Discover more from Ben Simpson's Faith & Formation Newsletter
Finally, a little relief.
Last weekend we were bracing for a winter storm. And it came.
No church. No classes. Schools closed. No travel.
Today temperatures moved above freezing after eight days on ice. Praise be.
We had a retreat scheduled last weekend. We canceled it. That was the right decision.
We did everything we knew to do at home to keep our pipes from freezing. They still froze, and eventually burst. We haven’t had water since Tuesday. We’ve been lucky when it comes to power. The lights and the heat have stayed on.
Our pool is another story. I think we have a leak, and the evaporation has put us at a dangerously low water level. I added water to the pool yesterday by shoveling snow. I’m hoping we make it through another night with all our equipment operational.
My days at home have been spent doing work for Truett, reaching out to students, grading papers, responding to emails, and developing lesson plans for upcoming classes. I’ve also recorded videos for my classes. One of those videos was being recorded when our pipes exploded.
We’ve also had daily meetings as a family. We’ve delegated tasks and worked together to keep the household together. I’ve read a lot. And I’ve been making art. When the new year dawned, I set out to make one drawing a day. I’ve put those drawings in a notebook. It has been a good practice. Drawing is learning to see.
This is what my notebook looks like:
I’m thankful for great neighbors. We’ve had access to showers, water supply, other children for our children to play with, a level place to park our car, extra towels, and help shoveling our driveway. I’m really thankful for Molly. She’s been a wonderful help here at home. And our kids have been resilient. We’re very fortunate.
Our prayers are with our community. We know neighbors who’ve struggled. And there is much work ahead of us. Recovery will be a long road.
I’m finished James S. A. Corey’s Leviathan Wakes. If you’ve seen The Expanse on Amazon, this book is the basis for the first season in that series. They did a good job translating the book to the screen.
I also finished Will Mancini’s God Dreams: 12 Vision Templates for Finding and Focusing Your Church’s Future. As far as church leadership books goes, this one is okay. While roadmap books are helpful, there is no subsitute for a good theological education, a deep conviction concerning one’s calling, mature and maturing Christian character, grit, the willingness to work hard. Every church is different. Faithful ministry takes on a lot of different shapes.
Last night I wrapped up Alister McGrath’s J. I. Packer: His Life and Thought and Charitable Writing: Cultivating Virtue Through Our Words by Richard Gibson and James Beitler. I strongly recommend McGrath’s brief account of Packer’s contributions.
I’m working my way through Marcus Aurelius’ Meditations.
Sights and Sounds
It has been a big week for movies, and a slow week for music. I listened to my regular lineup of podcasts while sopping up water from our flood and shoveling snow and ice into our swimming pool.
When you’re in with the children, you let them watch movies. So, we’ve watched Ant-Man, Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2, and Thor: Ragnarok together. The kids also watched Ant-Man and the Wasp, Black Panther, and Avengers: Infinity War.
Tonight I’ll watch Martin Scorsese’s The Irishman.
Before I go, standard copy.
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Be well this week. Bless others.
P. S. - All photos are from my art notebook. I’m copying work by others; that is how you learn.