Two Years Later

Spring 2017

It’s been almost two years since I last wrote a “life” post. After last year’s March furnace fires, things quieted down… briefly. After the fire Mari and I moved into the on-campus missionary housing at SBTS and finished up our semester there. At the end of that my parents came up to help us move everything into a friend’s garage. We surprised my parents with the good news they’d been waiting for: Mari was pregnant.

They were, of course, ecstatic, and there was, of course, a catch: after we heading back to Norway for the summer, I would return alone to Louisville in the fall while Mari would work in Norway to get maternity leave. Because I need a Master’s degree in theology to get a visa to do any theological work in Norway, I couldn’t even intern at our church in Norway. Getting a master’s degree, then, was top priority for me, and I would have until the end of 2019 (when Mari will finish).

Who would want to give a visa to that guy?

Summer 2017

Mari and I had a good summer in between. We drove around Jotunheimen National Park where Norway’s tallest mountain stands.

 

 

This is the Knight’s Leap next to Ridderspranget, a current in the river Sjoa.      I didn’t try to jump it.

Fall and Winter 2017-18

In the fall, my parents helped me move into my new efficiency apartment, just big enough for one person, and I smashed five classes together. I came back to Norway for the winter break to my wonderful, very pregnant wife. Now, our son was “supposed” to be born on January 3rd. That being so, our plan was that I would head back to KY on the 19th, and Mari and Micah would visit sometime later that semester. But then Micah didn’t come on the 3rd, but on Sunday the 14th. My plan changed the instant he was born. How could I leave on Friday?

After emailing Southern and making numerous class changes, I was able to stay in Norway for another month and help Mari take care of our newborn baby boy, Micah Jonathan Robinson. It was the best sleep deprivation I’ve ever had trying to figure out our little boy. When I had to head back to KY, I was then leaving two loves. Thankfully, I only needed to wait five weeks to see them again.

Spring and Summer 2018

I crammed all of my Systematic II and III work into those five weeks and then relished the six weeks I spent with Mari and Micah when they visited. We drove all over to see friends and family, but unfortunately we could not fit everyone in (always the problem).

M&M flew back to Norway. I packed up our apartment, and two weeks later I followed. Mari had had two online classes with Southern this past summer while I spent time looking after Micah and tried to let Mari do her schoolwork. We went through Philippians with our church’s youth group on Wednesday evenings, and I was able to teach a Bible study through the book of Colossians for three weeks at our church in July, which was good fun. This semester I am taking three classes (a light, easy load), and Mari had an online class. Micah sleeps well and is a now-crawling, cute, happy, patient ten-month-old who likes to laugh.

Winter 2018

Visa issues still abound (for now). Mari is not yet an on-campus student, so she is only “visiting” (and is thus on a visitor’s visa). Thus she can only be here for 90 days. 90 days in-90 days out, that’s how those visas work. I was in Norway for 90 days in the summer. All that to say, Mari has to leave the country by Nov. 11, and I can’t enter Norway until Nov. 21. What will we do in the meantime? Go to one of our dearest, favorite places on earth: York, England.

We’ll spend the winter in Norway, and when we return to KY Mari will be a student again and I will be working at home and watching a one-year-old trying to figure out our future. We’ll see how that goes.

Book Sale: ICC, LNTS, and More

It’s that time of the year when I try to purge myself from books (because money). So here are some screenshots of the books, and the prices are posted underneath the pictures. If you’re interested you can comment here, message me on Facebook, Twitter, or email: spoiledmilks@gmail.com.

My prices are just under the used prices on Amazon, even if a book here is new.

  • First come, first serve.
  • Shipping is included in the price.
  • I can combine shipping prices if you buy more than one book.
  • I can only ship within the continental US.
  • I’m very open to haggling.

ICC

New: Acts 1-14 (Barrett, ICC): $35

New: 2 Corinthians 1-7 (Thrall, ICC): $35

New: 2 Corinthians 8-13 (Thrall, ICC): $30

LNTS

New: Swimming in the Sea of Scripture (Han): $30

New (w/ pencil marks): Character Studies and the Gospel of Mark (Hauge/Skinner): $30

This volume’s title was misprinted with Marm instead of Mark.

New: One Lord, One People (Thompson): $30

There are indentions on the edges of some of the pages

Used: St. John’s Gospel (Lenski): $15

Used: Practices of Power (Moses): $35

Etc.

New: Critical Theology (Raschke): $10

New: Theology of Work Bible Commentary: Genesis-Deuteronomy: $8

Used: Evangelical Ethics (Davis): $5

Used: Ethics and Moral Reasoning (Mitchell): $5

Used: Ezekiel 1-20 (Moshe Greenberg): $20

Used: Matthew/Mark (Turner/Bock): $8

How Spoiled Milks?

If you’ve been unlucky enough to read my previous posts about how I came to use the name SpoiledMilks, I’ll explain why I started using it for my non-MySpace/Facebook blog name, and what in the world I’m doing with my blog.

Why I Blog

After I graduated from CCBC York, my friend/teacher Lindsay, who blogs at MyDigitalSeminary (he’s more clever with names than I am, as you’ll see below), told me how he got into blogging and that I should consider doing it too. Simply enough, there are bloggers who review books for free. They request a book from a publisher, read and review the book, and they get to keep the book for future reference or sharing.

In the middle of Bible college I realized I wanted to teach the Bible, which requires books. No matter who you are, nobody knows everything. We learn from the writings of others. We stand on the shoulders of giants (but we shouldn’t forget the little people too). If others have spent more years than I in the Bible, then I should (and do) consider their thoughts and conclusions as worthy enough to read and to help guide me in my own reading and teaching. We are a community of believers. Biblical authors write so that they can help others outside of their immediate community.

Studying the Bible to the point where I can teach it well would require purchasing books, and good theology books aren’t cheap (and neither are the lousy ones). Christians come to the Bible from different perspectives, and if they come to the Bible humbly, the Bible leads them to remove certain perspectives and it reinforces others. Yet the fact remains that I don’t want to follow one person and their own single perspective.

I grew up in a non-denominational church which was closest to Baptist theology (which makes sense since it had previously been a Baptist church). From my studies, I have only grown more firm in my stance on Baptism, but now I can explain it better than I could have previously. On the other hand, I’ve changed my mind on other points (like eschatology). I’ve become both more discerning and (hopefully) more gracious. I’ve seen good arguments, better arguments, and just plain bad arguments.

Why read so much?

Think of what it means to run a business, or run for office, to be a chef, a mother, a manager, a home owner. Business owners must be very nuanced in knowing economics, finances, law, etc., so that they can make a profit (and not be sued—(way to go America)). Home owners need to know how to cook (to stay alive) and how to keep their house in good shape (to avoid experiencing the stress of a busted pipe). One’s view on politics will affect who he votes for and will affects how society will be run. The better one understands politics, economics, and human behavior, the better they will understand how they should vote (whether or not they make the correct decision is another matter).

Theology isn’t a mere theoretical matter (though it is all too easy to keep it there). Theology has a massive affect on how we live. It shapes our worldview, something the  biblical authors were well aware of. The Bible’s story shapes how we think and live, and knowing it accurately leads to more wisdom. To know the Bible means we have to know how to read the Bible. Growing up I had a very bare-bones knowledge to the Bible (Adam-Eve, Abraham, Moses, sinners, Jesus, resurrection, Paul, heaven), but I didn’t know how much (of anything) fit together. “Be like Abraham because he was good” (except when he wasn’t). Jesus spoke nice things (except where it’s difficult), and Paul told us to love one another (and sometimes harshly demanded strict obedience or expulsion from the church body).

But to blog one needs a name.

Why I used “SpoiledMilks”

  1. Some were already familiar with the name.
  2. I couldn’t think of anything better.
  3. I don’t write well enough for people to remember some generic theology blog name in the midst of all the other blogs with better writers (who wants to read “Theoretical Theology”? “Theology Thoughts”? “Theolocajun”? “Stop Eating Rice Krispies“?)

But I realized I could implement “SpoiledMilks” into my blog. When I reviewed a book, aspects of the book that were very good were placed under a “chocolate milks” section (because everyone likes chocolate milk). Parts that hindered the book were placed under a “spoiled milks” section. I added a Lagniappe (“a little something extra”) section for book details and a place to thank the publisher. Today I don’t use the Chocolate/Spoiled milks sections so much because it can tend to divide my thoughts too much. Often the same place in a book that I think was well written will also have a “spoiled” aftertaste to it. So now I just do whatever I want.

I’ve been able to review over 160 books for roughly 20 different publishers, lectures in six different courses, and have had views from 138 countries. I haven’t had an incredible amount of views in my four years of blogging, but I have saved more money that I would have had to spend, I have learned more than I thought I could know, and am excited to continue to learn and draw closer to God through his normal, boring, exciting, supernatural Word. And since Mari is pregnant with our first(!), the weight is only growing as to how I will image Christ to both my wife and my child(ren). This doesn’t mean that I need to read even more, but that I need to think deeply about what I read, about what our Father is like, who this Jesus is whom we worship, and how that should influence our lives in every aspect. We are not Americans/Norwegians/men/women/parents/children/students/teachers who are Christians, but we are Christians first who live out Christ before those who are Americans, Norwegians, men, women, children, students, teachers, etc.

Hopefully what I read comes out well on my blog. Writing so much has only helped my writing style (which has gone from terrible to… better). I hope to be writing on this for years to come. Sometimes frequently; sometimes not. But this blog is an outlet for me to remember something I read, to share something with you so that you don’t need to read every book I read, and to share it with you in the hopes that you grow in your love for God and his word.

Down Time

We just finished our Spring Break, and we only have four weeks to go before finals. Then we’ll be on vacation. Last semester I said I would write up some posts on what I had been learning that semester. That never happened. And… well, no promises. But I did write a paper on 2 Corinthians 6.14-7.1 that I plan to put up in a number of posts, which shouldn’t be too hard to work since it’s already written.

This semester I’m taking four classes: Hebrew Syntax, Old Testament II, Discipleship & Family Ministry, and Worldview & Apologetics. This may or may not be a surprise to you, but Hebrew Syntax is my favorite class. OT II is great too. The other two are, to be honest, just OK. They’re not bad, I’m just not too excited about them. I’ve also been auditing Proverbs with Peter Gentry, and it’s been excellent. It gives me more practice with Hebrew, and with all that I’ve put into it so far I don’t want to lose what I’ve worked for.

BHS: A Reader’s Edition

At the beginning Spring Break, Mari and I went to the TGC conference which was celebrating 500 years of the Protestant Reformation which had topics on the book of Galatians and various reformers (both familiar and obscure). Besides hearing Piper, DeYoung, Carson, Keller, buying a bunch of books, winning a few books, going to a few great workshops, especially Derek Rishmawy’s talk on reaching millennials, we were able to stay with great people, and a friend of Mari’s came over from Norway to go to the conference and then travel the US to hang out with friends. Besides having a good time with him, we met two fantastic people who want to move over to Norway and help with a church over there. It was very encouraging to meet them, and we hope to see them in the years to come.

Beyond that, we’ve moved all of our stuff from our friend’s basement in their old house to their garage in their new house. At least that is finished, and we’ll be applying for an apartment this week. We appreciate your prayers that we can get into it and that we can find a used car to buy. We currently have one in our sights, but you never really know what can happen. Haven’t you ever seen Mars Attacks?

March Furnace Fires

I woke up to a beep. I could smell smoke. I could hear voices outside, and something was rumbling. Another beep. It must be a work truck outside, I thought to myself. What time is it?, I wondered. It’s dark, but if I can hear people talking then it can’t be that early. Another beep. “I’ll go see what’s going on,” I tell Mari.

Slipping down the stairs I hear our neighbor outside talking. She sounds worried. Another beep. Worse yet, on the other side of the wall from where I was standing I could hear what sounded like her furnace unit jumping around. With every leap a metal piece fell off.

Her furnace was on, and it was blowing up.

I continued down the stairs and looked through our door’s window. I could see the utter shock on our neighbor’s face as she told the person on the phone, “Yes, please get here quickly. My furnace is on fire.” She was talking to local volunteer fire department.

Hurrying up the stairs, I turned the bedroom light on and told Mari, “We have to go! The neighbor’s furnace is on fire.” Smoke was flooding into our room through the vents. We got dressed, ran down our stairs, grabbed our backpacks by the door, and our winter coats. By this time, there was so much smoke coming in from our kitchen that it looked like a youth worship service gone wrong. We ran out safely, though quite shaken up. I was in my blue wool slippers which Mari had made me. I even wore them to church later that morning (it’s all I had at the time).

After running outside, I ran to the back of the apartment only to see large flames coming out from my neighbor’s flat. This whole place is gone, I thought. I went with Mari to the front yard. So far only our neighbor’s duplex was on fire.

Within minutes of getting to the front yard the firefighters were there (at least 5 fire trucks and a few police cars). I soon called our landlord and told him what had happened. It was 3.40am when I called him. The fire began between 3.00 and 3.15am.

On one end of the quadplex, we lived in Apt #4. Our neighbor whose place caught fire was in #3. Two brothers lived in #2, and one guy in #1. One of the brothers had arrived home around 2.30am from his job. After eating, he heard the beeping of our neighbor’s fire alarm. Having heard for a little too long, he knocked on her front door to see if she was awake. It took several minutes and him banging on her door before she finally responded and opened it. A flood of smoke came out through the opening. She had been looking for her dog. Her electricity cut out as they were standing in the doorway. The guy saw a flash of fire in the back of her apartment where her furnace was. He quickly told her to call the fire department. That’s when I woke up.

Everybody made it out safely, including the girl’s dog. Her place has been reduced to ashes. Virtually nothing was left but a black hole. As for our apartment and the brothers in #2, everything was covered with a fine layer of soot and reeked of putrid smoke. Additionally there was some water damage from the firefighters.

Our apartment was (and is, and will be) unlivable, and we were officially homeless. Later that day the ceiling fell down in one of our rooms, as the fire had spread through the attic earlier that morning. But with the help of friends, we got most of our things out later that day (and night). Our small group leaders housed us for a couple of nights, and for a couple of months we will staying in some missionary housing on campus. From May-August we will be going home to family both in Louisiana and Norway. We have to find another apartment in time for the fall semester, where we will hopefully be able to live securely until our time at SBTS is over.

Conclusion

I’ve written this so that you may all know what is going on, and to explain the PayPal Donation button in the top right sidebar. A professor here asked if we had a donations page, so I set this up. Any help would be greatly appreciated. I presume your donations can be given anonymously, though I haven’t tried.

We’ve been able to wash some clothes. We’ve aired out parts of our library. We have a place where we can store what is left of our belongings while we are figuring everything out. We have plenty of dry cleaning to do, along with wiping down our other belongings, making an overview of what we need, and filling out our insurance claims. We don’t know how much some of this will cost or what will need to be replaced (besides our couch, armchair, and bed).

We are so thankful that no one was hurt, and that our teachers have been very accommodating with papers and midterms (as this happened right before midterms began). We have truly been able to taste and see the Lord’s goodness through this experience as church and friends have come together to show us the love of Christ through providing meals, financial support, and prayers.

Why Spoiled Milks?, Pt 2

Here is another life story giving insight into why I named my blog Spoiled Milks. Names below have been changed to protect the guilty. Any similarities to historic personas are pure imagination. (Read Part 1 here).

Curdle Hurdle

On August 13th, 2011, sometime around 2am after Toby’s party (I used to think this had been a Christmas party because . . . what’s the difference, really? Toby’s a present to all of us) at a house where the owners (at least) will remain unnamed, I was hungry and wanted cereal. I asked Toby if the unnamed owners had cereal, and he replied with a, “Yeah, sure. I think so. Go take a look.”

Jordan and I stole some looks for cookies, and we happened upon some gingerbread cookies that were simply amazing. I ate three. Then two more. Then I found the Rice Krispies. Then I ate two more cookies. After we poured the Krispies into our bowl, I returned to the living room and told Tori how utterly delicious the gingerbread cookies, the ones that were really small and soft, were.

Me: “Tori, those gingerbread cookies, the ones that are really small and soft, are utterly delicious.”
Tori: “Yeah, they’re really good…” (or something).
Me: “Oh, that’s weird . . . they make my cereal taste like . . . Tuna Helper.”
Tori: “ … that’s disgusting” (or something).

I kept eating the cereal because it was still good once I got past the Tuna-Helping taste (and I like Tuna Helper, but not as cereal. At least if it had been called “Tuna Krispies” I would have known what I was getting myself into).

Jordan comes in and says, “Hey, Spencer, is the milk expired?” Now, there is never anything strange about that question. I’m sure Jordan just doesn’t want his Rice Kripsies to taste like Fruit Loops. Some precautions are necessary.

Me: “No. My tongue’s not tingling so I’m sure it’s fine. Just don’t eat those cookies before you eat the cereal. Makes it taste like Tuna Helper.”
Jordan: “Oh, because the milk says it’s from July 24th.”
Me: ” . . . w
hat? Well . . . I’ve already eaten this much…”

I did end up pouring it all out. Afterwards we figured out that the milk was exactly 3 weeks past it’s sell by date, a new record for me, at least for milk already opened. There was another time where a group of “friends” duped me into drinking a small bottle of Borden’s chocolate milk that was two months past due. And it burned.

And I took two more cookies, the ones that were really small and soft.

Why Spoiled Milks?, Pt. 1

Throughout my three and a half years of having this blog, people have asked me about the name. I review biblical books, talk about biblical concepts from those books, occasionally talk about my life, even Pac-Man . . . but spoiled milk? Even worse… spoiled milks? I thought I’d share with you two events that have scarred me deeply, deeply enough to carry this burden around on my own as a spectacle to the world. It’s the thorn in my flesh.

spongebob-pauls-thorn-in-the-flesh

The Four Letter Curd Word

Once upon a time, anybody who was anybody was a part of the megalodon known as MySpace. It was all the rage back home. I was never one for writing, not until my life flashed before my eyes. What was thought to be a one-off occurrence soon became just too common. In my family growing up, we always drank a lot of milk, especially me. There was always milk ready, and it was always good. I came home from university one day and, given my love and appreciation for (ice) cold cereal, I poured myself a bowl of Rice Krispies. We had no sugary sweets, so plain Krispies would do fine. Bowl + Ice + Cereal + Milk = a good time (I’m a simple guy).

Then a miracle happened. Call it a miracle on Elm Street. I had the aurora cerealis in my mouth. My Rice Krispies had turn into Fruit Loops! The tastes—the colors . . . . It was like the boat scene on Willy Wonka.

My tongue began to tingle.

never happens when I eat Fruit Loops…

………………………………………Two weeks past due.

I poured the milk out, kept the cereal, poured new milk in, and ate the rest. I later found a 13-day-old un-opened gallon of milk. What is this? Goosebumps?

Screen Shot 2017-10-31 at 10.30.12 AM

  • Thus, a machine was born. I began to blog every Tuesday about absolutely nothing. You would think Edwin Starr wrote my life.

    When you’re an only child and you sink this low, the only thing to do is become more spoiled. The next occurrence involved late-night cookies, tuna fish, and a birthday party.