Monthly Love: January

Here are some of the things I loved in January:

1. My wife’s decorating skills

We’ve been in our new house for a few weeks now and Krista has done an awesome job of organizing, decorating, and generally making this place feel like home. Every day I come home from work and am amazed at how much she has accomplished. This is our home!

2. Coming Home by New Found Glory

Spotify reminded me of this pop punk album from late 2006. One song reeled me in and then I was replaying the whole thing over the month of January. The whole record was unique in the pop punk genre in that it was a concept album centered around the theme of being away from home and longing to return to loved ones. It brought back lots of nostalgia to listen to this.

3. Trauma and Grace: Theology in a Ruptured World by Serene Jones

I was surprised by how much I have been enjoying this book. I am not finished with it yet, but for a theological liberal, Jones sure seems to have a great deal of affinity for conservative theology. She draws some compelling principles and encouragements from Scriptural narratives, and even dedicates an entire chapter to Calvin’s commentary on the Psalms. While clearly focused on trauma, I found a wide array of attractive content in this book.

4. The Good Place

We had never heard of this show, but we found ourselves in a show-hole and Netflix had the first season available. The premise sounded interesting: a young woman wakes up in the afterlife, but realizes that she has landed in the “good place” by accident. The show is hilarious, creative, and well-acted. The show as a whole is a fascinating look at pop-culture’s interpretation of morality, ethics, and the afterlife. There are also not a few twists throughout the show to keep you guessing.

5. Helps Class

We ran our first Helps Class in January and it was a smashing success in terms of attendance and participation. Our Anger class ran around 20 people, men and women. I was deeply encouraged by may table’s facilitators who commented that participation in discussion each week was good, and everyone bought a workbook. I’ve learned a few things that we need to do to improve the classes in the future, so we will be making a few modifications, but overall I am excited about this program. Our Anxiety class will start up at the end of February with the same format. Consider joining us.

6. Watching the Kids Play Basketball

I am not much of a sports fan, but I have loved taking the kids to games for Upward and watching them grow and learn how to play. It’s been exciting to see them both do well and experience small victories on the court or in practice. We’ve also enjoyed fellowship at the games. Since so many of our friend have their kids enrolled in Upwards too we get to see other kids play, visit with friends, and even sit with others. It’s been a unique and fun experience overall. Maybe if my kids were playing in the Super Bowl I would care more about it.

7. “Same-Sex Attraction and the Wait for Change” by Nick Roen

A great little biographical piece with practical encouragement for others. Roen writes: Then one day it hit me. I realized that heterosexuality is not my ultimate goal — holiness is. And my holiness is not ultimately contingent on the reversal of my attractions. Once this became clear, I began to view change differently.

8. “Enneagram: The Road Back to You, or to Somewhere Else?” by Kevin DeYoung

The Enneagram does not impress me. I know plenty of people have found it to be extremely helpful, but I find it simply another reductionist personality test. In this article DeYoung exposes some deeper concerns he has with it.

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