Wednesday, June 27, 2012

On Art, and Luke 10

I never really have much gotten into art, up until this point, anyway.  In college I had to write a paper (in German) on a 20th century German artist.  I picked Wasily Kandinsky, and kind of fell in love with his work, which is strange because he's all about the abstract.  If I'm not really into art, I'm definitely not into abstract art.  But this appeals to me:

Moscow I

I think it's that there's just enough definition and structure to make it not completely pointless, while still being really fun.  And so, my discovery of Kandinsky launched my foray into the art world.

And lately, art has started to play a really important role in my life.  As I think about a future office and how I'd like to decorate it, I really just want lots of art.  I wrote a few weeks ago about a friend who made me a lovely ceramic cross after I preached in chapel.  Recently, my "discipleship group" gave me a graduation gift, a Kirsten Malcolm Berry print of Colossians 1:17.  

So when I found out that there's a Religious Art Gallery at the Thrivent building downtown, I had to go. I took a "personal day" and did a whole host of things I'd been meaning to get around to - this in particular.  Currently on exhibit are a lot of prints of engravings by Dutch artists.  Some of them were fine, and some of them were amazing.  Among my favorites is this, by Jan Van De Velde II:

The Good Samaritan Paying the Innkeeper

There are just so many things about this picture that strike me.  The first is just that the artist chose to depict the scene as being at night. The text says that "the next day he took out two denarii and gave them to the innkeeper."  Now, since the Jews (meaning Luke, who was writing this) calculated the start of a new day at sunset, I suppose if the person was robbed in the afternoon or whatever, the payment might have happened at night (the next "day"), but either way, I'm not really sure it matters.  I just love the options that nighttime gives Van De Velde.  The candlelight the innkeeper holds, and the larger torch that another servant/employee has up in the "loft", so we can just barely make out what's going on.  Notice a third man helping to get the injured man off the donkey.  There's even a little light breaking out beyond the arch - is it dawn or dusk?  

I love pictures like this that help to make stories, especially Bible stories, "come alive."  So often, I think that a lot of Biblical art looks really "staged", and that doesn't help with trying to remember that these things really happened (although, granted, this was a parable, so, whatevs...)  I just like the "realness" of this, I guess, and the way it shows everyone pitching in and doing their part to take care of the injured man.  

It warms my heart.  And I've been looking online to try to find prints, and I can't find them anywhere.  The thing itself is currently on display at the Cleveland Museum of Art - maybe the gift shop there?  But then, I don't live in Cleveland, and neither does anyone else I know...

Monday, June 25, 2012

Book Review: Introverts in the Church

Introverts in the Church: Finding Our Place in an Extroverted Culture, by Adam McHugh

Adam McHugh has become a big name in the "introverted evangelical" world recently, beginning with the release of this book.  He also launched a now-almost-ended blog, called Introverted Church, and in the last couple of years has done a lot to advocate for the "rights of the introverts".

McHugh's thesis is basically that church - and by "church" he most especially means "American evangelicalism" - is designed for and well-suited to the extroverts of the world.  Whether it's expectations about how to "witness" or how excited one should be in worship or how many committees one should belong to, or whatever, the unspoken rule seems to be that "good" Christians are extroverts.

This, of course, denies the experience of many a Christian over hundreds and thousands of years, up to and including Jesus, who often "went off by himself to pray".  (And no, I'm not saying Jesus was a Christian.  Work with me, here.)  It is interesting to notice the near-total-absence in Evangelical circles of anything approaching contemplative spirituality, or even much of a respect for those who are, by nature, just not as loud and excited as everybody else.  As a former pastor of mine once said, "When there's silence in church, all the Catholics pray and all the Protestants wonder who missed their cue."  Now, there's a few of us sacramental Protestants...or, um, Evangelical Catholics, hanging around who would love for a little more reverent, contemplative silence now and again.  But broadly speaking, my pastor is right, and so is McHugh.

This is a really good book, particularly for those who are new to the world of introversion - either having just identified as an introvert, or just learning to understand those who are.  I think if you're fairly well situated in your introversion and know how to "be" in church or advocate for yourself, this maybe comes across as a little basic.  But if you lead a congregation - or just belong to one - that implicitly or explicitly values extroversion over introversion, this might be a good wakeup call to start noticing and supporting the people who have a rock-solid faith but aren't called to the Susie Christian Evangelism Committee.

Book Review: Discover Your Spiritual Type

Discover Your Spiritual Type, by Corrine Ware

So...this was a semi-interesting book.  I say semi-interesting because we've all done the personality inventories and "spiritual gift quizzes" "love language tests" and blah blah blah.  If you have a decent sense of self from those, you can probably guess what the "spiritual type analysis" is going reveal. 

Ware uses the work of Urban T. Holmes as a jumping off point for not only identifying and discussing "spiritual type", but also drafting a "quiz" that will tell you which of the four types you primarily identify as, which are types of strong but not primary affiliation, and which types you don't identify with.  The most interesting and helpful part of this inventory is her encouragement that you take the inventory not just for  yourself, but also "for" your congregation - in other words, is what's going on in your congregation aligning with your "spiritual type"?

I think this is a good way of asking - or at least starting to think about - how pastors and other leaders connect worship and other congregational activities to our parishioners.  For example, if half the people in your congregation are "Affective-Apophatic" (Mystics) and you're constantly dragging them to "service projects" so they can "get closer to God", you're not really going to be leading them in the growth of their faith - and not because they don't care about helping the less fortunate.  And that's what this book does really well - encourages us to look at our type, and the type most "supported" in our congregation (that we're a part of, or that we're leading), and then offers some strategies for stretching and growing, and also encouraging further depth in your primary area. 

Helpful, probably, if you're looking to jumpstart your spirituality, or that of your congregation.

Sunday, June 24, 2012

Book Review: Self-Actualization and the Radical Gospel

Self-Actualization and the Radical Gospel, by Louis Roy

I started reading this book thinking that it was going to be well...better than it was.  Ok, that's not fair.  It's not that it was bad.  Because I think it's a valid question - when we're talking "self-actualization" (reaching our full potential, becoming who we truly are, etc), how are we supposed to balance that with giving yourself up for the sake of the Kingdom?  Or, in other words, how do we sacrifice everything, take up our cross and follow Him, and not be completely miserable? 

The upshot, as I understood it, was basically that when you're doing what God has called you to do - and it's always a radical call - you'll be self-actualizing. 

Book Review: The Meal Jesus Gave Us

The Meal Jesus Gave Us: Understanding Holy Communion, by Tom Wright

Ugh, how do I review this book?  Because, on the one hand, it was good.  So, so good.  It employs a great use of metaphor to help describe the Lord's Supper, it engages the history surrounding the Scriptural accounts of the Institution of Holy Communion (and its forerunner, Passover), it digs into Paul's discussions, it even takes up the relevant Greek in a couple places. 

I'd maybe even recommend it as a good "textbook" for confirmation or an adult study.

But it falls short in one key category: theology.  I am a good Lutheran (with strong RC leanings, no less), and the wishy-washy-ness of the Anglican confession sets off my warning bells. "...we have food in the present that acts as a symbol of God's future feeding..."  (pg. 62 - emphasis mine)  First-generation Reformers argued that "to treat the bread and wine as Jesus' body and blood was idolatry" (pg. 42).  Ack.  ACK. 

As I said before, I'm a good Lutheran.  I'm not willing to go so far as transsubstantiation, which is mostly to say that I don't know, I don't care, and I don't want to speculate on the precise metaphysical nature by which the bread and wine become the Body and Blood of Our Lord. What I need to know is that "this is my body" and "this is my blood."  But Wright hedges on this issue.  What's more important to him is that "this food, through the Spirit's mysterious work, is a true anticipation in the present of the food that will sustain us in the age to come.  And the name of that food is Jesus."  (pg. 63)

No.  No, no, no.  This food is what sustains us in the present, and yes, the name of that food is Jesus. 

I normally ♥ N.T. Wright.  He's fantastic.  But on this, we must disagree. 


Book Review: For All the Saints

For All the Saints: Remembering the Christian Departed, by N.T. Wright

This was an interesting book that tackled "what happens to people when they die", and how we are to go about, well, "remembering the Christian departed."  Wright explores the history of Christian thought on this topic, surveys the current (2003) landscape, deals with issues like purgatory (and the variety of manifestations it often takes), and finally comes to the conclusion that "all God's people in Christ are assured of being with Christ himself, in a glorious restful existence, until the day when everything is renewed, when heaven and earth at last become one, and we are given new bodies to live and love and celebrate and rule in God's new creation." (pg. 71)

In the process, Wright argues for "prayers for the dead" (stemming, as they do, from love, rather than from an attempt to get them out of purgatory) and against Kingdom Season (it doesn't lead well into Advent). 

Mostly, what this book reminded me of was that I want to re-read Surprised by Hope, also by Wright.  I get the sense that For All the Saints is a more narrowly-focused account of much of the same research and background work.  Wright occasionally, here and elsewhere (including Surprised by Hope) talks about "life after life after death" which I didn't really get the first time I encountered it in Surprised, and still really don't. 

Apparently I should go back to that and try to figure it out, along with The Resurrection of the Son of God, which is apparently where Wright "shows his work" for Surprised. 

But overall I liked this book, and if you're looking for something to at least get you thinking about what we do with the "Christian departed", this is a decent place to start. 

Book Review: I Am One

I Am One: Prayers for Singles, by Carol Greene.

I loved this book.  I loved every page of it.  I wept through half its pages.  If you are single and feeling anything other than 100% content about that, if you're wondering when God is going to step up acknowledge your loneliness, if you don't know how to pray about this part of your life, this book is for you.  There are prayers for all sorts of different situations and feelings, and each is linked to a Bible verse that matches up with the prayer - sometimes in less-than-obvious way, but maybe that's part of the fun of it.  Here are three that I particularly enjoyed:

A Matter of Counting

I AM single, Lord.
I am one in a society
that counts by twos.
To some that makes me afflicted,
a person to be pitied.
To some it makes me sinful,
a person to be distrusted.
To many it makes me awkward,
an uneven number that upsets the balance.

You know the truth, Lord.
You know that I am
afflicted, sinful, awkward,
but no more and no less so
than your other children,
and you hold out to me
the same grace, forgiveness, and love.

O Lord, I praise you,
because you count by ones,
because you count each one equally precious,
each one utterly yours.

See Romans 3:21-26.


I never used to think of myself
as anyone but myself,
me during childhood, adolescence, young adulthood,
me doing what everyone else did.

Now I am a "single", or an "un-married."
I am unwelcome at parties of former friends,
on vacations with "price based on double occupancy,"
and at my church's couples' club.
Instead I am encouraged to visit singles' bars,
take singles' cruises, and
join a singles' support group.

They seem so alien, Lord,
these new barriers,
because I am still me.
I still care what happens to my former friends.
I want to vacation with all kinds of people.
I want to be in fellowship with couples too.
But what is worst, Lord,
is what the barriers do to me - inside. 
They make me too cautious, too ready to retreat,
too quick to defend myself,
too eager to insist, "I am as good as anyone."
They alienate me from myself, Lord,
these alien barriers.

Smash them, Lord,
or, if that is not your will,
then make me wise as the serpent
to creep around them,
gentle as the dove to fly above them.

See Matthew 10:16

Love Nobody Wants

IT SOMETIMES seems, my God,
as if I am filled with love
that nobody wants,
as if I am a tree
abloom with flowers and fruit
that will never gladden or nourish anyone.
Do you know how that feels, my God?

O my God, you do!
In the garden at the beginning of time,
in the wilderness of Moses,
at the cross and forever after,
you have reached out to us with love
and we have turned away from you.

And yet you do not give up.
With divine stubbornness,
with boundless generosity,
in eternal hope,
you reach out again and again.

O God who loves,
O God who is love,
train me in love like yours.

See Romans 5:6-11. 

Book Review: Blessed are the Uncool

Blessed are the Uncool: Living Authentically in a World of Show, by Paul Grant.

Honestly, I didn't even finish this one.  It just got boring.  It's kind of the same old "emergent church" stuff - you have to not care about being cool, because Jesus isn't cool but he's better than cool.  With a side helping of "the history of cool, and how white people stole it from black people" thrown in for good measure.  Along with, "you should be not-racist, like me, the only white guy at a church full of black people.  See how not-cool and not-racist and totally-like-Jesus I am?"

It's not that Grant doesn't have a point, it's's been made before, this is not a particularly awesome rendering of the point, and I have better things to read.

So do you. 

Book Review: How the Church Fails Businesspeople

When I saw this book on the shelf, I was immediately drawn to it - maybe it's having spent my "formative years" in a rich, suburban congregation where most members were businesspeople, but my heart goes out to  the materially rich of this world - so many of them are so lost, so drained by their efforts.  So many of them have bought into - hook, line, and sinker - the worldly definition of success, and have found it lacking.  And so many of them come to church seeking something deeper, and hear only that "Jesus loves poor people" and "Jesus ate with 'sinners and blue-collar workers'".  So often, "It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter the Kingdom of Heaven" is - explicitly or implicitly - translated as "It is impossible for a camel to go through the eye of a needle, and likewise, it is impossible for a rich man to enter the Kingdom of Heaven." 

But when we say that - implicitly or explicitly - we are saying 1) that some people are outside the redemptive ability of Christ, 2) that these people are better off just leaving, because they don't belong in church.  We lose the opportunity to share the Gospel - the only thing that can free them from the hamster wheel of "success" - and to help them live out their vocations in a Godly fashion. 

Because Jesus doesn't cast businesspeople aside.  John C. Knapp, who authors this book, reminds us of numerous Biblical passages in both the Old and New Testament that either explicitly or implicitly lift up the business vocation.  Those in business are only criticized when they live this vocation in an unethical or immoral fashion. 

And so Knapp works through the Biblical and theological material on business as a vocation, including reflection on the historical development of "vocation" as a concept extending beyond "be a priest".  He discusses the current church approach to business (mostly, don't talk about it), and the business approach to church (the same).  On the basis of a series of interviews with Christian businesspeople, Knapp has come up with recommendations for how the Church can start to be more helpful and engaged with its members in the business world.  Some of these recommendations are: visit people at work, preach about business, get to know people and their vocations, don't be afraid of lifting up vocations, be clear about your availability to discuss ethical issues, don't say stupid or overly simplistic things. 

A lot of these, of course, are relevant to all vocations - but perhaps the Church could work on being more clearly supportive of those in the business world, and thereby help our businesspeople to live their vocations in light of their faith. 

Bottom line: if you want to know more about what businesspeople are thinking and would like from the Church, check out this book.  It's a quick-but-helpful read, and will give you a lot to think about!

Monday, June 11, 2012

Book Review: God Laughs and Plays

Yesterday while hanging out at my dad's office, I read God Laughs and Plays: Churchless Sermons in Response to the Fundamentalist Right., by David James Duncan.  I was a little suspicious of the title at first, but I thought, "eh, what the heck?  God does laugh and play, so let's give it a shot." 
I was highly disappointed.  Duncan bills himself as a modern-day mystic setting out to rescue "true" Christianity from all those right-wing fundamentalists.  What he really is, is just another in a series of modern-day "spiritual but not religious" people who love "the real Jesus, not the Jesus Christians like to tell you is real." 

Honestly?  Ho-hum.  Do Christians - all of us - get Jesus "wrong" sometimes?  Sure.  We all like to remake him in our own image - passionate about the things we're passionate about, loving and hating the same things and people we love and hate. But there's a way to talk about this, and make this point, thoughtfully, and there's a way to do it not-so-thoughtfullly.  Unfortunately, Duncan comes across as not-very-thoughtful, despite his attempting to portray himself as oh-so-thoughtful.  The biggest problem with Duncan is that, like so many "enlightened true-Christian liberals" these days, he lays all of the problems of the world (from starving third-world children to environmental problems to premillenial rapture theology) at the feet of Bushcheneyhalliburtonrepublicanschristianfundamentalists.  And, really?  That's just getting old.  In the first place, George Bush and Dick Cheney are both members of the United Methodist Church, which, the last time I checked, was not "fundamentalist".  It is thoroughly mainline.  Second, virtually all of the things that President Bush did that people such as Duncan don't like were voted on and approved by people that he presumably does like.  You can scream "unilateral military action" as long and as loud as you like, but it doesn't change the fact that Congress approved Afghanistan, and 39 countries besides the U.S. sent troops to Iraq.  To say that bushcheneyhalliburtonrepublicanchristianfundamentalists are responsible for all the evil in the world is ignorant, foolish, unfair, unhelpful, and frankly, stupid.  It immediately shows you as someone who is more interested in your ideology than in any sort of serious analysis of a situation.

Third, I'm really just tired of being lectured by the oh-so-enlightened crowd about my Christianity.  Is my theology perfect?  Of course not.  Am I sinner?  Absolutely.  But so are you, Mr. Duncan.  Throughout the book, Duncan seems so proud of the fact that he doesn't attend church and has just sort of discovered his own blend of spirituality and faith by picking and choosing what he likes from every religion and philosophy out there.   Now look, even the Roman Catholic church acknowledges that there are elements of Truth to be found in other religions:
Likewise, other religions found everywhere try to counter the restlessness of the human heart, each in its own manner, by proposing "ways," comprising teachings, rules of life, and sacred rites. The Catholic Church rejects nothing that is true and holy in these religions. She regards with sincere reverence those ways of conduct and of life, those precepts and teachings which, though differing in many aspects from the ones she holds and sets forth, nonetheless often reflect a ray of that Truth which enlightens all men.
 N.T. Wright notes in his commentary on Colossians 1:15-20 that
"To assert today that one Creator God has revealed himself fully and finally in Jesus Christ is to risk criticism on the grounds of arrogance or intolerance.  The ission of the church, however, doe not commit Christians to the propostiion that there is no truth to be found in other retions.  Colossians 1:16 implies that all philosophies or religions which have some 'fit' with the created world will thereby reflect in some ways the truth of God.
However, he continues, "It does not, however, imply that they are therefore, as they stand, doorways into the new creation.  That place, according to 1:18, is Christ's alone." 

Indeed. "I am the way, the truth, and the life," declares Jesus.  We don't like that verse in this day and age, because it limits our options.  Especially in the Western world, where you can literally spend hours in one aisle of Target trying to decide what kind of toothpaste to buy, being told that "I am the way," as opposed to all the other nice, harmless, pleasant sounding, helpful "ways" out there is not what we like.  And as Nostra Aetate and Wright remind us, it isn't that there aren't elements of Truth in other places.  It's that, in the end, all those other elements of Truth coalesce in Jesus, the Truth.

It's that ground that we must finally stand on. 

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

A Good Day

So, I realize that some of my recent posts probably sound like I can't stand my family, or I'm not enjoying my time at home getting ready for the wedding, or whatever.  And I feel like I need to clarify.  I don't hate my family.  They are wonderful people, and a great blessing in my life.  Not many people get to have as awesome of a family as I do. 

It's been nice being home and being around everyone, especially since I'm normally so far away from...everything.  It's been fun to help with the finishing touches of wedding planning, and try to keep both my mom and my sister reasonably sane.

It's just getting...long.  And it's been so busy.  Honestly, I thought I would be bored.  Not at all.  There is so much to do.  Granted, some of it is running to places like Target, Hobby Lobby, and the grocery store - usually all three, every day.  It's dress fittings and laundry and organzing closets and doing trial runs of chocolate covered strawberries and and and.  Because, oh yes, someone decided that it would be a good idea to have a freaking garage sale the week before the wedding.  I'm not joking.  My sister signed off on it, mostly I think because she wants to get rid of a bunch of junk before she moves.  Which I guess is fine.  But let none of us think this will be happening at my wedding.  Really, though, I'm having fun, for the most part.  But let's be clear: nothing about this could in any way legitimately be termed a "vacation". 


I decided yesterday that the best way to get out of the house for a day, hopefully have a little peace and quiet, and not have to go to Hobby Lobby was to spend the day with my dad.  So I went to work with him - awake at 5:00 am, out the door before 6:00.  Yikes.  Yes, there was coffee involved. 

And since he sees patients all day, there was nothing for me to really do.  Score.  The other PT that works with him was not in today, so I commandeered her office, layed on the exam table, and read.  All.  Day.  Long.  About 11:30 we went to lunch, walked around a little, and then went back to the office.  I took a nap, read some more, and then we came home.  It was glorious.  Glorious, I tell you.

Tonight, Melissa and Joey and Royal Pains.  

Yes, I love the summer.

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Childhood Obesity

I caught a few minutes of another scare-mongering report on "The Nation's Great Epidemic", childhood obesity, today.  And I just don't know...

Are some kids fatter than they should be?  Probably.  Absolutely.  Are some kids skinnier than they should be?  Probably.  I, for one, think that in a lot of instances, the height vs. weight charts are off.  According to them, my ideal weight is 125 lbs.  Seriously, if I weighed 125 I would look like a starving child in Africa.  (Well, to everyone else's eyes.  To my own eyes, I would probably still look like I weighed 500 lbs, since that's just what's in my head.  We're all lucky I don't have an "addictive personality", whatever that is, or I'd be anorexic.  But I digress...)

Anyway...where was I?  Oh yes, fat kids in America.  I find it a tad ridiculous that we think the best way to solve childhood obesity, or whatever, is to simply tell kids to drink less pop and eat fewer candy bars.  Well, yes.  And sugar does play a huge part in weight gain, at least for some people.  As a low-carber, I would know.  But focusing all our energy on one or two food items or types of food items is crazy.  There is sugar (and carbs) in way more than just pop and candy.  Orange juice is super-high in sugar, for example.  Yet it's deemed healthy by TPTB. 

The other half of this, of course, is exercise and activity in general.  Now look, I'm the last to lecture anybody about this.  For the most part, I was and am an indoor kind of kid.  I like reading books and writing and laying on the couch enjoying the space in my own head.  It's tough to do those sorts of things in gym class.  I'm also not especially competitive, so those activities where you're supposed to care about who wins, just for the sake of winning, tend to annoy me (e.g., dodgeball, volleyball, footraces, etc). I'm probably going to lose, which never feels good even if a person isn't competitive, but then you are made to feel even worse because what's wrong with you that you don't really care all that much?  But that said - I love playing baseball/softball, or even just throwing the ball around outside for a while in a good game of catch.  I like playing non-competitive Frisbee or even cross-country skiing (which, for those who have never done that, is a ton of work).  But...since this isn't really about's true, I think, that kids of my generation and younger don't get the kind of exercise and running around that kids used to get.  Almost everyone is bussed or driven to school by their parents.  Who do you know that walks more than a block or two to their bus stop? 

Also, my generation is the first to grow up with constant fears of child safety.  Adam Walsh was abducted 3 months before I was born.  While that's truly horrible, and his dad, John, should be credited with doing much wonderful work on behalf of missing and exploited children, it is these sorts of cases that spawned a cultural fear of letting one's children play out of immediate arm's reach for more than a moment or two.  This is regardless of the fact that very, very, very few children are ever actually abducted, and very few of those who are kidnapped are taken by complete strangers.  But we need to Protect the Children, and so we keep kids inside where they're safe, we let them play only on government-approved (aka boring) playground equipment (if we give them outdoor recess at all), and we ply them with video games to keep them entertained and out of trouble.

But no one ever talks about this stuff.  Instead, it's just "don't drink pop" and then shaming the inactive fat kids, which really isn't helpful. Telling kids not to drink pop isn't going to end childhood obesity.  It just isn't.  Neither is Michelle Obama, hula-hooping with kids on the White House Front Lawn and talking about how her own kids need to lose weight. 

I don't know what the solution is, but things like making kids walk to school, giving them recess or gym time that is unstructured, so they can figure out what kind of activity they each prefer, teaching them about actual nutrition (not the food pyramid, which isn't nutrition at all), and encouraging parents to prepare and serve healthy meals and be active with their kids are the kinds of things that will help.  Not continuously spouting off about pop.

Holy Introvert, Batman!

Yikes.  I've been home just over a week now, and aside from sleeping, I've had precisely 3 hours of "alone time". 

About 40 minutes of that has been actual alone time, not "in the store time" or some such thing. 

I am about to lose it.

My mom has a little Kaffee Klatch group that meets at the local not-Starbucks on Tuesday mornings, and she asked last night if I wanted to go with her.  Since I'm not the type of person who likes to "be somewhere" by 7:00 am, I politely declined.  Then I realized that if I got up early, I could have a couple hours by myself while she was gone.  So, I did.  I woke up at 7:06, got dressed, and came find my mom sitting on the couch reading the paper.  She decided that she just has too much to do to get ready for the wedding and all the people coming, etc, that she needed to be here instead of chatting it up with her friends.  Which is fine.

But I wanted to be by myself. 

My mom is also a giant extrovert.  She has some introverted tendencies on occasion, but mostly, she's a talker.  All the time.  She doesn't stop talking.  There is no "make my coffee and catch up on Facebook and get ready for the day" because she's talking.  "Morning Joe" is on, and she's reading me snippets of everything she finds in the paper, and doing CPE on herself out loud ("As I'm planning this wedding, something I'm learning about myself and how I handle stress is blah blah blah"). 

And I just want two hours to lay on the couch and watch TV, or blog, or read quietly, or sit and stare at the wall.  I'm going to go out of my mind.