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Teachers taking students away from the elementary school wreckage. (Photo Credit: AP from CNN.com)

Yesterday a devastating tornado ripped through Moore, OK killing dozens and injuring far more.  An elementary school was among the many structures that were massively damaged.  My heart breaks for the people of Moore, OK.  Especially since this is the second tornado in 15 years to devastate this city (1999 Tornado Outbreak).  I feel especially burdened for the people of Moore, OK, because the scenes of destruction seem all too familiar.  Below I have put a picture from yesterday’s tornado next to a picture from the tornado that hit Union University in 2008, which I have written about before (Why Tornado Alarms Make Me Freak Out a Little Inside) .

Moore, OK Tornado Damage (Photo Credit: AP from CNN.com)

Destruction from the Feb. 5, 2008 Tornado at Union University (Photo Credit: Matthew Diggs)

So, please join me in prayer for the people of Moore, OK.  They have suffered traumatic loss of life and property.  I can personally attest to what sort of damage this does to a community, but I can also attest to the strong sense of community that will always exist between the people that have lived through this.  Pray for the people of Moore. Pray that they will find more survivors today.

If you wish to donate to help the people of Moore, OK, click on the image below to be taken to the Red Cross website.

Until later friends…

Dear Readers [i.e., Mom and bored facebook friends],

I apologize for taking so long to write a new post.  I last posted November 10th.  I have been incredibly busy since my last post.  I finally finished my master’s thesis on the German Baptist experience under the Third Reich.  It was great fun, but a lot of work.  My duties at work have also been consuming, which have made it difficult to find time to blog.  I have a few minutes today to blog, so I thought I’d just share some exciting things going on in my life (and random thoughts that pop into my head).

  • As you may know, we announced on October 10th that we’re going to have a baby. We found out yesterday that we’re going to have a little girl.  Here is her pictureMy first baby picture
  • I am pleased to announce that I am graduating from the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary.  I have enjoyed my time at SBTS, but I am excited about taking a semester off from school to hang out with Mrs. For Aslan and prepare for our little lady.SBTS - Honeycutt Seminary Lawn
  • Mrs. For Aslan and I are planning to attend Andrew Peterson’s Behold the Lamb tour again this year.  This is one of our favorite Christmas traditions.  It is a great concert, based on a great cd.  Here’s a fun taste of it.  This is Andrew Peterson singing the genealogy of Jesus found in the book of Matthew:

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  • I love this time of the year.  I love music, and the Christmas  season is full of great music.  Here are some songs that I really enjoy during this time of year that you might not know:

I used to sing “What Sweeter Music” with the Union University Singers.  I loved my years in a great choir, and I miss them.  This song is gorgeous.  John Rutter is spectacular.

Andy Gullahorn has written a wonderful song focused on communicating what Immanuel means.  He is an excellent songwriter, and he has a real way with words. Go buy his Christmas album recorded with his wife Jill Phillips. This song is well worth listening to.

You might already know this song, but I have to include it.  I absolutely love it.  It has a hauntingly rich melody, and it explores the mystery of the incarnation.

  • I am excited about getting to spend time with family during Christmas without any concern about finishing research or writing a paper.
  • I am excited about giving gifts.  I’ve found my lovely wife some great stuff, and now I am shopping for my lovely daughter.  I like these:Chicago Cubs Girl Onesies
  • I am also super excited about huge news in the coffee world.  The introduction of a solid electric pouring kettle:Bonavita Electric Kettle
  • Lastly, I’m excited about reading some books for fun.  Here are some books I have on my shelf and I plan to read in the next several months:

Guns Germs Steel

Hunting Eichmann

Tim Keller Counterfeit GodsYa’ll have any other reading suggestions?

Until later friends…

I’m excited about my community group meeting tonight (my community group is a group of 9 people from my church that gets together weekly to hang out, talk about life, and talk about a book we’re reading).  We started the group a couple months ago by reading the Didache (which you can read for free online here).  We are now reading Dietrich Bonhoeffer‘s Life TogetherLife Together is one of my favorite books, from one of my favorite authors.

I first got interested in Bonhoeffer my freshman year of college when I read The Cost of Discipleship.  Then, Jen took a Bonhoeffer Seminar class during her final year at Union University.  Because of this class, both our interest in (and our collection of) Bonhoeffer’s works grew.  I am really excited to read Life Together together with friends.  If you have never read Bonhoeffer before, I think Life Together is a great place to start.  It is a little book, but it is jammed with great thoughts.  After that, I would recommend The Cost of Discipleship.  If you are still interested after this, I would recommend Eberhard Bethge’s Dietrich Bonhoeffer: A Biography (I haven’t read any of Metaxas’ biography and based on the significant amount of debate around it, I think it safer to recommend Bethge’s of which I have read large portions).  After having read all of this Bonhoeffer, I recommend moving on to his Letters and Papers from Prison.  These are best understood in light of the context of his life, and there are some real gems.

That’s all for now. Go read some Bonhoeffer.  Until later friends…

Yesterday, we had all sorts of tornado warnings here in Louisville and the surrounding areas.  Most of my co-workers took the tornado warnings very lightly.  I, on the other hand, was trying to get as much information as possible about possible tornadoes.  I used to take tornado warnings very lightly, until February 5, 2008.  On that day, my university – Union University – was struck by an EF-4 tornado.

This picture is of what used to be a girls’ dorm.  I talked on Monday about life-changing, paradigm-altering events.  February 5th was one such event in my life.  I used to lock my dorm door and go to sleep if I knew there might be a tornado warning, so I would not be bothered by it.  Now, I am made vigilant by any tornado warning.  The tornado at Union was like nothing I could have imagined.  The damage was shocking.  The night of the tornado was terrifying.  I was stuck a mile from campus hearing all sorts of third-hand reports about collapsed buildings and dead students, and the forecasters were predicting another tornado on the heels of the first. Thankfully, no one was killed, although a few of my friends were pretty banged up.  Many people I knew – including my now sister-in-law – lost everything they had.  The tornado scared the living daylights out of us, but it also united us and made us stronger.  We worked together, and by God’s grace, we were able to endure it.

Here are some pictures from the damage (all of which are not mine, but are owned by Union University – but since I paid them a boatload of money to get a degree there, I assume they’re alright with me using these for educational purposes):

I was immensely proud of the way my university handled this tragedy.  Many of my friends were interviewed on CNN, MSNBC, and Fox News.  They exhibited such a strong faith in the Lord despite the storm that some reporters accused the staff of coaching the students, but there was no coaching.  We all knew that it was only by the grace of God that we were all alive, and we wanted to tell everyone about it.

Since the tornado, Union has done exceedingly well.  They have built new dorms to replace those destroyed.  The new dorms are incredible, in fact, I am a little jealous over them.  Union has been consistently ranked in the top tier of universities in the South by Us News and World Report.  Union has rebuilt bigger and better.  They have new swanky dorms, a new coffee shop – with a sweet La Marzocco Espresso Machine, and a new pharmacy school.  I am proud of Union University.  And now you know why tornado alarms will make me freak out a little inside for the rest of my life.  I hope all is well with you, and I hope no severe weather is headed your way.

Until later friends…

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