Friday, October 29, 2010

Timing is Everything

It is currently said that hope goes with youth and lends to youth its wings of a butterfly; but I fancy that hope is the last gift given to man, and the only gift not given to youth.  Youth is pre-eminently the period in which a man can be lyric, fanatical, poetic; but youth is the period in which a man can be hopeless.  The end of every episode is the end of the world.  But the power of hoping through everything, the knowledge that the soul survives its adventures, that great inspiration comes to the middle-aged.  God has kept that good wine until now.  GK Chesterton in 'Charles Dickens'

In my daily GKC quote calendar this one came up, and this quote stirred my mind.  Mostly the line regarding keeping the good wine until now.  It gave me a new understanding of the original event.  There is much to be said for getting through the experiences thinking there is nothing on the other side (hopeless) and you come through stronger and with hope for future experiences.  But back to the line - "...kept that good wine until now."

Jesus at the wedding in Cana (John 2) turns water into wine.  He directs servants to fill jars with water and he directs them to take some to the master of ceremonies who says - "Everyone brings out the choice wine first and then the cheaper wine after the guests have had too much to drink; but you have saved the best till now."

This has always been one of those Bible things that puzzled me.  It was never crystal clear to me why this was his first miracle and then Jesus' comment to Mary "why involve me?  My time has not yet come."  Always rather fuzzy to me.

Well reading more into the MC - "you have saved the best till now."  The jars that were filled were used for cleansing ceremonies and washing before eating.  Up until then all the cleaning was external, now the cleansing was going inside;  instead of just washing hands Jesus makes you able to drink the clean wine.

Thinking of Jesus' life as the entry of the good wine.  I'm sure there are much deeper implications, but that just got me to chuckle at a "well, duh" moment.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Science & Philosophy

In these days we are accused of attacking science because we want it to be scientific.  Surely there is not any undue disrespect to our doctor in saying that he is our doctor, not our priest or our wife or ourself.  It is not the business of the doctor to say that we must go to a watering-place; it is his affair to say that certain results of health will follow if we do go to a watering-place.  After that, obviously, it is for us to judge.  Physical science is like simple addition; it is either infallible or it is false.  To mix science up with philosophy is only to produce a philosophy that has lost all its ideal value and a science that has lost all its practical value.  I want my private physician to tell me whether this or that food will kill me.  It is for my private philosopher to tell me whether I ought to be killed.
GK Chesterton - All Things Considered

I think the general disbelief and subsequent apathy about any scientific hub-bub is due to this affect.  "Wolf!" has been cried so much it is hard to believe any scientist.  The mingling of philosophy (and further politics) with science reports has tainted both.

"When my wife & I play cards; I come in second, she comes in next to last." -Jim Tremblay
Figures don't lie, but liars can figure.

Either side of any argument can produce some expert and some study to show the rate of increase/decrease of a data point with limited connection indicates we are at a point of acting now or facing immediate peril.  How perilous is the peril?  Very.

Monty Python and The Holy Grail
Lancelot: We were in the nick of time. You were in great peril.

Galahad: I don't think I was.
Lancelot: Yes, you were. You were in terrible peril.
Galahad: Look, let me go back in there and face the peril.
Lancelot: No, it's far too perilous.
Galahad: Look, it's my duty as a knight to sample as much peril as I can.
Lancelot: No, we've got to find the Holy Grail. Come on.
Galahad: Oh, let me have just a little bit of peril?
Lancelot: No. It's unhealthy.

Sorry, I just wanted a quick rant as this is the season of polls and opinion meters.  They keep asking questions nobody cares about (Red or Blue) in an attempt to justify themselves when we may all likely want Orange.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Why we are not adopting

This is a strange title - especially considering yesterday was "Why we are adopting".  Well it's a hook to make you want to read it.  And clearly it worked because here you are & now you are compelled.  And you aren't reading merely because you are bored or are delaying doing the dishes, writing a report or tending a diaper.  Nope surely it was the hook.

This post is more to clarify that some may say they want to adopt because of  "blah blah blah".  This is not to talk down to some of these causes (although I might do that) or that the causes are bad (some misguided, some okay).  Just that they are not driving causes for why we are adopting.

We are not adopting to:

Monday, October 18, 2010

Why we are adopting?

So we have started the process to adopt a child which brings about the question - why adopt?  This is not an easy question to answer.  But I think if you are considering adoption, you need to know your answer(s).  In no particular order here are a few reasons:

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Everybody's a "--------" (<-- well meaning idiot).

Frequently at work we (engineers) get our perfect little design process upset.  A well meaning idiot (sales) will come in & tell us how to better a design.  Today that took the form of being told that a pivot shaft shouldn't move;  it has to - or the mechanism doesn't pivot.  Our salesman was stuck in truly misguided concern.

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Sunshine Makers

"...keep cheerful as well as busy, for you are the sunshine-maker of the family, and if you get dismal there is no fair weather." Little Women

I've been listening to Little Women on my morning drive ( still rocks).  I heard this line this morning & it really hit home.  It's from Ch.38 meaning I have about 7 chapters left. 

Little Women is one of Becky's favorite books.  I had been overdue on reading it for about 2 months, 12 years or 22 years depending on your outlook.  I'll take the average - 17 years, 1 month.  No matter what math used or not used, I'm glad to be getting into the book.

It is a great book.  It is not about shrunken people, gigantic aliens or battles between people of different physical sizes - and I still like it.  It is a story about a family that stays simple.  The simple morals and joys jump out to me the most.  None of the family characters have deep ulterior motives or plans to manipulate people.  They face the world with straight forward truth and love.  Honest with each other through all situations, and in all situations seeking to do what is right.

The line really hit home with me because for about 2 months this has been evident in our home.  The line is lifted from a speech where Mrs. March is helping Meg understand about outlook and remembering the whole house and family, not just being a slave to the kids.  We've been regularly doing a devotional that has kept us talking about everything.  Just starting each morning together with prayer & conversation has been great.  Some mornings are easier than others, but we are there each morning.

I think it really has sunk in recently for both of us how the basic outlook affects the whole house.  I know somedays it is easier to be the sunshine-maker than other days.  But there is certainly a difference when sunshine is made rather than focusing on clouds and expecting sunny weather.  It results in a sunnier house.

Monday, October 4, 2010

A concerted effort.

Our household lives pretty frugally.  Some may call it cheap.  Some may still say we're high on the hog.
I think we're pretty good at being simple.
I like my beer from a can.  We cut the cable (but still have remnant, sshh; but no DVR).  We usually eat dinner around the table. We don't any I-berry type of devices.  The wii is our primary game system and the kids can only play on the weekend.  Our outstanding debt is low, if we can't buy it; we don't.

While we generally don't go extravagant with stuff - we do have a rich schedule.

I get pulled into this trap of thinking once event XXX passes, things will go back to "normal".  I'm pretty sure my basic definition of a "normal day" or "normal week" is flawed.  They are rarely similar enough to call them normal.  It's more that we move from project to project (house), event to event (kids, us).

One of my latest undertakings is bringing music to Grove City.  Phredd is coming to play at our church on Nov 14th @ 2:00pm.  (you should come, no seriously.  plan on being there).  Phredd puts on a fun show for kids of all ages with silly songs, dancing & worship.

While in high school I was fortunate to get involved as volunteer staff to setup Christian concerts that rolled thru Lancaster.  Many shows rolled through there due to the work of Fred McNaughton and WJTL/Creation Concerts.  Generally unload the truck; setup the stage; be on hand as merchandise help, ticket help or security; tear-down & go home.  A great way to see some great shows.

The short list:
Sardonyx, Newsboys, DC Talk, Michael W. Smith, Twila Paris, Phil Keaggy, Michael Card, Phil & John, One Bad Pig, Steven Curtis Chapman, The Choir, Acapella, 4-Hymn, Glad, Geoff Moore & the Distance, Pray for Rain, Petra, Whiteheart, Myron Lefevre, Jonny Lang, Audio Adrenaline, Degarmo & Key, Bryan Duncan, Carman, Rez Band, Sixpence None the Richer, Whitecross, Barren Cross.  That's all I can think of without getting into the Creation festival list. 

Sometimes you got a t-shirt or some music from the artists for help.  That was the coolest thing when it occurred.  I still have a few of their tapes.  I remember giving away many CD's because "I won't get a CD player".  I'm sure there are more but they tended to rise & fall frequently.  There's a whole other blog about the music industry & marketing.

I also remember getting a ride home one time with Fred because he lived in my town.  Trying to impress him, and with my wonderful middle school wisdom I told him a very lewd joke.  (Curse you brain for still remembering that joke & not remembering family birthdays).  Fred handled it with grace & said "I don't think I get it, I don't want to."  I caught on and the conversation went elsewhere.  I have since admired him for the grace & love shown in that immediate moment.  Fred is a good man.

Well now Fred has thru God's providence moved into taking the stage as a performer and I'm anxious for the show.  He's also shown grace in helping figure out what I'm doing promoting a concert.  Again, Fred is a good man.

Part of me hopes this blossoms successfully and I can get more music out the Grove City way.  Part of me wants to get it done & catch my breath, because it's a lot of work.  Don't let me lead you astray, I'm doing a tiny sliver & Becky is my superb sounding board, poster creator, artistic editor and doing much legwork. 

But I'm sure once this show is done things will get back to normal.

Friday, October 1, 2010

Make Believe

I have to admit - my kids scare me.  I get very excited & think (like most parents I'm sure)  "my kids are brilliant."  B-roo doing sudoku's at 6.  Cabu at 4 trying to use a fishing pole to get toys that are stuck behind the toybox.  Ninjally starting to spout out phrases rather than a word here or there; an intepreter may still be needed but they're happening.  My kids are brilliant, and they scare me.

Probably the one who scares me the most is Cabu.
Last night driving home from soccer practice there was a lengthy explanation needed because I told a story.  I frequently tell random stories to my kids of Joey McGurk getting into oddball situations.  Cabu wanted to be put ontop of the van so he could see a bug.  (He's been placed up there periodically before, sshhh.)  I said "no not this time.  once when I was growing up Joey McGurk was up there and his shirt got stuck & he had to ride home on the roof."  (this is a typical Joey McGurk 2 sentence story).

Upon being quized if that was real, I had to confess - "No, I'm just telling a silly story.  Playing pretend."

B-roo had to chime in with - "make believe."

Cabu then dissected what it means to "make believe" and that is not really the same as "play pretend."  This is where I get scared.  That's deep.  Way deep. 
Okay taking "pretend" as the name of a game, (playing soccer) playing pretend simply means to take part in a game of imagination encounters - more or less.  Using sticks as guns is a form of playing "pretend".

He said about believing in God and how to make believe - he's not pretending.  There is a sense that if it's made it isn't belief, it is knowing;  if I know it's pretend - I'm not really going to believe it.  I was able to somewhat settle him with it being a silly story and God is real.  Belief is too serious, it is not made.

Knowing I was outmatched in this battle of wits I changed the subject.  Since his wits and his attention span are sharped than mine, the ploy worked.

Faith like a child.

"The two facts which attract almost every normal person to chidren are, first, that they are very serious, and, secondly, that they are in consequence very happy.  They are jolly with the completeness which is possible only in the absence of humour.  The most unfathomable schools and sages have never attained to the gravity which dwells in the eyes of a baby of three months old.
It is the gravity of astonishment at the universe, and astonishment at the universe is not mysticism, but a transcendent common-sense." - GK Chesterton