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Jesu, Juva

Archive for the ‘Miscellany’ Category

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Lisa gave me a subscription to the Mars Hill Audio Journal for Christmas; a most thoughtful gift. I’m finally making my way through volume 142, although 143 is due any day now. Myers interviews Alan Jacobs, which led me to check out his blog. I liked this post, and so now I have to add another blog and another book to my list.

Maybe I am listening to too many podcasts. I added C. R. Wiley’s Theology Pugcast, and Peter Robinson has picked up his pace. I haven’t had an open window to fall back on Dan Carlin or my Rosenstock–Huessy listening project in months. Unrelated, I’ve switched to Overcast as my podcast player at Jordan’s suggestion. Mars Hill is the only thing I savor at 1x speed. Is that bad?

Perhaps you will enjoy this poem by Wendell Berry. We’ve loved reading his Selected Poems. I’m trying out Brooks Haxton next (I keep malapropping him as Braxton Hicks).

Easter and Pentecost approach! There seem to still be a few tickets left to join us at Andrew Peterson’s Resurrection Letters concert in Raleigh. Reflecting on Easter from the perspective of the Lord’s Supper, I recalled that there are two cups of wine, and that everyone will drink a cup. Your cup will either be filled with wrath-wine of staggering, or with the king’s festive wine of joy and fellowship. Thanks to Jesus for taking the first cup for us!

Beverly Cleary is still alive! Happy 103rd birthday to her.

I finally finished Man and Woman in Christ. I’m still surprised and delighted to find a very thoughtful and sympathetic charismatic RC. I’ve blogged most of my favorite quotes here, with a couple still awaiting time to transcribe. The book recommendation came from Aaron Renn’s Masculinist newsletter, which I have been enjoying.

The big kids and I are switching from body–weight exercise to strength training using Mark Rippetoe’s Starting Strength program. I’m kind of excited about it especially since they are all interested in joining me in it. It’s been great to run and workout together with them over the last couple years.

Written by Scott Moonen

April 12, 2019 at 4:57 pm

Posted in Miscellany, Personal

Who is proud when the heavens are humble

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Our family caroled with friends at a local nursing home this past weekend.

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Merry Christmas!

Written by Scott Moonen

December 17, 2018 at 5:24 pm

Posted in Miscellany, Personal

Rest

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We considered how stress and self-discipline result in growth and strength, whether that is physical, mental, emotional, or spiritual. However, an important corollary of this is that intervals of rest are needed so that we are able to recover stronger instead of ending up progressively worn down.

From nature and our own experience we can see that this rest needs to happen on several cycles. There is a daily rest (1/3 of our time is spent sleeping), a wise principle of weekly rest (one day out of seven), and a yearly rest (winter, vacations). We could even consider the wisdom of longer cycles of rest (e.g., taking sabbatical every 7 to 11 years as many universities practice for their faculty, and as Intel has done).

These principles apply not only to organic life but also to organizations. While agile principles and techniques do increase team efficiency and productivity, it is a mistake to think that agile’s goal is continuous apparent productivity. There are a number of shatterings of continuous apparent productivity that are necessary to healthy agile product development. It is important to brainstorm, learn, conduct retrospectives, take time to refactor, experiment and evaluate alternatives . . . and also to rest. Paradoxically, all of these ways of taking time to slow down often help to improve your team’s long-term productivity.

Obviously our individual daily, weekly, and annual cycles of rest help with the health of our agile team. But the team itself should also be engaging in rest. There are many possibilities here, including team outings and shared meals, team training, and planning for gap sprints or gap weeks to focus on lighthearted or experimental work (what if I rewrote this in Clojure, Haskell, or Racket). In keeping with the spirit of agile, the team should evaluate its own need for rest and plan appropriate kinds of rest.

Crossposted to full◦valence.

Written by Scott Moonen

October 5, 2018 at 11:11 am

Posted in Miscellany

Difficulty

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Mark Horne writes of strength training:

The rule seems to be that your body adapts so that the most difficult thing you do eventually feels hard to do. As you age this process accelerates. When you give up an activity because it feels hard another one starts to feel hard to do. As your body loses strength you start to avoid tasks and chores that were once easier. You accumulate weakness. In the words of Seneca, “Soft living imposes on us the penalty of debility; we cease to be able to do the things we have long been grudging about doing.”

But this is true not only of your body but also your mind and will and spirit: the hardest thing you do feels hard. This leads us to several helpful insights:

First, it helps us sympathize with others who are experiencing difficulty. It is tempting to despise others who have greater difficulty with smaller challenges compared to yourself. However, this principle allows you to sympathize, since you know that difficulty is relative rather than absolute.

Second, this teaches us that contentment, peace, and joy are not primarily related to our circumstances but to our philosophy and outlook on life. Excluding obvious exceptions such as injustice and extreme hardship, this principle reveals that if you are complaining or anxious in one difficulty, you will still be complaining or anxious in other and even lighter difficulties. Therefore, your work to cultivate contentment, peace, and joy cannot wait; you must find deep roots unrelated to your circumstances. And even in cases of injustice and extreme hardship, this reveals that there is a possible path to contentment, peace, and joy even while you wait on, plead for, and pray for relief.

Third, this also indicates a way to grow in our capacity for work and difficulty. It is helpful simply to recognize that difficulty is relative, since you can cultivate gratitude that you are not experiencing greater difficulty. But this also gives you a tool to expand your capacity: you can periodically subject yourself to greater or artificial difficulty, combined with periods of rest and recovery, in order for your current difficulties to become lighter. In the physical sphere, you increase your capacity with sprint exercises, intervals, and progressive loading. Furthermore, growth in self-discipline and capacity in one sphere of life tends to have a side effect benefit across all of life. It is strangely easier to wake up early and to eat well if you are working hard at strength training; there is a kind of snowball effect to growing in health and strength and capacity.

Finally, all this applies not only to yourself but also to how you can lead others to grow in joy and capacity. As Edwin Friedman writes, “increasing one’s pain threshold for others helps them mature.”

Crossposted to full◦valence.

Written by Scott Moonen

July 20, 2018 at 12:00 pm

Posted in Miscellany, Suffering

The joy-filled life

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I was delighted by C. R. Wiley’s thoughts on Tom Bombadil in these two blog posts: Bombadil at Home and The Bombadil Option.

I try to keep [Bombadil] in mind when the Gandalfs of the world try to send me gallivanting off on an adventure. I’m not immune, mind you. At times I feel the stirring, and sometimes I even ride off to try and save the day. But eventually I come home again. And after that?—wistfully stare out the window and long for significance?

Or should I gather water lilies for my Goldberry and enjoy her charms; eating the food she has prepared for me and sitting by the fire and laughing as I recall the queer antics of badgers? I think so—because that’s the world I’m made for, the world I go to save when the lust for derring-do sweeps me along. That’s the world I’ve been given to serve as master.

Written by Scott Moonen

December 30, 2017 at 12:26 am

Posted in Miscellany, Vocation

A god too great for the sky

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This weekend our small group enjoyed our second annual caroling in downtown Fuquay.

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Merry Christmas!

Written by Scott Moonen

December 24, 2017 at 9:31 pm

Success

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Eugen Rosenstock-Huessy points out that the transitive and intransitive forms of succeed are closely related. It is not possible to “turn out well” without reference to that which you have inherited or followed. All success is dependent on, builds upon, translates, and perhaps transcends, something that has come before.

See also: Less

Written by Scott Moonen

July 18, 2017 at 6:44 am

Posted in Miscellany