Saturday, April 19, 2008

A Note to Brian McLaren

So, I've been reading Brian McLaren's book A Generous Orthodoxy and I would have to give it a 3/5.  My main issues with the book is the style of writing.  He's overly arrogant about what he has to say and he uses far too many meaningless footnotes and uses parentheses every paragraph.  It drives me nuts.  And half of his footnotes tell how another freaking book he's written explains what he's saying better.

But the biggest issue I have with the book is how he sees what he is writing about as truly groundbreaking.  It makes sense to a person who was born in the modern era that thinking postmodernly would be groundbreaking.  So, to him it seems groundbreaking and new and fresh because he once was a modernist. But to a postmodern such as I am (or anyone in their twenties or under, really) it just seems second nature.  What he says makes sense, but he needs to admit that he's found this himself and to him it's new and fresh and not something he somehow figured out on his own.  

Writers like Mars Hill's pastor Rob Bell or Donald Miller are much more honest in their Christian worldviews and they also don't seem forced in the presentation of their ideas.  They also are true postmoderns.  At least, McLaren is able to admit how much in common he has and all Christians have with other denominations.  These are just a few thoughts I've had lately. Living in Tunisia makes you realize how stupid all the division within the church is and how prejudiced people are towards new ideas and different ways of doing things.  I like how the emergent church is willing to step out and do something new, but I don't like that they're arrogant in the way that they do it and in the way they think they've somehow got it all right. Everyone thinks they've got it all right.

I wish more would think they're just doing their best and simply keep trying to do their best. And don't get me started on how I feel about Christians not doing their best (we could start with the Christian "music (if you could call it that)" scene).


Sunday, April 13, 2008

What goes on in my head while I'm at the gallery

At the art gallery oftentimes I am left alone. Actually everyday at the gallery for half the day I am by myself, lonely and not doing my work. While I am watching the gallery I sometimes read, work on the website, watch an episode of The West Wing or part of a movie, practice my French or whatever else I need to do. But also while I am there things go through my head.  

I think about how I wish I could speak French better.  I think about different ways to improve the gallery.  I think about how poorly I can communicate with the people who generally come to the gallery because I don't speak French well.  I think about what I'm going to do after I leave the gallery and go home.  And I also worry.

I just worry about one thing, really.  And that is that someone will come to the gallery and steal a painting from one of the rooms while I'm here and somehow I won't notice them.  Either some small child or maybe even a klepto adult who had come to one of our openings and now got the urge to rip us off.  This isn't just some one off random thought that came through my head.  It's come through multiple times.  I actually even told the director of the gallery about it. She just laughed.  But this is serious, dang it!!  What happens if I fall asleep in the gallery after a late night talking to people on the internet?  I could lose my job that doesn't pay me because someone walked in and pulled a painting off the wall and then just walked off with a nice piece of art.  It could even be something someone already bought and is just being exhibited until the show is over.  

It would suck.  Really suck.  I'd be screwed.


Listening to:  The Alchemy Index by Thrice
Watching:  The West Wing and The Office
Reading:  A Generous Orthodoxy

Friday, April 11, 2008


So, a buddy and I watched the new Rambo film a few days ago.  Big mistake. 
We  were hoping just to watch a ridiculous action movie that was overly violent to veg out for a bit.  Instead we got the most disgustingly violent film I have ever seen.  Honestly, the film is horrible.  I've never seen so many people completely mutilated by either machete, knife, machine gun, pistol or sniper rifle.  The film is sick.  When people get shot they don't just fall over and a little blood goes flying.  They get a hole blown through them, chunks of parts fly all over the place.  The last 15 minutes of the film is simply rambo on a chain gun mowing down burmese soldiers and completely tearing them to pieces while a mercenary with a sniper rifle blows people heads off (and heads are actually blown off in this one).  

Please do not watch this film.  It actually makes some good points about things but it completely uses the horrific situation of Burma and similar places around the world to have Rambo cut a guy in half with a knife.  It's gratuitous, messed up and disgusting.  Avoid it.  And Hollywood needs to quit making this kind of crap that completely desensitizes people to not just violence but also what is going on around the world.

Sickened and Disgusted,


Wednesday, April 9, 2008

Good Things A Going On

Don't you just love it when things just seem to go every way you want them to? Isn't it great? Unfortunately, it doesn't happen all the time but when it does it makes you feel good about everything.  That's how today has been for me.

First, I started French this week and was pretty worried about it being too easy and everything but it's ended up being perfect.  And the timing of the classes for the rest of the summer works great for me so I'm excited to really dig in and hopefully be at intermediate level (God willing) by September so I can go into an even more intense level of learning.

Second, I've been a little concerned with my finances for the year.  Work for me here hasn't panned out as well or as quickly as I would have liked it.  I was hired at the Tunisian American Chamber of Commerce but it takes forever for my student to get his paperwork done and then they haven't even sent me my paperwork so it's really annoying to say the least.  However, I have at least 10 hours of teaching guaranteed there but it's not that much.  But out of nowhere today a student who I was teaching over a month ago called me again to do more private lessons.  And then I was finally able to connect with the American school here to get set up to tutor elementary students and I'm being set up with a 4th grader to tutor math.  Amazing.  It's so awesome how God answers prayers almost instantly when you ask.  My roommate even bought me dinner tonight at this happenin' restaurant/nightclub in town which was surprising and a huge blessing.

Third, I made some awesome snickerdoodles tonight.  I burnt a few because the oven heats a bit unevenly but nothing too bad.  Super stoked about it.

Fourth, I've been dying to get my hands on the new Thrice album (part III and IV of the Alchemy Index).  So after getting home from the nightclub tonight I found a message from my brother on facebook with a link to a leaked copy of the album.  I feel a little bad downloading it but I'll buy it once I'm back in the states because I own all of their cds.  So, it just topped off the day and I just finished listening to it and I'll be honest...I got chills.  Absolutely awesome.  It really has blown my mind the range of music that they're able to write and at such high levels of quality.  

So I'm a really happy camper right now.  God is blessing me beyond my understanding right now.  

Be back soon.


Currently Listening To:  The Alchemy Index Volumes III & IV by Thrice
Recently Watched:  End of West Wing Season 2
Currently Reading:  A Generous Orthodoxy by Brian McClaren

Sunday, April 6, 2008

Cooking on my own

One of the things that goes with living on your own after graduating with college or moving into your own place, is cooking for oneself.  I've lived away from home now for almost 4 years. I spent two years in the dorm and eating cafeteria food and then another 2 years in an apartment and now in Tunisia.  My mother is an awesome cook, so, I've been a little spoiled throughout my life because she makes the best stuff (especially any kind of cookie or cake). Now I've had to learn how to survive.

I can honestly say I make some darn good Spaghetti Bolognese, decent teriyaki beef with steamed vegetables, most kinds of rice and a wonderful frozen pizza.  But I get tired of eating the same kinds of thing each week.  Thus, I've been trying to branch out a little, which is difficult when you're in a foreign country.  I tried making a beef dish the other day but it didn't quite come out how I hoped.  I'm having trouble keeping the beef moist and not turning into beef jerky.  I was successful at steaming cauliflower, which is exciting for me.  It's not difficult but I'd never done it, so, I was interested to see how it would turn out.  I hope it is quite obvious from this whole spiel that I don't know what I'm doing at all when I'm in the kitchen if I have never made the item before.  Once I've made it though, I can do it and I actually start to get good at it too.

If you have any good recipes that are simple and require very normal ingredients please let me know.

Photograph taken for Dramatic Purposes

Bye now.


Recently watched:  The Bucket List
Currently Listening To:  Seven Swans by Sufjan Stevens

Friday, April 4, 2008

Movie Night Disappointment

So, tonight I tried to put on another movie night at the gallery.  We tried 2 weeks earlier and got an entire 2 people to show up that weren't Tunisian.  I had the movie picked out (Mission: Impossible III because people here love anything with action in it), got the popcorn and Annette and I even set up the place really cozy and everything.  But no one showed.  The few Americans who were supposed to show were either sick or cancelled.  Oh well, this kind of thing happening is quite common in this culture so we'll see how the next one goes.  

I'm pretty sure in the summer it'll be a hit because we are going to try and do it outside and have people bring blankets and pillows and do it more often as well.  But besides that we were able to get invitations done for the next show, which we have down to a science.  We also feel pretty good about the next show after getting the prices that the painters are wanting.  The stuff is very affordable.  

I start French on Monday...finally.  I can't wait to start.  My comprehension is functional but my speaking level is terrible.  So I'm starting at the beginning and my goal is to spend an hour at least every day.  That's about it for now.



Thursday, April 3, 2008


If anyone's been wanting to know, I actually like the food in Tunisia.  It's really pretty good and it's made me start liking some foods I never quite liked before.  For example, I now like/don't mind eating tomatoes, mushrooms, and olives.  I'm also very conflicted about eating chicken and eggs.  I've "accidentally" had both a few times and I've been reaction free, which is making me wonder whether I've outgrown the original allergies I had to poultry before.  Who knows but I'm really starting to crave some Albertson's Fried Chicken.

Another nice thing about being in a foreign country is getting truly fresh fruits and vegetables. For the first 2 months I have been buying my produce in the grocery store (Monoprix if anyone wants to know the name of the store) and have been somewhat dissatisfied with the choices and quality.  But there is a produce market down a back alley in La Marsa where the Tunisians shop and the choices are fabulous and the prices are even better.  

And right now, it's strawberry season and the strawberries are amazing.  They're enormous, they taste perfect and they're cheap.  A whole 2 TD (about $1.60) a kilo.  So, I've been eating them with everything.  A perfectly healthy snack.  Great on cornflakes.  Wonderful in crepes.  I simply cannot get enough.

Til next time,


Tuesday, April 1, 2008

I need a haircut

First off, before I write anything, I'm starting this blog because I've had multiple people ask me to write one so that they can stay updated on my happenings or whatever you would like to call the menial and not so menial things that I do in Tunisia. So here you are...PEOPLE. Enjoy.

I want to start by stating that I badly badly badly need a haircut and I'm too lazy, busy, intimidated by not knowing the language, worried about looking like an ewok or someother mythical creature, and also kind of wanting to not get a haircut so I can say "I went my first 3 1/2 months in Tunisia without getting a haircut." So, I haven't  bothered to go and actually get one. My roommate has even volunteered to go along with me to translate and make sure my hair looks somewhat normal. I'm incredibly conflicted and do not know what to do. Grow it long for once or look like a dumb...(you fill in the blank with whatever expletive you'd like)?  I don't know what to do.  

Until Next Time,


Currently Reading:  A Generous Orthodoxy by Brian D. McClaren
Recently Watched:  The West Wing: Season 2, Jumper and Vantage Point
Currently Listening To A Lot Of:  Alchemy Index by Thrice