The Blessedness of Nothingness

It’s not easy to live on a mountain.  Just ask our own Diane Graham.  But I’m not talking about physical living, I’m talking about mental living.

For the past semester, I’ve been engaged in some of the most mentally challenging classes I’ve ever had.  Here’s the rub, though… I took them at the same time.  Introduction to Hebrew, Systematic Theology, and Philosophy of Religion.

I’m brain fried.

Just a few hours ago, I turned in the last assignments of the semester… two papers with a combined word count of 13k and a combined page count of 40.  Now I can bask in the blessedness of nothingness.  I’m in need of some dumb.

But what have I learned?  Well, today I won’t go into specifics… that would require too much thinking.  But I’d like to give you a generalization of some of my epiphanies this semester.  Perhaps later, I’ll unpack a few things for you.

Twelve Things I Learned This Semester

12)  Most famous or well-known people WILL email you back if you’re nice.

This semester I have conversed through email with Tosca Lee, Robert Liparulo, and Alton Gansky.  And when I had to do a book review for Systematic, I had a question I couldn’t find the answer to.  So I looked up the author online and emailed him.  He answered my question and I cited it in the report.

11)  Germans make tough graders.

The grad school I’m at utilizes students who are advanced enough in the program to grade papers so the professor doesn’t have to.  I had two of my classes with the same professor, which means I had the same grader.  He’s a natural born German.  He shows no mercy.  My professor calls him the Arian Avenger.

10) I instinctively understand the syntax of almost any language.

I noticed this a little last year when I took Greek, and to a lesser extent in high school when I took Spanish.  But after having one semester of Hebrew it is confirmed.  For some reason, the nuances of how languages are structured (the syntax), seems to come much easier to me than most other native English speakers.  Maybe it’s because I’m a writer.

9)  God told Abimelek that he would kill him twice.

You would only get this if you read it in Hebrew.  Genesis 20:7. When God says he will kill Abimelek, what he literally says in Hebrew is… “Dying, dead you will be, and everything that is yours.”  That’s like a Chuck Norris moment.

8)  It is beyond a doubt that librarians are the cheesiest people on the planet.

My Hebrew professor is also the head of the library.  In his powerpoint presentations, he would put everything from super heroes, to Gomer Pyle, to orangutans.  And he enjoyed the cleverness of the associations he made.  We all agreed it was pure cheese… but I wonder if he knows.

7) Don’t let on that you’re just as nerdy as that girl the professor picks on.

In the first week of Hebrew, the professor began to have the students introduce themselves.  He only did two students that day, and forgot afterwards to do the rest of the class.  One of those was a girl who is going into linguistics and plans to be a Bible translator.  The professor zeroed in on her all semester, and would throw information out to her specifically as if she were the only one who would understand it.  Little did he know that not only am I a writer, but I’ve had more graduate level languages than anyone in the class.  I kept my mouth shut.

6) Can God make a rock too large for him to pick up? is a stupid question.

I’ll try not to get too philosophical here, but it’s really a very stupid question.  If God is the greatest possible being, how could he ever make something greater?  It’s stupid.  He can’t make something greater than himself, and I’m fine with saying that.  Get over it… there are things that God can’t do, because he can’t do anything that contradicts himself.

5)  There exist people who like to hear themselves talk.

Have you ever had that person in class who just talked and talked, and asked questions and questions, and argued with the professor, and stalled class because of some stupid technicality that he doesn’t even believe but wants to argue about?  These people just want to hear their own voice.  They want attention from the professor.  I’m sure these people are not only in classes… I’m sure you know lots of people who like to hear themselves talk too.  These people suffer from diarrhea of the mouth.

4) Philosophers use too many words.

Not only do they use too many words, but they say very little.  This is the opposite of what a good fiction writer should be.  And some of them sprinkle commas like pepper.  I counted 13 commas in one sentence, four of them following only one word each and in a row, something, like, this.  Seriously people, stop flexing your multiple doctorate degrees and take a writing class.

3)  Frequent “sanity breaks” are necessary when studying philosophy.

Don’t try to process all the word vomit at once.  Read little bits at a time and then go do something else.  Let it sink in.  Then go do a little more.  Sanity breaks of choice… facebook, laundry, cooking, facebook, blogging, tv, spending time with the family, facebook.  But beware, because…

2)  Discovery and History channels are like crack.

I.  Can’t.  Stop.  Watching.  My favs?  Mythbusters, Storm Chasers, Swamp People, Ancient Aliens, American Pickers, Chasing Mummies, UFO Hunters, Stan Lee’s Superhumans.

1)  Don’t use formal logic on your wife.

Women are not logical people.  Formal logic only works on logical people.  Therefore, formal logic doesn’t work on women.  What it does is make them mad, and they still won’t change their mind.  They dig in their heals and you will lose.  Not only that, but you may end up on the couch.  Don’t do it.  It’s not a very good idea.  I don’t recommend it.  At all.

So, there’s a few thing I learned this year.  It feels good to have all the heavy academics off my shoulders for a while, and I think I shall participate in some mindless, numbing, activities.  What’s the first thing I did after turning in those last two papers??

I went and wrote a blog about it.  I’m such a nerd.

About Keven Newsome

Keven Newsome is an musician, theologian, and a bit of a nerd. He enjoys a variety of musical genres, from Christian rock to movie soundtracks to KPop. A former band director, he plays about a dozen instruments, given a couple of weeks to practice up. His theological work has included a book on multi-generational ministry and a thesis on the theology of communicating with the dead. As for his nerd-card, he enjoys the fandoms of The Legend of Zelda, Doctor Who, Avatar: The Last Airbender, and Lord of the Rings. With a music degree from William Carey University and a theology degree from the New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary, Keven actively serves in ministry as both pastor and worship leader.

8 comments on “The Blessedness of Nothingness

  1. Freshman grammar doesn’t sound so hard anymore.

  2. I wouldn’t say women are illogical. We are simply emotional. With great emotion there is little room for logic. 😛 I love you! (And yes, I admit that I can be completely illogical.)

  3. Germans are tough graders….hehe. I’m married to a German, which means I have German in-laws. I also have several German friends. And, well, YEP. I personally think “German” means massively-mega-perfectionist :P.

    Oh, and it takes a pretty logical woman to be married to a German, especially one who’s an engineer. I still always win ;).

  4. Unless you’ve discovered something in your studies that I am unaware of (which considering everything you’re studying is quite possible), isn’t the spelling “aryan” and not “arian”? When talking about your German grader you said, “He’s a natural born German. He shows no mercy. My professor calls him the Arian Avenger.” Since “Aryan” is usually associated with Germans and the unfortunate past in that country, and “Arian” is attributed to “Arianism” which is deemed heretical by some early councils because of the belief of Jesus being created and inferior to the Father based on John 14:28, I ask this because either reference really doesn’t sound all that great to make to someone and I was wondering which one the professor was using, and if there’s another way to put it then I’d like to know that to expand my own knowledge base. Just making sure.

  5. Welcome back from the abyss, Gungho Iguana! I was amused by points 12-7, started laughing out loud around 6, and was completely unable to breathe by 4.
    The funniest part of all of it is how you characterize the list as “a generalization.” You’re a hoot, Grig. A bona fide hoot.

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