To Love And Have Lost Is Better Than To Have Not Loved At All, or, I Miss My iPhone

I have been without an iPhone for several months. I got rid of my iPhone so that I could save money. That sort of back-fired though. Here’s that story:

“$30 a month is a lot,” I thought. “My contract is up. I will use my free upgrade for a new dumb-phone, sell my iPhone on craigslist, and have an extra $30 a month.” Unfortunately, in resigning my contract, I had to accept the new terms of AT&T texting plans. My old plan was defunct. All new plans were more texts and more expensive. I went with a family plan sized texting plan which ended up costing $25. I lost my iPhone for $5 a month.

Why do I miss my iPhone? Here’s a partial list.

  • Instant directions.
  • Cataloging my life through pictures and twitter updates.
  • My guitar tuner/metronome app.
  • My voice memo app. (for recording song ideas)
  • It doubles as a flashlight.
  • A really solid alarm clock (with a custom playlist to wake up to)
  • HD video.
  • Not having everyone that calls me go “hey, let me call you back. There is a weird echo on the phone.” (granted, that’s more of a anti-current phone thing than a pro-iPhone thing, but still)
  • Calendar access.
  • Instant information. About anything.

Granted, that’s just a partial list, but it’s a start. Hopefully I will get another iPhone someday. Maybe.

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To Love And Have Lost Is Better Than To Have Not Loved At All, or, I Miss My iPhone

Car For Sale!

UPDATE: We sold the car. Yay!!!!

 

Hey there. This is my wife’s car. It is for sale.

It’s a 2006 Ford Freestyle. Here are some features:

  • 3rd Row Seating (seats 7)
  • Fold Down Seats (all but the driver’s seat)
  • Front Wheel Drive
  • Aftermarket CD player w/mp3/iPod dock (stock stereo included as well)
  • 67,500 miles
  • 25mpg highway

It’s been a great family vehicle/SUV alternative.

$7500. Leave me a comment if you are interested.

 

Car For Sale!

A Short Story, or, The Last Pound Cake

Trips to Walmart are always exciting for me. It’s part Star Wars style pod race, part mission impossible theme song driven time trial, all kinds of exciting. At least when I go alone. I don’t like shopping with others.

Anyway, my Walmart story today begins last night at 8pm. I breezed through the store, strategically choosing my route based on where my predetermined items were located. I arrived at the express line within minutes. The following people were in front of me.

  1. A 50ish year old man of African descent. Big hair, big smile, short shorts. He was purchasing a chocolate pound cake. How do I know? “Have you ever had a chocolate pound cake?” he asked. “They are delicious!” Apparently he had called ahead to check on said cake’s availability at the store and was told that they were all out. Undeterred, he made the trip anyway (forgoing proper footwear in his haste) and snatched the last one, hidden from the bakery attendant’s eye. He had just enough milk left at home for one piece before bed.
  2. Behind him was someone’s grandfather. He had had something of a beer belly, but the sheer force of age had worn most of it down to his former, lanky figure. He too had a big smile and enjoyed his brief cake-related words with the man in front of him. He had 4 large bags of pre-popped white cheddar popcorn…and 5 apples. I can only assume it was movie night and his wife was watching her calorie intake.
  3. Next in line was the portly gentleman. Shirt tucked in, slacks, burnt orange mustache. He was on a mission, just like me. He didn’t care about the cake, the popcorn, or the apples. He was bothered to even be standing in line. He had work to do. There was a 1/2 gallon of vanilla and a 1/2 gallon of strawberry in his hands, and two packs of dark fabric iron-ons for inkjet printers. Yes, his evening consisted of making custom logo’d t-shirts and eating ice cream.

The cashier’s name was River. He had the earrings of a 22 year old and the mustache of a 14 year old. I paid with cash. He placed my goods in the bag on the opposite side of the carousel from me. I waited. He just stared into the bag. Finally, after a thoughtful pause, he picked it up and handed it to me. It was 8:20pm.

I walked out of the store with my jar of caraway seeds and my can of tomatoes and drove home.

A Short Story, or, The Last Pound Cake

His Brain, Her Brain, or, "No, Go Back, We Haven't Seen That Yet!"

My wife and I will have been married for 10 years next Friday. Overall, it’s been a good thing. I can pretty heartily recommend marriage to most people…seriously though, it’s been great. I am a holier person, more dedicated to Jesus, and my life has direction that I’m not sure it would have had otherwise. All of this is due to my marriage. My wife is a wonderful woman. But that’s not the point of this post.

Joanna and I are really different. Really. Really. Different. Case in point:

A couple nights ago, we were watching a movie on the computer. It was only half over but we were ready for bed. I waited until the movie got right up to the 1 hour 30 minute mark and stopped it. That way, the following night, when we wanted to finish the movie, I could just run the timer up to 1:30 and we would be right where we left off. A solid one and a half hours is easy to remember so I wouldn’t have to look for the right place. Joanna found this to be hilarious. She said she would never do that, opting rather to just fumble her way through until she found the right scene. She laughed hysterically at how weird I was. She’s the one with the plan to ruin the movie by getting the scenes out of order, but I’m the weird one.

Marriage, kids. It’s good for the soul. 🙂

His Brain, Her Brain, or, "No, Go Back, We Haven't Seen That Yet!"

I Am The 99%, or, Just In Case He's In A Serious Fingertip/Acid Accident

I really don’t want to accuse the government of taking my money unjustly…but I just can’t understand why a criminal history fingerprinting only lasts a year. It’s $55 to have your prints taken, and the results from the background check are only good for 12 months. When we started our adoption journey 3 years ago, we were advised to have all our ducks in a row because it could all happen quickly. So we got fingerprinted as part of our required state home study. 3 years later, it looks like we are going to actually be adopting…and we have to get fingerprinted again.

Now, I can understand the need for a new background check, and a charge associated with that, but why the whole procedure? Some of my $55 must be going towards the labor of taking my prints (which is the majority of time since in the appointment, btw). So for a renewal, use the old prints and charge me less. I’m not sure why I even need to come in at all.

The whole thing would be less ridiculous if it weren’t for the concept of the fingerprint in the first place. You know, the marks that you have, from birth, that never change and can be used to identify you anywhere, even after you’re dead. The state needs updated copies of those every year. Sure they do.

I Am The 99%, or, Just In Case He's In A Serious Fingertip/Acid Accident

Predestination!, or, Blueberries Taste Better Than Strawberries, That's Why I Eat Them

I’m reading through Tell The Truth by Will Metzger for an evangelism class in school. He’s a pretty strong Calvinist, but from that position he makes a very thorough case for evangelism. I agree with much of what he says. I love the comfort and boldness that comes from an understanding that God is the one changing hearts. He is the one responsible for the outcome of our evangelism. I can share my faith and the story of Jesus freely and rest knowing that God brings the increase.

However, Metzger occasionally throws in some fairly heavy reformed theology, attempting to convince the reader to adopt it. He argues for predestination under the assumption that his readers don’t already believe it and that it’s hard to understand. Those are probably good assumptions, but the way he does it comes across rather odd sometimes. In chapter 10 he focuses almost exclusively on predestination. God saves individuals that he chooses to save based on His unknowable good pleasure.

I’m just barely beginning to kick this idea around, but why does it seem like the Calvinist doesn’t allow anyone to speculate about God’s good pleasure? It’s ok to say God’s ways are not our ways, and we can’t possibly understand, but if we throw out some possibilities for why God chooses people, we are somehow cheapening grace. A Wesleyan would argue that God chooses people because they will respond in faith. The truth is they do respond in faith. To the Calvinist though, this subjugates God’s sovereignty and free grace to the condition of the faith-choice in the person. It makes God’s will a slave to man’s. I understand that argument, but doesn’t any reasonable articulation of what could possibly be the source of God’s good pleasure subjugate his sovereignty to some factor outside of Himself, albeit a factor that He Himself has chosen?

For instance, say it was God’s good pleasure to save everyone with a taste for classical music. A love of mozart was the basis for salvation. Let’s go further and say that God implants this dormant love in the hearts of those he will save at birth. It will blossom in college and God will grant salvation to them. God chooses the criteria. In this example, God hasn’t really chosen criteria for saving people. He has simply chosen people through an affinity for classical music. The “why does God choose people” question still hasn’t been answered. The Calvinist responds “we don’t know.” That doesn’t mean that a reason doesn’t exist however. If there is no reason, if God is just throwing darts at a board full of faces, isn’t he capricious? Isn’t he just playing with souls?

I think Calvinists believe that there is a reason why some are saved and others aren’t, that’s why they use “God’s good pleasure” in the first place. When I say I choose to eat blueberries because of my good pleasure, it’s because there are characteristics of blueberries that I prefer over strawberries. I don’t choose strawberries because there are things lacking in strawberries. I choose blueberries because of the things about blueberries that I like. That’s what “my good pleasure” means. That there are reasons behind choices is implied by the statement.

For some reason though, the Calvinist can’t have anyone listing the reasons behind God’s choices, because that somehow lessens God. Scripture however is pretty clear that God is looking for faith in people. I believe that God has known who will possess that faith since before time began. He has chosen us from before the foundation of the world. I don’t think that makes Him any less sovereign. If anything, it makes Him more sovereign. He is discriminating in His choosing based on solid criteria that He Himself has come up with. Saying that God gives us the faith and then chooses us doesn’t protect God’s sovereignty, it just pushes His real reason for choosing people farther back and forces us to either speculate about what that reason could be, or in the case of Metzger, just say we don’t know any glory in His grace anyway.

I think we should definitely glory in His grace, but when we ask the question, “why does God save people,” scripture tells us that it’s because they have faith in Him. To ignore that solid reason in favor of some unknown one deeper in the mind of God (not that there aren’t many things deep in the mind of God that we can’t know) seems a little forced.

So, that’s my little soteriology rant today. Thank you for joining me.

Predestination!, or, Blueberries Taste Better Than Strawberries, That's Why I Eat Them