Get Schooled

a journal of my adventure back to college to finish my degree

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Friday, July 25, 2003
Another Adventure Begins

I've begun a new blog.

If you link me, or update your link to my new site, please send me a note at
and I'll place your site under my "reciprocal links."

On the new blog ("Honest To Blog") keep an eye out for updates to my personal web page, developments in the continuing epic of my getting-schooled, and regular (DV) articulations of occurrences and critical observations.

Tuesday, July 01, 2003
The (next to) Last Word

So I’ve completed my Bachelor of Arts in Philosophy… only twelve years after graduating highschool.

Trying to sum up my feelings about it all, I considered authoring a sort of valedictorian speech. Alas, I was far from first in my class, and I don’t think I have the energy to compose it. In brief, I’m unspeakably thankful to God for the mercy He has shown me in these (past 12) years. And I couldn’t have made it through without my several dear friends, who challenged and questioned me, encouraged me and saved me from the brink of despair, rebuked me, believed in me, listened to me, loved me, and shared good things with me without hesitation. And I continue to look up to those few professors and other teachers and mentors who enlightened, motivated, and guided me. And last, but not least, I thank my parents who prayed without ceasing and largely funded my schooling adventure.

I don’t mean to end on a negative note, but as I ponder the obvious question of “now what?” I am filled with a devilish dread. A friend suggested that I am experiencing “post-accomplishment let-down syndrome.” Perhaps. Or, it could be that the reality of my poverty, homelessness, job-lessness, car-lessness, etc-lessness, is hardly mitigated by a mere diploma (which I have yet to actually receive in the mail).

I just don’t know what to do now… and my options are severely limited by a number of factors I’m too embarrassed to recite here. Of course, I have ultimate “plans” (D.V.) for graduate school; for a Master’s and Doctorate in Philosophy. But I am a man without capital. Enough said I suppose.

So, the adventure continues…
Check back soon (within the month) for a link to my new blog.

I want to thank all my readers for their interest and attention, despite the less than comprehensive or comprehendable nature of this journal.

Tuesday, June 24, 2003
Not That Anyone Asked

Actually, a friend at my parents' church did bring up the issue, and we briefly swapped opinions. That's the kind of "home coming" I genuinely enjoy: "Hey, long-time-no-see. So, are you convinced by thus&such an argument... what's your view on...?"
Anyway, maybe you wonder why I am not an "exclusive" psalmist?
Here's the basic argument. And here's another statement on the matter.

Saturday, June 21, 2003
The Big Three-Oh

A few belated words here on turning thirty years old (as of the 3rd of May).
Many a philosopher, from Pythagoras to Buddha and since, have held that true philosophy is "Meditation On Death." Various church fathers picked up on the ancient theme and tried to emphasize its biblical import.

Anyway, it has been my custom to visit a cemetery on my birthday and contemplate my own mortality.
I recommend the practice to you all. The trivialities of your brief existence might just be seen for what they are as you stand at the precipice of eternity.

As for me, as I stood in the weedy grass among the stones and bones, the words of Chan Marshall (aka Cat Power) were with me.
I don't know if she's a Scripture reader or what. She must be. These lyrics are from her album "Moon Pix."

Learn to say the same thing
Let us hold fast to saying the same thing
What defeats people is a double confession
One time they will confess one thing
And the next they will confess something else
If you're looking for something easy
You might as well give it up
Learn to say the same thing
Let us hold fast to saying the same thing

In one way or another this doctrine has been my theme for the past 5 years. I feel quite alone in appreciating its crucial significance... a sad burden. So, I'm looking for the 7,000 who feel the same.
I hate to be so cryptic about it. I hope you understand me.
Those are my sober thoughts as I step into a fourth decade.

Wednesday, June 11, 2003
Comment t'aimes ces pommes?
(how do you like them apples?)

"Translating" various English idiomatic expressions into French has become a favorite passtime.
Anyway... here is a photo of my beginners class. I am standing far left, all squinty-like.

Tuesday, May 27, 2003
Vertiginous Slopes

I'm in central-ish Quebec studying French via an immersion program at UQAC. The cognitive dissonance caused by immersion prevents me from saying much about my experiences here. Generally, I'm in class every morning then doing various activities in the afternoon. For instance, some afternoons I'm learning how to jig (la gigue)... the "quebecqois" version of Irish-type motionless-arms, tap/step folk dance. It's sort of like clogging without clogs.

I'm enjoying the program. I met several interesting people; two in particular have become good "camp" friends... if you've been to summer camp as a kid, you understand ---fast bonding in a pool of strangers. I think I'm learning a little bit of French too. I'll be here for about 2-3 more weeks. Then... only the Lord knows. Let's hope for graduate school in Toronto.

I'm contemplating starting a new blog. I'll be sure to let you know about it.
Until the next entry here... content yourselves with finding out more about things the tourist bureau thinks you should know about this town of Chicoutimi.

Also, read up on the Reformed Church of Quebec.
And you might find interest in a French Dooyeweerdian.
Go to Google's language tools if you want to translate any of the pages.

Saturday, April 26, 2003
Blast From The Past

Cleaning off my desk and packing up all my things... I found this note I remember scribbling down one very bitter evening.

"Here in Ancaster the snow comes down harsh
the atmosphere is all dust
forming a landscape of fine white sand
a rippling desert of dunes
in the relentless, biting wind.
Plowing and shoveling is useless.
Tracks and paths are covered in minutes.
It is cold, cold, cold... and dark."

Monday, April 21, 2003
Dooyeweerdian Farmer With Website

I knew guys like this had to exist somewhere.

Sunday, April 20, 2003
Thinking Global

My brother, Jeffrey, makes a very interesting website from Germany known to me... I'd like to make it known to you. You want to know about Calvinism Worldwide? They say: " is a global internet information service and a platform for communication. reformed online welcomes Reformed Protestants worldwide to use its comprehensive and reliable collection. Its statistical data, texts and documents are aimed both at Reformed churches and at all those who are interested, and intendeded to contribute to research and teaching. A further education programme will complete the service. reformed online will bridge the gap to Christians living in poorer countries."

Here's their page on the History of the Reformed Church in Europe.
In all likelihood, these folk are theologically "liberal," but the site seems to be a worthy project.

Saturday, April 19, 2003
To Be Rash

"In my heart there was a kind of fighting, that would not let me sleep... Our indiscretion sometimes serves us well, when our deep plots do pall: and that should teach us there's a divinity that shapes our ends, rough-hew them how we will"

Wednesday, April 09, 2003
Power in a Union

Students of Hamilton unite to advance the cause of International Christian Trade Unionism and Biblical social principles in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ. I was priveleged to work on the draft committee for the vision, mission statement, and principles. Word on the street is that students in Alberta are also on the move. Can't wait to see how things turn out there. Redeemer students are getting curious, as we get ready for action next year.

Wednesday, April 02, 2003
How I Became An Immortal

This is a sort of vainglorious way of announcing (James) Gordon Anderson's new web domain.
Don't fail to check out my one and only "iconigraphication." My mother does not find it flattering, but that's not the point (although I find it quite flattering). Trust me, it looks like me. Dad agrees anyway.

Sunday, March 30, 2003
The Seerveld Touch

I've got a new favorite word: Hineinlebenshaltung...
perhaps more on that later.

Monday, March 10, 2003
A Story For You

Way back around the 15th - 22nd Feb. I had a "reading break." As my sister was getting married, I went to my parents'. Just when I thought heading south might entail relief from the frozen netherworld that is Canada, a meter of snow falls in Catonsville. I spent two days digging them out (at a fair price), shoveling around 1800 cubit feet of snow at around 5 tons --or so my engineer father tells me. It is now no mystery to me why the pagan north Europeans conceived of "hell" as darn cold.

By Wednesday I was able to sojourn briefly in Harrisburg, visiting commrade Aaron and (to my ignorant surprise) Josh. Nathan was off with Tiff celebrating her birthday... factoid: she is now as old as he was when they first started dating. I didn't call Scott, which I hope he doesn't hold against me... I only had one day in town to spare.

Brother Gary came in that night, and brother Jeff the next day. So we went out Thursday evening to have drinks at the spot where I said goodbye to Baltimore and friends six months ago. Friday we set out for the wedding. I met my new in-laws at the rehersal dinner, one of whom attends my alma mater. The ceremony was pleasantly brief and tasteful, and the reception was right up my alley... accept for a brief stint singing at the microphone, I could eat, hang-out, catch up with friends and relatives, and (secretly) drink a lot of booze with pals.

My in-laws are teatotaling... which I try not to criticize except when it comes to Eucharist, weddings, funerals, birthdays, major holidays, minor holidays, late night discussions, big meals, after work, and weekends. I mean, if you don't want to share a drink with me at 9am on Tuesday... I suppose you can still be a Christian. Who am I to judge?

Anyway, we drove back home in the worst fog I've ever seen in Maryland. I don't know about everyone else in the car, but I was stinkin' cranky. We pulled over for coffee and a donut... and got back on the wrong highway. It was just one of those nights. We did manage to hear some pretty sweet late night college radio, however. It reminded me why I once contemplated living a life of crime... well, that was one of the times I contemplated such things. Don't be frightend.

Sunday, Gary and I attended church with Jeff. At the coffee hour I had a swell conversation with one of the rectors about Phenomenology and philosophy of religion. He was a big fan of Levinas. He was unfamiliar with Calvinistic developments. That afternoon I was able to see more of Keenan and also visit with Gordon and Steph. Good times.

Then I had to get on a plane and fly back to Buffalo where my buddy Jonathan of St. Catherine's would pick me up and drive me back to school. Jonathan drove me out to the airport at the beginning of the trip, and we had a jolly time kicking around Niagara-on-the-lake. At BWI they took my wisker scissors, and it bothered me inside... but I decided to turn it into a point of bragging... how I'm making tremendous sacrifices for our national security. America should chip-in an get our hero (me) a new pair of wisker scissors.

I really didn't do much reading over reading-break. But Jeff asked me to flip through his Cornel West Reader. Sadly, I wasn't super-impressed. But I like the "activist-scholar" vocational concept that is so dear to West. In anycase, I got back to school in time for my Tuesday class. But I was exhausted the rest of the week. I think I'm recovered now, but there's quite a bit going on... stay tuned.

Tuesday, February 18, 2003
In The Void

There's an eerily beautiful and simple tune composed and performed back-in-the-day by one of my brother's many highschool bands. I don't know if I've got the lyrics quite right. But sometimes this song comes to me with a chill, and I embrace the pain... let it wrap me like a shroud.

"...long snowy nights
and rumors --they call
waiting in fear
for your soul to fall
a runaway flees
dropping the knife

...there's nothing
in the world
that I can call mine."

Thursday, February 06, 2003

In my Intro to Theater course, we were assigned "production groups." Our task is to hypothetically put on a full-scale production. This includes budget considerations, etc. We're putting on John Osborne's Luther.
We also have a class presentation on "theater of the absurd," which we are doing as a theater of the absurd. I hope this works.

In my Asian Philosophy class I'll soon be doing a presentation on the ancient game called "go." If you are interested in the rules, here is a fairly basic explanation, step by step. The "next" button is in the top right corner of the screen.

Saturday, January 11, 2003

Check out Kingdomality.
Yikes! This standardized test knows me too well.
It's like a career-personality quiz, but for the Middle Ages. It's what you "would have been" suited for.

I am "...The Benevolent Ruler might be found in most of the thriving kingdoms of the time. You are the idealistic social dreamer. Your overriding goal is to solve the people problems of your world. You are a social reformer who wants everyone to be happy in a world that you can visualize. You are exceptionally perceptive about the woes and needs of humankind. You often have the understanding and skill to readily conceive and implement the solutions to your perceptions. On the positive side, you are creatively persuasive, charismatic and ideologically concerned. On the negative side, you may be unrealistically sentimental, scattered and impulsive, as well as deviously manipulative. Interestingly, your preference is just as applicable in today's corporate kingdoms."

Busman's Holiday

The semester ended, I took my exams, and I booked a room at Chez DeWaard in Hamilton. My friend, Ian, is a fellow CLACer and I thoroughly enjoyed his hospitality and learning about his vocation and recent projects.

On December 25th [articles and a sermon for your edification] I went to a friend's house and ate delicious food and drank her father's homemade wine. On New Year's Eve I went to another friend's house and met the extended family and helped make gravy.
I saw The Two Towers twice. I can't get over how excellent the Gollum scenes were. But the Gimli comic-relief bothered the tar out of me.

But I spent most of the break reading the following books:
Steinbeck's The Grapes of Wrath
Bouwsma's John Calvin: A Sixteenth-Century Portrait
Peck and Strohmer's Uncommon Sense
(re-read) Dooyeweerd's In The Twilight Of Western Thought

I intended on really getting into Steinbeck, but it was hard to concentrate with Ian's Calvin book sitting there on the coffee table. Eventually I dropped Grapes and gave in. Because I believe in the beauty/truth of literature, and because I don't want to become an ivory tower Philistine of a "specialized" scholar, I occasionally force myself to read novels (classics, of course). So, I'll continue with Grapes this semester. But the Calvin book was tremendous. This is no hagiography!
The author's postmodern religious orientation was horribly obvious in certain historical-psychological evaluations such as "Calvin was obsessed with order. He had a crazy tendency to impose structure on his environment and tried to make sense out of the world." Oh-no! Calvin committed a pomo-transgression! He tried to make sense of things! Anyway, you'd think the book would be horribly lame, given such ideological commitments of the author, but happily and paradoxically, since postmodern scholars believe consistency is a hobgoblin, they can frequently be insightful.

When I got back to school this past Monday, I went to the Registrar's office to confirm that all my ducks were in a row and I would be graduating. Alas, the silly child in charge of my file last semester had apparently lied to me, saying it was all good, but had sat on my transcripts and done nothing. The main official, Richard Wikkerink, however made up for months of slack in a few days and I am now approved for a Bachelor of Arts degree in Philosophy with a double minor in History and Religion.

Sadly, I did not do well in French. But I will (D.V.) complete my modern foreign language requirement this summer in a 5 week program in Quebec. Soon I'll be able to converse with my brother in his native tongue and read the French Confession in the origninal (maybe).
The courses I'm taking this term are Biology, Asian Philosophy, Intro to Theater, Aestheics, and Academic Study of Scripture. I'm also sitting in on Ideologies.

It occurred to me that with all the bitter cold and snow up here, my 2-year southern California summer is being balanced out.
Thankfully, I now have a space-heater in my dorm room.

Thursday, December 12, 2002
Rhymes and Reasons

Tonight (this morning) it is foggy in Ancaster, Ontario. I stepped out to have a smoke and the balmy air took me by surprise. It took me back to Lookout Mountain where I first attended college. This sort of transportation is a unique property of fog. Foggy midnight is a kind of world between worlds for me. The atmosphere is heavy with water, and my mind is saturated with an enigmatic, immense wonderment.

In my spare time --if you wanted to know-- I do such things as read the dictionary. A fellow student asked me last week, "Egg nog... what exactly is 'nog' ?" I had to confess that I didn't know. This bothered me. So the next day I found myself squinting at the single volume OED at a reference table. Apparently, nog is a local term for a strong ale brewed in East Anglia (Norfolk, UK). The word's origin is unknown.

So, speaking of unknowns, standing in the fog, my heart became heavy with a sense of my limitations. I suppose such heaviness only plagues those who start out assuming unwarranted greatness for themselves (no shock to my friends). But there you have it. I want to be a great philosopher; the greatest of my age. And in this moment I am drawn to Christ's parable in Luke 19. In so many ways I have not been faithful in very little things. And yet I am drawn to Solomon's request for wisdom and God's promise in James 1.

So I ask again as before in faith for wisdom. And I take to heart that the Lord's strength is shown in man's weakness. And if ever I feel more secure about my abilities as a scholar, I will remember not to have confidence in the flesh or in letters after my name.

Thursday, November 28, 2002
A Rabbi, a Priest, and a Witch walk into a bar...

This past weekend I attended the annual conference for the American Academy of Religion. This is the major professional association for scholars in religious studies. The annual meeting is like a church retreat where everyone doubts God's existence. It was held at the convention center in Toronto. I met my friend Scott, from Harrisburg, and he very generously paid my registration fee and fed and housed me all weekend. We, and another friend, Michael (public school teacher and spiritual pilgrim), stayed in the Renaissance Hotel which is connected to the SkyDome near the CNtower. It was pretty cool.

I attended sessions of the Dietrich Bonhoeffer Society, the Institute for Biblical Research, and sessions on the Pauline Epistles, and "Non-Violent" Views of the Atonement. I ran into several people I knew, including Bryan Estelle, professor of Old Testament at Westminster-West. I had great discussions and ate great food. It was a real vacation. I wish life was an academic conference.

The infamous Jacques Derrida spoke at the conference... but I had to miss it. No biggie. I was happier to hear Sylvia Keesmaat.

Tuesday, November 19, 2002
The Inevitable Blog

Eventually every blogger stops to reflect on the nature of blogging itself. It's the obligatory poem about poetry. We can't help it. In the very act you discover so much more than you can ever hope to make sense of... or some nonsense like that.

I've noticed that I blog an average of every ten to fifteen days. Not as frequently as I would like. But the fact is: my being conscious of friends and family as audience stifles the uninhibited flow of expression. I'm certainly not going to complain about my parents or siblings or say anything negative about friends... but it is quite possible that my experiences here result in critical reflection on the relationships that mean most to me. And aren't those the things that make for interesting blogs?

Now, you are not given license to suppose that I'm harboring ill feelings about any of you. That's not what I'm talking about.
I'm saying some of the things I would really like to blog about are simply too personal for a "non-anonymous" (nymous?) forum.
It's my excuse for less than fascinating posts.

That's all I'm gonna say about that.

In other news... I've discovered Li Po (Chinese poet, circa early-mid 700's).
I'm not going to post any links. You can do an internet search, surf, and find out about him for yourself.
Suffice it to say, I imagine he and I are kindred spirits.
Here is my poetic rendering of his well known "Yueh Hsia Tu Cho" from a word-for-word translation.

Drinking Alone

The blossoms are out
and a single jug of wine
and I drink alone
I got no friends here

So I raise the jug
and ask Mr. Moon to join me
and Shadow
That makes three

But, Moon, he doesn't know about wine
and Shadow just imitates my motions
to no avail
These are the only drinking buddies I got

Must make the most of this Spring
I'm singing
and Mr. Moon starts swaying
I do a little dance
and Shadow is all over the place

We were having fun earlier
Now these guys abandon me

We'll always have a loveless-friendship sort of connection
and I guess we'll meet again in that distant river of stars.

Friday, November 08, 2002
Working-Class Hero

This week I interviewed with the Christian Labour Association of Canada. My first assignment is to establish a student "support-local" on campus. The intelligentsia are a crucial part of every revolution.

I'm also involved in filmfest, our student film club. There is a horrible lack of interest in real art among this homogenously "pop" student body. We'll see if we can't put a slight dent in the shallow machine.

Final papers are due in a month or so. Friends and family should feel free to send treats and/or cash... you could pray for me too, I guess.

Saturday, October 19, 2002
Life is Religion

On the 4th and 5th of October I attended a memorial academic conference in honor of H. Evan Runner. You can read my Crown article about it. It was wonderful to have met so many leaders in the Reformational movement, and to learn more about the life and work of Runner. At the conference I met Gideon Strauss and we are now colaborating on the online zine "Neocalvinism Today" (I recently posted a brief article mentioning my first Canadian Thanksgiving).

Although most of Runner's works are currently out of print or hard to find, a "Runner Legacy Committe" has been formed to remedy this unfortunate stituation.
Runner titles to search for are:
The Bible and the Life of the Christian
Scriptural Religion and Political Task
The Relation of the Bible to Learning
Promise and Deliverance (translator)
Hearing and Doing (festschrift)
Life is Religion (festschrift)
Here is Dr. Runner's memorial tribute to Herman Dooyeweerd.

In other news: I've found a pleasant pub to visit. I've only been into town twice, but I'm not suffering too badly from campus fever (yet).

We've just had our mid-term exams, and I'm confident I did well... except for French. But I won't let it get the better of me. In good neocalvinist fashion, I shall rule and subdue it.

I have also been attending the OPC services with Grace Covenant in Sheffield (about 30 minutes west of the university). Oddly enough they are all Dutch. But I'm enjoying their fellowship and hospitality tremendously.

Wednesday, October 02, 2002
The Music Returns

I think I’m past all the transition, adjustment, and culture shock. Last night I fell asleep feeling giddy about being here and doing what I love best. The sunlight of an academic environment has even got the long lost creative juices flowing again. I had a song-writing dry spell for about seven years. But it seems the poetry and melodies have returned. Several nights ago I participated in the Student Activities monthly “talent show.” There are two or three students with whom I might form a folk-group. Perhaps it will include cello and/or piano (along side the standard guitars and vocals).

Here are recent lyrics about my running away to California in ‘99. It’s a dark tune, addressing the spiritual trial of those days.

Speak of the Devil

I packed my bags and I headed south
with a handrolled cigarette in mouth
the moon was thin and sickle sharp
but it still cast shadows in the dark

I spent two months at the river’s bend
feelin it be soon but wondrin when
the man who lives by the mountain cave
says not everyone can be saved

The wind blew east so I set out west
lookin for a town where my mind could rest
my horse broke down in Little Rock
a shaggy old crow cried “Ten O’Clock”

When these feet fell on the ocean sand
the sun sunk back to the Underland
I tried not to say his name out loud
talk about him and he’ll come around

Thursday, September 26, 2002
Philosopher With A Cause

Last week I got a 3 hour per week job with the Dooyeweerd Centre. I am a sort of personal assistant to the director, although she already has two official assistants. I am currently compiling a list of academic journals and periodicals, with contact info, relating to philosophy and law. The secretarial work itself is perhaps trivial, but I'm terribly pleased to be part of the cause. The dooyeweerdian --or more preferably "Reformational"-- approach to philosophy is one of the reasons I am here studying at Redeemer. I hope to continue with graduate studies at ICS.

Want to know more about my philosophical hero Herman Dooyeweerd? Here is a brief biography. Here is a brief and not-too-difficult-to-understand introduction to a "dooyeweerdian" approach to academics. Here is a slightly more elaborate introduction. And here is a website that explores and applies Dooyeweerd's philosophy even more extensively.

Monday, September 16, 2002

At the last minute I was offered space in the student paper to comment on the anniversary of 9/11. The article is brief, and does not flow well. But it does sum up my thinking on the matter. Do check out the rest of The Crown. You may also consider Howard Phillips' comments.

It is worth noting that today (Sunday sundown to Monday sundown) was the tenth day of the month of Tishri, the Abrahamic year 5763, formerly The Day of Atonement.

Among the Children

I am 29 years old. This makes me about a decade older than most of my fellow students. Before coming here I worried that this would be a significant social obstacle. I worried that the students would find me strange and out of touch. I feared that they would consider me an outsider. However, this isn't quite how my age has presented a problem.

Instead, I am experiencing a sort of constant vague deja vu. The behavior I see and conversations I hear are all oddly familiar. I'm left with a general sense of "done that," and I find within myself an uncharacteristic lack of sympathy. After three weeks I'm bored with reliving this past stage of life. I want to be with my own kind --adults who are basically adjusted to the world, and going through the sort of things I'm going through. Life here is excitingly new for most of the students, and I'm just not feeling it.

There are infamously bad moments, when I am violently nauseated by the juvenile attitudes and behaviors (especially when directed towards me). But there are also more sanguine moments of reciprocity and mutual appreciation. For instance, a few guys in my dorm are turning 19, the age of majority in Canada. I take responsible Christian drinking fairly seriously. I consider it a privilege to induct younger men into the world of spirits, communicating my knowledge and appreciation of various beverages. But I need not elaborate on how such activity can go horribly wrong. There are few things more annoying than teenage drunks. (None among my dorm mates, thankfully).

I am still trying to comprehend the fact that a freshman co-ed recently complained that I tried to give her "cooties" (I had extended my hand to shake when we were introduced). What can one say to that? I will try to avoid bitterness and disillusionment, remaining self-critical. It is a sign of genuine maturity to not be unhinged by the immaturity of others. I'm still working on it.

Friday, September 06, 2002
Goodbye, Hello

The last Thursday in August I went out for a final drink with one of my brothers and two good friends. My brother offerred a spontaneous good-bye speech, combining elements from Polonius and St. Paul. Parting is indeed sweet sorrow. Although I expect to see my friends and brother again before glory, it caused me to wonder about the nature of "farewells." How can they be bitter and sweet? Why is there such beauty in sadness?

With profound nostalgia I left home, and arrived at school in great anticipation. I settled into my dorm without a hitch, met many friendly students, and began classes. I'm taking French, Political Science, Social Philosophy, Poetry and Drama, and a Senior Interdisciplinary Seminar on Metaphor. We are busy with introductions and orientation, and I look forward to getting into the substance of the courses.

Wednesday, August 28, 2002
Reflections on Work

Last night I was thinking about the kinds of jobs I’ve had over the years. Lawn maintenance, child care, house painting and repair, language teaching, dishwashing, food delivery, cooking, office assistance, elementary school teaching, off-set printing, used-book sales, political activism, and coffee-making, to name a few.

It is clear from certain Scriptures that --slave or free-- believers serve the Lord Jesus in their labor. This is a comforting thought, as it was often the only thing that seemed to give any significance to alienating and sisyphean employments. While work was an originally good creation, it was subjected to frustration in man’s rebellion and God’s curse. And nonetheless, God enables some to find an amount of enjoyment in their labor.

Over the years I have found precious little enjoyment in any work outside of academics. As I consider the current global economy and labor throughout world history, I must admit that scholarship is a genuine luxury. And now, at least for another year, I am permitted to engage in this one satisfying and luxurious task full-time. Thank God.

Sunday, August 25, 2002
Different This Time

At the party I was asked what I intend to do differently this time in college. I confessed to having a list. In many ways I'm in an advantageous position: returning to college with a bit more experience and maturity than when I entered the first time. So I count on making the most of this opportunity. Now, some things on my list are trivial (e.g. use fitness facilities) and others are more significant (e.g. modify my activism m.o.). Above all, the one thing I intend to do differently this time, whatever else I may do, is graduate.

I know there is an amount of justified skepticism among my friends. I'm not known for being an over-achiever or a march-to-the-beat sort of guy. I could really screw this up, and that would be sadder than sad. And no one, including my benefactor, would be sadder than me. I have a healthy fear of the consequences of irresponsibility here. So with the firm determination of all my religious zeal, I resolve to be a diligent student and graduate.

Ultimately speaking, the Almighty Himself --in "almost extraordinary" providence-- is sending me back to school. In that regard, I will "work out my graduation" with fear and trembling, relying on His enabling grace with perpetual and immense gratitude.

Friday, August 23, 2002

Tonight there is a birthday party for one of my housemates and a goodbye party for me. Several friends are coming in from out of town. In a week I'll be leaving for Redeemer Univeristy College to finish my undergrad degree in philosophy. That's the plan, D.V. On this site you will find posts on my progress.