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Showing posts from November, 2012

getting in the habit

I recently read that it takes an average of 66 days to form a habit.  By habit I mean something that turns from an occasional activity (or a never activity) to one that you do automatically and don't argue with yourself about.  It has become part of you and your routine.  There is quite a difference in the length of time it takes to develop a habit depending on the activity. On average, drinking a daily glass of water takes only 18 days to become a habit, adapting to the loss of a limb takes about 21 days, and doing 50 sit-ups before breakfast takes more like 100 days.

Two habits that I have been doing for many, many years are working out and contemplation/prayer. I feel significantly better when I follow a workout regimen; it gives me strength, stamina, and energy.  The benefits are numerous.  If I am running late, I can sprint to catch the bus and not get winded.  I have the energy to climb up Mont-Royal and carry heavy bags of groceries up three flights of stairs.  It helps pr…

faith is a journey

The last week or so I have been reading a book that I picked up at a conference in May.  It is called Journeys of Faith (edited by Robert L. Plummer, Zondervan, 2012).  When I saw it in a pile at a publisher's booth it caught my eye because the subject matter intrigued me and the book was on sale.  How could I resist?  It has been an interesting read thus far.  The book contains essays from four different people who have migrated from one part of Christianity to another.  After more than 20 years of being a Baptist pastor, one man became an Eastern Orthodox priest.  Someone who was part of the Protestant charismatic movement switched to Catholicism.  A Catholic had an experience with God at a mid-week service and converted to evangelicalism.  A Lutheran moved to the Anglican church. 

The format of the book is inclusive and balanced.  Each of the chapters in which these men relate the story of their faith journey and explain the major differences between where they came from and …

when discouragement comes to visit

This past week was pretty hectic for me with two major presentations due one after the other.  On Wednesday I had a workshop reading of my original play which meant that I spent the last few weeks rewriting at least half of my first draft in response to feedback I received. One never knows if a play will be a cohesive, believable piece until it is workshopped.  The comments afterwards were more positive than I could have hoped for!  People said it was a solid piece with a good arc, believable dialogue, and strong characters.  There are still a few problems that need to addressed, but that's to be expected.  Overall, I was very encouraged by the response. 

On Thursday afternoon I had another presentation, this time for a performance studies seminar.  The readings in this seminar are outside of my usual genre and sometimes I feel like I am barely keeping my head above water.  So I was hoping to do well.  During the informal presentation, one person wondered why I was making these …

is this epic or what?

I am in the middle of a playwriting course. At the same time, I am teaching a series on reading the Bible as narrative.  This means that for the past few months I have been pretty immersed in studying the aspects of story.  Below are some of the gleanings from my reading, studying, writing, and teaching.  It may be a bit more scholarly and less personal than usual, but that's all part of telling stories, as I explain below.  Here goes... 

There are different ways of telling stories.  In literature one finds two categories which illustrate the opposite ends of the story spectrum.  First there is "epic."  This is an objective approach which takes a step back from the action and looks at things from a bird's eye view.  Often an epic tale incorporates a third person narrator.  In epic tales, we often find many vignettes which cover a long period of time and tell us a grand story.  The characters are subordinate to the plot.  What is important in telling an epic tale is…