Monday Morning Confessional

I confess that I have been a terrible Sabbath breaker for the past few months. I have allowed myself to work on Mondays in order to knock out the manuscript I was working on, and to work on filling a staff position at church. The funny thing about being a Sabbath breaker is that it is a completely acceptable form of decadence, so nobody really cares. What makes it so destructive is that you can never get those days and weeks back. If you disengage from tithing for a few months, you can make it up later. Just give a little extra for a few months and you are back on track. But if you don’t take a Sabbath, you can’t get back the weeks you spent working more than you should work. You can’t take back the extra hours you spent in frustration or anxiety because you didn’t let your body rest. We always pay the price for flouting the way we are designed to function. So, today marks the beginning of my re-engagement with Sabbath… hoping for an unproductive day.

I confess that I was a terrible blogger last week.

I confess that I am in search of new good music for my practice of centering prayer. Last summer I scrapped my rule of life for awhile, and built it back slowly, starting with the Divine Office, and a few of the daily and weekly routines that have become second nature. Centering prayer has been more sporadic for me over the years, but since the summer it has been more of a regular thing. Music is a big part of my centering prayer ritual. It’s one of the few things that will consistently help me turn my brain off. I have my four or five standard artists I can play, and it’s so familiar that I can completely ignore them. My parameters are that it needs to be calming (usually tempo needs to be subtle and in flux), and it either needs to have no words, or words in a language I don’t understand. Last week I was exposed to some good music for centering prayer, and I realized how important this is to my practice, and how I’ve become a big stagnated on that account. So I gathered three year’s worth of itunes gift cards, cashed them in, and started buying some new stuff. I would love to hear what some of you listen to when you pray, study, or want some music on that you can ignore. Here’s my standard fare:

  • Ólafur Arnalds – …And They Have Escaped the Weight of Darkness.
  • Ólafur Arnalds – Eulogy for Evolution
  • Ólafur Arnalds – Living Room Singles
  • Sigur Rós – Ágætis Byrjun
  • Sigur RósHvarf – Heim
  • Sigur Rós – Takk…
  • Sigur Rós – ( )
  • Sacred Treasures I: Choral Masterworks from Russia
  • The Benedictine Monks Of Santo Domingo De Silos – Chant
  • Anonymous 4 – Legends of St. Nicholas
  • Anonymous 4 – On Yoolis Night

I confess that I watched the Grammy Awards for just a bit last night. I confess that bravado is so tiresome. Also, I can’t believe they let Yoko anywhere near Paul & Ringo.

I confess that I’m a sucker for a good spy film. I love the Jason Bourne movies, Mission Impossible, James Bond (w/out Pierce Brosnan). If I channel surf, I’m likely to pause on something from that genre. I also love heist movies. I think that as a rule, there should always be a good spy or heist film in the theaters at all times.

I confess that we watched Back to the Future with our boys last night, and they completely loved it. Nearly 30 years later and the film still holds up. They only current cultural references that they always got were illusions to Star Wars… yet another reminder that Lucas is a marketing genius.

I confess that I had a phenomenal week of teaching last week at NTS. It was a lot of fun to be back in the classroom, and a bit strange to be on the other side of the desk for the first time. I learned a lot about what to do, what not to do, and how to prepare for a class. When I was a student, I wanted teachers who would give me something I couldn’t just read in books. I learned a bit more this week about how difficult that is to pull off. One hour of lecture material that isn’t just copied from a book somewhere, requires about ten hours of reading, and three or four more hours to write it up. I think that taking students through the same class several times, generating more material, getting rid of what doesn’t work, and refining what’s already there would allow an instructor to really create something special… I think about 4th of 5th time through a class is when a professor probably starts to get really good at it.

I confess that I cleaned my home office, got rid of all the clutter, and tried to zero in on what would make for a good space (in light of last week’s post). I think more drastic measures are going to be needed to make this work.

Okay, that’s my confession for this week… time for yours:


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  • scott stone

    Time to read Heschel again?
    For me the style of music depends on how much I have to concentrate. If I’m involved with something that has a tremendous amount of depth I’ll put in Riceboy Sleeps or anything by Chet Baker. My retention level ain’t what it use to be.