A Sunday Entry

This weekend has been swell. Friday night after Navs I went to Amigo’s to hang out and talk, and after that went to Varv’s apartment, played Rummy, and we talked for quite a while. It was good times to get away from crowds and get some real conversation going. Not that the other conversations I had in the night weren’t real, but there’s some things you can’t talk about in crowds of ten people who don’t know you.

Saturday = ZOO! Omaha’s The Henry Doorly Zoo, to be precise. My favorite animals were the Polar Bears (in Japanese -> shirokuma), sharks, octopii, and penguins. It’s amazing to watch those animals and think how incredible it is to be separated mere inches from them because of modern technology and ultimately the marvels and wonders of God’s creation. I mean, there’d be nothing to put in the zoo if he didn’t make the animals and no way to hold them in if there wasn’t the technology. I think it would be even more incredible to see some of those animals in the wild. They’d be a lot more fearsome, eh?

Another fun aspect was being there with Jake, Amy Hatcher, April S., and Kanako. Kanako knows Jake and Amy and the other Navs who went to Shizuoka, Japan last summer. Anyway, it was good to spend time with some friends in a different environment than usual and enjoyed speaking a bit of Japanese with Kanako, although I know I could learn more of the language if I tried harder.

Saturday night was Brandon’s birthday. Went to that with Jake and knew many other people there, too. For Brandon’s birthday we made him a 25 song CD. It was Jake’s idea and a good one at that. 11 of the songs on the CD were Copa Cabana.

Today I’ve just done usual Sunday fare — church, ate dinner out at a house, napped, and read various items most of the afternoon. I occassionally find myself with a shortage of real bookmarks due to the amount of books I have being consumed or awaiting consumption at any one time. Today I read parts of The Bible, Wild at Heart, Spiritual Disciplines, The Passion of Christ, and Eyes of Heisenberg (odd sci-fi novel by Frank Herbert — not that good).

This week will be tough for school. I’ve got two midterms on Tuesday, each of which I’m inadequately prepared for. I will study much tomorrow and hope it to be enough. Thursday I have a paper due. But, joy of joys, FREEDOM of sorts comes Friday with the end of the school week and beginning of a Spring Break to be filled with its own busyness and not less requirements than usual, but different. (i.e. I must finally finish my English class. Must.)

Oh, and Phil’s site moved: http://philabowl.f2o.org/ http://thebolls.com/

This Week’s Learning

The search for masculinity

“But the deadliest place a man ever takes his search, the place every man seems to wind up no matter what trail he’s followed, is the woman.” – John Eldredge, Wild at Heart – Chapter 5

Woah. Been there.

“Why is pornography the most addictive thing in the universe for men?… the deeper reason is because that seductive beauty reaches down inside and touches your desperate hunger for validation as a man you didn’t even know you had, touches it like nothing else most men have experienced. . . . You see, every man remembers Eve. We are haunted by her. And somehow we believe that if we could find her, get her back, then we’d also recovber with her our own lost masculinity.”

Yeah, that’s true. Unfortunately, this lie is easy to believe. What man hasn’t sought some woman (real or fictional) for a sense of masculinity at some point in his life?

“A woman is a captivating thing. More captivating than anything else in all creation. … Femininity can arouse masculinity. … But femininity can never bestow masculinity.”

Once again, true.

“When a man takes his question to the woman what happens is either addiction or emasculation. Usually both.”

Strong words here. The book’s got a lot of examples of this happening. Men who so desperately want to feel like men that they end up going to a woman to prove it. Once he’s given her the ability to make him feel like a man, she can also take away his feeling of masculinity. I remember Mike Jordahl at a meeting I was at using his pointer fingers to illistrate this point. The “man” said to the woman “make me feel like I’m the man.” The woman said “make me feel like a woman, baby.” This doesn’t work for either the man or the woman. They end up leaning heavily on each other.

At some point, people realize that they can’t run to another man or woman for validation.

I’m learning how to not run to women in any sense for validation of my masculinity. It’s an incredibly difficult thing. I’ve been looking to women for this for the last decade. With a woman or at least the prospect of it in my life, I feel like I’ve got a chance to “be a man.” If I could just get that first, second, and fifteenth date, I’d be a man. I’ve had a first-date, but never anything beyond that. I’ve had the conversations “hey, you wanna be my girl?” but nothing beyond that. And I have STRONG SUSPICIONS that if I ever went beyond here in a dating relationship, I’d still feel just as empty in terms of “being a man.” Why? Because getting dates, dating a woman, or even getting married to one won’t make me more of a man.

This chapter concludes without having yet provided an answer, but I’m pretty sure he’s gonna end up pointing to God, not listening to lies about ourselves, and not seeking validation of our masculinity from a woman.

Adoption by God

Children of the Living God – Sinclair B. Ferguson
“There are, then, two dimensions to our sonship. The first is re-creation (or regeneration); the second is adoption, God’s acceptance of us into his family. . . . The source of adoption is to be found in God. Just as we were born again of his will (Jas. 1:18), so we are adopted because of his love.”

He later discusses the prodigal son and also the attitude of the prodigal brother in the story. He contrasts the prodigal brother’s attitude to a statement in 1 John.

“Contrast, then, these two attitudes:

(1) ‘Look! All these years I’ve been slaving for you and never disobeyed your orders’ (Lk. 15:29); or,
(2) Look! ‘How great is the love the Father has lavished on us that we should be called children of God!’ (1 Jn. 3:1).

Which of them is more appropriate to your spiritual condition?”

“Our status is not a matter of our worthiness, but of his love!”

There are three vital implications of our adoption as children of God.
“First, adoption is not a change in nature, but a change in status. . . . Secondly, adoption into a new family produces conflict within the old family [i.e. Satan causing trouble]. . . . A third implication of the New Testament’s teaching is that adoption is incomplete in this world.”

“For the moment, then, let us trust in the wisdom of our Father in heaven who knows and supplies all we shall ever need in this world and the world to come.”

Philippians 4:19 – “And my God will supply every need of yours according to his riches in glory in Christ Jesus.”

How little I understand this! I live with so much sin even though I’ve been adopted as a son of God! My only hope that this will change cannot be in myself for I know that I cannot produce such change in my life apart from the grace of God.

Everything Tolkien

John Ronald Reuel Tolkien (1892-1973), courtesy of popularity of the Lord of the Rings movie trilogy has received tons of fanfare recently. His books are selling, the movies are making millions of dollars, and new fans are being made.

A Brief History of Tolkien & The Lord of the Rings

Tolkien grew up in England. By the time he was 12, both of his parents had died and his younger brother were taken in by a priest. He attended King Edward’s College and there he began to experience other languages and develop his linguistic abilities. After World War 1, he spent most of his adult life writing fiction, the most famous of which are The Hobbit and the LOTR(Lord of the Rings) trilogy. The LOTR is by far his most expansive work and incorporates previous creations. The Silmarillion, edited and published posthumously by his son Christopher Tolkien, was the back-story for LOTR which he’d been working on for quite a while. Tolkien also created several languages (including a couple elfish dialects) which appear in poems and dialogue throughout the books. The inclusion of this amount of work is an indication of how grandiose the tale is.

The LOTR series was originally meant to be a sequel to The Hobbit, which it is, but he became more excited about the project than he initially was and it grew into the trilogy and took him twelve years to complete. He never expected it to become popular and was surprised when it was. Based on the sales of the books, the money made by the movies, and the number of fans his works have spawned, it is one of the most incredible successes of twentieth century literature.

The Movies
The Fellowship of the Ring
The Two Towers
The Return of the King

Tolkien merchandise (at Amazon)

Fan Sites
Lord of the Rings Fanatics
The One Ring
LOTR: Official Movie Site

Elvish Resources
elvish names

Tolkien Inspired Poetry

Works Cited
The Lord of the Rings Fanatics
Wikipedia: J.R.R. Tolkien – comprehensive encyclopedia-like compilation of everything Tokien

Reading Tolkien & Inspiration

As you can see in this post, I’ve had a lot of Tolkien on the brain lately. I finished reading both The Two Towers and The Return of the King in the past two weeks. Yesterday I went to the library and checked out The Hobbit and The Silmarillion.

The richness of the stories amazes me. This world is fantasy, but he’s put in far more thought to it than anything I’ve ever created in my life. Reading it inspires me to create something of my own. To do something of my own. Stories like his may not completely alter somebody’s life, but the ideas they contain provide encouragement. When I think of Bilbo Baggins traveling on a great quest, being thrown into it by the wizard Gandalf without any notice, and then him becoming wiser, feistier, and more courageous during his travels, yet still longing to return to the comfort of home, I see myself. None of us entered this world by our own choice or cognition, but as a Result or Caused by Something Else. And with this life, adventures and challenges often come unasked for.

What will you do with your adventure?

The Usual Sort

Sleeping in rocks. Did it on Saturday and today. Had lunch with my friend Tim yesterday. It was our first chance to hang out this semester.

During the rest of Saturday, did a bit of homework and watched Analyze This with Cora, Jake, Justin B., and Matt. Read a bit more of “The Visitation” by Frank Peretti. It’s an interesting fictional novel with Christian themes. A lot of it seems to be based on Peretti’s own experiences as a pastor.

So today not much is going on. Church at Zion like usual, lunch, and now… homework and whatnot. Not very exciting, is it? Three tests this week and other assorted homework.