Monday, January 28, 2013


    Dear Harriet Walter,

    Good gracious

    we spend so much time fighting to survive and to establish ourselves as being a respectable and high-quality institution of higher learning despite the college's newness

    and then there's our one main biblical and theological studies professor going and writing things like "be justified = be righteousified" on the whiteboard

    i swear

O Romans, your righteousification is not and never will be based on your own deeds of righteousimifisilitudicatiousness, but is a gift through grace yes good amen

Monday, January 21, 2013

cogency is overemphasized, captain

    Dear Harriet Walter,

    At the end of a very long weekend, just now freshman Kiley and I were in the bathroom, I  rinsing my mouth out after brushing my teeth and she washing her face in the sink, when we had a Moment which I think spoke to the nature of dorm life as a whole.

      I raised my head and said, "Why do I smell pesto?"

     Kiley said, "and why did I just hear a flute? Playing music?"

    We were both just tired enough to be nearly crying with laughter even before we figured out that Kiley had been hearing Danielle's singing from the shower ("you were singing?" "no that was actually my shower flute" "Do it again! ....woah flute voice!") and I was smelling Kiley's foaming face wash. ("Can I smell your face? ...yeah that's what it is, some sort of isolated pesto-ish element is wafting away and that's what I smelled." "Haha, pesto-face!")

    Oh my word it's only week 2. We're all gonna die.

    Over break I was looking back over the very few posts I made over the course of last semester and thinking, wow, that does not even begin to approach adequacy as a representative journal of that time. There were so many things I did and thought, so many places I went, so many people I interacted with and ideas I engaged and papers I wrote and everything, that are completely not even hinted at because I just don't blog as much I used to. Like, there almost wasn't a point to writing at all. I can't decide whether to be discouraged from even trying or inspired to try harder, or maybe just rethink the purpose of all writing I ever do for fun. I don't even have time for creative writing, especially not now with 18 credits. I wrote some kinda funny poems for a couple open mic nights last semester, and they were well received and that was basically enough for me. (Open mic nights are way fun in a close-knit community.) Like ok that's enough nonessential writing for now, I'll hold onto the old dream of writing stories in some foggy future day when my life is a different beast but for now it's time to read history books. And meanwhile the way I look at the world and process events/thoughts is changing and I seem to be getting more reserved in some ways and less so in others and it's weird and things are weird and weird is weird and weird weird weird.

Friday, January 4, 2013

man of la rip your heart to bleeding shreds

    Dear Harriet Walter,

    ok so

    i realize i haven't posted in like two months, even before thanksgiving break let alone finals or christmas break (which i am in the last days of)

    but i really wanted to say that it is so awful when one expects a new piece of entertainment to have a certain emotional effect on one

    but then it goes and has the absolute opposite effect in every possible way it could.

    Like when one decides to watch the Man of La Mancha (1972) movie and one doesn't know anything about it except that it is a musical based on a play or something based on the novel Don Quixote by what's-his-face. Ok, musical, those are usually fun and lighthearted right and then one doesn't know anything about Don Quixote except that one thing that one's heard about him going and attacking windmills or whatever which sounds very silly he's like a silly person ok
    musical + silly windmill man = therefore movie must be silly and fun right

    Wrong, the movie is now over and one is standing in the kitchen at 3am silently sobbing one's guts out because that was not a happy movie it was a sad movie, a very sad sad movie

    Ugh I should have known that it would be sad just from the fact that it stars Peter O'Toole.

i think the man just specializes in characters who are falling apart in various ways.

    Anyway um yes what have I done lately that is interesting? Or that I can make interesting? Not much! Just on vacation right now, holed up in a snowy not-place in Idaho, puttering away and getting lots of sleep before the spring semester starts. Oh, I should say something about next semester, that's almost interesting. For classes I am taking:
  • HIS 212: American Civilization: 1865 to Present (american history II),
  • BTS212: New Testament Studies II: Epistles and Revelation, 
  • GRK102: Beginning Greek II, 
  • BTS360: Doctrine of God, 
  • HIS352: American Revolution and Early Republic, and
  • BTS205: Hermeneutics.
    (Hermeneutics used to be counted as a 300-level class but for some reason they changed it to 205 after restructuring the academic program this summer. Dr. S/PME has cheerily assured me, however, that he has no intention of making it any easier just because its listing changed.)
    So I guess that's really all just history and Bible classes except for Greek, which is closely linked to the Bible classes since we're learning biblical Greek/being trained to read and interpret the, uh, New Testament in its original form. So that's good. NT II and American Civ are still core-level, but I'm really starting to move more and more into the two areas of study I've actually chosen for my major. My build-a-bear, mix-and-match major.
    I've got some additional class-like stuff going on this semester but that would take too long to explain so here we go.

Thursday, November 1, 2012

εἰμί, like, totally νεκρός

Dear Harriet Walter,

    that's the third Greek exam I've finished, that there one I just took just now

    think I'll go throw up until I die

    (i actually really love greek but if anyone says "relative pronoun" or "third declension" or "square of stops" or "definite article" or "master case ending paradigm" or "alpha-to-eta shift" or "personal pronoun" or "preposition" or "parsing" or "consonantal iota" to me for the rest of the week i will projectile-barf on their face and the barf will be on fire)

    (if they ask me how to tell the difference between the article and the relative pronoun or what the four rules of the vocative case are or what adjectival position a demonstrative is in when it's modifying a noun or what the seventh and eight noun rules are or how to translate the third person personal pronoun in its adjectival intensive form, I will find all of their shoes and fill those shoes with dead mice and cat poop and throw them in the lake)

     (and you may interpret that last pronoun "them" either way you like.)

    Oh my worrrrrd.

    Classes are mostly going well. Job in the academic support center going well. Social life going well. Relations with professors going well. Grades going well. Time spent asleep inadequate.

   PME/Dr. S is not only expecting me to take his Hermeneutics class and his Doctrine of God class (in addition to New Testament II and Greek II, both of which I'm already expecting to take) next semester (because one of my two concentrations is going to be Biblical and Theological Studies), he is apparently also expecting me to take second-year Greek and first-year Hebrew next year. Found out about that part yesterday when we were talking after New Testament, because in class he'd been talking about the theological implications of a particular Greek word used in the book of John so we were talking about Greek. He wasn't even like "hey, you should take Hebrew," he was like "when you take Hebrew something something something." I was like "w-...whshpufuh what wait when did we decide that I'm going to take Hebrew?" And he was like "oh, you want to take Hebrew. You do. You're a language wizard, you'll love it."
    I'm not even concentrating in Biblical Languages. He's not even my academic adviser. Gracious. That man cracks me up.
    Speaking of future classes, though, he's totally going to be teaching classes on Johannine Literature and Apocalyptic Literature sometime in my senior year. (He can only teach one or two upper-division BTS classes per semester because the college also depends on him to teach beginning and intermediate Greek and Hebrew, two simultaneous sections of core Bible, and a lot of the time supervise the BTS capstone course.) I am so looking forward to Apocalyptic Lit, I was hoping so hard that it would happen sometime during my remaining years. Plus he told me it's kind of the course where every area of biblical and theological education comes together in full play under one subject and one really needs to know one's stuff so it's perfect for my final year. I am excited.

    Ugh I love college.

I want a picture for this post so here's one by Friend Shelli of Friend Laura (left) and me.

Sunday, October 14, 2012


    Dear Harriet Walter,

    1. A group of us school kiddos and our director of student life and Dr. Mac went to the Huntington Library and Botanical Gardens today on what you can think of as a sort of college-level field trip (although it's actually quite a bit more complicated than that). It was amazing. I'm not even going to try and summarize the kinds of cool stuff that they had in the museums except to say that the European history building was devastating and the American exhibits were super awesome and also relevant to my life because I'm studying American history this year and such. I nearly cried when I got to the room with the Gutenberg Bible and the early printed works from the Renaissance and Reformation. Had barely enough time to pass through there before somebody from my group was like "Ruby you need to hurry on over to the European exhibit or you'll miss Dr. Mac talking to the group about some rad tapestries," though.

    Also oh my goodness the gardens. The gardeeeeennnnnns. The Japanese Garden. Harriet Walter. The Japanese Garden. I can't. And I barely saw the Chinese Garden and I didn't have time to see the cactus garden thing at all. Oh man I need to go back.

    2. It is my momma's birthday tomorrow! Actually today since it is after 1:00am as I write this. HAPPY BIRTHDAY MOMMA I LOVE YOU BUCKETS

    also since I wrote her a bad poem for her birthday last year I feel like I should write another one this year since I'm too cheap to buy her a present and ship it to her
    (although it's not going to be a poem really just a weird piece of writing, some words and all that)
    here we go

Saturday, October 6, 2012

pumpkin pacific

    Dear Harriet Walter,

    Thought as of right now:

    It is so delightful being a sophomore. Seeing these freshmen babies dealing with classes and trying to figure out how to write papers for our professors and how to study for exams and how much sleep they need and who their friends are just shows me, by contrast, how much I've gotten figured out by now.

    Thought as of earlier this afternoon, sitting in a nice independent coffeeshop with Friend Shelli and Friend Laura, dressed nicely, sipping my first-ever pumpkin latte and reading a book about the influence of slavery on the creation and ratification of the American Constitution:

    I feel so grown up sometimes.

    Thought as of the other night, on our girls-only camping trip (someplace north of Malibu), standing on the beach at night-time with Friend Krista and taking in the thundery ocean and all those many many stars above, everything filling my whole vision:

    All those artistic, whirling, dizzying, enormous, beautiful, seemingly-chaotic-yet-carefully-controlled-in-set-patterns-of-conflict natural bodies and forces would actually be really painful for me if I didn't believe that there was any sort of higher power that dreamt it all up and made it happen and that keeps it going.

     Thought as of earlier that same day, standing thigh-deep in the ocean with Roommate Marissa at sunset and being smashed against by the tossy frothy waves, with the water warming our hands and rocks scraping against our feet as they were pulled into the deep:

     Wait...does the sun never set over the ocean on the East Coast? Do they only get sunrises over the ocean? That is terrible. That is the worst thing. Their beach days don't even end with sunsets over the ocean. That is awful. Oh my goodness.

    Thought as of now now:

    I love my Tiny College. The regional accreditation agency we're working with is coming to formally visit us for the last time later this month, and in February I think is going to make its final decision on whether or not to give us initial accreditation and make us a Proper Fancy Accredited College. (Becoming Proper and Fancy and Accredited would do wonderful things in the way of bringing in new students and helping our current students get into grad school after college, among other benefits.) This is really the nerve-wracking thing about going to a school that's so new. I just wish I could somehow magically show the visiting evaluation-people with my brain what an incredibly wonderful place Tiny College is and how the education they give us is so valuable, so carefully and thoughtfully constructed, so character-building and worldview-refining, so...I'm trying to think of another word for educational that would include some of how hard they work us at learning. I mean everything I just said is true, but I don't want to sound like I'm talking all about feelings and such floofy things to the point of neglecting the fact that come midterms, you have to seriously know your stuff about these here liberal arts. Blar. What am I even saying.

This is basically me today.

Thursday, September 27, 2012

applied knowledge

    Dear Harriet Walter,

    A Herodian, a Pharisee, and one of the Am ha-Aretz walk into a bar and find a wealthy, politically influential Jewish denier of the resurrection who thinks that only the Pentateuch is divinely authoritative crying into his drink.

    "Why are you crying?" asks the Am ha-Aretz man, because the other two don't care about the unpopular and doctrinally questionable elite members of Jewish society (even if those elites do control the temple and the priesthood and make up a significant part of the Sanhedrin).

    "I'm so sad, you see," says the crying man.

    O my lands it's not even midterms yet and I'm already grossly sleep-deprived can you tell.

    Happy belated birthday.