Thursday, December 30, 2004

more on books

Okay, reccomendation: Douglas Coupland's Hey Nostradamus! Although the title looks like a musical about a mideval clairvoyant, it is, in fact, another stunning novel from someone who is quickly becoming one of my favorite novelists.

The novel (and all the other Coupland novels I've read) is heart-wrenching, engaging and relatable. He also manages to include a note of hope and mysterious redemption. To me it feels like a Shakespeare romance but more likely - sad things happen, people aren't very nice, but we all are eligible for forgiveness, hope and redemption.

So that's what I have to say about that one. Douglas Coupland. I might be in love with him.

Sunday, December 26, 2004

Reading Things

Merry Christmas everybody. I am enjoying the break so far. It's good to spend time with family and friends and curled up with a book and no deadline and no competing responsibility (although, come to think of it, there are a few other things I need to accomplish.... whatever.)

So what have I been reading? First Blue Like Jazz (thanks Kent for the lender.) I started out skeptical, Miller's voice seemed a little heavy-handed to me, but once I got used to him I became rather fond of him. And I really liked the things he had to say about the role of the church and about community. Miller reminded me of something that seems obvious, but is also profound: being a christian (and being a human, maybe) is not about ME. It's about loving God and loving other people because God loved us first and being authentic about it. In fact, both Miller and McLaren (in my next reading adventure) really care about relationship and authenticity. And those are ideas that have been bouncing around in my head for several years now, but got articulated more fully by these writers.

Now, I've always been a big fan of community. Community is what I love about my churches (both the one I grew up in and the one I choose to attend now) and a lot of what I love about Calvin. I really like the way Donald Miller talks about faith happening in community - we work together to find out more about who God is and how we're supposed to live. I had always sort of thought of community as the place faith gets acted out instead of the place it gets developed, and it is surely both. But the idea of developing your faith through dialogue and discussion and reading books and talking about them or maybe posting about them on your blog is so consonant with the way I actually do develop and learn. This seems fairly obvious to me now that I've typed it, but also important. There's other good and interesting ideas in Blue Like Jazz too, but this is the one on my mind right now.

And it's an idea that shows up in A New Kind of Christian too. Although it's less central to that one. I'll keep on thinking about that book (I just finished it tonight) and maybe grace both of my readers with some thoughts on that soon.

Friday, December 17, 2004


Well, I've been hit pretty hard this time with semester-end nostalgia. This happens to me every semester, as I realize I've built cameraderie in my classes, loose friendships with people who I never hang out with OUTSIDE of class, but who I like and enjoyed talking to 2 or 3 days a week, even if it only consisted of whining about the class or true confessions of books never read. And since we're not really that close, I realize the I might never see these people again. Which, I mean, I have plenty of friends and I'm not heartbroken, but it's still a little sad.
And this semester, the sentimentalism is particularly bad, because Carol's moving out. My dear, wonderful roommate, source of such verbal joys as "did you talk to the dealy-dude?" "I feel ralphy" "we're staying with the g-rents" and "blinky-blinky in the dinky." I'm glad Carol's going to France and everything - it will be a great experience for her. But after 3 semesters of living together, we're definately going to miss her.
And I'm thinking ahead too. only one more round of calvin classes and it's time for me to move on. Weird. And I'm halfway done with my WA-dom.
and that's what's happening in my head as I try and prepare for my Shakespeare final. Well, that and the sonnet I memorized. That's happening too. I hope some people heard me as I was reciting sonnet while I pumped gas Wednesday. It was awesome.

Wednesday, December 15, 2004

and now for something completely different

Well, it's always weird to follow something serious with something silly, but here's something silly. I've been following daily dinosaur comics for serveral months now, and I continue to be amused. What's great about this webcomic is the guy uses the same art over and over again, but continues to be funny! It's the freedom imposed by a form, sort of. Like a sonnet.
Anyway, today's comic was particularly innovative, in my opinion.

Tuesday, December 07, 2004


Gardening in Advent
(thanks Cindy)

You can’t dig up dahlia bulbs until after the frost
so now I dig as cold air stings my eyes to tears
gloved hands parsing out flower bulbs from hard soil
as I hum a hymn for this first Sunday of advent
O Come O Come Immanuel
and remember my grandmother who gave me these flowers.
They bloomed beautifully until only a few weeks ago
I had to wait until the first frost –
for the time to come for me to dig them out.
And ransom captive Israel
and I think of my friend,
blooming beautifully only a few weeks ago
and now she, too, is in the cold ground
waiting, waiting.
that mourns in lowly exile here
my hands brush dirt from bulbs.
I’ll have to hang Christmas lights soon,
I had been waiting
for this season of waiting to begin.
until the son of God appear
just waiting, with these flowers,
with my grandmother, with so many
Rejoice, rejoice! Immanuel shall come to thee O Israel
waiting for the first frost.

Monday, November 22, 2004


So, I had a pretty cool church service this week (link to church website). It was really church SERVICE. Instead of normal liturgical church stuff, we had breakfast all together and then went out and did stuff -- helping people, picking up trash, cleaning bathrooms, giving out free coffee. And it was beautiful and profound to be able to worship God by picking up trash.
One moment that won't get out of my head is this one: we went to Veterans park after cleaning up one trail to help another cleanup group. They were getting trash out of this creek and we went down there to help them. At this point Brandon's gloves had been getting rather goopy, so he threw them out and didn't have any, but I did, and he had a rake so we were working together trying to get stuff within reach so I could grab it without falling into the cold muddy water. A few bottles were almost close enough for me to get them, but not quite, so Brandon had to hold onto me as I leaned in to pick them up and put them in our trash bag. And this is stuck in my head and I think it has something to do with what the church is all about. Helping each other out by doing things we can't do alone, working together with what we have, and holding each other up.

Saturday, November 20, 2004

notes on the Peter Fish

I mostly wanted to point to this Calvin News article about the conclusion of the Peter Fish campaign, which the WAs had something to do with. I didn't do much except a little bit of publicity and helping with counting 'em up. That was a weird but cool event, by the way. The counting up of the peter fish. You can read my incomplete WAblog entry about it (other WAs that read this *coughkentcough* could help me add to the existing entry....) I was pretty impressed with the generosity of Calvin. And the large amount of change in one room at one time. I don't think I've ever handled several hundred dollars in quarters before.

Friday, November 12, 2004


The word of the moment is solipsism. An appropriate word to introduce on a blog, since blogging is possibly the most solipsistic of writing forums. My continued posting in more than one blog, then, would indicate something about my solipsistic nature. At least I'm honest about it.

As another note, we should really have more classic children's books in our lives. I read this passage from The Velveteen Rabbit at Jazz Vespers last night, and it makes me so happy, I'm going to post it here:

"What is Real?” asked the rabbit one day, when they were lying side by side near the nursery fender, before Nana came to tidy the room. “Does it mean having things that buzz inside you and a stick-out handle?
“Real isn’t how you are made,” said the Skin Horse. “It’s a thing that happens to you. When a child loves you for a long, long time, not just to play with, but REALLY loves you, then you become Real.”
“Does it hurt?” asked the Rabbit.
“Sometimes,” said the Skin Horse for he was always truthful. “When you are Real you don’t mind being hurt.”
“Does it happen all at once, like being wound up,” he asked, “or bit by bit?”
“It doesn’t happen all at once,” said the Skin Horse. “You become. It takes a long time. That’s why it doesn’t often happen to people who break easily, or have sharp edges, or who have to be carefully kept. Generally, by the time you are Real, most of your hair has been loved off, and your eyes drop out and you get loose in the joints and very shabby. But these things don’t matter at all, because once you are Real you can’t be ugly, except to people who don’t understand.”
“I suppose you are Real?” said the Rabbit. And then he wished he had not said it, for he thought the Skin Horse might be sensitive. But the Skin Horse only smiled.
“The Boy’s Uncle made me Real,” he said. “That was a great many years ago; but once you are Real you can’t become unreal again. It lasts for always.”
The rabbit sighed. He thought it would be a long time before this magic called Real happened to him. He longed to become Real, to know what it felt like; and yet the idea of growing shabby and losing his eyes and whiskers was rather sad. He wished that he could become it without these uncomfortable things happening to him.

Wednesday, November 10, 2004

the michigan accent pronunciation guide

the michigan accent pronunciation guide

this website cracks me up. Kathryn (my evil twin) (not actually related to me) showed it to me a few days ago. And I read it and was amused. And now I am posting it on my blog as the first semi-profound thing to post, for the amusement of my future readers. Michigan accents. We have them. Who knew? When I move far far away, I hope people don't make fun of me too much because of my silly Michigan accent.

being a traitor

So Kent is using blogger now and I got jealous, so now I have one too. I don't want to ditch my xanga, so maybe this will be the blog that's actually interesting, and my xanga will be the blog that's about my life. Because Kent was just talking about that and it made me want to. Kent is a big influence on me today.

So, erm, bloggifying. More and more blogifying. (which spelling do you prefer? I can't decide.) if you want to read more Bethany blog, and have no life or lots of time on your hands, check out or