So in case you were concerned that I had dropped off the face of the earth…I have not. I have felt that way on occasion, but it was only a temporary sensation. In trying to describe my life for the last few months, I am reminded of Tolkien’s famous quote, “All those who wander are not lost.” To sum it up briefly, I’ve had some interesting ramblings across this earth, both physically and metaphorically. But the main lesson I’ve learned, or relearned recently is 1) God is in control of all things and 2) God is a good God. We may think we know what is going to happen, only to find ourselves on a detour or redirection, and no matter how painful or confusing it may seem, it is happening for a reason and there will be great blessings and benefits that come out of it, whether we realize it or not.
I obviously never got back to finishing my Ligonier posts, so don’t hold out for any more on that topic, unfortunately. I guess I didn’t post anything specifically about that whole Ligonier/ASC trip, so let me just say it was greatly enjoyable and I feel much more confident in my ability to navigate my way in the world. It was a really big deal for me to fly for the first time, and on my own. And it went without a problem, besides unexpectedly finding the full-body scanners at the Madison airport and having to opt-out of that. Not fun. But the flight back was great, the Sanford-Orlando airport was awesome, even the TSA people were friendly and there weren’t any full-body scanners! So it was just a fun experience and it feels good to have crossed that off my list of things that intimidate me.
Then in May there was another “first”…a cross-country road trip with some young people from my church to a Christian conference/retreat in Pennsylvania. It was odd because I had decided to curb my “control freak” inclinations and simply go along for the ride (since I clearly stated from the beginning I would not be driving) and not worry about knowing the route or directions. So that was a freeing experience, haha. The road trip itself was really fun, I was a little concerned about how I would handle a 12 hour car ride with other people, being that I tend to want my own space and lots of quietness. The conference was fantastic! Everyone was so incredibly friendly and welcoming. We were well-known by the other attendees because we had come the farthest. “Oh, you’re from the Illinois group!” The teaching was very informative and also inspiring. The topic was the life of Charles Spurgeon and what we can learn from his example. I enjoyed learning about the historical context of his life and the situation in England at the time. I was able to fit him into my mental history timeline, instead of this vague idea of a preacher at some point in history preaching somewhere in England. His passion for the Gospel was very convicting. He was a committed Calvinist and believed fully in the Doctrines of Grace, but contrary to popular opinion, this did not mean his Christianity was cold and legalistic. He spent his life sharing the Gospel with lost sinners because his greatest goal was to save souls from eternal damnation. But since he realized that humans have no ability to save others or even to save themselves but it is only the work of God within them, he was free to simply preach the Gospel and leave the rest to God. He also organized many evangelical efforts to reach those who would not attend church services and believed it was important to tend to temporal needs, such as food and shelter, for people, along with tending to their spiritual needs. Because he lived in the turbulent times of the Industrial Revolution and because there were no other sources for people to get the necessities for survival, this was a very good thing. I have thoughts on this, trying to figure out how this idea applies to American society now…but I’ll save that for another day. The drive back was pretty long, I ended up getting home at about 2am, and managed to get to work by 8am, which was quite a feat. Suffice to say, I didn’t get a whole lot accomplished at work that day, but at least I showed up.
So now…after a rather unanticipated hiatus from my studies for a few months, I’m back at it I was talking to a friend recently who was exhorting me to read as much as I can while I’m young. The message resonated especially with me as I am realizing the value of this time in my life and that I should be redeeming each moment and spending every day learning, growing, improving my mind and becoming a better person. It is really an immense blessing to be out of school, so I don’t have the pressure of needing to accomplish certain things by a specific time, and it is also great to have a part-time job so I do have an income. So all that means I have time and funds to continue my education and I really enjoy that! My current goal is to read at least 8 books per month, with the plan of reading at least 100 books per year.
The books for this month are:
Living for God’s Glory by Joel Beeke
Holiness by JC Ryle
The Mystery of Providence by John Flavel
Thinking as a Science by Henry Hazlitt
Liberty Defined by Ron Paul
The Chestnut King by N.D. Wilson
Becoming Dr. Q by Alfredo Quinones-Hinojosa
Charles Dickens by Jane Smiley
Oliver Twist by Charles Dickens
The ones in bold are the ones I have yet to read. Actually surprised with myself at how well I’m doing! I plan to write some short reviews of various books I’m reading in the future, so look for that!
Also working on a research project with a friend about Charles Dickens…won’t say anything more at the moment about it, besides I’m really excited and it is going to be really fun.
I recently signed up for Tom Woods’s Liberty Classroom and am currently taking the Western Civilization History course from Prof. Jewell which I’m greatly enjoying. Only on Lecture 2 but I know it is going to be fantastic. It will probably take a year to get through the whole thing, if I push it, may end up being two years, but that’s ok. Also taking a couple courses from Ligonier, History of Philosophy and Understanding Free Will.
Hmmmm…I think that is all the academic stuff I have going on right now. Besides the heat making life really miserable in our old farmhouse (no a/c) it is a good summer. I’m missing Mises U and almost wishing I had decided to go, because July just doesn’t seem the same without going to Mises U. But I think it has turned out for the best that I decided not to attend, but am looking forward to possibly attending ASC 2013!
If I try to make this any longer I will risk never publishing it, so I’m going to end here. But I will say that I plan to use this more of a personal blog as well as an outlet for my economic ideas. I will probably be posting quotes and random things that strike me as thought-provoking, as well as writing about pretty whatever subject I’m thinking about at the time. I hope that opening this up more will mean I’ll post more, but only time will tell! If you persevered through this post and are still reading, thank you. If you’re a returning reader, thank you for not giving up on me