Saturday, December 13, 2008

16 Random Things About Me

This post has been prompted by a similar note of the same title which I recieved on facebook from a friend. Usually, I'm not inclined to do things like this because I am not particularly clever at thinking up random things about myself that I think other people will find interesting and I usually don't want to put in the extra effort and time to try to make them interesting. At the current time, I definitely have plenty of other things I should be working on: we are in the process of closing on a house and getting ready to move, it is nearing Christmas time and I am pastor, well the list could go on and on. Ironically, it is probably due to the current chaos of my life that I am taking time to do something like this since it gives me some small measure of respite on a Saturday afternoon. Besides, I haven't written anything of a more personal nature on my blog for several weeks now. So here it goes...

1. I love being a daddy. I say this first of all just to reinforce what I said above about not being all that clever when it comes to being random. After all, this is something that all fathers are supposed to say. Nevertheless, there is a bit of randomness to this statement about myself mostly because it was unexpected for me. I never had any idea how much I would love being a father. Of course, I always thought there would be good things about having kids but I knew there would be not such great things too and overall, I was more or less ambivalent about the idea of kids. I wasn't against it. I just figured it would happen eventually and I was in no rush to get there. But now, I look forward to coming home every evening to find out what new and entertaining thing my daughter will do tonight. I love being her daddy.

2. I hate cliches. This comes to mind mostly because I realize how much of a cliche #1 is. But I really, really hate cliches. (I also hate that I don't know how to put the little accent line over the e in that word, only adding to my frustration with the word itself.) I especially hate it when people offer a cliche as if it is the most profound wisdom that has ever been uttered or as the final word on the matter. I find life to be messy, complex, chaotic, and disorganized and it annoys me when people either pretend that its not or just don't recognize it as such.

3. I love hiking but my wife is better at it than I am and we don't get to go nearly enough. I love being outside, especially in relatively remote and peaceful places. I think it is safe to say that I even regard such experiences as a spiritual discipline of sorts. The great thing about hiking is that it is the one athletic thing that my wife absolutely kicks my butt at. I don't know why. I just can't keep up with her. Although, there was this one time when we were hiking and Jess' shoes were hurting her feet so badly that I had to carry her half way down the mountain. I consider that one of the greatest physical feats of my life. Unfortunately, we don't get nearly enough chances to go on real mountainous hikes.

4. I might be the least musical person you'll ever meet. I can't sing. The only instrument I play is my iPod and I probably have fewer songs on it than most people you know. I tried piano when I was a kid but ulitmately decided that music speaks a language that I can barely understand.

5. I am discovering the shaping power of communities. The importance of community and its ability to shape people to be more like Christ is something that I have affirmed theologically for several years now. It was a major theme of my education at Eastern Nazarene College and Nazarene Theological Seminary. But now I feel its importance. I am experiencing the importance of community because I can feel how my current community is shaping me to be a different person than I have been up to this point in my life. Of course, the other communities I've been a part of have shaped me profoundly. Its not that Clinton First Church of the Nazarne is shaping me any more than my family, my home church, ENC, or NTS did although it is shaping me in very determinative ways. Its simply that now having been a part of these different communities I can see how each one has redirected my life and reshaped me as a person immensely. Of course, some of the influence of these communities has to do with other aspects of my life only tangentially related to those communities themselves. For example, being married influenced my time at ENC and NTS, having a daughter has influenced me since being here in Clinton, and my role in each of those communities has been an important factor as well(student vs. pastor). But apart from these life changing factors, I can see how the communities themselves have had and are having a profound impact on who I am.

6. I really enjoy taking pictures, mostly of nature. Although, I can't really say I'm a photographer, not even an amateur one. In that sense, the digital camera, along with its editing software is a good friend of mine. My wife says I have an obsession with taking pictures of the sky.
7. I like pizza, cheeseburgers, and Chipotle burritos way too much. As a result, I am about 40 pounds heavier than I was when I got married. I used to balance my bad eating habits with ridiculous amounts of exercise but as there are more and more demands on my time I find it difficult to exercise as much as I used to. I guess that means my eating habits will have to change eventually.

8. Only half way there and I'm already having trouble thinking of things. My wife is the one who should really be doing this. She just said "I think I would need more than 16."

9. I would really like to see Israel, Greece, and Rome someday. For now, my travel records include only places between Toronto and Belize, the East Coast and Kansas. However, those records will soon include a trip to the Western Carribean which I am excited about.

10. I am unwittingly like a ninja. Completely by accident, I am constantly entering rooms so quietly that I scare people out of their skin when they suddenly realize I am there. My wife and my church secretary are my most frequent victims. If I ever leave the ministry maybe....

11. Actually, if for some strange reason I ever did leave the ministry I have no idea what other career I would find. I've spent the last 8 years of my life studying theology. I don't have any other skills! Good thing I like what I do and I believe its what God has called me to.

12. I can throw a frisbee further than you would think a frisbee could be thrown.

13. I enjoy reading and learning for learning's sake. I don't feel like everything I learn has to be immediately relevant or pragmatic, especially when it comes to theology. I think the most profoundly true thoughts that I've read or heard are the ones that may initially apear to be esoteric abstractions but actually turn out to have vast implications for the Church and the Christian life. Of course, some of those esoteric abstractions are just worthless distractions and vain words that have to be sifted through to find the real gems. Often, I enjoy the process of sifting as much as the gems themselves because there is learning in both.

14. I once averaged 19 points a game in a pretty competitive January term basketball league in college. The next year I was horrible but I was on a really good team and we won the championship. Both experiences were fun.

15. I hate Wal-mart! For a lot of different reasons too. Unfortunately, I find it to be a necessary part of my existence.

16. Every year, it seems like I feel more and more acutely aware of how badly our world needs for God's kingdom to come.


Jeremy D. Scott said...

So at least you know what you do on a Saturday night when you have no sermon the next morning, eh?

I can't believe how many of those resonate with me. Noting our paths, this might not be surprising. But one I'll mention that's particularly interesting is #15. I can't stand it...yet it's so much better for my family.

What to do...?

Joy of Advent to you,
- J

Ryan Ardrey said...

It took you all the way until number 12 to mention frisbee? Doesn't that rank right up there with being a dad and hiking?

I hope you're doing well.

Ryan A.