Friday, January 29, 2010

Orhan Pamuk

"Four years after I first left Istanbul, while traveling through the endless steppes, snow-covered mountains and melancholy cities of Persia, carrying letters and collecting taxes, I admitted to myself that I was slowly forgetting the face of the childhood love I'd left behind. With growing panic, I tried desperately to remember her, only to realize that despite love, a face long not seen finally fades."

Orhan Pamuk, My Name is Red, 6.

Right now I am captivated by the works of Orhan Pamuk. Pamuk is a professor of literature at Columbia University and the only Turk to receive a Nobel Prize. Right now I am reading My Name is Red which is a murder mystery that takes place during the Ottoman Empire. Each chapter is written from a different perspective, often very unlikely ones at that. So far, it's been great. Once I finish this book I am moving on to his more recent work, Snow.

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

A Knife at the Opera

Swedish electronic duo The Knife is releasing an opera in March (read more here). If the whole thing is anything like this 11 minute preview track, I'm very interested.

Monday, January 25, 2010

WRL: The Brothers Karamazov

"before going to sleep, he threw himself down on his knees and prayed for a long time. In his ardent prayer, he did not ask God to explain his confusion to him, but only thirsted for joyful tenderness, the same tenderness that always visited his soul after praising and glorifying God, of which his prayer going to sleep usually consisted. This joy that visited him always drew after it a light and peaceful sleep."
-Fyodor Dostoevsky, The Brothers Karamazov, 159

Monday, January 18, 2010

Wright on Paul's View of the After Life

"Why then does Paul speak of the new body as being 'in the heaven'? Does this not mean that he thinks of Christians simply 'going to heaven' after their death? No. This is one of the passages which have supplied later tradition with the materials for an unwarranted platonizing of Christian hope. As with Philippians 3.20-21, and indeed 1 Corinthians 15.47-9, the temptation of the tradition has been to drive a steamroller through what Paul actually says, clearing his careful words out of the way to make room for a different worldview in which the aim of Christian faith is 'to go to heaven when you die'. The tradition has always found it difficult to incorporate 'resurrection'... 'Heaven' for Paul, here as elsewhere, is not so much where people go after they die - he remains remarkably silent on that, with the exception of Colossians 3.3-4 - but the place where the divinely intended future for the world is kept safely in store... If I assure my guests that there is champagne for them in the fridge I am not suggesting that we all need to get into the fridge if we are to have a party."
-N.T. Wright, The Resurrection of the Son of God, 367-68

Intelli on Espresso

Here's a great video from Intelligentsia about espresso, which was recently brought to my attention by Hermitudinous.

Saturday, January 16, 2010

I may not exist right now

I tried to get a new driver's license and social security card yesterday. Epic fail on both accounts. This was largely because I got city hall (pictured) confused with the court house, which closed before I could get there. Silly, I know, but as a law-abiding citizen I do not frequent the court house.

Well at least the picture is pretty cool.

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Lost and Still Not Found

I lost my wallet yesterday. There's a possibility it was stolen.

The contents:
Assorted cash
Driver's License
Debit Card
Social Security Card (yes, I know, one is not suppose to carry this in their wallet, a little late for that now)
Medical Insurance Card
Student ID

This is quite unfortunate.

Sunday, January 10, 2010

Bicycle Commuting as Polemic

Warning: This post could come across as pretentious.

At 19 degrees with patches of snow to avoid, today was a pretty challenging commute.

I've basically passed the point that I think I'm saving the world by commuting via bicycle. The fact is all my effort to reduce my carbon footprint can be erased by one soccer mom forgetting to get something at Target and having to make two trips.

Somedays I don't even want to ride my bike to work. Today was one of them.

Cycling in less than ideal conditions speaks to our comfort obsessed culture. It's human nature to revert to complacency and since the industrial revolution Americans have looked to technology with a messianic expectancy that it will accommodate our desires. But our desires are simply desires.

What's easiest and most comfortable isn't our only option.

Friday, January 08, 2010

No Cassettes

As a (mostly) traffic law abiding bicycle commuter, I do not necessarily condone reckless cycling in heavy traffic. Regardless, this footage is quite impressive.

Thursday, January 07, 2010

Sojournings: Philippians 1

After some advice from my roommate to avoid the difficult Greek of Ephesians, I've decided to translate/study the book of Philippians. Today I was working through the first chapter in English and was unexpectedly moved to tears by what Paul wrote.
3 I thank my God in all my remembrance of you, 4 always in every prayer of mine for you all making my prayer with joy, 5 because of your partnership in the gospel from the first day until now. 6 And I am sure of this, that he who began a good work in you will bring it to completion at the day of Jesus Christ. 7 It is right for me to feel this way about you all, because I hold you in my heart, for you are all partakers with me of grace, both in my imprisonment and in the defense and confirmation of the gospel. 8 For God is my witness, how I yearn for you all with the affection of Christ Jesus. 9 And it is my prayer that your love may abound more and more, with knowledge and all discernment, 10 so that you may approve what is excellent, and so be pure and blameless for the day of Christ,11 filled with the fruit of righteousness that comes through Jesus Christ, to the glory and praise of God.
I was struct by Paul's deep affection for this community of believers. It's clear Paul's Christianity isn't merely adherence to a collection of commandments or belief in a series of metaphysical propositions, but an experiential faith: worshipping a real God with actual people he loves and misses.

But I think the reason I found this passage so compelling was that I could tangibly relate. As my departure from Louisville approaches, I can't help but mourn all that pursuing this new path entails.

Being a part of Sojourn Community Church is one of the greatest joys in my life. I could talk about how being part of this community has challenged, encouraged, and edified me, but even that would be primarily speaking in individualistic terms. Gospel community is so much more than the sum of its parts. At Sojourn I have discovered friendships that run far deeper than affinity or sentiment and a spirituality the extends beyond a personal relationship.

So why do we do hard things? Why should we pursue new possibilities when it is easier and even happier to stick with the status quo?

Well, for one, we can take chances because Christ is faithful. God always accomplishes his purposes and we can trust him. Which is also precisely why we should pray as Paul does: with confidence and assurance.

Second, the joy of Christian community transcends geographical boundaries. Even from prison Paul is encouraged by his brothers and sisters, and expects they will be encouraged by his correspondence. In the same way, as the church of Christ is scattered across the globe, blessings are multiplied. This is the logic of the gospel: in losing your life you are saved, in humbling yourself you are glorified, and in scattering you are united in fellowship.
In the words of Basil Manly Jr,

"We meet to part, but part to meet."

Monday, January 04, 2010

Quote of the Day

"To trust 'progress' or our putative 'genius' to solve all the problems that we cause is worse than bad science; it is bad religion."
-Wendell Berry, Life is a Miracle

Friday, January 01, 2010

Bonus Resolution

I forgot this resolution yesterday:

Start writing music again. Music was not a significant part of my life in 2009. In 2010 things will be different.