June 29, 2006
The word is out, we are becoming a dove maternity ward. On our patio we have a hanging planter where we are on our fourth nest since spring. As soon as one dove leaves, another moves in and lays her egg(s). At first they are a bit intimidated by the large humans wondering around below them, but they quickly get use to us and us to them. So far two sets of babies have lived and, we assume, grown to serenade us in the cool early mornings as we sit outside trying not to disturb the latest squatters. It’s too bad we can’t be charging rent. But the last baby bird didn’t make it. When it left the nest for the first time it landed on the concrete patio and died. There was no funeral, just a memorial service.
It happened to me again today. I was leaving my office when the woman I work with had a tiny little baby mockingbird cupped in her hands. She was working with one of graphic artists and they were trying to fashion some kind of make shift nest to put the baby bird back in the tree, close to where it fell. I went out with her and we found what we think is the original nest, so I got our ladder out, climbed about twenty feet in the tree, and put the baby bird back. Soon the mother had returned and there was rejoicing all around. But it got me thinking: why did one bird not make it in a fall of about seven feet and the other bird survives a fall of twenty feet?
I thought of the scripture where Jesus is talking about sparrows, and how they compare to us.
Matthew 10:29 Are not two sparrows sold for a penny? Yet not one of them will fall to the ground apart from the will of your Father. 30 And even the very hairs of your head are all numbered. 31 So don’t be afraid; you are worth more than many sparrows.
Notice Jesus didn’t say that God would protect each one of the sparrows, and that we are more important than sparrows so He will certainly protect us. He said that the sparrows won’t fall apart from the will of God. God is fully aware of the sparrow, or dove, or mockingbird. And He is aware when one falls, whether it lives or not. There are certain laws that have been set in motion, by God Himself, and the outcome of which may be unpredictable. Did God make one of the sparrows fall on concrete killing it, and the other on leaves, thus allowing it to live? Or did it just happen that way because of where the mom and dad chose to build the nest? What about our own lives? Do some things happen because of our own free will, decisions we make, that will grieve God’s heart? God is with us, comforting us during tragedy, rejoicing with us in triumph. But things will happen in life that we have no control over. Let us always remember: “Don’t be afraid; you are worth more than many sparrows.”
June 28, 2006
Dallas Morning News has an article about the new Superman movie and religious imagery.
The 1978 Superman movie, co-written by Mario Puzo and directed by Richard Donner, resonated with many Christians. In a line resurrected for the new movie, Superman’s dad (played by Marlon Brando) says: “They can be a great people, Kal-El, if they wish to be. They only lack the light to show the way. For this reason above all, their capacity for good, I have sent them you … my only son.”
That’s almost straight out of the Gospel of John, said Reg Grant, a professor of pastoral ministries at Dallas Theological Seminary. But there’s a vital difference from the message of Christianity: The caped, comic book “savior” is not sent to save people from their own evil. “He comes to help us find our potential,” Dr. Grant said.
In fact, the new movie, despite its Christ imagery, could hardly be less theological. There’s nothing of prayer or heaven. Superman offers salvation only from the perils of this world.
Maybe that is where Christianity today is missing the mark. Maybe Jesus DID come to help us find our potential, to save us from the perils of this world. We focus so much on eternity being “out there” after death that we fail to recognize eternity here and now. (more…)
June 27, 2006
Posted by Bruce under Personal
Every morning I have a ritual that I perform. No, not that one. Every morning when I get to work I fire up my computer, go get a cup of coffee, and then start surfing. And not just any surfing, there is always a pattern. I look first at email to see if anyone has commented on my last blog post. Sometimes there are a lot, sometimes not many. And it seems even fewer now that I’ve moved here to Word Press. But that’s ok. The next thing I do is read all my “Daily Read” blogs. Got to see what’s happened in the last 24 hours. After that I use my company time to look for another job. Ok, I don’t really look for another job as in going to Monster or Careerbuilders, but I do look at two sites. The first is ChurchStaffing.com where I look under the categories of “Media Technology,” “Communications Director,” and “Singles.” You never know.
The second site is The Chronicle of Higher Education. I mean, after all, I do work for a college. Here are some of the listings for today that I’m considering 😉 (6/27):
- Chabot-Las Positas Community College District (California): Biology Instructor (I just like the name)
- Pepperdine University: Chief Information Officer (have you seen the campus?)
- University of Calgary: Assistant Professor of French (I’ve always wanted to be Canadian)
- Colorado State University: Dean, Warner College of Natural Resources (can you say ski bum)
- Yale University: Chief of Staff, Office of the Dean (Yale! My daughter could go for free)
- Johns Hopkins University School of Advanced International Studies (DC): Human Resources Manager (we are talking John Hopkins)
- University of the South Pacific (Fiji): Lecturer/Senior Lecturer in Hospitality Management (maybe not, I’m more of a mountain person instead of the tropical breeze kind of guy)
- Hellenic American University (Greece): Four Assistant of Associate Professors, Multiple Disciplines (Greece! Home of education)
- University of Hawaii, Manoa: Associate Vice Chancellor for Research (ok, again with the tropical breezes, but just think of how many friends I’d suddenly have – oh sure, now you start commenting)
- University of Hong Kong: Assistant Professor in the Department of Anatomy (just for a year, maybe. Can’t you just see the resume now?)
- Ball State University: Contract Faculty Position, School of Physical Education, Sport and Exercise Science (home of David Letterman)
- Kwansei Gakuin University (Japan): Associate Lecturer of English
- Harvard University: Assistant/Associate Professors in International Relations, Department of Government (if I can’t get Yale…)
- Massey University (New Zealand): Roles Available at Massey University (home of the Hobbit)
- International University of Nursing (St. Kitts, the Caribbean) Provost – Dean For Nursing (I’ll just do this one in retirement)
Tough choices all. And you may think I’m not qualified for any of them, but I’ve got my resume padded like you wouldn’t believe. I’ll drop you a post card when I decide and move.
June 26, 2006
Posted by Bruce under Poverty
June 22, 2006
Got to work this morning and we didn't have Internet access. And people were in a panic. What were we going to do for the next 10 hours? Talk to each other? Or, heaven forbid, work? It’s interesting how dependent we are on the Internet for our news, our mail, our blogging fix. I couldn’t access iTunes and the silence was really irritating. There were people out there (not the ones I link to because they are all witty and interesting or I wouldn’t waste my time) who were telling me about how boring their life is, or how Bush is an ass, or how I can’t be a Christian unless a I believe or act the way they do, or how horrible life is without the Internet. And important people were trying to reach me to let me know about singles in my area, or how to get great medicine at cheap prices, or how to improve my credit rating, or how to refinance my home at really, really great rates. And I was missing it all! Fortunately our IT department got us plugged back in and restored balance to our universe. Now, for the next 8 hours, I can surf the world wide weird and ignore my work and co-workers. And if I get bored, there is always Cubis2.
June 14, 2006
I let my friend T read the first chapter of Rob Bell's book Velvet Elvis, and now she's hooked. I don't know if that is a good thing or not, but she posted a quote from the book on her blog about the Christian faith being a paradox: "It's not so much that the Christian faith has a lot of paradoxes. It's that it is a lot of paradoxes. And we cannot resolve a paradox. We have to let it be what it is."
Someone made a comment that the Christian faith wasn't a prardox, that it couldn't be anything but black and white. She finished her comment with: "Perhaps you see something about the statement that I don't, but I have a hard time believing anyone will be able to show chapter and verse of the Bible that even implies that the Christian faith is a paradox." Interesting comment by the way. If you want to see the full text of the comment, go here.
Here is how I responded to the comment.
I like what ABass has to say, but I don't think Rob was talking about God and Jesus and the Bible being a paradox (and I haven't read that far in the book so I don't know the context either), but I see the statement talking about the Christian FAITH, our belief system. Jesus told us to love God with all of our hearts, souls, minds and body. And to love others as ourselves. Those, for Jesus, were the two greatest commandments. It sounds simple enough, but man has taken those commands and made them very complex, giving us as believers all kinds of way in which we must love God and love man (and what it means to for us to love God and man). If the Christian FAITH wasn't a paradox, then why do we have so many denominations and different kinds of churches? Not because of God, but because of man. One of our paradoxes lies in us seperating the "sin" from "the sinner." Seeing people as people loved of God, not people who deserve hell. Wikipedia had this to say about paradox: "The word paradox is often used interchangeably and wrongly with contradiction; but where a contradiction by definition cannot be true, many paradoxes do allow for resolution, though many remain unresolved or only contentiously resolved." For Christ Followers, there isn't a contradiction between God's love and God's justice, but there is a paradox (for us, not for Him).
I'm just curious, do you think the Christian faith is paradoxical and if so, how?
June 13, 2006
Posted by Bruce under Tips
This is getting sad…I'm starting to have titles that look like Heloise did them. Ah, bear with me on this one.
by Mark Bernstein (used without permission)
Writing for the Living Web is a tremendous challenge. Here are ten tips that can help.
1. Write for a reason
Write for a reason, and know why you write. Whether your daily updates concern your work life, your hobbies, or your innermost feelings, write passionately about things that matter.
2. Write often
If you are writing for the Living Web, you must write consistently. You need not write constantly, and you need not write long, but you must write often. One afternoon in grad school, I heard B. F. Skinner remark that fifteen minutes a day, every day, adds up to about book every year, which he suggested was as much writing as anyone should indulge. You don’t need to write much, but you must write, and write often.
3. Write tight
Omit unnecessary words.
Read your work. Revise it. Don’t worry about being correct, but take a moment now and then to think about the craft. Can you choose a better word – one that is clearer, richer, more precise? Can you do without a word entirely? (more…)
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