Friday, December 30, 2005

Here's the Friday Fiver for you...

1. How will you be ringing in the New Year?
At home, with Rick.

2. How do you wish you were ringing in the New Year?
After a busy Christmas season with lots of travel, I really wouldn't change a thing.

3. Do you have any traditions that you observe on New Year's Day intended to bring you luck for the upcoming year?
I really don't believe in luck, but Rick likes to cook sauerkraut. But, if I did believe in luck, I would say that makes me pretty un-lucky.

4. Do you make resolutions? Do you keep them?
I don't usually make "resolutions" per se. However, I think the New Year is a great time to discuss goals, plans, hopes and desires for the coming months.

5. Would you ever have plastic surgery?
Well, never say never is what I've always been told. I'm not so sure about plastic surgery, but I would definitely think about having brown eyeliner tattooed.
posted by Christie

Thursday, December 29, 2005

Conversation with my five year old nephew, Daniel.

Daniel: Most of the kids in my grade are peach.

Me: Peach?

Daniel: Yeah, peach. But there is one boy who is brown. His name is Christian.

Me: Oh, okay.

Daniel: Somebody at school explained to my kindergarten class about people who are different colors.

Me: Really.

Daniel: Yeah and I told them I didn't understand, because we're all different colors. I'm bright peach, and other kids are dark peach, and Christian is brown. So, Aunt Christie, what's the big deal?

Out of the mouth of babes.
posted by Christie
Every year our church allows Rick to choose a conference we would like to attend, and sends us off for a week, all expense paid. It really has been a huge blessing to our ministry and marriage and something that we really look forward to. The first year, we went to a marriage seminar in Asheville, the second to a pastor's conference in Orlando, and then last year we attended an Acts29 church planting event at Mars Hill in Seattle. Well, it's about that time of year again, and we're in the middle of much deliberation about what our destination will be. We had made tentative plans to attend a conference at John MacArthur's church in California - but have decided that it's most likely not going to work out. So, as of now, we're back at square one, looking for a conference worth our time and our church's money. Any of you guys know of one you would recommend?
posted by Christie

Wednesday, December 28, 2005

Derek Webb has just launched a new website. You can hear selections from his new cd, read the lyrics, subscribe to his podcast and much more.
posted by Christie

Tuesday, December 27, 2005

Between recklessly plunging down snow covered slopes and disciplining teenagers for extreme acts of profligation, I somehow found the time to read a book on our ski trip. This feat is due mainly, to an unusual absence of motion sickness on the bus, and also to my handy dandy book light. So, somewhere on the road between Hazlehurst and Augusta I cracked open Calvinism in the Las Vegas Airport: Making Connections in Today's World, by Richard J. Mouw.

The title derives its name from the movie Hardcore, in which a minister attempts to explain his faith to an unsuspecting prostitute, using the TULIP acronym. The setting you ask- none other than the Las Vegas Airport. As might be be expected, TULIP comes across rather harsh in the above conversation, and that thought forms the premise for Mouw's work. Although Mouw, who happens to be president of Fuller Theological Seminary, does agree with the the tenants of Calvinism as explained by TULIP, he feels that in certain situations, there may be an easier, more relevant way to explain the doctrines of grace to both believers and non. While I do agree with him up to that point, the book goes on to take a few disturbing turns. The main one being Mouw's idea of "divine generosity." He asserts that most people, regardless of their beliefs, lifestyle or profession of faith, are possibly in the elect. While he does admit that his views could be flawed and that he isn't a universalist, his assumptions land on very shaky ground.

Despite several disagreements with Mouw, he closes the book on a better note. While he doesn't dismiss TULIP, he feels he can better explain Calvinist doctrine through the first question and answer of the Hiedelberg Cathechism, commonly referred to as "Heidelberg One." You can read it here, and should if you're not familiar with it. Mouw's particularly controversial ideas aside, he ends well.
posted by Christie
Eight days, 2000 miles and six states. It's good to be back home. Watch for updates. More to come later.
posted by Christie

Sunday, December 18, 2005

"Hi ho, hi ho, off to Snowshoe we go. We hope great slopes, no broken bones. Hi ho, hi ho, hi ho, hi ho."

We probably won't be back here until a day or so after Christmas. Hope all of you guys have a great Holiday, uhhh, Christmas I mean. Everyone be blessed.
posted by Christie

Saturday, December 17, 2005

To his surprise, Rick received a 2 GB Ipod Nano as an Anniversary and Christmas present. With the Ipod, he also received this terribly overpriced case, that works remarkably well despite its hard hit to my pocket book. He's very excited about downloading music onto the machine, but most excited about the weekly podcast of Mark Driscoll's sermons. Maybe if I'm good, he'll let me borrow it every now and then.
posted by Christie
Out of nowhere, I stumbled upon a heart-breaking article about someone I used to know. The piece chronicled this persons descent from a life of mission work, into a life of sin and hopeless despair. How sad to see someone who has tasted the goodness of God and who has enjoyed the fellowship of God's people, turn in a direction so diametrically opposed to the things of God. For some reason, this will bother me for quite a while. Years ago, when a friends pastor was caught in an affair with someone in his church, I was literally haunted for months. It takes time for me to work through this kind of situation. It would be easiest to forget about these two and others, and pronounce them as frauds - but that's not my call to make. There is no question that Christians can be seduced into participating in horrible things. Yet, I also believe if they are, they will repent. I pray repentance has taken place in both of these guys lives, and that I won't elevate their sin to a plane higher than the "lesser" sins that I commit. Without the grace of God, we would all be in situations like theirs, or worse.
posted by Christie

Friday, December 16, 2005

This year the gift is wood - which means today, Christie and I celebrate our 5th Anniversary. It's hard to believe we've already been married for five years. It seems like just a few days ago that Michael and I were smoking cigars outside the hotel in Cross City discussing love, life and marriage. It seems like just a few moments ago, when I turned to see Christie coming down the aisle - what a beautiful bride she was. And today, my love for her has reached a capacity I did know existed on this day, five years ago. It's amazing to me that my love for her can continue to grow daily, how with each passing moment we share, each time I discover something new about her, each new memory we create - I continue to love her more. And so I understand, that even though loving her more than I do today is impossible, when we are celebrating six years my love will have reached a new height and I cannot fathom what love will be like at 50 years. So today, I celebrate my wife and best friend, Christie Ross Garrett, and thank her for five of the best years of my life. Happy Anniversary!
posted by Rick

Thursday, December 15, 2005

Hey Michael, I did it.
posted by Christie

Wednesday, December 14, 2005

I don't really know anything about sports, but I know about Tim Tebow. He's hard to miss. I've kept up with the freak of nature that is Tebow sporadically throughout the last year and recently learned that he's committed to Florida. From what I hear, Alabama was an option for him as well, but in the end he chose UF, his parents alma mater. Interestingly enough, the kid is homeschooled and his dad is a preacher. Tim's been heavily involved in mission work in the Philippines and other areas for years. So, even though I'm not a big fan of the Gators, I wish Tebow well, he deserves it.
posted by Christie

Tuesday, December 13, 2005

Barring death by freezing, our church is hosting its first live nativity later this week. I've never been a part of this type of event before, yet even with my unfamiliarity, I have a feeling that ours is going to be the queen mother. The set being constructed could, at first glance, be mistaken for a new subdivision. The idea has even been tossed around to rent out the buildings after the production to boost income. Or not. We just hope the wild animals we'll have housed in the middle of town don't escape. That could be dangerous. Camels can wreak serious havoc in metropolitan areas like ours. Rescuing them would probably be the job of, might you say, a peasant girl. Yep, that's what I was cast as. And it's not very glamorous. I didn't even make it as one of the wise men's concubines. However, after receiving my costume, I felt it necessary to make a trip to the store in hopes of accessorizing my outfit with a few fabrics that at least matched and weren't quite so boring. Yet, I'm still going to be seriously lacking in the fashion department. Didn't Bethlehem have a mall? I'll be a complete fapaux. Oh, well. I am wearing a ski hat underneath my head covering, so despite the clothing, I might have had a hard time pulling off any look except cosmetically challenged in the first place. It's a losing battle. So, rain or shine, sleet or snow, camels or none, even though I'll be helplessly peasant-like, the show must go on.
posted by Christie

Monday, December 12, 2005

In an incredibly feeble attempt to move from the j's to the a's on our alphabetical listing of blogs, our good buddy Brett has changed his site name from Just Thinking, to Absolutely Absolute. I guess he must be desperate for publicity. Stooping to such levels is one way to market yourself.
posted by Christie
The Public Market in Seattle is one of the neatest places I've ever visited. Basically, it's an enormous 9 acre, three- story flea market with vendors from all over the world selling produce, artwork, jewelry, comic-books, spices, leather goods, antiques, and of course, cannabis paraphernalia. Really, it's a world unto itself. And although the Market is rather dirty and reeks of seafood, it is nestled in an indescribably beautiful area. Look one way and you see downtown Seattle, another and you have a perfect view of the Cascade Mountains looming above the Puget Sound, and still turn from there and Mt. Rainier stands majestically in your path. And the flying fish. How can I forget the flying fish. At Pike's Place Fish the staff yell and chant to each other constantly, and throw fish occasionally. They also pride themselves in playing practical jokes on innocent by-standers. Like me. As we passed by Pike's Place Fish for the first time, I noticed a huge fish hanging partially off the side of the ice. Possessing the investigative mind that I do, I decided I would go in for a closer inspection, but when I did, the little joker behind the counter gave the hidden line attached to the fish a swift yank. As he laughed maniacally, I was propelled several feet into the air, while screaming like a dying cat. It took me a while to recover from that one. But I hear that since I've tasted fresh gelato, sipped coffee from the original Starbucks, ascended the Space Needle, and lived to tell of the the monk fish, that I've truly experienced Seattle. I could have definitely lived without the last one.
posted by Christie

Friday, December 09, 2005

Derek Webb's new CD, Mockingbird will hit stores on December 26. And from what I've heard, the album packs some extremely provocative thoughts about sensitive issues such as social justice, war, poverty and politics. Not one to dish out easy answers, Derek tackles deep, probing life issues. As is the case with his previous albums, Derek is definitely trying to convey a message. And that message may be one that doesn't fall particularly softly on Evangelical ears. In his song "A King and a Kingdom" he says:

"There are two great lies that I've heard: 'The day you eat of the fruit of that tree, you will not surely die,' and that Jesus Christ was a white, middle-class Republican and if you wanna be saved you have to learn to be like Him"

"My first allegiance is not to a flag, a country, or a man, my first allegiance is not to democracy or blood, it's to a King and a Kingdom"

Much like other work Derek has done, everyone may not necessarily agree with his lyrics, but he forces healthy thought and consideration of often controversial and overlooked ideas. And although many would argue that Derek doesn't always make the best music, the fact is undeniable that he definitely makes a statement. Mockingbird will most assuredly be on my day after Christmas list. You can pre-order here.

"There's only one bird that doesn't have its' own song. That's the mockingbird. I don't want to have my own song. I want to mimic the songs of Christ. I want to speak only where He speaks and be silent where He is silent." -Derek Webb

posted by Christie

Thursday, December 08, 2005

This morning was one of those mornings. Mainly because last night was one of those nights. I didn't get to sleep until close to 2 - and that wouldn't have been quite so tragic if I wasn't supposed to get up for work just three short hours later. Well, sometime during the middle of the night I guess I decided that I needed more sleep - and in an obvious state of delirium - I decided to reset my alarm clock. I only remember the incident vaguely, but somehow instead of changing what time the alarm went off, I managed to instead, turn it off completely. Imagine that. Thankfully, Mom saved the day. I told her last night that I would give her a call this morning, and at 6:35 when she hadn't heard from me (and I should have already been on my way to work), she called and interrupted my extra hour and a half of rest. Upon gaining coherence, I realized that I was going to be terribly late. However, in lightning speed, I brushed my teeth, got showered, flat-ironed my hair, put on my make-up, picked out something to wear and let Rick iron it for me (thanks Honey), and was out the door in only 19 minutes! A record for me. So, I guess the moral of the story is that I either need to get more sleep, or put my alarm clock somewhere where I won't have such easy access to it. Both would probably be helpful.
posted by Christie
Kudos to Micah for being the 11,000th visitor here at A Couple of Words! He slid in at 12:18 am, CST, beating someone from Brewton-Parker College by mere seconds (Sorry Mike, Shef or Amber, whichever of you it was - there are consolation prizes). His grand prize will consist of a lifetime subscription to our blog, along with all of the perks and benefits that entails, including, but not limited to, making witty comments on our site. Congratulations Micah!
posted by Christie

Wednesday, December 07, 2005

Like Michael said, great discussion over here about the "Merry Christmas" controversy. Check it out and throw in your two cents.
posted by Christie

Tuesday, December 06, 2005

Joe Thorne, at Words of Grace, sheds some great light on the importance of theology and misunderstandings concerning it. The post is definitely worth looking at. Here's an exerpt.

I find myself frustrated with people coming from two different directions. On the one hand there are those... who have dismissed theology as an irrelevant, divisive - if sometimes necessary - engagement. On the other hand are those who treat theology like the XBOX 360. It’s really a lot of fun, and you can do it with others who are into the same games, you spend a lot of time in the virtual world with it, but ultimately it has little connection to real life. It’s a passionate hobby. If you don’t know what XBOX is, or don’t have one, then perhaps you can better grasp the point I am attempting to make.

...good theology is not simply the recitation of archaic doctrinal formulations - as valuable as that is. Theology is not good just because it is right. It must be spoken in response to a church and culture that needs Christ. It should be the attempt to show the connection of God and his salvation to men and women here in real time. I find it ironic that many theologianettes who seem to love Luther, Calvin and Spurgeon neglect to follow the example of these men. Their theology emerged from their relationship with the world. Often times our theology is little more than the scripted dialogue of history.
posted by Christie

Monday, December 05, 2005

Is Correct Spelling Important?

I cdnuolt blveiee taht I aulaclty cluod uesdnatnrd waht I was rdgnieg. The phaonmneal pweor of the hmuan mnid -- aoccdrnig to rscheearch at Cmabrigde Uinervtisy, it deosn't mttaer in waht oredr the ltteers in a wrod are pelacd, the olny iprmoatnt tihng is taht the frist and lsat ltteers be in the rghit pclaes. The rset can be a taotl mses and you sitll can raed it wouthit a porbelm.

Tihs is bcuseae the huamn mnid deos not raed ervey lteter by istlef, but the wrod as a wlohe. Amzanig huh? Yaeh, and I awlyas thohugt slpeling was imtorpant. Just geos to sohw…
posted by Christie

Friday, December 02, 2005

Rick and I have had a great time decorating our new home for Christmas. We're actually hosting a few parties this season, and so we tried to make the atmosphere seem really special. Obviously, we put up a tree along with lots of lighted garland and candles throughout the house, a nativity and an Advent wreath. I like to keep it simple when it comes to Christmas decorations and stick with the basics.
posted by Christie

Thursday, December 01, 2005

It's really no big secret that I'm a Calvinist. Yes, I said it. A Calvinist. However, I never meant to become one. It really wasn't in the plan. Infact, I'm not even sure when it happened, but one day I realized that I had strayed far away from my Arminian roots. Growing up, Calvinism made me conjure up ideas of people being dragged into heaven kicking and screaming and babies burning eternally in the lake of fire. Certainly I would have said that God was in control, yet when that thought seemed to infringe upon my free-will, then I would conveniently and quietly dismiss it. I was a staunch believer in man-made terms such as fair, that I knew I must squeeze God into. I would pick and choose scriptures that fit my ideas and skip over others that didn't. I thought Calvinism made God look bad, so I didn't like it. Basically, that was the case.

However, at some point, I really began studying the issue with a mind far more open to the possibility that my theology could be somewhat flawed. And although it was a long process, and involved working through numerous issues, the one that finally broke me was total depravity. (There's been lots of discussion about that idea on the site lately and I'm not attempting to be contentious or start a 100 comment post, just to chronicle my story.) I realized that if I was going to accept the doctrine of total depravity, which I did, then I also had to accept the rest of the tenants that Calvinist theology espoused. I realized that if man was truly dead in his sin and transgressions, that free-will wasn't even an option. For the first time it hit me that salvation wasn't a life raft that Jesus threw to me as I flailed in the water - but salvation was Jesus plunging to the bottom of the water, retrieving my dead body, and bringing it back to life. For once, it wasn't about me.

I don't submit to anyone that I will ever come close to having any of this figured out. Yet, for better or worse, richer or poorer, in sickness and in health, even though I never intended to be, my name is Christie and I am a Calvinist.
posted by Christie
So, two posts in two days. I'm on a roll.

I think it might be time for me to admit something to all of you. You may find it shocking, scary and a little disappointing, but it is true. Christie and I have been long time fans of reality television. Why? I'm not sure, but we seem to find it all somewhat fascinating. It may have first begun with the movie The Truman Show or perhaps even with Ed TV. However, at some point in time we suddenly started watching such shows and found ourselves sucked in.

So, Tuesday night - before The Real World reunion - we happened upon the season finale of NBC's The Biggest Loser, a show we had never watched before.

The show ended with the top three finalist competing to lose the largest percentage of weight and the winner receiving a check for $200,000.

It was crazy to see the before and after photos, so I thought I'd throw them up here to give you a little encouragement for your New Year's Resolutions and to divert your attention from the fact that I like Reality TV.

Matt - the winner

Before at 40% body fat

After at 2.8% body fat

Seth - runner up

Before at 42.9% body fat

and After at 3.6% body fat

It's wild when you realize these guys lost around 45% of their original body weight.

Now, go hit the gym, after you bash me for watching these shows.

posted by Rick