Tuesday, December 29, 2009


urbana is overwhelming. there are 17,000 people at urbana. ridiculous.
so the reason i went to urbana and shelled out the substantial amount of cash (thank you house-sitting job) is so i could hear the current ideas in this corner of the missionary community. the topics are familiar but the range within them is unexpected. i really like what i'm hearing so far.

i started up a blog to chronicle my process in becoming a missionary. it's martadouglass.wordpress.com it's got a few posts but overall is kind of in 'beta' stage. i plan on posting more detailed comments on the lectures i attend, especially as they pertain to my thoughts on ministry in london. i'll post a few here as well, hopefully.

everything at urbana is enormous, including their bookstore. meredith and i were browsing today (actually only hitting 2 bookshelves in 45 minutes) and i picked up three (3!) books. ugh. so much enjoyable and beneficial reading to do. only four weeks and two days to do it (until seminary starts up again).

i picked up Sacred Rhythms: Arranging Our lives for spiritual transformation by Ruth Haley Barton who wrote Invitation to Solitude and Silence (which really did the trick for me my senior year of college when i was pretty lonely). I liked Barton and am very interested in the spiritual disciplines. it seems to be a trendy topic in spirituality (at least for my demographic) nowadays, so that makes it worth studying anyhow. meredith is interested in it as well. i've been talking with tony (my boss at church) about having a silence retreat for the high schoolers and discussing some of the spiritual disciplines. i also want to do a talk as an overview in sunday school.

i think what also interests me in the spiritual disciplines is that they come so unnaturally to me. i am not, by nature, disciplined (at least in any easily recognizable way). I think (and myers-briggs people say this too) that at this stage in my human development I am searching out the things I am not naturally good at. I am learning how to cook and garden, for example. my boss at the florist was telling me that her mother-in-law was the most organized home-maker ever. she had a 8.5x11" sheet of paper for each week, with lists of things to do. she could whip together a picnic lunch in 10 minutes with food and supplies she kept around the house. extraordinary. organization mystifies and eludes me.

another book i picked up is A long obedience in the same direction by Eugene Peterson. I lurve The Message and read a little of his Eat This Book at L'Abri. One of the reasons I was drawn to it was because one of the speakers at urbana quoted Peterson quoting Nietzsche (which I thought was pretty cool):
"The essential thing 'in heaven and earth' is...that there should be long obedience in the same direction; there thereby results, and has always resulted in the long run, something which has made life worth living." (from Beyond Good and Evil).
Again, part of the allure here is perseverance and stability, both things that I lack great strength in accomplishing.

Finally, the bookstore was offering NT Wright's book The Challenge of Jesus for $5. $5!! I wouldn't be a good seminarian if I didn't pick this up. I've seen Wright's big blue book on Jesus and have been too intimidated to even crack it. Apparently this book is a condensed/summarized version of the daunting blue one. Jesus has always been the hardest member of the trinity for me to understand. I talked with a Canadian seminarian for quite a long time about his love for NT Wright and how he thought that this book would blow my mind. Here's hoping.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

i like this/i believe this

Four crucial tests are available for the independent-minded person to weigh the truth in any claim.
(1) Reason. The metaphysical or philosopical approach asks, "Is it reasonable?"
(2) Reality. The empirical or scientific approach asks, "Does it match reality?"
(3) Breadth. The emphasis on scope or a unified field of knowledge asks, "Does it explain all of life?"
(4) Practice. The personal or subjective approach asks, "Is it livable?" This final standard is considered only after the former tests have been applied.

- from Discipling Nations by Darrow Miller (my favorite non-fiction book ever)

Monday, December 14, 2009

middle schoolers can be so dang cute sometimes...

There's a new middle school girl who's been coming around the church lately so I found her on facebook and was looking through her profile pictures. This was in her album. Sometimes middle schoolers can be so stinkin' cute.

Monday, December 7, 2009

Ladies and Gentlemen...

featured in This American Life episode: "Starting from Scratch." Very funny. Also on this episode was one of the funniest/most interesting things I've heard on there in awhile: The Puppy Channel - look it up.

new favorite thing: illustrated missed connections

by artist Sophie Blackall

Sunday, December 6, 2009

certainly not...

"A touch of camo" from White Lace and Promises Wedding Boutique. They offer Mossy Oak brand gowns for brides and bridesmaids. omg.

The Song of Moses

The Song of Moses, Deuteronomy 32:10 - “He found him in a desert land, / and in the howling waste of the wilderness; / he encircled him, he cared for him, / he kept him as the apple of his eye.”

ah memories

Under the influence of my brother Clay, I was way into techno from the ages of 13-15. We went and saw Moby when he came to town around that time. I loved this song.

holiday drinks

epicurious: wassail

williams-sonoma: hot buttered rum

williams-sonoma: hot mulled cider

i can't find a good mulled wine recipe...

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

hourly offices - i guess you're waking up at 4am and going to bed at 8pm?

Lauds - Dawn/Sunrise
Prime - 6:00 A.M. (Start of the day)
Terce - 9:00 A.M. (Third Hour of the day)
Sext - 12:00 Noon (Sixth Hour of the Day
None - 3:00 P.M. (Ninth Hour of the day)
Vespers - Dusk/Sunset
Compline - Just prior to retiring for the day

The Daily Offices - Anglican Church


I've always had a hard time with the idea of the holidays. It all seems to go by so quickly and the joy from presents is short-lived. I'm trying an experiment this year of following the church calendar for Bible readings through the Advent season. Here's the site for St. Ann's Catholic church in Scranton, PA. They posted the calendar for this December (here).

Also, here's the Daily Office for December from Mission St. Claire (here).

Here's today's reading:

6 On this mountain the Lord of hosts will make for all peoples
a feast of rich food, a feast of well-aged wine,
of rich food full of marrow, of aged wine well refined.
7 And he will swallow up on this mountain
the covering that is cast over all peoples,
the veil that is spread over all nations.
8 He will swallow up death forever;
and the Lord God will wipe away tears from all faces,
and the reproach of his people he will take away from all the earth,
for the Lord has spoken.
9 It will be said on that day,
“Behold, this is our God; we have waited for him, that he might save us.
This is the Lord; we have waited for him;
let us be glad and rejoice in his salvation.”
10 For the hand of the Lord will rest on this mountain,

29 Jesus went on from there and walked beside the Sea of Galilee. And he went up on the mountain and sat down there. 30 And great crowds came to him, bringing with them the lame, the blind, the crippled, the mute, and many others, and they put them at his feet, and he healed them, 31 so that the crowd wondered, when they saw the mute speaking, the crippled healthy, the lame walking, and the blind seeing. And they glorified the God of Israel.32 Then Jesus called his disciples to him and said, “I have compassion on the crowd because they have been with me now three days and have nothing to eat. And I am unwilling to send them away hungry, lest they faint on the way.” 33 And the disciples said to him, “Where are we to get enough bread in such a desolate place to feed so great a crowd?” 34 And Jesus said to them, “How many loaves do you have?” They said, “Seven, and a few small fish.”35 And directing the crowd to sit down on the ground, 36 he took the seven loaves and the fish, and having given thanks he broke them and gave them to the disciples, and the disciples gave them to the crowds. 37 And they all ate and were satisfied. And they took up seven baskets full of the broken pieces left over.

thinking about it...

Lions - The Features