Saturday, June 28, 2008


bikes, ponytails, and ladybugs...

This weekend Bekah, Kelli and I got together for our semi-annual "Beks, Bugs, and Ber" reunion! Since going to college, our girlhood trio has been limited to phone calls, 1 reunion in the summer and 1 between Christmas and New Years.

Bekah and I loaded up the car on friday afternoon after work to embark on yet another road trip. As usual, it started with me yelling at her for the amount of luggage she was bringing for a 2 day trip and suggesting we rent a U-Haul. Then we argued about directions, my driving, her music selection, and the way she started freaking out when it began raining.

We finally made it without Bekah's mouth being duct-taped this time! We even stopped by Wendy's on the way in so she could get her daily serving of ice cream.

As little girls, we would stay up talking until the wee hours of the morning whenever we got together. Well, as college graduates (or soon to be college graduates:) we had no problem crashing!

The next morning we leisurely got out of bead, made waffles, and left to explore uptown Charlotte. I brought my camera and got really good pictures of Kelli. (Bekah had a bad attitude about being a model:) We then walked around fun jewelry stores and came back to make homemade pizza and chocolate cake! Our evening ended with a sappy chick flick and wonderful laziness!

Being the analyzer that I am, I always find the relationship between me, Kelli and Bekah fascinating! I am the pessimistic, analyzing, planning, and sarcastic one. Bekah, on the other end of the spectrum, is the optimistic, free spirit, clumsy and genuinely blonde one. (despite Clarol:) Kelli seems to be the perfect mixture of the two of us. She is artistic but also level headed; creative but also analytical.

Being different is what makes us appreciate each other. Personality clashes are what we find endearing. As we have always said, life would be boring if we were all three "Ambers", life would be scary if we were all three "Bekahs", and life would be...well, contradictory if we were all three "Kellis."

While at times, we considered ourselves "the three blind mice," I can't wait to see how the Lord continues to use our friendship to both encourage and keep each other straight!

Friday, June 27, 2008

The Depths of Natural Law

For my Master's Thesis, I am planning to study Comparative Religious Ethics primarily focusing on Natural Law. This is an area I have been passionate about ever since I heard J. Budziszewski speak on the topic while at a Norman Geisler conference during my high school days. I am now in the middle of an independent study in Comparative Religious Ethics with Dr. Liederbach and am reading one of J-Bud's books again. The following quote really captures the way he masterfully combines the head and heart:

Faith readjusts disordered mental powers so that we can recognize that the evident is evident - something like removing our fingers from our ears so that the music we have been listening to sounds more like what it is. In truth, every created intellect hears the music of its Creator. As St. Paul puts it, "Ever since the creation of the world His invisible nature, namely, His eternal power and deity, has been clearly perceived in the things that have been made." The difficulty is that we human beings are prone to neglect even our duities to neighbors whom we can see; how much more prone are we to neglect our duties to God whom we cannot see.

Thursday, June 26, 2008

How do you define a good movie??

"Amber, you already ruined Anne of Green Gables for me. Don't ruin this movie as well!" These frustrated words were spoken to me by my roommate, Amanda. One of the most valuable tools the History of Ideas program has given me happends to also be a curse! It is known as the unability to read or watch anything without critiquing or analyzing it in light of the Christian worldview. This is very fun for me but very annoying for many of my friends!

I love movies that make me think. I love movies that critique culture. I love movies that have a purpose or a message whether it is right or wrong. I love movies that allow me to discuss ideas with both believers and unbelievers. I'll admit: quite often it is very nice to insert styrophome into my DVD player and allow my brain cells to veg with Meg Ryan or some other mindless chick-flick. However, the movies I find myself wanting to see again or recommend to others are ones that challenge me.

I recently saw the movie "Rendition" with Reece Witherspoon, Meryl Streep, and Jake Gyllenhaal. The movie is about the ethics of torture and the way the American government responds to this controversy. I was doubtful the movie would accomplish anything more than making me sick to my stomach but, in the end, I was very surprised by the way they tastefully got their message across.

During the Clinton reign, the American government allowed for suspected terrorists to be taken to an undisclosed prison in another country for the purpose of being tortured. Because “America doesn’t torture,” the government slipped through their little loophole by simply “watching” suspects being tortured by the foreign prison officials. Apparently, this scheme revealed the plot to bomb a train station in London several years ago and subsequently saved thousands of lives.

What an ethical dilemma this creates! It is so tempting to think, “Well, they would do it to us!” or, “It will save thousands of lives!” My biggest concern with this line of reasoning is that it adopts the utilitarian axiom that it is better to sacrifice the one for the many. With this mindset, we would also have to affirm that it is morally permissible to conduct stem cell research on a few to save the masses. Furthermore, scripture, unlike the Qu’ran, makes no provision for torture of any kind. It certainly does support capital punishment for crimes that have been committed and deserve death. Scripture is also clear that our treatment of enemies should be no less guided by the principle of “neighbor love.” (The Good Samaritan parable)

From an ideological standpoint, it is important that the means used to protect human life must not encourage contempt of human life at the same time. While there is a place for “just war” and capital punishment, the main goal of supporting human life as creatures formulated in the Image of God must be kept in perspective. Of course, prisons should not be Day Spas and interrogators shouldn’t sound like Oprah. After all, protection of innocent life is a major factor in “neighbor love.” However, a proper perspective is in order before such activities are adopted.

Whether or not you agree or disagree with the movie’s anti-torture message, I’m sure America’s loophole to keep her hands clean could not remain undisputed. In the movie, the American Agent does not suggest the suspect should be let off the hook but that he should be fairly tried in the States. He does not release him because he feels sorry for him; he releases him because he is found to be innocent. The movie did not seem pro-Ossama or anti-American. It rightly questioned and raised awareness of important issues. These issues must be viewed by believers in light of the Christian worldview and the standard scripture sets.

My New Favorite Treat!

I have recently been exploring the many delicious ways one can eat Ezekiel Bread! I was never a fan of the loaf bread but I absolutely love the english muffins.

I have also been contemplating how to intake more coconut oil. (internally, that is :)) For the past couple of weeks, I have been spreading 1/2 tbs of coconut oil on each side of the muffin and drizzling honey on top. It took me about a day before it went from a mediocre way of eating something beneficial to absolutely addicting!

On a more fattening note, try toasting the muffin and spreading some butter on top. Once the butter is soaked in, pile on some Nutella!

I hope they have these things in Europe! Otherwise, they will definitely be added to the list of things for people to bring when they come visit!

The Fun Life

Here are some pictures I took while babysitting Anderson and Katie Schemm this past week.

This guy loves being in front of a camera! Whoever said having 7 kids in the family would squelch their personalities??

Mary Katherine was not as interested in smiling for the camera. However, I shortly figured out that the best way to get a big eye-squinting laugh from her was to randomly pick one of her sibiling's names and say they were silly. She looked at me and laughed out loud every time!!

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