Thursday, April 25, 2013

Washington Park

I ran across this poem by Gerald Costanzo the other day and it made me long for the Pacific Northwest. I grew up just outside of Portland, but my dad lived there and we would often go to Washington Park. We walked the train tracks between the park and the zoo, jumping out to scare the train goers. We would read the names and dates of all the Queens of Rosaria. In 2011, I took my family and we spent an afternoon in the park. I realized again how beautiful it is.

Washington Park

I went walking in the Rose Gardens.
It was about to rain, but the roses
were beginning to bloom. The Olympiads,

some Shreveports, and the Royal
Sunsets. This was in the beautiful
city I had taken away from myself

years before, and now I was giving it back.
I walked over the Rosaria tiles
and found Queen Joan of 1945. I sat

on the hillside overlooking the reservoir
and studied the Willamette and the Douglas
firs. I learned the traffic

and the new highrises as the rain
came down.

                    This leaving and returning,

years of anger and forgiveness,
the attempts to forgive one’s self—
it’s everybody’s story,

and I was sitting there
filling up again with the part of it
that was mine.

—Gerald Costanzo, from Nobody Lives on Arthur Godfrey Boulevard, Rochester NY: BOA Editions, Ltd., 1992. [chapter 9]

Monday, April 22, 2013

Piper on Grieving the Loss of a Child

“But there is another way God is honored in our grieving. When we taste the loss so deeply because we loved so deeply and treasured God’s gift — and God in his gift — so passionately that the loss cuts the deeper and the longer, and yet in and through the depths and the lengths of sorrow we never let go of God, and feel him never letting go of us — in that longer sorrow he is also greatly honored, because the length of it reveals the magnitude of our sense of loss for which we do not forsake God. At every moment of the lengthening grief, we turn to him not away from him. And therefore the length of it is a way of showing him to be ever-present, enduringly sufficient.”

—Read the whole thing.

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Trueman on Thatcher and the Teenage Years

Recently, two connected thoughts have entered my conscience. First, that at 42, an end approaches. Second, that I still live much of my life in my teenage years. Carl Trueman, quoted here before, touches both of those thoughts.
Yet she is dead. The woman who defined the teenage years of many of us—and we all live a lot of our lives in our teenage years—has gone. As I thought of Hill today, I also thought of the film, The Iron Lady, an elegy to the erosion of power and of life itself that aging brings with it. The powerful woman laid low by old age. Her story beckons us all. When Thatcher ruled the waves, I was a teenage boy; and like all teenage boys, I thought I would live forever. Now, approaching the age Mrs T was when she became Tory leader, I am not so sure of my immortality any more. This is the land of lost content. 
Read his whole post.

Saturday, March 30, 2013

The Art of Saying NO

“Time is the raw material of creation. Wipe away the magic and myth of creating and all that remains is work: the work of becoming expert through study and practice, the work of finding solutions to problems and problems with those solutions, the work of trial and error, the work of thinking and perfecting, the work of creating. Creating consumes. It is all day, every day. It knows neither weekends nor vacations. It is not when we feel like it. It is habit, compulsion, obsession, vocation. The common thread that links creators is how they spend their time. No matter what you read, no matter what they claim, nearly all creators spend nearly all their time on the work of creation. There are few overnight successes and many up-all-night successes.”

Kevin Ashton in Thoughts on Creativity

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Page CXVI Jubilee

From the Page CXVI and Autumn Film announcement:
To celebrate 7 years of making music together, the members of Page CXVI and The Autumn Film are giving away their entire music catalog for 7 weeks. Between re-arranging the classic hymns, to creating beautiful emotive indie pop music, the band has recorded 11 albums together. Please join them in celebrating this jubilee by catching up on the records you’ve missed or download the entire catalog.

Note: the link associated with the image won't be live until Friday, March 1.

Saturday, February 23, 2013

Why I Like Apple

People think I am just an Apple fanboy, which I am, but it is because of people like Joni Ive. TUAW recently wrote this:
In a May 2012 interview with the Telegraph, Ive said, “We’re keenly aware that when we develop and make something and bring it to market that it really does speak to a set of values. And what preoccupies us is that sense of care, and what our products will not speak to is a schedule, what our products will not speak to is trying to respond to some corporate or competitive agenda. We’re very genuinely designing the best products that we can for people.”

Even in a World That Can't Stop Talking

“All of these approaches can help achieve Lahey’s aim of giving shy students the confidence to speak up for themselves. But none of this necessarily means we should grade students based on their class participation, since that effectively penalizes children for their fears. In other words, shy kids should be helped with a carrot, not a stick.

I’m also old-fashioned enough to believe that grades should assess a child’s proficiency at math or science or history, not their ability to speak in front of a large group. Knowledge matters. Deep thought matters. Mastery of a subject matters — even in a world that can’t stop talking. It is not irrelevant that American schools, which value verbal confidence at least as highly as quiet study, are falling behind their international peers.”

Help Shy Kids—Don’t Punish Them. The tyranny of the extraverts strikes again.

—Reposted from Alan Jacobs’ More Than 95 Theses

Saturday, February 02, 2013

Three Fantastic Sentences

My friend bought me Reamde for Christmas, a massive 1,044 page techno-thriller written by Neal Stephenson. It is brilliant. I am only 169 pages in and loving it. I had to stop and write this post, because on pages 168 and 169—an open book without turning pages—were three brilliant sentences. The first two are brilliant without explanation. The third is brilliant because I have lived in the the Pacific Northwest and smiled knowingly as this fabulous description of a precise problem one has with slow, constant drizzle and adjustable wiper speeds.
Oddities due to the choices made by players were attributed to “strange lights in the sky,” “eldritch influences beyond the ken of even the most erudite local observers,” “unlooked-for syzygy,” “what was most likely the intervention of a capricious local demigod,” “bolt from the blue” or, in one case, “an unexpected reversal of fortune that even the most wizened local gaffers agreed was without precedent and that, indeed, if seen in a work of literature, would have been derided as a heavy-handed example of deus ex machina.”
The “Meat” were there because of REAMDE, which had been present at background levels for several weeks now but that recently had pinballed through the elbow in its exponential growth curve and for about twelve hours had looked as though it might completely take over all computing power in the Universe, until its own size and rapid growth had caused it to run afoul of the sorts of real-world friction that always befell seemingly exponential phenomena and bent those hockey-stick graphs over into lazy S plots.
“Just wanted to bend your ear a little,” C-plus explained, fussing with the intermittent wiper knob, trying to dial in that elusive setting, always so difficult to find in Seattle, that would keep the windshield visually transparent but not drag shuddering blades across dry glass.
Thank you, Matt. I am truly enjoying this book on every level.

Thursday, January 24, 2013

Andy Naselli

BCS recently announced that we are hiring Andy Naselli as our new Assistant Professor of New Testament and Biblical Theology. I am very excited about him coming on staff and his family being a part of our community at BCS. I really like Andy and look forward to years of service together for the furtherance of our mission.

Nevertheless, I laughed out loud when I read the following sentences on his blog, where he was describing five reasons why he was coming to BCS.
On Christmas Day 1998, I read The Pleasures of God. I was riveted.
Riveted? I’ll say. I would have been starving. And tired. And late for work. Probably a week late.

Tuesday, January 01, 2013

Books Completed in 2012

Here is the list of books I completed during the calendar year 2012. My goal is a minimum of 12 books completed per year, or an average of one per month. If I start a book in one year, and finish it in the next, it counts in the year it was completed. My sights are set low, but this way the goal is attainable. (Obviously, I am not shooting for stars and hoping for the moon: I am settling for clouds.)

Caveats: 2012 was a difficult year, and I had great difficulty focusing on anything deep, difficult, or serious outside of work, which accounts for the proliferation of novels on this year’s list. Yes, I do feel a bit sheepish that the novels I read were more on the side of escapist fiction than classic literature, but I think G.K. Chesterton had it right here, here, and here.

I also previously posted on books read in 2011, 2010, and 2008/2009.

Cover Her Face, by P. D. James
The Hunger Games, by Suzanne Collins
Catching Fire, by Suzanne Collins
Mockingjay, by Suzanne Collins
The Summer Tree, by Guy Gavriel Kay
The Wandering Fire, by Guy Gavriel Kay
Where the Sidewalk Ends: The Poems and Drawings of Shel Silverstein, by Shel Silverstein
Writing Magic: Creating Stories That Fly, by Gail Carson Levine
Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone, by J. K. Rowling
Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets, by J. K. Rowling
Graphic Design: The New Basics, by Ellen Lupton and Jennifer Cole Phillips
The Chronicles of Amber, Volume 1, by Roger Zelazny
The Chronicles of Amber, Volume 2, by Roger Zelazny
Hannah Coulter, by Wendell Berry
The Bourne Identity, by Robert Ludlum
The Bourne Supremacy, by Robert Ludlum
The Bourne Ultimatum, by Robert Ludlum
100 Cupboards, by N. D. Wilson
Dandelion Fire, by N. D. Wilson