More politics (Yeah, I know I said I wouldn’t)

Well, it’s an election year and the Big Day is only about two months away. Absolutely everything on radio and TV is election related. So I’ve succumbed to Election Fever. I’ve actually watched some of a convention. I managed to avoid the Democratic convention, but we were watching the Amazing Race and the convention came on next. I wasn’t intending to watch it, I just failed to leave the room or change the channel. Arnold, governor of Caleefornya and Mrs. Bush spoke. Some random thoughts on the night’s event:

  • Don’t these people have lives? I have a real hard time relating to folks who would go to a political conventions and stand up and hoot and holler at these speeches. They are nearly all sooo fake, how does one get excited about them?
  • There seemed to be a co-ordination of signs. When Arnold was speaking it was the tall, “4 More Years!” signs that kept popping up and down. During the First Lady’s speech it was “W Stands For Women” signs primarily. Did they even give out instructions on what sign to use when?
  • Arnold’s speech was better than Laura’s and the Bush twins’ (they introduced the President, who introduced Laura, via satellite from a softball game) I think it was that the twins’ and Laura’s speeches came across as so deliberate and careful. They spoke in loving terms about their family, but it was obvious that it was carefully written and carefully delivered. I understand that one cannot afford to have folks speak carefully at events like this, but the effect was to dilute the desired ‘warm and fuzzy’ feeling you were supposed to get for the Bush family. What does that say of the system when even the man’s wife & children have to watch their words carefully? I don’t necessarily doubt anything said, it was just too stiff and cautious.
  • There was this strange crowd dynamic going on. I guess it can happen in any sort of crowd, but it seemed that the spontaneous standing and applauding at every point was almost robotic for some. There’d be these shots of folks staring blankly off into space but clapping none the less. Other times you’d see people rising to their feet, obviously not moved in themselves to do so, but because the crowd was. The power of the crowd.

(Yawn) That’s it. Can you sense my political fever? I think I ought to lie down. 🙂

Links Update

A quick update to my lniks at right:
Gary Petersen at Country Keepers had moved his blog from Radio Userland to WordPress. He’s left his old blog up for a bit, so his new one has a new address. Update your links to: www.countrykeepers.com/wp
My church’s web address is moved to: www.columbuschurchofchrist.com.
I’ve added a new link to a blog that I read often. Didymus is a former member of a church like mine, that is affiliated with the ICOC. The link is long overdue, I’ve been reading it for a long time.

Creation Images

My kids go back to school this Tuesday. We’ve picked up on something that my sister does with her kids each morning. They sit down as a family for ‘Bible time’ where they just read a passage of scripture to their kids. They sit around the kitchen table and the kids (3, 6, 8 & 10 in her case) color while she or her husband read.
So on Monday Maria and the kids started to practice their morning routine so come this Tuesday there won’t be a panic trying to get ready for school. They sat down at the table and started reading Genesis 1-3, the creation story. The images at right are the ones they drew that day, starting with Jessica’s (9 1/2 years) at the top, Emily’s (7 years) next and Audrey’s (5 1/2 years) at the bottom. These pictures just blew me away, Jessica’s detail into each day, Emily’s abstract ‘Day, night and water’ and Audrey’s Earth. At first I didn’t think she was actually drawing the Earth, so I asked her what it was. Her simple answer was “The world.” Wow. Kids are amazing.

Extravagant Respect

What do you think of with these two words?
Respect: Honor, admiration, preference, esteem, high regard, courtesey, friendship, reverence, value, obedience, deference,
Extravagant: Unrestrained, reckless, over the top, lavish, exorbitant, profuse, ecessive, unrestrained.
Why put these two together? In a study on worship this evening at church, “Extravagant Respect” was given as a definition of “Worship”. I hope that I can bring this thought with me in my next prayer time, Bible study or to my next worship service.

Ah, hindsight.

Yesterdays Wall Street Journal (the online editon is subscriber only) has an article on the front page about two women who had done some work for Google years ago. They each billed Google for their services, woman A billed $4,000 and woman B billed $5,000. Google offered them both stock options instead of cash, woman A said no and woman B said yes. Woman A said she can’t remember now what she spent her $4,000 on while woman B is now a millionaire with her stock options worth $1,700,000. Oops.
Is it too late to change my answer?
I may have those figures off slightly, I’m doing this from memory as the paper has been trashed.

Confrontation + Humility = Joy

Some things happened the week after we were on vacation that have underscored for me the importance of strong relationships that can withstand any sort of conversation. If your relationships are too shallow to endure one person’s sin and the confrontation by another, they are not the kind of relationships you need. Getting there is not easy and takes a huge risk of being hurt, but the rewards are great.
Just before I left on vacation, there was an open issue regarding the youth ministry (my domain as deacon). I was to talk with someone about taking a leadership role over part of the youth ministry and did not. I dropped the ball. Over the course of my vacation, and I confided this to Virusdoc when I met with him, I considered my inaction and had resolved to return with a change of heart. Frankly this incident just before I left was only the tip of the iceberg of my neglect of my duties as children’s ministry deacon. I had gotten lazy and unconcerned about my ministry and it was time I repented. During the time I was gone, however, one of our leadership group acted to speak to this brother and in fact presented him to the church as the new leader. The kids in the ministry, the parents, the current leaders as well as the rest of the deacons and ministers were not aware that he was going to this at that time. Needless to say, this was not a good thing. This was not the course of action we (the leadership team) had intended. I was to speak to him and report back to the team. We would then talk about it and figure out the best course of action to move forward, bringing everyone in the loop.
When I returned, I, of course, was surprised to learn what had taken place. I had some very, um, open conversation with a very good friend on the leadership team. He helped me a lot to work through my hurt for being side stepped and my anger with this brother and encouraged me that I needed to talk with him about it. Really all he did was listen to my rantings and give me room to talk, but it was just what I needed. I knew I wasn’t in the right place and needed help to get there. I asked his opinions and vented a bit. He told me in no uncertain terms that I needed to talk to the other brother. I agreed and after our talk, and some prayer, I was pretty much ready to talk to the other brother.
I was still a bit apprehensive about it at first. I was afraid that I would not be able to communicate what I felt went wrong, that I’d have to convince him that this was a problem. I was afraid that I’d not be able to get through, then I’d feel foolish and even more hurt. I’ve been down that road with different brothers and I didn’t want to go there again. In the end I had no reason to be concerned this time. We met for lunch and almost immediately he brought up the situation and spilled on the table what he saw in himself that had hurt others and me. He acknowledged his shortcomings and we talked frankly about it and how he could do better. (I, too, apologized for my inattentiveness to my ministry.) He plainly admitted that this was a character flaw of his, and even cited past incidents, and that he needed help. It was a great example of Godly sorrow (2 Corinthians 7:8-13).
It was so encouraging. It’s amazing how something that had the potential for prolonged hurt and division can turn out for such good. His humility made all the difference. I’m also struck with how Godly confrontation can do so much good. Frankly, part of me wanted desperately to find a way to avoid speaking to him about it. I looked for excuses to sweep it under the rug, pretend it was a matter of opinion or not a big deal. Frankly it was a big deal because at the root of it his actions showed a greater concern with the problem being solved rather than the people involved with the problem. I could have listened to those deceitful inner voices and avoided the confrontation, but I would have missed out on an opportunity to become closer to this brother. I now feel more than ever that he and I are in the same fight for the souls of our church and God’s honor. This, my friends, is how we must treat each other in God’s church if we are to truly defeat Satan and honor God. I really believe that this is no small victory. If I had chickened out, I would have lingering doubt in my heart about his motives and there would be a small wedge between us. The seeds of division and doubt would have been sown and all that would all have to be overcome each time that he and I interacted. Furthermore, my silence would have been an act of cowardice and a lack of love. True friends not only laugh together, but should confront each other as well. Because of one small act of courage and one soft and humble heart a relationship is strengthened and our church is stronger for it too.

God is not a Republican. Or Democrat

Ok, this might be considered political too, so I guess my staying away from the political didn’t last long. I got this link from this post at Radical Congruency.
Go read this and then finish here.
Do you think, as I do, that the title is bit misleading? It’s not complete (the last item seems to go against Kerry on abortion), but the subtile message there is that Kerry is the choice of “more thoughtful” Christians. The implication is if you’re for Bush you’re less thoughtful.
I found it a bit ironic that that they criticize Robertson and Falwell for their blatant support for Bush, but they aren’t willing to be honest about their obvious (to me) Kerry leanings. It seems, frankly, that Robertson and Falwell (as silly as they sound) are at least not hiding their partisanship behind a thin veil of objectivity.
OK, now I’m really done with politics.
(BTW – Don’t Roberston and Falwell sound ridiculous? I mean really, my Christian ‘responsibility’ to be serious about supporting Bush? Bush appointed by God no matter what he does? No wonder fundamentalist Christians get slammed in the media. Sheesh.)

My obligatory political post.

It’s an election year, so I figure I need to say something political. I hope to have very few political posts here. Why? Because I see politics as such a messed up business. There’s not a dime’s worth of difference between the Democrats and Rebublicans. People think there is, and on the surface the rhetoric would lead one to believe that there is. But in the end they both seem to think that they know better how to spend your money than you do. I will probably end up voting Republican this year, by default, because I like their rhetoric better than the Democrats. One year I voted Libertarian (this is where I find the most to agree with), but that seems like a waste because they have so little chance of winning. In the end, however, I think politics divides people far, far, far more than it unites. Anyone that does not see the world as you do is less inteligent. I mostly choose to not go there.
As an example, look at this post(my inspiration for this) advocating a Christ centered, non-partisan look at politics. After his well written plea for a ‘third door’, centered on our commitment to God and where that leads us individually, the comments immediately went into why the Conservative or Liberal position was superior. Granted, it was polite and mild, but it took a unifying message and began to divide.
Mostly I just wish that Government would get out of my way. Let me fund my own retirement instead of sucking in 15%+ of my wages into Social Security and then redistributing it. Let me choose how to do my support of the poor. Let me choose where that money goes. Wouldn’t a novel idea be to decree that a certain percentage of your money go to charitable work (or retirement). The government would have no hand in it except to see that you gave. Think of the charities that would spring up to compete for your dollars and care for those in need. Think of the additional good that would be done as your money wouldn’t be filtered through the government expanse of red tape before reaching the needy. I’m sure there’s a flaw in this reasoning, but I can’t see it now. Think of it as a mix of the care of socialism and the efficiency of the free market. (Quick, somebody pop my idealistic bubble here.)
So as I contemplate the election to come, I sigh and wonder what would be if we really had a choice other than more government for our security or more govrnment for the less fortunate (to reduce the entire election and campaign to one phrase).
End of politics for as long as I can manage (hopefully a long time.)

New links

I’ve added a new link section with a couple of links. I’ve taken to using my own site for my ‘favorites’ so I’ve got to get all the places I enjoy in the side bar so I don’t forget to cheack them.
The section I’ve added is for automotive stuff. I love cars and I plan on making car posts a little more prominent here. These are car sites I like to visit.
The first is Odyclub, a forum dedicated to the Honda Odyssey minivan. Yeah, there’s actually a club out there for a minivan. It also happens to be where Virusdoc (my most loyal reader and biggest commenter) and I met. It’s a civil place full of all kinds of people and more discussion about a minivan than you thought possible.
The second is Autoblog, a fantastic source for all news car related. It’s simply a weblog that compiles links and stories about cars. They post like a dozen or more articles a day, so if you don’t visit often you miss a lot.
The third is a recent find, Car Design News. Back when I was entering design school at the University of Cincinnati my ultimate dream and goal was to get into auto design. Ultimately I don’t think I had the right skills for that kind of work, and I also fell in love with Product Design, so my career didn’t follow that path. But I still have a love in my heart for it. I love looking at the sketches and models of future designs and dream about creating that kind of stuff (I’ve done a few back in school, but none lately adn not of th caliber you see at CDN). This site tracks the trends in car design and puts them on display. To get to the higher quality images requires a pretty steep membership fee ($100/year) but there’s plenty to see without it. There’s even tutorials on car design and sketching.

Guilty pleasures

Daniel at Alien Soil posted about this a couple of days ago. The idea here is stuff that you enjoy but feel hguilty about is. Not guilty in a sinful sense but more like guilty in an embarassed sense. I was thinking about this a while back because a friend came over and laughed out loud at one of my CD’s (you may too when I reveal it later). So here goes, things I’m not so proud to enjoy:
Music – The CD that caused the laughter was Nelson, After the rain.. Yeah, the big hair brothers from the early 90’s. I also have and enjoy Wilson Phillips and Bangles -Everything. I bet my friend thought those were my wife’s. Nope.
Movies – I actually tend to like chick flicks that guys tend to roll their eyes at and only go to because their wives like ’em and it might, you know, help heat things up later. Me, I actually enjoy them. If it helps heat things up later, that’s OK too. 🙂
Food – I love cookies. Not too shamefull there, but I actually tend to prefer the store bought, store brand Chips Ahoy wanna be cookies to home made or brand name. Oh, and I tend to eat 8-10 or so at a sitting. With a big glass of milk. Mmmm.
TV – I love Alias. Yeah, I know it’s about as plausible as a Nader victory this November, but I enjoy it. Too me its just far enough away from ludicrous to be entertainment. The other thing that’s embarasing about it is that most guys that watch only only do so to oggle at Jennifer Garner, but I actually like the story (and try not to oggle at Jennifer Garner).
Cars – I am a car guy at heart. I have a classic T’bird in the garage now (1960 Convertible) and long for a sportier ride than my current Escort. But I absolutely love minivans. No real guy likes these mommy-mobiles, but I think they’re one of the best things in vehicles to come along. No other vehicle can match a minivan for the combination of drivebility, interior space, people hauling ability, comfort and economy. The more manly SUV usually costs more, has less space (except the real biggies), gets worse economy and drives worse.
Well, there’s my list, what’s yours? Don’t forget to go to Alien Soil and read Daniel’s too.

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