Saturday, October 31, 2009


(aka outing myself just a teensy bit ;o)

“The New Testament doctrine of ministry rests therefore not on the clergy-laity distinction but on the twin and complementary pillars of the priesthood of all believers and the gifts of the Spirit. Today, four centuries after the Reformation, the full implications of this Protestant affirmation have yet to be worked out. The clergy-laity dichotomy is a direct carry-over from pre-Reformation Roman Catholicism and a throwback to the Old Testament priesthood. It is one of the principal obstacles to the church effectively being God’s agent of the Kingdom today because it creates a false idea that only “holy men,” namely, ordained ministers, are really qualified and responsible for leadership and significant ministry. In the New Testament there are functional distinctions between various kinds of ministries but no hierarchical division between clergy and laity.”

~Dr. Howard Snyder

“Increasing institutionalism is the clearest mark of early Catholicism—when church becomes increasingly identified with institution, when authority becomes increasingly coterminous with office, when a basic distinction between clergy and laity becomes increasingly self-evident, when grace becomes increasingly narrowed to well-defined ritual acts … such features were absent from first generation Christianity, though in the second generation the picture was beginning to change.”

~James D. G. Dunn

half empty, half full, or maybe the apocalypse

"I think we're in a cultural period that celebrates mass appeal and democracy and devalues experts. I'd bet that more people read Amazon reviews than the New York Times Book Review. More people check Yelp for restaurant recommendations than a city's local restaurant critic. People don't particularly listen to the judges when they vote for their favorites on American Idol and they certainly don't listen to movie critics when they decide which movies to see. The Internet has opened up all kinds of ways for the crowd to be king.
"...And I think this has resulted in a cultural moment that celebrates mass appeal rather than the elite."

--Nathan Bransford

Agreements? Dissensions? Confusions? Predictions? Apersions? Self-aggrandizements? Cookies?

Thursday, October 22, 2009

book comments 19

Shorter than usual! Because I haven't let 'em pile up this time! Zoinks!

"The Angel of Darkness" by Caleb Carr
Characters from Carr's wonderful "The Alienist" return to solve the case of an abducted child.
--set in the late 1800s, when psychology was a new field and much of the "science" was guesswork and superstition
--particularly interesting because the antagonist suffers from Munchausen syndrome by proxy
--fascinating look at New York City in 1897--the city itself, its people, and their mindsets
--vivid, realistic, engaging characters, with an endearing narrator whose voice is *perfect* for this story
I skimmed some of the longer descriptions of places and high society people, but otherwise remained engrossed in the tale.
--highly recommend, especially to anyone interested in psychology and/or historical fiction

"Redeeming Love" by Francine Rivers
Ah me, there are SO many hurt people in my life who I wish could read this book.
--story of the biblical Hosea, set in 1850s goldrush California
--main character is a former prostitute named Angel: baggage, attitude, and strength/weakness
--story of a human trying to leave an old, terrible life behind --> something we all can relate to
--story of sacrifice; self-sacrificial love; how bitterness and envy can poison an entire family; idolatry in marriage; the human struggle oftentimes *against* grace; the pain of accepting redemption
This story will tear your heart out, rip it to shreds, and then put it seamlessly back together with Love.
--highly recommend

The Mortal Instruments, Book Two: City of Ashes" by Cassandra Clare
--sequel to "City of Bones," which I commented on here
--fast-paced, fun, smart, sexy read
--engaging characters, fascinating modern fantasy setting
--*better than the first one!!!* I only had the editing urge ONE time! ;o)
--highly recommend to fantasy fans or to those who read the first book

2009 Book Count To-Date: 36

courtney in 2010

I Googled the above in order to find out what my life will be in the year 2010--at least, according to the Internet. Here are ten results that best translated into predictions (minus all Courtney Love references, kthx):

Courtney in 2010

1. Courtney at the Pittsburgh Combine.

2. Courtney in Congress.

3. Courtney won't run for governor.
Of course not. I'll be in Congress. Duh.

4. Courtney is excited to start working with you!
Hopefully, you is a literary agent. ;o)

5. Courtney advances to the state competition, set in January.

6. Courtney is going to do awesome things!
You betcha!

7. Courtney would like to pack up her car and drive your way and sing in your town.
I'm game. Absolutely. Let's book it!

8. Courtney's future will probably include more school and hopefully some traveling and writing as well.
Odds bodkins, you better believe it!

9. Courtney is touring Australia from January 8th to February 15th!

10. Courtney is not gonna talk as much.
Oh. Bummer.


That's cuz I'ma be writin', fool!

2010 is gonna be an exciting year. CRAMAZING!!! ;oD

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

RE: movies kids shouldn't see

"As with most parenting issues, it's probably wiser to inspect what children will be exposed to beforehand, rather than complaining about it afterward."

--Matt Ufford
Yahoo! Movies
October 20, 2009

Sunday, October 18, 2009

God knows kids screw up

I currently don't have the mental energy to give this subject the time and analysis it deserves. So, please to be forgiving the slapdash feel of these thoughts. ;o)

I've been thinking a lot lately about this:

In the denomination in which I grew up, either I was taught, or I absorbed as though through osmosis, that mistakes and sins are the same thing.

They are not.

Sometimes, I do the wrong thing for the simple reason that I am a human being.

I am a child who has not yet acquired all the necessary skills for leading a life free from mistakes.

I understand the difference between good and evil. But sometimes, I just don't know any better than to do something. Sometimes, I just make a mistake. It's not a sin. It just wasn't the right decision.

Like I said, there's more to it than this, but that's all I have brainpower for right now.

Ending thusly:

"God knows quite well how hard we find it to love Him more than anyone or anything else, and He won't be angry with us as long as we are trying. And He will help us."

--C.S. Lewis
in Letters to Children, 6 May 1955
(Emphasis mine)

Saturday, October 10, 2009

crazy english redux

Originally blogged April 9, 2006; decided to unearth it for entertainment purposes.

No languages were harmed in the making of this blopgost. CAVEAT EMPTOR: The use of adverbs abounded.

The following bits of great literature came into being on the Oklahoma Christian University "Singing Campaign" of June 2001. Several of us were playing a language game in which each player contributes a part of a sentence without knowing what the other players are contributing. As in:

Player A contributes a subject ("The handcuffs"),
Player B contributes a verb ("gargled"),
Player C contributes an object ("pimentos"),
and Player D contributes an adverb ("symbiotically").

Players may add other adverbs, adverbial phrases, adjectives, and so forth, as long as the structure of the sentence remains intact. Here are some sentences that came together in strange ways on that starlit night so long ago:

A blunt elephant awakens delicately.

4,000,362 slimy heifers bebop coke repeatedly.

The juicy squirrels rang manure radically.

Some magical Martians snorted river cautiously.

Your mama’s shrunken sludge dances vomit lovingly.

The Saran-wrapped amoeba strangled fever blisters.

Its unwilling dough wore pimples authoritatively.

Mike’s infected Thumbelina impaled puppies slowly.

My swollen blue suede shoes defecated coconuts.

April’s peanut butter jar beheld toxic waste creepingly.

With blackest moss, the other Deutschmark stabbed Romanoffs with ease.

Thy radical snot gulped hamsters alluringly.

Rupert’s clairvoyant slug plucked tongues boldly.

Satan’s slutty cheese cake slurped turtles on the highest rooftops.

Surprisingly enough, our milky busts curtsied pustules right on task.

Tomorrow, flamboyant lace will flatulate kabobs happily.

Russia’s flat hairballs created toilet tingling.

The parole violators’ amazed horny toad blew rafters with great linguistic skill.

On the poop deck, our objective booty crushed dried linguini like a goose in heat.

Eight crunchy handkerchiefs serenade egg drop soup like redneck Olympics.

With the absolute possibility, spoonlike cowboys cut snot rockets while smelling like a stinky tube sock.

Unbeknownst to us, many underground headless horsemen slammed bellybutton lint so well, it would’ve made you cry.

Like sands in the hour glass, strikingly handsome mold slaughtered jazz hands while dancing like a 5-year-old on purple crack.

--April Wooldridge Everhart, Courtney Cantrell, Matt Barger, Mike Antwine, and others, June 2001.

Tuesday, October 06, 2009

throwing sand

On my brisk autumn walk this afternoon, I walked down the canal on Village Road. Or Village Drive. Village Something, anyway. But before I digress, allow me to progress. Three boys were playing in the canal, all probably eight years old. As I approached, one of them climbed out of the canal to join his friend on the bank. The third one stayed below.

"Hi," said the boy in the striped shirt as I passed by.

"Hi," said I. "Having fun?"


"Good deal."

I continued on, not expecting further conversation. But then I heard a bright voice pipe up behind me. So, still walking, I half-turned to look.

It was the second boy, the little blond one. "I'm just throwing sand," he informed me, matching action to words.

I chuckled. "That sounds fun, too."

The little blond one looked at me one more time, then scattered another handful of glittering sand as he pronounced: "I lost all my strength just getting up here."

I don't remember what I said in response, but it doesn't matter. I fell in love with that kid right then and there. Because isn't that just how it is sometimes? We lose all our strength just getting up there, so all that is left to us is to throw sand with big smiles on our faces, thereby brightening the lives of strangers (mayhap friends yet unknown) who're passing by.


Saturday, October 03, 2009

book comments 18

Preamble that is not a preamble.

"Gods Tomorrow" by Aaron Pogue
--sci-fi, set in the near future in which all human activity is recorded (video and audio)
--strong, engaging main character in Katie, part of an FBI team that tracks down people who manage to get themselves off-camera and off-audio
--first in a series
--brilliant concept, engaging characters, vivid world-building
--an almost scary marker pointing toward a very believable possible future
--The concept is somewhat Orwellian, but far more accessible, if that makes any sense. Aaron himself calls it a "beach read," without meaning to disparage his own story, and I agree: You could read this for fun in your free time and just enjoy it for the sheer, non-stop adventure of it all...or, so choosing, you could let your mind consider the deeper implications--both for the world at large and for yourself personally.
--I devoured the book twice and was just as captured by the author's storying skill the second time through.
--I'm not just saying all this because Aaron's my friend. It's all true, and if you don't believe me, we'll just see who's right after Aaron gets published and takes the world by storm. So there.
--The movie is gonna be CRAMAZING.
--highly recommend


"Expectation" by Aaron Pogue
--fun, hook-you-with-the-first-line, leave-you-wanting-more second novel in Aaron's "Gods Tomorrow" series
--further (mis?)adventures of Katie, who just can't seem to get any downtime ;o)
--even better than the first book--and not just because the future of humanity is at stake, either
--clears up a few things about Katie's past....and, of course, inspires more questions about the same...and about her future...and...and.... *sigh*
--very strong writing (seemingly effortless), giving the reader maximum "info" without unnecessary wordage
--This one has a worrisome love triangle to engage the girl in me. ;oD
--This one especially makes me want to have a Martin in my life--or even a (limited?) Hathor. To understand that remark, you're just gonna hafta wait and read. ;o)
--highly recommend

"The Mortal Instruments, Book One: City of Bones" by Cassandra Clare
--paranormal YA fantasy set in present-day world
--basic story sounds has-done: normal girl Clary stumbles onto "magical" world and finds out she's not as ordinary as she thought
--BUT. The author takes a fresh tack on the magical world, which saves the story from been-there-done-that-ness.
--enjoyable, easy read, vivid characters, strong writing
--I wanted to edit some adverbs several times throughout, but that might just be personal preference talking. ;o)
--I will be reading the sequel.
--recommend to anyone who enjoys the genre

"From The Corner of His Eye" by Dean Koontz
--thriller revolving around good people to whom bad things happen, a psycho who's evil and not as smart as he thinks he is but still smart enough to be deadly to Our Heroes, and spiritual themes that make this, in my opinion, one of the most significant novels ever written
--spiritual theme, summarized in a line which I have adopted as a tag in this blog and as one of my personal goals/mantras: "Brighten the corner where you are, and you will light the world."
--wound up in quantum theory, cause & effect (as in, effect coming before cause, "spooky effects at a distance"), n-dimensions, and the interconnectedness of every point in the universe
--And at the same time, you've got flawed protagonists just trying to make something beautiful while being pursued by one of the creepiest, most arrogant, most believable villains ever.
--Don't tell me that all of this doesn't make you want to read this book. ;o)
--This was my second read-through of this novel, and I've decided this is my favorite Koontz.
--highly recommend

"Catching Fire" by Suzanne Collins
--brilliant sequel to "The Hunger Games," which I mentioned here, and which is being made into a movie, let the people say OH YEAH.
--picks up where Hunger Games left off, with Katniss trying to adjust to life back in District 12--with little success and with new threats from the government looming
--But. No spoilers from me. Just know that it's a fun, easy, engaging, make-you-think read.
--UPDA. I read it in two days. ;o)
--highly recommend

"The Ruins" by Scott Smith
--present-day thriller set in Mexican jungle, revolving around hapless tourists apparently being held captive by crazy Mayans
--Or are they?
--Something's mos def after these people...but again, no spoilers from me. ;o)
--strong, vivid writing, style flows very well
--The characterization kind of threw me--very different from what I'm used to reading. Point-of-view contributed to the oddness: POV was from four main characters, but it was like an omniscient narrator was inside each character's head. I'm sure there's a technical term for this, but it escapes me. Anyway...the narrator never intrudes, really; the reader just gets occasional hints of things that the characters might or might not realize.
--Both female MCs annoyed me a lot of the time--mostly the negativity and cluelessness. But they had enough redeeming qualities to keep me from hating them outright. ;o)
--definitely UPDA
--recommend--highly, to anyone who enjoys thrillers--but prepare to be grossed out ;o)

That's all for this round. I haven't been reading as voraciously since my last blogged comments--but the ones I have read have been good ones. Guess I need to get my hands on some PDAs**--no, not what you're thinking! lol --to gain some perspective.

Or not. ;oD

2009 Book Count To-Date: 33

*UPDA = UnPutDownAble

**PDAs = PutDownAbles