My White Board at Church

Some of you know that I am a seminarian full time. In fact, my primary occupation is that of a seminarian. Recently, I was feeling insecure about how I spend my time and wanting to better use my time and resorted to listing the obligations of certain roles that I fill. There are of course roles I neglected to write about – hopefully someday I will consider those as well and craft an exhaustive list by which I can measure my behavior (hopefully resulting in the peace of knowing I have played my part well).

The reason that I am writing down the list before it is complete is because I need the space. When I wrote it, I used the white board at church but now I need that space for something else. I still want to keep the lists as a good starting place for this project to be addressed later. Thus, here it is:

  • Because I am a Christian, I should lead a healthy…
    • spiritual lifestyle by praying, fasting, reading, considering, serving, memorizing, and loving well.
    • physical lifestyle by eating, sleeping, exercising, and doing hygiene well.
    • intellectual lifestyle by reading, writing, and talking well.
    • financial lifestyle by striving to live on less than I make, intentionally considering each recurring cost to ensure they reflect my values, considering major purchases to ensure they reflect my values, saving for future expenditures I can imagine incurring, investing the margin wisely, keeping good records, and giving generously.
    • social lifestyle by maintaining a relational schematic and honoring the social roles that I have agreed to fill.
    • mental/emotional lifestyle by seeking out and investing in therapeutic practices/relationships, vacationing/honoring the sabbath and tending to self care to prevent burnout.
    • romantic lifestyle by insisting on defined romantic relationships and functioning faithfully as a lover within defined boundaries.
    • vocational lifestyle by regular considering how to spend my time, regularly tending to my habits, and regularly create and manage goals and aspirations.
  • Because I am a seminarian, I should…
    • watch my faith and practice closely; live as a healthy Christian.
    • pursue my certification through diligent, faithful, academic work.
    • prepare for the pastorate by:
      • considering what it means to pastor
      • developing my systematic theology
      • developing my historic theology
      • developing my biblical theology
      • develop my understanding of ecclesiology
      • practicing discipleship
      • practicing evangelism
      • memorizing God’s Word
      • fostering relationships that will be useful to future ministry endeavors
      • engaging in the languages of the original scriptures
  • As I consider what it means to be a pastor, I have determined that a pastor should…
    • watch his faith and practice closely; live as a healthy Christian.
    • teach his flock, which requires:
      • having a developed theology
      • expositing God’s word regularly
      • creating or sharing resources
    • shepherd his flock, which requires:
      • having a developed ecclesiology
      • arranging for regular preaching of the word
      • arranging for discipleship of membership
      • arranging for church discipline
      • modeling and teaching Christian service to persons in and outside the flock
      • raising up and empowering elders, deacons, and members to the calling of the Lord on their lives
    • equip the saints to protect and manifest the gospel
    • develop or maintain a healthy duplicating church

Post for the start of June, 2017

A week has past since my last “post for…” and I want to answer the question, “How do you feel about how you spent your day?”

I feel pretty good. This week has been a good restoring week. I’ve reconnected with my wife and my church and my habits and my home.

Something that is resonating with me though as I consider this question is that there is a difference between feeling something, thinking something and believing something. Usually the difference is in the object of the feeling/thinking/believing, but it is ultimately in the action done by the subject to the object.
When a person feels, he/she is perceiving, sensing, or experiencing. Many post-moderns think with their feelings. But feeling is not thinking.
When a person thinks, he/she is concluding, considering, recalling, imagining. This is the realm of opinion. It overlaps with feeling in that the moment after a person feels something, he/she thinks about the feelings he/she has had. So, a person might feel sick to his/her stomach and thereby thinks that he/she is sick to his/her stomach.
When a person believes, he/she is affirming credence, having faith, holding as true, maintaining conviction. Continuing our example, the person who thinks that he/she is sick, also believes he/she is sick. However, usually beliefs are not only opinions that have been thought, but they are thoughts that have been held through opposition. Such that after examinations revealing there is no problem with our example’s stomach, he/she considers his/her feelings about his/her stomach’s state and re-affirms his or her belief that he/she is indeed sick to his/her stomach.

So, when I ask, “How do you feel about how you spent your day?” I’m not considering how I spent the day really. I’m not affirming a belief about how I spent the day. I am merely putting into words how I perceive or sense the quality of the day(s) in question.

Thus, my answers can and will be rather short – although length is allowed, because feelings can be deep.

Stop owning; start stewarding

I’m sure that I did not coin this phrase, but I am unable to give credit where it is due. If you as a reader know where I ought to give credit, please let me know and I will include it here.

On the notecard that I am addressing in the post I have written an (what I believe to be my own) interpretation of that header. It reads:

  • We have responsibility in:
    • every thought
    • every word
    • every deed
    • every attitude
    • every motive

My Response:
Presumably the we refers to all people, but especially believers in Christ.
Having responsibility is needed for the Christian – even the Calvinist. Thankfully, almost all philosophers in this day affirm compatibilism as a valid expression of metaphysics. I affirm compatibilism and the persons responsibility. Further, I find the categories helpful for brining to mind the extent of personal responsibility.

I keep above my desk at work a note which exhorts, daily, stand at the gate of your mind. I’m trying to remind myself that I am responsible for every thought. Likewise, I want to remember that I am responsible for every word and deed, which require a more permanent thought (or at least they should although some are in the habit of acting/speaking without thinking). Last, it is good to remember that the attitudes and motives of thoughts, words, and deeds also matter, because God is seeking to transform our very beings, our affections, and our nature into Christlikeness. He is not satisfied to have us doing and saying the right things – not even thinking the right things – we must do and say and think the right things with the right attitude and motive, because then it will be known that what we have become was not the result of human will (which is corrupted by sin), but rather the result of gracious, merciful divine intervention.

Some of the lost stickies of 12.10.2016 (addressed now: 5.26.2017)

For the last two posts, I’ve been on a quest to thin/shrink my notecards from past explore, catalogue, and consolidate posts so that I can make another explore, catalogue, and consolidate. I’ve felt the weight of my growing stack of notecards and want to address them, but feel like I need to thin/shrink the old list before adding to it an official way (namely, blogging as I’ve already added them in an unofficial way by letting new notecards be written).

So, the goal is to cross off as many as possible tonight. Since if I knock off an entire section, it is the most space earned back and if I knock off the oldest section, it is the most space the most times earned back, I’m starting with the oldest section first (12.10.2016). Because it is an older section, some of the cards have been lost and therefore they are the shortest to address (since they have the least content to address: only the header that is documented on this blog). Those lost topics are:

  • Habits for living:
    • At least 60 minutes at least 4 days a week – exercise body
    • At least 45 minutes at least 4 days a week – exercise imagination/creativity
    • At least 45 minutes at least 4 days a week – exercise gratitude/slow down
    • At least 90 minutes at least 4 days a week – exercise biblical literacy

I’m not sure where this came from, but it resembles something I would have created without borrowing material or formatting from someone else. Either way, let me respond to it by affirming that I do not do these things, but think that they would be good habits for living. I affirm that the body, imagination/creativity, gratitude/slow-down, and biblical literacy all will wither if not exercised. Further, I affirm that these are great habits for living. A person is wise who seeks to be literate in the Bible, have gratitude/slow-down, foster creativity/imagination, and maintain a healthy body.

Truthfully, I am not wise to neglect these things and I believe that if the Lord gives me days to do it, I will start doing these things. If you’re reading this, what do you think – should more or less time be devoted to eat category? Are there any categories that are not listed that should have been (or that were listed that don’t need to be)?

For me, I think that the time frames are high, but reasonable. Maybe the middle two couple be decreased some… put on alternating days or decreased to twenty minutes a piece. Maybe the first and last could be shortened by 20-30 minutes, but honestly, if a person is looking for significant growth/maintenance of impressive results, then significant effort is required. So, I think the time frames are high, but reasonable. Likewise with frequency. As for content, nothing was mentioned about social or romantic life (nor was hygiene or prayer – but maybe they were in the first and fourth). Neglecting the social and romantic parts of life seem like a mistake to me and therefore this list is helpful, but incomplete. If this was indeed something I made for myself, I think its incompleteness is fine, because I have (due to past diligence) a strong social and romantic habit that does not need strict monitoring.


  • Pursuit of: health, wealth, love, and happiness

I honestly have no idea what was in mind here so it’ll be hard to respond to. Maybe I wanted to talk about how I was pursuing those or how they prevent the pursuit of each other or how they coalesce in the pursuit of each other. But since I have no idea what I meant, I’m not going to say much. My response is: these seem like great pursuits; just remember the words of Jesus: “Seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you.”

Before addressing notecards again

So, I’ve needed to explore, catalogue and consolidate for quite some time. I’ve known this for several months and felt the weight of it. But, I haven’t taken the time to do it. I want to tonight if I am able. But before I can address the added notecards, I want to shrink the old notecards which has led me down a rabbit trail. First, I went to my most recent explore, catalogue and consolidate in March. Then, I went to the one in January. And then, to the one from December. Finally, I also viewed “Eager To-Do”.

It was there that I discovered… two things from December’s version had been overlooked in the transfer to January that should not have been! And one thing from Eager to Do never got completed or made it to any later lists! The ones missing from December’s transfer to January were:

  • Sitting Tree – (how can I get involved and help other people get involved… do I want to? probably not yet, but it’s on a notecard for a reason.)
  • List of clothing that will at some point need replacing:
    • black shoes, canvas shoes, At-home shorts, out-and-about shorts (in 3 months or more), underwear, undershirts, socks.

So, I want to address those here (before moving on to shrink the old notecards).

I like sitting tree in general, but I will not be getting involved or helping other people get involved because there are far more pressing and significant and interesting matters that are so numerous that it does not seem at all prudent to engage with sitting tree at this time. However, there is a possible not-too-distant future where it (or another similar program) might be useful personally or for my family or for my church… Ultimately I’m in a very similar place now as I was when I wrote this in December – which may be why I neglected in in transfer to January. Regardless, I’m linking to this post and crossing it off from December in case anyone is meticulously reading – take that!

I do have a running list of clothing that I want to buy. Mostly it’s replacing what I actually use after taking and loving the Project 333 challenge. But, there are a couple things I’d like to expand into (like the shoes mentioned originally). For now, since tat is actively managed on my phone, I’m counting it as success in blog life and linking to this post.

The one from Eager to do was: Sing some Vaccai. I’m not going to do that now, but I will in the near future (Lord willing) and I’ll devote a post to it.

That’s all for now, but I’m still looking forward to shrinking the notecards before adding newer ones. Until next time.

Post for May 26, 2017

I feel good about how I spent my day. I got up early and read in my office at home, I snuggled with my wife when she got up, I checked in with all the financial institutions and obligations we interact with as a family and updated them, I talked on the phone to my sister, I made arrangements to connect with other friends I’ve neglected in past weeks, I took unwanted books to the local used books store, I took my wife to lunch, I cleaned my office at work, and I spent considerable time blogging – just like I wanted to.

As I’m writing these things, I cannot help but notice that “I” am the subject of each clause. It may seem then that I consider myself to be the center of the universe. Thankfully, I do not. The Lord has opened my eyes to see that He is the center of all things. He is the creator and sustainer of all life. He alone is worthy of praise and adoration. Further, if there is anything good in me, it is the result of Christ and Christ alone (not excluding the other persons of the unified Godhead).

Post for May 25, 2017

“How do you feel about how you spent your day?”

That is the question that “Post for…” posts are meant to answer. I need to bear that in mind, because it’s easy to recount the day or just write to get out ideas and slow my racing mind. But really, these posts are designed to be the qualitative portion to my personal accountability. (There is a quantitative portion.) They are separate and distinct from the other posts that show up on this blog (that is in general created in order to benefit me by having a web-log of various aims).

When I consider May 25, 2017, I feel really good about that day. The night before, I got back from a trip, went to church dinner, choir practice, praise band practice, and choir practice again before going home and blessedly unpacking with my wife (yes, I did get her a souvenir) and going to bed. Frankly, it was great to be home – and that was the theme of this day.

I slept in a little, came to church for staff prayer, mowed the grass, reset my office for the summer semester, addressed a full inbox, gardened with my wife, and prayed in the sanctuary. Truly, it felt like a perfect day and I was proud of how I spent it.

Post for May 17-24, 2017

I won’t spend much time on this subject even though it is especially worthy – compared to my normal life, this tour was exceptionally exciting. The reason I will not say too much is because I am writing so much about it for my classes and it doesn’t really get at the goal of these “daily” posts: personal accountability. These days on tour were so structured that I would have had to try hard to not engage and be developed as a student. In that sense, many kudos to our instructors and administrators who facilitated the tour. Also, I’ve written a little bit about why I planned to go to New England and I don’t want to reiterate that.

So, this the end of my post for May 17-24. I’m proud of how I spent these days. studying alongside of and interacting with other seminarians was truly a joy.