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Tim Challies

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Self-Disclosure

Yesterday I posted a prayer for the Lord’s Day eve and said that I had made that prayer my own. Unfortunately that venerable Puritan neglected to pray for health and good sleep and, as it happens, I enjoyed neither last night. The kids were hacking and coughing and I woke up in the wee hours with a ridiculous sinus headache, runny nose, and all the rest. Rather than infecting others in the church I figured it was best if I stayed home today.

I’ve been asked to complete a meme. I generally decline such invitations, but since I’m sick today and since my head isn’t working enough to come up with anything more interesting, I thought it would be fun. So this is the “Self-Disclosure Meme” which means that I’m supposed to tell you seven things you probably don’t know about me. So here goes.

Sports

Despite my Canadian heritage, I have never been a big fan of hockey. And not just because the Maple Leafs, my hometown team, have not won the Stanley Cup (or even had a respectable record) since long before I was born. When I was a kid I played plenty of street hockey (a near-daily activity at Canadian schools) but only ever played ice hockey a handful of times. It never appealed. I consider baseball the finest sport in the world and the one I like to watch, play and follow more than any other. I played several seasons of little league baseball when I was a kid. My idea of a perfect Saturday afternoon involves a couch, a Coke, a good biography, and a ballgame on television. I’ve been a Blue Jays fan since the day I got my first radio and began to tune in to listen to Tom Cheek and Jerry Howarth calling the games. When it’s the off-season, I also enjoy watching football (NFL-only. The CFL is just too weird with their three downs and huge end zones). I consider basketball an utter waste of time and the most ridiculous waste of time this side of Sudoku.

Food

I’ve never eaten Chinese food. Nor do I intend to. At first I thought I would just hate it. Now it’s sheer stubbornness.

I do not drink alcohol. It’s not that I’m convicted that the Bible prohibits it, but rather that I just can’t stand the taste of it. The mere taste makes me feel sick, so I abstain. It’s probably better that way. I also can’t stand the taste of coffee or tea or most other grown-up drinks. I do, however, love the taste of Coke, though never more than twice a day. It was a dark day when Coke discontinued producing Coke with Lime. When I am traveling in the U.S. I tend to drink less Coke since American Coke, sweetened with corn syrup, has an inferior taste to Canadian (and Mexican) Coke, which is sweetened with sugar.

Life

I have lived in quite a few different towns, most of which are in the suburbs of the Greater Toronto Area. I was born in Toronto-proper but moved to Unionville (on the east side of the city) when in grade school. After spending a year in Edinburgh, Scotland (where my dad studied) we moved to Hamilton (on the west side of Toronto). Since we got married, Aileen and I have lived in Brantford, Dundas and Oakville, all on the west side of Toronto. We have no plans to leave Oakville anytime soon.

Hobbies

When I was a kid I did all of the usual kid hobbies—baseball cards, gerbils, plastic models, and so on. As an adult I tend to spend most of my spare time reading. Reading pays, by far, the biggest dividends. But I do have a 60 gallon freshwater aquarium that consumes some of my time and interest. It’s a big show tank that sits in the living room, so I try to keep it looking its best. It is a constant battle to keep the plants growing (but not the algae) and the fish happy (but not devouring each other). We have an amazing fish store near us where I can buy just about any kind of fish I could want for it. I like to find strange and interesting fish like ghost knives and glass catfish.

As a child I read voraciously. I stopped reading for several years after completing college but got back into it after accepting a job that proved very boring. I would escape to the local library for an hour at lunch time after first stopping at the Christian bookstore. It was here that I found the first of the Christian Living and theology books I ever really read—John MacArthur’s Ashamed of the Gospel and James Boice’s Whatever Happened to the Gospel of Grace? I had never heard of either man before. These books changed my life and I haven’t stopped reading since.

Marriage

Aileen was the only girl I ever dated (or that I ever seriously wanted to date). The first words she ever said to me were, “I’m going to kill you.” But that’s probably more a subject for her meme than for mine. I can’t quite say it was love at first sight, but it was close to it. We dated for about three years before getting married. When we married I was twenty one and she was twenty two (she is seven months older than I am). Like many couples, we intended to wait a few years before beginning a family. Our resolve lasted less than a year and our first child arrived eighteen months after our wedding. In August of this year, we’ll celebrate our tenth anniversary.

Family

If you were to go back and trace the occupations of my forebears you’d find that, in many cases, they are educators or writers. There are journalists, teachers, preachers and politicians. I am not the first author in my family. My grandfather, who was a Supreme Court judge in Quebec, wrote a couple of enthralling volumes entitled The law of expropriation and * The Doctrine of Unjustified Enrichment in the Law of the Province of Quebec. Meanwhile, my great (or great great) uncle wrote one called *Water Powers of Manitoba, Saskatchewan and Alberta - Commission of Conservation Canada: Committee on Waters and Water-Powers. I have a copy of the last one and it is every bit as fascinating as it sounds.

Personal

I have an awful memory and am extremely adept at forgetting names, places, dates and other important matters. I rely on my wife to file away family memories. A few days ago she asked if I remembered when Abby (who was about two years old at the time, I believe) developed a bladder infection and we had to take her to the hospital for a long and ugly series of tests. I have absolutely no memory of this. None. But it sounds like it was a pretty important deal and she assures me that I was there. If I can remember my own name I generally figure I’m having a good day. Aileen is pretty sure I’ll be completely senile by the time I’m fifty.