Three recent conversations, presented verbatim:
A Conversation With My Daughter
I set up a line of dominoes running around a corner and had my seven-year-old daughter sit where she could only see the end. I tipped the first domino over and we watched the entire chain fall.
Then I asked her, “How do you know there was a first domino? You didn’t see it.”
She stared at the fallen dominoes with a furrowed brow for a few seconds, then said, “If there was no first domino there would be no world. Nothing could exist.”
Look out, Aristotle. My daughter is gunning for you.
A Conversation With My Son
Yesterday I took my children to Happy Hollow. As we were entering the park we passed by an Asian gal dressed up as an anime character. I’m not sure which one, but she had on some sort of bulky white body armor. More to the point, she had also dyed her hair purple.
So I said to my wife, “If I was Asian I would totally have purple hair.”
My four-year-old son overheard and said with a dismissive tone, “If I was Asian I’d have black hair.”
A Conversation With A Student
A text message conversation with one of my students (verbatim with a few words removed to preserve anonymity):
Student: “Is public nudity a sin?”
Student: “Is it just kind of weird or is it something to avoid altogether?”
Me: “Search biblegateway.com for the term ‘modest’.”
I got back from a trip yesterday and was greeted by my three-year old son. He had something to tell me about preschool:
He said, “Matthew hit me today.”
So I said, “Really? And then what happened?”
He said, “I hit him.”
Reasonable enough for a three-year old. And around this time the teacher is probably about to get involved, and I’m pretty curious about what she did. “What happened after that?”
He said, “He hit me again.”
Uh-oh. This might not be a very good story. “And then what happened?”
He got a big grin on his face. “I tumbled him.”
I started to grin back. It was partly a response to his grin, partly amusement at his inventive use of the word “tumble”, and partly pride in my warrior son.
“I see. And then what happened?”
I burst into laughter. So did Paula. What would you have done?
Every morning before my daughter heads to kindergarten I read her a Bible story. This morning I read something Jesus said and asked her if there was anything she didn’t understand.
“Well.… where was Jesus when he said this?”
“In Israel. Why?”
“I was wondering if he was on earth or in heaven when he said it.”
“He was on earth, honey.”
And then my three-year old son said, “Or on fire.”
That’s almost certainly not as funny to you as it was to me, but I present it here for your consideration. Whenever Jesus said something, he was either in heaven, on earth, or on fire.
We just moved from our old apartment to a house elsewhere in Menlo Park. So far we love it! The kids are especially jazzed about the yard and the ensuing prospects for outdoor play.
A big thank you to those who helped us move!
Props to Ben, Katie, Alan, John, Desirae, Irene, Chris, Femi, Ethan, Lindsey, Scott (way to serve with your postoperative self), Jen and Aaron. Lindsey and Sue deserve special mention because they each watched our kids part of the day, which meant Paula and I could both get stuff done. And a special shout-out to Emily who was planning to help but had to bail due to a last-minute medical emergency (get well soon).
Highlights from the move:
- Noticing that a disproportionate number of students decided to wear their Chi Alpha shirts for the move. My heuristic was to wear a shirt I didn’t care about… which makes me wonder how our students really feel about our shirts. 😉
- Happy Donuts for breakfast. Yum. Bonus: watching Ben get a sugar rush.
- Hearing my name used as a virtual curse word when people realized how many boxes of books they would have to carry. They love the erudite sermons, they just hate the way I prepare for them. 🙂
- Backing a U-Haul into my narrow driveway. Yikes!
- Chris getting scratched by a rose bush and me (for once) having the right line at the right time, “He doesn’t need a band-aid — he needs a Y chromosome.”
- New York Pizza for lunch. Two King Kongs and a Large. Excellent.
- Having our internet activated on the day we moved in. Sweet!
- Our new neighbor dropping off brownies. How very kind.
- Having our super-studly moving crew stay to help us assemble and lay out furniture. Way above and beyond the call of duty. THANK YOU!
- Costco Hot Dogs for supper. Those dogs are delicious. And huge.
- Double bonus: watching Ben cuddle up after a hard day’s work and drift into la-la land.
For those to whom it matters, our new address is 1032 Ringwood Ave, Menlo Park, CA 94025.
In the last few days, my work has taken me to preach in Sonora, CA (where I was able to take an excursion to Yosemite Valley and also stand upon Glacier Point
), it has caused me to spend a day at
(near Santa Cruz) helping with a youth camp, and it’s allowed me to have lunch with a worship pastor in San Francisco. And in the middle I got to hang out with some of the most amazing people in the world at Stanford University.
If you’re keeping score, that’s two instances of mountainous beauty, one day of beachy fun, one incident of cosmopolitan elegance, and several heaping sides of academically elite intellectual stimulation. All in under a week.
I’m blown away at (a) how cool my state is and (b) how delightful my job is.
If your life is insufficiently fabulous, consider coming to California to do college ministry. It rocks.
I’m quite tired.
We had our final Chi Alpha worship meeting of the quarter last night. It went awesome. Worship was phenomenal, I think the message was well-received, and we got to hang out and talk for a while afterwards. Plus we actually ended the year with more numbers than we began the year with. That’s rare in campus ministry. If you average the first three weeks of the year and multiply by about 80%, that’s a more typical number to end with. The growth has been great — but a larger ministry means more people to meet with, which means less flexibility in my schedule.
So I’m tired from the academic year.
I’ve also been teaching an extension class for AGTS in Sacramento every Thursday this month. Tonight is the final course. It’s a 2 hour drive there, a four hour class, and then a two hour drive back. It’s been very fun and I’ve learned a lot through teaching the course (which I’ve heard is the experience of most teachers).
But it’s pretty draining. That’s an extra 8 hour day every week. And that’s if traffic behaves.
And I’m serving on a task force for the Assemblies. We had a video chat this morning which lasted about 2.5 hours. It was rewarding, but also draining.
Finally, I’m supposed to be doing a lot of web stuff for Chi Alpha. I just haven’t been able to prioritize it lately. Yeek. Lots of low-hanging fruit, but no time to reach out and pluck it.
All in all, I’m very much looking forward to the change of schedule that comes with the summer. I’ll still be busy, but at least I’ll be busy doing different things. 🙂
My brother just got engaged. There are rumors of a YouTube video of the proposal waiting to surface, but for now you’ll have to be content with the written story
Congrats, bro. Wish you both the best.
Before starting the workday this morning, I finished online traffic school (you can do that in California) due to a speeding ticket from the end of last year. One of the more profound lessons I learned — and I quote — “do not drive with nails in your tires.” I guess I was speeding because I lacked that knowledge. Good thing I got that cleared up.
After finishing traffic school I headed for the shower. Upon emerging, I discovered that Dana had very nearly broken Xander’s finger by slamming the door on it. His pinky was compressed to about 1/4 of its normal diameter and was a dull gray in color. Even after it returned to its normal size and color, we were still a little worried. Fortunately, he had a scheduled doctor’s appointment and the doctor confirmed that his finger was A-OK. And then gave him three shots. Poor guy.
On top of all that, Paula was sick.
And I got around to answering a letter from my district asking me to serve on the Parliamentary Committee at District Council. That’s right — the Parliamentary Committee. I am officially that guy. I told them yes. If you’re invited to serve then you’re already that guy
whether you own up to it or not. It’s like going bald — you might as well embrace it.
Good stuff happened, too. For instance, I got to talk with a Ph.D. candidate about faith. She came to the Francis Collins lecture and wanted to follow up with some questions. We had a great conversation. I hope I was helpful to her. She seemed quite touched when we prayed at the end of our time together.
But on the whole, it just felt like one of those days.
We just felt our first earthquake!
It only took us 5 years living in the Bay Area.
Apparently it was this one .
Actual comments my students made about me on a recent survey:
- the balder the better
- exuberant, zany, wacky, over the top
- Unique, John Stewart meets the apostle Paul.
- prone to shouting in high pitched voices
- pedagogic connoisseur — appreciates good teaching and apt quotes.
- occasional diarrhea of the mouth
- wonderfully inappropriately humorous, great at coming up with mathematical-scientific analogies for facets of spirituality (balloons and 2nd derivatives anyone?), best at representing Jesus on film
It’s great to feel loved. And mocked.