Monday, April 30, 2007

9 Names

I don't care if you've all seen these before, I still find them amusing. What are your names?


2. YOUR GANGSTA NAME (First 3 letters of real name plus “-izzle”)
3. YOUR DETECTIVE NAME (favorite color and favorite animal)
4. YOUR SOAP OPERA NAME (Your middle name and the street you live on)
5. YOUR STAR WARS NAME (The first 3 letters of your last name, first 2 letters of your first)
6. YOUR SUPERHERO NAME (Your 2nd favorite color and favorite drink)
7. YOUR IRAQI NAME (2nd letter of your first name, 3rd letter of your last name, any letter of your middle name, 2nd letter of your mom’s maiden name, 3rd letter of your dad’s middle name, 1st letter of a sibling’s first name, and last letter of your mom’s middle name)
8. YOUR WITNESS PROTECTION NAME (Parents’ middle names)
9. YOUR GOTH NAME (”Black” and the name of one of your pets)

1. Mark Adams
2. Marizzle
3. Blue Tiger
4. Steven Chesapeake
5. Adama
6. Red Code Red
7. Aaveaen
8. Ann Ward
9. Black Nacho

Carolina with President Fox

I mentioned a couple of posts ago that Carolina got to spend all of last Friday with former Mexican President Vicente Fox and his wife Marta.

It was a great experience for her. I think she came away really happy, but a little disappointed in a couple of ways. He's definitely a politician. He's getting ready to build his own presidential library in Mexico, so when they toured the Clinton library, he was much more interested in getting ideas for how to build his own instead of in learning anything from the tour.

She got to see more of what a day in the life of a president is like, and some of the things governments do behind the scenes to publicize some things and keep other things more quiet. He told her about what was going through his head while he spoke at Harding, and some of the things he tried to emphasize based on what he had been told about the university. He was apparently surprised that we didn't give him a standing ovation when he said we should be out of Iraq by now, which he usually gets in other places. Overall, she was able to tell him how much she has appreciated what he has done for Mexico.

I think the part she was most fascinated by was the VIP tour of the Clinton Library. The picture above is them standing on the roof of the library. They got to go to some places that absolutely no one is allowed. Down in the basement level, they actually do have tons and tons of archives. The librarians down there were thrilled to death to see human beings. They are also continually unboxing gifts that had been given to Clinton. They open new boxes every day to categorize and display the contents. They told them that it will likely take 50 years to finish getting all of these items out, categorized, and displayed.

Also, they got to go to Clinton's personal apartment. It's where he stays whenever he is in Little Rock for a few days.

Friday, April 27, 2007

Proverbios de Mexico

Since I got to hear the former President of Mexico speak yesterday, and I'm teaching Proverbs this week in my Old Testament class, I thought I would commemorate both with a post full of some traditional Mexican folk wisdom.

En boca cerranda no entran moscas
Flies don't enter a closed mouth.

No es lo mismo hablar de toros que estar en el redondel
Talking about bulls is not the same as facing them in the ring.

Como dijo la mosca, "Andamos arando!"
The fly atop the ox declares, "We are plowing this field!"

Para tonto no se estudia
One needn't study to become a fool.

El que nunca va a tu casa en la suya no te quiere
He who never goes to your house doesn't want you in his.

La amistad sincera es un alma repartida en dos cuerpos
True friendship is one soul shared by two bodies.

Mas vale morir parado que vivir de rodillas
Better to die on your feet than to live on your knees.

En cuestion de puercos todo es dinero, y en cuestion de dinero todos son puercos
In the matter of pigs, all is money, and in the matter of money, all are pigs.

Mas hace una hormiga andando que un buey echado
An ant on the move does more than a dozing ox.

Dios habla por el que calla
God speaks for the man who holds his peace.

Contestacion sin pregunta, senal de culpa
An answer without a question signals guilt without question.

No hay mejor salsa que un buen apetito
There is no better sauce than a good appetite.

Solo lo barato se compra con el dinero
Money buys only what is cheap.

Cada quien puede hacer de sus calzones un papalote
Everyone is entitled to make a kite from his underwear.

Mar tranquilo hace mal marino
Calm seas make sorry sailors.

Vicente Fox at Harding

Last night, former Mexican President Vicente Fox came to speak at Harding. Carolina has been so excited about this for a long time. I can't mention all of the evening, but I'll hit some highlights:

It began with a reception where he was more than willing to pose for pictures. He was polite, and his wife Marta was extremely personable. We got a picture taken with them that should come to us in the mail soon. We went to a dinner where they handed out reserved seats for the speech. I was in the 5th row, dead center (hence the good pictures I was able to take).

Fox's speech was not the typical American Studies kind of speech. I think it was really good for this particular crowd to hear some new perspectives. I remember several years ago when Barbara Bush came, I was really disappointed with how she handled hard questions. She would get flustered and try to turn them back on the one asking.

Fox didn't shy away, in my opinion, from any hard issues. He spoke about his views of the war. Namely, that we should already be out of there and that the Iraqi's need to decide to learn to fly on their own. He spoke in fatherly language about helping your children be able to make it on their own. He also made it very clear that he thinks the UN should have been much more involved in handling Iraq. What I liked about him was that he didn't sound like the average anti-war person you encounter. He was very respectful and intelligent. Whether or not you agreed with him, he actually presented his reasoning instead of just blasting our administration.
In regard to immigrants, he portrayed a better picture of them than what I think most people here are used to. He spoke about how much money they are sending in to Mexico from their jobs here, which far exceeds any other source of revenue that Mexico has. He said that the fact that they are sending so much back says (1) they care a lot about their families and (2) they want to go home when they can. I thought he made a strong case for a visiting worker program. He said, "They didn't come all the way here to eat hamburgers and hot dogs, because in Mexico, we have delicious tacos!" He lamented that in Mexico, there is still such a need for more jobs. He was more than happy for Mexicans to go to other countries to fulfill their dreams, but he doesn't want hunger or unemployment to be the reason why they go.

Something I had not really considered is how many of our products that Mexicans buy. He pointed out the millions of jobs created in the US purely based on Mexican consumers. When I thought about it, it's really true. Carolina's dad won't drive anything but American vehicles (especially GM). There is American stuff all over the place down there. As much as many Americans like to think we are some kind of big sugar daddy who props everyone else up, we really do benefit a lot from Mexico, though probably not as much as they do from us.

He was asked several questions about the border, and he said in very strong terms that he is against building a wall. He referred to the Great Wall of China and how ineffective it was in keeping out the Mongols. He talked about President Reagan who stood by the Berlin Wall and said "Tear it down!" Walls are in opposition to the democratic spirit. He really understood the value of networking and cooperating. He warned about the danger of China's growing economy and how we should band together to make sure that in North America we will have a future.

He really had an appreciation for teaching Christian principles, and saw them as key for a democracy to function. Democracies cannot be strong when the people are ignorant. He explained several of the things they have done to try and increase education in Mexico, which he sees as key to having a more solid economy. It was touching to hear him describe how under his leadership, Christian ethical teaching has been brought into Mexican schools. He talked about what a shallow life it is when all you are educated on is simply facts without any moral basis. It made me sad that in my own country, we don't have this freedom anymore.

For someone who speaks English as a second language, I thought he made a great presentation. His intelligence and talents for leadership were very obvious, and I can see why people would follow him.

I have to brag, too, because as I type this, Carolina is with President Fox and his wife Marta. She is one of two representatives from Harding accompanying them to Little Rock, where they are getting a VIP tour of the Clinton Presidential Library, then lunch at the Peabody down town. They're riding together in the Harding Security SUV. Not many people can say that they got to hang out all day with the President. I'm hoping she'll get me some good pictures to put up. She has been beaming ever since earlier this week when she found out that she would get to do this.

Wednesday, April 25, 2007

My Statement of Faith

After many hours of labor, I have completed my statement of faith. It is a paper that spans over two semesters at the Harding Grad School. I had to write it for my Systematic Theology classes (part A and B). In total, it is about 30 pages. The purpose is not to write a high-level research paper, but to simply state what I believe, incorporating Scripture and a few secondary sources where necessary.

If you have any interest in knowing what I believe about the nature and being of God (theology proper), theological anthropology, hamartiology, soteriology, pneumatology, or eschatology, have I got a treat for you!

It's a .pdf. And yes, I know the footnotes are not flawless Turabian formatting. The program I used to make it a .pdf messed them up. At any rate, this is about a year's worth of thought. Whether or not anyone else ever sees it, I'm proud of it.

Here's the link to it.

If any of you have the endurance to read all or even part of it, I'd love to hear what you think.

Tuesday, April 24, 2007

Is It Wrong To Envy Your Cat?

As I've sat here for many hours now, slaving away to finish a 25-30 page paper for my grad school class, I have been severely envious of my cat. The best I can tell, she parties all night and sleeps all day. It doesn't appear that too much is bothering her.


On another note, my dog Dora's ears have been getting worse. The hematoma (blood pocket in the ear) is now back. She flops her head and rubs it on the ground almost incessantly. I see the inevitable coming, and I hate it.
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Wednesday, April 18, 2007

Some Great News

Even though this has been a dreadful week for those at Virginia Tech, it has not been a week without blessing. At Rose Bud, we began our hispanic outreach in January. Getting started has been a little slow, and we have still not had large numbers of turnouts, but this last Sunday, we had our first baptism.

Fermin Chevez has been coming every week since week one. One time, when he didn't have a ride, he even walked to church. Fermin is a great guy, and we're really proud of him. We're also proud of Carlos Hernandez, our Spanish minister. He has been working really hard to help save the souls of the lost, and he's making a difference.

On a sad note, the financial situation has not been good for Fermin in Rose Bud, and he will soon be moving to Utah. Please keep this young brother in your prayers as he's going to be starting life over in so many different ways. Even if the rest of our efforts flop, if Fermin really stays strong in his faith, then every hour of time and every cent of money we spent on this outreach will have been completely worth it. It's great to get to see the fruit of your efforts in your own lifetime.

On a side note, Carlos and Vanessa had their second child this week also--a healthy baby boy. They need prayers, too.

Sunday, April 08, 2007

I'm really going to miss these kids

The hardest thing for me about leaving Rose Bud and moving to Nashville is going to be the people I'm leaving behind. I love my house and my neighborhood here. I enjoy both of my jobs. But much more than anything else, we've really gotten attached to these people.

This one little boy from church was only a few months old when we got there. He always calls me "Mr. Mark". He loves the singing, and from the time he was 3, I have relied on him to know what verse we're singing in the invitation song. When the songleader holds up "2", he holds up 2 little fingers. On the songs he knows, you can hear him trying to follow along. Last year his mother had him tell me what he wants to do when he grows up. His response: "I want to teach people about God."

Tonight Carolina was working in the nursery. He had gotten a little wrestless in the service and ended up in there. He told Carolina to turn up the speaker on the wall because "I want to hear Mr. Mark."

He then took one of those magnetic drawing boards and drew a picture of a girl. He brought it to Carolina and said, "Look, it's you! I drew it for you because I love you."

It breaks my heart to think of how much I'll miss out on; especially in watching some of these little ones grow up that we love so much. We'll never forget them, but I can only hope that they might have a few memories of us.

Friday, April 06, 2007

We sold our car...and hopefully soon our house.

It was really an answer to prayer today when a Harding student purchased Carolina's Escort. We've had 3 cars since January, and really only needed 2. We're trying to get everything ready to move, and it's really nice to be back down to 2 cars. I'll be getting a refund from State Farm for the rest of the money I had paid to insure it, which is nice. We'll also have the cash from the sale to help us get settled in our new place in Nashville. It was pretty emotional driving it for the last time.

I guess the big thing we're praying for right now is that our house sells. We've been blessed with a beautiful house, and I'm optimistic that someone will make us a good offer before too long. But until it sells, it will be hard to figure out our living situation for when we get to Nashville.

So if by any chance you plan to move to Searcy, Arkansas, you might want to consider buying our house! You can see it here.

Thursday, April 05, 2007

Where to get the picture-texter program

Because I shouldn't be the only one who gets to have fun turning pictures into text files, here is where you can download the program for yourself (Heath).

Wednesday, April 04, 2007

Can you guess who's in this picture?

My friend showed me where to find a cool program that converts pictures into texts. I would say that the first one to identify this one wins a prize, but I can't afford to buy a prize right now. But guess anyway!

Monday, April 02, 2007

Some musings about good music and the new Shaw-Blades CD

There are several things I tend to like in bands.
1. I like bands with strong vocal harmonies. I think this is often a way to sort out the real musicians from the wannabe rock/pop stars. If they can really sing well together; especially if they do more than the basic 1-3-5 kinds of harmonies, I appreciate it.
2. Related to this, I enjoy strong tenor voices. I don't have one, and really don't even have a falsetto. I tend to enjoy music where guys can really hit the high notes with force.
3. I like top-notch musicianship. As a guitar player, I'm especially drawn to bands with good--or at least creative--guitarists. But I'm just as content to listen to any other instrument, if the person playing has a good mastery of the instrument.
4. I like music that is surprising and well planned out to the Nth degree. I enjoy listening to blues/jazz/jam band music while I'm working around the house, but when I really want to listen to something, I have less of an appreciation for improv, and prefer music that has been agonized over at every measure. I have little use for plain old 1/4/5 chord progressions in every song, or for cheesy love song after cheesy love song.

Because of these reasons, I really like bands such as: Rush, Yes, Radiohead, Emerson Lake and Palmer, Led Zeppelin, Queen, King Crimson, Pink Floyd, Kansas, Boston, etc. I like most progressive rock.

I purchased a CD yesterday that I'm very fond of. It's by Tommy Shaw and Jack Blades; the lead singers of Styx and of Night Ranger. They record as "Shaw-Blades" Both are powerful tenors. The CD is called "Influence". It is all covers of songs that have been very influential on them as musicians. Some are better than others. I thought the weakest remake was "For What It's Worth". The reason I bought the CD is because I had been hearing "Your Move" (originally part of "I've Seen All Good People" by Yes) on the radio. I never thought I would like to hear someone sing it besides John Anderson, but these guys really do the song justice. The CD is a lot like a playlist I might make on my IPod. It's a bunch of greatest hits from some of the better acts in the later '60's that have been remade; some with different twists on them.

I think what I really like about this CD is that you can tell by the sound of their voices how much they really love singing these songs. It's not American Idol, where some puppet just sings what they have to to make a buck. Even though it's a cover CD (which I normally frown on tremendously), there's somethign pure about it. One review I read criticized them for not making more of the songs "their own". I kind of appreciated that they didn't have to screw all of them up, pretending like it's original to play someone else's song (You hear that, P-Diddy!?!). Many of them are very similar to the original, but I think in several cases that's a good thing.

Here's the link to the CD at Amazon.

Have any of you heard this one yet? "Your Move" seems to be the most played track from the CD so far on the radio.