Thursday, August 31, 2006

A few changes headed this way

I'm going to try to do something a little different with this blog from now on. Not a lot different, but a little. First, I'm going to make a point out of updating it every single day - yes, that's a good bit of work, but I think it's worth it, given the things God has laid on my heart regarding it. It's still going to be something of a record of my own life, but it's going to be more directed at what God says about things and less about what the circumstances look like. I'm also going to be making a point out of doing a lot more of the book reviews, similar to what I did recently - which will be an inspiration for me to keep reading and getting through new material. If things go as I hope, you'll be shortly reading a review of Dostoevsky's The Brothers Karamazov, and throughout the semester a selection of Dietrich Bonhoeffer, G. K. Chesterton, and Francis Schaeffer, at a minimum, along with Oswald Sanders' Spiritual Leadership, and The Insider by Petersen and Shamy (both of those last two should be coming along within each of the next two weeks).

Some explanation for the shift is perhaps required. I've been slowly drifting in this direction for a while, as I've prayed about the direction this ought to take. More and more, the Lord has convicted me that if I'm going to be blogging, it needs to be taking full advantage of the gifts He's given me, and I need to point to Him in everything. That means the above changes for this blog - though, as I mentioned, it will still involve my life, I'm more interested in His perspective than my own banalities - and it also means that I'm going to be a better steward of eternity calling. My goal is to have a serious update on there (essays of the 1500+ word length of the sort I've put up before) every two weeks from now on. God has given me gifts as a thinker and a writer that need to be used, and for His glory and magnification. I may not have many readers - and I may never have many readers - but this isn't about me: it's about my using the gifts He's given me as best as I'm able to bring as much glory to Him as I can, whatever that looks like. All of this has been growing in me for months, but it came into sharp focus earlier today when I was reading this article over at Boundless. When you read it, perhaps you'll see what I mean.

This brings me to the last thing I'll be doing: when I see a good article somewhere, or a good, solid website, I'll be recommending it, with explanations of why I'm recommending it, what it's about, etc.

Finally, at some point (hopefully later this semester), I'll be getting my own website up and running - it's a necessity for my composition, and it'll be useful for many other things; but among the many functions it'll serve, I'll be hosting my blogs on it, which will hopefully help in distribution and all that. When that actually happens, I'll of course post that here, and I'll probably continue to post in parallel here for the convenience of those of who read it here.

With all of that in mind, I now have to get back to doing my homework. Even with this new vision, the rest of my life hasn't disappeared. God bless you all, and good night!

- Chris
I have to plug the new Boundless blog, which will go truly active next Tuesday. These are some of the most Godly writers out there - go read this blog! God bless.

- Chris

Wednesday, August 30, 2006

Who knew?

Who knew that you could be so tired on Wednesday of the second week of school that it felt like you'd been doing this all blasted year already - that'd you been here for months, not mere weeks? I suppose God did, but that's about it, as far as I can tell. And every time I get more tied, I get less motivated - and somewhat less able - to get less tired, because it generally results in my getting slightly further behind in schoolwork. Yay. I'll survive. I need to go start doing some of that schoolwork, actually.

God bless, all.

- Chris

Monday, August 28, 2006

Kelsey and Saturday

Ah, at long last last, some clarification on that story from Saturday night:

So, Kelsey Seale was flying back into town on Saturday afternoon - from Germany. She's crazy: she missed the first week of classes for a study abroad thing over there. I can't blame her, per se, but nevertheless it's still going to be fun to tease her about - in roughly three months when the stress from it is finally gone.

In any case, she was supposed to arrive at 3:17 pm. Well, at about 2:15 or so I got a call from her saying, "Hey, we had to set down in Canada for a medical emergency, so I missed my connecting flight, so I'm getting rerouted on a flight through Memphis back to OKC tonight." Okay, cool. I turn around and drive back to the dorms, and do homework the rest of the afternoon (well, sort of - I had a hard time focusing). I head back over to the airport that evening, driving through silly Oklahoma weather. [Hey, let's be raining! Half a mile later: hey, let's be completely dry! Repeat verbatim at least 4 times.] It was an awesome storm. Which sucked, overall.

I get to the airport, and am trying to go see if I can preemptively deal with getting her luggage for her, as it theoretically might have come through more quickly than she did - except the other flight it would have come through on also got significantly delayed, but by the storm. In the midst of checking on all this - all moot anyway, since the Northwest Airlines baggage office never got opened that night - I hear to my surprise that the flight is now supposed to get in at 8:34. Cool!

Next thing you know, my cell phone starts dying. Take note; this is important! A couple minutes after it dies (and the plane theoretically should have gotten there), we start hearing notices that one flight from Dallas-Ft. Worth got turned around and sent back thanks to the storm. Oh, joy. And the minutes are ticking by. I'm figuring, "Hey, storm, it'll push them back a bit." When a bit is 9:10, which is 20 minutes after originally scheduled arrival and 35 after the updated ETA, I go downstairs to talk to a baggage guy and check on this again. He checks, lets me know they got rerouted to Dallas-Ft. Worth. Right as I'm walking away from him, the lights flicker, and go out - after a second they come back on. On backup generator power (most of the people in the airport missed figuring that out). Fun. And even though a NA flight has come in, there's still no one in the baggage claim office for them, which is annoying.

I figure I need to get in touch with Kelsey - but my phone is at that annoying point where you turn it on, it gives you about four seconds, and then turns itself back off. So I borrow someone else's phone, manage to use it to call her, find out they've set down at Dallas-Ft. Worth, and are waiting for a decision on whether they're going to refuel or have them disembark and get on other planes to get to OKC. At that point, I decide I need to get in touch with people back in Norman (my roommate and her roommates) to let them know what's going on, so I keep borrowing the guy's phone - much appreciated by this point - to call Katie and Dean. And then I wait. Keep checking the baggage claim - no one ever actually shows up, to my annoyance - and all that. I try to pull out my phone to check for messages and suddenly it's showing a lot more battery. I'm growling and grumpy at my phone by now, because it's so inconsistent. I call my family, let them know what's up and to keep praying over it all.

And then I just go upstairs and wait, scanning every flight as it gets in. Hers finally arrives at about 11:00, I guess, maybe a little after, since I see her walking toward me at 11:10. Yay! Then we think about the baggage situation for a bit and decide to just drive home - no point not to, b/c the baggage just wasn't going to be there, period. So we get her back, the girls feed her (and me, despite my protests that I hadn't any need for them to feed me), and then I go get some sleep so I can still be functional at church in the morning. Yeah. Craziness. I feel more bad for her than me, though, given she was in airports or on planes for a solid 24+ hours. All I had to do was wait in an airport for 3.5 hr. :p

Anyways, back to homework for me. God bless!

- Chris

Interesting test

This came out almost precisely as I anticipated:
Your Linguistic Profile:
80% General American English
10% Yankee
5% Upper Midwestern
0% Dixie
0% Midwestern

Interesting, no?

- Chris

Sunday, August 27, 2006


Kelsey's back! The picking her up is a story for tomorrow, though. Good night, everyone!

- Chris

Wednesday, August 23, 2006

A short thought

It's bizarre to consider that I've already had three days of class. It's just kind of normal at this point. I'm still looking for a job, but that'll come. I can't doubt God's provision, not when I've seen it so clearly before. I'm going to do a little homework tonight, then chill a bit. Luckily there's not too much work this first week!

God bless, all.

- Chris

Tuesday, August 22, 2006

Monday recap

The following is my yesterday. And not terribly dissimilar from all future Mondays... *eyes bug out*

7:50 - leave dorm to attempt to track down Dr. Stephenson to straighten out issues with classes.
8:05 - arrive at Catlett, find he's not there, nor available. Spend next hour and twenty minutes practicing piano and singing.
9:30 - the day starts in earnest, with my physics lab lecture.
10:30 - Music History class
11:30 - lunch break, see several awesome friends. Yay!
12:30 - Physics III: Intro to Modern Physics. Looks like it ought to be a good class, definitely a good homework load, too. Dr. Murphy's cool, though.
1:30 - Physical Math II: yay for the guy being from either Eastern Europe or, more likely after considerable thought and discussion among the members of the class, Portuguese (meaning more likely Brazilian). Step down for most of the class (after Petrov). Possible step up for me (after Zhu).
2:30 - Physics lab, runs for two hours and by this point I'm starting to feel pretty drained... but the day's a long ways from over just yet.
4:30 - go back over to Catlett. Start the ball rolling to finally get my missing credit hour back (after trying two or three times last year to get it back), looks like success will finally happen on that count. Try to talk to Dr. Stephenson again; he's not in his room so I leave him a message in his mailbox, then walk out of Catlett - to find him walking in. Talk to him, get things straightened out. All of the running around takes just over half an hour.
5:05 - start walking back to Adams so I can get my bike so I won't be any more horribly late for my MT meeting than I have to be; also so I can drop my backpack, which is just not worth carrying to my next class.
5:14 - run into room, drop stuff, quickly check e-mail for directions to Jaques' house - not there. An e-mail I have to respond to from a friend is, so I do that, then run out the door.
5:20 - stand around waiting for elevator. It finally comes, and I sprint my bike up to the Union just as quick as I can. Silly pedestrians keep making me slow down. I finally get there... three minutes late. No biggie, because:
5:33 - Ballroom Dance class starts. This class is fun, but significantly more wearying and difficult than anyone would ever expect if they hadn't done it before. It goes for two hours with about a ten minute break.
7:20 - class gets out, I turn around and sprint my bike back down to the dorms so I can grab my Bible and call Dick Jaques for directions to his house.
7:32 - Steph and I leave for the Jaques' MT together. We get there, join in the festivities short term. They feed me dinner (which everyone else had back at 6:30 when the meeting actually started), and we're going through all our MT stuff to basically set up our vision for the year. We conclude with everything at about 10:15. I drive Steph back to the dorms, we talk for half an hour. I try to get in touch with Stephen, who I've been playing phone tag with for about 4 hours at this point, and fail.
10:52 - I finally get back to my room for more than a 2-minute interval, and basically just chill out

I've already decided not to ever try to do homework on Mondays, for what are perhaps obvious reasons. I've also decided I'm going to need lots of God's grace for Mondays. Good thing for me He never runs out or stops giving it liberally!

Grace and peace with all of you!

- Chris

Sunday, August 20, 2006


Being back at Trinity today was wonderful. It's kind of strange, because Hosanna (back home) is definitely my church home, and always will be. But Trinity is also home, and that's a very odd feeling. Things are different than they were four months ago, of course, but in many ways they're also very much the same - the biggest difference is how we've all grown in the last four months. Seeing everyone again was really good, and seeing how the changes we've gone through hasa made us closer or simply more comfortable with each other was interesting. Some of that is just everything the Lord has done in me of late, because I can see how much He's changed my heart regarding certain things. I'm a lot more open than I was - which is almost funny, given how much I already felt I was open - and I'm a lot less touchy about things (which doesn't surprise me at all). It's so good to be back, though, and I can't wait to see how the rest of the year goes.

God bless, everyone!

- Chris

Saturday, August 19, 2006

The last few days

Should be a semi-busy day, though hopefully less busy than the last few have been. (That the last few have been busy is not a bad thing, given I was moving people in and doing BSU stuff and just hanging out with friends, but it has been tiring.) I've got a couple errands to run (involving bicycles!) and my job to do today (and theoretically, I probably ought to go apply for other jobs, since the one I was hoping to get they haven't called me about). It should all be good overall, though, and as I noted, probably a more relaxed day.

Yesterday and Thursday were definitely amazing, though, not least because of the amount of time I got to spend with Chris Goree. The man is awesome; I respect him as a man of God immensely. And he's just hilarious. :p Everyone else I've been meeting over the last few days - mostly freshman, but not entirely - has been pretty cool, too. Stephen Carradini, a guy Chris knew that we moved in, is proving to have been on my heart from the moment I heard about him for good reason; clearly, God has been doing a preparation for us to be good for each other. And the many freshman I hung out with last night - Sharon, Jamie, Andrea, Drew, Casey, Stephen (same one), Samuel, and Nick(?) - were all awesome. Definitely some divine appointments there, and definitely cool seeing how the Holy Spirit was working through me - I was being really good at social stuff, just really on top of it and keeping it natural and all that goodnes... and all of you know me well enough to know just how not me that is. *laughs* God is good, and this year is going to rock.

I'm going to go take a shower so I don't freak people out with my smelliness now. Grace and peace be with you from God!

- Chris

Tuesday, August 15, 2006

"Well," said Sam, "I'm back."

That's right, you read the title. I'm back in Norman. It's definitely still too sticky for me to be really happy with the weather, but I love being back here, and having people start to trickle in. I can't even express how much I've missed this place. It's kind of weird, when it really feels like coming here was coming home.

There've been a few interesting things since my last post. I did get the car, and it's awesome. I love driving a stick. And the car just looks awesome. Though it could use a bath, having driven across Kansas. Blech. (That was a joke, people, though it does need a bit of a bath from the bugs.) Umm... my room is a thing causing slight annoyance at this point, because the lofting kits Dean and I were planning on having access to so we could put our beds up high and our desks and stuff under them... aren't available, and apparently won't be for about three weeks. Yay for OU Housing. :P It's really not a big deal; it's just a hassle - especially because it'll cause us to completely rearrange our rooms in a few weeks. After school starts and we're in the middle of crazy business. It's okay, we'll make do.

The rest of today, I'm going to pretty much just keep working on my room, make a Walmart run for some supplies, and eventually (tonight at 5), go to the BSU for our all-MT get-together in preparation for the school year, and that ought to rock. I'll get to see quite a few people I haven't seen in along while, and I'm looking forward to that immensely. I'm looking forward even more to having everyone move back in over the course of the week.

Anyways, I'm going to grab a quick shower, shave, and go to Walmart for those things we need. I hope you all have a wonderful day... and I'll see many of you soon! God bless.

- Chris

Wednesday, August 9, 2006

Book review

I'm not going to try to talk about everything - I still have work to get done this afternoon, in the form of writing up this week's assignment (yay for a job! - more on that later). Instead, I'm going to start by doing a book review, something I intend to start doing on here every so often. My general approach is going to be as follows: Describe the book, then discuss its author(s)'s style, then discuss the general merits and demerits of the book, concluding with my overall impression and recommendation regarding it.

I just finished reading a book called Boundaries in Dating, by Drs. Henry Cloud and John Townsend. The subtitle is "Making Dating Work." I think it's probably a fitting subtitle for the book. The book follows a fairly methodical progression of looking at boundaries regarding dating in different areas - for the reader, for who the reader should date, and for problems - when the reader is the problem, and when the person they're dating is. Each section has four or five chapters, dealing with specific areas in which boundaries need to be set, and the chapters themselves get increasingly specific. The focus of the book is on practical issues in dating, not so much the spiritual context, though this does play a part - I'll comment more on that later.

Style-wise, the authors' backgrounds as psychologists functioning as counselors comes through clearly; the text is filled with practical advice offered succinctly and with frequent reference to their experience in counseling. Nearly every piece of advice is accompanied by - typically prefaced by - an anecdotal recollection of a situation exemplifying the boundary (or, more often, lack thereof) they are then discussing. The text is clear, and the reading kept light both by their style of prose and inclusion of prose; in many ways it feels more like a well-delivered seminar than a book, which is perhaps unsurprising given their background as cohosts of a radio program.

The merits of the book come in the form of its practical advice. Each boundary is a very good one, and the practical wisdom they give on the implementation of these boundaries is likewise good; the experience they have in dealing with these situations in real life is clear. Moreover, the authors do a good job of incorporating Scripture as the foundation for the boundaries they set, placing its value above that of common sense (though they make clear that common sense has plenty of value as well). However, while I found the practical advice to be overall sound, I found their underlying spiritual premises to be thoroughly unsound, and disturbingly so. They preface the book with what is essentially a rebuttal of the arguments forwarded by Joshua Harris in I Kissed Dating Goodbye. In so doing, they make clear that they missed the points Harris was trying to make, and this remains clear throughout the book. For those of you who may not have read Harris' book - and I highly recommend it to anyone, regardless of whether you're single or dating (and my mom said it's even good for married people) - I'll summarize his essential points.

Fed up with broken relationships and damagin patterns in his dating, Harris went to Scripture, and came away convinced that dating is wrong in the sense that as practiced in general, it reflects a fundamentally self-centered attitude. He's not in any way against the idea of "dating," but rather rejects the notion of doing things the way the world (and unfortunately, most Christians) does it: focusing on self. Harris himself "dated," so to speak, in pursuit of his wife, but did so in rather unconventional ways (most people of Harris' mindset are calling it courtship, but he rightly notes in another volume that the name is irrelevant; the mindset matters).

Back to Boundaries in Dating - the authors apparently (wrongly) came away from Harris' book with the impression that he was rejecting dating in any way, and missed the fact that he was rejecting a methodology of dating, not the concept of going on dates. The authors argue that dating without the end goal of marriage to the person you're dating is not only alright, but in many cases desireable as a way to grow yourself. (Note the use of "self" there at the end, it's a common theme.) While I understand their argument on this point, I find that every example they offer of such growth can be equally well-accomplished in the context of friendship alone - and without the emotional (and often physical) intimacy of dating. In fact, of the seven points they forward as reasons to date (in their preface), all can quite easily be met in the context of friendship. Moreover, as one particular example from the sixth point makes clear, the only reason to date (instead of remaining friends) when marriage is not the goal is self-gratification (I doubt the authors are aware of this - more on that in the conclusion). Their sixth point is summed up in the final paragraph as follows:

Dating gives people a context to meet and spend time with a wide variety of people. They can find out what they like what they need, and what is good for them.

Again, all of those things can be easily accomplished through strong friendships. But the bigger problem here lies in the fact that those should be the motivations for dating. Dating is not about finding what we want, or meeting our own needs. It's about pursuing God's will to see if the person we're pursuing is the one He wills for us to marry so as to serve Him and His purpose. Moreover, in the context of dating, we shouldn't be looking to meet our own needs, but laying ourselves down as servants to the person we're dating. This flaw in the authors' mindset is clear throughout the book; even the good advice they give is damaged by this underlying issue; in nearly every chapter at some point the good advice is temporarily sidetracked by this attitude and some advice is given that, while not necessarily horrible, is hardly the best. For example, in their chapter on physical boundaries, the only boundary they advocate is "no sex" - other than that, whatever you're comfortable with. The root of this argument comes from the flawed idea that dating is about self - they even note that there should be gratification of sexual desire in dating. The problem isn't that there ought to be an overall concern for purity, according to them, it's that people need to respect when each other have different boundaries - on which latter point they're not incorrect, but in missing the former they miss the more important point, and a more important boundary. In their conclusion, the authors list six points to consider about dating. One of them is focused on the person we're to marry; the rest are all focused on self-gratification. This is the only demerit to the book.

Overall, I find I can't really recommend the book. The spiritual issue here simply outweighs the good of the practical advice for most purposes. I must note here that I don't think the authors had any intent of promoting selfishness. What they did do, however, was defend the way people date right now, and because that pattern has come from the fallen world, it's flawed. The world approaches dating with a "how can I gratify my desires?" approach, and this book only modifies the question a little, to "How can I gratify my desires safely?" I'm sure the authors had no such intent, as their heart to honor God in the book comes through clearly, but as Harris notes in I Kissed Dating Goodbye, that's just the wrong question to be asking. The book may be useful if you have already established clear spiritual understanding of what dating/courtship ought to look like, in that there is some very good advice in it. If, however, you have yet to clarify those matters in your heart - if you're not yet committed to the idea that dating is for the one purpose of deepening a friendship toward marriage (not that youc an't date more than one person, but it should always be with that end goal in mind) - then I'd advise you to avoid this one for now; and in fact that'd be my advice in general. There are other better books on the topic, including Harris' Boy Meets Girl.

Now it's off to my other writing work... I'll be back either tonight or tomorrow night with an update on some of the other things I've been thinking. Our Lord's blessing to all of you!

- Chris

Tuesday, August 8, 2006


I'm so tired... I'm going to bed just as soon as I finish writing this up. There's a lot I wanted to write about, both about things I've been thinking about and this book I've been erading, but honestly, I don't think I can do it justice in the current stae of affairs in my head. I only got about 3 hours of sleep last night, if that, and while it was for very good reason, it still leaves me pretty drained, especially seeing as my back is continuing to give me problems, which causes the rest of my body to have pain, which causes me to be tired anyway... you get the idea, I'm sure. Anyways, mostly wanted to just let everyone know I'm still alive, still thinking... eventually I'll get another update done on my philosophy blogspot, something about the flaws in utilitarianism as a worldview. And packing is going to happen the rest of the way - I've already got my CDs and books all boxed up. And hopefully I'm going to finish reading these books, get some more writing contracts lined up, clean my car, and wrap up most everything around her, and all that tomorrow! Thanks, as always, for your prayers, and peace be with you!

- Chris

Sunday, August 6, 2006

Counting down...

6 days till I leave, 9 till I move in, 9 and 10 till I get to see my friends again... I'm ready to go.

- Chris

Tuesday, August 1, 2006


This is going to turn out a bit different than it sounded like it was going to last night, for a number of reasons which I'll make clear as I go.

I'm going to start by copying over the entry I wrote in my Bible study journal today, and then expand on the thoughts I put down there:

It's both encouraging and frustrating looking back through the last 4 months in my study journal. It's encouraging in the sense that God's preparation of my heart and mind for the the difficulties that have arisen this summer is so incredibly evident. It's discouraging and frustrating in the sense that I just didn't get it. That no surprise by now, of course, since that's what we do as human beings. And I can definitely see that - even in spite of my own failure to really get what He was telling me in places - the Lord was enabling me to walk through the things then ahead of me, though I wasn't aware of it. He certainly has used the specific verse and passages he'd shown me this summer in my heart, though I didn't realize it until today. I'm left saying, "great is His faithfulness."

What is most encouraging (though there's a bit of conviction with it) is that this revelatory experience for my heart has made me see studying Scripture in a whole new way. The passage I read today may seem to have nothing to do with what I'm going through right now, but God is using it all the same if I'm studying what He's put on my heart to study. We don't know what He's preparing us for with the passages He's taking us through in His word. The encouragement, then, is that even when we don't seem to be having fruitful times of study, God is planting those parts of His word in us so they'll be ready when we need them. The conviction arises in that once more I need to take my eyes off of myself and put them on Him - because when it comes right down to it, requiring God's leading and teaching to be applicable to what I'm dealing with right now in the way I want it to be applicable is downright self-absorbed - and more than a bit silly.

The moral of the story here ends up being that "not feeling like I'm getting anything out of my study time" is never a valid excuse not to study. The so-called dry times we go through are often preparation for another season when we're going to need to call on that which God has showed us and hidden in our hearts. When we're so caught up in "What does this mean for me right here and right now?" we're apt to miss what God is trying to do in our hearts, and even more likely to miss even the things He is trying to minister to us in the here and now.

The other lesson to be learned is that we really do need to be "remembrancers" of the things that God has done, the words He has given us, the lessons He has taught us. When we forget to look back and see those things, it's really easy to repeat our mistakes, and to have to relearn the same lesson. That's one of the main reasons that I do journal for my Bible study: it gives me a place to look back and see how much the Lord has worked in my life, and it gives me an opportunity to be reminded of things He's told me before that are applicable right now. Instead of having to relearn it, we can simply be reminded of it.


As for what's been going on in the rest of my life, I can truthfully say that, while my heart remains heavy, it's heavy in the sense of having a great deal of concern for the situation these two friends are in. Yes, there's still a bit of hurt, and a bit of anger in me. The Lord has given me the grace and the strength to deal with those, though. And honestly, they're fading, because my concern for my friends far outweighs my own emotional loss in the midst of the situation. I continue to take each of them and the whole situation to the Lord in prayer, because that's the only thing that's going to make a difference. All my words will fail, because however eloquent I manage to be, I can't change people's hearts. Only the Holy Spirit can do that. And only divine intervention is going to take this from the bad situation it is to a good one. My prayer is that they don't have to suffer the kind of hurt they're headed toward - and that, should they choose to go ahead into it, God will work it for good nevertheless.

You are the King of all
You are the Lord on high
You are our God who reigns over earth and sky
There is no one like You
No one else we will praise
And we come to sing - Glory to Your name
Glory to Your name

Thank you for the spring, oh Lord
Thank You for the fall You made
Thank You for the summer and the winter and the night and day
Thank You for every season You've made

Thank You for a time to laugh
Thank You for a time to cry
Thank You for times of grief and times of pain and times to soar so high
Thank You for every single day

Grace and peace be with you all in Him.

- Chris


I know, it's been a while since I updated, and that after that absurd flurry there. Sorry to anyone who's been wondering what's up. It's late now, so I'll try to post a fuller update tomorrow. *bleary eyed*

- Chris