Sunday, March 7, 2010

Change of Plans -- Inspired?

The only writing I planned to do this weekend was write a follow-up article on Earth Day for My article on the 40th anniversary of the first Earth Day is doing quite well, page view wise. And it should do better as the day approaches. A figure another follow-up article couldn't hurt. Beyond that, I planned on finishing the Chuck Colson book.

But my weekend plans went awry. Friday night I got some good reading done, essentially on-pace to finish the book by tonight. Saturday, though, was fully consumed with chores and comings and goings, until the evening left little opportunity to read. Well, I did read. I re-read a chapter in The Shack, the book we are studying in our adult Sunday school class, and prepared to teach it in case the teacher was out today (he was, so I did). And I read a Nazarene missions book that we've had for too long (just 94 pages; easy read). Then it was bed time.

This afternoon I had to meet with the trustees at church to talk again about our parking lot rehab project. We had some money unexpectedly come our way, and have the opportunity to redo the lot according to my master plan. Looks like that will happen. But that meeting, and waiting for it to start, took a good chunk of the afternoon. No time for reading.

But the thing that really changed my plans was reading yesterday morning and today in the gospels. As I usually do this time of year, I began reading again the stories of Jesus' passion, beginning with the triumphal entry. But I decided to read it in my Harmony of the Gospels. The part I read this morning, Jesus' ministry and encounters early in the week, led me to realize I may have been off in a couple of things. Plus, my mind seemed really engaged in the subject, and I thought this might be a good time to get some passage notes written.

So this afternoon and this evening I took time to work on some passage notes. I did this for the passages that are titled, in my study Bible, Question About Paying Taxes, About the Resurrection, and The Greatest Commandment. My mind was sharp, and focused. The words of the Harmony seemed to jump out of the page as I read. This is usually a sign that I'm reading the right thing for my current state of mind. So I got to work on the passage notes.

Perhaps I should briefly describe these. They are the notes that I wrote in my notebook as I harmonized the four gospels. I would first write out the text for each gospel covering that passage, in very short pieces (usually a sentence, sometimes two). I would then write a few notes about the differences and similarities in the text; what appeared to be conflicts and what appeared to be simple differences in wording. Then I would state some basis for harmonizing the text, say "Use Mark for the basic text, work in the extra information in Matthew and the word difference in Luke", or something like that. Then I wrote the harmonized text in the notebook.

So I went to the notebook, found the part about paying taxes to Caesar, and began. I should also say that I've tried working on several of the passage notes before. I had little success, for whatever reason. But today I had good success. I took my handwritten notes and began typing. I expanded my private shorthand to full words and grammar. I added a few things that came to mind now. Most importantly, I found a few places where I could make my harmony better, and more faithful to the original text. I also found a few places where I did not adequately state the basis for my decision. I added that to the passage note.

This was not even on the radar screen when I set March goals. Consequently, I'm not sure what this will do to my goals. I may need to lay something else aside, or spend more time on writing than I anticipate having. Well, it seems that I need to write where my mind is going, not force it to write something that it is not interested in at that moment. So I'll see what tomorrow brings, be it a Suite article, a little more on my novel, editing my article for BiblioBuffet, or even another passage note.

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