represents things they don't believe. What we as the bearers of that name can do is wear it with integrity and sincerity, not associating it with ugly conduct or unkindness. Rather, we should wear it with gratitude for being able to claim that name.