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Friday
May242019

Time, time tickin'

I had promised myself that I would probably start reading more blogs and writing more when June 1st arrived. It is just around the corner.

Here are some things I've done lately:

  • painted my living room
  • actually went shopping to look for area rugs
  • read a few books about the Celts
  • bought a jump rope
  • lost a couple of pounds

The one thing I have not done is felt a pressing need to read blogs. And that is a problem. Because I like blogging. Part of blogging is being among other bloggers. But I can't find any that I'm dying to read other than the few I have been reading for a long time.

Maybe I'm just an old crank.

Maybe I'm too critical.

I am feeling hesitant about particular Christian blogs that, while popular, just irritate me. I'm tired of blogs which beat dead horses or are "one hit wonders," ie, don't write about anything but one single issue.

I'm at a loss.

Any suggestions for good blogs to read?

But I did three cycles of 40 seconds of jump rope today and three sets of 40 seconds planks. I read Matthew 1:17-25 in the Greek NT. I made sourdough dinner rolls. The day wasn't a total waste.

Monday
May202019

Is blogging bad for me?

In the past couple of weeks or so, I've been busy with the regular stuff of life. I have been reading, but not a lot of theological reading, other than Bavinck and a hermeneutics book by Grant Osborne. After a very reading-heavy semester, I'm reading about other things. I've also backed off quite a bit from social media and blogging, and I'm definitely avoiding many areas of social media to the point where I've muted a lot of stuff until the beginning of June.

When I heard that Rachel Held Evans died, I waited for it; the inevitable dialogue. And I was not surprised at the voices which basically sang "Ding Dong the Witch is Dead." Because that was how some people reacted to her. I read her first book, and it was a very compelling read and distubring at the same time. I didn't spend much time thinking about her after I read her book, and I never read her blog or followed her on Twitter. When she died, all I could think of was her parents, her two little children and her grief-stricken husband. Her death was sudden; that means they will deal with trauma and grief. I can't even begin to imagine.

I was troubled by two kinds of responses to her death. The first, I've alluded to. Some people barely waited hours to weigh in on how they were thankful she could no longer pass on her false teaching. Some sounded like they believed her death was the result of her beliefs. When you open your comments with, "I'm sorry for her family, BUT . . . " you really should stop and ask yourself if what you're saying needs to be said.

The other kind of response was more patronizing. It came from people who actually didn't know her well, but capitalized on having had a few exchanges with her. "Rachel Held Evans died. Look how sympathetic I am. Look at how gracious I am that I can grieve her death while in life being totally opposed to her. Come read my post about her." Yeah; not my cup of tea.

What kind of blogging world do I live in? That was my question. I love blogging. I love theology. I love writing about it and reading about it. But judging from my own reactions, I began to wonder if this was the best place for me. What is the point in "following" someone on Twitter if I must mute?

The time I have spent thinking has been useful, and I still have more thinking to do. In addition to how I use my writing time, I'm also thinking about where my education is going and a few goals I have. I'm supposed to be contributing to Out of the Ordinary by including links once a week, but honestly, I can't bear to read much beyond news and the progress of the Stanley Cup. 

Paul Carter, on Twitter the other day talked about "self-appointed scrutineers." That is one of the best phrases I've seen, and that is one of the things I have struggled with. Those scrutineers seek to do nothing but condemn, criticize, and point fingers. And when others point fingers in their direction, they label them as "heretics," and "apostate." I can't take it. I'm tired of the phrase -- in abbreviated form -- SJW. I want to yell, "Go back to your jobs and families, please, and give them your attention instead of wasting time online." 

So, I'm thinking. I want to keep writing, but I don't know what that will look like. I would miss the interaction, but I just don't know if this is where I am supposed to be. I know who I am and what I am able to do, but where does one spend her time? Is it detrimental to be involved with blogging social media? That is what I want to figure out. In the meantime, I'm exercising more, decorating my house, walking my dogs, and planning our trip to Scotland and Ireland.

That will do for a little while, anyway.

Tuesday
May142019

Mind, body, and soul all need to be healthy

In the last three weeks, I have been more faithful to my exercise program than I have in years. End result: more energy!

When I am in school, I sit. A lot. I noticed frequently last semester coming home from school that when I got out of my car, my hips were tight and and my lower back sore. I determined that when school was out, I would get into a good habit with my fitness. It can take a while to get into a regular pattern. Much easier to develop bad habits. Next month, I'm hoping to re-vamp our eating habits to contribute to feeling better overal. I was inspired by my 94 year old next door neighbour.

Wally has never slowed down. As early as five years ago, he used to get his snowblower out when it necessary and do not only his driveway, but mine. Having lived next door to him for 14 years, I knew that he was just the type of man who didn't quit. It's only been in the last three years that he has stopped walking his dog and hired someone to do his lawn and driveway. Well, actually, his son arranged for those things. I suspect it was not his choice.

Wally was in the hospital in April. The woman who walks his dog was concerned about him and contacted his family. Ultimately, he had a mild heart attack. I wondered if I'd ever see him again, and assumed he wouldn't be returning. He's home now. His son is staying with him as they ponder long-term solutions, but he's home. And he finally quite smoking. His son told me that when they did some lung function tests, his father had better lung power than he did himself. I think his son is about 65. I don't necessarily want to be on my own at 94, but when I'm 65, I don't want to be on my way to being housebound. If I should have grandchildren some day, I want to be an active grandmother.

Being in school and a lover of reading means that I often pay too much attention to the life of my mind than my body. And it's also easy when you're in seminary to pay less attention to your spiritual life because you're so wrapped up iin the academic part. I'm determined to be a more balanced person. I want to feel good physically mentally, and spiritually.

I see a lot of older women trying to stay fit so they can look young. That is not my goal. I just want to feel strong. I don't want to be winded when I go up the stairs with my laundry basket, or feel like I can't get on the floor to play with my dog (or a grandchild in the future). 

Part of my lack of blogging and social media decrease is helping me in that regard. And with that, I'd better get busy.

Saturday
May112019

A break, more or less

I deactivated my Twitter account last week. I'll resurrect it at the end of the month and re-vamp whom I follow. I will probably protect my tweets after that. I like the convenience of Twitter for my news and blog links, but, honestly, it really does bring out the worst in people. Including me, I suppose. I need to make some fundamental changes about how I decide whom to follow.

I'm also cutting back at blogging. I have a lot to do this month.

I have a list of five books I want to read by the end of the month. I'm currently well into a history of Scotland. My husband and I are planning a trip to Scotland and Ireland next spring. I also picked up a travel guide for Scotland. I want to see the battlefield at Culloden as well as do some hiking. We want to take a ferry across to Belfast, and visit the Mourne mountains.

We have home decorating stuff to do. I don't enjoy that. I like the finished product, but this is a challenge for me. We begin dismantling my living/dining room on Monday. Where will I put all of the books on those shelves?

I've got some fitness goals for the month. It involves using weights and doing modified pushups that will hopefully become full pushups at some point.

I bought the dress I'm wearing to my daughter's wedding. That's one less thing to worry about.

Even though I don't start Hebrew studies until September, I'm learning the alphabet and the sounds of the letters beforehand. I've been told that vocabulary is a steep learning curve. With Greek, there are so many words in English derived from it that sometimes, it was easy to figure out a word. Not with Hebrew. I am almost finished translating I John 3 from my Greek NT.

I'm thinking a lot about online friendships/relationships. I'm thinking that the "fan girling," i.e., following after Christian celebrities is not necessarily a good thing for contentment. Those relationships are one sided. We invest in them. We like their pictures on Instagram or compliment them on Twitter. They may or may not respond. There is no reciprocal relationship. We don't really know them.

Better to build relationships with people we know.

It's been a cold spring so far, but i won't complain. Things are greening up nicely. 

Monday
May062019

Who Were the Celts?

A few years ago, I kept hearing the term "Celtic Christianity." From what I understood, the Celts were heavy duty warriors, not missionaries. They were certainly pre-Christian. What did this ancient people have to do with Christianity? Who were the Celts, after all?

That is the question dealt with in Barry Cunliffe's excellent little book The Celts: A Very Short Introduction. And it was very short; only 143 pages; easily read in an evening, but I read it over a few days, enjoying a chapter with a cup of tea or my breakfast.

When we think of all things Celtic, our thoughts naturally turn to Ireland, Scotland, and Wales. Originally, however, their centre of origin was in Gaul and Brittany. Ultimately, they moved into those others areas, but originally, they were on the continent. Julius Ceasar referred to the people of Gaul as Celts. A people who lived facing the Atlantic would, of course, eventually find their way across the water. As they came into contact other people, especially the Romans, they would be changed. Cunliffe talks quite a bit about the Celts being invented and re-invented.

Cunlife is an archeologist, so he deals with artifacts. However, he does allude to the reality that the language of the Celts as one of the most significant aspects providing continuity between dispersed people groups. I found the discussion of language fascinating. The easiest way to put a people to death is to take their language from them. That is exactly what happened Scotland, Ireland, and to a lesser extent, Wales. 

The purpose of the book was to provide an introduction to the subject, and it did just that. But as any good introduction will inspire one to do, I found myself wanting to know more. The list of recommended reading was helpful, and I've already ordred a book about the druids. I'm very interested in how Christianity interacted with druidism once large scale missionary endeavours took hold in Ireland and Scotland.

The entire series of Very Short Introductions by Oxford University Press looks worthwhile.