The sun rises every morni…


“The sun rises every morning. I do not rise every morning; but the variation is due not to my activity, but to my inaction. Now, to put the matter in a popular phrase, it might be true that the sun rises regularly because he never gets tired of rising. His routine might be due, not to a lifelessness, but to a rush of life.

The thing I mean can be seen, for instance, in children, when they find some game or joke that they specially enjoy. A child kicks his legs rhythmically through excess, not absence, of life. Because children have abounding vitality, because they are in spirit fierce and free, therefore they want things repeated and unchanged. They always say, “Do it again”; and the grown-up person does it again until he is nearly dead. For grown-up people are not strong enough to exult in monotony. But perhaps God is strong enough to exult in monotony.

It is possible that God says every morning, “Do it again” to the sun; and every evening, “Do it again” to the moon. It may not be automatic necessity that makes all daisies alike; it may be that God makes every daisy separately, but has never got tired of making them. It may be that He has the eternal appetite of infancy; for we have sinned and grown old, and our Father is younger than we. The repetition in Nature may not be a mere recurrence; it may be a theatrical encore.”

— G. K. Chesterton, Orthodoxy, 1908

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New Year’s Resolutions 2012


1) Harden Up

I’ve basically realized I’m a big poon and love to feel all sorts of sorry for myself when I encounter pain, discomfort, or have to wait longer than 45 seconds for a hot meal. Apparently I’m not alone, since my generation will forever be stained by our entitlement complex *cough cough* (Occupy Wall Street protesters) *cough cough* and overall ineptitude to take on adversity without wireless and a macchiato latte. Regardless, I am going to do my best to inoculate myself against pain and stress and doing a better job of denying myself. What’s that, Burton? You want a snacky cake? Cram it in your cram hole and go do wall sits till you vomit or pass out. I hope to push myself further in my workouts, stop complaining about 95% of the things I whine about, and be better about my diet.

2) Stop Fearing Failure

I grew up in a family that placed a premium on sarcasm, which was great for learning to laugh at myself, but also seemed to function as operant conditioning for my never wanting to undertake anything that would make me look foolish or inadequate. Perhaps that’s natural to an extent, but it can have debilitating effects in that it has prevented me from realizing my potential at a lot of things. I remember getting the starting job as a defensive end in 8th grade and then telling the coach before the first game that I was sick and couldn’t play (because I was really afraid of sucking). I remember countless girls I was interested in that I never asked out because I didn’t think they would say yes (though things still worked out for me in that area). I’ve always remembered that cheesy quote that says something like, ‘You’ll miss 100% of the shots you never take’, but it never inspired me to take action. But self fulfilling your own doomsday prophecies is a crappy way to live, and I don’t want to be driven by fear. I don’t really know how this will work itself out, but we’ll see.

3) Cut the crap

One of the many beautiful things of the Bible is the mandate out of Genesis 1 for us to essentially go and make culture in the world (and I think we will all do that again one day). Obviously we took that a little too far and screwed everything up, but I think today we are still screwing it up. I look back at some of the movies and music I’ve listened to, and it’s shameful. There is nothing redeeming about Superbad or other raunchy comedies, and most of the reality TV shows I see clips of aren’t doing us any favors either. Come to think of it, I don’t really know many people at all that are actually careful of what they expose themselves to; it’s almost a foregone conclusion that ‘it just doesn’t really affect us much’.

I’ve realized that the phrase, ‘Garbage in, garbage out’ isn’t some trite phrase your parents throw at you so you don’t watch R rated movies or listen to Nickleback (in the latter case, they were truly shielding you from soul destroying garbage). It really is important to guard yourself from what you watch, read, and listen to. As Luke 6:45 says, “The good person out of the good treasure of his heart produces good, and the evil person out of his evil treasure produces evil, for out of the abundance of the heart his mouth speaks.”

I’m always puzzled by some of the unkind things I say, joke about, or think, when all along I’ve been taking the equivalent of a spiritual upper-decker and then wonder why my spiritual reservoir is filled with crap. Realistically this resolution will look like cleaning out my iTunes, being very judicious with the movies I watch, and be even more careful of the things I read.

4) Stop Procrastination/Being a Lazy Sack of Crap

Judging by the timing of when I’m releasing this, it shouldn’t be too far-fetched for anyone to believe I have a big issue with this. Sometimes I’m literally too lazy to answer a phone call or text message. Seriously? Too lazy to put my fingers to the keys of a smart phone?

 I chronically wait till the last second to turn in my homework or study for school like I need to. If there are clothes or dishes to be put away, well, I’ll just do those later tonight (and by later tonight, I mean maybe this weekend).

 I have noticed my resolve to be productive and proactive seems very proportional to the amount of sleep and even moreso, the specific hours I sleep. If I’m in a good rhythm, waking up and going to bed at the same hours every day, I feel great and more motivated. Realistically this should look like me getting good rest, writing out what I want to accomplish, and then just forcing myself to do it (see number 1).

5) Get in the best shape of my life

Related again to number 1, I have done a poor job of consistently working out and pushing myself hard while I’m at the gym. Time to sack up and embrace the pain!

6) Gluten Free 2K12

I did a pretty good job of this last year up until our honeymoon. The allure of those Mexican tacos wasjust too much though, so I caved. The next few months after that were off and on, and having a wifethat eats whatever she wants makes it more complicated. I know how great I feel and perform when I’m not eating crap like that, and it will not be conducive for my other goals if I do not follow this one.

7) Memorize a book of the Bible

I’ve never really tried to memorize scripture, let alone done a good job of consistently getting in the word (see numbers 1 & 4), so I want to really do a good job of getting more of God’s word (see number 3) written on my heart.

8) Pray 5 Days a Week

And I’m not talking about over meals and stuff like that. I want to spend 5 days a week in meaningful prayer for the people I care about, myself, Ethos, and our country. I think it’s one of the most important things we can do.