Some extras

A couple of things which have nothing to do with what I just talked
about.

1) I’ve been typing all of this with my Dell PDA and its fold up
keyboard. I type it to an email address and it gets posted to my blog.
These are the techy things that I think are really cool.

2) The reason that I told you about my typing this on my PDA is because
I am watching my Pittsburgh Steelers destroy the Philadephia Eagles.
Typically I root for both teams being that I was born in Philadelphia,
but I have been a Steelers fan since the early 1970’s with the Steel
Curtain defense. One of the reason I also have Sunday ticket on
Directv. I can watch them any weekend. GO STILLERS!!!

Let’s try some youth ministry

When I started this blog, I wanted to talk about the things I learned in

youth ministry, not necessarily my political views. What I’ve wanted to

do is wonder out loud and see what people think.

I have to say that my theological views on one hand are orthodox and on

the other hand, can be rather radical, maybe in a nontraditional way.

Since I got back from the National Youth Workers Convention (NYWC) last

month, I have been reading the book, Mike Yaconelli//Collected Writings.

For those of you who don’t know Mike Yaconelli, he is a veteran of youth

ministry and the co-founder of Youth Specialties.

I got to see Mike talk at the convention when it was in Pittsburgh two

years ago. He definitely makes you think about the things and traditions

that you follow in the church. Not that they are bad, but that they

aren’t the things that make you a Christian. Being a Christian is your

relationship that you have with Jesus. The tradition and ritual can get

you there, but it isn’t the relationship. I see that I am getting away

from what I was talking about.

Okay, so I’ve been reading Mike Yaconelli. So my thing that I try to do

is create relationships with the kids. Trying not to be judgmental

about the things they do, but point out what the bible says and be

supportive without condoning. It was put best today by Rev. Naile in his

sermon today.

He was preaching on the woman caught in adultery (John 8:1-11). We all

have our baggage that we would prefer not to talk about, but we need to

lay down our stones when it comes to others. By the way, not that Rev.

Naile wasn’t doing a bad job before, but his preaching has moved up

another notch (at least in my estimation) since he came back from his

pastor exchange to England.

I’ve also been listening to and reading some of the things that Rob

Bell, the teaching pastor at Mars Hill Church in Grandville, MI, has put

out as well. His talk at the NYWC about how Truth is everywhere in the

world even outside of what we call Christian and that we need to

communicate to the youth that the things that they are challenged with

as being truth have some truth in it. It is our job to prepare them to

sort it out and claim the Truth as theirs, because if they are in the

body of Christ then it is theirs and ours.

Hard to believe

As my dad pointed out in a recent comment to one of my posts, ” The other thing is that politicians make a living at opposing each other. No opposition, no need for another party (and that would be really bad). ” I agree that a healthy opposition is needed so that we don’t stray to a leaglistic or anarchaic society. So it was hard to believe that there are some that would do this. Cry babies. Okay, I’m being hard on them, but in my estimation, we need the opposition so that we keep the politicians honest.

The vote–the day after

Well, it’s the day after the elections and W has won again. With all of the earlier back and forth by the candidates and what seemed to be the most partisan campaign in my short memory (I just realized that I am now about 2/3 my parent’s age), what do we do that makes it seem to make our version of democracy work? Watching John Kerry’s concession speech this afternoon, a co-worker remarked, “That’s what leaves other countries scratching their heads. After all of the shouting, we come back together as Americans and pick up where we left off. In other countries they might try to kill the opposition. Here we try to embrace them.” I think that I would go much further as to say why. We have done all this as Americans, because of the Christian virtue of forgive and forget still runs deep in the country.

Although, I wonder if we are beginning to see that platitude of forgive and forget beginning to show stress. The reason I say this, is because of the last 4 years. In Texas, then Gov. Bush was known as one who could easily unite the two sides and get things done. After the 2000 election, instead of letting it go, it seemed that there was a marked number of people that thought that Bush had somehow rigged election or gotten in without earning it and that he was somehow an illegitimate victor. I can understand how easy this can be to not put aside our feelings, but in politics, it seems to be a necessary thing to do.

Now follow my logic on this, as the country is now in its post-modern phase, we are beginning to see some things that, at least in my mind, are things that fly in the face of that virtue. As it seems that more people don’t tolerate other’s differences and fewer forgive and forget. I think that some ways, this seems to be the reason that the country seemed to be as polarized as it is and to some why it looks like we are fragmenting. George Will on the ABC News coverage made an interesting observation. We are becoming more like Europe in that we are becoming more hard core partisan.

My prayer is that what John Kerry said in his concession speech about waking up as Americans the next day and healing the wounds from the race takes hold. Because I would like to think that my friend at work was right. But not that we should leave the world scratching their heads, but be the example of cooperation after great division.

Lots to say that I don’t remember

This will probably be a bit on the rambling side, but I’m in a mood to write something…

Funny how you think of things that you want to say, but when you get the chance they slip away. Case in point, this blog. I’ll see something interesting or have some revelation while driving (this is pretty typical with the distances that I drive) and think, I have to write about this. Of course, by the time I get home, I forget to post it probably because I am putting away groceries or I just plain forget about it after bring my stuff in from the truck. So what am I posting this morning? The fact that I can’t remember. Some things that I really think are important, I’ll record as a voice memo in my PDA (or my electronic brain as I like to call it). That works well.

Yesterday, the vague subjects that I was thinking about posting were another musical commentary, but the song and artist I was listening to at the time escapes me, Something I read on another blog about college students, and something to do with fear and stretching out of your comfort zone.

Today is the day to vote (I think that might have been something on a post that I forgot). I was reading something from somebody that they weren’t going to vote because of how the system is a complete farce. There is some truth to what they said(I won’t go into the details, just trust me on this by following the rest of this, besides I am trying to remember what I read, since I don’t remember where I read it). There is an impression that the system doesn’t work and that it is driven by the extremely rich. That’s is true to a certain extent, but not completely. If I remember right the post by this person was pretty cynical (I just remembered my musical commentary. Artist: Five Iron Frenzy. Song: That’s How the Story Ends.). It was probably from one of our former youth group members that is in college, that’s not a surprising thing. It’s easy to get cynical in the first few years outside of the cocoon of the parents. I did. It took a while come out of. Here’s the excerpt from the song that I wanted to post on.

How distinctly I remember,

It was in a bleak December,

and each dying ember,

wrought it’s ghost about the floor.

I heard a voice that chilled my spine,

I saw what I could not define,

a sight I never could contrive,

there stood Brad at last, alive.

“Where have you been these endless years?”

I asked him, sobbing through my tears,

“I did not die by plague or prison,

what really died is cynicism.”

In a discussion that I had with someone about 10 years ago(I remember it because of the place in which the conversation took place), they thought that the US would have collapsed after 10 years(and here we are 10 years later). I thought that if the US were to collapse it would be in 50 years. As I remember the discussion the difference between us was that I had more hope and less cynicism than the other. Over the years, I see now that my cynicism was dying and is now long since dead and that hope and faith in God to guide not only me, but the nation as a whole has increased to where I don’t think this nation will collapse. I have no illusions about the political system in America, but for the most part it does work, good things get done (bad things do to, but in time most of those have gotten righted). Being selfish human beings, we corrupt a system that should work well, but we have gotten away from the way it was intended to be, all in the name of progress. So for me I will vote and pray that God’s will be done in the election. Whoever we get, I have faith that the right things will result in time. Patience and Longsuffering (parts of the fruits of the Spirit) are key in life.

Wow, I got somewhere, and posted one thing on here when I thought I had forgotten it.

Enviropundit: Green Building Blog: Distributed Grids

Enviropundit: Green Building Blog: Distributed Grids

Those of you who know me would say that I am rather conservative on a lot of issues. On this one I’m not so much. I think that alternatives to the way we generate power, reduce waste, and reduce the amount of raw materials that we waste is a great idea. I saw this and think that its a good start. I wish we would put more into fuel cells and hydrogen research, as well.

CPR Class

I am now 2/3 of the way through to becoming a CPR instructor. The first step was to take the CPR class for Healthcare Providers. The next, and this is what I have been doing for the past two days, was the instructors class. The last thing is to student teach with an instructor/trainer and get final approval.

The class itself was pretty good. My only problem was the rust that had to be shaken off of me. That kind of created a confidence problem after the first day. The rust was pretty evident as I blew a written exam that I had taken before and then the instructor on my skills test, who instructed me before, pulled me aside and said that while I passed, I needed to work on them. Needless to say, I was feeling kind of down on Wednesday on the drive back to the office. Although, I did a Lectio Divina. I seemed drawn to Psalm 23 and the phrase “He restores my soul,” grabbed me. So I meditated on that on the way back. About the time that I passed Kalkaska, a wave of peace passed over me.

The next day, I continued the meditation and it occurred to me to pray for clarity of thought. That’s really what I wanted. Clarity of mind, so that I could do my best. Well as the day went on, the instructor talked about examination and remediation for students that didn’t pass their exams (students that we will teach). As he spoke about it, I realized that’s what was done with me and that I was still doing a good job. I did my presentation to the class on 1-adult rescuer and while it wasn’t perfect it went pretty well. The great thing came when I took the instructor test and I got a 48 out of 50. Very cool. I was praising God all the way home.

Not everything goes as we want, but if you trust God, He will bring you through the fire. I realize that this was a pretty small case, but If we would always keep these in mind during the larger episodes of life we may have better outcomes than we could possibly imagine.

As I was typing this the office called and asked if I could be available for work at 4 or 5 am. Seems that we may be expecting some severe weather overnight. I can’t wait for the snow. I want to ski downhill really fast right now!

South Pole video 10 years after!

As I type this, I am in the process of dubbing my VHS tape of my year at the South Pole onto DVD. For those of you who don’t know the price on a combination DVR/DVD writer went below $500 so I jumped on it. Okay in a year it will probably be $50 bucks, but my tapes they were aging and the one I am dubbing today is one of those personal momentos like tapes of the kids or such that is a great personal treasure. If only to signify not only a thrill of a life time, but a great turning point in my life, but I digress.

Anyway, last week I dubbed the video from VHS to the DVR (Digital Video Recorder, nothing more than a large computer hard drive that acts like a VCR) part of the recorder. I have wanted to write it to DVD for permanent storage, but if I’m dubbing I can’t use the TV for the time that it is writing, that’s kind of how I have it wired. So I have about an hour and a half to dub the full contents to the DVD and finalize it so it will play on any player. Very cool.

Watching this video (actually a string of short videos and then the main feature), has brought back all of the memories from 10 years ago when I began my journey. As I said in earlier post, 10 years ago on the 23rd of October (last Saturday) I flew from Christchurch, New Zealand (a place that I would love to return to visit, Lord willing) to McMurdo Station, Antarctica. Now 10 years ago today, as I look at the large Antarctic map on my wall in front of me with Mom’s notations of dates when flew in and flew out of Antarctica, I flew to The Amundsen-Scott South Pole Station to begin my 1 year retreat.

It’s hard to believe that it has been 10 years since and in that time I have ventured back for one summer season at the Pole, joined the National Weather Service and have travelled around the US in those 10 years. Of course, I have travelled other places in the world, prior to 1994 with the Navy, but those are other stories. It’s amazing to me the places that God has allowed me to go.

I try not to mention the South Pole too much these days, as I sometimes feel its just me trying to be semi-important, but I will if I think it is important to the context of a story I am telling. However, those stories are being substituted with more recent memories as even I get tired of telling them to a certain extent.