Randy and the Professor

The church I pastor is located just two miles from a seminary that trains pastors for many denominations, including my own. One of the professors there is a friend who was a classmate of mine when we ourselves were in seminary several centuries ago. Not too long ago he posted something on Twitter that I thought would be worth discussing and which I saw as a good excuse to meet him for breakfast. The Professor suggested we meet on Thursday, January 22.What follows is what happens when the pastor tries to make a date to meet the professor.

The Professor suggested we meet on Thursday, January 22, to which I replied:

That Thursday is just about the only morning I CAN’T do breakfast. Normally, any morning T-F works great. How about another suggestion? My only conflicts would be 2/4 and 2/5.

So, the Professor shot back this counter-offer:

Monday, 1/26?

Which puzzled me and launched me into some exegetical fantasy at his expense:

Your exegesis of my email is lacking at ONE crucial point, Professor. Before I give you a low grade, I’ll give you a chance for a do-over.

Here was the crucial sentence:

“Normally, any morning T-F works great.”

Some commentators suggest that this was the work of a later redactor, but I think a case could be made that it was indeed a part of Randy’s original epistle. Some have suggested that the technical term T-F is a reference to a time period beginning ‘Today’ and extending to ‘Forever’ but most lexicons agree that a more probable understanding is a time period occurring repetitively beginning with ‘Tuesday’ and terminating on ‘Friday’. Given the former interpretation, Monday, 1/26 would in fact be acceptable. But if the standard lexical data is correct, then a suggestion of Monday, 1/26 falls outside the given parameters.

So, please redo the assignment and submit it by noon today for no loss of grade.

The Professor, getting into the spirit of the thing, parried my challenge with this:

So you think you divine my intentions? There is a conditional construct well-known to students of George W. Knight termed “contrary to fact.” An example would be an offer for an engagement on a day when the offeree is not available, such as “I know you can’t do it then (implied), but how about Monday?”

But granting the perspicuity of the original author, How about 2/27? Is 7:30 okay? 7:00 is fine, too. We could meet near or in the direction of campus.

In reality, I judged this to be an oddly distant date, but I put it in my calendar nonetheless:

The Tuskawilla Panera is fine. I think we met there before. And either time is okay. On a Friday, the 730 is slightly better for me.

There we were set. I thought. The Professor confirmed thus:

Let’s do 7:30 at Tuskawilla Panera on Tuesday, 1/27.

Puzzled, I responded:

You ARE making exegesis tough. Now we need to bring textual criticism into play, and I’m not very good at that. The earlier text, which should have the preference, says 2/27.

“But granting the perspicuity of the original author, How about 2/27?”

However, the later manuscript adds detail, Tuesday, and is more likely since the original proposed a date that was so far out.

“Let’s do 7:30 at Tuskawilla Panera on Tuesday, 1/27.”

Now, I judge the later manuscript in this case to be the more accurate, harking back more closely to the original intent of the author. That being the case, the Mitchell Hammock Panera would, in fact, be more convenient for me. And this being a Tuesday and not a Friday, the time does not matter. We’ll stick with 730 unless you prefer the earlier time.

Replied the Professor, on Tuesday, January 20, mind you:

Oh the glories of multitasking. Yes, I intended March 27…just kidding. I intended Jan 27. If that works, please absolve me and I”ll see you a week from tomorrow.

Which required this from me:

So, though a week from tomorrow will be Wednesday the 28th, nevertheless, I’ll stick with the weight of the given manuscripts and be at Panera on Mitchell Hammock at 730 on Tuesday, January 27th. Here I stand; I can do no other.

Which left us one exasperated Professor:

God help us all. Can’t believe it’s Tuesday already.

For all I know, I’ll be having breakfast alone tomorrow!


Great Moments in Philosophy

It is a little know fact that philosopher and mathematician René Descartes was an avid runner long before the sport achieved its current fanatical status. Descartes found in his running the opportunity to chew on puzzling questions of existence and meaning which he would later rework and record.

Returning home one afternoon after a furious and philosophically productive run he was confronted by his roommate. Offended by Descartes’ foul smell, the roommate shooed him out of the house at which moment all that he had been thinking came together in a lightning bolt of insight.

Descartes stared deeply into the eyes of his accuser and said, “I run, therefore I stink. I stink, therefore I am.”

And the rest is history.

Sort of.

My Wife’s Blog

As my wife and I were talking this morning, she opened the refrigerator to grab something, and with her head in the fridge she said, “Have you looked at my blog?”

I’ve been married to this woman for almost 36 years. I think I know her pretty well. And what I know is that she is not the kind of person who likes to write (though she writes very well) and certainly not the kind of person who would write for all the world to see. I at least like to think that if she indeed DID start a blog, she would have alerted me to the fact before now.

But all that aside, there she was, with her head in the fridge, asking me, “Have you looked at my blog?”

“What?” I replied.

She turns around with a delighted grin holding a bowl. Barb is a woman who is a scientist at heart. She loves experimenting, and that love of experiment, and love of yogurt, has lead her to begin making her own yogurt. With the pride of a creator of a great work of art, she turned from the fridge with a bowl in hand, pops the lid, and repeated herself: “Have you looked at my glob?”

I must admit, it was a fine looking glob.

Timmy Keller Guys

Eugene Peterson in his wonderful book The Comtemplative Pastor strongly urges pastors to be conversant with poetry. If that is the measure of pastoral success, then I am a hopeless failure, to which the following bears sufficient witness.

(This is offered in fun, with sincere apologies to The Beach Boys and all mentioned herein.)


Timmy Keller Guys

Well, emerging guys are hip;
I really dig those styles they wear.
And the southern baptists with the way they talk
they knock me out when I’m by there.

The Pentecostal screamers
can get you wound up oh so tight.
And they let it loose with a holler and a whoop
so we come back another night.

I wish they all could be Timmy Keller,
I wish they all could be Timmy Keller,
I wish they all could be Timmy Keller guys.

Reformed boys have the insight
and they cross their T’s just so.
I dig a Genevan gown on a pipe-smokin’ man
in a pulpit of marble stone.

Piper channels Edwards
and Dr. Sproul, he is so sly.
Begg packs ’em in with his Scottish dialect,
And Osteen only has to smile.

I wish they all could be Timmy Keller
I wish they all could be Timmy Keller
I wish they all could be Timmy Keller guys.

Merry Christmas

Surely someone, somewhere has made a Christmas card out of this quote:

I shall be taking you to Old London town in the country of UK, ruled over by Good King Wenceslas. Now human beings worship the great god Santa, a creature with fearsome claws and his wife Mary. And every Christmas Eve, the people of UK go to war with the country of Turkey. They then eat the Turkey people for Christmas dinner, like savages!

To the uninitiated, this quote comes from an episode of the British TV drama Doctor Who. In the episode, a group of alien tourists are on a cruise ship in orbit around earth. An excursion to the surface is arranged, and these words are those of the cruise director who, with a shady degree in “Earthonomics”, proves to be something of an unreliable guide.

It all makes me wonder, however, in this less than biblical age, if this description, or something like it, might not be closer to the common understanding of Christmas (or of other aspects of Christian orthodoxy) than we might think.

Wasup Craigslist

One aspect of Mark Twain’s genius was the keen ear by which he was able to duplicate the sounds and rhythms of a variety of dialects. Certainly this too was one of the remarkable charms of Kathryn Stockett’s The Help.

Since I might be interested in purchasing a good quality bike rack for our car, I receive notifications from Craigslist when one is listed. That led to the following. I’m not really sure what to make of it. It’s real (I couldn’t make this up). It’s unlike anything I’ve seen before. It’s worth trying to read out loud. And if this is fiction, there is another master out there waiting for his break.

Wasup craigslist i got a clean 93 honda civic eg hatch this car is like a 9/10 has a super fresh jdm b20 with a bout 85k on it has a b16 tranny new axels new distributer fresh oilchange motor is mint its so fresh yu can eat of it! Has a chipped computer with 2step luanch control on a basemap has a check engine shift light. Paint is in good condition but not perfect suspesion i have ground control coilovers with tockicko blue struts its on red gt3 with new tires has front lip hids city lights amber corners i have foglights not installed will come with buyer also has yakima bike rack has rpm tach short shifter headers no oil leaks or kicks or ticks on the motor the ca is super clean and talks for it self im giving it cheap bcuzbi need the money i am asking 4300 or better offer willing to work aomething out the less yu offer the more i take off also chas a system has no ps or ac also has a momo champion stering wheel with nrg quick release also has front and rear red towhooks intirior is in very good condition also car is worth more then wat i am asking hmu txt me or call me

If any would like to submit a translation, post it in the comments. I think it’s English, however….

Bag of Water?

Sugar1The question of the month for me is this: “If you take all the carbon out of sugar, what do you have left?”

Those who actually know biochemistry tell me it depends, but that basically one would be left with nothing but a collection of H and O atoms in some configuration. I say, “Water” because I don’t really know what I’m talking about.

What spawns such a silly question is an even sillier label on this bag of sugar I bought last week.


I know what is meant, but context is everything, and this being a bag of sugar, a CARBOhydrate par excellence, I could not help but be amused.

I wonder if Dr. Atkins would approve?