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The Flip Side of Memory

By Tim Butler | Posted at 12:30 AM

Remembering spring '05 is a mixed blessing over these past spring like days. On the one hand, it was one of the most pleasant springs ever, on the other hand, it leaves me missing those things that were then and likely will never be again.

I need to write about that somehow, perhaps as I did related events in my “Nameless” series from the previous fall. In some ways, the spring portion of the 2005 semester seems to be the time to beat for me — everything seemed so perfect. But, that is a story for another day.

ON ANOTHER NOTE, I'm not quite sure what to say about tonight's primary. I'm happy to see Clinton winning over Obama, but I'd rather have seen Paul, Huckabee or Romney triumph over McCain. Still, I'll take any of those four over Giuliani, so all is not lost.

Reminds Me of Spring

By Tim Butler | Posted at 12:20 AM

It has been around seventy degrees the last two days, which makes me (unsurprisingly) think of spring. Particularly, it makes me think of spring 2005, perhaps the finest spring in recent memory for me. The weather and memories made me feel light and joyful, perhaps especially when combined with the fact that I finished my TA grading duties for the fall semester exams on Saturday evening.

Now a spring thunderstorm has set in. Pleasant little moments…

An Elegy to the Year Now Passing

By Tim Butler | Posted at 8:55 PM

A single porch light glows across the night scene from my back window. The wind is blowing gently, but persuasively. A certain sadness seems entwined in this, and yet the warm glow of the Christmas lights that twinkle about me inside pulls me from waxing on too much about the cold I only see, and am not left to survive in this night. Such is 2007 as it bids us farewell.

Back when I was primarily a technology writer, my end of the year articles typically were highly optimistic treatises talking up the glories of the segment of the industry I wrote about. There are always plenty of good events that happen in a year for an industry, and everyone likes a feel good story to sum up a year. And yet one year not too long ago, the whole idea seemed too shallow as my father lay in a hospital bed with various heart problems and my grandmother was slowly being ravaged by the cruel foe that is Alzheimer's. So I dropped the traditional article; and let it slide by as if it never happened. It has not from my pen since.

Read my full column at OFB

Yearning for Eden

By Tim Butler | Posted at 1:49 AM

Bittersweet is such a truthful word. This week was a reminder in several ways of bittersweetness. A reminder of saying too much and saying too little. Of words misunderstood. Of memories of friends no longer heard from, and loved ones who passed away. It seems like there are a lot of memories of loss that surround the few weeks on either side of Christmas, and even those separated further from the date are all the more fresh at this time.

I think one of the best things I got out of Covenant Theology this fall was a point Dr. Collins drove home numerous times over the course of the semester. I'm familiar enough with the details of the Garden of Eden, but I don't think I ever internalized them — understood them — until this fall. He made it clear that at least part of the object of the story is to show us what we yearn for, what we were made for, what should be. What was. I guess I moved over the text too fast in the past.

Our future hope in Christ is not a hope for a new creation, so much as it is a hope for a restoration. The pain that exists is a yearning for something very specific. We are yearning for Eden. We groan for Eden. In Eden hope for restoration would not be necessary, because nothing would be broken, disconnected, alienated, dissolved, regretted.

Perhaps it is appropriate in preparation for celebrating our Savior's birth that past pain comes to the surface and even new pain springs forth. We yearn for Eden. He that restores us, came so that our yearnings would not be for naught.

For now, though, I yearn for Eden.

Remember Me?

By Tim Butler | Posted at 4:23 PM

So, I only posted once during the whole month of November. Wow. I'm not sure I've been that light on posting since I really got going on this blog five or so years ago. This semester has been really hard for blogging. Part of it is workload — I've found the amount of work relatively intense with some deadline looming just ahead even more so than last semester (or during my time at Lindenwood). But, I think the hardest part of all has been the fact that I've been in class almost constantly since January. With Summer Greek in Exegesis, there was little time for a break and that left me tired going into this semester. If one goes into a semester tired, well, that doesn't bode well for feeling energetic at the end.

And so it is. I'm more ready for a break then I have ever been before. I really love being at Covenant, and love my classes. But I need a break really badly. I find I can't focus my energy into big bursts of productivity like I normally might at the end of the semester, so it is more of a struggle than usual to get done. Fortunately, I am on the home stretch.

What's done:
  • Prep and Del (1st semester of homiletics) “late term exam.” This was a comprehensive exam given two weeks ago. There isn't a final, so this was essentially the final exam.
  • Pastoral and General Epistles exegesis paper. A 10 1/2 page paper on Hebrews 6:4-12 entitled “A Thorn in the Side of Perseverance?”
  • My Covenant Theology hermeneutics paper, which was essentially like an exegesis paper minus the interaction with the original language. I did mine on Genesis 50:15-26 and its interactions with the problem of evil.
  • The final Pastoral and General Epistles content exam, on the Book of Revelation and Michaels's IVP commentary on Revelation.
What's Left:
  • Presbyterian History Project: I'm writing a play that should be approximately two hours in performance length on the interactions between David Cardinal Beaton and Protestant Reformer George Wishart. I still have several scenes to go and a number of revisions on existing scenes.
  • Pastoral and General Epistles Exegetical Notebook, which has a collection of Greek passages to translate. I've finished a preliminary translation of 11 of the 14 passages, but I still need to add more exegetical questions and usage notes.
  • Covenant Theology Oral Examination.
  • Prep and Del Group Sermon Project. My group of six members will turn in a complete manuscript, but will not present it.

All of that will be in by December 14, if not earlier. Here's hoping I survive! :-)

Don't Get Too Excited, I'm Still Here

By Tim Butler | Posted at 11:35 PM

The last few weeks have been hectic. I'm actually moving in slow motion because I've been running out of steam (a bit too early!), but I've had a lot of projects to work on, and more are on the way. I turned in my exegesis paper on the Hebrews 6 warning passage to my esteemed peer reviewers the other day. Then, I peer reviewed two other exegesis papers and survived my first (and, for this semester, only) comprehensive homiletics exam. Now I only have two more major papers to work on, one meditation and one group sermon to complete, two passages to memorize and one major oral examination to prepare for.

Not too much. ;-)

At any rate, this may be the longest gap in posting on asisiad I've had in two or three years, so I figured I should say something.

Later Dinner

By Tim Butler | Posted at 11:06 PM

So last night I was busy with my two projects for the final week of Greek in Exegesis and I didn't get around to dinner until about 8:00 p.m. As I sat at the table eating dinner and trying to think of something other than Greek, it dawned on me it almost felt like winter, despite being 85 degrees outside. It wasn't the temperature, though, you see, but the darkness. It's getting darker earlier again, and at 8:00 it had the certain look to the outdoors that appears closer to my usual 5:00 or 6:00 dinner time in the winter.

It's funny how a little light can make one feel so different!

Running on Empty, But Still Going

By Tim Butler | Posted at 12:14 AM

I feel beat. After being in a fairly intense Greek class for over two months, preceeded by a three week vacation, preceeded by a full academic year of classes, I am tired. I'd like a break, but the next real break is in December. I am looking forward to the fall semester in as much as it will provide some academic variety again. Don't get me wrong, I've learned some great stuff in the Greek classes, and while Greek is still daunting, I can note a sense of feeling more comfortable with the language thanks to these classes, but I'm looking forward to spending some time on systematic theology (Covenant Theology I) and historical theology (Presbyterian History). It's just nice when my mind is feeling burnt out with many miles to go before I sleep, that I can at least change gears. That is only made better by the fact that those two fields are really “my” loves in the theological world.

Nevertheless, I cannot complain about this week, there have been good things mixed in with the work. The hot weather has the pool water warm, and I've taken some breaks to go swimming. And as a special, unexpected bonus, a non-descript box arrived from Roxio on Monday. I tried to figure out what it could be while I completed some work, and I remembered that I had entered an iPhone launch day contest at Roxio's site. The contest required one to send in a picture of oneself standing in line for an iPhone; the first 25 entries would receive a free copy of Roxio Crunch and there would be a grand prize winner of a fifth generation (a.k.a. video) iPod. I decided that the box must contain a boxed copy of Crunch. Surely, it couldn't be, could it? Well, actually it could. When I opened it, I found a black, 30 GB fifth generation iPod inside, with its sealed packaging carefully bubblewrapped. I must admit I was so sure it couldn't be that it took awhile for me to realize I had won. I'm listening to it right now. It sounds much the same as my 20 GB fourth generation iPod, but its fun playing around with the bright color screen, and the larger drive that supports photo syncing is a nice bonus.

Surely a week that includes winning a grand prize is a good week!

Deja Vu

By Tim Butler | Posted at 1:08 AM

I'm driving home last night from class, listening to a familar song during the mild summer evening. A slight mist is in the air and the streetlights shine with clear beams to the ground. The song hits a familar yet somehow distant note — apparently it has been longer than I thought since I heard this song — and suddenly a particular day from October 2004 comes vividly to mind. I was coming home on a damp, mild autumn evening as the street lights shone down. Real, it is almost real. And with it, a familiar ache from that time, and, again, a different one almost wishing it was that time.

How time flies. Too slowly when the mysteries of upcoming days are yet to be unmasked, but too fast in retrospect of the days already revealed.


By Tim Butler | Posted at 11:53 PM

Some times I wish I'd be a bit more daring; potentially interesting things get lost in the midst of over thinking them. Tonight was one of those nights. Of course being tired and having a headache didn't help, but I can't blame it all on that… :-)

Interestingly, that fits a line from Lee Ann Womack's song, “I Hope You Dance,” which I heard played tonight: “Never settle for the path of least resistance.” Yes, that is indeed tempting to do.

I hope you never fear those mountains in the distance
Never settle for the path of least resistance
Living might mean taking chances
But they're worth taking
Lovin' might be a mistake
But it's worth making
Don't let some hell bent heart
Leave you bitter
When you come close to selling out
Give the heavens above
More than just a passing glance And when you get the choice to sit it out or dance
I hope you dance
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