Saturday, June 30, 2007

Greg's Video Now in 6th Place!

Yesterday when I posted about Greg's video, Freedom is Not Free, it was in 9th place on SermonSpice's top video list. Currently, it's in 6th place. I would think that churches that would consider downloading it for service tomorrow (Sunday before July 4) would have already done it, but he could still sell more later today. Good job, Greg!

Chicago Trip--Cultural Experience--Go, Cubs, Go!

In the middle of writing my comps, I took an excursion to Chicago. Back in April, David Conrad, an OCC student who is a huge Cubs fan, told me that he planned to go to Chicago for the Cubs/White Sox game on June 24. He asked me if I was interested, and I told him yes. He got the tickets. He was planning on driving, so I paid him for the tickets, and told him I was in.

As the summer turned out, I was in the middle of writing my comps, but my deadline was June 27, so I assumed I could get it done. I made arrangements to spend Saturday night with friends from high school in Joliet, IL. I also made arrangements to visit a Spanish-speaking church on the south side of Chicago, the Blue Island Church of Christ, where I spoke last Sunday morning. David Conrad was going to stay in Illinois a week, so I made plans to return to Joplin by myself. I was less than a thousand frequent flyer miles on American to merit a free trip from Chicago to Springfield, MO, so I got a Greyhound Bus Ticket for only $45 from Chicago to Joplin. That was my cultural experience!

I only remember taking an interurban bus in the United States one other time in my life. I graduated from high school in Joliet, IL in 1971. The following week our family moved to Jacksonville, IL. Just before moving to Joplin, MO to begin college, I took a bus from Jacksonville to Joliet. My friend David Schultz let me borrow a car to have a date with a girl I had dated a bit in high school. It was different, so I felt more than free to move on. Rose thought I was crazy to want to take this bus trip, especially since I got on the bus at 1 AM, and traveled all night and part of the day to get home. I was stoked for it, though. In Chile, I've traveled by bus many times. There are nice buses, and not-so-nice buses, but it's a common way to travel. I got to the Chicago Bus Terminal about 11:30 PM, for a bus leaving at 1:00 AM. I had a ticket for the 1:00 AM bus, but I found out that doesn't make any difference, as seats are first come-first served. So I got in line, and waited. A guy right behind me was supposed to have been on a bus leaving Chicago hours earlier, but it was full, and he had to wait. I needed to be on the bus I was scheduled on, because I needed to be back in Joplin on Monday, in order to spend Tuesday and Wednesday in the library writing my comps. The trip from Chicago to St. Louis was uneventful (only 1 stop, in Bloomington). I had to change buses in St. Louis, with a 3 hour layover. What did I do there? I made a quick rest room stop, and then I got in line. In the end, there was not a seat available problem. Nobody got bumped. They would have, but Greyhound put an additional bus for the portion of the trip from St. Louis to Springfield, MO, but, I didn't know they were going to do that, and the next scheduled bus was Monday evening, so . . . I waited in line. I got back to Joplin around 3:30 PM. I had parked my motor scooter inside College Press's warehouse area, so I had transportation home. It was a cultural experience I probably won't rush to repeat. I would rather fly, or drive, I suppose.

That brings us to the Cubs. They have won 17 of their last 25 games, to get back to .500 on the season. They have a firm grip now on 2nd place in the NL Central, have two series sweeps in a row. The game I saw was the 3rd game at U.S. Cellular against the White Sox. They won the game 3-0, which was enjoyable, to see the Cubs sweep the Sox at U.S. Cellular Field ( I had not seen the White Sox play since I was in high school.) Later in the week they swept the Colorado Rockies. Yesterday they began a 3 game series with the Milwaukee Brewers. They gave up 5 run to Milwaukee in the first inning, then started chipping away. Starting the bottom of the 9th down by 2 runs, they picked up 1 run via Derrek Lee's sacrifice fly, to make the 2nd out. That left one runner on and 2 outs when Aramis Ramírez came up to the plate. The wind was blowing in, but Aramis hit the first pitch into the left field stands for a walk-off Cubs home run. Cubs Win! Cubs Win! Cubs Win! You can hear Pat Hughes' home run call in mp3 format by clicking here.

This afternoon they're on FOX. Tomorrow afternoon on WGN. Go Cubs, go!

Friday, June 29, 2007

You Go, Greg!

While I have been busy writing comprehensive exams for my PhD program at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln (106 pages long!), my son has been making extra money for his family.

His video, Freedom is Not Free, which he placed on prior to the Memorial Day weekend, has taken off. That video is now #9 on the most sold videos on the site for the month of June. You go, Greg! is a commercial warehouse of short videos available for use in church settings. Lots of ministers use them as illustrations. Have you heard of the Evangelism Linebacker? That video is on Greg label for his video production is FishXpressions, and if you want to see his other videos available on, you just have to click here.

Good job, Greg! I'm proud of you! Now I hope I get word from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln that allows me to use PhD (candidate) behind my name. Not that I care much about personal prestige, but I've invested years of my life in this, and want to finish.

Not to us, O Lord, not to us
but to your name be the glory,
because of your love and faithfulness.
The Holy Bible : New International Version. 1996, c1984 (electronic ed.) (Ps 115:1). Grand Rapids: Zondervan.

Thursday, June 21, 2007

32 Years!

Today is our 32nd Wedding Anniversary. We took a trip to Brownsville, TX last week, kind of to celebrate the anniversary. I am in the middle of writing comprehensive exams for my PhD degree, so I have been consumed for hours and hours on that this week. I moved into a study room at the Missouri Southern State University Library. Tomorrow (Friday), the library closes at 5:00 PM, so I will quit earlier, and we will enjoy a meal out with Charissa (our oldest) and her husband, Steve.

Rose has been a faithful companion all these years. Without her, my life would be poor indeed. Thanks for hanging with me, Rosita! I'll enjoy our brunch a little later on. I'll be heading to the library before you get up. Here is a recent photo, taken Monday morning with our youngest grandson, Samuel Malachi!

I love you!

Your David

Tuesday, June 19, 2007

That's Why They Call Them Comprehensive

In a few short hours I will begin writing my PhD Comprehensive Exams. We arrived back home from our extended weekend trip to Brownsville, TX. I was anxious to catch a peek at the topics over which I need to write over the next week or so. My adviser was to e-mail them to me on the 18th. We arrived home after business hours on the 18th, so I thought I should have received them. They weren't there yet. I sent my adviser an e-mail before we were taken out to eat by our recently graduated daughter, Kim, who had been "home" doing her laundry.

When we returned from the Olive Garden, the comps had arrived. Comprehensive is an adequate word to describe them. Another word that comes to mind is brutal. Well, that's why I get to use a library to write them. I will hole myself up in a study room at Missouri Southern State Library over the next four days. Then I will take a hiatus on my writing schedule, catch a ride to Chicago with an OCC student, spend Saturday night with some old friends from high school, speak Sunday morning at the Blue Island (IL) Church of Christ (Spanish-speaking church), attend a ball game at U.S. Cellular Field between my beloved Cubbies and that despicable White Sox, visit the new camp of my beloved church camp Lake Region Christian Assembly in Crown Point, IN, before boarding a Greyhound Bus (I'm up for new cultural experiences) back to Joplin, MO. I'll arrive back home on Monday afternoon (June 25), and resume writing my comps on the 26th and 27th. I doubt that I'll be writing blog entries over the next week, unless I write something particularly well that I want to post here.

My adviser told me "Good luck." I hope I don't need it. I guess they are graded on a pass/fail basis. I intend to pass, but they are what they are called: comprehensive.
If you read this, and remember to pray for me, I would be very appreciative.


Friday, June 15, 2007

Boca Chica Beach

Rose and I flew down to Harlingen, TX on Wednesday night (we actually arrived in Brownsville, sans luggage on Thursday). Today we went to Boca Chica beach. The famous beach near Brownsville is on South Padre Island. Boca Chica beach is the Texas Gulf Coast beach nearest to Mexico. It was pretty much an abandoned beach, with no commercialization. On the way back to Brownsville we passed a Border Patrol checkpoint.

I'm not a huge fan of the beach, but Nathan and Eli absolutely love going to the beach. It was fun to watch them.

Nathan (the oldest grandson) turned 5 years old on Tuesday. We will celebrate with a party for him tomorrow evening at a local
Sonic restaurant that has a pretty neat play area. We will share with them on Sunday services. It will be interesting to see how the Spanish-speaking fellowship approaches Father's Day. Rose and I will return to Joplin on Monday, at which time I begin writing my doctoral comprehensive exams. In the second photo, you can see Greg & Emily with their three sons, Nathan, Eli, and Samuel.

Thursday, June 07, 2007

Got a Book in the Mail Yesterday

A few years ago, I heard about this book, and actually checked it out of the Missouri Southern State University library, filing the concept away in my brain until I would need it. That time has come. I bought it on, from one of their associated vendors ($11, hopefully well spent). It is titled Complete Your Dissertation or Thesis in Two Semesters or Less. What I didn't realize was that I was getting the 3rd edition, just published in 2007! Not only that, but an endorsement on the back cover was written by a member of my dissertation committee!!! Here is the complete bibliographic data:

Ogden, Evelyn Hunt (2007). Complete Your Dissertation or Thesis in Two Semesters or Less. 3rd ed. Lanham, Maryland: Rowman & Littlefield Publishers, Inc.

When I first saw the title, I thought it was cute. The book does have some excellent commonsense suggestions and checklists. I will try to summarize the most important below.

What a dissertation is

I quote from Ogden (p. 4):

The dissertation is a scholarly work that represents one or more of the following types of research:

1. historical and philosophical
2. experimental
3. exploratory and descriptive

The subject chosen must be definite and of limited range, the method of investigation must be exactly formulated, the value of sources must be established, and the conclusion systematically supported.

She then describes in greater detail what the words limited, definite, and scholarly mean, and reminds the reader that he/she has already done umpteen or more papers of that nature. Then she drives home her point (pp. 4-5):

Make a list of the dissertations you have read in full (abstracts do not count). Think of the most impressive professors you have had for courses. What were their dissertation topics? Have you read their dissertations? List all the dissertations you have used as textbooks in courses. Are your lists short? As a matter of fact the odds are that the paper is blank. Why is it then, if dissertations are such a big deal, that even those of noted scholars have so little visibility? The answer lies in what a dissertation is and is not.

What a dissertation is not

Again, I quote Ogden (p. 5):

Remember that a dissertation is a demonstration of your ability to do a limited research study of the caliber that appears in journals in your field. You are not being asked to find the cure for cancer or write the great American epic.

What this means

I can do this. I will be writing my comprehensive exams the week of June 18-22. Assuming that I can pass them, I will hit the dissertation proposal hard, hopefully having the proposal approved during the rest of the summer months. Ogden's scheme calls for dissertation proposal by October 25, for a June graduation. I will be striving for a May 2008 graduation.

Now, the research design that I want to use is a bit more complicated. John Hunter, our research librarian, has procured several volumes for me via Inter-Library Loan, most important of which is the 768 page Handbook of Mixed Methods in Social and Behavioral Research, edited by Tashakkori and Teddlie (Sage Publications, 2003).

Keep me in your prayers!

Sunday, June 03, 2007

We Ain't Seen Nuthin' Yet!

For the past 8 weeks, we have been studying Revelation at our church. The Bible School classes and the Sermons are coordinated over the same material. The theme of the 8-week study was Living at Peace in a World Gone to Pieces. Our text today was Revelation 21-22, a view of heaven.

One is the worship songs we sang was the popular song I Can Only Imagine, by Bart Millard, and performed by Mercy Me:

I can only imagine
What it will be like
When I walk
By your side

I can only imagine
What my eyes will see
When your face
Is before me
I can only imagine

Surrounded by Your glory, what will my heart feel
Will I dance for you Jesus or in awe of you be still
Will I stand in your presence or to my knees will I fall
Will I sing hallelujah, will I be able to speak at all
I can only imagine

I can only imagine
When that day comes
And I find myself
Standing in the Son

I can only imagine
When all I will do
Is forever
Forever worship You
I can only imagine


I can only imagine [x2]

I can only imagine
When all I will do
Is forever, forever worship you

As a linguaphile, I have often mused that the phrases I can only imagine and I can't imagine are identical in meaning. When contemplating the glory of eternity with God, either is appropriate.

Soli Deo Gloria!