Fighting the good (technique) fight; the semester’s course is locked in, now to travel it

Chronos moves ever onwards; no word on kairos as of yet

As this semester has settled in to a set schedule and the ever-mounting exhaustion that accompanies it, I figured I would compose a brief update while I am still lucid! [Editorial note: the posting of this was delayed by the blizzard]

A smattering of course content

During the course of an average week, I often get a question from a family or friend about what I am learning these days.  A complex question, as it comes standard with a complex answer.  For the ease of collating my responses, consider the following:

On the one hand, I have a series of very interesting glances at important practical aspects of managing a church or church-like body (from my Church Administration course), with such details as how different leadership styles can and do get rather messy when the parties involved do not recognize that 1) they DO each have a style and approach and 2) it IS alright for other people to do things differently.  I also have the New Testament Interpretation experience of traveling through the Pauline epistles, which often yields nuggets of wisdom about the theological meaning of a passage due to the high octane critical historical scholarship we are being taught by the lovely Adela Collins.  The Lutheran student colloquium promises to be good, as we are discussing the Social Statements of the ELCA this semester with a lady who is a Lutheran professor who WAS on the path towards becoming clergy and  then realized that was not right for her, and remained a layperson (an interesting approach for me to keep in mind over the coming days and months).

Then, we come to the pairing of philosophy of religion courses, taught by the excellent John Pittard.  They are 2.5 hours apiece, and they are weapons-grade headache-inducers.  For instance, a formal proof we encountered in “Theological Predication”:

        1. You don’t know you’re not a BIV (Brain in a Vat)
        2. If you don’t know that you’re not a BIV, then you don’t know that you have hands.
        3. Therefore, you don’t know that you have hands

Another good one from “Theological Predication and the Divine Attributes,” this is a formal proof that is mighty difficult to demonstrate to be flawed, and yet we deeply desire to do so:

      1. Let S be any belief source
        1. You are justified in holding beliefs whose only source is S only if you are justified in believing that S is reliable
        2. You are justified in believing that S is reliable only if S (including the parts of S) is not the only source of your belief that S is reliable.
        3. Your cognitive faculties, taken as a whole, are a belief source.
        4. Your cognitive faculties are the only source of your belief that they are reliable.
        5. Thus, you are not justified in believing that your cognitive faculties are reliable. (from 2-4)
        6. Thus, you are not justified in holding beliefs whose only source is your cognitive faculties (from 5 and 1)
        7. Every belief of yours has your cognitive faculties as its only source.
        8. Therefore, no belief of yours is justified (from 6 and 7)

So, all told, you know that you can neither know if you ACTUALLY have hands, nor belief your so-called “senses” if they tell you anything at all, about anything.  ~~Divinity School!!~~

Krav Maga: now officially proficient for Level 1A!!!

Having beaten the odds (and more accurately, the tombstone punching pad held by my partner who is named Ryan but is not my housemate) last weekend at the grueling Proficiency Testing, I am rather excited and proud to report I am now a yellow belt in krav maga, having passed Level 1A and all its components.  The warmup was brutal, involving a full 59 continuous burpees (jumping down into pushup position; jumping to your feet; doing a jumping jack), designed to exhaust us and stress us out very early into the 2 hour testing.  Immediately thereafter, stretching and then one skill after another.  I knew I had done fairly well on the 1A stuff; I also tested on the 1B stuff, but I simply didn’t have the skills down pat yet, so I will test the ones I didn’t do properly next time (in April, I believe).  As per the photos, though, proficiency testing days and regular class alike can (and consistently do) give me some serious bruises!

Planning ahead: continuing to negotiate for the car I would love to have by summer’s end

Through my good friend from home, Tom, I have been put in touch with a gentleman in Illinois who has the car I would love to have for my very own – a 1996 VW TDI Passat B4 wagon… which is a long way of saying a diesel engine that gets ridiculous good mileage (40-50 mpg highway, upper 30’s for city driving).  A picture of the car I am looking to try and acquire:

The 1996 VW TDI Passat B4 wagon. Gorgeous.

The 1996 VW TDI Passat B4 wagon. Gorgeous.

We shall see how it goes, but given all of those attributes, I am really hoping and praying I can make a deal on this.  Updates if/as I get them, shall be posted here.  Possibly alongside joy.


Finally, a couple of shots of the action of this semester:


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