Tomorrow's officially the last day of my first year of teaching, although I haven't taught a lick since last Thursday (gave out a short final on Romeo & Juliet Friday and showed the students movies while nerve-wrackingly trying to complete a year's worth of messy paper-work the rest of the time). Next week I'll be in the school for a credited and paying course in developing small school curriculum and what-not and trying to figure some organizational scheme for my class. So I won't be practicing the stereotypical teacher model of sitting in a beach in Brazil reading books for two months, certainly not yet. My roommate doesn't mind being a stereotype, though.
I wanna marry Jennie. Like, in a week. Seriously.
Last night: BBQ for co-teachers at one of the teachers' house. Nice. I got to introduce Jennie (who I had longingly bragged and bragged about for over half a year) a couple weeks ago at a dinner party we were more-than-fashionably-late to. This time, I got to introduce her to the rest of the skeptics. I don't think either of us are serious party-social people; we're both uncannily shy. But it's good to get out together. Yeah. I love her.
Books I am/will be reading:
Don Miller, To Own a Dragon: Reflections on Growing Up Without a Father. The title says it all, especially if you're already familiar with Miller's honest and witty self-reflections of being a Christian within a post-modern culture/society. I think it also says something that his name is just below center in the title, with about three times the font size as the title. The image is of a man's lips and soul patch in a sun-burnt pastiche. I anticipate reading some more of it tonight, because, as you can tell, I've only read four pages a couple weeks ago.
Actually, I've been pretty busy and fascinated reading Lauren Winner's Real Sex: The Naked Truth about Chastity. Needless to say (unfortunately) I'm also very challenged by this book and its claims. How chastity - the most Victorian-era sounding term applied to sexuality - is largely a spiritual discipline that needs to be practiced by professing, non-married (and, honestly, married) Christians everywhere. I would love to do a deeper meditation on this book and Winner's meditations soon, and may have that chance to. But the survey form here forbids that now. That sounded rather author-esque of me, no?
John Calvin's The Institutes of Christian Religion, edited by Tony Lane and Hilary Osborne. It would be an understatement to say that this is an abridged edition. The fact that it can fit in my already-stuffed apartment - much less my back pocket - would belie that. But since I don't have the time or patience to actually scrutinize my favorite theologian (at least I think he's my favorite theologian - in the same way Jesus is President Bush's favorite philosopher, I suppose), this is a good starting point. I don't care much for heavy editing of someone else's work, but if I'm gonna trust translators (and what choice have I there?), might as well trust the abridgers. (Besides, y'all know what happened when I publicly doubted the world-is-round camp, right? Judge and various pundits said I need to trust somebody. Might as well start here.)
Eugene Peterson's Eat This Book. It's another meditation (yeah, honestly, I've just been reading novel-length essays. Who wants to read a boring ol' plain novel anymore? Not me, I say.) on Christian spirituality done by the master himself. This whole idea of Christian spirituality has been on the rise within the last 15 years or so, especially in the posher suburban churches. But since it's a movement brought about in the good ol' commercializing U.S. of A., it's brought a lot of commercializing factors along with it (I think my favorite ploy is the Meditating Maze - or Labyrinth - used for a multitude of youth group functions). If there is a heart to this movement (and I believe Miller's been apt to shine a light in the general vincinity, if not fully selling me on it) - or better yet - if it's not so much a movement but a way of life and a way to live out life, Peterson's the one to be trusted to get to its underbelly. So, haven't started reading it yet, but looking forward to it.
There's other books, and one of my favorite reads as of late is the latest edition of Paste magazine, with its take on the 100 Most Important Living Songwriters (Dylan, of course, taking front row honors). I don't have that issue with me, but Wasp Jerky does a little take on it, complete with links and the list to satisfy you for the time being (assuming, of course, anyone's actually reading this, read this far, and actually cares). Love ya.