Monday, December 8, 2008

A Christmas Visitation!

Well, I was studying, and found myself staring at the roof. And no sooner did I do that, than I saw a fantastic vision! Yes, right here in Regent College, we have had a miraculous appearance in the water damage in some roof tiles! It's true! In fact, as soon as I saw it, I flipped my computer around and took a picture...

Can you see him there, in the top left corner? I admit that he does look like he's had a bit of a fight, and has a nice bruiser growing right on top, but otherwise, it is a pretty impressive resemblance.

But resemblance of who?

I'm going to post a couple of ideas, and you need to help. Either vote for one of my options, or post your own! And if you are really enthusiastic, send some friends over to vote too!

Choice 1: The beatific vision of Martin Luther
Martin Luther once saw the devil. So he threw his inkpot at him. (What would you do?). The inkpot broke against the wall and you can still see the stain to this day.
Luther was the great reformer who in 1517 nailed his 95 thesis to the church door in Wittenberg on Halloween night. He is remembered for his love of food, and especially beer. In fact, one of his mottos is "He who loves not women, wine, and song, remains a fool his whole life long". Another was "sin greatly then repent greatly". Needless to say, he'd be a great person to have around at Christmas, with his wife Katherina von Bora who was also a great brewer.

Choice 2: The reverend Saint Thomas Aquinas
Thomas was a dedicated monk. He was also a great scholastic. In fact, he single handedly brought Aristotle into the western world, and created a synthesis between Aristotelian thought and Christian doctrine that would dominate until the enlightenment (and in fact, is still with us in many ways). His family didn't want to have him be a boring monk and scholar. They wanted him to take up the family buisness. So they hired a prostitute to tempt him out, but unfortunately, Aquinas grabbed a fire brand from the open grate and drove her out. Determined guy wasn't he? So determined that he would insist on a Regent visitation in December? That is up to you to find out!

So vote now, and let me know who you think our Christmas visit is from!

Thursday, December 4, 2008


Hello, Dear Readers!

I know you may think that I have forgotten about you. It's not true. In fact, I think of you often, but just don't get around to posting very often. At the moment though, I am in the ecstatic throes of post-paper-hand-in joy. Well, that and a mixture of denial about the several papers due next week. One at a time I always say! (I usually also say "always a week early", but that fell to the wayside this semester. More like "start within a week", but that's the way it goes.)

I've been getting as much mileage as possible out of the "I'm sick" line to justify my procrastination, but since I'm not really sick anymore, I won't ask for a deadline. Suppose I should get back to work.

I'm writing a paper on a fascinating book called "The Book of Job as Sceptical Literature" by Katherine Dell. It is the best treatment of Job that I have read so far, and it makes so much sense of things by treating Job as a parody/satire in the same way that Jonah is a satire of prophetic leadership in Israel.

Well, take care!

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

There are some things...

... you should never do. Sitting down, listening to 3 hours of online Hebrew lectures is one of them. Another is to eat a whole pomegranate during those three hours. The first leads to a foggy brain and unedited blog posts. The second leads to a really sore stomach and soggy fingers. But the one advantage is that one might be tempted to gnaw a hand off during lectures from the interminable boredom, and the pomegranate provides a safe and viable alternative. It also takes enough time and effort that it keeps you busy for the whole three hours. (There are, after all 840 seeds in every pomegranate!) Actually, I feel kinda bad now for eating the whole thing. Hmmm...

My parents were in town this last week. It was great to see them here, and spend time with them. We also ate well. Really well. I probably doubled my usual food intake. Either way, I discovered some neat new places, and enjoyed my parent's company since I don't see them everyday anymore.

Sunday, November 9, 2008


I haven't blogged for a while, because, I've been procrastinating too much to consciously procrastinate by blogging. I know that probably does not make sense, but that's how it goes.

Nonetheless, in the last 40 hours or so I have been working my butt off. No, really. Other than a Thanksgiving dinner at Regent, I have spent the rest of the time working like crazy. Why? Well, deadlines on application, deadlines on assignments, and a huge standardized exam on Friday. I found out I don't know anything. Which is an issue. It turns out that the GRE exam I need for my applications tests MATH. I haven't done any math since high school. What is worse is that we can't use a calculator, so even basic things (like reducing fractions) takes me forever. With only about 2 min/per question I'm going to be in trouble. The verbal stuff will be fine, I'm sure, and the writing should be fine as well. But the math is going to kick my bum. So think of me, feverishly working away at trying to recall how to figure out how much time it will take Tom, Joe, and Shelly to paint the house if it takes Tom 2 hours by himself, Joe 6 hours, and Shelly 3 hours and a half.

Be merciful. Shoot me now.

Sunday, October 26, 2008

This Beautiful City...

Despite everything that has been going on this semester - sickness, doctor visits, lack of energy, etc. the beauty of this city is once again wooing me. We had a beautifully clear day today. The sun was shining and it was warm. After church, I was walking down Granville to the bus station, and just kept going down to Granville Island. I didn't mean to, it just happened.

So I wandered around for a bit, looking at overly-expensive pieces of handcrafted jewelry and strange sculpture art. I then found out that the Granville Island Brewery has just come out with their famous Winter Ale, but since that doesn't mix with antibiotics too well, I held off and made a vow to come back.

Then, since it was about noonish, I went looking for a fish and chips shop I'd heard about. All I knew was that it was "a shack, somewhere near Granville Island, and they sell fish caught by local fisherman, and even close on Mondays to go fish themselves". I was also informed "get there early, because they only sell what the locals caught that morning, and when they run out, the close.

I walked everywhere on the island looking for the place, and then saw that on the entirely other side of the wharf and marina there was a crowd of people in isolation. I walked over, and there it was! Not only do they serve fresh, locally supported fish, they also use dim sum bamboo containers as plates. I loved it.

Being alone, and with the crowd, I was soon asked by some nice folks if they could sit down with me. I was happy to have the company, and when we started talking it turned out they were from Edmonton, and the man is actually one of my dad's patients! Such a small world!

It is so pretty here, and fall lasts forever. I went down to the beach last night after dark, armed with my binoculars, and spent about an hour looking at the stars. You can see infinitely more stars with even the least magnification. And down on the beach, it is nice and dark, but busy enough not to be scary at night.

I can't believe where I am living. The last thing I'd like to do is get a membership to the local UBC sailing club. I've never sailed before, but as I now live only 3-4 blocks from the boat sheds, it seems silly not to. Well, except for the money and the time. It won't do to waste many thousands of dollars on tuition because I'm spending hundreds on sailing. Concentrate Beth, concentrate!

Last, but not least, I took a left brain/right brain test the other day (I'm 66% left brained). It had several great lines in the review, but these were my favorites:

"Preferentially you learn by listening and maintaining significant internal dialogues with yourself. " Yup, I talk to myself. Thanks. Just what I needed to know. I already walk down the street and talk to myself without noticing it. Thanks for the justification.

"For the most part, you will be considered objective without being cold and goal-oriented while retaining the capacity to listen to others." Well, that's nice. At least I won't be considered cold. Does that just mean I can act well?

"To the extent that you are even implicitly aware of your hemispheric dominance and sensory style, you will feel most comfortable in those arenas which emphasize verbal skills and logic. Teaching, law, and science are those that stand out among the professions, along with technical sales and management." This definitely justifies my lack of productivity in the real world. I make nothing but words. It's been bugging me lately, because I am surrounded by all these people who are talented at everything. Oh well, blame it on the brain!

Saturday, October 11, 2008

The difference between Canada and America...

Ok, so I didn't want to post on politics, but I just couldn't help it.
I've just watched McCain defending Obama at his own rally, saying he was a good, family man who is not to be feared. He goes on to defend Obama's past, and says he'd make a decent president.

This is at his own rally.

Then we have Canadian politics. I recently watched the leaders debate, where it was a 4-on-1 for two hours. My favorite line was when Jack Layton was talking about the economy and Stephen Harper's non-action, and said "Either you don't care, or you are incompetent. Which is it?" Ouch! Hard hitting Canadian action! What happened to the "nice" Canadians? I'm still waiting for one of them to take off their skates and go for Harper's neck.

In other news, we had Walter Brueggemann in at Regent for the annual Laing lectures. He was absolutely fabulous. Edgy, hard hitting, imaginative. His first lecture was amazing. Written 4-5 weeks ago, it was about Pharoah's politics of debt slavery, and how to move from the fear that underscores that system into the neighbourliness and abundance of God's economy. It could not have been more appropriate, and sounded like it had been written Thursday afternoon, instead of before the crash. Really amazing. My favorite line "can I say this here?... Why bust your ass for the empire?"


Tuesday, September 30, 2008

I'm positive! Again! Except not like last time...

So I realize I was whinging a lot the last post. But it turns out I have mono. So at least it was partially justified. Strep and mono? What kind of luck do I have? None at all it seems... that, or God is mocking me again. Mockery is one of my love languages, so I wouldn't mind if He was, after all, I certainly see the humour in the situation - I just wish it didn't interfere quite so much with my studying ability. That's really a bummer.

So, if you remember, do lift up a prayer or two. I'd certainly appreciate it! Otherwise, keep on rocking in the free world!

In other news, Walter Bruggeman of biblical theology fame is coming to Regent in about a week. I am unbelievably excited. He's talking about the Exodus and joyous celebration or something. At any rate, it should be more understandable than last year's on love by Nicholas Wolterstorff. Not that W. was bad, just incomprehensibly philosophical, with all that that entails.

Friday, September 26, 2008

Doctor! Doctor!

Well, faithful reader, I've been sick. I don't think I mentioned this before, because it is kinda boring to hear people whinge about health. But today was rather exciting.

I went for a check up because since the last time I went to the Dr. here in Van in my first week, I haven't gotten better. That time, I was diagnosed with Strep C, which they don't treat, so I was sent home. Fair enough, right? But the main problem - the fevers - have not gone away, and I've added quite a nice cough to it. You know the type - you start coughing, double up in a ball, and emerge 20 seconds later with your eyes watering like crazy and everybody in the room inching away from you.

Well this morning, I had an appointment. I though 8:15am would be a good time because the clinic would not be busy - nor would any of the labs. Good thing. If you count every test I've ever had in my whole life, I think I've doubled them today. Chest X-Ray, ECG, urine, blood... I just kept running around the hospital to different units. And even more fun is that the things that came back right away - x-ray, ECG, and white blood count - were perfectly normal. So, now I get to talk to the infectious disease specialist. Woohoo mystery disease!

So, if you think of me, please send up a little prayer.

Sunday, September 21, 2008

Regent Retreat!

Hey fine folks!

Well, I just got back from the Regent Retreat, which was super duper, but pretty crazy too. I've had very little sleep and lots of long talks, so this may not be coherent.

We went to Warm Beach Camp, which is neither warm nor a beach. We also had to cross the border, which meant that 200 km took over 4 hours (and that was quick, since we went to an out-of-the-way border crossing... some waited 4 hours just in line). And then it poured rain all weekend until the drive home. Despite these drawbacks, it was a great weekend.

Especially fun were the talent show and the ceilidh dancing (taught by real Scots!). The talent show had everything from a professor dance-off to poetry recitals, from men in tights (literally) to a michael jackson's "Beat It!", but my favorite was the U2 cover band. One professor, one staff, and two students got together. Now, that sounds just "OK" until you realize that one of the students is OBSESSED with U2 and has pretty much all the same gear as them, including guitars, pedals, amps, etc... and knew every song off by heart. And the lead singer was absolutely hilarious - played Bono perfectly. Here is a video of the guitarist, Patrick.

Other than that, we came up with a couple new phrases. Instead of the usual "Ring by Spring, or your money back" Bible College guarantee, the new Regent phrase is "Consummate by reading break!" or, because of the wave of pregnancies, we are renaming ourselves from the "unseminary" to the "inseminary". Har har! (Also, Friday, the first day of the retreat was International Talk Like a Pirate Day! Huzzah! Grog all around!)

This morning we had my top highlight of the retreat. They have a communion service where they take time (sometimes 5 minutes or more) to pray over each person individually as they recieve communion. With over 400 people at the retreat, and about 20 stations, this can take quite a while but it is really worth it. I ended up at Polly and Phil Long's station (also known as my Greek and Hebrew teachers from Tennessee!). It was really a neat time. If you have a church where you can do something like that, I'd certainly suggest trying it.

Otherwise, I had a whole bunch of really great talks. And I finally met Rick Watts properly - I'm pretty sure he'll remember me. I think we ended up at 3 meals sitting beside each other. And the last conversation we had was great, covering my absolute favorite topic of the moment - evolution! Lots of fun.

Well, take care folks! Until next time!

Friday, September 12, 2008

Reflections on Gardens

As I sit looking down on my japanese garden, I'm studying about the cosmic fall and the garden of Eden. I've been trying to convince some people at the American Scientific Affiliation that the Garden of Eden really was a paradise. Of course, the Septuagint uses the word paradieson to describe the garden, so the case is an easy one to make.

Now, the one thing I am discovering about my garden here is the inordinate amount of spiders. There are hundreds of massively large spiders, all sitting in the middle of their geometrically perfect sails of silk. The sway back and forth in the breeze, glistening in the sunlight. I hate spiders. They keep making these small wonders of engineering right across my walking path, and especially at night, it creeps me out to get a full web in the face. This garden is a mini paradise - a centre of calm and serenity in the midst of a busy city. But if gardens mean spiders, I'll have to rethink my estimation of Eden.

Thursday, September 11, 2008

I'm positive!

... positive with Strep Throat that is...

I just got my test results back today. And even better, they are not going to treat me! Why? I'm not bad enough. Of course, the fact that I live with a 95 year old lady, whose mother actually died of Strep throat, doesn't seem to matter. Nope, no penicillin for you!

I'm a little annoyed. Even more annoyed because they had the results in yesterday and didn't bother to look at them until I harassed them today - even though they came back positive. I could be dying dammit! (ok, well, not really. Not yet. But it is annoying all the same.) (And, while the bracketal voice of reason is speaking, I should also add that strep C is not very severe, and the side effects of antibiotics are more risky, and they never treat non-severe strep C). But still!

In other news, school is great. I love Regent just as much as ever, and Hebrew is maybe not quite as much of a suicide-thought-invoking course as I thought it would be. Of course, talk to my friend Diana and you might get a different perspective.

But either way, being back and having lots of interesting discussions is everything it should be. Except that I'm contagious with strep throat.

Thanks for reading. Here is another picture from my room. It looks better in real life, I promise. The mac cam just doens't do it justice.

Saturday, September 6, 2008

Some pictures...

Ok, I know these pictures are bad, but I had to take them from my computer because my real camera broke. This first one is part of the Japanese garden outside my study.

The second and third ones are from my bedroom. You can see the furniture made by Margaret's late husband Mack. And the last one is the view from my bedroom, although you can't see the mountains well, and that blue strip is the ocean.

Monday, September 1, 2008

Well, I'm back.

No, unlike Sam from Lord of the Rings, "I'm back" means my adventure is starting, not finishing.

I've moved in with a remarkable 95 year old woman. She is bright as a button and very witty. She also walks up the massive hill beside our house and carries her own groceries down, reads voraciously, listens to The Vinyl Cafe on CBC radio, and rarely turns on the TV. She's lived in this house since 1941.

Speaking of the house, it is incredible. As I sit now, I'm looking down into a Japanese garden (perfectly maintained, and complete with pond), and to my right I can see cruise ships gliding past in the ocean, and watch the sun setting on the top of Sycamore mountain. Fantastic. From my bedroom, I look back onto downtown. I'd post pictures, but my camera died in England and I didn't bother bringing it here, because it's not worth repairing (being the 4-5th time it has needed costly repairs). So either I'll get a camera, or use the bad one of my computer to get pictures.

The house itself is remarkable. It was built by Margaret's family, mostly by her father. It has been modified by Margaret's late husband into a bit of a Japanese style - hence the garden. He was also a furniture maker and clock enthusiast, so most of the furniture is hand made by him, and there are several remarkable clocks around, including the "guts" of one from the 17th century, sitting beside me here in the study.

The drive out here, with my friend Diana, was wonderful. She drove the whole way (even though I offered!) and we stayed with some friends of hers from eMI in Kamloops. They were wonderfully hospitable, and I ended up staying up far later than I intended to talking to our hostess Joan.

Today, I helped Diana move, and then we went for dim sum with her parents who had also driven out with some of her stuff. The night we arrived, Di and I went for sushi with two Edmonton friends who were in town for a couple of days, and then had some bubble tea afterwards. The next day we walked in the ocean and through a forest.

So, ocean, forest, sushi, dim sum, and bubble tea. Now I'm ready for term to start. Well, perhaps I still need to visit Wolf and Hound for a pint, but I'm pretty much ready for term to start. Freshman orientation is tomorrow, so I don't need to be there, but I think I'll show up for a bit - even though I should be working on my paper for the geology/paleontology course I took with Denis this summer. That can wait. Orientation only happens once a year.

Well, that's all for now. Do check back for further updates as time progresses! I'll try and do one a week or so, but who knows?

Monday, July 28, 2008

I lied, it wasn't over.

I thought it was, but it wasn't.

Sunday morning, I was trying to get to King's College Chapel for a Eucharist service, but got lost because I took a new route and there was this rather confusing traffic circle where instead of walking around, you walked underneath. Also, the typical lack of visible street signs meant I took off in the wrong direction.

Anyways, late and lost, I saw this church that seemed to have people streaming in. So in I went, and it was a nice evangelical service. Then I had a coffee after service and was hanging around looking awkward and a woman asked me who I was and what I was doing. As I told her, she started laughing. Her husband is starting a new research facility in Cambridge on science and religion, and they were having their first lecture series that night. So I was invited along. As it turned out, this was a pretty big thing. We had one of the top archeologists from the British Museum there, a guy from Germany who is working on a dig in Jerusalem, and several other experts in their fields. Everyone (including the director of the Faraday Institute with whom I'd just taken this course) had had a private invitation. Except me, I just showed up. It was fantastic!

Anyways, I've left Cambridge, I'm now back in Staines, and head home tomorrow!


Saturday, July 26, 2008

Well, it's all over folks!

Well, maybe not quite yet. I suppose there is still two more days in Cambridge and the flights home, but just about everyone has left now. I'm heading out again soon with Dean Zimmerman for lunch. He's the prof. of philosophy from Rutgers university who also likes old slasher movies, punk rock, and Dr. Horrible's musical weblog. (I'd love to link all these, but right now it is not working on this computer. I'll have to come back and change this when I get to a real computer.) Last night we went out and saw a bunch of local punk rock bands at a tiny venue. Tons of fun. There was this absolutely fantastic group called The Sills. I got their CD so if you are interested, let me know and I'll give you a listen.

In other news, one of my buddies here has been keeping a VERY good blog where he is actually talking about the lectures and the responses to them. He's a physics professor from Ireland, and a nice and interesting guy. I give you: Cormac.

He'll also soon have pictures up. My camera died, so I got a disposable for a couple of important shots, but you can see what things looked like from his perspective there. And if I download them later, I'll post my favourites.

Well, so long, dear reader! I may post again before coming back, but no guarantees.

Thursday, July 24, 2008

I love this country!!

Simon Conway Morris presented this morning. If you don't know, he worked on the Burgess Shale, which is tons of fun biologically. He gave a brilliant presentation, and I may have a new hero.

In other news, a couple of us were taking a back alley/road (they are hard to tell apart here) last night to the pub, and who should be getting in/loading into a van right in front of us but Stephen Hawking. So yes, I saw him, he crossed the street right in front of me.

Speaking of the pub, the pub we went to (The Eagle) was where Watson and Crick dreamed up the double helix form of the DNA molecule. It's also where they announced it to the world. I didn't have such a brain wave, though I tried to think of one while I was there. I did, however, have a fantastic and far too long talk with Dean Zimmerman, our philosophy expert at the conference. Definitely a cool guy, who likes Flight of the Conchords and old slasher movies.

Today is "evolution/biology" day, so I'm actually coherent on the issues being presented, which is really nice. Unfortunately, the pseudo-theology being presented was horrid, but so they've only been tag-ons to excellent scientific work presented by scientists. The theologian is up next, so let's hope it is good. I'll let you know.

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Hello Again!

Well, time is just flying here, and I hardly have the opportunity for these short updates!

Today we heard from Katherine Blundell, and Paul Shellard. Paul was talking about speculative physics models (multiverses, cosmic inflation, and the like) and unfortunately I didn't really understand a word of it, though it all sounded quite impressive. On the other hand was Katherine, who spoke entirely intelligibly, and wonderfully, and even introduced a hermeneutic for interpreting the Bible which was incredibly close to Denis', though it held itself back to mathmatic and cosmological concordism. (If that last sentence makes no sense, don't worry. I only included it for about 2 people who I know are reading this...)

Life here is delightful. It has been really nice weather - no rain, and a mix of sun and fluffy clouds. The grounds are amazing, and I have a friend (Rowan Dorin) studying over at Trinity College, who walked me all around and inside the grounds of Trinity and Kings.

I can't get over how small Cambridge is. It takes about 1/2 hour to walk across the entire place. It is, as a result, rather dense with very narrow streets and lots of grand buildings.

I haven't been punting on the river yet (little boats you take out, and push along with a long pole... think Venetian gondolas, but flat-ended), but I have been to several pubs. I've also been shamelessly asking everyone about Ph.D. supervision, but don't have any good news yet. We'll see. If nothing else, I'm making lots of great connections - getting lots of face time.

This afternoon we have John Polkinghorne and Dean Zimmerman. I can hardly think of a stranger combination for one evening, but there you go!

Sorry if this whole post is a little fragmented... I've been running primarily on caffeine and adrenaline, with far too many incredibly interesting conversations, so I'm starting to fray a little around the edges, despite the fact that we are not yet half finished!

Tuesday, July 22, 2008


Hello faithful readers!

I do apologize for being so late in updating this, I've simply been frightfully busy! Actually, I just can't get into the library, but that's another story!

I was dropped off in Cambridge on Sunday around 4pm, on the complete opposite end of town. Luckily, it only takes about 20 minutes to walk across the entire thing! I checked in, and then called my good buddy Rowan. He took me all around Trinity and Kings colleges, and down the river. It was lovely. But I soon had to hurry back because the course was starting. I ran back to St. Edmund's and came to dinner. We met in a big hall, surrounded by portraits and gardens. After dinner was a drinks reception, so I stood there sipping beer talking to people I was terrified of. In fact, at one point I was standing with two very tall, very proper Englishmen, who both sort of mumbled things like "quite" a lot. I felt like I was in that Family Guy episode where Brian goes to the New York Times and he is sitting in this room with these really incomprehensible people.
Then, I was talking to a guy named Peter Harrison, a professor at Oxford whom I'd love to work with, and this American walked up, invited Peter for "a real pint" and since I and another guy were standing there invited us as well. The American is a guy named Ed Larson, a Pulitzer Prize winner, holds two University chairs, and all sorts of things. Of course, I knew nothing of this, and probably made a total fool of myself, but there you go! It was fun.

Day one was exciting - lots of good discussion, and great topics to talk about. And the other people in the course are fantastic as well - from all over the world. This morning, for example, I was invited to early morning prayer and eucharist. I only found out at breakfast that the man who led it is a Jesuit priest from Malta.

Yup, Cambridge is fabulous.

I also went to see Darwin's papers - they have the largest collection of manuscripts in the world here - so I saw his letters, notes he'd made on his Beagle trip, and even his annotations of Paley's books. And, surprising enough, Darwin's great grandson was actually in the room, advising another group of Darwin scholars. It was really neat!

Well, the next session starts in 4 minutes, so I'd better get going! Until next time!

Saturday, July 19, 2008

London : the day of three

I woke up late this morning. I think the adrenaline is wearing off and the jet lag is setting in finally! But I was in London by noon, at the National Art Gallery (also free in this great country!), and was looking at the masters! Donatello, Raphael, Da Vinci, Michaelangelo (yup, that's all four ninja turtles!), Monet, Rubens, Rembrandt, Tintoretto and many more! Fantastic! Also, dropped by the National Portrait Museum and saw Elizabeth I, and her court, John Bunyon, Milton, the only Shakespeare portrait by someone who has actually seen him, and all sorts of other things. Then I went back to the British Museum to see an important room I'd missed (the reading room) to find it closed in light of a new exhibition that will soon begin. Then I wanted to go over to the room with my Babylonian map of the world, but it was closing just as I got there and couldn't get into the gallery. Much sadness. But all was not lost! Because, I left and caught a double decker and sat front and centre all the way back to the train station home, so my trip there was not a complete waste.

Finally, my hosts took me out for a wonderful Indian meal at a local restaurant here in Staines. Yeay Lamb curry!

Tomorrow, I'll go to church with them, and then head directly off to Cambridge, so next time you hear from me, I should be there! Adios!

Friday, July 18, 2008

London: Day 2!

So, I found out today that if you travel after 9:30am (end of peak time) they take a good 5-7 quid off your travel price. Needless to say, I slept in with happiness. Then I went in, just in time to catch the changing of the guard. Which was, as a short person, rather a disappointment. I suppose if you like looking at the back of people's heads and hearing scraps of music and being crushed by a crowd, you might like to see it. The only real redeeming part was the fact that the band inside (the one being relieved) played the starwars theme. The whole thing. It was brilliant.

After that was the Tower of London. Certainly a worthwhile trip. I think it was awesome: medieval castle, where the royal family lived for 500 years, the place where Queen Elizabeth I was imprisoned while a princess, where Anne Bolyn and her sister were executed, the royal crown jewels, and armouries!! I saw more suits of armour today than I ever have before... it was delightful. And the security guards all actually double as tour guides, and are incredibly knowledgeable about the rooms if only you stop to talk to them. I stayed until it closed and I got kicked out. I also did my mandatory "Fish and Chips" meal during this time. Yeay!

After that, I went over to Westminster Abbey to try and catch an evensong service. Unfortunately, I was too late. But I saw all these people walking in after whispering something that sounded like "high mass" to the security guard. So I did the same, and he let me right in. So I was wandering around this massive cathedral, and found the service in the main bit- right where the coronations happen. And as it turned out, it was a very small gathering with a very large choir. Probably about as many in the choir as in the congregation. And it was HIGH church. Incense and everything. (I actually talked with the guy who made the incense later, and he bases the recipe on the high priest incense in Exodus - you know the one that anyone who imitates should die? But he adds more cinnamon and nutmeg to the mix, so it comes out smelling like apple cider)
Anyways, there I am in one of the most glorious cathedrals in the world, celebrating high mass with almost everyone in the congregation in suits, and then the robes of the choir/priests, and I am in sandals, jeans, and my pink robot t-shirt taking communion. Classy. I know.
Then, as I was leaving, people seemed to be leaving in two different directions. I thought "Well, I've already been down that way, so I'll go the second way". But it didn't lead to a way out. It lead to a private reception in Poet's Corner. With wine and free food. Being a shameless student as I am, I ate... well... shamelessly. It turns out the mass I stumbled in upon is a once-a-year event put on by the "Our Lady of the Pew" society. I spent all evening there, talking to different people. And then one old Scottish guy decided to give me a tour of the Abbey. Except instead of showing me normal things, like the nave, or side chapels, he took me into the back gardens, completely ignoring all the signs that said "Residents only" or "Private" - right into where the canons live. Then another old couple (who turned out to be Catholic Charismatics) took down to Downing Street, and along the street beside Whitehall, the House of Lords and Big Ben. It was marvelous. They also said "We always have beds kicking around, and we live in London, so if you don't like commuting from Staines..." Hmm... I might just take them up on it someday!

Well, another adventurous day is past. Tomorrow? Indian curry with my hosts, and a couple of museums. But we'll see. It is after all, another day.

Good night dear reader!

Thursday, July 17, 2008

I've arrived... and such....

Well, I must say it has been a busy day.  I arrived at Heathrow around 9ish, got out by 10:30ish and was ready to explore by 11ish.  Of course, I no sooner set out for the train station than I got entirely lost.  Yup.  Had to ask some maintenance guy.  Despite my map.  Turns out the "street" I was supposed to turn off on was really more of a goat track hidden by bushes.  No, really.

Anyways, got to London, Trafalgar square, and the British museum.  They are... stunning.  Especially that last one.  I actually petered out before I even got through every room.  Of course, trying to deal with jet lag, while piling lots of facts and random things into your head is not so easy.  But here is what I remember seeing:  the great sphinx's beard, Ceasar's ring seal, a Babylonian map of the world, the Rosetta stone, mummies, coins, half the parthenon, swords, and so on.  And no sooner did I get out of the museum than another vision of greatness presented itself to me: Spamalot!  Yes, the Monty Python musical is playing here, and I already bought my Edmonton ticket.  Am I bitter? Don't ask.

Then came the Globe Theatre, Fleet street (which does have a barber shop, but underneath is a noodle shop, not a pie shop.  Asian fusion food is all the rage these days...), St. Paul's Cathedral, the old Bailey, Millenium bridge, the Golden Hind, Rev. St. James beer, the Underground, and many other adventures.

Oh, I should also mention that I'm saying in the "town" of Staines.  Yup, the same place Ali G calls home.  Word.

I also got lost down a random street and found a wall hanging that said "Mr. John and Mr. Charles Wesley preached here frequently."  Cool.

Well, more has happened, but I can't tell you all.  Also, if you are wondering why there are no pictures it is because my totally unreliable camera has proved itself one more to be... unreliable.  So, later I'll add some generic web photos of these places and some of you innovative people out there can photoshop me in!

Saturday, July 12, 2008


Well, as a request came in, I will be blogging for my Cambridge trip.

For those of you who don't know, I'm going to Cambridge for a week long course at St. Edmund's college. It is a faith/science conference put on by the Faraday Institute. The link to the course is here.

I leave on Wednesday and will update you as stuff happens!

Thursday, May 22, 2008


Since I am home for the summer, and I wrote this blog for all you peoples back here in Edmonton, I won't write again until September. See you then!

Saturday, April 5, 2008

Monty Python Realities

Hmm.. anyone heard about the "pregnant man" who is on Oprah? Yup, a guy, who was a girl and is having a baby.

Well compare these two quotes:
"I feel it's not a male or female desire to have a child. It's a human need. I'm a person and I have the right to have a biological child."


" It's every man's right to have babies if he wants them."

The problem is... one of these quotations is from the weekly news, and the other is from Monty Python's "Life of Brian". How interesting that what was mocked as a ridiculous conclusion is now a person's real moral stance... Where are we going in this hand basket?

Just cuz I like it, the context of the Monty Python is here. If you want to find out about the man who was a woman, who is now a pregnant father, just google "pregnant man".

Why are you always on about women, Stan?
I want to be one.
I want to be a woman. From now on, I want you all to call me 'Loretta'.
It's my right as a man.
Well, why do you want to be Loretta, Stan?
I want to have babies.
You want to have babies?!
It's every man's right to have babies if he wants them.
But... you can't have babies.
Don't you oppress me.
I'm not oppressing you, Stan. You haven't got a womb! Where's the foetus going to gestate?! You going to keep it in a box?!
Here! I-- I've got an idea. Suppose you agree that he can't actually have babies, not having a womb, which is nobody's fault, not even the Romans', but that he can have the right to have babies.

Thursday, March 27, 2008

On Reading and Listening

"I read the book." The words fell with a finality.
"I... Read... The... Book." I've heard this phrase used twice recently. It comes with an angry sort of confrontation. Like someone saying "look, I've performed this stupid exercise, and it is the most ridiculous thing ever". It also leaves no uncertainty as to the perfection of the interpretation of the book. Somehow, this phrase takes grace and humility and tosses both out the window. If we are discussing a book that we've all read, why state that you read it?
You read the book. But you did not listen to it. You didn't allow it to inform you, or challenge you, or even just amuse you. You read it. But you didn't let it in. You pushed it away, or ignored it, or simply let your eyes go over the pages, but the words stopped at your eyes instead of your mind.

I've determined never to use that phrase. The futile sense of meaningless accomplishment is too much for me.

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Waiting Under Bridges and other fun adventures.

Happy Easter!

Sorry I haven't posted recently. Work and life events, as well as a hesitancy to post what is not really processed have held back my hand.

Reading week last week was great. Not only was it Mel's birthday, but it was also my roommate's, and my friend Brad's. So three b-days, and three parties. By far, Mel's was the craziest, at a house in north van with a fitness pole playing a prominent part in the gatherings. (There is a video on Facebook for those of you who like that sort of thing). People running around in circles and so on.

The year is wrapping up quickly, and I'm still a little overwhelmed by the prospect of the year being almost done. I still feel like a newbie, and yet I'm applying for TA positions for next year! Ahh!

As for "waiting under bridges", we had a really interesting Easter Vigil at my church. We went under the Burrard Street bridge, and built a little fire in a pit, and sat in a circle with candles while we sang songs. It was a reflective service, one that understood the agony of Friday and waiting for the resurrection of Sunday when it has not yet come. But I thought it was so comforting to wait together. We forget that sometimes. Anyways, the bridge was neat. One of my pastors goes there regularly, and hangs out with the people who live there. She's also built a prayer labyrinth out of rocks and pebbles that she found around. I wonder how many of these spaces we completely overlook in our day to day wanderings.

It's like walking in the forest, which I posted about before. I sometimes go long periods without going in, and silently, it waits. But when I do go in, there is such peace that I wonder why I don't go more often.

Well, all that to say, I'm doing well, and thinking lots! I'll see all you peoples soon, as I'm planning to be back in E-town by May.

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

A Baby's Been Born!

The people who live upstairs have had a baby!

A little boy was born Tuesday morning, and now I can hear him crying at times. I haven't met him yet (and he still hasn't been named), but it's a neat thing to know he's up there. I spoke to the the dad today, and he is rather delighted.

I also saw Juno recently. Great movie. I highly recommend it. It reminded me of "Little Miss Sunshine", an indie movie that was heartfelt and sweet, and affirmed life in all its weird, comical, and tragic bits.

There is so much to learn, so much to experience, so much to see. I sometimes feel overwhelmed by it all. I wish I could read and watch and listen all at the same time. I think this is what reading "The Creation" by E. O. Wilson is doing to me. It's inspiring me to see the wonder in the world. And there are so many people I'd like to get to know.

I don't know if any of this is making sense. I also just finished the last paper due before reading week and the relief is palpable. That's probably why I have this sudden lust for life. Comes from finishing the eternal assignment. Of course, there are plenty more yet to do, but that's in weeks to come! Lots of time!

Well, good night good peoples!

Monday, March 3, 2008

Taste of the World

I haven't posted for a while, so I figured it was time.

We had "Taste of the World" here at Regent. It was like missionfest food and entertainment without the missions. Also, everything was actually by people authentically from the countries being represented. At the Canada booth we had TimBits, nanaimo squares, and salmon. Perfect.

Walking home, I was amazed by the difference between walking around during the day and during the night. The stars were out, and it was beautiful. And then you look around and there are cats everywhere. And skunks too, though I didn't go too closely to investigate. But there is this peaceful serenity, that you just don't see during the day. I could wander around for hours. But I also find that every time I do, I end up running into people I know who kinda look at me weird, and wonder if I'm quite well or not. Oh well.

In other news, I've been an unintentional poster girl. Last year, I went down to the National Pastor's Conference in San Diego with my buddies at Vanguard. Good times. Well, this time, they went back and found this photo!

Ironically, I know exactly when this was taken. I had sat down to read, and none other than Eugene Peterson sat down at the table next to me, and engaged in conversation with a pastor. I assume the photographer wanted pictures of him, and just coincidentally grabbed this one of me. Either way, I think I should get royalties!

Saturday, February 23, 2008

Di's visit

My long-time friend Diana came to visit this last weekend. It was great to see her. She came to check out Regent, but is still working through the process of discernment as to whether to come or not. Either way, she was exposed to some of the best that the community here offers (although she missed out on Saturday morning breakfast at the local community house, but I did tell her about it!).

I also had a delightful time embarrassing her by introducing her as my "youth leader". That was a long time ago, and we've come a long way since, but it's still true.

We also ate very well. I don't think I'll need to eat for a week or so. Beautiful.

It's been a great week. Meeting with long time friends, beautiful weather, and some very interesting reading. I should also mention (for those of you in Edmonton especially) that I think spring has arrived. Flowers are blooming, there is that sweet smell in the air, life is bursting forth everywhere...

And no. Still no man. Quit asking.


Thursday, February 21, 2008


I sometimes find that the peace here is overwhelming.

Today the sun was out, the snow-capped peaks were glistening. The air was fresh and warm. Flowers are peaking out all around the city, bringing fragrance and beauty. There is a wonderful vitality.

I spent the morning reading in the sunshine. It was glorious. Then, I had a great conversation with my Greek tutor, about life and living. The bell was then rung, calling us to mid-day prayer. Right after prayer, I had lunch in the atrium. Since it is "Offering of the Arts" week, there was live music, and a relaxed and happy atmosphere. And another life-giving conversation. It was brilliant. Two hours of class, some study, more good conversation and supper finds me here. In the library working on my exegesis paper. Beautiful.

I also watched the movie "Wit" last night. If you've never seen it, you need to. It was made for TV, and so didn't get a lot of press, but I think it is the most beautiful movie I've ever seen. We watched as part of our curriculum, but I think I'm going to get a copy. Emma Thompson has an awe-inspiring performance. And it just happened to intersect with a lot of questions I've been having about academy, scholarship, and being human. I highly recommend this film.
Warning: Bring kleenex. Lots of it. I'm not one to cry during movies, and despite my best efforts I bawled like a baby. Even after it was finished. If you thought "Million Dollar Baby" was sad, you ain't seen nothing yet.

Monday, February 11, 2008

Unbelievable Part II

It's a cold, wet day. It hasn't stopped pouring since I got up. My roommate is sick, and fled to her parents house as soon as I got up and started cooking breakfast (I didn't know she was sick at that point). So there I was, all alone for the day.

I ended up going for a walk, as is my habit, through the nearby forest. But because it is miserable, the paths were deserted also.

On my way home, I decided to stop by Safeway to grab a couple of things that we are running low on here. While I was walking there, I was complaining to Jesus (as one does...) about how alone I was feeling, and how I'd really like to see a friendly face. I had in mind a couple of people who live in the neighbourhood, and whom I've run into at Safeway before. I figured, a couple of minutes with one of these people, and I'd be good.

I got to the store, and kept my eyes open. But none of the familiar figures were there. "Figures..." I muttered to myself, and started looking in earnest for the things I needed. I was just heading to the bakery with half-formed ideas about buying lots of chocolate donuts when I passed the pharmacy. And who should be there but Kit, a long time friend, and my very first Kung Fu instructor. He was as surprised to see me as I him. We ended up talking for a couple minutes. He's just moved to the city from Hong Kong. Anyways, we made plans for a board game night, and he went back to work. It was so nice to see him.

It's funny. I wanted a quick meeting with a friendly face, and instead I got reconnected with an old friend who I had no idea lived anywhere near here. I am much more satisfied than if I had gotten what I'd asked for. Unbelievable.

Sunday, February 10, 2008


Some of the opportunities life brings you to is amazing.

A friend of mine is from South Africa. His brother came up to visit. They came over to our house for tea and scones (cooked by my amazing roommate) and today we went to church and then out for lunch. Rory and I had had several verbal battles by then, and (as is typical with me), I'd let out a couple of "I could take you!" remarks. That's when I found out that he had been Nelson Mandela's chief bodyguard. Head of his security throughout his presidency. Amazing. He told a couple of crazy stories. Of course, I couldn't back down then, but I think we both had a good laugh after that. Who knew?

Other than that, it's been an amazing week. And (even better) it is reading week this next week, so I'll catch up on all that sleep I've been missing. Slow down, relax, and get some good solid work done. The week before last was a bit of a nightmare, so this is really nice. Peace is such a valuable thing.

Also, Rory wrote a book about his time with Mandela, you can take a look at it here:

Friday, February 1, 2008

You know you're at Regent when...

You know you're at Regent when...

- the top question on your mind for the last week has been "what does it mean to be truly human?"

- you start feeling apologetic anytime you throw something out, and you start refusing bags when you buy things because of environmental concerns.

- you start wondering about the ontological reality of the image of God and the possible false dichotomy between natural and supernatural.

- you start saying "It seems to me..." whenever you're trying to make an astute theological point.

- you don't really notice regional accents any more.

- you've given up trying to imitate all the different regional accents.

Wednesday, January 30, 2008


The morning after my last post, a friend of mine e-mailed to tell me about his new born son. So, life and death. I don't think we normally see those two set against each other in such stark contrast, nor in such quick succession. But it has been sticking with me all week. One dies - sad, terrible, sorrowful, unlooked for. Another is born - joyful, wonderful, looked for in great anticipation.

God is still here. To weep with those who weep. To rejoice with those who rejoice. From ashes to ashes. From dust to dust. From life, to death, to life renewed.

" Then Job replied to the LORD :

"I know that you can do all things;
no plan of yours can be thwarted.

You asked, 'Who is this that obscures my counsel without knowledge?'
Surely I spoke of things I did not understand,
things too wonderful for me to know.

"You said, 'Listen now, and I will speak;
I will question you,
and you shall answer me.'

My ears had heard of you
but now my eyes have seen you."

Sunday, January 27, 2008


A good man has passed away.

My earliest memories of him were mostly of fright. He used to stomp around the camp, and he had this loud, intimidating voice. But through the years, you got to know and love him. Whether he was getting worked up in a preaching storm, or tirelessly rewinding up the zipline cable, it was hard not to love him.
I remember when he first got a digital camera, and ran around the camp, taking pictures of absolutely everything. He was just so delighted that if you took a bad picture, it didn't matter. Just delete it. He printed off pictures and gave them to everyone. Printing pictures off your own printer was so cheap! I still have one of the pictures he took of me riding a horse named Madeira. It's in my little photo album beside my bed.
I remember when we used to host Korean students. He would preach, and the translator wouldn't understand, and so there would be a pause as they would go back and forth and try to figure out what the other meant. It was often really funny.

I remember when he lifted me out of the water at my baptism. It was a perfect, warm, sunny day. He was smiling.

How many memories I have. He died today. A snowy road. A blizzarding sky. A vehicle not seen until too late.

Thank you for your dedicated service. Thank you for the sacrifices you made. Thank you for a life well-lived.

"And flights of angels sing thee to thy rest"

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Creative Hippy Genius


So, I've said before that there is some creative genius around this school. Case in point...

The "Creation Care" Community group (many of the groups have themes, including social justice, missions, environmentalism, etc.), dumpster dived for a week and put together this display in our atrium. The entire tree is made from recovered and rinsed cups from the Regent trash cans.

The posters say "The cups used to create this "tree" represent approximately one weeks worth of non-recyclable cups disposed of at Regent College alone", "Raise your awareness" and "Drink Responsibly: Bring a Travel mug..."

I was in fact really glad that I had brought a travel mug this morning, as it would have been a little embarrassing on this day to order the cup. Although it did make me reflect on the fact that often my own laziness in rinsing out my morning coffee cup causes me to order an afternoon one with a new cup. I'll have to do something about that.

Either way, I liked the creativity of this approach. If more environmentalist propaganda was of this nature, I'd probably be more inclined to pay attention. I was impressed.

On that note, I think I'm going to join the chapel choir. I feel like such a consumer here. It would be nice to contribute.

Friday, January 18, 2008

I remember!

I remember the thing I was going to tell you all! (If you are confused, refer to my last post...)

On Wednesday night we watched the movie "Luther" as an optional component of our Christian Thought and Culture course. At the end of the night, our librarian showed up with a 1595 copy of a Catholic refutation of Luther's works. Not being so quick, he commented on Luther's works, and then actually included large chapters of Luther's works. So a book that was supposed to be a refutation, actually contained primarily Luther's works.

We were also allowed to handle the book if we put on gloves, which was neat. And the librarian fully agreed with me (in opposition to several heathens present) that writing in/underlining books is worse than sacrilege.

Thursday, January 17, 2008

Kind Actions

You know, it doesn't take much to help the world feel a little safer.

For example tonight, I got on the bus and a rather mentally disturbed young man started aggressively talking to me while I read my book. The bus driver noticed and pulled over, and went to quite some lengths to get the young man off the bus.
It was just a little thing, but it helped me feel better about taking the bus, and about the Vancouver transit system. It wasn't a big problem, I was on the bus. But it made me feel better about the situation nonetheless.

Thanks Mr. Bus Driver.

There was something else I was planning to tell all you people out in blog land. I was thinking in the afternoon "I gotta blog this", but now I've forgotten the content entirely, and only remember my reminder. How silly is that? Oh well.
More anecdotes to come, hopefully some silly ones (as I know the one I forgot was!)

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

Back in Vancouver...

Well, I'm back. The new semester is starting and I have a rather strange mix of reactions to it. Partially, I'm excited. Partially, I'm scared. Either way, it is nice to have a regular routine again.

Regent is really good for me. Those of you who know me, will chuckle at this next story.

I got the crap beat out of me this morning in the kindest and most compassionate way. I had gone to talk to one of my professors about one of my papers, because she welcomes the conversation that they begin. It was not about marks, but it was an exploration of why a certain mark was given. This is the first time I've ever walked into an office thinking I'd gotten a relatively low mark, and walked out thinking it was extraordinarily generous. Within the first three minutes I had my tail between my legs and was inwardly groaning in agony at the glaring anachronisms and blatant presuppositions. And what nearly made it worse was that the prof was so nice about it! Saying things like "I was rooting for you" and "all the components of a good paper were there, you simply failed to see your presuppositions" (like the fact that the entire argument was anachronistic!"), or even "you know, I think you just need more practice at this particular kind of paper". All true. All painfully, ego-bustingly true. Yup, I've been humbled quite strongly, especially because I agreed with every thing that was pointed out, and realize just how much grace was extended.

In other news, family dinner at the Phillips' is only once a month now, which means I'll have remarkably less good nutrition, but also far less calories in my diet. That is, after all, my unabashed gluttony fest of the week.

My courses are looking good and challenging, but I'll write about them another time. It's now time for bed.