Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Greek Stuff, Guys!

So, I had to do this project for my Greek class. And we had to pick an avenue in which to use our exegetical insights from translating in a regular setting. So I used my blog as my setting. And I figured I may as well post it here. I had a lot of fun doing it. I hope you enjoy it!

       In Him also, having heard the Word that is Truth, the good news of y’all’s salvation, and having believed in Him, y’all were sealed for redemption through which you become God’s property for praise of His glory by the Holy Spirit of promise Who is the down payment of our inheritance.
Ephesians 1:13-14, BKT*

            So, my Greek class recently studied some verses from Ephesians 1. We had to translate them and annotate them, basically back up why we translated stuff the way we did. And in doing this some beautiful ideas in this passage really jumped out at me. Sometimes, knowing the Greek doesn’t exactly rock my world, but there are a lot of things in studying Greek that can make passages so much more rich. There are three things from this passage that I want to talk about.
            1. Y’all were sealed for redemption. Redemption is a very powerful word, and I think a lot of times our eyes and hearts jump to it and feel it deeply, but when I was looking at the Greek, the word for sealed is the one that added another layer to the verse. The word is σφραγίζω (sphragizo), meaning “to mark with a seal as a means of identification.” I think this word adds a lot of depth to the verse. The definition says that we are marked, that something differentiates us as the ones who are to be redeemed. We are identified by this mark. I think this word smacks of predestination. Of course, I wouldn’t take this tiny nuance in itself to prove the whole of this idea, but in the context of the rest of the Bible, and especially in the context of the rest of Ephesians 1, I think it’s a valid thing to pick up on. We are marked, chosen, identified, as those who are to be redeemed. How comforting is this idea?
            2 Redemption through which you become God’s property. This phrase is exactly how the Greek smarties who compiled a giant lexicon called the BDAG translated these words. I think this phrase is such an interesting and telling one. A lot of times we think of being redeemed as receiving freedom or being  brought from slavery to sin into liberty. But this verse says that we are being redeemed in order to be owned. This brought my mind to the Exodus. In Exodus 7:16 (and about 15 other times in the book), God says, “Let my people go that they may serve me in the wilderness.” As I was reading through Exodus recently, I underlined this sentence just about every time I saw it. Free my people so they can serve Me, God is saying. This gets to the heart of the Exodus. So many people interpret the event as God’s hatred of unjust social practices or of His passion for liberty, all of which are things I believe God values highly, but what I believe God values more highly is His own glory. Because, first, God’s passion throughout the Bible is for His own name, and second, as I’ve said again and again before, He wants the best for us, and the best for us is to be a part of glorifying Him.
            This idea is probably really unattractive to some people. They want freedom, liberation; they do not want to be owned, but Scripture chants to us: Where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is liberty! Thinking about this “owned-ness” that we are redeemed to, I also recalled another passage we translated in Greek class, some verses from John1. This verse says, “He came to His own things, and His own people did not receive Him.” BKT.* That “His own” is the Greek word δο, meaning “one’s own.” I think these two verses taken together paint such a beautiful picture of redemption. We were God’s own, but we rejected our owned-ness. We chose to depart from being owned into our own interpretations of liberty. But in response to our rejection, Christ died to redeem us to be owned again. We’ve been sealed, marked, and identified to be redeemed for refusing to be God’s own. We are redeemed into owned-ness!
            3. The Holy Spirit Who is the down payment of our inheritance. The word down payment comes from the Greek word ρραβν which literally means, “payment of part of a purchase price in advance.” In one word, that’s a down payment. So let’s look closely at this phrase. The Holy Spirit is the down payment of our inheritance. The Holy Spirit is the down payment of our inheritance. Seriously? The Holy Spirit, the expression of God given to believers is just the down payment of our inheritance? I mean, down payments are just a part of a larger sum, and usually a really small part at that. But to think that the Holy Spirit is just a small percentage of the inheritance that we await blows my mind. Because that’s just a really good first taste.
            If the Holy Spirit is just a small part of what I am to receive, I am so looking forward to the rest of that package. I think, too, that this echoes an idea that we see throughout Scripture and especially in Hebrews. Our inheritance is not something. It is not crowns in heaven, or a nice mansion next to Peter’s. Our inheritance is God Himself! If the down payment of our inheritance is the constant presence of God, then the entirety of our inheritance must be the fullness of Him! And that is excellent news. What we have to look forward to is both to know YHWH more fully as we walk with His Spirit here on earth, AND to know Him completely in heaven! We will no longer see dimly in a mirror, the veil shall be gone; we shall know our bridegroom in full! How wonderful and terrifying it will to be to receive the rest of our inheritance!

* Becca Kennedy Translation
* Becca Kennedy Translation

Friday, December 7, 2012


There is no room for jealousy in love, I think.
Cause jealousy is self and love is others.
I know it's not that insightful but I'm thinking it and teaching it to myself.
I always want people to love me the most, but that is not what is important.
I know that, but feeling most is nice.
I'm working to love out of a heart that gives more than it takes and provides more than it needs.
I'm trying to decrease, here.

Also, I really love the Alabama summertime. That's kind of where I wish I was right now.
I'm afraid of the days that will come when I won't have it.
But I s'pose an Alabama December will do for present.

Someone called me Elizabeth Bennet this week.
Today my belly was hurting, so I had a prison meal for lunch:

Monday, October 29, 2012



Here's some pictures of me holding things I'm happy about:

1. I am reading this lovely book. Even though I don't exactly have the time to be doing so. It is so worth it. When I was in Birmingham a couple of weeks ago, my dad and I went to 2nd & Chalres to glance around and to be friends and I picked out this book to buy. But then He bought it for me. He's a gem.

2. I got mail from the real Zimbabwe!! My BFF Haley lives there. It has a real Zimbabwe stamp and everything. Hales is so good at writing letters in both senses: a) she is great at writing kind words and b) she is very good at handwriting. 

3. I bought this necklace today because I felt like a tiny treat, and it was only $4.99! It has an R on it. And I didn't get it when I was born, but I am TOTALLY pretending I am the 3rd Parker/James triplet. (I do like my oreos and peanut butter.) [It's hard to take a picture of a tiny locket.]

4. This is my cool new phone. No, it doesn't have snake.

5. This is a delicious snack I have been having for lunch these days. It is served warm.

Have a nice night!

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Alpha Beta Dorcas.

Hey guys!
How are yall doing? I'm well.
I was just thinking about an interesting thing. Last night, I had to interview some of the sophomores who are applying for the LEAD program, part of the honors program at Belmont (the elite part). Anyway, my friends Emily, Daniel, and I were interviewing our friend LT. Which was more like a conversation because we all already know and love her. And she is having a hard time with a decision she is making. Anyway, we started talking about Emily flipping a coin in order to make the same decision, and then it moved to the fact that last year, Emily drew lots to see which immersion trip she should go on for spring break. And we were laughing about it, but it's such a cool thing.
We were talking about how they used to cast lots for everything. And Daniel said that it just came out of complete trust in the sovereignty of God.
And that just kind of blew my mind. I've been thinking about it a lot. (hehehe). But really, what if I had that much confidence in God's sovereignty?

Also, I am going to Texas this weekend! I have never been to that state. I am so excited to see my dear friend Emily's homeland and to spend time with Zeke, who I don't get to spend as much time with lately. Also I think I am going to try to finish The Two Towers. Because I just need to do that in order to be a more complete person.
Additionally, I am registered to vote.

Happy Tuesday Night, World!
Happy Birthday, Heidi! (my roommate)
Keep up the good work. Buy yourself a London Fog at your local coffee shop. Wear an entirely gray outfit. Have soup for lunch. Slip on your favorite socks. Gather that hair into a ponytail. Rest.
These are all things I have done today, and I recommend them.

Sunday, September 23, 2012


Confession: I do not have time to be blogging right this moment.

Anyway, tonight I am sitting cross-legged in a cozy leather chair at Starbucks (weird cause I don't usually go to Starbucks), wearing my brand new gray socks and a long-sleeve t-shirt and a ponytail. (Confession: when I first typed that, I typed money tail.) And I just feel so warm and cozy and autumnal. I am listening to my Campfire playlist from Oh, Pioneer! and it's real nice. Have you guys heard of Oh, Pioneer!? It's just a tumblr, but if Walt Whitman would have been alive now, and had he not had an ethical problem with the whole concept behind tumblr (which I'm assuming he would have),  it's the kind of tumblr he would have glanced at from time to time. Anyway, the boy who runs it puts up playlists for download seasonally and they are so so nice. The kind of music that makes you want to be a better person, you know?
Anyway, kids, it's a great day to be alive. This morning when I stepped out my door to walk to church, it was cold. Cold. Yes, cold might be a strong word for today if you are one of those snotty Northerners who likes to brag about not wearing coats until the temperature hits freezing, but I am not talking to you, snotty Northerner. I am speaking from my Alabama soul. It was cold. And I loved it. And relished it. And I had a beautiful lonely walk to church.
And tonight, I am reading a little about Tillich and a lot about Gandhi, and this week is going to be wild and I am going to have to do a couple things that terrify me and maybe stay up til all hours a few nights, but right this second I feel real good. And calm.
I miss my dad, of course. But that will be okay.
And it's okay that I am scared of a lot of things, and it's okay that I need to sleep more than my friends need to.
Today I celebrate socks.

Here's the link to the free download of the mix I am listening to: Campfire Mixtape. Do yourself a favor and download it. It'll do your heart good.

Thanks, Jesus, for socks. Amen.

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Lists for the Day.

Things I blame my dad for:
1. When I meet someone named Rich, and he says, "I'm Rich," I say, "I'm poor." (AKA being Hilarious.)
2. Sneezing loud.
3. Loving Steely Dan.

Things I blame my mom for:
1. Falling asleep on the couch at night and not getting up to go to bed.
2. Eating ice cream out of the carton.
3. Having conversations with all of the people.

Things I am up to:
1. School. I am a Junior. (old.)
2. Work. I mostly drive the kids places and listen to all the Disney songs.
3. Having friends. I do have some.
4. New church. The Village Chapel. It's real cool. I go to church at 10 on Sundays, and to college group on Wednesday nights. I really like it and maybe I love it.
5. Young Lives. This is a ministry to teen moms that I am beginning to work with. I'm pumped about it.
6. YL Bible study. This is a book study actually. It is early early on Tuesday mornings with some Young Life ladies. We are reading The Life of the Beloved by Henri Nouwen. I'm pretty psyched.

Things I am doing right this second:
1. Wearing my nice new Young Life tank top that is a giant on me.
2. Avoiding writing my paper.
3. Wearing contacts.
4. That's all. Earlier I was jumping a lot. Cause I guess I was hyper.

Things I am trying on for size and/or am aspiring to:
1. Memorizing verses.
2. Not drinking Dr. Pepper.
3. Being good at using money wisely.
4. Peace.

Can I tell you a secret?
This is how I feel honestly right now:
"And peace is a ladder up to the clouds
That I’m wishing I could climb but I don’t know how."

~Noah Gunderson, "Middle of June."

I know it's not true and that Christ left His peace with me.
"Peace I leave with you, My peace I give to you. Not as the world gives do I give to you. Do not let your hearts be troubled, neither let them be afraid."
~John 14:27.

But sometimes getting peace feels like hard work. 
So there's that.
Bye, guys. See you later.

Wednesday, July 4, 2012

Like a Stone in a Stream.

Well hello, all. Happy Fourth of July! I thought since I've had such a delightful day off, I'd update you all on my summer life.
If you don't know that I work at a kids camp, then you probably don't know me very well. I am a counselor to a smattering of beautiful 4th grade girls. My job is to help these girls know God and to help them become more like God. Also keeping them safe and helping them have a nice time is pretty important. This past Sunday, my childhood friends Amy and Gracie and I were sitting having breakfast. Amy works at camp, too, and we were talking about some questions her 2nd graders ask. Things that start off simple turn into an intense question-and-answer session full of dependence on the Holy Spirit to use your fumbling memory of Scripture to bring about understanding in 20 camper's hearts. Kids have a lot of questions about God. And significantly more about Heaven. Often, I don't know very many answers. I mean, I dare you to accurately explain the Trinity to a 9-year-old. It's hard! Anyway, Amy and I were talking about the dilemma, and we came to this conclusion: It's good to not know the answer sometimes.
I tweeted this the other day, but I'm pretty sure that we cannot understand or explain the Gospel enough for salvation to occur. It's not up to our comprehension or eloquence; it's entirely Christ's work. I feel like showing kids our ignorance about some issues within Christianity shows them that there's not some point they have to reach to be a Christian. They don't have to understand or learn enough. You don't have to get the Trinity before you can be a Christian. Because, as Christians, we will never fully understand God. If we could, He wouldn't be God, right? I mean, He'd just be something cool that we thought of. No, by nature of His being God, He has to be more than we can comprehend. So I think it's good to let our kids see us not knowing everything.
Anyway, other than that, I am taking an online class, and it's awful. And We have been playing a lot of this game called Quarriors. It is pretty nerdy and has a lot of dice. My campers are adorable and fun. I have been writing letters! One of the goals I set for myself at the beginning of the summer was to write letters, and tomorrow, I will have sent letters to eight different states. Can you believe it?
Additionally, I have planted a garden, and it may have been my best idea yet. I have some beautiful bell peppers growing. Really gorgeous.
Well, that's pretty much it. If any of you need prayer for anything, let me know. I'd love to pray for you.
I hope you've had a great Fourth!

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Dreams So Crazy Ya Gotta Put 'Em On the Internet.

Warning: this blog is not for little children or for the faint of heart. Really though, if you don't want to hear about a pretty violent dream, stop right here.

Hi! I'm at the beach.
So, ever since school got out I have been having these real crazy dreams, and last night, my dream was particularly adventurous. This is what happened:
For some reason me and my Belmont friends were in some sort of Hunger Games-like situation where we had to kill each other. Oopsie. So I was standing at the sink in my bathroom at school and my roommate Emily was next to me, whom I totally trusted in this competition. And I heard someone sneak up behind me, so I drew my gun and turned around.
But I was too late. My friend Joshua was already there, and he shot me. Right throught the pupil of my eyeball. Crazy stuff. So that was pretty bad, but I really didn't want to die a slow painful death like that so I told him to shoot me again. So he shot me a bunch of times in my stomach. But it didn't really hurt, so I thought, "Well, I'll just go to work at the bookstore and eventually time will take its toll."
So I went to work, and I was restocking the shelves, and I did that for like an hour and I was still fine. So I thought, "Hey, maybe I still have a chance." So I decided to go the hospital. But no one would take me. And I had to keep begging people to take me to the hospital, and finally someone did, and I lived.
The End.

Pretty cool. Sorry if you didn't want to be a part of my crazy dream. I love having dreams like that, mostly because it's like having a crazy pretend life for a minute.
Hey! My friend leaves for Thailand today! He is going there to spread and learn about the glory of God. His name is Robert. Pray for him!

Sunday, April 29, 2012

A Thing or Two.

Hello, World.

I exist. Kind of. These last few weeks, I've just been thinking, "It will be so nice to exist again." Times have just been absolutely crazy around these Belmont parts. I have had enough work to fill the workload of at least 3 people, and I am tired. I won't go into the details of how late I've stayed up each night this week, but let's just say I was up til 5:30 three (3) nights last week, and one night I didn't go to sleep at all. Sorry. Wah wah wah.

Anyway, I am not writing to tell you about that. I am writing to tell you about how happy I am right now! I still have a bit more on my plate, but somehow I am just feeling so at peace at the moment. Which is funny because this has been a crazy day in a lot of different ways. So, I want to share some of the things that I am thankful for that are bringing me peace:

1. My friend Kristin, who is a mother of two and wife of one and is filled with absolutely ravishing wisdom, helped me. In a huge way. Which I know is vague, but I just have a lot on my plate, and she just started eating right alongside me. You guys don't know how much I love her. She has known me through a lot of different stages of my life and she still loves me. And she lets me love her kids. And she gets coffee with me, and she is one of the most marvelous things that God has put in my life.

2. Being a religion major. I had a study group with some of my religion major friends at Belmont tonight after having dinner at my religion professor's house, and I just feel so happy to be a part of the REL department. the professors are all so loving and care about each student, and the students are funny and fun and will order a pizza with you at ten o'clock at night. I am blessed to be a part. And I am glad that I got a new religion department shirt for absolute FREE.

3. I'm going home in a minute!! I am so excited to be with Kristin and my brother and my parents and Haley and Heather and all of my home friends! And I am excited to go to the beach, and see my dear friend Megan Brittney get married, and to throw her a party. Also I am excited to read the Lord of the Rings trilogy. I made a goal on my half birthday to read the whole series by the time I turn 20. I can do it!

On a slightly different note, something that is true about my God is that He is in control of suffering. Sometimes he uses suffering to work for His glory and for our good. Sometimes we endure trials of various kinds, and while sometimes that is from the devil, sometimes it is, in fact, God growing in us. People often disagree with this by saying that "Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above" (James 1). But I think that being a Christian demands a redefinition of the word "good." I think there's something that people don't understand when they read verses like that one in James 1 and another that says "For those who love God, all things work together for good" (Romans 8:28). The problem is what does good mean?

Well, based on the life of Paul, and Peter, and pretty much every apostle, good doesn't mean comfortable, healthy, or even alive. Paul's life was certainly not comfortable or healthy (2 Corinthians 11), and most of the apostles ended up dead.

So if good doesn't mean any of the things we usually interpret it as, what does it mean? Well, we know that God is working for His own glory, and that He mercifully lets us be a part of that (Isaiah 43:25). So what were we created for? To glorify God. And I believe that the most fulfilled a person can feel is when they are doing what they were created to do. When you are being used in the way you were intended to be used, that is when you are happiest. So, as humans designed specifically to magnify the glory or the Lord, the ultimate good for us would be to glorify God.

So I believe that when the Lord promises our "good," He is not promising a life free of sickness or poverty, or even free of death (for God never promises us safety), but that He is promising us, if we will accept it, a life full of purpose. Mmmm. Rest in that.

And if you call on him as Father who judges impartially according to each one's deeds, conduct yourselves with fear throughout the time of your exile, knowing that you were ransomed from the futile ways inherited from your forefathers, not with perishable things such as silver or gold, but with the precious blood of Christ, like that of a lamb without blemish or spot.
1 Peter 1:17-19.

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Simmer Down.

I have been having all of the emotions.

This week I have been sad. (No need to get into all the gory details.) (Not that gory.)
I have been antsy. (On account of I like plans, and sometimes I don't know what God is planning.)
I have been peaceful. (Like a river, like the rain.)
I have been scared. (Again, with the plans.)
I have been at rest. (In the Lord's sovereignty.)
I have been silly. (Sort of my schtick.)
I have been pensive. (Not usually my schtick.)
I have been excited. (To find out what the Lord is brewing, for my heart and for my hands and for His glory.)

But right now takes the cake. Right now I am overjoyed. One of my very best friends, Haley LeighAnn Richter, just got the approval for Zimbabwe, meaning that she is finally, finally, in the Lord's sovereign timing, going to be an official missionary in Africa. Haley is a missions lady, and she belongs to the Lord, and she takes beautiful, breathtaking pictures, and most of all she has a heart that can fit almost anything inside of it. She loves with reckless abandon, which I envy. And the Lord is about to use all of these gifts and talents He has given her and all of her weaknesses in the way that she has anticipated since she was born into His family.
My cup is overflowing. I am overwhelmed in the glory of the Lord's favor. I am so happy to see this go down.
Anyway, pray for Haley. She's moving to Zimbabwe in August, and the Lord is brewing, brewing, brewing a mighty storm of His goodness.

Praise Him!

And this song is all I'm thinking: Love Him in the noontime.

Thursday, January 26, 2012

Some Thursday Words.

I am not one to often just throw up quotes from people, or maybe I am, but Hemingway is quickly becoming my best friend, and competition is, perhaps maybe you could say, a vice of mine.

There is nothing noble in being superior to your fellow man; true nobility is being superior to your former self. 
~Ernest Hemingway 

Sunday, January 22, 2012

Opples & Banonos.

Things I am excited about:

1. The Maple Girls Bible Study beginning Thursday night. I am so excited about the girls who are coming and what we are doing. Praise Jesus for answering prayers.

2. I went to my first Mass with my friend Bea tonight. It was really cool. I can't believe I've gone almost twenty years without ever doing Mass. It was so cool to be a part.

3. I'm going to the Dominican Republic in March with my brother Logan. We are going to see the Littles, who are an amazing family pursuing the Lord and serving him in the DR. We would love it if you would pray for us. You don't know how much we would appreciate it. We even have a list if you need guidance in your prayers. Here she blows:

  • The Little family as they continue to adjust to life in the Dominican and as they continue to develop relationships with the children they are teaching.
  • Our ability to be an effective help and encouragement to the Littles in our time there.
  • That we would walk in a manner worthy of the calling to which we are called, both leading up to this trip, on this trip, and in our lives in general.
  • That we would have the humility to love in deed and love in truth.
  • That this trip will be all and only about God’s glory.
4. Secret Church. Duh.

5. The fact that now, in my Greek class, my teacher has started just assigning Bible verses to translate for homework. It's so cool.

6. Apples. I am eating them like it's my job. They are just so delightful. What a glorious crunch!

7. Lastly I am excited about prayer. God answers it. Which just blows my mind. Prayer is such a beautiful privilege. It is such a delight. And something that I regularly realize anew is that I don't pray like I believe in the power of prayer, or even in the power of the Lord. But then I'll realize that however hopeless a case may seem, God is powerful enough to shift it entirely. Often I find myself in the face of an unsurmountable issue, for example abortion, and I feel so useless because I can't think of a thing to do to stop it. And then I realize that prayer is perhaps the most powerful thing I can do. So I am committing to spending more time in prayer, particularly for global and national issues. Boom.


Saturday, January 21, 2012

Nertz Is A Verb.

Today I was riding my scooter to work the desk at Maple, and my glasses kept fogging up because of the speed + the cold. Pretty dangerous. Also, we played Sardines last night for my beautiful friend Anneke's birthday. It was so intense and fun and then my friends and I played Nertz (or maybe Nerts) til all hours.