Summer!

My freshman year of college is finished! What a relief… Things were getting pretty crazy by the end. Nevertheless, I made it, and I am confident in being able to say that I finished strongly. I mean hey, I did ace my last final!

I can’t fully put into words how amazing this past school year was. Especially this last semester. I repeat, especially this last semester. I’m glad the academic side of it is over, but I miss my friends all so much already.

I am quite excited that my summer is finally underway. Inspired by my good friend, Rebz (see her post here), I decided to make a list of goals for the summer… End-of-school resolutions, if you will. So here they are:

  • Devotions – I’ve long struggled with making personal time with God a daily routine. One of my goals this summer is to change that.
  • Reading – This used to be my biggest hobby by far, and I’ve really missed being able to read whatever books I want just for fun. I plan on finishing Les Misérables and then reading a Dostoevsky novel, some Shakespeare, and whatever else happens to pique my interest.
  • Piano – My pianistic endeavors will by no means come to a halt this summer. Rachmaninov’s Suite no. 2, Prokofiev’s Sonota no. 3, Chopin’s Nocturne in Cmin Op. 48 no. 1, and a number of movements from one of Bach’s French Suites are all pieces that I am determined to tackle before the next semester begins. I am also hoping to pick up the loose ends as far as my technique goes… There are some scales and arpeggios that still need a lot of work.
  • Fitness – My last goal for this summer is to get in shape. It’s been much too long since I’ve been in any sort of shape, and I want to change that. I want to be able to play a game of frisbee with friends without feeling like I’m going to die the whole time, and it would be nice to be able to enjoy going out on a run for longer than just the first thirty seconds.

Those are my goals for this summer… I’ve actually started each of them already, I’m just hoping I can keep it up. Feel free to keep me accountable by asking me how things are going and encouraging me.

What are *your* goals this summer?

Rach on!

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Ambience

I feel like I should give voice to one of my favorite types of music… Ambient.

Ambient music is mostly, if not completely electronic. Think of it as sort of a chill techno, although not all of it can be described that way. As with all types of music, there is much variation within the genre. I don’t know why, but I find this music very stimulating to the synapses of my brain. It puts me in a very contemplative mood. It is often harmonically driven, rather than melodically, which makes it perfect for certain things such as relaxing and clearing the mind of stressful things. It moves, yet it does not distract. It strives not to impress, but to inspire.

Here’s a good example of ambient music… The Outer Banks by The Album Leaf.

Some other good ambient artists apart from The Album Leaf are Tycho, Static, Explosions In The Sky, and Sigur Rós (although I wouldn’t consider all their music to be ambient). I would highly recommend giving them a listen.

Rach on!

Ireland

I feel like it would be remiss of me if I were to not post about my recent excursion to the beautiful country of Ireland.

The Cliffs of Moher

The Cliffs of Moher was just one of the many spectacular places we visited

The trip was actually a chorale tour with Lancaster Bible College. We had the opportunity to do four concerts in a span of eight days.

I’m not even sure where to begin describing what happened on this trip… It was incredible, to say the very least. Many people have asked me over the past several days what my favorite part or parts were. I guess I can try to muster an answer here.

1. The concerts

The concerts were a huge highlight of the trip. All of the music we sung was from either North or South America. We sang spirituals, Argentinian cowboy music, Brazilian tribal, folk, and much more. Not every song we sang was a Christian song, per say, but the ones that were, we really focused on as our presentation of the gospel message. Especially our ending piece of every concert, In Christ Alone. Our performances all went exceptionally well, but what I loved most about our concerts were the people who came to see us. I loved all the opportunities to talk to the audience members we got after every concert. It was such a blessing to have that chance to invest in the people of Ireland in that way.

2. The friends

Through the trip, so many friendships were made and so many others were strengthened. We experienced so much together and so many things happened that really brought us all together. There was lots of fun, lots of jokes, lots of challenges, lots of praying for each other… I couldn’t have asked for a better group to travel with.

3. The places

Clonmacnoise

Clonmacnoise

As much as I wish I could, I can’t tell you everything about all the places we visited. We toured castles, cathedrals, ancient monastic settlements, 19th century mansions, an abbey… The list goes on. My favorite place was probably Clonmacnoise, the aforesaid ancient monastic settlement. The whole time we were there it was foggy and raining lightly. It was so serene. I couldn’t stop thinking of the 1,000+ years of people worshiping the same God I do in that one place, and that in turn prompted me to praise Him for His steadfastness.

Well there you have it. Those were my favorite things from Ireland. I would highly recommend you make a trip over there some time. It is well worth it.

Rach on!

P.S. For a more detailed account of our experiences in Ireland, check out the blog that was kept during the trip… lbcireland.blogspot.com.

Christians and Homosexuality

Apparently there are a lot of people who believe that homosexuality is something that you are born with, not something you develop. Many Christians lash out against people who support this because of fear in losing ground in the battle against homosexuality. Not only that, but I’ve also heard of a lot of homosexual Christians who use this an excuse to remain as they are.

If it is true that homosexuality is genetic (and I’m not asserting either position here), what does that mean for Christians? Absolutely nothing.

God doesn’t call us to be who we are born to be, He calls us to be who He wants us to be.

Forgive my bluntness, but like most guys, I was born with an animalistic desire to have sex. Since I was “born that way”, does that mean I should live my life pursuing those lustful desires? Obviously not.

The Bible is pretty clear about many things… Here are a couple that are relevant to what I’m saying.

  1. We as humans are sinful by nature and should abandon that sinful nature in pursuit of God. (Gal 5:17, Rom 3:2324)
  2. Homosexuality is wrong. (Rom 1:26-27)

It doesn’t matter if you were born with it or not, it’s still sinful.

Rach on!

Be Still

“Be still, and know that I am God.

I will be exalted among the nations,

I will be exalted in the earth!”

– Psalm 46:10 (ESV)

As many times as I’ve heard and read this verse, I never really thought much about it until very recently when it occurred to me that this is a command. Be still; stop everything you are doing and meditate on God.  It’s very simple, and I think it’s a great way to spend time with God when you’re having a hard time reading your Bible and you can’t think of what to pray. Don’t get me wrong; by no means should it replace reading/studying scripture and prayer, but it’s still a very wise spiritual discipline that often gets overlooked.

I encourage you and challenge to spend time away from things without words or actions to get in the way or distract. Be still and know that God is God. I also give you every right to nag me and ask me if I’ve been doing it myself. The greatest preachers are always the ones who listen to their own words.

Rach on!

Morte Darthur

King Arthur: [about the inscription on the rock] What does it say, Brother Maynard? Brother Maynard: It reads, "Here may be found the last words of Joseph of Aramathia. He who is valiant and pure of spirit may find the holy grail in the Castle of Aaauuuggghhh... " King Arthur: What? Brother Maynard: "The Castle of Aaaauuuggghhhh" Sir Bedevere: What is that? Brother Maynard: He must have died while carving it. King Arthur: Oh come on! Brother Maynard: Well, that's what it says. King Arthur: Look, if he was dying, he wouldn't have bothered to carve 'Aaaauuuggghhhh'. He'd just say it. Sir Galahad: Maybe he was dictating it. King Arthur: Oh shut up! Sir Robin: Well does it say anything else? Brother Maynard: No, just "Aaaaauuuugggghhh". [knights making groaning sounds] Sir Bedevere: Do you think he could have mean, 'Camaaaauuuuggghhhh'? Sir Galahad: Where's that? Sir Bedevere: France, I think. Sir Lancelot: Isn't there a Saint "Aaaaavvvveeeesss" in Cornwall? King Arthur: No that's Saint "Ives". Sir Lancelot: Oh, yes. "Iiiiiivvvveeessss"! [All knights saying, "Iiiiiivvvveeessss"] Sir Bedevere: Whooooouuuuaaa! Sir Lancelot: No no no, it's "Aaaaauuuugggghhhh" from the back of the throat. Sir Bedevere: No I mean, "Whoooouuuuaaa!" as in surprise and alarm. Sir Lancelot: Oh, you mean like, "AAAHH!" Sir Bedevere: Yes, that's it. "AAAAAAAAAAAAAHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH!"

"Aaaagh!"

I’m not sure I fully realized just how much of a weirdo I was until tonight (Er…. Morning). I was reading Morte Darther (The Death of King Arthur) by Sir Thomas Malory, a 15th century English classic in its original form. Even worse, I was enjoying it.

I think I’m going to be deeply enjoying my English Lit class this semester.

Finals week. ‘Nuff said?

 

 

 

‘Nuff said.

 

 

 

Rach on!