Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Back at the Richie's!

Erin spent her first full day at home, and it was a good one! She is really beginning to get a feel for her wheelchair and is beginning to eat with more regularity, which is great. All things considered, things are going well. Doesn't she look beautiful? She is such a trooper.

Support has continued to pour in. The Samford Crimson is printing an article tomorrow, and people at Campus Outreach volunteered to cover our dinners from Sunday to Friday. I just can't stop thanking God for the response of his body. If you're looking for a way to contribute, meals would be a fantastic way... or write up a check to Redeemer Community Church... or gift certificates (Amazon & Urban Outfitters)?

Here is the wheelchair ramp that Mr. Eades & Thomas built. Not bad, eh?

Less important Matt news: I've been raising support to go on staff with Campus Outreach, and, by the sheer grace & providence of God, I have jumped 36% in the last eleven days... God has given me such encouragement & re-affirmation over the last week-plus. I'm asking God to help me get on campus by next semester, so please keep praying for Erin & me as well...

Lastly, Ben Folds put out a new album today! Huzzah!

Monday, September 29, 2008

Erin's Home & The White Winter Hymnal

Erin came home today! Huzzah! At around noon today, she was discharged from the hospital, and Mrs. Eades & I transported her to Thomas & Melissa's house in Crestwood, which will likely be her home for the next several weeks. The doctor requested that she come back in a week to take another look at her ankle and see about her stitches.

Update News: It seems that Erin, Laura, and Laura's apartment was not the only one whose fire alarm did not work properly. Another family reported that they were outside watching their apartment ablaze. We'll just have to wait and see how this whole insurance thing is going to have to work out... luckily, there is a layer (Thomas...) in the family...

Other news, Joseph Rhea, Patrick Sewell, and I went to see the Frank Fairfield/Fleet Foxes show at Bottletree tonight once Erin went to bed. It was surreal. Heavenly. Frank Fairfield of Tompkins Square records seemed straight out of 1934. He sang like Robert Johnson, sang like he'd worked in the mill his whole life, and laid bare his soul with the fiddle, banjo, and guit-fiddle. Beautiful. Timeless.

Then the Fleet Foxes... I think they're my favorite new band of 2008, put out my favorite album of 2008, and may have just put on my favorite show of the year. Their harmonies are angelic. It's like the Beach Boys cross-bred with My Morning Jacket. They were just flawless... And terribly witty...

Drummer Quip #1: "Ironically, Campbell's Soup was the only stock to go up today... which means that people are getting ready to be poor as ****"

Quip #2: "One day, I'd love to look out and just see a Muppet in the crowd... just chilling at the bar... sipping a beer"

If you haven't heard them yet, please, I beg of you to go check them out. And if you'd like to donate/contribute to Erin, we're making a meals list tomorrow and probably an Amazon Wish List. God bless you all.

Sunday, September 28, 2008


...Melissa may have posted this already...
Erin's apartment at the height of the blaze

She's feeling okay now, but had a pretty good fever last night (103 degrees). It's back down now, but she's rather worn out... However, she dominated the wheelchair this morning, so that was encouraging.

Mr. Eades & Thomas built a wheelchair ramp for her at Thomas & Melissa's this morning. Very handy indeed.

Saturday, September 27, 2008

Life in 403

I stayed the night in Room 403 last night with battered, beautiful Erin... She woke up around 715 this morning and was in her typical good spirits. She remained chipper & upbeat for most of the day, especially through the flurry of visitors she had today (I think, beyond Thomas, Melissa, Vale, Mr. & Mrs. Eades & I, there were fifteen visitors today. You guys are amazing).

I think Erin would join me in saying thanks to God & you, the body of Christ, and how you have responded. There have been so many phone calls and so many people bringing clothes, toiletries, books, movies, and other things to replace what she lost. The body of Christ has been a wonderful picture of community- rallying in prayer, giving time & things, and, ultimately "filling up in [your] flesh what is still lacking in regards to Christ's afflictions." Thank you for showing us pictures of Christ's love.

As for Erin herself, she received her "corset," (Melissa & I want to have a contest to see who can come up with the pimpest design for it- in the lead are Robby's offer to cover it in cloth, my idea to make it look like a shot-through-bullet-proof vest, Mr. Eades's skeleton proposal, and Wonder Woman) as she lovingly calls it today, and she made her first venture into a wheelchair, which will be her vehicle for the next 6-8 weeks. It was a rough adventure, but Erin's looking forward to building some spectacular biceps (and abs, as a part of her back rehab).

Mr. Eades will be building a ramp so that she can stay at Thomas & Melissa's once she leaves here. Thank you to all of you who so graciously offered your home (I think the count stands at 5- you guys are ridiculous).

Erin's trying to go to sleep now, so I think I'm going to shut the computer and watch the rest of the UGA debacle on mute.

Friday, September 26, 2008

Taming the Talus

Front entrance to the ritzy Vestavia Park Apartments
my favorite picture: melty car
Erin's talus is shattered...

I'm sitting next to Erin in Brookwood Medical Center, waiting for her to fall asleep so that I can take a picture of her in her hospital bed, tubes and all. Still cute... Until then, I figured I'd just give a little bit of an update on her & the state of Vestavia Park apartments. I put several more pictures on Thirty Travelers & Melissa Richie, Erin's sister, put some information on her blog

At around four-thirty this morning, Erin & her roommate Laura discovered that their complex was on fire, ran back into the apartment as the flames came into their apartment and tried to escape via Erin's window. Erin attempted to climb down the tiny window ledge, slipped, hung on for dear life, and then plummeted approximately three stories.

Thank God, everyone made it out of the apartments, but, unfortunately, Erin's a little beat up. At about 1:30 they had to take her into surgery.

Erin's out of surgery now... She had surgery on her ankle, specifically the talus bone, which is one of the bones that comprises the ankle, and, incidentally, one of the planets in the Star Wars universe... The doctor said that the surgery went well, but there's just no way to know just yet how it's going to turn out. If the blood vessels in her talus grow back properly, then she should be a-okay. If not, however, she could have avascular necrosis (bone death due to lack of blood flow) and they'll have to go back in and fuse the bone to another one... Bummer. Either way, she'll be rocking a wheelchair for 4-6 weeks. Brainstorming ways to trick it out presently. She'll also be sporting a new, hip vest for her cracked vertebrae (t-11 & t-12).

We'll be chilling at the hospital for the next few days if you want to drop by (Room 403, yo). Oh, and Joel said that if you'd like to make a contribution to her, Laura Vandal, or Laura Pearson, because they lost... everything... if you write it out to Redeemer Community Church, then they can meet the needs specifically (and be tax-deductible!). 205-253-5635.

Phone Calls Received Concerning Erin: 34
Text Messages Received: 60+

I love you guys so much. Thanks for your prayers. God is so good and gracious. I started crying on the way to Birmingham this morning and all I could stammer out was "Thank you... thank you..."

P.S. in case somehow you were unaware, my girlfriend is incredible. She is SO optimistic about everything, seemingly unconcerned about the loss of all her possessions, and laughing (yes, laughing) about her prayer (yesterday...) for God to help her know that He is all she needed and for God to strip her need of comfort. Hilarious. 

Sunday, September 21, 2008

Beautiful & Offensive

I was reminded of a quote from Derek Webb when I read this excerpt from Mark Driscoll, who recently released a new book entitled Death By Love: Letters from the Cross. Webb, if I remember correctly, said that the gospel must be both beautiful and offensive. If it is not both, then it is not the gospel that we are preaching. He then went on to reference The Lion, The Witch, and the Wardrobe, where one of the children asks if Aslan, the Great Lion, is safe. The response received is remarkable: "No, he is not safe... but he is good, and he is the king."

Driscoll: "The curious paradox of the atoning death of a bloody Jesus rising above the plane of human history with a mocking crown of thorns is that he is offensive in an attractive way. It is the utter horror of the cross that cuts through the chatter, noise, and nonsense of our day to rivet our attention, shut our mouths, and compel us to listen to an impassioned dying man who is crying out for the forgiveness of our sins and to ask why he suffered. Tragically, if we lose the offense of the cross, we also lose the attraction of the cross so that no one is compelled to look at Jesus. Therefore, Jesus does not need a marketing firm or a makeover as much as a prophet to preach the horror of the cross unashamedly. (Listening to the Beliefs of Emerging Churches, 33, emphasis added"

Driscoll on Joel Olsteen

Look Who's Irrational Now

I read Richard Dawkins' (in)famous The God Delusion earlier this summer, and I have to say, I was tremendously disappointed. I had heard of scores of people who, after reading Dawkins or Hitchens or another one of the so-called "new atheists," were suddenly empowered in their unbelief. I had hoped for some intriguing arguments that would lead me to delve into the depths of my faith and really search more and more into why I believe what I believe. Instead I read the poorly-researched, bullying (though deeply amusing and eloquent) words of a bitter scientist who, apparently, had spent more time using his thesaurus to belittle the religious than he had understanding their beliefs or finding sources (e.x. Dawkins seems to have done no scholarly research on the writing of the gospels- misrepresenting those who wrote them and when- or the accumulation of the canon, failed to note that Paul did not, in fact, write Hebrews, and it goes on...). Poor choice, sir.

Though I haven't read the book just yet, Alister McGrath, a professor at Oxford that I admire, released a book in response entitled The Dawkins Delusion? and wrote an amusing, intelligent article (the first link is another article written by him) called "Do Stop Behaving As If You Are God, Professor Dawkins."

Any way, all of that was a prelude to an article I found in the Wall Street Journal called "Look Who's Irrational Now." Interesting indeed.

An excerpt: The reality is that the New Atheist campaign, by discouraging religion, won't create a new group of intelligent, skeptical, enlightened beings. Far from it: It might actually encourage new levels of mass superstition. And that's not a conclusion to take on faith -- it's what the empirical data tell us.

"What Americans Really Believe," a comprehensive new study released by Baylor University yesterday, shows that traditional Christian religion greatly decreases belief in everything from the efficacy of palm readers to the usefulness of astrology. It also shows that the irreligious and the members of more liberal Protestant denominations, far from being resistant to superstition, tend to be much more likely to believe in the paranormal and in pseudoscience than evangelical Christians.

Recommended books in response: The Reason for God by Tim Keller & Letter from a Christian Citizen by Douglas Wilson

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Oh, to have been a Christian in 1982

I could've had such joy

I found this on Justin Taylor's blog. His post was entitled "A Knock-Down Argument Against Dancing in Church." I disagree. I expect Joel to implement this at Redeemer by Sunday.

And I heard so much about this video, I couldn't NOT post it. It's a song called "Jesus is my Friend." If you haven't seen it yet, just promise me you'll make it to 1:45 in the song so you can hear Jesus being compared to a mountee who "always gets his man." I wish I could hang out with the lead guitar player...

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

The Gospel according to AW Pink

This comes from the end of Chapter 6 ("The Sovereignty of God") of Pink's The Attributes of God:

"Certain conditions were set before the Mediator. He was to be made in the likeness of sin’s flesh; He was to magnify the law and make it honorable; He was to bear all the sins of all God’s people in His own body on the tree; He was to make full, atonement for them; He was to endure the outpoured wrath of God; He was to die and be buried. On the fulfillment of those conditions He was promised a reward: Isaiah 53:10-12. He was to be the Firstborn among many brethren; He was to have a people who should share His glory. Blessed be His name forever, He fulfilled those conditions, and because He did so, the Father stands pledged, on solemn oath, to preserve through time and bless throughout eternity every one of those for whom His incarnate Son mediated. Because He took their place, they now share His. His righteousness is theirs, His standing before God is theirs, His life is theirs. There is not a single condition for them to meet, not a single responsibility for them to discharge in order to attain their eternal bliss. "By one offering He hath perfected forever them that are set apart" (Heb. 10:14)."

Monday, September 1, 2008

Food for Thought

This is for Elaine...

Erin & I cooked dinner at Keith & Elaine's on Saturday night, and we talked about the flurry of activity on her blog following her announcement of her commitment to Barack Obama. It reminded me of a very interesting book that I read about a year ago called Faith of My Fathers by Chris Seay. It's basically a dialogue of a discussion about various subjects between Chris, a pastor, Chris's brother Robbie, a worship leader, Chris's dad, a pastor, Chris's granddad, a former pastor, and Donald Miller. It opened my eyes to a lot of generational differences and helped me understand them. This snippet comes from the section entitled "What does it really mean to be pro-life?"

(Chris's dad has just said that he thinks that abortion is the pivotal moral issue of our day, and, though he agrees with Democrats in many areas, "I don't care what else they are for that may be right- if they are for the murder of defenseless babies in the womb, then I could never support them")

Donald Miller: We have a Republican president right now, and women can still get abortions. Is he failing? Let's not assume that if you vote Republican you are saving the lives of unborn children. The truth is- if you vote Republican, you are voting with someone who is pro-life but with limited resources to make considerable changes. Contrast that with the lives lost in Africa and in the third world, by our neglect there, and you have to start counting bodies- unborn bodies versus African bodies. Would you concede that if the body count is higher because of Republican interest in corporate America over third world politics, then our moral obligation is to vote for the lesser of two evils?

... And I saw the Republicans neglect the poor and favor the rich, not just abroad but at home... So for me, it is both: it's the fact that if I vote for a Republican, certain people will lose their lives, there is no doubt about it; and if I vote for a Democrat, certain other people will lose their lives... Let's not pretend there's a "good party" and a "bad party." That is a lie from Satan. Both are trying to do good thins, and both have ugly sides