Human Working Time

In dentistry, there’s a term for materials called “working time.” We us a lot of materials which start out as a pliable liquid or paste, but after a few minutes set into a less movable solid. If you’ve ever had to get an impression of your teeth for braces or a crown, you’ve experienced working time firsthand. If you’ve ever used putty to fill a hole in drywall, likewise.

For us, working time represents  how long we have to make changes, to manipulate and troubleshoot, pack and shave, add and subtract, before the given material starts to set and can no longer be bent without breaking.

Lately, I have been thinking about the human equivalent to this pliable, workable state.

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Psalm 74: Swinging Axes in a Forest of Trees

Ever since Ferguson happened years ago, I’ve posted a few times on this blog and my facebook about Black Lives Matter and racial injustice, but of the posts I’ve left up, there are a half dozen I’ve deleted.

Mostly, this is because I feel cynical about whether posting on facebook or social media does any good, because when I read the comments that some of my white and Asian-American friends post about these issues, it’s clear that they’re cuccooned within an entirely different internet of their own choosing that insulates them from these issues anyway. I feel in these moments that speaking out about racism is like preaching to the Woke choir, while those who really need to hear it just change the channel. Continue reading

The most terrifying part of Gone Girl is your (plural) self.

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Even as someone who tends to skip to the last page, I have to precede with a big fat spoiler warning and tell you that you will ruin a huge element of the movie for yourself if you read this without watching it.

That said.

Last night I saw Gone Girl with my fierce, flawless, fast-talking girlfriends.

2/6 of us had read the book before, and knew what was coming the entire time. 6/6 of us left the movie shaken.

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The Sixth Love Language

…and the most potent of all. For those unfamiliar, The Five Love Languages began as a book by Gary Chapman, based around the idea that a big part of communicating love in our relationships means doing so in one another’s respective “languages,” whether physical touch, acts of service, quality time, words of affirmation, or gifts.

At least, those are the five he names. Continue reading

On Love and Liking

From our church bulletin today.

(It’s amazing to me how voraciously and omniverously our pastors read, to be able to dig up these random sources that most of us have never heard of, and be able to quote them for whatever topic is being addressed in a particular week)

“The simple fact of the matter is that trying to be perfectly likable is incompatible with loving relationships. Sooner or later, for example, you’re going to find yourself in a hideous screaming fight, and you’ll hear coming out of your mouth things that you yourself don’t like at all, things that shatter your self image as a fair, kind, cool, attractive, in control, funny, likable person.

Something realer than likability has come out in you, and suddenly you’re having an actual life. Suddenly there’s a real choice to be made: Do I love this person? And for the other person: Does this person love me?

There is no such thing as a person whose real self you like every particle of. This is why a world of liking is ultimately a lie. But there is such a thing as a person whose real self you love every particle of.”

Jonathan Franzen, paragraphs and emphasis added

And as a corollary to that, albeit we appreciate it for mere snatches on this side of heaven, there is such a thing as every particle of your real self being loved. This is very uncomfortable in our meritocratic culture, but this is the love of Christ.

Also said, and slightly paraphrased from today’s sermon: God bears all of you, God hopes in you [even when you give him every reason not to], God believes the best for you, God endures all of you. God never fails.

Five Steps from Must to Multiethnicity

Trying to diversify the church can be an overwhelming and abstract goal. Where to start on such a potentially charged topic, and how to move forward? Even after reading pieces like Ms. Holmes’ excellent essay last month (Why Multiculturalism is a Must for the Church, Relevant Magazine), it’s still easy for us to happen into apathy and settle into status quo.
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