I am glad January is over. Living in the Dakotas, January feels long and bleak. After you celebrate the new year, January is not exactly overflowing with holidays to make it more celebrate-able. But we did it. We survived another January.
I started a new job, which is exciting. I am now the youth pastor at my home church in North Dakota. I am really excited for the opportunity, and I know I will learn a lot.
I went to Kansas City for a week of classes at the seminary, and I had the opportunity to stay with one of my roommates from college (actually, two roommates, one for one night and another for the remaining week). It was really good to see my Kansas City people again. I have so many friends there, it pains me to think about the distance between us. Also, when I get together with my friends, we sometimes try (and try and try) to take a good picture and end up with these:
And then people on the sidewalk look at us funny, but we laugh and keep taking pictures. I am so grateful for all my Kansas people, even though I am a terrible picture-taker so I cannot document all the people I love and appreciate but they are in my heart. There is something sacred and beautiful about sharing meals or last-minute fried rice or we are breaking bread in the form of huge Costco pizza slices.
I started the year by reading Recovering the Full Mission of God: A Biblical Perspective on Being, Doing and Telling by Dean Flemming. Flemming was one of my professors in college, so pretty much if one of my former professors writes it, I will read it. He wrote my favorite Bible commentary on the book of Philippines, so I will continue to read what he publishes (and I’m not even getting extra credit for doing so).
I read Jesus Feminist by Sarah Bessey. I wanted to join the party that is SheLoves Magazine‘s Red Couch Book Club. You can find the discussion about Jesus Feminist here. Join the fun in February, and check out the posts about the Red Couch Book Club. And, alright. You caught me. I may have read the book, but I didn’t comment in the discussion. I did read some of the discussion, but I’ve always been the person in class who sits back and lets others talk first. One of my professors really got on my case about being quiet in class, but I like to learn from others and hear what others are saying.
I read Eleanor and Park by Rowell Rainbow. I read it because I apparently feel the need to continue to read Young Adult fiction. It was a good book, and it was interesting enough to only take me a couple days to finish it. However, in my opinion, it was not that great of book. It was an easy read, but I probably would not recommend it.
I read Toxic Charity by Robert D. Lupton. I had been meaning to read this book for months after my former boss recommended it. (If you recommend a book, I will no doubt develop a desire to read it, but who knows how long it will take me to actually read it.) This book made me rethink mission trips. It actually just made me think a lot about everything we do. I ended this book with questions: how best can we serve others? What works and doesn’t work about short-term mission trips? Are we hurting more than helping?
I’m self-declaring 2014 the Year I Read More Food Memoirs. My goal is simply to read one food memoir a month. This is a genre that was made for me, but I was never taking advantage of its existence. I love memoirs and I love food, so clearly I need to be loving food memoirs. I started with 52 Loaves by William Alexander. My favorite part of the book was the last several chapters where he teaches a monk to bake bread. Even though the author does not consider himself religious, there’s no question bread holds a lot of religious symbolism. I don’t know if I enjoyed this book because it’s about food or because it’s not what I normally read. Whatever the reason, I really enjoyed this book. It made me want to bake bread.
I read the following books for class: Blessed Connections: Relationships that Sustain Vital Ministry by Dr. Judi Schwanz, Pastoral Theology in the Classical Tradition by Andrew Purves, The Holy Longing: The Search for a Christian Spirituality by Ronald Rolheiser, Personality Type and Religious Leadership by Roy M. Oswald, and Essential Enneagram: The Definitive Personality Test and Self-Discovery Guide by David Daniels. #SeminaryProblems But trust me, the list will be longer next month because that was just reading for one class, and the rest of my classes start today (February 3rd).
TV & Movies
One word: SHERLOCK. Two more words: SEASON THREE. It was quite an interesting season, but I love Sherlock so much.
Can I make a confession? Have you entered the cone of silence? I am trusting you. Here it is: as much as I do indeed love Downton Abbey, I have not watched season four yet. I started, but then, I just wasn’t feeling it.
Other shows I’ve somehow managed to keep up on have included: Parks and Recreation, New Girl, The Mindy Project, Parenthood, and Bones. I haven’t really been feeling The Vampire Diaries, because too much Katherine storyline and Elena is still annoying and blah, blah, blah.
I didn’t go to any movies in the theater, but my family watched The Way, Way Back. I know it’s been out for a while now, but I really enjoyed it. I recommend it, and I’d watch it again.
Articles & Videos
I read this article on the “10 Paradoxical Traits Of Creative People.” Even though I don’t always classify myself as a creative person, it was an interesting read.
Also, this article: “I Don’t Wanna” by Karen Green:
“This is when I know I have to ask God to push me instead of letting ‘I don’t wanna’ be the end of the story.”
And Kid President. Because, Kid President:
Check out what others have been into January 2014: