January Reading so Far

I am starting off the year working on Tim Challies’ 2016 Visual Theology Reading Challenge, and doing pretty well so far. I have finished, in the “light” section:

  • a biography (Bonhoeffer: Pastor, Martyr, Prophet, Spy, Eric Metaxas)
  • a book for children (The Giver, Lois Lowry)
  • a mystery or detective novel (The Covenant of Genesis, Andy McDermott)
  • a book about Christian living (The Meaning of Marriage, Tim Keller)

My thoughts on the books (except for the fictional ones, I don’t really have lots of lessons to learn from them, I read them at the point I did because they are a quick fun distraction, but The Giver does have more actual merit of the two)

Marriage

The Meaning of Marriage, by Tim Keller

 

The Meaning of Marriage is a little easier to write something about. I was particularly challenged to think by one quote:

“In verses 22-24, Paul says, controversially, that wives should submit to their husbands. Immediately, however, he tells husbands to love their wives as Christ loved the church and ‘gave himself up for her’ (25), which is, if anything, a stronger appeal to abandon self-interest than was given to the woman” (pg. 45)

One of my first thoughts when I read that was of the US Army NCO Creed (it’s basically a memorable overview of Army leadership doctrine)

“My two basic responsibilities will always be uppermost in my mind – accomplishment of my mission and the welfare of my soldiers…”

I’ve been realizing that as I move up in rank (in a military or civilian sense) I become more responsible, by position, for leadership. I had a long discussion with someone last year on what this looks like from a Christian standpoint, and got the advice to look at Christ and how He lead the twelve, and interacted with those around Him. In all aspects of it, my conclusion is that sacrificial leadership, as exemplified by Jesus, is what a leader should be; as a husband, as a supervisor, and as an NCO in the military.

Overall his book was not what I expected. My philosophy is not that men are dictators in marriage, but it was still a different, and better, view of what a marriage should look like.

Bonhoeffer

Bonhoeffer: Pastor, Martyr, Prophet, Spy; By Eric Metaxas. Taken from my Audible listening app. 

 

 

Bonhoeffer: Pastor, Martyr, Prophet, Spy will be a little more of a challenge to write even a short review of.

A quick summary the events through the book. WWI ends, Germany loses territory as part of the treaty ending that war. Hitler is elected. He starts out pretending to serve the interests of Germany, so he can gain power for himself. The German church is taken over by Nazi leadership. Operation Valkyrie is begun to overthrow Hitler and gain concessions from the Allied powers, rather than defeat. That plot fails and 7000+ are arrested and many executed as a result, including Bonhoeffer in the end.

It’s a very interesting book. I’m not well versed in Theology, or who his influences were, so I will not try to discuss that side of the book. My conclusion of Valkyrie and the fact that a Theologian (even one that may have believed very differently from me) participated, makes the point again that war is not a simple thing. It’s a little easier to gather some other lessons from the events though. He was engaged before he died, and seems to have kept a very positive attitude through to the end. He wrote about getting out of prison and marrying. According to someone else he was in prison with he had a good attitude even to his captors.

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New Year, New Ideas

I realize I have not posted anything on my blog in a while.

The reasons for that are twofold. One: I have been extremely busy keeping up a decent GPA in school, which is down to one more semester, and one more class after that (the one thing that got lost in the busy of last fall). On top of that I am still married and will continue to be married for the remainder of my life – which is less than half over. I have also finally finished an adoption home-study. We went with one  agency and it was not a good fit for us, so we started over, which took some time. And reason number two: I am developing focus in my life. When I started this blog, I wasn’t even in school, I just had the idea that I wanted to go into technology when I did get into school. So I’ve been having trouble keeping up the ideas I started out with.

Now for the ideas.

I continue to have an interest in reading, which seems to be focused (over the course of my life as long as I can remember) on the history of the US military from Vietnam to the present. I also continue to have an interest in computers, which is another that has existed as long as I can remember.

I started out the year thinking about what I would do with my – basically defunct – blog. Some of the thoughts I’ve had revolve mainly around the fact that as I read, I learn nothing unless I think about what I read.

The point of that is to say two things: my goals with this blog are to write about my thoughts about the many things that I read. Also to write about my journey in life, both as a man with lots to learn, and as a professional.

 

 

2015 Reading List

Here is a list of most of the things I read this year.

There were also some textbooks, and security reports.

On military history, from Vietnam to the present:

Roughneck 91; Antenori, Halberstadt (265)
Zero Six Bravo; Lewis (284)
No Way Out; Weiss, Maurer (326)
War Story; Morris (308)
The Green Berets; Moore (341)
Masters of Chaos; Robinson (388)
Horse Soldiers; Stanton (393)

And most of the way through these books. I started re-reading Delta Force, and the other two are mostly complete.

Delta Force; Beckwith (331)
Blackhorse Riders; Keith (280)
We Were Soldiers Once… And Young;  Moore (475)

And some on various other topics:

From a High Tower; Lackey (336) [the only fiction book that I remember reading this year]

Worm; Bowden (264)
Quiet; Cain (444)
Turing’s Cathedral; Dyson (464)
A Briefer History of Time; Hawking  (162)
The Cuckoo’s Egg; Stoll (399)
The Joy of X; Strogatz (316)

And most of the way through.

The Highly Sensitive Person; Aron (251)

And the Audiobooks, some with my wife.

Moonwalking with Einstein; Foer (320)
Soldier Dogs; Goodavage (293)
Einstein; Isaacson (704)
The Innovators; Isaacson (542)

In the Spirit of Randomness

I haven’t posted here in a while. Not sure how many readers I have anymore. If you are still waiting on me to post something, thank you for waiting.

Several things have been in the works for a while.

I am in school, as I’ve mentioned before (I think) towards a degree in information security. That was a long time waiting. I grew up building computers, and programming them. After the military, I feel like securing things is a good way to tie my interests with opportunities I will have available. That is about halfway through, and is paying off, with an internship in a local school district tech department.

I also began writing something that had been sitting in the cloud for 2 years, My plan was a little too ambitious, but I was able to crank out around 4000 words over several weeks, stemming from a summary of events that I had originally written. I should post bits and pieces here as it progresses more. The feedback here may tell me whether I should consider throwing it in the trash, or submitting for publishing. 🙂 It’s a fantasy book, set slightly before WWII. In Norway. Some of the challenges are actually important writing, and the fact I am not really a good author of historical fiction.

My wife and I are going to start the application process with Bethany Christian Services fora domestic infant adoption. We were blessed with the Post 9/11 GI bill, and awesome friends who donated money, and are now over-budget. We will be able to pay the application fee, and pay for and begin the home study. This process can take several months. Once that is done, we need to pay pre-placement fees, and can begin the wait for a child! I make jokes about our puppy as ‘the dog-child’, but while on vacation over Christmas realized that while I love my Chiweenie puppy, he is not a child, just a baby dog. Not the same.

New Feature: My Reading List for… the last months.

So I decided a couple days ago I should start posting a reading list. Here’s the first one. Even during school I read enough there should be at least a short list.

I’ll start with the earlier stuff.

I’ve read lots of Mercedes Lackey, a fantasy author.

Orson Scott Card:

Ender’s Game

Speaker for the Dead

Xenocide

And I started Children of the Mind (a sequel to Xenocide, while the others were just about Ender in different stories) but decided that it was a bit too much Card for now. Each of the books seems to cover a different topic. Ender’s Game is more tactics/strategy, Speaker for the Dead is Philosophy, and Xenocide is Biology. Each one has lots of ideas on how ethics applies in these situations Ender finds himself in.

Divergent by Veronica Roth

A short book on the Song of Solomon by CJ Mahaney (Sex and the Sovereignty of God)

Just Do Something by Kevin DeYoung

Mike Meyers Passport Guide for the CompTIA A+ certification (which it helped me obtain)

 

Not as much as I thought I’d read, now that it’s all written down, but it’s not a bad amount. I’ll be reading lots of stuff for school at least, coming soon, so I’ll be putting more of these up. I’m in the middle of a couple other books too.

Where Does the Tunnel Lead (Writers Digest Writing Prompt)

So, I’ve started working on my fictional writing some lately (after about 22 years of not writing anything much). I got a Writer’s Digest Press book on fantasy/sci-fi writing. Their website was listed on the back of the book. So I looked. I found this writing prompts page, that is updated every Friday. I’ve looked at several of the newer ones as they came out, this is the first one I’ve been able to do anything much with. I was not able to post it to their website (my new IT skills lead me to suspect either a browser error on my computer, or a bug in their website security, but I may be completely wrong) Here is my story:

 

One day I was mowing my lawn, just walking along with my nice quiet reel mower, not really paying attention to what was happening. Suddenly, I felt the mower drop. So I let it go, watching it fall into the big hole I’d never noticed in my lawn. “Where could it go?” I thought to myself as I leaned down to look, and felt the edge fall away, but it was to sudden to react. I was so scared I couldn’t even yell for a second, and next thing I knew I was twenty feet down, yelling, barely even hoping my wife could hear me.

I felt myself accelerating down this hole, and could see the light at the bottom of the tunnel appeared to be turning blue. I felt and saw my wedding ring disappear from my finger. At the same moment, I felt the dog tags I hadn’t worn in two years against my chest, and had pants and boots on instead of shorts and sneakers.

Suddenly I found myself in a plane. “Where could I be” I thought. Looking around me, I could see other men and women in Army uniforms. “What happened? I got out two years ago now, or was it all a dream?” I was pretty confused. So, I stopped to look out the window. I could see what looked like a sheet of black glass down below, moonlight reflecting back at me.

“So, I must be on the way back to the states, on leave. Yes, that letter. How do I remember yelling for my wife, but now we’re meeting in person the first time? This letter is pretty clear, directions to her parents house. I remember helping them leave that house!” It was starting to make sense. As much sense as it could. “I married her. I must have time-traveled falling down that hole in the lawn! Now is the chance to fix all the mistakes I started out with. I’ve learned some about how to be a really stupid husband over the last couple years. Just don’t tell her that for a while. How do I not scare her with the fact that I know we will marry? I’ll look like a psycho!”

So, I leaned back my chair, chuckling a little as I tried to fall asleep. I needed to remember how our first meeting had gone, so I could repeat what she’d enjoyed about it. I had about sixteen hours left of a long flight across the Atlantic, and another day before we’d actually meet. Time enough to think, and to get some some sleep.

Well, It Has Been a Long Time!

I don’t even remember the last time I wrote a post [I looked since I started typing, it was New Year’s Day]. I’ve been working full time, and doing full time school. It’s keeping me pretty busy. You’ll see the fruits of my labors coming soon. I’ve done some short writing for my Ancient/Medieval Philosophy class. That’s been fun. Right now I’m working through Aristotle’s Metaphysics, book XII specifically. I also have a paper on the impact of the internet on the hiring/job search process. In all of this, we also have a house that needs lots of work. We basically moved into a project. Better than an apartment in the city though. We find funny/scary things every time we work on it.