1. January is National Mentoring Month. Have you ever had a mentor? Been a mentor? How would you rate the experience?
Academia is basically filled with mentoring relationships --- some official, some unofficial. Even the para-church organization I'm affiliated with (InterVarsity Christian Fellowship), which operates inside academia, is filled with mentoring relationships.
Rating those experiences? The best of times, the worst of times. Sometimes the person mentoring you provides you with great counsel; sometimes, not so much. On the whole, though, I've gained far more than I've lost from my mentors.
2. What current trend makes no sense to you?
It's been hard for me to figure out how to answer this ... because there are people who read my social media postings and then get mad at me behind my back.
But I'll do it anyways.
In 2011, only 30% of white Evangelical Christians believed that an elected official who committed an immoral act in their personal life could still behave ethically and fulfill their duties in their public and professional life.
1. It's that time of year again...time for Lake Superior University to present a list of words (or phrases) they'd like to see banished (for over-use, mis-use, or genera uselessness) in 2018. You can read more about the decision making process and word meaning here, but this year's top vote getters are-
unpack, dish (as in dish out the latest rumor), pre-owned, onboarding/offboarding, nothingburger, let that sink in, let me ask you this, impactful, Cofefe, drill down, fake news, hot water heater (hot water doesn't need to be heated), and gig economy
Which of these words/phrases would you most like to see banished from everyday speech and why? Is there a word not on the list you'd like to add?
I'm terribly biased on this one.
The word I'd like to see banished is "dish" ... not because of the use of the word itself, but because of what it represents. Gossip hurts people. More to the point: gossip hurt me in the last year. I do my best not to engage in it myself, but our culture seems to thrive on it.
We'd be so much better off as a culture if we'd find a way to talk people instead of talking people.
2. What's something you need to get rid of in the new year?
The usual. About 40 pounds. Stress. Clutter. Guilt.
1. Where have you found unexpected magic or delight this holiday season?
As frequent readers (why you read this, anyways?) already know, December is really hard for me. Too many demands on my time and energy and spirit. Which means that, inevitably, I can't do everything I'd like to do.
One of the things that I often miss out on is putting up decorations. I remember living in a neighborhood at home where everyone would put out Christmas lights, and sometimes we'd just drive around the neighborhood looking at everyone's displays. The most I can manage these days is to put some icicle lights out on our roof ... and half the time, I can't even get those put up.
Except this year, I came home from work one day, to discover that my dear daughter and her boyfriend had climbed up on the roof and put up the icicle lights for me. I sat in the driveway and wept a bit. It was a wonderfully unexpected gift.
2. What's your favorite type of holiday gathering? Will you/have you gathered in your favorite way this month?
"I don't know why you're so sensitive. Yeah, what he said was mean, but it's words."
With the tongue we praise our Lord and Father, and with it we curse human beings, who have been made in God’s likeness. Out of the same mouth come praise and cursing. My brothers and sisters, this should not be. (James 3:9-10)
"It's locker-room talk. It doesn't mean anything."
But among you there must not be even a hint of sexual immorality, or of any kind of impurity, or of greed, because these are improper for God’s holy people. Nor should there be obscenity, foolish talk or coarse joking, which are out of place, but rather thanksgiving. (Ephesians 5:3-4)
"I don't know why you're so sensitive. It's a joke. Sheesh, stop being a killjoy and laugh once in a while."
Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen. (Ephesians 4:29)
"It's a little white lie on a Facebook meme. The larger point still holds. Why do you care so much?"
Therefore each of you must put off falsehood and speak truthfully to your neighbor, for we are all members of one body. (Ephesians 5:3-4)
1. What title would you give this current chapter of your life?
"What's Next?" (with apologies to Aaron Sorkin)
So much of what I'm doing right now is simply reacting to the next task in front of me. I wish I had more opportunity to pause and reflect. Maybe that's why I'm trying obsessively to get back into the whole blogging thing again.
2. December 6 is National Microwave Oven Day. Who knew? Besides popcorn and coffee reheats, what's the most common thing you microwave? Could you get along without a microwave?
Mostly, it's leftovers. I'm sure I could get along without it, but it'd be a whole lot more awkward.
3. If you could insert yourself into any Christmas carol and experience the lyrics in real life, which Christmas carol lyric would you choose and why?
This is an unusual carol ... but it reminds us that Christmas isn't about a baby, but a savior.
4. Describe the most beautiful drive you've ever taken.
Oh, that's hard. Partially because I'm usually the one doing the driving.
Advent is a period of expectation: waiting for the arrival of God amongst us. Waiting for God to draw near.
But God drawing near doesn't mean that we notice.
God chose to enter our world in human form. His birth was accompanied by a cosmic event, and heralded by a host of angels singing.
And you know who noticed? Practically nobody.
Sure, a bunch of shepherds tending their flocks by night. (How low do you have to be on the social ladder to not only have a job tending stinky sheep, but to have the night shift on top of it?) They came and worshiped, but that's not exactly the adulation anyone would want.
A couple of old people at the temple noticed when his parents showed up to dedicate him, but nobody pays attention to crazy old people anyways.
Months later, some professors from a foreign university showed up and asked the authorities about where this new king was, so they could offer proper worship (which they did). The official response --- after the foreigners were safely away, of course --- was to commit an act of genocide in order to protect those in power.
This is the greeting that the creator of the world received when he chose to draw near to us.
And ... knowing that would happen, he came anyways.
1. What's something blogging has taught you about yourself?
... um ... that people like to read what I write? The little bit of positive feedback I get on the stuff I write is immensely encouraging --- especially when so much else of what I write isn't getting that sort of positive reinforcement. I've had people tell me I should podcast (yes, I haven't forgotten, Tim ...), but I don't know how to do that yet. So, I keep doing this, hoping that at least the practice will help keep those parts of my brain in shape.
2. Leftovers...are you in the 'reheat and eat' camp or the 'put them in the fridge until they spoil and then toss them' camp? What's your favorite thing to have leftover? What can you not abide as a leftover?
I'm all about reheating and eating leftovers. I don't know that I have a favorite or least favorite dish as a leftover, as opposed to eating it the first time.
3. 'Me time'...your thoughts?
I wish I had it. If I had it, I wish I'd know what to do with it.
I have people telling me that I absolutely have to have it, and I get that. I get snippets of 'me time' here and there --- the geocaching streak is a part of that. But I suck at self-care.
4. When people come to you for help, what do they usually want help with?
Computers. (What a surprise!)
5. If your childhood had a smell what would it be? Tell us why.
1. Tradition...how tightly do you cling to tradition when it comes to holiday gatherings and celebrations? For instance do you always do the cooking, never eat at home, always go to grandma's, never miss the parade, always watch football, never change the menu, always eat at 2 PM, etc.? Have you ever celebrated Christmas or Thanksgiving away from hearth, home, and family? How did that feel?
Thanksgiving and Christmas are usually spent with either my parents or my in-laws. There are some traditional foods at each table.
I've never had to spend a holiday away from family. The first time that I spent a holiday with my beloved's family instead of mine was really hard. But such is one of the great passages of time.
2. Help...is it easy for you to ask for help or are you a do-it-yourselfer? How is that a good/bad thing?
It largely depends on the task. I can usually tell when I'm beyond my capabilities and will ask for help in those places. When I can do it myself, I do.
Of course, I'm also a leader in many places in my life, and being a do-it-yourselfer means that I'm not doing my job in helping to train others to do that job. Alas, doing so often takes more time and effort than simply doing it myself, which is the trap.
3. Abundance...what is there an abundance of in your kitchen?
Dirty dishes. Always.
4. Name...the smallest thing you're thankful for? the biggest?