Well . . .

Well . . . May ends today.  I did not hit my 70 pages goal.  I have about 50 pages in rough draft.  But I do have some outline and notes for that right now but me at about 63.  That’s pretty stinking close, and when I actually write out the outline and fill in the empty spaces in my notes it could put me well over the 70 page mark.

I’ve got a lot of work ahead of me still, but this month has really helped me get a whole bunch of research done, and given me some direction for finishing my thesis.  It will happen!

I’ve also learned that I actually do like writing.

I love to play with ideas.  I like to see if I can prop an idea up on legs, teach it to walk and then see how far it can run.

I like to stretch my brain.

I’ve also learned that if you can break your giant project into a bunch of smaller projects then it’s much more manageable.  Be it writing, cleaning your house, paying your bills, or whatever else you’re looking at that is daunting.  Break it down.  Make the big project a bunch of smaller projects and just go after them one at a time.  Instead of writing one 100 page paper, I’m writing 5 papers all about 20 pages.  That I can do.  And I will.

It’s easy to see these projects and just get over whelmed.  Don’t let your fear of the size of the project keep you from finishing the project.  Get it done.

 

p.s.  this post was written for me as much as it was for anyone else.

The Comedy of Christian Faith

I read this tonight in The Comedy of Redemption by Ralph C. Wood:

The scandalous Christian affirmation is that the ultimate miracle has, in face, occurred.  What Christian faith confesses is that God, in the Jews and Jesus, has perpetuated the most outrageous of tricks, a joke to end all jokes, a surprise beyond all surprises.  He has upset our tragicomic equilibrium.  He has thrown over our own calculus of good and evil, which metes our rewards to the righteous and punishments to the wicked.  h refuses to become the cosmic projection of our own values.  The redeeming God will not tolerate the all-too-human extension of our binary consciousness into ultimate terms.  In Israel and Christ  he acts unilaterally to deliver the human race from its dialectical enslavement.  “By grace are you saved” is the comic declaration that–whether we like it or not, whether we even accept it or not–God has reclaimed us as his own.  We have been repossessed as the property of the God who wants us gladly to give back our lives to him in faith and to the world in service.  We have been made citizens, in sum, of a singular Kingdom which admits of no duplicity.

Faith, in this reading, is the supremely comic act.  It takes joy in the fact that God enjoys his people.  It freely owns the fact that we are owned.  The believer is permitted no frowning disdain on the world’s passing parade.  The central command and privilege of the faithful life is to dwell in gladness and trust rather than fear and distrust. (bold added) pg. 32.

I just wanted to share that.

5 Years

My son turns 5 today.

Judah Timothy Deuman.

5 years old.

I can’t believe it.

I’m so incredibly proud of him and who he is becoming.  I think that John Lennon song “Beautiful Boy” is incredibly cheesy and yet I completely understand the emotion and love behind it.  I love this kid so much and I am just not ashamed at all to say it.

He makes me laugh

He makes me cry

He reminds me about how much I’m loved by God the Father.

Judah I am proud of you! And I can’t wait to see what this next year brings.

Edit

I have about 50 pages of my thesis in a rough draft.  I have to edit it.  I’m not looking forward to this process.  Editing is painful.  Editing requires me to decide what is most important.  It requires me to eliminate things that I thought were brilliant but upon further inspection . . . not so much.

Editing text usually means that you come away with much less than when you started.  It feels like you are moving backwards.  It feels like you are losing ground.

But these are all lies.

Editing makes your argument stronger.

Editing makes your paper more readable.

Editing makes you a better writer.

We hesitate to edit for emotional reasons not practical reasons.  However, emotions almost always beat out practicalities.  But if you live your life holding onto things because of the emotional attachment you will not move forward.

I need to edit my paper.

What do you need to edit?

I’m not proposing that we throw out everything in our lives.  But there are some hurts that we are holding on to that will not move our lives forward.  There are some decisions that we’ve made that we think we have to live with forever, but we can let them go.  That’s the beautiful thing about the gospel.  Jesus knows what we need to edit, and he will help us make the cuts.  We just need to trust him.

What do you need to edit?

Lighter

Today I weighed myself.

I crossed a major threshold.

Before we had Judah I was pretty focused on losing weight and getting healthy. I lost a lot of weight.  I think I was lighter than I had been since my Jr. Year at Northwest University.  I felt great.  And I was working to keep losing weight.  Then we had Judah, and our whole life changed.  I had a part time job, I wasn’t sleeping, I was just too tired to exercise.  And I slowly gained back all of the weight that I had lost.

Judah is about to turn 5.  I just turned 30 and decided that I wanted to be healthy and see my kids grow up and my grandkids and hopefully my great grandkids.  So I started a health initiative.  My life is still pretty busy, but I knew I could lose weight if I would just change my eating habits.

So with the help of the book Four-Hour Body by TIm Ferris, I changed my eating habits, and I created a plan.  And I really enjoy this plan.

So this morning I weighed in at 267.  30 lbs since I started my health initiative in March.  I feel great.  And I hope to lose at least 30 more.

Here’s what I believe, our bodies are something that we are given to steward, to take care of and to use as God sees fit.  I’m not always great at taking care of my body, but I want to be.

I also believe that the biggest reason that people don’t take care of their bodies is because they believe they are too busy to eat well or to exercise.   I convinced myself that I was too busy to take care of myself.  But that’s a lie.  I am in the busiest season of my life so far.  I work full time, I’m finishing my Thesis for my MA in Theology and Culture, my wife Kathy, works pretty close to full time, we have two kids who like to go on adventures, and so on.  I understand busy.  In the midst of our buy-ness I’ve still managed to change my habits and get healthier.  I’ve got more to go but I’m on the right track.

Don’t wait.  Don’t lie to yourself.  Get healthy.  I’m not going to be a crusader but I also don’t want to hear excuses.

Humor and Joy

“Humor is the story joy tells.” – Earl Palmer, The Humor of Jesus, 120.

I’m deep in my thesis writing.  I am writing about Humor as a Prophetic Device, how does humor reveal truth to its audience.  Pretty fun topic.  The chapter that I am working on right now is trying to provide a defense for finding humor in the Bible.

I was not intiailly planning on writing this chapter.  I decided to include it because I came across a guy name John Morreall, who arugues that the Hebrew Bible does not have a strong presence of humor, and that ultimately it’s a tragic story.  I disagree with Morreall’s conclusions strongly.

Morreall is an expert on humor, and his basic defense for the presence of humor is whether or not it makes one laugh.  He does not find that the Hebrew Bible allows for laughter, so there is no humor.  Another individual Hershey Friedman (whom Morreall is debating) believes that the biggest obstacle between modern readers and understanding the humor in the Hebrew Bible is language.  This is true, when reading an english translation of a Biblical Hebrew text we will miss puns, and onamonapia and other subtle wordplay devices.  We loose sight of the rhythm of the original text, we also lose sight of cultural context.  These are all crucial.

But I think Palmer is on to something in his simple text.  Expectations are a key part to understanding humor.  If we expect to read the Hebrew Bible and find an angry vengeful deity then we will find it.  But if we read the Bible expecting to see the story of a God who has chosen a people, who desires these people to stay in relationship with him, who desires to give these people joy and peace and happiness, then we will find that as well.

In the latter reading we will find joy and humor more readily accessible in the text.  Morreall has clearly made his decision to read the Hebrew Bible as a source devoid of all joy, and as such he has missed the point entirely.

I would encourage you, to read the Bible and look for how it surprises you.  Look for the irnoy, the sarcasm, the playful.  Yes there is anger, there is frsutration, but God, even in his moments of anger, always promises that he will not destroy his people forever.  And the discipline that God administers is not because he’s just mean.  Discipline comes with disobedience, and the discipline is designed for transformation not destruction.

One of the great promises of the Bible is that we can be transformed.  That is a comic (joyful) reading of the text.   If you read the Bible and see just destruction, that is a tragic reading of the text.  And I have a strong belief that the Bible follows a comedic U shaped plot line.  And so can our lives.  But I’ve already talked about that here: http://blip.tv/file/4587916

Wrestling With Ideas

Writing is hard work.  Learning is hardwork.

I actually love writing.  I actually love learning.

For me, every class, every book, every paper that I have to write is an opportunity to play with new ideas to try to figure out how they work, and how they interact with other ideas that are floating around in my head.

One of the markers of someone who is still growing is how well they receive and wrestle with new ideas.  You don’t have to agree with the new idea, but can you at least have the conversation around the idea?  Or do you shut down the conversation because you have all the ideas that you can handle?

I love debating with folks who are entrenched in their ideas and just trying to throw a new idea that challenges their worldview into the mix.  Not because I want their worldview to fall to pieces, but because I want to challenge their assumptions and continue to exercise their idea muscles.

Keep Growing.

Keep Learning.

Keep Wrestling.