Like the pastor of my congregation, I am puzzled at how even the slightest hint of snow and ice completely shuts down traffic in the Portland area. At any rate, upon the approach of yet another winter storm, I received notice of the cancellation of church first via a chat from a close friend of mine, then from a call from the closest deacon, and then from an e-mail message that had been sent in the morning. Upon hearing that church was cancelled, I made plans to watch the webcast in Tampa, but this too required a fair amount of work on the logistics and set-up. The local webcast has a password that I did not have the last time that services were cancelled . Then I found out that the time for services had been changed from the fairly comfortable 11:30AM PST to 7AM PST for some reason. Not being the sort of person who wakes up the easiest, I napped through my alarm in the morning and ended up with a call from my mum at 6:45AM reminding me about the time of services, but I was able to log in a few minutes before services began.
Upon listening to the webcast in Tampa, I sang along with the hymns and listened to the sermonette from a gentleman of Caribbean descent on David being a man after God’s own heart leading into a discussion of gratitude and praise. There was some lovely special music set to “Our God Is An Awesome God” from some adorable local kids. The newish local pastor, Mr. Martin, gave a stirring message on the importance of doctrine with a lot of applications for the Sabbath. His contrast was between the emotional reasoning that people tend to use in justifying their behavior and the objective insight that we can gain from taking God at His word, something that has a great deal of relevance to the world that we live in. Sensibly, he discussed that the writings of the Bible give the way for us to live. His concern was for foundations, and that is definitely the sort of message that I can stand behind . To know God’s ways are not difficult–doing them is what is hard, and what often requires divine assistance. Hopefully those who struggle to obey God’s commandments when it comes to the Sabbath, or when it comes to being gracious and merciful to others and loving and reconciling with those who are estranged from us may be comforted by the thought that God knows how difficult are the behaviors he asks us to practice, but that He is willing to give us all the help we need if we set our will to follow His way.
Given that the services were done so early in the day, that left open the question of how I would spend the rest of my day. Perhaps predictably, I decided to do a lot of reading. I ended up finishing a book on the history of the Esperanto movement that I had gotten from the library, an entire book borrowed from my roommate’s collection on the book of Revelation, and a book I had received from the Michigan War Studies review on the just waging of the Civil War by the Union. That group of books can adequately represent the sort of reading I do, and perhaps explains why I have more than half a dozen single parties waiting for their suitable pairs before they are published. I suppose many might find it odd that I would wish to present multiple books on the same or related subjects rather than simply promiscuously publish book reviews as the books are read, but I have always thought that books benefited from having additional context that would help place them within a certain genre or a certain approach. Many a book can be illuminated by comparison to other books on similar subjects, and the greater one’s familiarity with genre and style, the easier it is to understand an author’s approach and properly critique it. That which is generic can only be known once one has an understanding of what genre is.
At any rate, as can be imagined, all of this effort required a bit of driving around. Unsurprisingly, this proved to be a difficult challenge. Although I kept my wandering to a reasonable minimum by only going within my extended neighborhood, it was still quite a dramatic trip that involved sliding around to an alarming degree on the drive home after having gotten my groceries for the week and having to clear my rear window from snow and melt the ice on my windshield. None of these things made for a pleasant driving experience and it was only the total absence of other traffic on the road (given that few people were likely insane enough to be out), and the conditions make it extremely unlikely that I will be able to do any travel tomorrow, which is one reason why I made sure to do my errands tonight so that I would be able to stay in without making life too hungry for me for the coming week. It’s been a brutally cold winter here, with wave after wave of winter storm coming our way. I must say this is the worst winter I’ve had since 2003-2004 when I was in Ohio. Let’s hope the winter doesn’t induce any of that unpleasant cabin fever that makes life so unpleasant.
 See, for example:
 See, for example: