What I’m Into (August 2014)

Here’s something new to change things up a bit. I’m very excited to be joining in on this great setup going on via Leigh Kramer’s blog, a ‘link-up’ of different bloggers posting interesting things they’ve been up to, interested in, or enjoying, lately. I love chewing on and sharing the things I’m enjoying with others, and hearing other people’s suggestions on things to read, listen to, think about, eat, etc… I used to do this on Facebook every New Years.  It helps remind me that I’m not quite as un-interesting as I think 😉

Though, I’m also going to note that I’m one of the very few men doing this – I’m not sure what that means.

So, without further ado….


(Links for books and albums take you to Amazon.com)

Books I’ve Read

Sadly, being a nearly year-round student doesn’t leave me with much reading time, but here are a few things:

This was the text I read with my mentor at my ministry-internship placement at my home church this summer.

“Mess is the precondition of creativity.”

“But there are moments when diligent catechesis is not required and a leisurely pause before mystery is. None of us knows in detail what God is doing in another.”

Yes, a young adult novel. I have no shame. John Green deserves great respect – he may write ‘teen’ novels, but they always deal with complex and serious intellectual and emotional questions. This was no exception. I didn’t read this book, but listened to the Audible while on a road trip.

“So I walked back to my room and collapsed on the bottom bunk, thinking that if people were rain, I was drizzle and she was a hurricane.”

“The only way out of the labyrinth of suffering is to forgive.”

I’ve been wanting an excuse to read Jenkins for a while – this is the ‘classic’ of recent discussion of the explosion of global Christianity. This includes a lot of statistics and data, but also a lot of musings from Jenkins on history, irony, politics, and his thoughts on the world we are entering in which Christianity is now a predominately non-Western religion.

“We have already seen that many global South churches are quite at home with biblical notions of the supernatural, with ideas such as dreams and prophecy. Just as relevant in their eyes are that book’s core social and political themes, themes of martyrdom, oppression, and exile. In the present day, it may be that it is only in the newer churches that the Bible can be read with any authenticity and immediacy, and that the Old Christendom should listen attentively to Southern voices.”


My television-watching life is rather haphazard. I will rush through a show that’s been around a few years, and get caught up, usually just in time for it to end.

  • Revenge (ABC). Honestly, this is not an exceptionally well-written or well-acted show. But for some reason or another, it keeps me hooked. Every now and again it has some fairly poignant moments, or at least moments that seem relevant to my life (no, I’m not in the midst of enacting a massive revenge plot against rich elites). I’m in the middle of Season 3 now.

“Control is an illusion.”

That’s a lesson I need reminded of often; me the insatiable control-freak.

  • Re-watching How I Met Your Mother. Controversy over its ending notwithstanding, this was a tremendous show and never ceases to make me laugh. It’s great reliving some of it.

“Oh come on, laugh. Otherwise it just seems mean.”


I’ve been able to see a lot of movies this summer – especially getting caught up on some from the last year or two that I haven’t seen – which has been a lot of fun. I’m just going to throw out some random superlatives.

Most nostalgic: The Lego Movie

Most tears: The Fault In Our Stars

Most fun: Guardians of the Galaxy

Most provoking: Her

Most underrated: Winter’s Tale (seriously, why did everybody hate it? Sure it was kinda silly. but still.)

Most disappointing: The Amazing Spider-Man 2 (It had some great moments, but really I’m just one of the few who is perennially missing the old ones!)

Most un-Kyle-Like: The Purge 2 (not the sort of movie I’d normally go see. It was… kind of enjoyable. But.)


  • Great albums

‘Live at Benaroya Hall with the Seattle Symphony’ by Brandi Carlile (artists performing with symphonies, my weakness)

‘The Art of Celebration’ by The Rend Collective

  • Songs on repeat

‘I’m Only Joking’ by KONGOS

‘Ribs’ by Lorde

‘A Little Lost’ by Sufjan Stevens

‘Stay With Me’ by Sam Smith

‘Over You’ by Ingrid Michaelson

‘Back to the Shack’ by Weezer

‘Let’s Go’ by Icona Pop (no shame)

‘My Lighthouse’ by Rend Collective

We can talk it so good
We can make it so divine
We can talk it good
How you wish it would be all the time.
This dream isn’t feeling sweet
We’re reeling through the midnight streets
And I’ve never felt more alone
It feels so scary, getting old
-Ribs by Lorde
Left: New favorite restaurant that I wish existed closer to where I lived: Which Wich
Below: Discovering that the breakfast place everyone has been telling you to visit is run by a Greek Orthodox family? The bestIMG_2801
Right: I have rediscovered my love of building delicious sandwiches. This one features leftover medium-well t-bone steak with a bleu cheese crumble, avocado, spicy hummus, tomato, swiss cheese, on wheat.
Second Nature
(Moments with nature)
Tennessee River - downtown Chattanooga
Tennessee River – downtown Chattanooga
Beautiful clouds in North Carolina
Beautiful clouds in North Carolina











Questions I Don’t Have Answers For (But maybe you do?)

  • How do we better deal with the spiritual problems young adults face by which they sometimes leave the faith? How do we stop treating them, to use a phrase James K.A. Smith used in a recent lecture at the Horizons Conference at The Mission Chattanooga, as ‘brains on sticks’ – merely people carrying a mass of potential intellectual problems that need quick answers to insulate their faith (which hasn’t worked)?
  • How does one balance grace and discipline in spiritual growth? I’m someone who needs to feel ‘in control’ of my growth – my prayers, my spiritual disciplines, etc., and am learning that I need to be released of my insatiable need for control. I often fail to be ‘in control’ of them anyhow, and I need to embrace the humility that comes from losing control. But where does discipline play?
  • How can I legally own a penguin as a pet without resorting to dressing up gourds (below)?
Without resorting to dressing up gourds.  (From Mobilestreetlife on Flickr)

(From Mobilestreetlife on Flickr)

Things I’m Proud of

  • I picked out some really awesome shoes that I will wear until the day I die:


  • I spent a good chunk of the summer doing some translations of the Church Fathers in Greek. Here’s a piece of translating that I’m proud of (with some liberties to make it down to earth, it’s more of a paraphrase really):

“He saw the human race perishing, and he saw death enslaving them toward corruption. He saw that they were being kept under the threat of the punishment because of their corruption, and he considered it absurd that the law – which had not even yet been fulfilled – should be destroyed. He saw what was continuing to occur: that what the Maker had made was beginning to waste away. And He also saw that human wickedness was causing the decay to increase; it increased gradually, but intolerably. He saw their liability to death. And so, He had mercy on them, and had compassion on their disease, and would not tolerate the power of death, so that what the Father had done, that is – bringing humans into a state of being – would not be undermined. So He received to Himself flesh, a flesh like our very own.”

-St. Athanasius, On The Incarnation of the Word of God

Other Quotations

Saw this at a church I visited in North Carolina
Saw this at a church I visited in North Carolina

“Almighty Word of the Father, Jesus Christ, Who art perfect: never abandon me, Thy servant, for Thy great mercy’s sake, but ever abide in me. O Jesus, Good Shepherd of Thy sheep, do not deliver me to the serpent’s rebellion! Do not abandon me to Satan’s will, for the seed of corruption is within me! Instead, O Lord God the Adored, Holy King Jesus Christ, keep me while I sleep by Thy unwavering Light, Thy Holy Spirit by Whom Thou didst sanctify Thy disciples. O Lord, grant to me, Thine unworthy servant, salvation on my bed.”

-A Prayer by St. Antiochus, from Orthodox Prayers

(Thanks for reading along! I look forward to seeing how I might change/expand/alter the categories on this in future months!) 


11 thoughts on “What I’m Into (August 2014)

  1. You may finally rest assured that you are not uninteresting. Your blog is one I always read. Unless I am also uninteresting, but no, surely that is not the case.

  2. Hi! I came over from the link up. Really enjoyed reading your post, especially the music selections! Gotta check out that Brandi Carlile! And the very deep and important penguin question was awesome. 🙂

  3. So.much.GOODNESS.here! Love your linkup. I’m now listening to Brandi Carlile’s album on Spotify, I’ve added John Green’s book to my reading list, and I’ve copies at least a few quotes you included here – thank you for these words! 🙂

  4. I love that quote by Augustine! I’ve been wanting to see TFIOS for awhile now but I’m scared I will do more crying than watching. I read the book and cried enough. Would be much worse seeing it unfold.
    Everyone around me seems to be in love with Sam Smith. I might as well join the wagon. Great blog you have here! It’s pretty refreshing to see a guy blog once in awhile

    1. Ibukun, thanks for stopping by! And thanks for the encouragement. I hadn’t notice any other obsession with Sam Smith, but I do have that one song on repeat a lot these days…..

      I went with another guy friend to TFIOS and we both cried like babies. It’s a valid fear.

  5. I have read many of John Green’s books but I have yet to read Looking for Alaska. Must remedy that soon. Those are great questions- I like how you’ve added this category and wish I had a penguin-related solution for you.

    Thanks for linking up with What I’m Into! It’s great having another guy in the mix. Let’s say it’s a sign of your awesomeness.

    1. If ever you catch wind of a solution to my penguin plight, please come and find me.

      I’m so glad to be linking up! This is such a great idea, and so much fun to see what others are up to and into! Glad to have some awesomeness 🙂

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