Category Archives: Testimonials

Life Update

I’m not sure if anyone still reads this blog. I wouldn’t know how one would these days. Is Feedly still a thing? Do people keep up with RSS feeds anymore? I imagine that those who still follow me on Twitter might see a link to this pop up once I post it. But anyway…

So I’ve been up to a lot. I met a beautiful young woman last year and we began dating but knew almost immediately that we were meant for one another. So last week, yes, seven days ago today, I married this beautiful creature. We enjoyed a lovely honeymoon on a cruise and arrived home this Friday past. We’ve spent the weekend getting the house ready for cohabitation. There’s still plenty to do! Just today my lovely bride and her two daughters moved in with me and my daughter. So I am now living with four, I repeat FOUR women! It’s going to be a wild ride!

That’s the big news. In smaller matters I’m still the associate pastor of my church New Hope Fellowship. I’m still earning a living as a barber/barbershop manager. We’ve since moved our business location a few doors down in the same plaza. I like the new space much better.

I have moved all of the books out of my bedroom and into my office, which I plan to convert into more of a library than an office, although it will still have a desk and my computer(s). Although I haven’t made much time to read anything other than the Bible I’ve still been purchasing books. I hope when things settle down and I have the house the way that I want it I’ll be able to start reading regularly and perhaps even set aside some time to blog about what I’ve been reading.

I’ve seen a ton of movies since I’ve last been active on the interwebs but I doubt I’ll have much to say about any of them. Maybe one day I’ll bang out a quick movie notes post. But yeah, that’s about it. Work, marriage, family, church, house. Not much else happening. I’m looking forward to all that God has in store. And of course I’ll be posting pictures once the library is complete!

B”H

 

What I’ve Been Up To…

In a word: work. I’ve been working. A lot. Like 70 hours a week. For over a year. It’s been lucrative. It has. Really. But it doesn’t afford me much time to do pretty much anything. Except church that is. There’s Sunday service and Wednesday evening Bible study. I do that too and when I’m there there’s a few things I do to help the service run smoothly. So I’ve been busy. Really busy.

The business of life hasn’t afforded me much time to blog. Not because blogging takes that much time, but rather because I’m occupied with things that don’t give me as much time to think of the things that make for good blog fodder. Make sense? I used to have a bunch of time to read and review books. I don’t have that any more. I used to have a bunch of time to study Scripture and reflect on it. I don’t have that any more (although rest assured I still read my Bible).

For a while I was keeping my reading audience abreast of what books I’ve been ordering and receiving (that’s right folks, I’m exclusively buying books these days!) but that’s been mostly relegated to my social media outlets, If I even keep up with it there. The truth is that my addictive personality has struck again and I’ve added a new addiction to the repertoire. Sneakers. But not just sneakers in general, rather Jordan 1s in particular.

I’ve never been a Jordan guy. I was always a Knicks fan so wearing Jordans back in the day was never a thought in my mind and I’ve not been a fan of the various iterations of his shoes anyway. But I do like the 1s because they’re really just Nikes. They got their design language from the Air Force 1, which is undoubtedly my favorite sneaker of all time. But I digress… Anyway, after never having owned a pair of Jordans I now own 7 with plans to get more in the very near future. I’d like to stop but being the way I am I probably won’t.

I’ve also taken up comic book reading. After consulting with my friend Bryan L. a few months back I subscribed to Marvel Unlimited and I have access to thousands of comics on my iPad. I’ve been reading the Civil War series and it’s pretty good. Quite a bit different than the last Captain America film, which I loved, but still good.

And there’s the beat making. It’s slowed a bit but I still dabble. I really do have to post some of the stuff I’ve made. One day…

Oh, and then there’s my daughter. She’s in high school now which means she wants nothing to do with dear old dad so I have to take every moment I can spend with her and spend it. Consequently, I have to take every waking moment to fight off the depression of being old enough to have a daughter in high school! Just kidding. I don’t get depressed. I’ve got the joy joy joy joy down in my heart, (where?) down in my heart, (where?) down in my heart…

So that’s it in a nutshell. I’d like to talk politics real soon but I have a sneaking suspicion that I won’t. Until then…

B”H

Just Ordered (It’s a Long Story)

So here’s the deal. The other day I got an email talking about same day shipping for Amazon Prime members on select items and orders over $35. I decided to put it to the test so I ordered God the Trinity: Biblical Portraits by Malcolm Yarnell and Ministry in the Image of God: The Trinitarian Shape of Christian Service by Stephen Seamands. I also ordered Metal Gear Solid V.

Now this was on a Sunday and I was skeptical that I’d get my stuff that same day. I was right to be skeptical. Nighttime rolled in and no delivery. I tracked the package and it said that the company LaserShip “attempted” delivery. The problem is that I was home and they did no such thing. I contacted Amazon customer service and the woman on the phone tried to contact the delivery company but they were closed. So I’d have to wait until today for my shipment.

Well today came and I didn’t find a package when I got home from work around 9pm. I tracked it again and LaserShip said they delivered it to the front door. Another lie. There was nothing at my front door or either of my next door neighbors’ front doors. LaserShip is awful! Completely dishonest and I’m disappointed in Amazon for using them. So I contacted customer support again and they told me to give it until tomorrow. If I don’t have my items by then they’ll either ship new ones or issue a refund. Whatever the outcome, this has been incredibly annoying.

I also ordered the following books from Wipf & Stock just a few moments ago:

How To Read T. F. Torrance by Elmer Colyer

Communion with the Triune God by Dick O. Eugenio

Colin Gunton and the Failure of Augustine by Bradley G. Green

Perichoresis and Personhood by Charles C. Twombly

The Trinity Hurdle by R. Sutcliffe

Novatian of Rome and the Culmination of Pre-Nicene Orthodox by James L. Papandrea

Got My Keyboard Back

I don’t believe that I mentioned this but the keyboard I got a couple months back to make music with broke after having it for only a month. I came home from work one day, turned it on, and was met with a non-functioning piece of hardware. I couldn’t return it to B&H whom I bought it from because it broke on day 32. They have a 30 day return policy. So I had to go through the manufacturer warranty process.

I contacted Akai once with no answer. I contacted them again with no answer. After a week or so I got two emails from different representatives. One contained instructions on what to do to see if I could get the keyboard working. It didn’t help. So I contacted that rep and told him it didn’t work. No answer, for like two weeks. So I contacted the other one and explained what happened. He responded promptly with instructions on how to get the whole thing going.

So I printed out the address label provided and spent $30 of my own money to ship the thing to one of their repair centers. The other day I got the paperwork on what was wrong (it was something on the circuit board) and what was done to fix it. They promptly shipped it back and now it’s in my possession. I’ll be plugging it in shortly to make sure everything is working properly and then I can get back to my burgeoning career as a music producer.

Just thought I’d share.

B”H

An Inspirational Promo

I was just perusing the Westminster Bookstore website and I watched their quick promo video. Aside from being impressed by the production quality I was inspired by the vision and mission of the bookstore itself. It exists for more than to furnish students with the materials needed for their courses at WTS. It’s not just another bookstore in the niche theology market. It truly exists for the edification of God’s people. I never gave much consideration to the thought and care that goes into the decisions on which volumes to stock but I can assure you that I’ll never be able to not consider it again. I will be praying for this ministry (because that’s what it is) and I’ll be making a more concerted effort to support them with my spending even if I pay a dollar or two more at the end of the day. Here’s the video that inspired me:

B”H

Nothing on the Other Side

When I was very active in the biblioblogging community there were more than a handful of folks I’d interact with on a regular basis. I still have contact with many of them through Twitter (and even this blog I suppose) but some I lost track of. Every now and again I’ll think back on a conversation I had in the comments to a blog post and wonder whatever happened to so-and-so.

I woke up this morning and thought about a fellow named Drew Tatusko. Last I remember, Drew was maintaining a blog called Notes from Off Center. So I thought I’d Google Drew and see what he’s been up to. After a few clicks I found that he has a new blog called Mind Squirrel and I came across a post entitled “Living Lent Free.” In this post Drew has announced that nearly a year ago he decided to give up on God. I’ll let you read the whole thing and form your own thoughts but I thought to myself, “wow, that’s a shame.”

I’ve contemplated abandoning faith quite a few times over the years but in the end I always come to the same conclusion: there’s nothing on the other side. Forget trite notions like happiness. I can be relatively happy without being Christian. In fact, I used to be exactly that. I can’t say that I’m any happier as a Christian. I still get frustrated and angry and have bad days just like I did before God saved me. The day to day affairs of life haven’t gotten any easier since I’ve become a believer; in many ways things are more difficult now.

Fear isn’t a motivator either. I have no fear about looking stupid for renouncing my beliefs. There was a time when I told people that I was God and I said it with a straight face. I had all kinds of thoughts about the universe and life and they were almost all incorrect. It wasn’t a big deal for me to say I was wrong when I found out that I was and it wouldn’t be a big deal now. I’d add that I really don’t fear letting people down either. People are resilient; they’d get over my apostasy. Plenty of folks have disappointed us but life goes on.

And while I’m on the subject of fear I’ll admit that the initial fear of hell is what got me into a church but it’s not the main thing that keeps me in one (I definitely don’t want to go to hell though). I used to work with a kid who said that if death bed confessions of faith were possible (and I certainly believe that they are) then he couldn’t see why everyone wouldn’t just wait until then to become believers. My response was that he was laboring under the assumption that sin was better than salvation. It’s not. Sin is bondage.

The fact is that I’m free in Christ. With this freedom comes a joy that I didn’t have before, and I do differentiate that joy from happiness. This freedom also brings a peace that I didn’t have prior to faith. It also gives me hope and confidence and motivation to do things that are pleasing to God and helpful to others. I wish the folks who read my blog could have known me before Christ. I was a selfish, arrogant, lying, stealing, cheating jerk. And that’s the mild way of putting it.

Now when I’ve contemplated leaving the faith I’ve thought about what life would be like and I’ve come to the conclusion that it would be horrible. I suppose I could fool myself into thinking that I could be a good dude without God in my life. The truth is that I couldn’t. I wouldn’t even want to try. If anything, I think I’d be worse now than I was then. I’m a lot older and have a lot more life experience and could use all of that to be even more manipulative than I was (which was pretty ridiculously manipulative). I couldn’t imagine what I’d find meaning in to be honest. If I wasn’t a Christian then I’d be a nihilist.

But the reality is that once I know something is true I can’t un-know it. I can only lie to myself and try to believe something else. I know God exists. That’s never gonna change. I know that the Father sent his Son into the world to live, suffer, die, and rise again so that I could be freed from the bondage of sin. I know that all sounds very Christian; like I’m just rehearsing a script. Well it is, and I am, but only because I know that the Christian Scriptures are true. I can’t un-know that. I’ve seen the objections and arguments against my beliefs and when weighed in the balance I’ve found them wanting. There really is nothing on the other side.

 B”H

I Missed International Septuagint Day

I meant to post this yesterday but I got held up at work. I think it was roughly 2005 or 2006 when I became interested in the academic study of the Bible and related literature. I had been a believer for a few years at this point but until then my library consisted of a KJV and an NIV. I’d read both voraciously, which was great (I miss those days!), but there came a point when I needed to supplement my study of the Bible in English.

The first two resources I got my hands on were the New Oxford Annotated Apocrypha, 3rd ed. and Sir Lancelot Charles Lee Brenton’s translation of the Septuagint, which was a diglot containing both the Greek text alongside Brenton’s translation. I procured both books from Walmart and this was my entry into a deeper study of the Scriptures.

I still have that Septuagint, and while I mostly consult my Rahlfs-Hanhart edition these days (or an electronic text in Accordance), it’s nice to pull it down off the shelf and flip through it just to reminisce. Brenton’s was the only English translation of the LXX I knew for years until the NETS came to my attention. I believe it was my brother-from-another-mother Esteban Vázquez and our friend Kevin Edgecomb that first informed me about the NETS, and while I’ve never gotten my hands on a physical copy, I have made use of a PDF copy as well as the edition provided in Accordance.

I’ve said all this to say that the LXX is at the foundation of my love for biblical studies and theology. It was there right at the beginning and it will remain close at hand until the end.

Λύχνος τοῖς ποσίν μου ὁ λόγος σου
καὶ φῶς ταῖς τρίβοις μου.

Your word is a lamp to my feet
and a light to my paths.

Psalm 118 (119):105

B”H