Sunday I visited liturgical church #5, an Episcopal one. In contrast with the previous week’s, this was the friendliest church yet. They greeted me as I came in and as I left the service, and they even convinced me to stay for coffee time afterward, where I talked for quite a while with several people. A couple of them even knew my old employers.
They held the service in what looked like a Sunday school room that doubled as a library. Later I learned this was because their sanctuary needed reconstruction. I was struck by how the trappings of liturgy could elevate such an ordinary environment. The sermon was a very helpful one about the meaning of liturgical gestures. The songs were interesting too, especially “Inspired by Love and Anger,” a social justice hymn by John Bell.
I am old now. My 40th birthday was Wednesday. For being such a momentous one, it was the most casual birthday I’ve had in quite a while, basically just a normal day. The closest thing to a black balloon I got was a Bitmoji of a coffin from my brother, to which I replied I’d already moved into my coffin to save time later. My sister’s message was a video of her booping my picture. Also a very nice card in which she assured me 40 is the new 30, so I shouldn’t let it hold me back.
Since Wednesday I’ve been slightly more aware of my status as an old person when I’m around young people, but other than that, mentally I still feel like I’m about 20. And my body disagrees less than I expected. Maybe I’d notice my age more if I’d ever been remotely athletic.
“Life begins at forty.” I never understood that saying until I found an addition: “Up until then, you are just doing research.” That’s how I’ve been feeling the past couple of years, that the developments over the course of my life have been coming together and soon I’ll be poised to do something with them.
Having said that, one of my friends told me years ago that when she was young, she thought middle-aged people had it all together, but when she got there, she realized it wasn’t true. They were trying to figure things out like everyone else. And now that I’m there, I definitely agree. So young people, that’s what you have to look forward to, muddling through a life of confusion! But at least it’s not boring.
One nice birthday present I got was an email from my old college friend Cam, wishing me a happy birthday and giving me his phone number so we could catch up. It’d been a few years since we’d talked. So I replied with my number, and we had a good conversation Friday night. The funny thing about Cam is that we were both Christian education majors who ended up programming for a living. For a while we were even both working with the same technology, SharePoint. It’s kinda nice to catch up after a few years and immediately be able to talk shop.
As kind of a late celebration, I’m getting together with friends at Jeremy and Heather’s place on Sunday for board games.
I posted an update to my analysis essay. This one is an account of my current hazy, messy process of analysis. There are also links to example analyses and a roadmap of planned updates to the essay.
I’m sort of at a stopping point in my analysis essay, so I guess I’ll get back to this one. I’m going to try a different approach, at least in my notes for the essay–writing them in dialog form to fit the back-and-forth nature of my thoughts on religion.
I finished Pilot X, written by a tech journalist I follow, Tom Merritt. I appreciated his attention to the logic of time travel. It’s hard to get right, but I think he did pretty well. My only real complaint about the book is that it’s too short. It skips over long time periods and could easily have been a series. But I guess there’s something to be said for pocket-size epics.
I got through Haruki Murakami’s Wind/Pinball. It felt surprisingly Western, like it could’ve been written by an American, except that it was sprinkled with odd statements that reminded me the characters were from another culture with different assumptions and idioms. I also wasn’t sure how much of the novel reflected actual Japanese life in the ’70s and how much was magic realism. The detached, apathetic tone of the stories reminded me of Less Than Zero, though Murakami’s characters were trying to find themselves a little more actively than Ellis’.
Now I’m on the next book in that series, A Wild Sheep Chase. I’m reading the print book because I couldn’t find a convenient audio version and I didn’t feel like buying it on Audible.
For audio I’ve started a new listening project, Ben Bova’s Grand Tour series about colonizing the solar system (see my tracking spreadsheet based on the lists here). I was going to try to piece together a series like that out of multiple authors’ books, but then I found out Bova’s. Convenient! I like Powersat so far, a political thriller about a revolutionary solar energy project.
Well, I was all ready to do my taxes (at the last minute Saturday night), but I couldn’t log in to the site that had my W-2. I’ll try again this week.