Thursday, January 31, 2008

Pray for Kenya

African Union (AU) commission chairman Alpha Oumar Konare told them they could not just sit by. "If Kenya burns, there will be nothing for tomorrow," he said.

More than 850 people have died in political and ethnic clashes since last month's elections, which the opposition says were rigged.

See article here

Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Passion V 1.2

Sitting here at 35,000 feet above the earth I realize that passion is not about what you do or who you are or where you are going. Passion is something inside you, it is something screaming to the world “I have something to give you”. It is a call for the love and attention of others and God. Maybe I am wrong and maybe passion is playing the guitar, racing cars or flying planes. I don’t think I am though. I think deep down inside of us we have a drive, a yearning to give and be connected in love with others and the Lord. The things we do are just instruments, a reflection of the burning we have inside.

All to often I think we deny these feelings in the name of “independence”. Sure we can play the guitar alone, race cars alone or even fly a plane alone but how much joy do we get from that and for how long? Solitude is a great thing sometimes, I enjoy time alone as much as the next guy but I always get the urge to pick up the phone, shoot off an email or just sit and talk with somebody. That is our passion whether we like it or not. We are born to love others, born to live connected and born to be in step with God. We need to drop the “independent” hogwash and give into our true passion, the love of others.

Monday, January 28, 2008

Psalms 138:3

When I called, you answered me. You made me bold by strengthening my soul.

Saturday, January 26, 2008

God Vs. Science an Interview


Richard Dawkins = perhaps its foremost polemicist, has just come out with The God Delusion (Houghton Mifflin), the rare volume whose position is so clear it forgoes a subtitle. The five-week New York Times best seller (now at No. 8) attacks faith philosophically and historically as well as scientifically, but leans heavily on Darwinian theory, which was Dawkins' expertise as a young scientist and more recently as an explicator of evolutionary psychology so lucid that he occupies the Charles Simonyi professorship for the public understanding of science at Oxford University.

Francis Collins = Collins' devotion to genetics is, if possible, greater than Dawkins'. Director of the National Human Genome Research Institute since 1993, he headed a multinational 2,400-scientist team that co-mapped the 3 billion biochemical letters of our genetic blueprint, a milestone that then President Bill Clinton honored in a 2000 White House ceremony, comparing the genome chart to Meriwether Lewis' map of his fateful continental exploration. Collins continues to lead his institute in studying the genome and mining it for medical breakthroughs. He is also a forthright Christian who converted from atheism at age 27 and now finds time to advise young evangelical scientists on how to declare their faith in science's largely agnostic upper reaches. His summer best seller, The Language of God: A Scientist Presents Evidence for Belief (Free Press), laid out some of the arguments he brought to bear in the 90-minute debate TIME

See the article here

Building a Sustainable University

Pretty cool report on how IU wants to become sustainable. See Here
Could end up being a model for small towns and cities. For those of you still opposed to sustainability, environment and going green I will use/twist Pascal's Wager in that:

You live as though resources are finite and we are polluting the environment:
1. If you are right, we slow down the use of resources and reduce pollution.
2. If you are wrong, we slow down the use of resources and reduce pollution.
3. Economic impact might be slightly higher, but could be offset from limited consumption.

You live as though resources are infinite and we are not polluting the environment:
1. If you are right, we continue to amass "things" and throw out unneeded items.
2. If you are wrong, we have no place to store such "things" and our environment becomes polluted beyond repair.
3. No economic change other than the "things" you continually amass.

Sure it is a simple, maybe crude example, but why not change our way of thinking that will benefit the entire world, reduce pollution, leave a clean earth for future generations, and take care of what we were entrusted? Just my take.

Friday, January 25, 2008

A conversation from last night.

I found this painting on the web and thought it let others identify humility in the work of art but also the work of art that is you. Thanks to
Luke 18:9-14 (New International Version)
New International Version (NIV)

The Parable of the Pharisee and the Tax Collector

9To some who were confident of their own righteousness and looked down on everybody else, Jesus told this parable: 10"Two men went up to the temple to pray, one a Pharisee and the other a tax collector. 11The Pharisee stood up and prayed about[a] himself: 'God, I thank you that I am not like other men—robbers, evildoers, adulterers—or even like this tax collector. 12I fast twice a week and give a tenth of all I get.'

13"But the tax collector stood at a distance. He would not even look up to heaven, but beat his breast and said, 'God, have mercy on me, a sinner.'

14"I tell you that this man, rather than the other, went home justified before God. For everyone who exalts himself will be humbled, and he who humbles himself will be exalted.

Stu: See the tax collector doesn't even look up.
Will: He has cast his head down to be humble and beat the soul (awaken)
Stu: See this is why we should talk more about the bible and not read it alone.
Will: I agree, the man was humble and basically said "Lord I am not worth to receive you but only say the word and I shall be healed"
Stu: He has humility, thats right.

Some Good and Funny Quotes

"Cats are smarter than dogs. You can't get eight cats to pull a sled through snow." - Jeff Valdez

"It is no measure of health to be well adjusted to a profoundly sick society." - Krishnamurti
"Don't tell people how to do things. Tell them what to do and let them surprise you with their results." - George S. Patton

"Preach The Gospel at all times. When necessary, use words." - St. Francis of Assis

"The secret to creativity is knowing how to hide your sources." -- Einstein

He who asks is a fool for five minutes, but he who does not ask remains a fool forever." - Chinese Proverb

"We must be willing to get rid of the life we've planned, so as to have the life that is waiting for us." - Joseph Campbell

"A bookstore is one of the only pieces of evidence we have that people are still thinking." - Jerry Seinfeld

We are here on Earth to do good to others. What the others are here for, I don't know." - W. H. Auden

"Experience is that marvelous thing that enables you to recognize a mistake when you make it again." - Franklin P. Jones

Good Quote

"The struggle is the Glory"

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Commercial Flying Stinks

Sitting in the Orlando International Airport for the first time in a while. Forgot how much of a pain it is to fly commercial. Boooo.....I hope it is a good flight and a productive trip because I hate crowds and cramped planes. But I need to think positive. :)

Winter In Bloomington

Ahh Snow see here

Monday, January 21, 2008

Observations on Buddhism and what we can learn

Currently I am reading a book entitled Bone Mountain written by Eliot Pattison. It is a fictional book based on the real life struggles of life in Tibet under Chinese rule. I was drawn to this book after reading a quote from the authors web site in which he states:

I write about Tibet not because I am a Buddhist but because I am not a Buddhist, because the ultimate treasures of Tibet are ones that transcend religion or philosophy, lessons that the rest of the world needs desperately to learn. Converting to the cause of Tibet does not mean a conversion to Buddhism, it means a conversion to compassion, self-awareness, human rights and political equality.

You mean you have no ulterior motive to explore compassion and human rights? No reason to help others, you just feel it is the right thing to do? No ten step process to get millions of dollars? I like this author already, regardless of his faith he is called to compassion and love with no motives or baggage, which is a rare thing in this day and age.

So while this is a riveting fictional book I would be amiss if I didn't reflect on the nuggets of knowledge this book contains. Since it is probably no secret I am of the Christian faith I do reflect on them with my faith in mind just as a Buddhist would reflect on them with his/her faith.

The following is just my personal observation, things I think I think, reasons to listen to all, nuggets to take you deeper in faith (But not all the nuggets in the book), or nuggets to dismiss entirely, do what you wish. So with out further ado...

5 things I think I think (thanks Peter King) about Buddhism, Bone Mountain and what Christians could learn and use.

1. Look Forward: There is a quote in the book about "stop being the seeker you were, and become the seeker you want to be". I love this quote because I think too often everyone gets held back or stunted in their walk in faith because of past sins and transgressions. The Christian faith places emphasis on forgiveness of sins, and rightly so, but all too often I thing we "seek" to right our past sins and commit no more rather than "seeking" God. I have being praying in the past few days, "Lord let me seek you deeper"

2. The Mystery of the Soul and God are most important: In one of the chapters an Elder Monk talks about "the unimportant mysteries of the surface world when you should be looking to the mysteries of the soul". I add "and God" at the end of this sentence because it is my reflection and commentary. But what I like about this is not getting caught up in the unimportant of the surface world. I hear so many times "I am too busy" or "I just need to finish this first" or "Maybe tomorrow". People are putting off their spiritual life, their relationship with God, for the report that is due tomorrow, the cup of coffee at Starbucks and yes even the football game on Sunday afternoon. By no means am I saying never go to a coffee shop or watch football, but do put prayer and God at the top of your schedule. Search your soul, find the deeper things in life, in your soul and your relationship with God and you will never find them if you don't change your focus and time.

3. Pray often: I am amazed at how often the monks, elders, and Tibetans pray in this book. Need to make a decision, pray, something bad happens, pray, attackers coming, pray, pray, pray. I only wish Christians prayed as much. We seem to rely too much on our own understanding, our own self will, and our own righteousness. We pray when we need something big like "Lord cure John of cancer" or "Lord help me out in my marriage" but when it comes to small things we can control those, no need to pray. I don't understand this logic, "God you can cure cancer but you can't help me change a flat tire, get me somewhere safely, protect me from danger, help me in decisions etc." WHAT?!?!

4. Sometimes you must wait patiently: I got this little nugget in the beginning of the book. The monks are preparing for a journey to take a sacred artifact back to its original home. During the preparation a friend is mysteriously and violently killed right in front of them. So do they round up the horses and head for the hills? No they do the opposite, they pray, reflect and do their necessary rituals upon the death of their friend. Too often we are reactionary and our reactions come in a split second and we act. Rarely do we ask "Why did this happen?" or "What does God want me to do?" or "How does this relate with my walk?" No we react, we run for the hills or more bluntly we run to the next thing, the next quick fix to our problems, the next thing that will make us happy. WE NEED TO SLOW DOWN, PRAY AND REFLECT. God's knowledge, the right knowledge is not found in a quick text message, it is found through reflection, prayer and.......devotion.

5. You must be devout: Spinning a prayer wheel hours upon end, waiting for a river to unfreeze to get sand, rebuilding a monastery by hand for 10 years, waiting for a healer to come these are a few examples from the book. I was amazed at the devotion of the monks and Tibetans in the book. I was left wondering "Where is the Christians praying all night?" and "Why is the majority of our faith 'Sunday for an hour'?" Another thing I took from this book is my devotion to the Lord. Sure I read countless theology books, I pray often, I go to church, I help others, I lead in the church but would I be willing to sit in the mountains if God asked? In other words would I still do something if it meant I received no satisfaction from it. Would I still be devout even if it meant I would certainly feel pain, confusion or any other unwanted emotion. I believe I would as I have been through the mini-episodes of pain, confusion, suffering etc. and still connected with my Lord. But devotion does not stop there, it means giving ALL of yourself to the Lord WITHOUT ATTACHMENTS or STIPULATIONS. You will be devout in the good times and the bad. You will be devout drinking a cup of coffee and in church. You will be devout in your praying as well as your giving. You will be devout in everything you do.

So after probably my longest post to date you can take what you want or nothing at all. You can call me crazy or smart. You can put these things into practice or keep plugging along. I am only here to be the Hands and help you along your walk with the Lord.

Saturday, January 19, 2008

Medical Plants 'Face Extinction'

Hundreds of medicinal plants are at risk of extinction, threatening the discovery of future cures for disease, according to experts.

Over 50% of prescription drugs are derived from chemicals first identified in plants.

But the Botanic Gardens Conservation International said many were at risk from over-collection and deforestation.

Researchers warned the cures for things such as cancer and HIV may become "extinct before they are ever found".

Read Here

Friday, January 18, 2008

Scientists silencing other Scientists

Intelligent design theory, or ID, is opening new doors of scientific research, particularly in cancer and other disease research, according to its adherents, but a new movie, "Expelled" starring Ben Stein explores how an "elitist scientific establishment" is apparently muzzling and smearing scientists who publicly discuss ID.

The First Amendment is under brutal attack in the scientific community, Ben Stein, a former presidential speechwriter-turned-actor and commentator, says in the film, which opens in theaters on Feb. 12.

"I always assumed scientists were free to ask any question, pursue any line of inquiry without fear or reprisal," he says. "But recently, I've been alarmed to discover that this is not the case."

See entire interview here

See movie site here

I will say it is a very interesting read and makes me question the ego and motivations of scientists. Certainly true philosophers don't shut down other philosophers, it is all done in the pursuit of truth and knowledge.

Thursday, January 17, 2008

Medical Myth Busters

So, "they" say that people only use 10 percent of their brains and that hair and fingernails continue to grow after we die. And everyone knows that eating turkey makes us tired. It's that tryptophan, right? Wrong, according to Indiana University School of Medicine researchers, who explored commonly held medical beliefs recently in the British Medical Journal.
Bottled Water

Always been told to drink eight glasses of water a day? It might be time to think again.

The beliefs they targetted are commonly accepted, not only by the general population, but also by many physicians. The authors' surprising findings, when they reviewed medical literature -- all the beliefs were unproven or untrue.

See Article here

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

Do you live with bricks or springs?

Is your belief or meaning based on bricks or springs? Do you build a wall of premises and laws that are set in mortar? Or do you have steel springs that can take the weight of testing and not break? That can extend compassion to others and see their point of view?

I bring this up because I read about the brick vs. spring mentality lately in the book "Velvet Elvis". I pretty much agree with the writer in that we do not need to build a brick wall with rules, laws and premises that do not let others in and will not survive if a couple of bricks (interpretations) are knocked out of the walls.

Our faith needs to be like springs on a trampoline so the author states. I fall more in line with this view. We need to be able to flex, push, pull, and stretch our faith to learn more about it. It also lets us feel and understand the weight of problems, bumps in the roads and deep questions without breaking but extending. It also allows us to be more open, compassionate, and inviting to others who may not believe what we do.

The last thing the spring does is allows us to say "we don't know it all". We can explore, learn, and grow. A brick wall is stationary, made hard, with a foundation that won't allow it to move or grow. A spring on the other hand is flexible but retains it's shape. It can reach out to others, it can come back in to reflect but most of all it has the option to spread out a go deep.

Build your brick walls if you wish, but I enjoy jumping on the trampoline. Anyone care to join?

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

Josh Bell Concert.....Free

BLOOMINGTON, Ind. -- Three-time Grammy Award-winning violinist Joshua Bell and acclaimed pianist Jeremy Denk, two of classical music's brightest stars, with common student and faculty ties to the Indiana University Jacobs School of Music, will perform a recital together at IU's Musical Arts Center on Feb. 10 at 4 p.m.
Josh Bell
Elsewhere on their tour (which includes the capital's Kennedy Center and New York's Carnegie Hall), concertgoers can expect to pay premium prices, but this performance will be free due to Bell's recent acceptance of a faculty position at the IU Jacobs School. (All faculty performances, aside from benefits, are usually offered at no charge to the community).

See Here

6,500 die daily

Imagine that the populations of New York, Chicago and Los Angeles are HIV positive. Imagine that 6,500 of these people die every day from this treatable, preventable disease. Grasp the magnitude of this scenario, and you have a good handle on the profound tragedy that is AIDS in Africa. You will also seize the issues that the American and Kenyan staff of AMPATH grapples with each and every day.

Art photographer Tyagan Miller, who works at the IU Foundation, recently had the opportunity to travel to Kenya to visit and to photograph those involved in the IU-Kenya Partnership, a program of the Indiana and Moi universities' schools of Medicine.

See the awesome photos here. Very powerful and painful.

Your Tax Dollars Buying Carbon Offsets

But the fly in the ointment is that remaining tonnage of CO2. The House decided to deal with those emissions by purchasing carbon offsets on the Chicago Climate Exchange (CCX). The carbon offset concept has been kicking around for many years. It means that a firm, organization, or even a concerned individual who emits carbon can pay someone else to reduce emissions or capture carbon.

Some observers have likened voluntary carbon offsets to the Roman Catholic Church's 16th century practice of selling indulgences -- if you can afford the price, your environmental "sins" are canceled. But the analogy may be inapt. An offset is not just asking for forgiveness, assuaging an organization's guilt for carbon emissions. It is supposed to make environmental restitution, resulting in genuine environmental improvements.

That's why Congress should be all the more careful that its offsets are real, because they are being paid for with our money.

See article here

I have no problem with the concept of carbon offsets. I do have a problem with the effectiveness of it right now. It seems the whole "Green" thing has become the "dotcom" of the late 90's. Lets all jump on the bandwagon and make some money. I have no problem with the entrepreneur spirit, what I do have a problem with is the "quick buck" spirit. And because "Green" is trendy now, we see something "Green" we buy it, use it, or endorse it with little to no research at all. Now our tax dollars are buying carbon offsets from a company that is not transparent in their dealings. So where exactly is my/our money going. It should be really easy for carbon offset companies to be transparent:

1. Your money went to administration costs with details of those costs.
2. Your money went to plant trees in this area of the world with details.
3. Your money went to this farmer with details.

It is an uncomplicated exchange.

Monday, January 14, 2008

Say Hello to the Tata Nano

NEW DELHI: The Tata Nano may just be a few days old, but it's already shaking the foundations of the world automobile industry. The reverberations of the Nano's launch at the Delhi Auto Expo continue to be felt world-wide.

Auto majors are rethinking strategy and figuring out ways to break into the newly-created ultra low-cost car segment. According to auto industry sources, Volkswagen, Nissan and General Motors have sent out to feelers to Indian vendors to work on their version of a $3000-4000 car.

See here

50 tips for living green

Photovoltaics on the roof. Geothermal heating under-ground. Spiffy dual-flush toilets all about.

This wasn't the nature of our eco-mania.

Here are 50 of the best ideas -- tips from engineers, chemists, environmentalists, recycling experts, government agencies, medical professionals, appliance-makers, Master Gardeners and, of course, our trusty readers.

See article here

Saturday, January 12, 2008

Watched a show about this today

Interesting making energy from algae.

Sad Day/Exciting Future

Today is the day I announce that we will be moving from Orlando, FL to Ft.Worth, TX. It is sad to be leaving all our friends, but exciting in the future that we will have. I will blog more on this later. To all my friends I love you.

Friday, January 11, 2008

Mark Lives in Ikea

Comedian/Filmmaker Mark Malkoff's New York City apartment had to be fumigated. All of his friends have tiny studio apartments. Hotels in New York are insanely expensive. Left with few living options, Mark thought it would be fun and make an interesting video to move into an IKEA store where he'd live and sleep for a week. Never in a million years did he think IKEA would go for it, but miraculously they have a agreed.

Mark moved in early morning Monday January 7th to the IKEA in Paramus, New Jersey and will stay for the week through Saturday January 12th. Every day people can watch a video recap of his day. He will be living in IKEA 24/7 and eating all his meals in the restaurant (he may order Domino's take out once or twice). Thankfully they have a shower for him in the back offices.

See Website here.

RIP Sir Edmund Hillary

"The most important of all is that he was humble man, a simple man," he added.

His Himalayan Trust has helped build hospitals, clinics, bridges, airstrips and nearly 30 schools. He was made an honorary Nepalese citizen in 2003.

Read Here
and See Here

Two Quotes from C.S. Lewis

"The human mind has no more power of inventing a new value than of planting a new sun in the sky or a new primary colour in the spectrum..."

--Christian Reflections

"Atheism turns out to be too simple. If the whole universe has no meaning, we should never have found out that it has no meaning..."

--Mere Christianity

Thursday, January 10, 2008

Those Crazy Methodists ;)

A Sunday morning plenary session featured Shane Claiborne, a poverty activist and new monastic. Claiborne discussed his work as a founding member of “The Simple Way,” an alternative Christian community in urban Philadelphia that ministers to the poor. He stated that he began to live his monastic lifestyle when he decided “I’m going to run after something other than the American dream; I’m going to run after Jesus.” Claiborne, who grew up United Methodist, says that he is “madly in love with Jesus.”

The Philadelphia activist cautioned his audience not to become wrapped up in language, saying: “You can talk about social justice … and still not talk to the poor.… We can still live a very progressive life … and be mean.” Claiborne warned that “if we don’t have joy and we don’t have love, nobody’s going to want the truth we have, even if it is true.”

Read the full article here.

P.S. I am Methodist and share some of the views in this article. Some personal thoughts:

1. We can fund a war, but can't fund health care for the poor or Children
2. We teach that "Jesus loves us", but not those we disagree with.
3. We can talk about societal problems, but can't feed the poor.
4. We can buy a new TV, but not help the family displaced down the street.
5. We can get our neighbors mail, but put build fences to the South.
6. We talk about fair trade, yet buy slave labor products.

Maybe I am being too radical here, if so I am in Good Company: See here.

No Longer

I will not be held
I jump into the blessed river
I am free with Him

Wednesday, January 9, 2008

What you can and cannot blog

Imagine if something popped up every time you went to post on your blog.

When journalists at China's national broadcaster CCTV log on, one of the first things that pops up on screen is a notice about what not to report.

These notices are often short and seldom say who has authorised them, but they all contain strict instructions about how to report a story.

Full article here

IU to study Intertactive Social Media

Interesting, maybe in the future we can see people's "moods" when they view our blog, write an email, or post a message.

View Article Here

Tuesday, January 8, 2008

Ten Thousousand Villages

Went to a "Green Expo" at Northland Church this past Sunday and one of the exhibitors was Ten Thousand Villages. It is a pretty cool shop that promotes Fair Trade. I suggest checking it out. If you need some Fair Trade coffee you can let me know as I am selling it now.

Tiffany Chapel

Last week I visited The Charles Hosmer Morse Museum here in Winter Park, FL. I have never really been interested in Tiffany glass, but after experiencing that Museum I must say it is interesting and beautiful what he could do with glass. The highlight was the Tiffany Chapel. A beautiful and reverent piece of work that commands silence, solitude and prayer. I could spend hours in that chapel.

Monday, January 7, 2008

My New Years Goal

To carry my goals on a index card in my wallet so I am constantly reminded what I am striving for.

You choose to be happy....

Stop today and constantly remind yourself to be joyful regardless of the circumstances.

Pride and Anxiety

If we look past Him, we must not be suprised if we fail to find God and experience errors and disillusionments, if the world seems dark to us. When we believe, we must believe in spite of God's hiddenness. This hiddenness of God necessarily reminds us of our human limitation. We do not believe out of our personal reason and power. Anyone you really believes knows that. The greatest hindrance to faith is again and again just the pride and anxiety of our human hearts. We would rather not live by grace. Something energetically rebels against it. We do not wish to receive grace; at best we prefer to give ourselves grace. The swing to and fro between pride and anxiety is man's life. Faith bursts through both. Of his own strength a man cannot do it.

Karl Barth