Archive for May, 2013

No Sleep Walking Here

Posted: May 24, 2013 in Life

4:30 am. At work to connect with the guys in India. The motion sensor lights in my office turned off. Either I’m so focused on my task that I’m not moving much or I fell asleep at my desk.

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Are You Really Happy?

Posted: May 22, 2013 in Faith, Life

If it makes you happy
It can’t be that bad
If it makes you happy
Then why the hell are you so sad
–If It Makes You Happy – Sheryl Crow

This song has become something of an anthem to many I know who adhere to the philosophy that if it feels good, or brings you pleasure then it can’t be bad. They focus on the line, “If it makes you happy, It can’t be that bad.” The very first time I heard this song, however, I heard something else. I was struggling with life in general, in a period of aimlessness and thinking there had to be more. I had chased pleasure and found the roses had long, sharp and poisonous thorns. I was self medicating with a steady diet of whisky and beer. The line, “If it makes you happy, Then why the hell are you so sad” seemed to leap out at me. I looked around at my companions who belted out the chorus as they popped ecstasy tabs and drank copious amounts of alcohol. I saw was with them as they crashed from their high and I thought to myself, “If this is making us happy, then why are we all so miserable?”

Sometime about then I reread John 10:10,  “The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy. I came that they may have life and have it abundantly.” I realized we’d all be had. We’d bought the lie and the thief and had stolen our joy. We were dying, destroying ourselves, miserable and pretending we were all having a blast. I wanted more. I wanted life. I remembered what my life had been like when I had been focused on Christ rather than myself.

I can’t say that I recommitted myself to Christ at that moment and ever since then life’s been grand. That’s not the story that Scripture presents. Anyone who tells you to just give it all to Christ and He’ll make it all better has missed the point of the Gospel. What I can say is that Christ had never left me. He was there with me. That moment of illumination was one of many steps that Christ used to draw me back to himself over a long period of time. Life continues to present struggles. Depression is still a demon I wrestle with. I’ve found other ways of self-medicating, and Christ continues to walk with me, reveal these functional saviors to me and bringing me to place of repentance – over and over and over.

I do have life, and have it abundantly. I don’t always feel it, but it’s always there. And I know that since I didn’t do anything to deserve or earn this life (Ephesians 2:8-9) so there’s no way I can lose it. It is Christ who has taken hold of me (Philippians 3:12) and He will never leave me, nor abandon me (Hebrews 13:5).

This life is offered to everyone who’ll accept it (John 1:12).

A Look at Old Man’s War

Posted: May 20, 2013 in Books

omw1

The other week I read an interesting book called Old Man’s War by John Scalzi. It reminded me a bit of Starship Troopers (the novel, not the film) as it is written in first person and tells the story of a Colonial Defense Force recruit’s journey from civilian to seasoned veteran. It lacks the political analysis of Heinlein’s book and adds some interesting twists of its own.

Earth is a backwater planet. It may be the origin point of humanity in the galaxy, but it’s not the central power in human policy. When we join the main character he is seventy-five years old and leaving Earth to join the military. We travel along with him as he discovers just how the CDF can turn back the clock and enable an old man to become a soldier. That’s just the tip of the character’s ignorance iceberg. The Colonial Union has kept earth in the dark regarding “what’s out there”. Once you leave earth, you can’t come back nor can you call or write.

I really enjoyed the book as a fine space romp. The first person perspective allows the reader to discover the universe along with the protagonist. Scalzi did a pretty good job of building the world, giving background information, etc. in a way that didn’t bog the story down. The world he presents in this book and it’s sequels was interesting enough that I began to incorporate different bits into my sci-fi role-playing game world. We’ll see how they play out.

A Nice Day

Posted: May 19, 2013 in Family

Yesterday was a good, long day. I needed to get the kids out of the house. Jenn needs a break from the young’uns every once in a while and the front deck needed sanding (she’s much more the “handy man” than I). I took the older five down to the park on the south end of town. It is, creatively enough, named South Park – which always puts a grin on my face. Once there M & A1 went off to do some geocaching. A2, J and I headed to the playground near the pool. It wasn’t the play equipment that attracted them, but the WWII Sherman Tank placed there. The kids love to climb on it. I always feel a special … something … because my Paternal Grandfather (a D-Day survivor) spent his time in WWII keeping those things running for the U.S. Army. He passed away when I was in middle school and just being near one of them somehow makes me feel closer to him. One day I will see him again as he finally submitted his life to Christ toward the end of his time on earth. Of course, as we’ll both be in the presence of the One True Living God, I think we’ll have better things to do than discuss the pros and cons of the Medium Tank M4.

After wandering through South Park and tank hopping we headed over to the ball field on the south edge of the park. My older two had played T-Ball when they were younger, but the younger ones have had no experience with baseball at all. So we pretended to play the game as I taught them the basics. We took turns being pitchers, catchers, batters, basemen, etc. M managed to steal second off of me on one occasion and followed that up by hitting a Grand Slam in her next at bat. J actually did steal a base. I wasn’t paying attention, giving instructions to the others and he took off for third. The kids seemed to have a real blast playing shadow ball. I was happy about this. Next week we’re going to see a major league game and I was glad to see their interest in baseball increase.

We followed up our game of shadow ball by heading over to the other playground at the park. After spending some time there I took the kids to Dairy Queen for hamburgers, chicken strips, fries and chocolate sundaes. Once we’d all stuffed ourselves we headed across town to the Library for an hour or so.

I think I finally learned the secret of timing. Each location, each event we left just before they got tired of it, so they were still wanting more. We finally headed home and spent a leisurely afternoon, reading, playing computer games and running all the kids through the bath. In the evening the predicted storm finally hit. We sat outside for a while watching the lightning and reveling in the cool evening air.

It was a day I hope imbeds itself in my long term memory. I’d like to relive that one in my dotage.

Not Giving Up

Posted: May 17, 2013 in Church, Faith

For all my frustration and exasperation with churches, I will state again that I have not given up on church. The New Testament uses several metaphores such as the Bride of Christ and the Body of Christ to describe the church. Husbands are commanded to love their wives as Christ loves the church and sacrificed Himself for her. Obviously Christ hasn’t given up on church. If I want to be a follow of Christ, I cannot either.

Relevant Magazine had a great online article on this topic. You can check it out here:

www.relevantmagazine.com/god/church/why-im-not-giving-church

That’s News To Me

Posted: May 16, 2013 in Education, Life, Politics

What is news? What news is really news? It’s rather embarrassing to watch any late night show where they ask random people on the street about history and current events. Americans don’t know jack! And the stuff we do know about is usually not worth knowing. It’s scary what the average American uses their gray cells on.

Expensive Cat

Posted: May 7, 2013 in Life

Last month I saw something truly rare: a cat worth $500. My eyes only glimpsed it briefly before it disappeared. If I saw it so briefly, how do I know it was worth $500? Because that’s how much it cost to fix my jeep after I swerved to miss the stupid thing!