in which I ramble…

Well, this is pathetic, isn’t it?  This blog is going to pot.  Completely.

I realized today that one of the reasons I’ve been blogging less lately is because I’ve been preaching more (approximately twice each month for the last couple of months).  Most of my writing energy and time has been directed at preparing and writing the sermons, which in the end doesn’t leave much for blogging.  Seems kind of obvious now, but it didn’t click until today.

I can’t say that the rest of my spare time has been spent studying for my seminary course–far from it, unfortunately!  It seems my study habits are no different now than they were in university nearly a decade ago.  But I’ve been fretting about the course and trying to work on it and think about it, which is draining.  And I find that required reading isn’t nearly as stimulating and thought-provoking as chosen (i.e. recreational) reading is.  I know I chose to take this course, but I think you can understand.

As my own personal confession I will tell you that I’m finding St. Augustine’s Confessions less than engaging.  Confessions is almost required reading for every Christian at some point and I had hoped it would be more enjoyable than it has been.  Maybe it gets better once he gets past the distractions and lusts of his youth (which aren’t at all tittilating stories, if that’s where you head is at).  I’m hoping that his conversion will be a turning point in Augustine’s book as well as his life.

I’m oscillating between panic (DEAR GOD!  HOW ON EARTH WILL I COMPLETE ALL THIS BY THE BEGINNING OF JUNE?!) and perhaps an overly optimistic rational calm (you have lots of time!  Read something you enjoy!)  Right now I feel calm.

I suspect the timing of all this could have used a bit more thought by yours truly.  It may not have been the best thing to start this seminary course just at the time that I was also starting to work at the church part time.  But then, knowing who I am and how I work, things would probably not have been much different if I had taken the course in other circumstances.

I have taken some time for myself and my family.  There has been some oscillation there, too (DEAR GOD!  CAN I AFFORD THE TIME TO WATCH THIS MOVIE WITH DIXIE?! and Take it easy for once!).  

I watched The Hours with Dixie the other night.  Philip Glass wrote the score.  His minimalist music is always stunning.  I first heard of Glass after inquiring into the beautiful score for The Fog of War (which you should watch), then I heard one of his “Dance #something or others” on CBC’s (now cancelled) Disc Drive.  I’ve never purchased an album or soundtrack by him–it feels like his music calls for immersion and yet I can’t bring myself to spoil the beauty of the music by having it around all the time.  It’s kind of like eggnog: if we had it all year, it wouldn’t be nearly as special.

Oh–how was The Hours?  It was pretty good, although there’s a good chance the mood of the music made the film for me.  But it was an interesting story.  It’s a study of bisexual relationships.  No–I’m kidding.  I kept joking about this throughout the film (breaking one of my own film-watching rules): lesbian kiss here, lesbian kiss there.  Oh, wait!–she also had a male lover earlier on in life, and this male lover is now gay as well.

But don’t let that stop you from watching the movie.  

For the morally sensitive ones among us, I recall a Bible college professor’s suggestion that the value of a film should not be judged by the moral actions of its characters.  There was more to it than that, of course (because clearly a pornographic film cannot be justified this way).  He made a connection to the Bible, which would be rated R or worse if made into a film (including all the gory sex and incest and murder details).

Moving on…

At Dixie’s urging, I plowed through Rob Bell’s new book, Jesus Wants to Save Christians, earlier this week.  She she thought it was pertinent to what I was thinking about for today’s sermon.  It was, to an extent.  I heartily recommend this book.  Rob Bell has an amazing ability to explain big theological concepts in non-high-falootin’ terms.  It can be read in a matter of a couple of hours (thanks in part to his one-sentence paragraph style: I noted to Dixie that his publishing style is remarkably unfriendly in terms of conservation).  And there’s an “Aha!” moment every couple of pages.

I’m also almost finished Scot McKnight’s new book, The Blue Parakeet: Rethinking How You Read the Bible, which I received as a Christmas gift.  Even though I’m not finished it yet, I already heartily recommend it.

So I’ve managed to fit in some chosen reading as well.  My justification: it’s personally edifying and beneficial to me and my position at the church and hence the church.

What I really need to do is learn to focus.  Much time is wasted aimlessly wandering around the house, flipping through books, checking email, being on the internet for no particular reason.  I hate to say it, but a little efficiency would go a long way for me.  I need to refine my use of time.

That is all.

6 thoughts on “in which I ramble…

  1. Scott

    I do not think they cancelled Disc Drive. Jurgen Goethe still has a 30 minute program Sunday afternoons on the New 2… He does a lot of food and wine related stuff, so I wonder if it was a mutual thing…

  2. Toni

    Just remember, blogging is not a competitive sport, nor is it your means of earning a living.

    Don’t worry about the blog ‘going to pot’. I certainly find your ‘inanity’ more refreshing.

    As for Rob Bell, I’m in 2 minds about him. I like the way he opens things up and makes one see them in a new light. At the same time, he does have some whacky bits of theology, which could confuse or worse those without a good grounding. We’ve certainly had some interesting unpicking with a good friend over ‘Velvet Elvis’.

  3. Jay

    I know what you’re feeling about the “No Time! No Time!” and “losta time”. My CGA courses caused that in me. I think I had too much easy going feelings though.

    I’ve been meaning to read something by Rob Bell after watching Nooma videos. Unfortunately, fun reading for me is instructional and I find myself thinking, “just x more pages to the end of this chapter” when reading a novel or other less technical material.

    Keep at it Marc & don’t feel guilty about time spent on reasonable relaxation or family.

  4. rilla

    I had to read Augustine for a Classics class in University. I hope you have better luck than I did. I made it about one quarter in, and gave up.

  5. Linea

    Oh, dear. I am pretty sure Augustine will be in the cards for me as well. As you say, it is a classic. Maybe I should start it now – or at least soon. Then maybe I’d have a year or so to slowly muddle through it.

    Of course I would not likely remember what I had read a week or so later.

  6. Andrew

    Don’t give up on Augustine, Marc — I think you’ll be glad to have read it once through. You may want to read some stuff about Augustine (if you haven’t already) to put the book in context historically — it’s impact has been significant, and not just limited to Church culture. In one of the history courses I took we read the book comparing its approach to autobiography to Rousseau’s Confessions, which was a very interesting approach.

    Philip Glass is terrific, agreed – if you’re looking for a great album of pure Glass (not film related) check out “Music in Twelve Parts”.

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