50 Years of Doctor Who: The Sylvester McCoy Era (1987-1989, 1993, 1996)

“Crush the lesser races! Conquer the galaxy! Unimaginable power! Unlimited rice pudding! Et cetera, Et cetera!”

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Colin Baker was sadly the first Doctor to be fired. He was offered to come back to pass the torch on, but refused because he was understandably bitter about the whole affair. And who was it passed to? Sylvester McCoy, who would become the final doctor of the Classic period.

About Sylvester McCoy

Sylvester’s real name is Percy James Patrick Kent-Smith and is of Irish decent.  He got his stage name while working on the Ken Campbell Roadshow. It was a character he portrayed; when a reviewer mistook the joke in the show’s credits for a real person, the name stuck.  In 1979, he had a role with Laurence Olivier in Dracula. He was mostly a stage actor prior to and after Doctor Who. After Doctor Who, McCoy appeared in the BBC Radio 4 series Cabaret of Dr. Caligari. He appeared as the Sheriff of Nottingham in a Robin Hood musical. He worked with the Royal Shakespeare COmpany, where he played alongside Ian McKellan (Gandalf in Lord of the Rings) in King Lear in 2007. He is currently starring in Peter Jackson’s trilogy of Hobbit movies as Radagast.

Changes

  • The final opening is not one of my favorites.  While I like the logo and the impressive animation for its time, I don’t much care for the theme’s arrangement.
  • In season 25, Andrew Cartmel became the show’s final script editor.  He proposed to take the show in a darker direction and give hints to the Doctor’s origins.

Conclusion

Sylvester McCoy was my second-favorite Doctor until David Tennant assumed the role (now he’s my third-favorite). The Doctor’s start as a bumbler didn’t appeal to me, but the darker path under Cartmel certainly did.  This Doctor was a brilliant planner, strategizing much like a chess player and wasn’t above using people as pawns if necessary. It’s a shame we didn’t get to see the full scope of Cartmel’s plans.

The Companions

Melanie Bush (Bonnie Langford)

I HATE Mel! She’s not pretty in my opinion. She’s annoyingly condescending and utterly useless.  And her voice is the worst. I don’t think there is any companion I could hate more, except maybe Dodo.

Ace (Sophia Aldred)

First appearance: “Dragonfire”

Last appearance: “Survival”

I love Ace! She’s so much fun!  She has a unique relationship with the Doctor, who she calls “Professor”. She has a penchant for blowing things up, and that’s the best thing about her.  But she also has a tender side, as seen in “Ghost Light.” According to the Sarah Jane Adventures episode “Death of the Doctor”, she now runs a charity called A Charitable Earth (get it? ACE?)

Best Stories


“Dragonfire” (3 episodes)

This is Mel’s final story, and it’s great to see her go. We also see an appearance of Sabalom Glitz, who was last seen in “Trial of a Time Lord”. The whole story is great, and we even see hints of the darker direction that would come in the following season.

“Remembrance of the Daleks” (4 episodes)

The Doctor goes back to the day it all began and finds himself in the middle of a Dalek civil war.  It’s also the first time we see a floating Dalek! Oh, and Ace gets her best moment in the show: destroying Daleks with a baseball bat and a rocket launcher. Aw yeah.

“The Greatest Show in the Galaxy” (4 episodes)

The Doctor becomes an unwilling participant in an intergalactic circus where he must entertain the gods or die.  The story was meant as a criticism of the fans who were becoming more and more disinterested in the show.

“Battlefield” (4 episodes)

This is the final story to feature The Brigadier and takes us back to Arthurian England. It’s really sad that we didn’t get to see more from the Brigadier, even in the modern version (but at least he appeared in an episode of The Sarah Jane Adventures.

“Ghost Light” (3 episodes)

One of my favorites! The Doctor and Ace go to a haunted house she visited as a child. The story was a victim of meddling, but it’s still well-written, albeit confusing.

“Survival” (4 episodes)

I might as well include the final Classic Doctor Who story. It includes an excellent performance by Anthony Ainley, proving that yes, with the right script, he can be a great villain.

Worst Stories

“Time and the Rani” (4 episodes)

This is the first story to feature the Seventh Doctor, and sadly it’s one of the clumsiest episodes of the show.

 

 

 

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One Faith, Many Paths: Christian Jaeschke

For this edition of One Faith, Many Paths, I have chosen a Facebook friend all the way from the Land Down Under. We’ve known each other for years, thanks to being members of Christian Anime Alliance.  Here’s what he had to say:

1. What proof would you give for God’s Existence?

The beauty, creativity and variety found in nature. The weirdness and unity of fauna and flora. Nature’s not chaotic bur harmonious (as far as can be had living in a fallen world). It’s not survival of the fittest because some of the weakest species thrive. Some creatures seem to serve no purpose or look weird but they exist. The fact that there are so many variables in life that had to be designed to allow life on planet Earth. Also, how the human body has to be a certain temperature to survive. This isn’t some cosmic accident, it all points to a divine creator.  Finally, I believe are need to look for answers outside ourselves, points to there being a divine designer. There’s a desire for identity, purpose and hope, outside ourselves. That something else is the Triune God (Father God, Christ Jesus and the Holy Spirit).

2. What was your childhood like?
I was raised in a Christian household. I can’t think of any particular moment in my life that I chose to accept Jesus Christ as my Lord and Saviour but I know that I grew quite a bit in my faith in Year 9 at a youth group camp and then later, after I left high school and had a ‘wilderness’ moment in my life.

3. What is your current job?
 I’m a primary (elementary) school teacher.

4. What is your favorite Biblical passage and why?

My favourite Bible passage changes from time to time, but I’ve always enjoyed Ephesians 6:10-17. It’s all about the armour of God. I love the battle imagery and the practical use of God’s Word. It just speaks to me and reminds me that while the physical world often seems to be all there is, there’s a spiritual realm that’s all the more real.

5. Is the Christian religion doing well in Austrailia?

 Yes and no. Church numbers are plummeting and there is generally less interest from young people, once they’ve left high school but there also seems to be a rise in more authentic Christianity. Australia is definitely losing it’s Judeo-Christian heritage though.

6. Who is your favorite Biblical figure besides Jesus?

 Job. He’s a great man of faith that is so seriously tested by Satan and still clings to God. He’s very open and honest and raw with his questions. The book illustrates the mysteries of God as well as his sovereignty. In the end, Job is rewarded for his faith in God. It’s good to read about Job when you feel the world is against you, so you can put human suffering into perspective and be reminded that God has an ultimate plan, however mysterious it may be.

7. Is there anyone in your life who inspires you to be a better person?

I can’t think of any specific individual but Christian friends and family are helpful. They support and challenge me where needed.

50 Years of Doctor Who: The Colin Baker Era

“In all my travelling throughout the universe, I have battled against evil, against power-mad conspirators. I should have stayed here. The oldest civilization: decadent, degenerate, and rotten to the core. Power-mad conspirators, Daleks, Sontarans, Cybermen – they’re still in the nursery compared to us. Ten million years of absolute power. That’s what it takes to be really corrupt.”

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During the filming of “The Five Doctors”, Patrick Troughton advised Peter Davison not the play the Doctor for more than four years to avoid being typecast.  Davison took his advice and left before the end of his final season (he is the second Doctor to do so).  Colin Baker stepped in and was initially ecstatic.  If he only knew what was in store.

About Colin Baker

Colin Baker was a huge fan of Doctor Who practically from the beginning and grew up with the show. In fact, like David Tennant, it was the sole reason he became an actor.  He starred in  an episode of Blake’s Seven, a cult BBC sci-fi program created by Terry Nation, who also created the Daleks for Doctor Who.  He is the only Doctor so far to have previously acted on the show. (this has  happened with companions. For instance, both Nicholas Courtney and Karen Gillan had small roles in stories before landing their most famous roles as the Brigadier and Amy Pond, respectfully) Ironically, Colin had wanted to beat Tom Baker’s seven-year span as the Doctor.  After Doctor Who, Colin spent most of his career in stage productions, such as HMS Pinafore and Woman in White.  He returned to his role as the Sixth Doctor for many Big Finish productions, and I’ve heard his audio plays are better than his TV version. He also appeared as the character in an episode of the BBC racing program Top Gear. Since 1995, he has written a weekly column for the Bucks Free Press. He is the current president of the Doctor Who Appreciation Society.

Changes:

  • Colin Baker is the first Doctor to have a line after the previous Doctor’s regeneration. This did not happen again until the modern version of the show.
  • The show had two openings during Colin’s era. The first is similar to Peter Davison’s, but with a new logo (which is actually similar to the previous logo, just colored purple and slightly bent in the middle). For Colin Baker’s final season, a new theme and opening was created, but the logo remained.
  • Beginning with this era, only fourteen episodes were produced for each season. For part of Colin Baker’s first season, some episodes were actually 45 minutes long, just like the modern version of the show. (but still done in a serial format) However, for the final season of the era, the episodes were returned to their original 25-minute length.

Conclusion

I really feel sorry for Colin.  His era was plagued by terrible writing and backstage politics.  There was actually an 18-month hiatus between his first full season and his last season. The reason? Michael Grade, the head of the BBC at the time, hated science fiction, especially Doctor Who. He felt the show was too violent and a drain on the company budget. During the hiatus, the cast of Doctor Who formed an organization called Who Cares and began a campaign to bring the show back sooner.  Part of the campaign was a song called “Doctor in Distress.” (It was the 80’s. This was done a lot. Surely you’ve heard of “We Are the World”, “Sun City”, and “Do They Know It’s Christmas”?) There’s a big reason this was a bad idea. Unlike the songs I mentioned, none of the people behind “Doctor in Distress” could either sing or write a song. Want to hear just how bad it was? Click the link below.

As for Colin’s performance, I don’t think it was bad.  He was a great smug Doctor and in my opinion, he wasn’t annoyingly so.  Oh, and for the record, I like the outfit.

The Companions:

Peri Brown

Peri goes back and forth between decent and bad as a companion, depending on the episode’s overall strength.  She’s not the worst companion, but she’s not the best either, in my opinion. I hear she’s slightly better in the audio plays.

Melanie Bush (Bonnie Langford)

First Appearance: “Trial of a Timelord part 9 (aka “Terror of the Vervoids” part 1)

Last Appearance: “Dragonfire” (with 7th)

I’d rather wait til next time to discuss this companion, as I feel she is better associated with the 7th Doctor.  She only has two stories with the Sixth Doctor.

Best Stories

“Vengeance on Varos” (2 episodes)

This story introduces Sil, who earns the award for Most Disgusting Doctor Who Villain.  Just listen to that laugh. What I think makes him even creepier is that you know this is an actual person in the outfit. This is something I think is lost today, not just in Doctor Who. CGI has replaced the days of Ray Harryhausen. I’m not saying we should go back to mechanical monsters, but sometimes they seem better than the CGI ones we have today.

“Mark of the Rani” (2 episodes)

This story introduces the Rani, a rogue Time Lady who appears in two more stories; “Time and The Rani” and the awful “Dimensions in Time” special. Kate O’Mara is excellent as this character.  It’s a shame she only had one good story.

“Trial of a Time Lord” (14 episodes)

“Trial of a Time Lord” is a unique story. It’s really four stories linked together: “The Mysterious Planet” (parts 1-4), “Mindwarp” (parts 5-8), “Terror of the Vervoids” (parts 9-12) and “The Ultimate Foe” (parts 13 and 14). The story uses the unreliable narrator formula, most famously used in Edgar Allan Poe’s classic short story “The Tell-Tale Heart”.  It’s not the most celebrated Doctor Who story, but it deserves a look.  I’m really hoping Stephen Moffat refers to it when the 12th Doctor Who era commences, because there’s a prediction in the plot.

Worst Stories

“The Twin Dilemma” (4 episodes)

“The Twin Dilemma” is almost universally considered the worst Doctor Who story ever.  The biggest complaint comes from the scene where the Doctor actually strangles Peri. It also has a terrible plot and pacing.

“Revelation of the Daleks” (2 episodes)

This is in my opinion the worst Dalek story of the Classic period.  It seems like an incoherent mess that is paced haphazardly.  The interaction between the Doctor and Peri isn’t at its best, as it is in “Attack of the Cybermen” or “Vengeance on Varos”. Davros doesn’t seem as menacing as he should be, either.

 

 

Harry Potter and the Christian Muggle: The Order of the Phoenix

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Order of the Phoenix is one of the longest books in the series. We get introduced to the loveably strange Luna Lovegood (played very well by Evanna Lynch in the movie. She really deserves more roles), and we’re also introduced to the universally loathed Delores Umbridge (I really have to hand it to Imelda Staunton, who played the movie version as if she was born to play her.)

Delores Umbridge is one of the best villains ever.  What I like most about her is how tyrannical she is. She’s fully convinced that she knows what’s best. She deliberately abandons actually teaching defense against black magic, mostly because she’s looking to stop “Dumbledore’s army.”  She’s downright creepy, especially in the scene where she makes Harry write lines for misbehaving, and it literally burns itself into his arm.  Even Hermione, who’s always a stickler for the rules, rightly decides that this is one time breaking the rules is warranted. One of the complaints I’ve heard against Harry Potter is that there are many instances where Harry Potter and his friends break the rules. I feel that this should not be a complaint because there are certainly times where breaking rules is warranted. There are many unjust laws that must be challenged, and that was the point of Jesus turning over the tables when he saw the money changers.

Luna Lovegood is another great character I can talk about from a spiritual point of view. She has the ability to see thestrals, despite the fact that you cannot see them under normal circumstances. One of my favorite lines from Shakespeare’s Hamlet is “There are more things in heaven than dreamt of in your philosophy.”  I like to use this quote as evidence for a Creator. In her way, Luna illustrates this because she can see things others usually cannot. She shows us that we must perceive things not only with our senses, but our hearts.

The government in the Harry Potter has now turned against him. This is because Cornelius Fudge believes Dumbledore is creating an army to oppose him (he actually is creating an army, but against Voldemort).  They also wish to sweep Voldemort under the rug and pretend he’s still dead.  They’re content to just stick their heads in the sand.  This is a dangerous notion because it puts everyone in more danger. Harry quickly realizes he is now on his own.  

This is another good book in the series and I like the lessons it teaches. They are certainly worth passing on.

50 Years of Doctor Who: The Peter Davison Era (1981-1984)

“When did you last have the pleasure of smelling a flower, watching a sunset, eating a well-prepared meal?…For some people, small, beautiful events are what life is all about!”
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Tom Baker wasn’t getting along with John Nathan Turner, who had just started his tenure as executive producer.  His main problem was that Turner had proposed a change in wardrobe. Turner wasn’t worried; now he could take the show in a whole new direction for a modern audience. The 80’s were underway.

Changes

  • Peter Davison is the first Doctor since Troughton to only have one opening. It’s basically the same as Tom Baker’s final season.
  • The show now aired twice a week rather than once.
  • In “The Visitation”, the Sonic Screwdriver was destroyed. Turner thought it had become a crutch.
  • First Children in Need Special: “The Five Doctors (also the 20th Anniversary episode)

About Peter Davison

Peter Davison was born Peter Moffett on April 13, 1951 in Streatham, London. He started acting as a member of the Byfleet Players, an amateur company.

He studied at the Central School of Speech and Drama. His first job as an actor was stage manager at the Nottingham Playhouse. It was here that he adopted his stage name so as not to be confused with director Peter Moffatt.

In 1975, he got his first TV gig in an episode of The Tomorrow People. It was in 1978 that he got his most famous role outside of Doctor Who, Tristan in All Creatures Great and Small. He also played in the TV version of Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy.

Peter Davison was the youngest to play the role before Matt Smith.  He was twenty-nine at the time. After his era concluded, Peter Davison returned to the role for charity and Big Finish.

Post-Doctor Who he has appeared in programs such as A Very Peculiar Practice and Magnum PI.

Conclusion

I like Peter Davison’s gentler approach to the Doctor. To me, it doesn’t seem as if he tried to outdo Tom Baker.

My biggest problem with the Davison era is that the TARDIS seems crowded.  For the first half, there’s too many companions and it seems as if the writers had trouble fleshing them out.  The latter half seems much better.

The Companions

Adric

Adric is one of the most hated companions. But to me, he doesn’t deserve the “Wesley Crusher of Doctor Who” title.  He’s not a Gary Stu, because the Doctor is still allowed to be competent. Wesley Crusher caused that a lot.

Nyssa

Nyssa is my favorite companion from this era.  She is pretty, kind, smart, and most of all, stoic. Here is someone who lost everything dear to her, but presses on.

Tegan Jovanka

Tegan is one of my least favorite companions.  She doesn’t seem as courageous as some of the others and I think she hinders the story.  I also don’t like her voice.

Vislor Turlough (Mark Strickson)

First Appearance: Mawdryn Undead”

Last Appearance: Planet of Fire”

Vislor is a first for the show.  He’s a companion who starts out working for the Black Guardian. I don’t really think he reformed; he was just saving his own skin.

Kamellion

First Appearance: The King’s Demons”

Last Appearance: “Planet of Fire”

Kamellion is a great idea, but a bad execution.  He was an actual android who could move and even mime speech.  There’s just one problem: his inventor died after “The King’s Demons” and left no instructions for how to operate it.

Peripugliam “Peri” Brown (Nicole Bryant)

First Appearance: “Planet of Fire”

Last Appearance: “Mindwarp” (with 6th Doctor)

Peri was supposed to be American, but you’d never know it from her voice.  Her most memorable moment in this era is out-shouting the Master in her first story.  I’ll talk more about her next time.

Best Stories


Castrovalva (4 episodes)

This is the final story in the trilogy that introduces Anthony Ainley as the Master. It’s a bit on the surreal side, but has some great moments.

Black Orchid (2 episodes)

Black Orchid is a solid period piece and mystery.  In my opinion, it’s one of the few good two-parters and makes good use of its time.

Earthshock (4 episodes)

This is Adric’s best story from this era and unfortunately his last. His final moments are well-acted.

The Arc of Infinity (4 episodes)

Omega returns to steal the Doctor’s life force. This features some great moments for Nyssa, and is one of her best stories.  We also see an excellent performance from Colin Baker, who we’ll talk about next time.

The Black Guardian Trilogy (4 episodes each)

Mawdryn Undead 

Terminus

Enlightenment

This story brings back one of my favorite villains, The Black Guardian. It’s well-paced and a unique trilogy. Mawdryn brings back the Brigadier (the original idea was to bring back Ian Chesterton, but William Russel was unavailable). Terminus is one the best departure episodes.

The Five Doctors

This is my favorite multi-doctor epic. It’s great to see all the characters again and it’s just all-out fun. Richard Hudnall does a great job as the First Doctor. It’s a must for any true Whovian.

Frontios (4 episodes)

Christopher Bidmead is a writer who was brought in by Turner during Tom Baker’s era. This is by far his best story for the show.  He’s the one who came up with the “brainy specs” so watch for them!

Resurrection of the Daleks (4 episodes)

The Daleks make their obligatory appearance and there’s lots of action in this story. It’s one of my favorite Dalek stories.

The Caves of Androzani (4 episodes)

Robert Holmes is back for an excellent story (I promise this is the last time I fawn over him). This has a solid villain (thanks to Christopher Gable’s superb acting) and features some great acting from Peter Davison. He truly went out with a bang.

Worst Stories

“Four to Doomsday” (4 episodes)

This story is so s l o w.  It’s just boring. And what’s worse, the Doctor goes full deus ex machina.

“Time Flight” (4 episodes)

This story is just a mess. The Master feels out of place in a story that doesn’t really play to Ainley’s strengths. The BBC’s classic Doctor Who site says that the Master really does his best when his plans are on a grand scale, and I totally agree.

“The King’s Demons” (2 episodes)

Why would the Master care if the Magna Carta isn’t signed? Why is he in this story? That’s just the start of my problems. My biggest problem, though, is that the story is very rushed.

 

 

The Fictional Spectrum: Sheldon Cooper

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Welcome to a new series of posts.  This will be about fictional characters who seem to exhibit autistic traits.  I believe fictional depictions of autism can help us understand it. I think a great place to start would be with the example of Sheldon Cooper of Big Bang Theory, played by Jim Parsons.

“But wait”, you say, “Chuck Lorre, the creator of Big Bang Theory said that he didn’t intend for Sheldon to have autistic traits.” Personally, I think part of the reason he said that was probably because he didn’t want trouble. Regardless, Jim Parsons actually said he based his portrayal on a memoir by John Elder Robinson called Look Me in the Eyeabout his experiences as an aspie.

I act like Sheldon more than I care to admit. I am obsessed with routine.  In some ways, it helps because I get ready for work on time. But if something happens to change that routine, I can get angry. So does Sheldon. One of the funniest examples I can give is in an episode where Penny is sleeping over at Sheldon and Leonard’s apartment, which means when he gets up the next morning, he can’t watch Doctor Who. Later in the episode, Penny does wake up and only fifteen minutes are left and Sheldon quips “…at this point, it’s Doctor Why Bother?”

Sheldon also seems to lack empathy. When his girlfriend Amy receives a commendation on a project, he seems unaware that he should be happy for her, so she gets upset with him.  I have trouble reading emotions as well. This is actually an unfair stereotype of autistic people.  Contrary to appearance, we autistic people can read emotions, it’s just more difficult for us.

Sheldon has no social life. He seems to have no romantic interest in women. Yes, he does have a girlfriend, but he’s celibate with her. In one episode, the cast ponders how Sheldon will actually reproduce because of this. This results in what I think is one the funniest moments of the series:

While I am certainly straight, I have not pursued a romantic relationship with women. Oh, I’ve had female friends, but they’re platonic.

However, Sheldon also exhibits positive traits.  One of the best examples I can give is in the episode that shows how all four of the men on the show got together.  Towards the end of the flashback, Howard and Raj are experimenting with something dangerous.  Sheldon is the only who acts quickly enough to stop it from killing anyone by throwing it down the elevator shaft, saving everyone.  Oh sure, now the elevator is out of order until the writers change their minds, but that’s minor. He even covers for Leonard so he can still stay in their apartment.

Another great example of Sheldon’s positive side is when Penny slips on her bathtub and has to be rushed to the hospital. Despite the fact that he has little knowledge of how to drive properly, he still goes out of his way to help her. We even get a tender scene at the end. In fact, by this time, he’s grown to see Penny as a friend. She apparently does as well because she gets him a Christmas present. He does seem to have a negative attitude towards Christianity, but he holds it for her sake and even buys her a gift out of gratitude.

I feel a character like Sheldon can really help people understand the difficulties autism can create.  Jim Parsons has even gotten fan mail from autistic fans because they feel his character is inspirational. After all, despite his difficulties, Sheldon has a job and can support not only himself, but a roommate as well.  I commend Jim for his ideas about this character.

 

One Faith, Many Paths: Nicole Kiser

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How Long have you been a Christian?

I became a Christian and was baptized at the age of 8 yrs old. I was born in 1983. I’ve been a Christian for a long long time. In fact, it’s really strange meeting people older than me who are “younger” than me in their faith.

What evidence would you give for God’s existence?

There’s lots of evidence that God exists, but one I can think of off the top of my head would be the Big Bang Theory. The Big Bang Theory, at it’s essence, says that the universe is not infinite. There was a time that everything that makes up the universe (matter, etc) did not exist. The universe has a beginning, and will have an end.

We know that, logically, nothing comes from nothing. Therefore, the universe must have come from something. The Something must be infinite or eternal (otherwise it too must have a starting point) and it must be powerful enough to start a universe. This Something, whether it as an It or a Person with intelligence, is God.

You notice I’m not arguing for the Personhood of God, just that He must exist. (This is vageuly based off the kalam cosmological argument.) My belief in God does not stand or fall on this one thing though, it’s simply one of many evidences and arguments out there that God must exist.

What is your Favorite Bible verse and Why?

Philippians 4: 6-7 “6 Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. 7 And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.”

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2 Corinthians 12:7b-9 “…..I was given a thorn in my flesh, a messenger of Satan, to torment me. 8 Three times I pleaded with the Lord to take it away from me. 9 But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me.”

As far back as I can recall, I’ve always had problems with anxiety. At times, the anxiety has been so over whelming that I’d get anxiety attacks (which feels like you can’t breath). I have very little control over it, in the sense that I can’t will my anxiety away. It simply exists and I simply must deal with it.

The Philippians 4 verses I learned as a child when my mother discovered I was having extreme anxiety about being driven over bridges because I was seriously afraid they would collapse. These verses taught me I shouldn’t let fear control my life, that when I was anxious I should pray, and if I prayed God would give me peace.

The 2 Corinthians 12 verses I learned much later in life and they taught me that it was possible that God would allow me to suffer so that a greater good would be worked in and through me. God also gives his grace (a different kind of peace) to those he allows to go through suffering. No suffering is pointless and through God we’re able to bear it with joy.

My anxiety is always with me. But because of that anxiety I’m also reminded that God is with me and he’s more powerful than the fear. This gives me the strength to live beyond the anxiousness and it forces me to choose, every day, whether I really believe in a Good God. (Never let anyone tell you that anxiety means you don’t have enough faith! It’s not true at all!)

What was your childhood like?

My Dad enlisted into the Air Force before I was born, so my up-bringing was… unique. I was born in Germany (I have no idea how to spell the city I was born in because of that) and I spent most of my life on military bases and in military housing. I grew up seeing people wear BDUs (now called ABUs), Blues (formal Air Force attire), and having perfectly cut hair (and no beards). Everyone had perfectly manicured lawns (you had to to live on base) and all the buildings were a horrible tan/brown colors and really really old.

(And in case anyone wonders, I only knew one pilot. And while I probably saw more planes than the average kid, it was not very much more. My Dad’s career field had nothing to do with the flight line or planes, so he was typically stationed in places that were more support focused.)

My parents were not what, I think, outsiders might expect from “military” people. My Dad had a fantastic sense of humor and never ever brought the military life-style home with him. My Mom came from a spunky (primarily) Italian family, so she laughed as much as she yelled. I also had a younger sister that I did not like very much because she kept destroying all my stuff (I like her as an adult though). We were all really weird, unique, and little clusters of chaos…. in some ways quite the opposite of the very structured life style we were surrounded by.

When you’re in the military, the kind of family you have makes or breaks you. Everyone else moves away (or you do), so you find all you’re left with is your immediate family (and sometimes not even that in the case of the enlisted parent). There were some tough times, and I faced unique challenges as a “military brat”, but I always loved and was loved by my family. In many ways, I was very fortunate.

What is your current job?

I’m currently working a part time position as a Real Estate Assistant. I like my Boss and my work environment. The pay is alright when I’ve got work (when things are slow I don’t get paid much) but I mostly enjoy it for all the things I’ve learned. Part of my job is taking pictures of the homes my Boss sells, so I’ve been all over town and been in all kinds of houses. It’s really fun! I’m doubtful I’ll ever have a job this fun in the future. (Though you never know! This job came to me unexpectedly, so maybe the next will too!)

Who is your favorite Biblical Figure and Why?

Actually, I don’t really have a favorite. Each person shows me a little bit more about the human condition, about myself. It also shows me what God is like and how he responds to different people in different circumstances. This, to me, is far more interesting than a particular individual.

Who inspires you to be a better person?

My church family. I grew up in the church and took it’s (positive) influence on me for granted. As an adult, I became lax about finding a new church family when I got married (and moved) and sort of drifted. It wasn’t until I realized I was stunted spiritually that I seriously began looking for a new “church home”. Unfortunately, I rushed into it and picked the worst possible church in the area I was living in at the time. It was… well, it was a mistake. The next place I moved I was a lot more careful and managed to find a church that was healthy, vibrant, and–yes–inspiring. Having been without, and having been in a bad one, I can say assuredly that a good church inspires me more than any other one person or thing I’ve ever come across.