Carnival Ride

My long Christmas holiday is about to come to an end. I got back late Sunday afternoon from my home church’s English Ministry Retreat — which was quite eventful. I have lots more to say about it, but for now I will be nice by just saying that the preaching could have been better.I am looking forward to getting back to Southern; I will be hopping on a Greyhound bus Thursday night for a long ride back to Louisville, Kentucky. It’s been a restful break, with a lot of time spent catching up on House and a lot of time going through a long exegetical book on biblical worship theology. I’ve still got a bit more reading to finish before I head back, but I thought I’d do a bit of reflection on things I’ve learned this holiday before writing more.

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I am a slow reader.

Boy, do I read slow! I tend to underline and write notes in the margins of books I read for seminary, and so, it slows me down. I’ve been trying to read more quickly, following some reading tips from fellow SBTS student Trevin Wax — but still, I have a long way to go before I catch up to a better reading speed. I know I will only gain more reading speed with experience, so 2008 will be spent reading, reading, and reading (and of course, writing & blogging). I am very tempted to join the 2008 Purtian Paperback reading challenge, but with my course load and reading through the Bible in the year, I am not sure how well I can balance my time yet. All I plan to do is read more and read faster. While absorbing the material I read is very important to me, I know I must stop reading word-for-word like a child and be reading blocks at a time whilst absorbing sufficient knowledge.

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I need to define things.

Apparently, there seems to be a little to much talk about relationships on my blog lately, and I still need to conclude my book review of 5 Paths. Nevertheless, something I have realized over this break is that I am the kind of person who really needs to define my friendships, especially those with my close female friends. Over the past couple years, I have deliberately lived friendship and tried to be a good confidante to friends — without defining things at the get go — akin to letting fate do its thing, just letting things fall into place naturally.But no matter how hard I try to live life without defining my relationships, I inevitably fall into this hole — I am stuck between a rock and a hard place. I am a good friend and a brother; a listening ear and a voice of comfort; and with such a naturally developing friendship I can’t help but want more. I fail at what I purposed to do in the first place (not defining things), and henceforth have a growing need in my heart to define things. DTR. Defined as extensively and intensively as any theological term in my systematic theology textbook.

The Lord is at hand; do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.–Philippians 4:5-7

And this does not get any easier, for I’m going to be in Kentucky for the next 3+ years and I cannot be as good as a friend from afar. To want more, to have things defined, to actually be more to somebody would be unfair to the other and virtually impossible for me to do — I don’t spend my days in Toronto anymore, and I am not good at long-distance for whatever the friendship. From a distance, all friendships are boiled down to phone calls, emails and IMs — without face-to-face interaction, friendships can only grow so quickly and by small amounts. And yet, at the same time, this is going to distract me and eat me alive if I don’t get things defined.

I am stuck between a rock and a hard place.

Thus, my “resolutions” for 2008 include (to be updated as needed):

  1. Studying hard.
  2. Reading quicker.
  3. Being focused, not distracted.
  4. Being less personal on this blog.
  5. Being a better friend to my friends.
  6. Building long-lasting new friendships.
  7. Writing more on the Emerging Church.

A carnival ride

That’s what 2008 is looking to be — a carnival ride. Whether it is to be a ferris wheel or a roller-coaster remains to be seen. Only God knows. I’m expecting great things from God, and attempting great things for God. Lifting my foot up and trusting that God will make it land where He desires.

God put us here on this carnival ride. We close our eyes, never knowing where it will take us. In the blink of an eye, it can change your life and it never even slows down:It’s the wheel of the world turning around…

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