Wednesday, November 23, 2005

Fresh young seminary graduates

I have a kind of long post in the blog workshop, but it's just not flowing for me right now, and it's more serious than I feel like being at this moment. So I'll share with you some observations I've collected recently.

Over the past week or so, I've been able to observe a couple of gentlemen fresh out of seminary (about four or five years). On the street, these gentlemen are not unlike honest, young businessmen: confident, courteous, and, hopefully, good tippers. So that you may learn to recognize the fascinating species of young seminary graduates apart from clever look-alikes, though, here are just a few of the characteristics they regularly exhibit in my experience.

Your first few seconds of observation will yield a mental image of an Everyday American Joe. His hair is nicely trimmed and combed, his khakis are pleated Dockers, his loafers are polished but not expensive, and his striped polo shirt is tucked in and secured with a sensible brown belt. He is probably married to a piano player; maybe they have a few kids. He probably drives a minivan or some other unremarkable vehicle, but it might have an AWANA or "Christians Aren't Perfect, Just Forgiven" sticker on the back. Regardless of the everyday-dad look, you will perceive a subtle youthfulness in his demeanor: the vague, dopey grin never taking a significant vacation from his face and the overtly -- almost ceremoniously -- respectful manner in which he treats women and his elders. This youthfulness is strangely married to the arrogance which almost always tags close behind so many years of academia (other graduate students usually share this trait); the only difference is that the seminary student (ineffectively, usually) tries to mask his superior wisdom with the "I don't understand, explain it to me more" act, which is, of course, far more becoming to a humble, godly young learner.

He might be well-spoken or awkward in front of crowds, but he always says "we" or "I" instead of "you." He may use unnecessarily large words such as "bibliology" (studying the Bible) and "soteriology" (how we're saved), and references Capitalized Biblical Events, in front of people who probably don't know what they mean. And, whenever he talks about Scripture, he punctuates his speech with appropriate supporting references: "We know, through a complete soteriological approach, that we are all elected to salvation -- Ephesians chapter one -- so we must adopt a presuppositional bibliological worldview as it pertains to evangelism -- Romans one, verses twenty through twenty-five -- in order to make disciples as Christ entreats in the Great Commission -- Matthew chapter eighteen, verses eighteen through twenty." Of course, no one really talks that way in real life, as though they are reading the footnotes, so this is a clear indication that you are, indeed, observing a fresh young seminary graduate.

The reasons for this manner of speech are obvious. First, the fresh young seminary graduate is so chock-full of information that it just spills out of his mouth, often without his prior consent. In addition to that, though, I think the young seminary graduate has been exposed to so many competing sub-theologies during his education -- through the classes themselves and over evening decaf coffee with other seminary students -- that he constantly feels the need to support his statements with biblical evidence. You'll notice that a seasoned preacher of the Word never sprinkles references into his sermons, let alone his normal conversation, so generously. I think this is because he assumes that, if a younger sheep wants to know the reference, they'll ask for it. Or it could be that, after decades of teaching and shepherding have collected their toll, the venerable pastor no longer knows everything, but rather realizes how much he does not know. To the young graduate's credit, though, it is not a purposeful arrogance which he espouses, but one which he, as mentioned, desperately tries to conceal with a somewhat exaggerated humility.

In any case, the fresh young seminary graduate is an unusual, and therefore recognizable, individual. The overabundance of humility, the mild underlying arrogance, and the childlike glow, all melted together in the first few seconds of observation, effortlessly predict the other characteristics he will manifest in dialogue and mannerism.

Wednesday, November 16, 2005

Abortion...and being completely overwhelmed and a little intimidated by my own ambition.

How am I ever supposed to accomplish everything I'd like to? Where should I start? There are so many things I wish everyone knew. People are so very needy.

I went to a bioethics talk last night at the university. The main topic was abortion -- its moral wrongfulness regardless of the circumstances -- and the pragmatic application within the public policy arena. I've heard this guy speak before, but once again I was amazed at the quality of his argument. Another time I might post more about abortion and why I believe it to be morally wrong in all cases. He showed a short movie clip of aborted fetuses (most from the first trimester) and, while pictures aren't a logical part of the actual argument he used, they are real, and people need to see them. If I had some gruesome pictures, I'd post them here, if only because people don't want to see them. Just like pictures of holocaust victims, and Sudanese genocide sufferers, they are a sickening part of reality. They're no less real or valid if the reality they illustrate is horrific. They deserve to be seen. Maybe I'll find some and post them. In the meantime, I want a lot of big things to happen.

  • I wish I could make all abortions illegal. If I could, I would. Like the holocaust, slavery, and other forms of genocide, the ongoing legal killing of millions of innocents is one of the most reprehensible, disgusting events in human history. Except this time around, the victims aren't old enough to defend themselves -- and governments stand by, nodding in approval.
  • Immigration should be regulated. How in the world are we supposed to stay safe when people can waltz across the borders and have us cater to them? I'm not against immigration -- I don't blame people for wanting to come here -- but if you can't respect the law getting into the country, why should we expect you to respect it once you're here?
  • I want everyone to see the critical flaws in Darwinian evolutionary theory. Like so many things, people eat what they are spoonfed, especially if it means they don't have to do the thinking/research themselves.
  • Girls should all stop dressing like we-know-whats, and start respecting themselves. How can we ever campaign for rights and equality while we're dressed like pieces of meat? Don't expect men, or anyone at all, to respect you if you don't respect yourself -- and don't pretend like you're ignorant. You know what you're putting on, and why. Grow up!
  • Social Security, in my opinion, should be voluntary -- until the time it is phased out (or drastically downsized). Why should I have to pay for a retirement program if I DON'T WANT ONE?! The Depression ended decades ago -- let's all stop acting like we need the government to save our money for us.
  • People should realize that religion is not purely subjective, and neither are morality and ethics. A relativistic society cannot function and can never be tolerant. Ultimate, objective, transcendent Truth does exist, and it's always worth searching for even if there's not unanimous agreement. With that established, let's get rid of the "religion is for private use, policy is for public use" mentality. It's flawed and can never result in decent or meaningful conversation or legislation.
I don't know when these things will happen. I don't know what I can do to help them along. I've always said I'd NEVER want to be an elected politician, but maybe that's what it'd take. I feel like I'd spread myself too thin if I tried to accomplish all of these things. If I were patient enough, I could raise a tribe of dynamic, eloquent kids who will outlive me -- then they could accomplish the things I didn't get to. That's the great thing about motherhood: it's like extending your life indefinitely.

Anyways, in case you're sick of reading this stuff, I'm working on building another blog that will be a home to my political-social-philosophical-theological stuff, and this one will soon be only narcissism: what's happening in my life, my photos, etc. So for those of you who only like to read about me, soon you won't have to wade through other content.

Please feel free to leave comments and/or death threats. I want to hear your comments and challenges. thanks for reading, guys!

Wednesday, November 09, 2005


Ok, notwithstanding all the crazy things happening in the world even as I type this, I've decided to break from my brilliant political insight and personal introspection for a while and talk about kids' names. Regardless of Shakespeare's stuffy opinion ("What's in a name? A rose by any other name would be just as sweet"), a name is incredibly important. It can have deep religious meaning or family significance. It can be ugly or it might sound bad with the last name. In any case, it'll be with the kid forever so you'd better do a darn good job of picking it out.

Now I know most of this discussion is meaningless unless people are planning to have kids, upon whom they may then bequeath the names they've long toiled to assemble. Obviously my theoretical husband will help me decide on names for our theoretical children. But I do realize that a) I don't have any kids; b) I don't have a husband; and c) I don't have a boyfriend or anyone who, as far as I can tell, may soon become my husband. So this exercise is kind of pointless because I won't be having any kids until I'm married and, from my survey of the current pond, not many fishes seem promising to fulfill that prerequisite.

Anyways, lots of famous people seem to delight in giving their children unique (read: cruel and unusual) titles. Examples include Apple, Phoenix, Rocco, Scout, Lennon and Kyd. Now we all know celebrities can't do anything un-cool but these names are just weird.

Most of the names I like tend towards the less usual side as well...they are cool but maybe only for middle names, because I don't want to scar my children. Seriously, a girl named Apple, no matter how cool her parents may be (her dad is Chris Martin, her mom is Gwyneth Paltrow), is going to have self esteem problems for her entire life. It's been shown that strange/exotic names go hand-in-hand with underdeveloped social skills.

I really like the name Cadence for a girl, but I really don't know if that's too weird. Is it? I totally made it up on my own but I've also seen it other places. I thought maybe I could call her Cady for short -- that's cute and normal-sounding. Also I think Liberty is a good middle name. It could go along with Cadence...Cadence Liberty. And Audrey? It's kind of old-fashioned. You could put it with lots of middle names: Audrey Rose, Audrey Christine, Audrey Michelle, Audrey Jane. I have a great-aunt named Jane. I think I like Audrey Jane.

I haven't thought much about boys' names except that I like August...once again, probably for a middle name. August was a great-grampa (I think) of mine who I never met but I like his name. I don't know why I don't really think about boys' names. Maybe it's a premonition that I won't have any boys. But I think I would go crazy if I only had girls. I like Wayne, maybe for a middle name. I guess I'd start better thinking up some first names. Here are some other names I like...feel free to add your own! It's always fun to hear what other people like (or have already named their own kids). And you can vote on the name combinations I've mentioned. :)

First names: Joey (a nickname for Joseph), Seth, Chloe, James, Dakota

More middle names: Macy, Jean, Britta (a family name), Courtney, Brooklyn, Esther, Ivy, Renee

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