Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Learning to read slow...

As I was going through my list of "blogs to read" recently, I came across this little post. It's interesting to me, because I've never really had problems speed reading with comprehension. I do "hear" things in my head as I read them. I also "see" things in my head as I hear them (as in, when someone's talking, or when I'm writing, I can sometimes literally see the words being typed out in my head).  But I appreciate his point, and speed reading just isn't meant to be done with Scripture. I love how the Bible is filled with so many different literary genres (as I've written about before). Poetry is meant to be musical thing, meant to be experienced and savored, just like the rest of the Word.

One Advantage of Reading Slowly

December 29, 2009  |  By: John Piper  |  Category: Commentary
The fact that hundreds of the pages of God’s inspired word are devoted to poetry moves me. One of the effects is to make me aware that God thinks the sound of language matters.
God has blessed and humbled me with the inability to speed read. I read about the same speed that I talk. I hear what I read as I read it. For years I tried not to. Speed reading consultants (I took their courses—in vain.) say that pronouncing the words, even in your head, turns a rabbit reader into a turtle. No use. I’m a turtle.
So I take heart that so much of the Bible is poetry. It is self-evident to me that poetry is not meant to be speed-read, but ordinarily read aloud. So I would encourage you to supplement your speed with slow savoring of the way things are written to be heard.
Consider this observation about what happens when poetry is read aloud and read well by a person who understands it.
“Even after almost three millennia of written literature, poetry retains its appeal to the ear as well as to the eye; to hear a poem read aloud by someone who understands it, and who wishes to share that understanding with someone else, can be a crucial experience, instructing the silently reading eye ever thereafter to hear what it is seeing.” (John Hollander, Committed to Memory: 100 Best Poems to Memorize, 1)

Monday, December 28, 2009

So the picture quality is poor, but I'm glad the camera captured even a glimpse of how breathtaking this scene was...our Creator is amazing! I'm really looking forward to exploring more of Washington.

Thursday, December 24, 2009

There is, it would seem,  a small problem with being flexible and learning to love and be content with wherever you live: You learn to love it. But life is brief, and being pushed out of your comfort zone rarely feels pleasant at first. There is joy in looking back to see how God has provided in the past, and trusting not only that God is unchanging but also merciful.

Monday, December 14, 2009

26 Minutes in Loring Park

Back when I attended MCTC, I would often venture into the nearby park between or after classes. Because of its location in the heart of the city, it got a lot of traffic and was both a lovely place to watch nature and a fascinating people watching spot. As I was cleaning my room today, I came across a random sheet of writing I did one day sitting on a bench. The style (or perhaps the lack therof) is rather abrupt; quite literally I wrote what I saw as I saw it. It's nothing fancy, just an attempt to capture an afternoon in Loring Park. It brought back all sorts of memories for me, perhaps it will also be interesting to you. 

    Strains of a bagpipe lazily drift over the pond. On my ebony wrought bench, I’m surrounded by birds; some in the water, some pecking at the tiny blades of grass for crumbs from some passerby. A bird dives into the grayish-brown water, interrupting the surface for an instant. A brazen young woman entertains a group of young people on the other side of the bridge while two geese slyly inch nearer, nipping the grass. The lewd girl has removed her belt, clambered onto the overturned rescue boat, and whipped mercilessly at an unsuspecting tree. Certain now that I have no food for them, my pair of geese have ambled away back towards the water. The church bell clangs two. Again I try calling Brian’s cell phone; once again my efforts are rewarded with voicemail. The sun has gone behind the clouds and the gentle breeze has become harsher. A balding man in an old leather coat with a cigarette and his miniscule dog have now frightened my bird friends away. They are followed by a large group of boisterous, drunk, men and women.  My goose stares in wonder as he is “f-bombed” by a large, black man, and then wanders back shyly my way.
    2:07 and finally my calls are answered. Many middle-aged couples lazily meander around the park, passed by the occasional preppy runner or “pretty-boy” biker. A lovely duck out to dry herself in the sun has upset my goose, and the man and his dog have returned. A man in orange and white starkly contrasts with the soft earthy-browns, greens, yellows and blues of the landscape. A woman walks by in a pair of keens. I have changed out of mine from this morning for my boss's sake.
    2:15 sounds the bell! A young brunette and a man in a tie come over the bridge; her unsuitable stiletto heels clicking noisily. Sitting beside me for a moment, a little boy gives me an appraising glance. At a word from his father, a tall, dark and handsome man with a military air, the boy retreats. Pausing on the bridge for a moment, giving me only time to admire her dark, curly hair and tan suede jacket, a woman moves on, followed by a blond biker in a pink jacket. An older man bikes by as well; he however, has a blackbird perched on his helmet as he crosses the bridge. The waterfowl sound like gossipy old women.
    At 2:26, I leave my bench and head to work.

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

I know how that guy feels...sort of, anyway.

The infamous philosophy paper was completed this morning at 8:50 (due at 9:45).

Monday, December 7, 2009

"How often have I said to you that when you have eliminated the impossible, whatever remains, however improbable, must be the truth?"

If my posts have of late seemed less serious than usual, it has mostly to do with the fact that by the time I'm finished with homework and studying, my poor brain wants a rest from deep thinking (or thinking at all, rather). For example, today, I've been doing Philosophy homework essentially from 10 AM-8:40 PM, stopping only for meals and the story I will now tell.

At lunch today, I went to check my mailbox. There was a letter and a note that claimed I had a parcel at the reception desk. Intrigued, I walked to the desk and promptly presented the slip of paper to the receptionist, who retreated to the back room to find the mysterious parcel. After several minutes, she returned, with a quizzical expression. "Are you sure you haven't already picked it up," she ventured to ask. (Like I would forget picking up a parcel!) Indignant, but trying to remain polite, I replied in the negative and said I would return at a different time to see if it had been found. Later that afternoon, I received an email saying they had found it and it was ready to be picked up, so I bundled back up and walked over to the school, my curiosity once again piqued.

When I arrived, I was handed a mysterious Christmas-y box, approximately the dimensions of a DVD case, containing Alfred Hitchcock's Rear Window. So far, I have deduced the following:
1. It is from a Canadian.
2. It is probably not from a girl in residence (we're in the midst of a secret santa exchange, so this would seem to be a logical assumption until one considers that if it were a girl on my floor, she would have had access to my room. Why go through the school instead of just leaving it on my desk?)
3. This parcel was not mailed.
4. This person very much wants to remain anonymous (not only was there no note, it didn't even have my name on it).
5. The very fact that it's Rear Window not only implies it's someone who knows I love Hitchcock and Grace Kelly, but also someone who knows I don't already own the movie. This narrows down the suspect list.
Deduct what you may from all this. I, for one, am too tired to desire a conclusion tonight.   

Friday, December 4, 2009

Having a few minutes between researching my Philosophy paper and editing someone else's paper, I have decided to write.  We're in the midst of quite the blizzard; classes are canceled, the concert is postponed, and I have no excuse to procrastinate on my paper any longer. The buses are still running, but the chances of getting off campus get slimmer with every beautiful flake that falls. So I'm bundling up, not for a long winter's nap, but for the accomplishment of much homework in the frigid prayer room. But first, dinner.

Thursday, December 3, 2009

Moral lessons from Monty Python: Now THAT'S completely different.

Mr. Vernon "Hello Madam...(comes in)
Mrs. Long Name "Ah, must have come about..."
Mr. Vernon "Finishing the sentences, yes."
Mrs. Long Name "Oh...well...perhaps you'd like to..."
Mr. Vernon " Come through this way...certainly."
(from "The Man Who Finishes Other People's Sentences"; Monty Python's Flying Circus) 

This is a problem of mine. It recently occurred to me just how arrogant it really is. It's saying, "look, I know what you're going to say, and what I have to say is more important/relevant".  Interrupting is so rude. If I really love other people as I love myself, I'll be quick to hear and slow to speak.