It’s January 13, 2009.  If history is any indication, then I would have given up on all “more or less” resolutions by now.  Since I was more specific with resolutions this year I feel like I am still on track.  I have intentionally worked on 4 resolutions so far.

Slow Down- This is perhaps one of the more generic and vague resolutions to try to evaluate, but here’s some of the effort that I’ve put into it.  I have made an effort to not surf around the web while watching TV or a movie.  One thing that I have noticed so far is that there are times when I am watching a show and wishing that I had something else to do at the same time.  This most often happens when I am just watching a show to kill time or watching something because I can’t think of anything more engaging to do.  My purpose of this resolution isn’t to simply help me recognize areas of my life but it’s intended for me to act on it.  If I find myself using the TV as a crutch, I would like to be able to act on it by turning the TV off and finding something else to do.  Maybe I should make a list of “TV alternative activities” to utilize.   The biggest thing that I’ve done to slow down was to clean up my Google Reader feeds.  Before I cleaned it out I was receiving feeds from over 180 sites, but since I’ve cleaned it up I down to near 50.  By doing this I’ve been able to narrow the feeds down to sites that consistantly offer stimulating opinions and are mostly from people that I stay connection to.  I’ve used this as a way for me to controll the amount of time I’m spending online.

Read 12 new books this year-  I bought Eugene Peterson’s latest book, Tell Is Slant, last week.  Peterson is one of a hand full of authors who I find to be a constant source of challenge and encouragement.  When I think about being in a pastoral position again Peterson is the type of pastor I’d like to become.  I grow tired of reading books about why a particular theology is more right, and reading Peterson helps ground me with the things that I think are the most important: People, Language, and Simplicity.  In Tell It Slant Peterson introduces three distinct methods of speaking that Jesus uses throughout the Gospels: Preaching, Teaching, and Informal.  Regarding preaching he says, “Preaching is the news, the good news, that God is alive and present and in action: ‘Maybe you didn’t know it, but the living God is here, right here on this street, in this sanctuary, in this neighborhood.  And he is at work now.  He is speaking right now–at this very moment.  If you know what is good for you, you will want to get in on it.'”  Of teaching he says, “We often dichotomize our lives into public and private, spiritual and secular, cut up our lives into separate parts, and stuff the parts into labeled cubbyholes for convenient access when we feel like dealing with them.  Teaching puts the parts together, makes connections, demonstrates relationships–‘connecting the dots,’ as we say.”  And of this “informal” way of speaking he writes, “A kind of intimacy develops naturally when men and women walk and talk together, with no immediate agenda or assigned talk except eventually getting to their destination and taking their time to do it.”  I’m really looking forward to the way that Peterson looks at the words of Jesus and the language that is used by the gospel writers.

Host 6 “slow food” evenings- Cuyler and Shannon came up over the weekend.  We had planned to make empanadas and some other South American foods.  We filled the empanadas with beef and onions (and green olives. mmmmm.).  We also made a “tres leches” cake for dessert.  You need to make this cake!  Do it right now.  Quit reading this nonsense and bake this cake.  The afternoon was filled with food and conversation.  It was wonderful.  During dinner we (read: I. sorry, guys.) talked about some of the issues of “slow food” and what are some of the limits to it.  I’d really like Shannon to write about her thoughts about this given her relation to the children she works with at her school.  I really enjoy these opportunities to get peoples opinion about food.  It help give me a welcome perspective on things different from the people who write about how “the world would be a better place if all we ate was local organic food.”  I hope that over the course of the year and over the next 5 evenings my ability to critically think about all of this will greatly expand.

Become disciplined in using a planner/calendar/schedule- I have to say, I’m most surprised at my efforts in this area.  I’ve filled my iCal with my class schedule for the fall and added in other events throughout the year.  I’ve synced my phone with my calendar.  And I’ve looked at my calendar each day.  Pretty impressive, huh?  Next week, when classes start, will be a big opportunity for me to find a rythm with this or to simply let it slide by.  I’d really like to keep on top of this throughout the year (“that’s what she said.”  come on, I know you were thinking it.).

What do you think?  Are you surpised at my efforts in these resolutions this year?  How are your resolutions going?