This Is Me

Monday, February 28, 2005

A little reading

I am in heaven. I found out that John Stott ministries puts out a free daily excerpt from his various books EACH DAY. My inbox was stuffed over the weekend with all sorts of interesting theological thoughts. I will only share a few of the greater thoughts and quotes here.

"Greatness in the kingdom of God is measured in terms of obedience. " – John R.W. Stott

"Chrysostom saw this responsibility to pray for our enemies as 'the highest summit of self-control'. Indeed, looking back over the requirements of these last two antitheses, he traces nine ascending steps, with intercession as the topmost one.
-First, we are not to take any evil initiative ourselves.
-Secondly, we are not to avenge another's evil.
-Thirdly, we are to be quiet, and
-fourthly, to suffer wrongfully.
-Fifthly, we are to surrender to the evildoer even more than he demands.
-Sixthly, we are not to hate him, but (steps 7 and 8) to love him and to him good.
-As our ninth duty, we are 'to entreat God Himself on his behalf'."

"The fundamental warning Jesus issues is against *practising your piety before men to be seen by them*. At first sight these words appear to contradict his earlier command to 'let your light shine before men, that they may see...' (5:16). In both verses he speaks of doing good works 'before men' and in both the objective is stated, namely in order to be 'seen' by them. But in the earlier case he commands it, while in the later one he prohibits it. How can this discrepancy be resolved? The contradiction is only verbal not substantial. The clue lies in the fact that Jesus is speaking against different sins. It is our human cowardice which made him say 'Let your light shine before men', and our human vanity which made him tell us to beware of practising our piety before men. A.B.Bruce sums it up well when he writes that we are to 'show when tempted to *hide* and 'hide when tempted to *show*. Our good works must be public so that our light shines; our religious devotions must be secret lest we boast about them. Besides, the end of both instructions of Jesus is the same, namely the glory of God. Why are we to keep our piety secret? It is in order that glory may be given to God, rather than men. Why are we to let our light shine and do good works in the open? It is that men may glorify our heavenly Father." - John R.W. Stott from THE MESSAGE OF THE SERMON ON THE MOUNT or The Christian Counter-culture.

"And whatever you do, do it to the glory of God"

Friday, February 25, 2005

On Becoming a Church Member

I have been taking membership classes for a couple of months at the church I have been attending since moving to Lansing. I went to last Sunday’s class expecting to be asked if I would like to join the church sometime in the future and was surprised to find out that due to scheduling conflicts between the various people taking the class the best solution was adopted: Namely, that anyone who wanted to could become a member either that Sunday, the next Sunday, the one after that, or on into March as need be. We were asked to stay after the membership class if we wanted to join that Sunday. Well, I had been thinking that this is the church God is calling me to and so I felt that it would be wrong to wait until the timing “felt perfect”. However, I did not want to join absolutely alone. So while the others I knew matriculated out, along with most everyone else, I sort of lolly-gagged about seeing if ANYONE else was going to stay. I was thrilled when my friend Erik walked over to me and started talking about his thoughts on joining the church. I requested (translation: begged) him to join that Sunday so I wouldn’t have to be alone at the front of the church. He agreed and Pastor Fred came over to talk to us about our decision. He talked to us a little about joining, but before he left to begin the service he related a humorous incident where, before a graduation ceremony, the one girl and one guy who were graduating come up to him and told him that they didn’t want to walk down the aisle together because it would look too much like a wedding. As he departed, he probably didn’t realize that he had left two now rather shell-shocked personages. Erik and I turned to each other, “I didn’t even think of THAT!”

As we walked to the sanctuary, Erik kept repeating “I’m going to just start laughing up there. That is all I’ll be thinking about.” We walked in and I chose a seat next to my roommate and her fiancé and Erik took one look at the seat next to me, thought better of it, and went and sat with some friends several rows up. I could hear him thinking, “Maybe if we don’t SIT next to each other no one will think anything of it.”

At the end of the service Pastor Fred had Erik and I walk up to the front of the church. I evilly thought of humming the Wedding March within Erik’s hearing as we walked up the aisle (me walking a little slowly as to not catch up with him until we reached the front of the church.) When we reached the front, Pastor Fred said he was going to make some statements and if we agreed with them to answer “I do”. Stunned, I consciously made an effort not to utter “I do” at the same time as Erik. Alas, I messed up on the last “I do” unsure of whether saying it together or separately sounded worse. Then Pastor Fred had Erik and I kneel together as the elders and pastors prayed for us. After that, Pastor Fred told us that he wanted the entire church to greet us into the church family, so he had Erik and I stand at the front of the church, in front of the alter, while everyone in the congregation filed past us before departing. As my roommate said, “At least he didn’t have you dismiss the congregation by rows.” I was very blessed by everyone who greeted me. I think most people hugged me as they welcomed me, even those I had never met before. It was such a feeling of love pouring out upon me.

I must say it was a wonderful experience and I’m really happy that I made the decision to make a commitment and get married….I mean join the church membership.

Thursday, February 17, 2005

Valentine’s Day Memorium – Oh How We’ll Remember You

While some prefer the title “Single’s Awareness Day” (the day you are very aware of being single) for Valentine’s Day I prefer the lesser-known title that is more in keeping with my sense of humor that my friend Jeremiah and his friends came up with in high school. Namely “You’re Going to Die Alone Day” or “You’re a Loser and No One Is Ever Going To Love You Day”. Upon hearing this, I immediately knew what course of action I had to take. Being morally opposed to getting drop-dead drunk I did the next best thing – I threw a party. I actually did have some rather altruistic reasoning. I thought that although I don’t care as much as I used to about the whole ‘being single on Valentine’s Day’ thing, SOME people probably do. I figured that half the problem is not so much the not having of a ‘significant other’ but the sitting at home alone whilst all the happy couples go out together. The solution, of course, was obvious. The irony was that my “Losers” party was better attended than any other I have yet thrown in Lansing. Of course after my decorating job people may stay away from further partying goodness. My walls were festooned with red, pink, and black hearts – torn brokenly in half. And I wonder why so many men seem to be SCARED or INTIMIDATED by me… My red shirt emblazoned with the words “Femme Fatale” in silver gothic script may have helped too. I swear I did not buy that shirt for myself. This brings to my mind the thought that perhaps my shirt was responsible for the following discombobulating and inexplicable conversation:

(Boy staring randomly past me at my patio window in the vague direction of one of my plants.)

Me: Admiring my delightful plant? Or perhaps the lovely butterfly thingie (the technical term) I have decorated it with? (Uh…I can explain the butterfly thingie. It was given to me for helping out with Children’s Ministries. It is gold and beautiful and is stuck in the soil of my plant, looking like a big, gold butterfly is perched on the plant. It’s a great touch. I definitely have a lot of class.)

Boy : No, actually I was staring at your chest.

Me (blank, vaguely shocked look while I computed that he was staring no where near me and that a male just made a remark about my chest and I was very confused about how these seemingly two random events just dovetailed into each other. Especially since heretofore he had seemed like a fairly considerate, well-mannered XY(guy). I actually can’t remember what I said next. Maybe nothing. It is very possible I sat there with my mouth opening and closing and no sound coming out. Or I may have muttered “I’m not sure how to respond to that” underneath my breath. The moment was completely lost while I groped for something witty and barbed to say to put him firmly in his place without making me seem like an utter prudish moron.)

Ironically, this conversation took place while we were all playing a game called "Scruples."

To end this post I will insert a delightful saying concocted by Wazoo, “…since God, in his infinite wisdom, saw fit to give rule over all relations between the sexes to the Prince of Darkness himself, thereby ensuring that no one you are attracted to will ever be attracted to you.”

This could explain much of my life.

Friday, February 11, 2005

wuv, twoo wuv

One of my friends has claimed that I will get married before my sister. I have thought all along that this was erroneous, but he told me several times that he was CERTAIN this was how the timeline would proceed. At this point, I think the power is all in his hands...After all, he IS the one who is marrying my sister in 2 and 1/2 months. He probably doesn't even remember he told me that all those years ago before he was my sister's "sweetheart". He could always postpone the wedding to prove himself right, but somehow I think he'd rather be wrong. However, I now have a platform from which I can PROVE that I am always right when he and I disagree, which is the foundation of every good in-law relationship.

My only regret now is that we didn't bet on it.

Thursday, February 10, 2005

My "To Watch" Movie List (for nerds)

I think the movie I’m most excited about is coming out next December…No, neither Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy nor War of the Worlds has been delayed. Rather, I am talking about The Lion, The Witch, and The Wardrobe. It looks like it’ll actually be pretty wonderful. (as the books were) I’m giddy like a child waiting for Christmas. Next, maybe they’ll make the Dark Is Rising series by Susan Cooper. Or one of the Shannara series by Terry Brooks. It doesn’t take much to make me happy, only making good fantasy (and sci-fi) books into good multi-billion fantasy movies. Hmmm, wait a sec…has that been done before?

Monday, February 07, 2005


I don't remember my dreams often, but the last two nights have been chock full of memorable dreams. I realized how much I love my job from a nightmere I had last night. I dreamed that since we have an intern now they didn't need me anymore, there wasn't enough work for me, and they were going to let me go soon. When I came into work this morning I had the following conversation:

Alexandra: so that was my nightmere last night

Brian: Really? You must be psychic!

Alexandra: I may cry

Brian: Don't cry. We need you. Someone's gotta be in the office to answer the phone.

Learning the hard way...

I wish I'd read this 7 years ago. Of course, I probably would not have understood it as I do now.

"In all the providential dealings of God with me, I must take my stand and decide that God's way is right. When things seem to go wrong with me, instead of believing they're going wrong, I believe they're going right. I take on faith Romans 8:28: "And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are called according to His purpose." -A.W. Tozer

Friday, February 04, 2005

How do people think it's okay that they SAY that?!?!?

"For the Chamber to just like manufacturing tax cuts, but not the rest of this [budget] proposal is like teenage sex. It's all about pleasure with no responsibility."
— Liz BOYD, press secretary of Gov. Jennifer GRANHOLM, on news that the Michigan Chamber of Commerce only likes parts of the governor's business tax plan.

Now I don't wish to make this an R-rated blog, but this was just about the funniest thing I've ever heard come out of a press interview. It's gotta be a first to be talking about budget proposals, tax cuts, and teenage sex all in the same sentance. You know what they say, "If you can't convince 'em, confuse 'em."

Thursday, February 03, 2005

I hab a code, so don't lick my desk

“Grow some balls girl!”

This rather paradoxical saying spoken to me just yesterday. I had procrastinated about asking for the rest of the day off to go home and sniffle in peace and quiet and, most importantly, alone-ness right up until the point when the Chief-of-Staff donned his coat, wished me a good day, and left. This left me to wheeze in the office with the intern a little while longer. I told my friend that I had just been about to ask for the rest of the day off when he walked out the door – I did not tell her it was 4:30pm when he left.

Maybe I do need to be more assertive.

Wednesday, February 02, 2005

Sarcasm is a Plus

Excepts from MIRS:

The Supreme Court today removed a St. Joseph County circuit court judge from the bench for drunkenly driving his car into the local trading post and then cooking up different stories about what happened to the police, public and the media.
Judge James Noecker, a judge in the 45th Circuit, was removed from office after a March 2003 accident in which he drove his car at about five miles an hour into the Klinger Lake Trading Post. He then left the scene to find the owner of the business, who apparently was fishing at a nearby lake. When he didn't find him, the judge said he went home, took a shot of vodka, and blew a .10 when police came to question him two hours later…

Justice Michael Cavanagh, in his dissenting opinion, said judges have engaged in much more egregious behavior and have been met with far less penalty than getting kicked off the bench…”While (Noecker's) story about the accident is undeniably suspicious, there is no proof that (he) lied," Cavanagh wrote. "Without more than speculation that (he) was being untruthful in denying that he drank before he drove, the most severe punishment hardly seems fitting.

Why don’t we just give him a slap on the wrist? - Good Ole Boys Club Chairman