Newfangled

Currently listening to: “Hills Humbled, Mountains Made Low” by So Long Forgotten
So Long Forgotten is my favourite band at the moment. You can download their incredible album “Things We Can See And Things We Cannot” for FREE from THEM at COME&LIVE. The album’s title is a nod to the so-called ‘already/not yet’ elements of Salvation. Here’s a choice line from the record: “And I pray you have remained a Carpenter, sanding down my edges ‘til I am full of grace.” Check them out, now. Thank you.

I got a “real” job.

(!!!)

It’s one of those jobs that didn’t exist three years ago… you know, those ones that nobody’s been to school for because no school has managed to monetize the field by offering it as a degree track in order to give various and sundry individuals some kind of arbitrary certification that says “I can do this stuff”. Yeah, one of those jobs where the stuff I’m doing and the devices/tech/media I’m doing it on didn’t exist five or six years back. I hear they’re all the rage or something. All I know is, though, that it’s been a dream. We’re doing our best to thank God every day for His provision. The commute is quite good considering what part of the country we’re in, I can provide for my family, the work is fun (!!!) and enjoyable, and I get to keep learning new stuff every day (as well as mastering all that old stuff).

It’s been about six weeks now, and I’ve already (essentially) forgotten what it was like to be on the job hunt. Or perhaps I’ve banished it from my mind.

I graduated from Trent a year and a half ago (May/June of 2009). It was a long year and a half of hunting. There’s a lot of story in that time, but the primary story is that God used the time to increase our dependence on Him. In the same period of time, our church went from an idea to a plan to a reality – by God’s grace. Although it is now ten weeks old, being a part of the plant has been spiritually intense and stretching in the best way… again, it too has increased our dependence on Him. Also during the same period of time, our daughter, Audrey Renata, went from (pardon the expression!) an idea to a plan to a reality – by God’s grace. Again, increasing our dependence on Him.

Needless to say, it was an intense season. Since graduation, I’ve become a father, celebrated my second wedding anniversary with my wife, started seminary, watched God provide for us in incredible ways (physically and spiritually), and spent a mind-numbing amount of time on Workopolis, Monster, Craigslist, Canada job bank, and all other kinds of job sites. I’ve been at various times depressed, melancholy, happy, sad, excited, elated, grumpy, and all shades in between. I’ve watched one of my best friends’ life implode. My trust in God has been at turns both strong and completely pitiful – meanwhile He has simply continued to prove and re-prove his trustworthiness in every way. I’ve had good friends along the way to talk it all through with, to be encouraged by (and to encourage, at times). At times, I’ve followed Jesus well. At other times, I’ve dishonoured Him greatly. Sometimes I’ve been gracious and compassionate, abounding in love. Other times I’ve been little more than contentious and pretentious. I’ve been irritable at times, lonely at times, confused at times, frustrated at times. I’ve been hopeful, healthy, joyful in God. I’ve been generous and also incredibly selfish. I’ve avoided God and I’ve prayed. There’s war in here, and I pray it’s a sign of life.

Through it all, my wife has resolutely and consistently dismantled my defeatist arguments and depressive musings (her methods of dismantling are second to none). She has loved and cared for me, and for our daughter, so well. Through the highs and lows of looking for a way to provide for my family, she doggedly affirmed, encouraged, exhorted, rebuked, reproved, and loved me. Without her help, the season would have probably crushed me entirely. She’s not a perfect woman by any means, but she belongs to a perfect God, and sometimes by His grace, she looks a lot like He does. I’m so thankful for you, Stephie.

Through it all, our church has supported us in ways uncountable, being the body of Jesus Christ so tangibly and so practically. Example: We didn’t have to buy a single meal for a month after Audrey was born. People regularly prayed for us (and with us) through it all. I don’t really have words to do thanks justice. Even beyond the limits of “our church”, we’ve seen the Church on a larger scale support us as well, and we’re amazed at the beauty of Jesus’ bride at times like this. I have greater hope for the church than I think I ever have – God is powerfully at work in His people.

Through it all, His faithfulness has remained a constant rock to ground ourselves on. Unchanging, Immortal, Eternal.

I’m thankful to have a job. It’s really a better job than I could have designed for myself.

I’m even more thankful for the year and a half of hunting. God’s grace abounds in weakness and need.

Psalm 28:7 says:

The Lord is my strength and my shield;
in him my heart trusts, and I am helped;
my heart exults,
and with my song I give thanks to him.

Rejoice?

Currently listening to: “Circles” by Thrice
Thrice recently did a session at Daytrotter, and the results are stripped-down, sparse, largely acoustic, and predominantly wonderful. If you’ve ever wondered what a masterful rock band would sound like when given a room with a bunch of instruments in various states of being, this is a great example. You can listen/download the tracks here at Daytrotter.

I have a bundle of news for those who don’t know me personally – namely, a bundle of Bolton that is on the way! Yes, my lovely Steph and I are happy to announce that (with God’s help) we’re in the midst of welcoming a new human being into the world. It’s one of the reasons that I haven’t been able to devote the kind of time to writing that I usually like to. The other reason is that my rebellious heart prefers distraction, abstraction, and escape to reality. So, truth be told, I’ve been much in the habit of wasting time on things far less than eternal.

I like to call her "wee bee".

So, with that said, and with my apologies implied therein… I would like to share some of what God has been teaching me through his Word as He speaks to me in the midst of the constant swirl and ebb of the circumstances of my life.

For starters, it hasn’t escaped me that for 21 weeks now, I’ve been a father. Granted, I haven’t been conscious of that for all 21 of those weeks, but increasingly as our lives already feel the weight of changes and as my wife’s abdomen swells with new life… I’m conscious of the responsibilities I now carry before God. Being a father means that, in addition to my wife and I, there is now another person for whom I am very intimately responsible. Another person, one for whose training and fathering I will answer, for whose provision I will be held to account, and to whom I must strive to be an example of the gospel in action. My daughter (assuming that the Ultrasound Technician was right – and they’re not always) or son will look to me to be an example of pastoral, godly, disciplined righteousness.

I love my daughter deeply – more with every passing day as she grows and develops and learns and changes and as God shapes and knits her together. I love my daughter, young as she is. I love her, and so many questions fill my mind:

  • What if my daughter died suddenly and unexpectedly in the womb (as a couple we know of recently experienced)?
  • What if, in a few short years, my precious young daughter was killed in an accident in our driveway (as a musician many of us are familiar with experienced a couple years ago)?
  • What if my daughter grows up and rejects Jesus Christ?
  • What if she lives a long and unrepentant life of rebellion and immorality?
  • Someone mentioned to me today that, because of how I love her, she will always be “Daddy’s Little Girl”. My head reeled. Not because I don’t treasure the thought of taking care of this little girl, nor because I really hope she doesn’t stay little. Neither was it because my hope and prayer is that she grows into a godly woman who loves Jesus Christ. No, I reeled because the thing that immediately jumped into my head was a question:

    Is this Little Girl mine?

    Let me explain:

    How dangerous would it be to my soul if I thought she was MINE… of all things? If I believe that she is “mine” and I lose her in any of the above ways I might despair of life or betray God!

    Isn’t it true that so often the line between responsibility and idolatry is very thin?
    Or what about the line between love and idolatry?

    I am responsible for my daughter. I love my daughter.

    But she is not mine.

    At my church, we’re about to start into a series in the book of James. This week we’ll be delving into the first twelve verses, which (among other things) say the following:

    James 1:2-5 ESV
    Count it all joy, my brothers, when you meet trials of various kinds, for you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness. And let steadfastness have its full effect, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing. If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask God, who gives generously to all without reproach, and it will be given him.

    If you’ve been a Christian for some time, you probably have encountered these kinds of ideas before. After all, from Genesis to Revelation, God makes incredible good come out of incomprehensible evils. Joseph’s brothers sell him into slavery and ultimately Joseph saves them from a famine many years later. David is pursued all over Israel and the surrounding areas by Saul (who is rabidly trying to murder him), and becomes a “man after God’s own heart”. Jesus, God of very God, is betrayed, spat upon, brutally beaten, and crucified… takes upon himself sin – that which he justly and righteously hates, and experiences the full Wrath of God poured out against sin… and in submitting himself on the Cross in this way makes a way for sinners to be reconciled to God.

    If you’re like me, the principle makes sense: God allows and sometimes causes trials and suffering in our lives in order to refine and purify us, in order to transform us and conform us into the likeness of Jesus.

    But James didn’t just say “Accept it, my brothers, when you meet trials of various kinds”. He said to count it all joy. Joy. In other words, James is saying “rejoice when you suffer!” and “be delighted when you go through difficulty” and “chalk it up as a sweet thing when your circumstances are sour and bitter”.

    What? I understand accepting that, as Joseph said to his brothers, “you meant evil against me, but God meant it for good” (Genesis 50:20)… but to rejoice in suffering? How?

    Let me take a stab at it, with my thanks to preachers like John Piper and Matt Chandler for crystallizing this in my thoughts lately:

    Everything we have is loaned to us that we might point to and make much of Jesus Christ and him crucified. ‘The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly’ – they are all given to us or allowed to us so that in all of it we would rejoice in the Cross.

    The Cross?

    The Cross, through which our worst adversity becomes an instrument of God in subjecting our hearts more wholly to him!

    The Cross, through which everything that would seek to destroy us serves instead to strengthen us – conforming us more and more to the likeness of Jesus!

    The Cross, the greatest sin ever committed, but through which sinners are reconciled to God!

    How else can we move beyond merely accepting our circumstances (especially when they constitute trials and suffering) to REJOICING in them? How else but to see God’s grace and mercy overflowing as he works through our varied and frequently terrible circumstances to accomplish the transformation of our hearts and lives?

    We rejoice in adversity because the worst of circumstances is a gift from God. The worst of circumstances is the gift of a dark, painful, and evil place in which to say to a watching world (and to our rebellious hearts):

    “God is enough! He is all I need! He is my life and sustenance! There is no world, no meaning, and no hope without Jesus Christ!”

    I am responsible for my daughter and I love her… but she is not mine. (May God grant that I never see her as mine!) My daughter, much like every good thing that I have, is a gift from God, created and sustained by him for my joy and for His glory.

    …the cost of marriage

    Current Tunage: Mutemath – Noticed
    Has anyone else noticed the UNCANNY similarity between the start of this song and the start of Starflyer 59’s “No New Kinda Story” (from their record Everybody Makes Mistakes)? Yikes. If it wasn’t twice as fast, it would be far more obvious. I’m hoping it’s just happenstance or imitation, not stealery.

    So, I’ve been thinking. Thinking what? Thinking that there’s some things I’ve done following my wedding that I probably would never have done prior (or at very least, would have avoided doing at all costs until there was no other option). I also thought it would be fun to share them, since they’re tongue-in-cheek and light-hearted and so on. Hope you enjoy.

    EIGHT THINGS MARRIAGE HAS DONE TO ME (that i am rather pleased with)
    1. Get a cell phone, use it daily.
    2. Take a men’s multivitamin every day.
    3. Do laundry more than once weekly.
    4. Listen to less metal. (But still love it with passion!)
    5. Listen to more CCM than could be rationally considered healthy. (At least by me!)
    6. Go to sleep around 11pm quite regularly. Feel like a mess otherwise.
    7. Get up prior to 7am quite regularly. Feel groggy otherwise.
    8. Realize that I don’t actually hate Macs, just the elitist snobs who use them. (When they are elitist snobs, which isn’t always the case, but usually is!) My wife uses a Mac but she is not an elitist snob, she is a well-adjusted computer user who understands the intricate balance of benefits and drawbacks to different operating systems and despite this has chosen the greater of two evils.

    Those are what come to mind at the moment, I’m sure there’s more. All this is to say that marriage has profound effects upon one’s psyche, general disposition, and well-being (all positive). It can even result in you doing things you should have done just because it was smart. I love my wife. 🙂

    …destination: beautiful/intriguing

    Current Tunage: Relient K – Aulg Lang Syne
    “Let It Rain… Let It Reindeer” is a really great, listenable Christmas record. I discovered quite a few this year, such as Bebo Norman’s, Johnny Cash’s, smatterings from the Happy Christmas compilations, The Almost’s new EP, Jars of Clay’s, Josh Groban (I blame Steph for that one), Sovereign Grace ministries’ “Savior” album, and so on. It’s been a musically bountiful season.

    We left home a week ago and haven’t been back since. Peterborough, New Liskeard, South Porcupine (in Timmins), and later we’ll be in Englehart – all before returning to precious Pickering. It’s been quite a whirlwind tour.

    That being said, it’s been full of adventure, conversation, and warm memories which will be treasured all year long.

    I have made a few “new year’s revolutions” this morning and although it’s ne’er been my custom to do so (I prefer “new day’s resolutions” on the regular to an annual event), these are more of a compilation of those ‘new day’ items:

    I’ve kept it short, I’m just as apt to do nothing if an action list seems impossibly large as anyone else would be.

    1. Set up a dual-boot of Windows XP and Ubuntu Linux (Intrepid Ibex version).
    2. Complete my professional portfolio and accompanying website prior to graduation.
    3. Devote time to daily writing, whether it be a blog, a review, or just adding to current progress on my ‘book’.
    4. Read at least a book a month.

    There are more, however these “more” delve into the realms of intricate complexity too deep and profound to explicate upon in this hallowed place. In other words, I’m keeping them to myself.

    Here’s some things I’m thankful for from 2008 gone by:
    1. Marriage, to Steph. It’s pretty much the best thing on God’s green earth.
    2. Wonderful in-laws, which I’ve been enjoying throughout the year.
    3. A hacked Nintendo Wii full of Homebrew applications and joy.
    4. The chance to try out and enjoy the recent WoW beta (for WotLK) and spend some time with old friends from the guild.
    5. For such great friends to have stand with me on my wedding day (Noah, Todd, Mark, Al, Ian, Shane) – much love, guys.
    6. Terabyte hard drives, even though I don’t yet own one.
    7. Getting paid to sleep for the entire fall.
    8. A renewed enjoyment of composition as well as quality reading (I believe I read around 20 books this year, give or take).
    9. Only 12 weeks of classes and about 3 exams left until being DONE with full-time school.
    10. An amazing almost-full-time contract in Peterborough during the months leading up to the wedding.
    11. A lot of really great music that came out this year.
    12. A lot of really great sermons that I had the privilege of enjoying over the course of the year, both via the internet (ie. Driscoll, Piper, Harris, Mahaney, etc) or via Sunday Mornings (at Harvest York Region, c/o Whittingstall).
    13. Good, quality cordless phones. I don’t think I’ll ever look back to corded again… particularly when I throw on that speakerphone and it feels like I’m sitting across from whoever it is I’ve called.
    14. The fall LAN party thrown by my little brothers at my parents place – such a fun time.
    15. The ESV Study Bible, even though I haven’t gotten mine yet.
    16. Great Boxing Day sales – once again, it was worth hardly buying anything all year in order to frugally save a load of cash on some necessities (loot: new keys and mouse, colour laser printer, office07).
    17. Living closer to sweet concerts.
    18. Coffee mornings with my dad in the fall on my way to classes in Peterpatch.
    19. Free Toronto Stars at DC/UOIT Student Commons.
    20. The soon-coming TF2 Scout Pack.
    21. Harvest Bible Chapel, York Region – I can’t even begin to numerate the blessing that it’s been to fellowship in a place with timeless truth and timely methods.
    22. Our Tuesday night small group study in “Lord, Change my Attitude” – profitable not only due to the content but also the community/fellowship, accountability, and growth that we’ve been privileged to be a part of. Particularly, I’m thankful for the wisdom and insight provided us by virtue of the amazing friends who participate with us in it – it has truly been one of the highlight blessings of the year.
    23. Paper extensions.
    24. Snowstorms.
    25. Ice Hockey for the NES.

    And now, some far less meaningful lists:

    Currently reading:
    “Christianity’s Dangerous Idea” by Alister McGrath
    “The Master’s Plan for the Church” by John MacArthur
    “The Murder of Jesus” by John MacArthur
    “Wordliness” by CJ Mahaney
    “Through Painted Deserts” by Donald Miller

    Hoping to read this year:
    ESV Study Bible
    “Vintage Church” by Mark Driscoll
    “Death By Love” by Mark Driscoll
    “This Momentary Marriage” by John Piper
    “The Cross-Centered Life” by CJ Mahaney
    “Humility: True Greatness” by CJ Mahaney
    “The End Of Reason” by Ravi Zacharias

    Currently listening to:
    “Black-Listed Sessions” by Mars Ill
    “Slow Flame” by Mars Ill
    “Deepspace5oul” by Deepspace 5
    “Bake Sale” by Deepspace 5

    Looking forward to hearing this year:
    “The Future Ain’t What It Used To Be” by Deepspace 5
    new mewithoutYou
    new Project 86
    new As Cities burn
    new Mars Ill

    Currently playing:
    DotA AllStars
    Team Fortress 2
    Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare
    Metroid Prime 3: Corruption

    Looking forward to playing this year:
    World of Goo
    Sins of a Solar Empire
    Strong Bad’s Cool Game for Attractive People (Season 1)
    Braid
    No More Heroes

    Hoping to see released this year:
    Starcraft 2

    Anyways, having now ranted endlessly in list form, I wish you all the best in 2009 and look forward to saturating your blog-reader-eyes with a glut of posts ne’er before seen. Or not. Either way, it’s going to be a crazy ride – even if I am pants-on-head-insane.

    …how offensive? very!

    Current Tunage: JustMe – The Song
    My next rap review will be JustMe’s album “One Man’s Trash”. So far, it’s sounding pretty decent – hasn’t stood the test of repeated scrutiny yet, mind.

    One of the perks of being married to a schoolteacher is that I’ve been getting sick more. I’m sure anyone that works with kids will verify that working with kids inevitably equals more sickness. I had a friend who used to rent in a house that doubled as a daycare and he was in and out of being sick all the time.

    Anyways, all this is to say, I’m not feeling well at all. I’ve started work on the first content post of The Second Reformation series (tenatively titled: “Lost Love?”) which, as a teaser, will be working out of Revelation 2:1-7 in your trusty ESV or translation of choice.

    Until then, check out Matt Chandler’s post today on TheResurgence, as I found it a most excellent challenge and observation.

    Here’s an excerpt:

    Here are a few men who loved our great God and King and were obedient beyond the norm:

    • Moses spends his whole life with grumbling whiners and dies without getting to walk into the promised land.
    • Samson suicide bombs the Philistines – and when the dust settles, he is dead and the Philistines still rule over Israel.
    • David’s son rapes his sister and leads a rebellion against David, dethroning him for a season.
    • Jeremiah ends up in exile with the rest of the country after repeatedly getting beaten for preaching what God commanded him to preach.
    • John the Baptist is beheaded by a pervert who gives his head to a 15-year-old stripper.
    • Peter is killed, reportedly crucified upside down.
    • Paul is killed in Rome but only after he spends his life (with thorn intact) being beaten, rejected, lost at sea, and consistently dealing with people coming in behind him and destroying what he built.

    -Matt Chandler, Pursuit – posted on theresurgence.com

    The questions this prompted in me are:

    1. What does it say about us (as Pastors, Teachers, Servants) if our “ministry” makes us superstars and much-loved folks outside the body of Christ?

    2. If the cross is an offense (see Gal. 5 and 1 Cor 1), why are so many who claim it so “nice” when they should be decidedly “offensive”? What does their manner and their reception in the world reveal about the gospel they preach or teach?

    You can read the full post [here].

    …post-postmodernity and fig trees

    Current Tunage: Matthew Good – Metal Airplanes
    Quiet, reflective, and quite broken… Matthew Good at his finest, I suppose.

    Steph was sharing with me this morning about a passage in John she found rather interesting. Specifically, John 1:45-51:

    John 1:45-51 ESV
    Philip found Nathanael and said to him, “We have found him of whom Moses in the Law and also the prophets wrote, Jesus of Nazareth, the son of Joseph.” Nathanael said to him, “Can anything good come out of Nazareth?” Philip said to him, “Come and see.” Jesus saw Nathanael coming toward him and said of him, “Behold, an Israelite indeed, in whom there is no deceit!” Nathanael said to him, “How do you know me?” Jesus answered him, “Before Philip called you, when you were under the fig tree, I saw you.” Nathanael answered him, “Rabbi, you are the Son of God! You are the King of Israel!” Jesus answered him, “Because I said to you, ‘I saw you under the fig tree,’ do you believe? You will see greater things than these.” And he said to him, “Truly, truly, I say to you, you will see heaven opened, and the angels of God ascending and descending on the Son of Man.”

    Specifically, she was wondering about the significance of the fig tree. What was it about being seen under this tree that caused this kind of rapturous and, dare I say, salvific response from Nathaniel?

    We received a little help from our good old friend C.H. Spurgeon on this one. You can read his sermon on the passage [here]. Here is the portion relevant to answering Steph’s question (which by this point had become my own as well):

    But what was Nathanael doing under the fig tree, according to our best surmise? Well, as devout Easterns are accustomed to have a special place for prayer, this may have been a shadowy fig tree under which Nathanael was accustomed to offer his devotions. And perhaps just before Philip came to him, he may have been engaged in personal and solitary confession of sin. He had looked round the garden and fastened the gate that none might come in—and he had poured into the ear of his God some very tender confession under the fig tree shade. When Christ said to him, “When you were under the fig tree,” it brought to his recollection how he poured out his broken and his contrite spirit, and confessed sins unknown to all but God. That confession, it may be, the very look of Christ brought back to his remembrance and the words and look together seemed to say, “I know your secret burden, and the peace you found in rolling it upon the Lord.” He felt, therefore, that Jesus must be Israel’s God.
    -Charles Haddon Spurgeon, Nathaniel and the Fig Tree (emphasis mine)

    With our question essentially resolved, I found it quite remarkable to peruse the remainder of what Spurgeon had to say in the remainder of this exposition. Here’s another meaningful excerpt which struck me as so very true of our present age just as it apparently was in Spurgeon’s over 100 years ago:

    Nathanael was just the very opposite of all this. He was no hypocrite and no crafty deceiver. He wore his heart upon his sleeve. If he spoke, you might know that he said what he meant and that he meant what he said. He was a childlike, simple-hearted man, transparent as glass. He was not one of those fools who believe everything. But on the other hand, he was not of that other sort of fools so much admired in these days who will believe nothing, but who find it necessary to doubt the most self-evident Truth in order to maintain their credit for profound philosophy. These “thinkers” of this enlightened age are great at quibbles, mighty in feigning or feeling mistrust concerning matters which common sense has no doubts about.

    They will profess to doubt whether there is a God, though that is as plain as the sun at noonday. No, Nathanael was neither credulous nor mistrustful. He was honestly ready to yield to the force of Truth. He was willing to receive testimony and to be swayed by evidence. He was not suspicious, because he was not a man who, himself, would be suspected. He was true-hearted and straightforward—a plain dealer and plain speaker. Cana had not within her gates a more thoroughly honest man. Philip seems to have known this, for he went to him directly, as to a man who was likely to be convinced and worth winning to the good cause.
    -Charles Haddon Spurgeon, Nathaniel and the Fig Tree (emphasis mine)

    I can’t count the times, as I’ve sat in my post-postmodern university classes where, having dismissed both God and Relativism, my peers and profs are left grasping for the proverbial straws to try and come up with some meaningful basis for ethics and metaphysics and life and existence and all of the deeper questions and things about which human inquiry has always revolved; they are too numerous to… number. I’m always amazed at the lengths to which men and women will go in their attempts to absolve themselves of their culpability before Christ who is both merciful and just.

    May we be much more like Nathaniel, believing Christ for who He truly is… than like the fools who really believe in nothing – and where I say nothing we might insert alternately “themselves” or “science” or any other human construct or concept that is not the one true God of the Bible.

    After all, all other explanations will always leave us cold and empty in the end.

    …and with the Apostle to cry out:

    1 Peter 1:3-9 ESV (emphasis mine)
    Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! According to his great mercy, he has caused us to be born again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, to an inheritance that is imperishable, undefiled, and unfading, kept in heaven for you, who by God’s power are being guarded through faith for a salvation ready to be revealed in the last time. In this you rejoice, though now for a little while, if necessary, you have been grieved by various trials, so that the tested genuineness of your faith–more precious than gold that perishes though it is tested by fire–may be found to result in praise and glory and honor at the revelation of Jesus Christ. Though you have not seen him, you love him. Though you do not now see him, you believe in him and rejoice with joy that is inexpressible and filled with glory, obtaining the outcome of your faith, the salvation of your souls.

    …so i’ll stand with arms high and heart abandoned

    Current Tunage: Hillsong United – The Stand
    Wow. Just wow. How did I never give Hillsong a chance? I’ve heard this song a couple times in the last few weeks at Harvest and couldn’t wring it out of my head. It’s not often that a “worship” worship song really really connects with me but my goodness this one does. Apparently it’s a few years old, but yeah… I’m digging. Big time.

    Tomorrow I’m hoping to continue my segue through all of my thoughts about church and what we can do better in the West. A lot of it will be observation (both positive and negative), and a lot of it will be personal. So, in advance, I say… take it for what it’s worth. It’s been a long struggle to figure out what we were looking for, hoping for, and needing to really tear into our souls and rejuvenate what’s often been cold and stony. I’m looking forward to sharing it with you.

    That said, I wanted to share some things I’ve shared with some important friends today. One of the reasons I haven’t been blogging much since our wedding is that I spend so much of my very little typing-time either working on stuff for school or staying in touch with friends that I can no longer spend facetime with. Tonight I’m going to start attempting to rectify my glaring lack of typing-time by sharing what I think is public-able… publicly. They’re slightly edited for this format. Enjoy:

    MESSAGE ONE:

    [Friend],
    Glad you’ve been enjoying them. We’ve been following [Peasant Princess] too (as time allows, which it often… doesn’t). I’m glad the messages are burning into your heart. If it’s anything like mine it can be really cold and stone-like most of the time. It’s so refreshing to hear God’s Word proclaimed boldly and without apology… refreshing and heart-rending.

    We’ve had a very busy week this past week, but much more importantly, a very spiritually important week. Much time in prayer, much time seeking God’s face and his hand in guidance and blessing. It’s been very difficult and also very excellent and full of paradigm shifts of the heart-changing sort.

    Married life is excellent, praiseworthy, and most highly recommended. I often randomly say to Steph “Being single SUCKED!” and it’s not because it really did, but more because the contrast is SO massive. Marriage is so wonderful I really haven’t yet found my voice to describe the constant blessing that it is to me as God uses it to wring out my selfishness and unmask my sin and tear into my self-righteousness in His love. He is truly a great Father and takes wonderful, wise care of us, and his gift of marriage is definitely a massive boost to the old Sanctification.

    Nothing in life has my higher recommendation – Find a godly woman and cut a covenant, you’ll never be the same again.

    Much love,
    Jer

    MESSAGE 2:

    Although I loved [Francis Collins’ The Language of God], I did take issue with his limited understanding of recent applications of the literal reading of Genesis that do much to account for the apparent inconsistencies between “science” and the story of creation.

    Without going into too much detail, I’ll just say that it has a lot to do with the way that the things by which we measure time (the Sun and Moon and Stars) aren’t created until day 4. An oversimplification of the more recent literal explanations involves taking what some will perceive as liberty with the supposed “stability” of time. Time is anything but stable, and many have recently speculated that it’s “slowing down”. Regardless, if God is who he claims to be in Scripture (in this case, the most relevant aspect being his omnipotence), then it’s entirely feasable to assert that in the pre-sun/moon/stars days, time operated differently, perhaps (for example) in the form of a rapidly decaying speed of time’s passage. From human perspective, it amounted to 3 24-hour days, but since the point of measurement did not yet exist – time itself possessed a different set of effects – I suggest a extremely rapid (yet extremely declining) rate of aging and cosmic decay until a point of stability was reached – this is the point when God introduced the elements by which we now measure time – time which we now may have reason to believe is also gradually passing with less expedience as our orbit slows both around the sun, as well as our solar system’s orbit through the galaxy.

    I loved Collins’ book, hold him in utmost respect for speaking up, and enjoyed his thoughts… but I found his treatment of decent theological consideration to be rather lacking. He’s a scientist, not a theologian, and some of his views simply do not synthesize with a reasonable and consistent hermeneutic. There’s so much to be said for giving God’s word superiority over everything – after all, all things are subject to it ultimately regardless.

    …get away, so i can sleep in late

    Current Tunage: He Is Legend – Decisions, Decisions, Decisions
    New He Is Legend demos make me happy this early, early morning.

    I may, for the first time in years, be on an early-mornings sleep schedule. We’ve been up at ~5:30-7am every morning this week and I’m actually starting to adjust – which is nice. It’ll make the school year much more potable (I write sessays best in the aye-emm).

    Anyhow, I’m settled in here. I’ve been listening to sintax.the.terrific’s album “Curb Appeal” this week a lot in preparation for reviewing it (hopefully later today). I’ve been doing orientation shifts at my new placement with work here in Durham, and that’s been very enjoyable. Steph is well, and is doing a fantastic job with her teaching again this year (perhaps even better since she has no wedding to plan this year… and it’s not her first year in this school now!).

    My courseload this year is still in limbo – I keep being informed that courses I’m registered for have changed their schedules etc. which has prevented me from getting a solid read on what my year looks like. Particularly, it’s difficult because I don’t want to have to go to Peterborough any more than absolutely necessary.

    That’s it for now. I’m still trying to hit my stride in new routines, and once I do I plan to write daily. Until then it’s going to be hit-and-miss.

    …a covenant sealed in dreams

    What follows are the covenant vows that my wife Stephanie and I made this recent Saturday August the 2nd, 2008. They are quite copyrighted, but we would be glad to share them with you if you ask us. So please, ask us, mostly because we like to know they’re getting used. We did a lot of work on them over a couple months off-and-on, so while we don’t want to see them squandered or wasted, we also do want to see them shared and used of God to bless others… or something like that. I have a really hard time sounding stoic, I’m still pretty pumped and whatnot.

    The gist is: We love these vows, we hope you do too. If you want to use them, ask us, we’ll almost definitely say yes – we just like to know who’s using them. 🙂

    Here ya go:

    I, Jerry Taylor Bolton, take you, Stephanie Ruth Jenkinson, to be my wife. I recognize that God has blessed me with your love and entrusted your life to me as a gift that I have not earned. In recognition of this, I promise to sacrificially love you as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her. I promise to courageously protect, fearlessly guide, selflessly serve, and generously provide for you, as he enables me. Through the pressures of the present, and the uncertainties of the future, I promise you my complete faithfulness; body, mind, and soul. I promise to lead you through all of life’s experiences even as the Lord leads me, that together we will grow in the likeness of Christ and establish a family that brings him glory and honour. I promise never to half-mean, never to half-love, and never to halve us – now that God has made us one. May the LORD deal with me as He sees fit if anything but death or His return parts me from you. These are my promises to you before God and the witnesses gathered here today.

    I, Stephanie Ruth Jenkinson, take you, Jerry Taylor Bolton, to be my husband. I recognize that God has blessed me with your love and entrusted your life to me as a gift that I have not earned. In recognition of this, I promise to respectfully submit to you as the church submits itself to Christ by following his leadership. I promise to tenderly encourage, fearlessly follow, selflessly serve, and humbly counsel you as he enables me. Through the pressures of the present, and the uncertainties of the future, I promise you my complete faithfulness; body, mind, and soul. I promise to follow you through all of life’s experiences even as the church follows Christ, that together we will grow in the likeness of Christ and establish a family that brings him glory and honour. I promise never to half-mean, never to half-love, and never to halve us – now that God has made us one. May the LORD deal with me as He sees fit if anything but death or His return parts me from you. These are my promises to you before God and the witnesses gathered here today.

    Jer & Steph’s Weddding Vows™ are ©2008 The Conglomerate International Corp. Unauthorized use will suck, and will probably doom your marriage. Asking permission is fun, good for your health, and Jesus most likely encourages you to do so. Almost for sure.

    Side note: the “half mean, half love, halve us” part is taken from one of my recent poems.

    Feel free to leave a note if you dig. ^_^

    Side note: this was post #750. Not bad for ~5yrs.

    …abracadavers

    Current Tunage: The Classic Crime – Abracadavers
    Where once they were promising, they now deliver on that promise in spades. “The Silver Cord” is my choice for record of the summer… though my Deepspace5 & Mars ILL order ain’t in yet.

    I haven’t much to say. In five days I’ll be a husband and that’s pretty much the most exciting thing in the universe right now. I’m not nervous, just happy and stoked to almost be done with all this planning… but much more so, I’m happy and stoked to be married soon – to Stephanie nonetheless! What a blessing and how much more than all I could have asked for or imagined up.

    In other news, I’ve writ my first new poem in ages. You can read it on my poetry blog… which is most easily found through the link on the right.

    Read, enjoy, comment, dominate. Love.