Wednesday, August 27, 2003

I should not be posting this. It is far too late (rather early) on this last day I will spend in Fort Wayne, Indiana. I need to finish packing and get to bed so I can finish out my summer job tomorrow and have time to finish all those little things that have to be done and get to bed early so I have sufficient sleep under my belt to drive 14 hours or so to Boston Thursday. I'm packing my computer as soon as I post this.

Brief introspection to follow...

This has been a strange summer. I should feel as I leave it that it has been a tremendous blessing, to have work and a place to stay and food to eat and opportunity to grow closer to my bride-to-be. And I do...but I feel as though I have largely wasted the summer. The job I finish tomorrow is less than we had hoped to do--I will finish probably about 20 hours short of what I had planned to work. I have talked for hours with Elisabeth, but far too much of that has been pointless bickering. Instead of improving my discipline in a consistent schedule of sleep, work, study and prayer, I have gotten worse. I have become even more accustomed to living a mediocre, selfish and dissipated life.

And yet, 26 hours from now, I will get in my car to drive to Boston, starting on a road that will lead to marriage in four months and ordination in four years. If ever there was a time for me to grow up and lay aside the lifestyle I have indulged in all my life, this is it. I fear, indeed, that I have set patterns now that will haunt me in the months and years to come. I know that this need not be so--and yet that is precisely why I fear. For the fact that it still remains so bears witness to the fact that I do not actually want it to change.

That fact will only change, I know, by the gracious working of God in my heart. And for that, I must be willing. So please pray for me. This is the time, this day and this hour, for my childish ways to die.

And yes, I know...posting this instead of packing is precisely a failure to grow up. So this ends now.
Hurrah!! I now live out my bloggerly existence in both the "Cold Day in Hell" AND the "Business as Usual" categories of Adam Prizio's blog rankings. Perhaps he knows my penchant for working in spurts and wants to save himself trouble restoring my name to the Cold Day in Hell section when my posting falls off, as it probably will eventually. Or perhaps he will have more faith in me and actually remove my name from the list of the damned. I wait with bated breath...

Sunday, August 17, 2003

I just posted another installment of the Anglican/Orthodox debate on my papers blog. Peter Geromel wrote me a very long email, which I responded to as briefly as possible, addressing what I thought the key points. There are at least some very helpful links in both emails...please check them out.

This will probably be the last from me on this subject until I get to Boston and again have time to devote myself to such things as theology and other things that really matter. For the next week and a half, my life will be lost in such mundane things as medical files and sleep and packing. *sigh* Such is life. Work first, then play.

Tuesday, August 12, 2003

My good friend Konrad LaPrade now has a blog. Most excellent, to borrow a Hugger-ism. Check it out. And a thousand happy welcomes to Kons. May he blog forever in peace and prosperity, and his Jack bottle never run out.
The Orthodox/Anglican discussion continues over at my papers blog. Monday morning I received a lengthy email from another Anglican friend from Hillsdale, Peter Geromel. He goes through in detail why precisely the Anglicans claim to be fully legitimate. His email, and my response, are posted over there. Please check them out.

Sunday, August 10, 2003

It is currently 3:40 on a Sunday morning. I just finished a lengthy discussion with Daniel Silliman examining the issues dividing the Anglican Church and Orthodoxy. I have posted it on my papers site here in its entirety. There are valuable points on both sides. I am very grateful for the opportunity to finally hash out the issue with Daniel, and even more grateful simply for the opportunity to talk with him for such a long time. I had forgotten how much I had missed him and everyone else at Hillsdale.

Saturday, August 09, 2003

As a man who thinks that he thinks, and thinks fairly well, I like soapboxes from which to share my well-thought thoughts. I also like to read other people who seem to think that they think when they get up on their soapboxes. Thus, in hopes that it will bring me back to this blog more frequently and draw my small readership back, I am adding a new feature over there on the left side of your screen for those people who use the blog soapbox well, with relatively good writing, original thought or humor. Hopefully the list will not stay this short.
I ran across this link when I logged on today to check blogs, news and email. I could not help but remember Dr. Stewart's suggestion soon after September 11 that the way to fight the war on terror was to "McDonaldsize" the Palestinian people and militant Islam at large. The idea, of course, was that if the people there had the money to spend on and the access to an American-style pursuit of instant gratification, they would quickly lose interest in blowing themselves up.

My first thought was that this new, American-style shopping mall in Ramallah looked like the first step towards something like that. But the idea looked less and less like what I had imagined as I continued to read. For one thing, it's funded by Palestinian businessmen, not by Israeli or American businessmen trying to cause the Palestinians to sink into apathy. Not that it couldn't still have the same effect, but it's not what I had expected. The Palestinians here WANT peace...they don't have to be tricked into it by their appetites. Which surprised me.

Or rather, I should say, I was surprised by my surprise. I had not realized the extent to which I viewed the whole nasty situation as primarily and fundamentally the fault of the Palestinians, with the Israelis as victims, though admittedly as larger and stronger victims. But every time I passed such judgement, I did so by means of referring the situation back to the beginning...which is pretty much completely beside the point. Those who "started" it are dead perhaps both sides are victims, locked in a self-perpetuating morass of violence, death and destruction.

You will say, "So...Duuhhh. Everybody knows that." Yeah, I know. Somehow I missed the obvious. Mebbe I'll blame the media for that one.

At any rate, I think this shopping mall is a hopeful sign for the future. It may still work for ultimate peace, increasing the desire of the Palestinians for peace and prosperity as they taste some of its fruits, and simultaneously reminding the Israelis that far from all those living under the constant threat of their raids are madmen with bombs strapped inside their clothing. Perhaps those on both sides who are willing to lay aside hate will one day come together and forge a peace in which the enemies are no longer Israeli or Palestinian but those on both sides who deal in bombs and rockets and hate.

Come let us reason together...

Some political musings collected from the dust-bin of my mind over the past few months.

I made the case to a close friend several weeks ago that American military might and economical oomph are currently maintaining and protecting modern civilization worldwide in a manner not dis-similar to Rome's maintenance of ancient Hellenistic culture during the Pax Romana.

Obviously to say that Rome was the source of civilization is ridiculous--even the statement that Rome maintained ancient civilization is a bit oversimplistic. But Roman rule does seem to have been the sine qua non of civilization until they both fell fairly simultaneously in Western Europe.

In a similar manner, though America is certainly not either the source or the sole protector of modern civilization, I suspect that much of what is taken for granted as normality in civilized countries worldwide would disappear were American influence around the globe suddenly to vanish. America, I think, currently acts very much as the sine qua not much for modern civilization.

One the other hand, I recently read Orson Scott Card's latest addition to the cycle which spun off from Ender's Game--Shadow Puppets. It was a fun read while stuck in O'Hare International overnight a few days ago, but I was surprised that Card paints the world of the future with America, and indeed, all English speaking countries playing a quite insignificant role in the power plays of the day. He calls it, in fact, "an old and tired civilization." The significant players in Card's universe are China and a newly united Muslim Caliphate. And the Muslims are the good guys. (boy do I love science fiction)

So I wonder--is America rising or falling? Much as I enjoy Card's writing, America still feels fresh to me, with much life left to live. I am full of hope for the future of this nation...hope even that there might one day be a spiritual renewal such as has not been seen since the glory days of Orthodox Russia. I see no reason it couldn't happen.

But even if it doesn't, I suppose it doesn't really affect anybody today very much. Certainly not me. If anything, this summer has reminded me what sort of things do really matter. And politics is near the bottom of the list.

So thanks for humoring me in a pointless bloviation on an inconsequential subject. Feel free to come back and take a load off yourself here someday. The comments section is open.

Friday, August 08, 2003

One more the end of last semester, I posted my two largest final papers to my paper blog. I put a lot of work into those two, and posted them in hopes that some people might read and comment, positively or negatively. So, if anyone has time or inclination, do please check them out and give me some feedback. Even a fool would prefer to be told he is a fool than to be ignored. ;)

Here I am again, back from another long absence. I just had the pleasure of traveling back to Arizona for a few days with my bride-to-be to visit my family. The visit was certainly a success, despite my parents' busy schedule and lack of time to actually sit down and talk much. Perhaps it will be better next time. And at the least, we had the privilege of spending a lot of time with my various and sundry siblings.

At any rate, the visit proved once again that a highly developed sense of direction is for some reason naturally present in the Gugg genes, while woefully absent in the makeup of the lovely Elisabeth Dyess.

While home, you see, it happened that my sister Martha needed to be picked up from her ballet class. I was elected for the job, but was uncertain of the location of the ballet studio. Remembering that Elisabeth had attended a ballet class when we last visited a year and a half ago, I asked if she knew how to get there. Instead of answering, she just laughed at me for asking her, but her amusement was suddenly interrupted by a very small voice, informing us that one must simply "go into town until New Frontiers, turn right there and then turn left at the third driveway" to reach the desired location. It was my sister Abigail. Who is not quite four years old. Needless to say, Elisabeth was not a little shocked.

It is funny to note that she received equally competent directions from my sister Martha during that previous visit. Martha was, at the time, only 8. As I said, it must just be in the genes.

So, for the sake of our future children, we must simply hope that my directional genes are the dominant ones, while of course praying very hard that hers are dominant in those areas pertaining to beauty and intelligence and work ethic...actually, to everything EXCEPT sense of direction.