Sunday, January 15, 2012

Waiting...

I'm sitting in my hotel room waiting for Ed and Brian to arrive. I expected them before this, so I figure if I start writing a blog entry they'll come almost instantly. For those of you who don't know every detail of my life, Brian is my boss and the president of Qp3 Training Systems. Ed is the senior trainer. I've known both of them since I was thirteen years old (Ed was the youth leader of a Christian group that Brian and I attended).

Anyway, Brian is here just for a few days -- to be sure that everything runs smoothly in my facility because it's our first time there. Ed and I will be teaching the same thing at the same time in two different locations. I'm not sure what we're doing today -- we have to run over to Ed's training center to get some papers that I'll need for tomorrow, but otherwise I don't know what's going on. I really don't want to hang out and watch football, although that is probably what they will do. I have food to eat in my room (although I need iced tea), so I may run around with them for a bit and then bow out.

What I'd like to do is stay in my room and get completely ready for tomorrow. I've done this a hundred times, but I still think I'm going to forget everything when I get up there to teach. And Brian will be watching me tomorrow! (He doesn't make me nervous, though, really. I HAVE done this a hundred times, after all.)

I have some paperwork to do; I usually leave it until Tuesday or Wednesday because I don't teach on those days. The students will be shuttled over to Ed's training facility and a respiratory therapist will teach them the clinical portions of their training for those two days. I will sit in the conference room and make up my files, set up my grade sheet, get my expenses up to date, get the student summaries set up, etc. And -- I have a rolling filing cabinet that looks like a mini-tornado has been through it. Seriously. One of my goals this trip is to fix that. Oh -- I have a new video camera that I have to know how to use by Saturday. That's definitely on the agenda.

Have I mentioned that I am reading Orthodoxy by G. K. Chesterton (or "Gilbert Keith," as I like to call him)? There is a certain way of writing that was so evident at the beginning of the last century (and particularly by Englishmen) that Chesterton does in spades. It's wonderful, glorious, smart, witty -- amazing, really. Let me share with you an example (it's kind of long-ish, but fabulous):

The truth is that there is a real humility typical of our time; but it so happens that it is practically a more poisonous humility than the wildest prostrations of the ascetic. The old humility was a spur that prevented a man from stopping; not a nail in his boot that prevented him from going on. For the old humility made a man doubtful about his efforts, which might make him work harder.

But the new humility makes a man doubtful about his aims, which will make him stop working altogether.

At any street corner we may meet a man who utters the frantic and blasphemous statement that he may be wrong. Every day one comes across somebody who says that of course his view may not be the right one. Of course his view must be the right one, or it is not his view. We are on the road to producing a race of men too mentally modest to believe in the multiplication table.

We are in danger of seeing philosophers who doubt the law of gravity as being a mere fancy of their own. Scoffers of old time were too proud to be convinced; but these are too humble to be convinced.

The meek do inherit the earth; but the modern sceptics are too meek even to claim their inheritance. It is exactly this intellectual helplessness which is our second problem.


Do you see what I mean? I love that. I love the multiplication-table line especially. And doesn't it sound like today? If this was a problem in Chesterton's day (he published this in 1908) we can surely say that the more things change, the more they stay the same. We call it "multiculturalism" now, or "moral relativism." Nothing can be better than something else -- at least, nothing I believe can be better than something someone else believes. Such a sweet, reasonable-sounding lie!

Anyway, my biggest problem with this book is that I like to read late at night and my brain isn't awake enough to swallow Chesterton whole. I know this is a book that needs to be read more than once. I know this for two reasons: first, because John Piper wrote that this is one of only a couple of books that he re-reads. But second, because I read about half of it once before and am getting so much more out of this second go round. So I am trying to sneak in some reading during the day when I'm more alert, but I will not be too hard on myself if I struggle in the evening. After all, there won't be a test.

Okay, my theory has been proven false. No Ed or Brian. I am THIS CLOSE to going to Dierberg's to stock up on bottled iced tea. That would definitely make them come (although I think Ed might have to go to Dierberg's, too, and I feel like I ought to wait for him).

More later...

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