Saturday, March 31, 2007

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I'm getting tired of always being on the road to go to class. It must be such a luxury to be able to stay on campus....
Although, THIS is the type of "traffic" I prefer, if I must travel.

Thursday, March 29, 2007

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The only nose in the household that pollen doesn't seem to bother. Chaos' throat is really sore this morning; more than the usual and so off to the doctor we go. I've been giving her over the counter stuff -- maybe we need prescription drugs.

The traffic helicopter on TV just showed some aerial photographs -- the pollen is so bad that there is a yellow haze around Atlanta, it reaches up almost to the top of the skyscrapers -- they are coated with a yellow film and you can see it very clearly on the roads and the tire tracks the cars have made through it. The Loving Husband made the comment that if we get much more pollen, we can go skiing.

I've books to read by Hauerwas and Cobb. Funny, they are both Dukies. I think I'll spend time reading today. I've got to figure out how Hauerwas grounds his Ethics and how Cobb views Grace and Responsibility.

Wednesday, March 28, 2007

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The Culprit. Pine Pollen doesn't really cause allergies; it's too big. It's the oak and other trees that's so bad. We are reaching the high pollen count for the year; it's getting near 6000 parts per million. It will hang there for a while and then eventually drop off. I'll be glad when it rains and gets rid of the horrible threat to my nose. I've a headache right now. Bleh.

Tuesday, March 27, 2007

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Mystery Substance
I'll give you hints.

Here are tire tracks in IT in the driveway.

Chaos' shoes covered in IT.

IT in the gutter at the bottom of the driveway.

IT on my car hood.

What could IT be??? At this time of year IT dominates my life. IT causes me to sneeze. IT is gritty on my face. The kids try to get IT all over each other. Wanna guess what IT is?

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Chaos likes them too!

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Rice Balls. Sticky rice, filled with tuna. Yum.

Monday, March 26, 2007

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Hmmm... I didn't know that Elberton was a CITY.

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Part of the compensation of having to have class on Saturdays is that I get to eat where-ever I want to. And of course, in Athens that would mean the Varsity. Of course if it were near Tech, it would be the Varsity as well.

My dad's first date (in 1935) was a movie at the Fox and dinner at the Varsity. My grandfather used to eat there at least twice a week. Anytime we went downtown Atlanta or Athens, it was an opportunity to go to the V. I remember one of the car-hops singing the menu to us -- he knew what my grandfather wanted (because he was such a regular customer) and would sing it to just me -- his name was Flossie Mae and I miss that.

My pediatrician was downtown at Georgia Baptist Hospital and so to keep me from crying when I got a shot, my mother would promise to take me to the V and get ice cream or a Frosted Orange. When I purchased my first car, my dad insisted that we go to the V and "break it in." In fact, we broke all our new cars in at the V.

And the food's good too....

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It's not weeds -- It's a field of wildflowers!

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Henbit. It's invading my yard. It's considered a weed, but that's because it's just a plant growing in the wrong place. How many of us see others as "weeds" but it's just because they are growing in the wrong place?

Sunday, March 25, 2007

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The cat. It's so boring to take pictures of this cat; she never moves to another place or changes position very often. She's old for a cat (19 years or so) and doesn't do much more than eat, sleep and enjoy some scritchies behind the ears. This picture is unique in that she's actually AWAKE.

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A flock of crosses at a local Lutheran church. I love the variety of the shapes and sizes. Just like us. Each of our crosses will be different; the texture, the shape, the size; the density. Something to think about.

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I can't remember if I blogged about this -- I've finished putting the head of Judas back onto my most current "Last Supper" find. Odd that it was the head of Judas that broke off. I've repaired the break (again), hopefully for the last time and I'm going to try to color in with a brown sharpie so that it doesn't look like Judas is wearing a muffler.

We can fix this plaque, but can we fix the basic brokenness underneath?

Friday, March 23, 2007

Rejection of Labels

I have rejected labels for a long time. In fact, I hate labels, especially "conservative," "fundamentalist," and "liberal." I'm not too fond of "progressive" either.

I know my label, but I hate using it. It's like putting myself in a box. Entropy has this silly frog toy that swells when you put in it water. If you put it in a small glass, it stays small. If you put it in a big bucket, it gets real big. It also takes on the shape of the container, sometimes round, sometimes square. (I'm not fond of the frog today, either.) I'm afraid I put myself in a box (label), I'll never know what my true size or shape would be.

Nonetheless, my label would be "Mystic." Not in that gooey New Age kind of way, but a robust Christian Mystic sort of way.

There. I finally said it.

The Good Stuff

As a lemming, I'll follow John and Willie

Thursday, March 22, 2007


Once upon a time a little girl was going to test the existence of God. After breakfast one day, she took out of the breakfast dishes a handful of grapefruit seeds. She was of a scientific bent, so she took a half dozen old tin cans, filled them with dirt, planted a grapefruit seed in each and made herself a chart. She decided to pray over the first seed for one minute, the second seed a half minute, the third 15 seconds and so on until the last little seed got no prayer at all. She would graph the amount of prayer against the growth of the seed. “Dear Lord, if you exist, make this seed grow. Amen.” All well and good, right?

Problem was, the seeds never grew. Not a single one. She was crushed and decided that God didn’t exist. He mother noticed she was so very sad and discovered the whole story. She listened and made the appropriate noises and then she gently asked, “Did you water the seeds?”

“No, I decided God could do what ever God wanted to do.”

The little girl had decided to have her faith determined by these physical objects and when they didn’t grow, her faith was crushed.

Of course, there are problems with this little experiment – things like “Do not put the Lord your God to a test.” Things like that. And (yes, taken out of context but apropos) that verse about planting the seed, watering it and God giving the increase – maybe we have to do something too. I’m not talking your basic “Pelagianism” – pulling yourself up by the bootstraps, but we participate with God.

Later, this little girl was fascinated with the Shroud of Turin. There was an exhibit in the Omni International concourse in downtown Atlanta, near the World of Sid and Marty Croft – Come see the Shroud!! Slide down the Giant Slide!! She would go and stare at the photographs for hours, imagining the Resurrection. She read all the books and followed all the news releases – she just knew if the Shroud was REAL then Jesus just HAD to be real. She called herself a “Christian” on those days when the winds of fate blew in favor on the validity of the shroud and “Not a Christian” when they did not.

Many of her musings were about the resurrection itself – why was there blood on the shroud? Maybe the blood that Jesus shed before he died stayed on his body and rubbed off on the shroud. Did his fingernails continue to grow and his hair? Did he start to rot, like Lazarus? Did fluid begin to leak out of his body? What about that fluid? Since it leaked out after he died, was it included in the resurrection, somehow being slurped back into his body? Was the image a photo-flash of nuclear heat that seared the image into the fabric? Was it really old enough? Would Jesus have a complete set of DNA? Was it really the Shroud of Christ? The Devil sat on her shoulder, whispering and gibbering. She agonized, she doubted.

Back and forth she went until one morning her mother asked, “Well are you a Christian today or not?” That stopped her dead in her tracks. She was placing her trust in the immaterial world, her faith in a God both transcendent and imminent into a physical object, allowing that object to dictate her faith. If we use empirical science, could we EVER prove it was or was not the Shroud of Christ? And she came to the conclusion that no, we never would.

Science has deceived (innocently or not) many before her and will many after. 150 years ago, well-meaning scientists PROVED that you can distinguish “good people” from “bad people” by feeling the shape of their heads. It was a very well developed discipline and thousands of people had their heads analyzed. But the whole experiment was flawed; the scientists were making a moral judgment by using empirical science that had no vocabulary for morality or values. It was doomed to fail and fail it did.

Two separate questions: first we ask ourselves what data do we have today about the Talpiot Tomb? Then we ask, what are our theological claims? How can this data relate to these claims? Do they even fit together? In my humble opinion, debates about the existence of God and issues like the shroud or the Talpiot ossuaries swirl around each other and dance with each other but never enter the other’s sphere. The mystery about the existence of God is just that—mysterion, not to be known. And the not knowing is part of the entire mystery.

There are puzzles that have intrigued us for generations. People debated for centuries some of Euclid’s unsolvable problems. Generations of geometry students chewed on them, wrestled with them. The problems intrigued, they titillated the mind. Some people became obsessed with them. Most students of math could recite these famous unsolvable problems. Where are they now? Forgotten. The unsolvable problems were solved and now do not even enter our minds. They are not a part of our communal consciousness. They have been placed on a shelf: fini, finished, forgotten.

The question about God’s existence or lack of existence is part of the very mystery of God’s own self. God keeps us in suspense so that thinking about and talking about and debating about God stays fresh in our minds and not dusty on a shelf.

This data from the New East is intriguing. It titillates the mind. Does it matter? Yes. How does it matter? Will it substantively change Christianity? I think not. Will it change my faith or my faithing, my practice of faith? No. Will there be new data? Probably. Will this hypothesis stand? Who knows? So many times the theories just fade into obscurity and the debate withers up. Yet, no matter what the data is, what the debate is the mystery of God will remain, long after I am placed in a box and the flesh on my bones melts away.

The flowers fade and the grass withers, but the Word of our God stands forever.

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One Black Belt, Two Black Belt
Little Black Belt, Big Black Belt.

Wednesday, March 21, 2007

As of today

53 days to graduation. I have a bunch of papers to write, my announcements to order, one final visit to my adviser, three classes in Greenville, one in Due West, about 6 weeks at Emory. I purchased my cap, gown and hood yesterday. I'm glad I'm graduating before I have to start collecting social security.... (kidding!) I think I'm pulling A's so far this semester. As someone joked yesterday, though, tell me I don't have to come back and give me C's. That would be fine. (Well, not really. I would like my GPA to stay sorta OK.)

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My Karate Kids.
They now are going to four classes during the week -- two for traditional training and two to learn how to teach karate (they help with the preschool class and the white belt class). Aren't they cute!

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Master Long giving Entropy her Black Belt!

Monday, March 19, 2007

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Final picture from Oxford cemetery. Last Monday in Covington. Only one class in Due West left and three in Greenville (as well as the TTh classes at Emory.)

Dare I call this the home stretch?

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Saturday, March 17, 2007

Jesus Family Tomb

I watched the Discovery Channel documentary on the Jesus Family Tomb. And it is indeed a "Jesus" family tomb, but what interests most people is that it might be THE "Jesus". The tomb and six ossuaries with inscriptions were found twenty some odd years ago. There were 10 bone boxes initially, but 4 did not have inscriptions, in fact, one was so uninteresting that it's "missing."

I watched the Ted Koppel interview (briefly) afterward and it was your typical academic cat-fight with lots of hissing and clawing. The cat fight is still active weeks after, with people fighting tooth and nail. (Fang and claw?)

I've been in correspondence with some of the players and I must say that I'm fascinated with the whole she-bang. I've also got the article (along with the articles on most of the major players) on my Wikipedia watchlist and I've been watching the development of the fight.

I was impressed with James Tabor in the Koppel interview, because he seemed to be the only one who was trying to keep an open mind and be the voice of moderation. I was shocked at the behavior of Koppel and the other men people on the set. Yes, I can understand that they were impassioned by the topic, but their behavior was most off-putting. Additionally, to call the documentary "Archeo-porn" is logical argumentation at its lowest, basically mudslinging.

Here's some links, if you want to look at this for yourself:

Discovery News Release Feb 25, 2007
Jesus Family Tomb Website
Jesus Dynasty Blog (James Tabor)
Society of Biblical Literature (Look at "In the Public Sphere" for a several articles as well as "Letters to the Editor.")
Dr Michael Heiser points to a larger tomb that has all the same names on inscribed ossuaries.
Links from the Discovery Channel
Wikipeida article
Mad Genius Richard Ingermanson

Personally, I don't care if most of these so called academics fall off the face of the earth. I don't care for the competitive nature of their comments and the tactics they use. Frankly, I've seen quite a bit of polemic that I would call un-Christian.

I don't believe that these archaeologists have approached this issue with enough genuine curiosity. I've been a part of a scientific community for more than a decade and I know how scientists get emotionally involved with their precious theories so I HATE when they degrade their own argumentation by using slipshod logic and pejorative debating skills.

The tomb is indeed fascinating. There are a lot of mysteries that would be enthralling to unravel. I found myself wanting to go make scrapings from the ossuaries in the second tomb that is just meters away and see how the patina compares to the patinas on the Talpiot ossuaries and the James ossuary. When I found out that the necropolis under the Mount of Olives is not included in the catalog that includes of the Talpiot tomb ossuaries, I wanted to go do some organization of information to do a truly complete census of these ossuaries. I would love to see if there are bone fragments that could be used for more DNA studies. Why are these offended scholars not jumping on the opportunity found in this fascination of the public to get funding and solve some mysteries?

Will they ever prove that this ossuary is THE Jesus, son of Joseph that we Christians hold so dear and close to our hearts? Of course not! We can't even PROVE that all copper conducts electricity! (To do so using classical empirical science would require us to pass electricity through all the existent copper simultaneously to PROVE it with 100 percent accuracy. All we can do is state the hypothesis with caveats like: "All the copper we have tested to this date conducts electricity. Not all copper has been tested and there is a possibility that there is some copper that might not conduct electricity.") Nor can we PROVE that this is not the bone box of Jesus of Nazareth. All scientific data can do is state possibilities and probabilities.

What difference would it make? A lot has been said about "Theological Implications." Are they really theological implications? Or are they faith implications? Theology is just "speaking about/ studying about God." What has this issue to do with my study of God? Would I really honestly and truly have to think about God differently if I admit there is a possibility that this could be THE "Jesus Family Tomb"? I know that Mary died. Mary Magdalene, too. So did all the Apostles, Joseph and Peter. Lazarus died again after Jesus raised him from the dead. So 9 out of 10 of these boxes are not problematic.

Yes, then there is that one box labeled "Jesus, son of Joseph." However, there are so many scenarios. This box could have been in the tomb and the name scratched into it right after Jesus' death and then later the family "recycled. " After all, the scholars have shown that two and three people have been placed in one box. It could be a hoax, perpetrated by a 1st century hoaxer. The question that is so uncomfortable for people is: What if it IS Jesus? What then? Will your faith crumble?

My answer -- it doesn't matter. For me. Just as I believe that the mystery of predestination and free-will can co-exist; that the truth is in BOTH, I believe that the resurrection occurred no matter what. I don't know what resurrection is; God has not given me a cook-book or a manual so that I can know all the details. I've never see it up close and personal. But there is something that I do know -- God's in control. I trust that God knows what God's doing.

I will tell you what good all this fuss and bother will do: Let's use this to get people talking about Jesus. Period.

Friday, March 16, 2007

Friday Five: What 'cha doing?

Name five things you plan to do today.

Bonus: If today is about "have-to" for you as well, share up to five things you'd like to be doing today.

This is more like the full list:

1. Laundry. Always laundry. I like the clean smell and warm towels.
2. Communion paper. I've written almost 20 pages of 30 or so done. It's interesting to me, but probably deadly boring to others.
3. Edit Wikipedia while I write the paper. At least I can share some of this useless edifying knowledge with someone.
4. Do some of that meditation and prayer stuff.
5. Take the girls to karate.
6. Have dinner with the husband.
7. Finish the CPE application.
8. Do the dishes and sort at least ONE drawer in the bathroom.
9. Shower.
10. Get Dressed.
11. Arrange UMH #300 for Good Friday. I want it to sound like bagpipes.
12. Sit on the front porch in my rocking chair as it rains.
13. Burn some candles.
14. Think about taking a walk (but not do it b/c it's raining).
15. Pick up the living room.
16. Pack another Nativity away (they are being packed away one at a time during Lent).

Thursday, March 15, 2007

Oh. My. Goodness.

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Bishop Andrew's wife. Again the tombstone seems to be "touching" Kitty's stone. Interesting.

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Another dead Bishop. This is Bishop James Osgood Andrew, of whom I have blogged here. Over on the right side, the large stone in the background is Kitty's stone from the previous link. I didn't realize it at the time that they were "touching" in the background, but appropriate, isn't it?

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Warren A. Candler, as in Candler School of Theology. He was a Bishop in the MEC, South and brother of Coca-cola magnate Asa Candler. He is buried in Oxford Cemetery.

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From Oxford Cemetery: Ignatius Alphonso Few, the so called "Founder" of Emory. I've been working on his Wikipedia article; true geekiness to edit Wikipedia. Uber-geeky to go take a picture of the tombstone to put on Wikipedia (is it not??)

Wednesday, March 14, 2007


Found in Oxford Cemetery.

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The Associate Reformed Presbyterian Church in Greenville. Nice church. Conservative denomination. My OLD denomination.
I'm taking a class here from Erskine so that I can graduate in May. I'll survive.

I'm busy this week writing papers and what-not. Since I am so very "white and nerdy," I supplement my paper writing with editing Wikipedia. What fun! I've been active in most of the Christianity pages and the Methodism pages. I'm also catching up with my laundry. I hope.

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Old Church in Oxford, Georgia.

Tuesday, March 13, 2007

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Cello girl playing in her pj's. Of course, the pj's made me wonder if she was going to explode in spontaneous combustion. Note: GA Tech tee-shirt and UGA pajama bottoms....

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New Cello. Chaos' original cello was a 3/4 scale -- but she's growing and now requires a full scale cello. I expected them to grow out of shoes and clothing, but never expected them to grow out of their musical instruments! The cello's name is the Japanese word for "storm."

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The Euphemian Literary Society building was built in 1914 and the society is the oldest student organization in South Carolina. I love this building. It's graceful and just a gem of this style of building. Beautiful. Small but beautiful.

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Philomathean Hall is the oldest building on the Erskine campus (1859) and is the home of the Philomathean and Philomelean Literary Societies. Erskine does not have traditional fraternities, but have Literary Societies instead. They seem to be from the same roots as Fraternities and other 'secret' societies such as Skull and Bones and the Mystical 7.

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Statue of Former Erskine President W.M. Grier. He resaw the building of the Erskine Building in 1892 after a fire.

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The main Hall at Erskine named, oddly enough, the Erskine Building.Ebenezer Erskine was the founder of the Associate Church of Scotland which became part of the Associate Reformed Presbyterian Church. The Erskine Building has two towers -- one is an observatory.

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Suffering for the Lord....
Last weekend I was in Erskine. I stayed in the Guest House -- it's wonderful. Here's the kitchen area.

Monday, March 12, 2007

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Allen Memorial UMC in Oxford. This is the "New Church" as compared to "Old Church" (which is acutally called "Old Church."

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Here's a Monday sort of picture -- Teaching Parish is in Covington and so I go right by Oxford on the way there. I like the town of Oxford, notwithstanding the historical significance of the place in Methodism, it's a cute little town. I love the college there and the atmosphere.

Saturday, March 10, 2007

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Here is a little house that really caught my interest. It is little. I find it charming, but I wonder how much room really is inside this little house? It's near the church where I have my Teaching Parish class meeting. I am traveling to four different locations for 5 different classes this semester; the main campus, a church about 30 miles away, Erskine and Greenville. I am spending a lot of time on the road....

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Church. I'm going to try to catch up by posting two pictures a day for a while.

Wednesday, March 07, 2007

Finished with the MidTerm Crunch

Finished with the Flu (at least MY case of the flu... now the babysitter has it.)
Finished with all 4 papers.
Finished with just about everything....

Now to sit on the sofa and stare into space for a while.

Thursday, March 01, 2007

Two Papers Down

Two more to go. It's thunderstormy and raining and my fever is less than it was yesterday, so I'm staying at home snug and dry, resting, writing papers, drinking lots of fluids.
Now to write about John Wesley's sermon "On the Wedding Garment" and Catholic Social Teachings (not at the same time).