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To Teach Again

By Timothy R Butler | Posted at 8:29 PM

One loss I have felt acutely since “the Conflict” at the old church has been teaching Sunday School. From September 2007 until March 2009 I taught the church's senior high class, then from April 2009 until the July 2009 I was tasked with trying to launch a college and young adult Sunday School class. I loved interacting with the class and trying to find unique ways to present topics that are often viewed as dry. For most of that time I also was able to create my own curriculum, a task I enjoyed greatly. Whether I made it interesting is a question I would have to defer to others, but with my odd mind I am pretty certain the classes were at least different.

I loved learning with and from the class as we explored the goodness of God's covenantal story. I enjoyed getting to know those in the classes and they taught me a lot about teaching and about the subjects we were discussing. They also often reminded me how much more I have to learn. For a portion of that time I was able to ask a dear friend (and partner in crime on various projects over the years) to be a co-teacher and our collaborative process added greatly to the memorable elements of the “project.”

A few months ago, I was talking to one of my professors from college who has encouraged me in my pursuit of a teaching post. “It's a charmed life,” he said, as he went on to reiterate how it never grows old to spend time sharing the wonderful subjects he teaches with new students each semester and to, in essence, get to spend life learning along with them. The taste I have had in a less formal setting really helps me to appreciate his point.

Teaching taught me how much my calling is tied to teaching. I already believed that I was headed for a teaching form of ministry, but the time spent doing the deed was far more rewarding than I ever expected. The cancelation of the class — support had slowly been taken away as the conflict intensified — and the subsequent yearning I felt to teach again has confirmed this all the more for me.

Today, I was blessed with the opportunity to sub for one of my fellow seminarians at my new church in his adult Sunday School class. I felt rusty and I was more than a little nervous at my first attempt at teaching at the new church, but all the same it was delightful to be able to dig into a subject (the Sermon on the Mount), prepare a lesson and get to discuss it with folks.

Thinking about how thankful I was for the class, I also reflected more generally. I looked around the church as it filled and thought about all of the people I have had the chance to get to know in the past six months here. I could not help but think how gracious God is in his providence.

1500: Reflections on Time

By Timothy R Butler | Posted at 4:55 PM

This is post 1,500 here on asisaid. In another month, asisaid will turn eight years old, indicating I have spent 30.4% of my life blogging. Year wise, that is — I have not spent thirty percent of my life entering blog entires! While I may not be the most prolific blogger, somehow 1,500 posts and eight years feels like it indicates I am one in the blogosphere for the long haul.

This seems like a good segue into a subject I have been thinking about: the progression of time and the subjective “feel” of time's wing chariot flapping forward. It must be something to do with the experiencing of longer and longer periods of time that slowly makes the distance between one time and another seem shorter. I find it hard to believe, for example, that 2004 was six years ago already.

I was thinking back to 2004 a few weeks ago when how long ago it really was jarred me for a moment. I tried to imagine myself in 2004 thinking six years back, back to 1998. Ninety Eight, or any of the 90's for that matter, seemed exponentially farther back if I thought about something related to them in 2004 than 2004 seems now. It is almost as if some mysterious threshold occurred that year that made every year after it seem more similar to me than those in the past ever seemed.

It is not that the last six years have been monotonous to me, there have been some significant peaks and valleys in the last 72 months. In that time, I switched majors from MIS to English Literature (cementing myself as a literature guy), graduated college, started and progressed three quarters of the way through seminary, made many friends, loss touch with others, mourned the loss of family members, been forced out of a church, joined a wonderful new church, gotten published in a number of venues, switch computing architectures twice and operating system families once and a whole host of other things, good, bad and ugly. In many ways, they have been the years I have most clearly sensed God's leading and also the years I have most questioned if I am on the right track for fear of having missed a turn.

Conventional wisdom says that time moves faster as one grows older. But, why is that? I wonder if it has something to do with changes in the way one makes progress as one ages. In 1998 I likely would not have thought or been able to do everything I did in 2004. On the other hand, while I have the benefit of more years under my belt now than I did in 2004, very few things I am doing today seem like things I could not have done in 2004. Unlike the difference between 1998 and 2004, it seems to me that most of what I would approach differently if I had 2004 to do over again are the sorts of things one would do differently simply because one has seen the completion of events, not so much that I have an entirely different perspective.

If anything, the things I am doing now are things that I thought a lot about doing back in 2004 when I made the big switch and threw out the “safety” plan of MIS as a permanent career if the whole seminary thing did not happen.

I digress. As I think about it and try to reconstruct my mind as it existed in 2004 and 1998, I think my theory makes sense. It makes sense that the difference between 14 and 20 is greater than 20 and 26. If this theory is right, I wonder: in another two years, for example, will looking back eight years seem as brief as looking back six does now? That is, will the period of time that does not seem all that long ago have the same beginning point, now enveloping eight years rather than six?

That would, perhaps, explain the sensation that time not only seems to go faster as one grows older, but that it does so in an accelerated fashion.

The way we as human beings recognize the progression of time fascinates me. I do not have any grand conclusions on the subject — not yet anyway. Maybe when asisaid turns sixty eight I can offer something concrete.

End of the Year, Beginning of the New Decade

By Timothy R Butler | Posted at 10:00 PM

Well, this is it. The last post on asisaid in the first decade in which it operated. Next decade, I'm going to start off by running through some semi-autobiographical posts clearing up the last year. I have been quiet I know. My quietness has been in large part because I have been biding my time holding back on some topics I felt it was not yet appropriate to post on. But, the time has come for what I hope to be not only a cathartic, but also constructive journey.

Stay tuned.

Happy New Year's Eve. Enjoy the rest of the 2000s and see you on the other side of 2009.

First Snow

By Timothy R Butler | Posted at 1:31 AM

The first real snow of the season is now occurring. It's beautiful.

A Joyous Occasion

By Timothy R Butler | Posted at 1:14 AM

I'll go into the details sometime soon, but I just had to post a post noting that a joyous milestone has been passed today that I really think is related to where God has been leading me.

Tonight, I am thankful.

Late Night Haiku XXX

By Timothy R Butler | Posted at 12:18 AM

LXXXIV. What somber tones emit
The crickets tonight. Mourning.
Summer is dying.

LXXXV. Summer's end nears,
As the night rolls into day.
People go to, fro.

LXXXVI. People do not heed
Quiet tragedy moving forward…
'Til it comes to them.

The Only One

By Timothy R Butler | Posted at 1:15 AM
So afraid to open your eyes, hypnotized.
You know you're not the only one
Never understood this life.
And you're right, I don't deserve
But you know I'm not the only one.

We're all grieving,
Lost and bleeding.

All our lives,
We've been waiting
For someone to call our leader.
All your lies,
I'm not believing.
Heaven shine a light down on me.

Don't look down,
Don't look into the eyes of the world beneath you.
Don't look down, you'll fall down,
You'll become their sacrifice.

Right or wrong.
Can't hold onto the fear that I'm lost without you.
If I can't feel, I'm not mine,
I'm not real.

—A. Lee

There's a lot in this song — it has an almost apocalyptic edge, I think, along the lines of “Whisper,” but it also has a more direct message for “When they all come crashing down, midflight.” To what extent do problems arise when one thinks he or she is “the only one?” To what extent would the problems be solved when realizing others are just as grieved?

Journeying On

By Timothy R Butler | Posted at 11:38 PM

It's been a rough couple of weeks. It's a long story I'll save for another time, but I wanted to post something rather than completely disappear from my blog.

The basic result of the last few weeks occurrences is that I have had to rethink some things I have been doing. Sometimes it is time to move on. I don't like moving on from this or that thing that I have been doing for years, but sometimes it is the right thing to do. I had to make the decision to move on from a project I have been involved in for years this week.

I'm looking forward to focusing on new things… some of which I may be able to detail here soon.

Love at First Sight

By Timothy R Butler | Posted at 12:59 AM

My good friend and misguided political pundit Jason used a song from Brandy in his Facebook status yesterday. It was a quip about the impossibility of falling in love overnight. I got a little carried away as part of my response, so I thought I'd use it as a blog post for your concern or amusement.

Objection 1. It seems that love at first sight, or at least the close proximation thereof, is not possible. For love is too deep a thing to occur so quickly.

Objection 2. It should be noted that if the thing were not impossible, past occurrences would at least suggest it unwise.

On the contrary, the thing seems quite possible and is retold throughout literature, for example, Dante's love of Beatrice and the many cases of love (often crossed with mistaken identity) in the works of Shakespeare. These cases resonate with humanity, and only that which is “the mirror up to nature,” as Hamlet says, resonate with the soul.

I answer that the objections confuse the thing's accidents with its substance. That love is complex and deep need not be tied to a particular time frame always, even if it is frequently. Neither should its most close resemblance to its ideal form be taken to imply that it cannot occur less ideally in its material realization.

And, we may add that what wisdom is with concern to this matter is difficult to discern. If it were Romeo's fate to fall in love with Juliet, was it unwise merely because it led to their mutual demise? Or was it ultimately wise since it was in accord with fate? Perhaps Romeo would have killed himself later out of depression when Juliet was betrothed to another had he not fallen in love overnight but rather more slowly. Would there have been a net gain in happiness then? Likely not, for maybe Juliet would have secretly remained an admirer of Romeo and hence would kill herself too. In any case, unrequited love would have unnecessarily been involved then, as both Romeo and Juliet would have mistaken the views of the other, heaping further sadness upon their souls before their untimely deaths. But having already married someone else, Juliet would now lead to two broken hearts rather than one.

Moreover, though the ideal form may take time to develop, the ideal form is not actually achieved even over long periods of time for, as it is written, a curse exists upon love (Gen. 3.16). Therefore, if one only considers romantic love by its ideal form, then it does not exist in the present human condition. But even the objector does not accept this premise, which is indeed flawed.

Reply to Objection 1. As we have seen, this is based upon a confusion of form with its material realization.

Reply to Objection 2. Likewise it has been shown that the wisdom of the occurence is none too easily judged. To assume the accident of unwise decision is the essence of love at first sight is a matter of confusion. It may be proverbially true, but should be taken as something to which possible exceptions can occur.

LIVE from Shelbyville

By Timothy R Butler | Posted at 11:34 PM

Well, I do not usually blog when out of town, but for grins here I am. I am in rural Indiana, south of Indianapolis for my grandpa's 89th birthday. It was a tough schedule given what I need to accomplish this week while on “break,” but it was nice to share the day with him (sadly, my last living grandparent).

Tomorrow I head home and back to the grind. Hope all are doing well.

(This message courtesy of the wonders of AT&T 2.5G EDGE service on my iPhone in the middle of farmland… Ironically with a better signal than I get at my house since AT&T messed up my coverage.)

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