Thursday, December 31, 2009

Annual Christmas Eve Adventure

Annual Christmas Eve Drive

Church of Facebook

One of the books I got for Christmas was The Church of Facebook - How the Hyperconnected Are Redefining Community. I really enjoyed it. It was well-written with lots of interesting, supporting stories. The author, a fairly young man, gives a fair treatment of the subject, I think. He uses Facebook but sees problems with it.

Here are a couple interesting excerpts regarding the "downside" of Facebook:

As we develop through adolescence, living for what psychologists call an "imaginary audience" is part of how we organize our inner worlds. Talking or acting out ideas in our head for our "invisible entourage" helps us sort through our beliefs about ourselves and the world around us. What is new is a technology that takes our naturally adolescent assumption that the world is watching, and offers us a spotlight, a microphone, and a stage as vast as cyberspace from which to act out our assumption--with our legion of friends serving as an invisible entourage.

In effect the hyperconnection of Facebook changes the nature of our relationships by turning our friends into audiences and us into performers. [p. 111-2]


Fear is very much part of the climate of Facebook. When we are afraid of what people think of us, we work hard to craft just the right image composed of just the right pictures, personal information, and status updates. We position and reposition the spotlights on our Facebook portrait to reflect our most interesting side. The emphasis is on being clever, not on being genuine. As we've already seen, Facebook, and the Internet in general, rewards those who are most clever, not those with the most character. Unfortunately cleverness has the lifespan of a sickly gnat. Clever ideas, trends, and people pop up then fade away just as quickly. Cleverness has no staying power. As such, it cannot help us live well in a hyperconnected world where what is needed most are qualities that offer permanence and stability. [p. 197]

These thoughts are just the tip of the proverbial iceburg. The author is not totally against Facebook, and neither am I, but I see some troubling things. The author does a nice job of articulating them.

Got a Kindle!

Kedra and kids all chipped in and got me an Amazon Kindle for Christmas. Wow! I love it! It can hold 1500 books, and most of the books are less than $10. They download, literally, in less than a minute. Mental note: need to be careful about impulse buying!

I've also found that there are many Kindle books available for free. A lot of old classics are in this category. For example, I downloaded Augustine's Confessions for free. I'm about half way through it. I downloaded a couple other classics, The Scarlet Letter and Crime and Punishment.

I downloaded the complete NIV for about $6. I've already read one book on missional ecclesiology and am presently reading the book by Larry Bird and Magic Johnson. It's easier to read more with this handy little device!

One of the coolest parts of this tool is that you can "highlight" text with the cursor. It then saves all the highlights into a file that can be downloaded to a computer. This will be extremely helpful for me. I love to mark key thoughts in books, and now I can mark them AND have a copy of these on my computer. I have started a file on each Kindle book I am reading.

Good-bye 2009

It's hard to believe that it's the last day of this year!

I'm too lazy to try think about everything that happened this year and try summarize it.

SO I'll just say, "Happy New Year!"

Friday, December 18, 2009

The Adam Lambert Problem

I really enjoy reading Peggy Noonan's weekly column in the Wall Street Journal, though lately it has been not that interesting. Today, however, she gets back to some very interesting insight.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Tuesday Talk

Well, it's Tuesday. Yup. Sure is. OK.

Haven't been much in the mood to blog lately. Not sure why. I have a lot going on, and I pretty much like it all. This is good.

Still running but I have given up on the 1500 miles for the year quest. It just didn't make much sense. The weather last week really put a damper on it (so to speak). What makes more sense is to run about 30 miles a week for the next 2-3 weeks and then hit it hard at the first of the year.

I am thinking pretty hard about doing the Louisville marathon as a Boston Qualifier. It scares me because it could be hot, but it is early this year - April 24, I think. The plan would be to train really hard all winter; several 50 mile weeks, speed work, lose some weight, get tough, etc. Then qualify. Two weeks later I would run the mini in Indy. Ben and Lester are going to run, and Rebecca is going to walk it. I have several options based on how I would feel 2 weeks after a marathon.

Did you see it snow? It was really light.

The Corn Arrived!

The Corn Arrives!
The corn that we shipped from Bryantsville, back in October, is now safely in Tegucigalpa, along with the other things we shipped: toys, shoes, shirts, and plumbing supplies.

Friday, December 11, 2009

Is it Friday? Already?

This has been a quick, different week.

I wrapped up the semester at Oakland City U. Gave the final on Monday and finished up all the grades on Tuesday. Only one person got an A; some got A minuses. Lots of Bs, a couple of Cs and a D. Not bad. It was a good semester. Beginning in January I will teach Introduction to Church History. Quite a few have signed up; should be good.

I had a funeral yesterday, and that seems to change everything. Death truly is a great interruption. It's also a wonderful opportunity to serve. I have often said that I much prefer funerals to weddings. Why? Nobody pays much attention to the theological significance of marriage, but at a funeral things are considerably different. It's where our hope becomes real. People are listening.

I read a couple of things this morning that struck me. First from Hebrews. The writer is talking about how the old covenant is inferior to the new. He is talking about how the priests in the old covenant were fallible (unlike Jesus). In the midst of that conversation (5:2) he says this about the priest:

He is able to deal gently with those who are ignorant and are going astray, since he himself is subject to weakness.

I find this convicting. Not sure I am always gentle.

The other thing that struck me was from Henri Nouwen in With Burning Hearts - A Meditation on the Eucharisitic Life.

The word creates what it expresses. The Word of God is always sacramental. In the book of Genesis we are told that God created the world, but in Hebrew the words for "speaking" and for "creating" are the same word.

Under the influence of post-liberal thought I have often said, "Words create worlds." These words from Nouwen line up with that really well. The words we speak and the way we speak them create worlds. Oh be careful little mouth what you say.

Running has been a challenge this week. I had severe scheduling conflicts on Monday and Wednesday, along with a little motivational problem. I had a good run Tuesday and plan to do several miles today and tomorrow.

Some of my running friends are heading to Huntsville today to run the Rocket City Marathon. I wanted to go watch/support them, but I just can't swing it. I think they will do really well.

Monday, December 07, 2009

Sunday, December 06, 2009


So, what do you think about Mary, the mother of Jesus? I think she is a fascinating and neglected character. Next Sunday's sermon will focus on Mary. I think she has much to teach us.

It's hard to imagine that she is likely only a teen-ager, probably a young teen. She's a peasant.

But she is available and willing to participate in the plan of God.

Pretty amazing stuff to think about...

Thursday, December 03, 2009

Your sins will find you out

Doesn't matter who you are.

1 Timothy 5:24

The sins of some men are obvious, reaching the place of judgment ahead of them, the sins of others trail behind them.

Tuesday, December 01, 2009


Honduras successfully and peacefully elected a new president on Sunday. His name is Pepe Lobo.

Things in Honduras have been pretty peaceful for quite a while, and this election should further stablize things.

The former president, who was removed from office by the military while we were there last summer, is still holed up in the Brazilian embassy. No one seems to be clear on what his future is. I think if he tries to leave he will be arrested.

Our trip, scheduled for January 24-30, is shaping up pretty well. We'll be purchasing our tickets soon. We all have to raise our funds for the trip, which is about $1,000. Each person also needs to raise about $1,200 to build a house. For more information about all this, or if you want to help fund our trip, you can click here.


I hope your week is going well. Yesterday was a good, productive day for me. I love it when I get a lot done, and yesterday was one of those for me.

Ben had a basketball game in Brownstown last night. They won, so that was enjoyable. I have to tell you, though, that I find the behavior of basketball fans pretty troubling. Some of our folks yell, scream, curse, swear, and in other ways embarrass themselves. Actually I don't think they are embarrassed, but I am. Our coaches, Darren S. and Don C. are just the opposite. They are models of restraint and courtesy. I really appreciate that. They encourage, instruct, and challenge the boys. The Brownstown coach was yelling and throwing things. What does that teach? Oh well. My journey with sports continues... It's not what it used to be.

My running continues to go pretty well. I have a good shot at running 1500 miles before the year is over. I have to average 38 miles a week to get it done. I did 38 last week and am on track to do at least that this week. Sounds like the weather could get a little more challenging as the week progresses. Since I bombed out at the Monumental Marathon (see older posts) I kinda want to reach the 1500 mile mark. My other running goals were to go sub 22 for 5K, and I did that with a 21.30 at the Persimmon. I didn't quite reach my half marathon goal of 140, but I got close. I think I can get it next time.

Got a good day ahead of me. Going to run 8 miles here in a little bit. Then I get to help load a semi with Bryantsville corn. This afternoon will give me some time to check in at the store and do some study. The store continues to do very well. It is truly a blessing in so many ways.

There is a chance of a little snow tomorrow night! There is also a big storm brewing for next week. Rain or snow? Only time will tell.

Gotta git! [Hope to write more this evening.]