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Archive for September, 2006

Greek has a officially moved from something I enjoyed to something that makes me want to vomit. I’ve decided it doesn’t have anything to do with the difficulty of the subject matter. Rather it’s got everything to do with the professor. He’s just a little too, shall we say, hard core. There is no laughter in this class. It’s hard work getting him to crack a smile and I think pigs would fly before this guy chuckled in class. He’s a nice man, a happy man. I respect him, but so CANNOT handle the time I have to spend in his classroom.

Anyway…now that you have a good idea of who I’m dealing with for an hour every MWF, I can tell you about today. Today was the day the guy officially went from too serious to totally over the top.

It’s been pretty stormy in this neck of the woods lately, and it was pouring as I walked to class this morning. Approximately 20 minutes into the lecture, I hear sirens. The sirens wailed on for probably 10 minutes. Being from Iowa, I know that towns usually have a siren test once a month, but based on the weather, I wasn’t sure if that was the case. I whispered to the people around me, do you think it’s a tornado? What’s going on? They kind of giggled and teased me. The siren kept going and the professor didn’t even flinch. He just talked louder. Well the siren kept going, and yeah I know that the end of September isn’t exactly tornado season, but I was really pretty sure there was a tornado.

Please note, I am not afraid of tornadoes. I am rather fond of storms. My main issue was that I wanted to know what the hell was going on and no one else seemed to be concerned.

Then we hear a knock at the door. Some lady was coming to tell us there was a tornado over the lake coming straight at us, and it was recommended that we head to the basement. I totally called it!

One would think at this point the professor would dismiss us to the basement. Nope. He says, “Well, if you are uncomfortable staying, you may go to the basement. However, I am going to keep lecturing, so if you choose to leave I will record the rest of class for you.”

Excuse me???? Tornado? Greek? Tornado? Greek? Hmmm.

I chose to stay, but I also asked if we could open the blinds all the way so that we could watch it coming.

I guess in Michigan they don’t get enough tornadoes to take warnings seriously. Either that or my professor is totally in tune with God and knew that it wasn’t going to amount to much anyway. He does know a lot of Greek.

Whatever. I think he’s just way hard core.

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Giving up the Mullet

Those of you who have known me for a while may recall the incident in which I announced to a mission board I was trying to join, as well as at least 50 other missionary hopefuls, that Life is a tilt-a-whirl and God is my carny.

Yeah. I really said that. To people I was trying to convince of my readiness for overseas ministry. Good one.

Well, yesterday, may have topped the God is my carny bit. Due to the tilt-a-whirl-nature of my life, yesterday I found myself in the position of having to convince yet another group of people that I’m a good candidate for ministry. Last time I was trying out for the missionary club. This time I thought I’d give the pastorate a go around.

So I was at a classis meeting for my denomination. (no idea what non-Reformed folks call it. If you’re Catholic, think diocese and pretend I’m trying to be a priest or something cooler and female.) The meeting included me getting approved to come under care of the classis (basically support by, held accountable to and deemed fit for ministry by) and an assessment time for all the seminary students currently under care.

During the time that I had to introduce my self to the entire group (3 women, 65 men), I did the basic intro, said something about my recent ministry experience, blah, blah, blah. Then the guy looks at me and says, did you say anything about Jesus? I totally thought he was kidding and started to laugh. Then my pastor leans over and says to me, say something about who Jesus is to you. By this point I am dying, because, HELLOO I just told you I was a missionary, and why the hell would I be going to seminary if I didn’t think God was my carny?! With all that internal dialogue going on in my head, I couldn’t concentrate enough to formulate an answer. So I said…

I love Him. Jesus means everything to me.

Gag. In front of a bunch of men. I give a Sunday school answer. Judas.

But…of course I managed to redeem myself when during my assessment time I was asked to describe where my faith is right now. I was trying to describe the transformation and growth that is kind of going on in me right now. I was trying to describe the way I’ve reluctantly grown and given in. I was trying to tell them that my faith is in a good spot but it’s hard to know that sometimes because it doesn’t look anything like what it did before. I was trying to say that sometimes I don’t trust the way it looks and I am afraid of what it is turning into.

That’s what I was trying to say. What I actually said was,

Give up the Mullet

Well, it’s kind of like giving up your mullet.

(Picture raised eyebrows and maybe a couple of grins.)

You think it looks good, but one day you realize that the mullet just has to go. If you have a big mullet, you might have to easy into it.

(The raised eyebrows have now turned into wide eyes.)

But there comes a point where you just have to accept it and GIVE UP THE MULLET.

(Half the room bursts into laughter, the other half either doesn’t get it or isn’t amused.)

So there you have it folks. Give up your mullets and go ride the tilt-a-whirl.

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Giving Iowa a bad name…

This technically could be titled Quote of the Day, but then I would feel obligated to file it under the “Words Worth Hearing Category.” But this quote is so NOT worth hearing. It just makes me want to yell and shake people. And call them stupid, arrogant, insensitive idiots. But then we would have a whole other quote that wasn’t worth hearing.

So here it is, as featured in the Sioux City Journal this morning for all of Iowa, Nebraska and South Dakota to see:

Who would have thought that it could be easier to track exactly what field a bag of spinach came from than it is to track illegal aliens?

Bob Daiker, Odebolt, Iowa

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They stole our idea

My friend Joe and I used to spend some quality time driving around the mountains surrounding Sarajevo. It was relaxing. It was adventerous. It was hilarious. It was purposeful.

We were on a mission. Deep down, we were probably trying to drive away our problems. Or hit on Italian soldiers. But oh, no. Our REAL mission, which we did, in fact choose to accept, was to track down Radovan.

We were going to find him. We were so close. One time when we were driving on a road that wasn’t even really a road, his crazy dudes came and blocked the road off so we couldn’t turn around and get out. We were hot on his trail, and just when we were going to find him, these Italian soldiers made us abort the mission. The plan was foiled and now the Balkans will have to rely on the likes of the U.N. and umm, the R.S. to get the job done. Good luck boys!

Anyway, here’s the reason I’m babblig about this. Someone in Hollywood clearly stole our story. We should get royalties. I guarantee if we’d had a camcorder during the last year, Richard Gere wouldn’t be able to touch what we’d have come up with.

Oh well. They’re probably going to film it in the Czech anyway.

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It’s 2:30 in the morning.  The last twelve hours of my life have been spent doing the following:

  • Writing case endings for Greek nouns on my mirror.  (Yeah…I’m a little bizarre.  Don’t have a whiteboard in the bedroom…who would?…and I learn better if I can stand up and dance around)
  • Reading about the persecutions of 3rd century Christians.
  • Eating dinner and talking about Jesus with a ragamuffin group of 21st century Christians.

And for the first time since, well a very long time ago, I think my heart is beginning to soften and can sense the joy returning.  I believe this to be so for a couple reasons.

First, doing random things like the ones I listed above has been satisfying and motivating.  I’m studying some pretty difficult and tedious things, but I am absolutely eating it up.  As far as the ragamuffins go, I’m interning under one killer pastor chick who is heading up a church planting effort.  We’re just entering into the process and last week started an Alpha course for people in the north part of town.  It’s quite the crew.  They’re needy in about a million ways.  Even just a month ago, I don’t know if I would have had the desire to spend time with needy people, let alone study Greek or analyze Cyprian.  But that’s what I’m doing.  And I like it.

The other reason I think the joy might be coming back is that the cynicism and hurt left behind by the last season of life have begun leaving a bitter taste my mouth.  For too long now cynicism and hurt have felt so incredibly normal.  It was almost like I couldn’t feel anything anymore, so if I could at least rely on those emotions, it was a good start.

But I think I can feel again.  Laughter has quit reverberating off the empty walls of my heart and has started warming it back up again. Passion and curiosity have started to ripple within me again, and a new-found sense of security and self-confidence have crept in and made themselves at home.

Real laughter.  Passion.  Curiosity.  Security.  Self-confidence.  These things taste so much better than cynicism and hurt.  Like the difference between sour milk and just about anything else.  How sad is that…when just about anything else tastes better than what you’ve got?!

Anyway…it’s just such a strange feeling to have to get used to feeling the non-sour milk stuff again.  And then comes the day when you look up from your Greek book or cook book or phone book and realize that it’s not the good stuff that tastes funny anymore, but rather it’s the bad stuff.   And then…

Well, I don’t know what happens next.  I’m just getting there.  For now, I’m just going to take it in (and hoping to nail the Greek test I’m taking in eight hours).

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I don’t have any classes tomorrow, so I am hoping to write about something.  I don’t know what…lot’s of stuff floating around the ol’ noggin these days.  I just want to write.  Not in Greek.  And not about Justin Martyr.  Or the cross-cultural criticism of either.

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I almost posted this morning, after hearing news of the Crocodile Hunter’s death. I thought to myself, bad things always happen in three’s. First, Pluto’s not a planet. Then Steve Irwin died. What’s next?

I’ll tell you.

Mom and Dad gave away Miss Kitty. I have no pics to post of her, just know that she was the fattest, nicest cat a family could have.

And now she’s gone.

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