Saturday, August 28, 2010

A Sunny Disposition

A local committee has been organized by the local city council and has issued their recommendations on what should be done if we do not vote to pass a sales tax increase in the City.

These recommendations include cutting around 340 police and firefighter jobs, which we already saved when we passed proposition 100 in April of this year, cutting City Departments by about 15%, except for some of the more important Departments, like Planning and Development Services, Equal Opportunity, Parks and Recreation, and Human Resources, which are only to be cut 9% to 13%.

Oh, and one the most vital recipients of money that we support with our taxes on everything we purchase in the City Limits will not be cut at all.

Since it sustains the lifeblood of the city, protects us from danger and evil, helps us when we are down, improves the quality of all our lives, Sun Tran is to enjoy immunity from the recommended cuts.

You can read the article here.

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Religious Freedom

On a train from Dheli to Damoh, in between sleeping and whistle stops in small towns, with vendors selling chapati and samosa, we struck up a conversation with a higher caste man, who was traveling on to Jabalpur.

He discovered that we were going to teach at a Bible College and thought it would be good to unburden his mind with complaints he had about Christians. He was most concerned with all the poor people in southern India that were becoming followers of Jesus. The way he described it made it sound like a horrible epidemic.

After unwinding his turban, he explained that too many mission organizations were going down there and teaching people better farming techniques, helping them build wells, setting them up for good business and generally improving their lives in every way. This was leading to people converting to Christianity, and he was not happy about it.

Thinking I could help out all these angry Hindus, I asked why they didn't go down there and do some of the same things. Then maybe the people would be more inclined to stay hinduized instead of wanting to convert. I didn't understand how things worked.

This man explained to me that going to help these people messes up their karma and ruins their chances to live a miserable existence so they can prepare for a better one in the next incarnation. Not only that, but if he went and helped some people that were supposed to be miserable and starving, he would mess up his karma too, since he would have messed it all up for the poor starving miserable untouchables.

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

More or Less

"Sometimes we are so concerned with giving our kids the good things we didn't have that they miss out on the good things we did have." - me

When we do more of one thing, we automatically end up with less of another. Sometimes this can be good. More exercise means less time wasting away on the couch. More disciplined study means less time beating our latest high score.

Sometimes, more of things might mean we miss out on something good. More time driving like a maniac from one activity to another means we might miss out on some time to connect, relax and build relationships.

It is often difficult to find the balance between doing more or less of this or that so I can have more or less of the other, but it is worth thinking about.

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Things are still not quite right.

Here are a couple of books I read last week. While they are about strikingly different topics, I think they both illustrate something very similar.

Realityland, by David Koenig is an unauthorized look at the development of Florida's Disneyworld, from Walt Disney's dream of an Experimental Prototype City Of Tomorrow to the parks that we have today.

The book vividly illustrates many of the problems with the rides, exhibits, staff, management, local government and guests that have been dealt with over the years. It also tells about accidents, injuries, lawsuits, legal issues safety and security.

After my experience the last time I went to Disneyland, I was morbidly interested in seeing other problems that the Disney corporation has faced, and this book illustrates the many problems of Disneyworld.

Son of Hamas is the story of Mossab Hassan Yousef. Yousef is the son of one of the founders and leaders of Hamas. In this book, he tells of his journey as a young man growing up adoring his father and following Islam, but coming to an understanding that Islam leads to suffering and death. He comes to understand that his father, who is a caring compassionate man, cannot condemn suicide bombings and violence based on the teachings of Islam.

Mossab shares with readers how he comes to work for the Israeli intelligence in hopes of saving the lives of innocent Palestinians and Israelis and how he comes to be a follower of Jesus. Both of these are considered a terrible betrayal of everything he was a part of, including his family, culture and community.

I find that both books illustrate the problems, corruption, danger, difficulties and disillusionment that comes from our own attempts to make everything in the world better. Whether it is the dream of making the happiest place on earth, or putting our trust in a system of religion, we discover that we simply cannot fix the problems of the world or make more than a place where we can hide the problems that come up.

Friday, August 13, 2010

Keep an eye on those guys

Although men are born free, and all nations might be so, yet too true it is, that slavery has been the general lot of the human race. Ignorant - they have been cheated: asleep - they have been surprised: divided - the yoke has been forced upon them.

But what is the lesson? That because people may betray themselves, they ought to give themselves up, blindfolded, to those who have an interest in betraying them? Rather conclude that people ought to be enlightened, to be awakened, to be united, that after establishing a government they should watch over it, as well as obey it.

James Madison
The National Gazette December 20th, 1792

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Vision Infusion

Vision: A clear mental picture of a preferred future.

When I was a Pastor, the thought was taught that people needed to be reminded of the vision at least once every thirty days. If you don't hear about where you are going and how you are going to get there at least once a month, you experience vision forget where you are going or you forget to do the things that will get you there.

I thought I would be good to you today and throw out a few coaching questions to help you start thinking about your vision for your life. These are just some basic ideas, but if you can answer them, they will help you on your way. And, today only, I am going to let have them for no charge. Enjoy.

Who Am I?

What is my purpose?
What do I do best?
What do I enjoy?
Sometimes knowing what you do best and what you enjoy doing helps you understand your purpose and calling in this world.

Where do I want to be in five years?

What do I want to be doing in five years?

Or, ask it in another way, because sometimes it is not about what you want, but about what you should be doing:

Where should I be in five years?

What should I be doing in five years?
- What do I need to do to get there?
- What am I doing to get there?
This sounds the same as what do I need to do, but to look at what you are doing, and not just what you should be doing, will help you make huge strides towards realizing that preferred future.

There ya go. Priceless questions just for you.

Here is something we are doing to help infuse some vision into our daughter Emily's life. I am taking her to this conference:

The Rebelution Conference

Sunday, August 8, 2010

Lost in Arizona

Yesterday, I attended a memorial service in Safford, AZ. I have discovered that many people have either never heard of Safford or have absolutely no idea where it might be located.

First of all, it is in Arizona. That is why it is called Safford, Arizona. Secondly, it was featured in the movie "Lost in America". There, that should refresh your memory.

Ok, I really don't expect that any of you have really seen the movie "Lost in America" any more than I expect that you know where to find Safford, so here is a brief idea of what happens in the movie, which may give you some insight into what Safford is like.

In the movie, the main character and his wife cash in everything they own, buy a Winnebago and decide to take to the road and find themselves, ala Easy Rider in a mobile home, escaping the grind of corporate America.

Stopping first in Las Vegas, the mrs. gambles away all their money and they find themselves, as someone in the movie says, "Just outside of hell." Looking up, they see the sign for Safford, AZ.

Not being able to find work, other than a job she takes at a local fast food joint, he goes to the DES building and is able to obtain a position as a crossing gaurd. After a day or two of this, they are ready to resume life in the grind of corporate America.

We lived in Safford for nearly four years.

But here is something interesting, the Church we went to for the memorial service yesterday used to be the D.E.S. building, the very one featured in the movie. My buddy Howard, that used to be the Pastor of this Church, was always proud of his metal govt. blue desk, since that desk was in the movie.

And another note of interest:
The house we had there, which was probably the coolest house we have lived in during our nearing 19 years of marriage, was totally trashed.

Friday, August 6, 2010

Not in the least

This is for the benefit of Diane, who has told me that she never wants to watch another zombie flick again. Although, she did watch Zombieland, and she said it reinforced why she did not watch zombie movies.

The last straw, really though, was when I convinced her to watch 28 Days Later. She asked, "Isn't that some kind of a zombie movie?"

"No, it's a thinker."

I am not sure how one would define a thinker, but seeing people mindlessly chase you down and try to eat you really makes you think, in my opinion.

Now I am trying to get her to watch "The Crazies" with me. I have already seen it, but I think it is worth another look. And, it is definitely not a "zombie" movie. Here are some reasons why:

- While the people of Ogden Marsh in Pierce County Iowa begin to mindlessly do dreadful harm to one another after being infected by a virus, they are not zombies. They are still alive and sentient, even though the virus is irreversibly eroding their minds and bodies and making them crazed killers.

- Zombies always drag their right leg behind them. None of "the crazies" in this movie drag body parts around because they are non-functional.

Ok, those are the only things I can think of that describes why they are not zombies, thus not rendering this movie a "zombie" movie. Unfortunately, all the elements that make a "zombie" movie unwatchable for Diane happen to be in this movie.

Also unfortunate is my decision to use the word rendering in a post describing a movie that contains so much slaughter.

Thursday, August 5, 2010

Only in the movies, revisited.

This is an old list, but maybe you haven't seen or heard it just yet. So here they are, things you only see in the movies:

When paying for a taxi, don’t look at your wallet as you take out a note. Just grab one out at random and hand it over. It will always be the exact fare.

Television news bulletins usually contain a story that affects you personally at the precise moment it’s aired.

If you decide to start dancing in the street, everyone you bump into will know all the steps.

All bombs are fitted with electronic timing devices with large red digital displays so you know exactly when they are going to explode.

Should you wish to pass yourself off as a German officer, it will not be necessary to learn to speak German. Simply speaking English with a German accent will do. Similarly, when they are alone, all German soldiers prefer to speak English to each other.

The Eiffel Tower can be seen from any window of any building in Paris. Same thing with the pyramids any time you are in Egypt. Or the Golden Gate if you happen to be in San Fran

Any police officer about to retire from the force will more often than not die on their last day (especially if their family have planned a party). (Caveat: Detectives can only solve a case after they have been suspended from duty).

On a police stake-out, the action will only ever take place when food is being consumed and scalding hot coffees are perched precariously on the dashboard

All single women have a cat. wait, this one may be true.

No matter how savagely a spaceship is attacked, its internal gravity system is never damaged.

If being chased through a city you can usually take cover in a passing St Patrick’s Day parade – at any time of the year.

The ventilation system of any building is the perfect hiding place. Nobody will ever think of looking for you in there and you can travel to any other part of the building undetected.

You will survive any battle in any war UNLESS you show someone a picture of your sweetheart back home.

Prostitutes always look great. They have expensive clothes and nice apartments but no pimps. They also all have a heart of gold and would make a great wife for any cop.

One man shooting at 20 men has a better chance of killing them all than 20 men firing at once (this is known as Stallone’s Law).

Rather than wasting bullets, megalomaniacs prefer to kill their enemies with complicated devices incorporating fuses, pulleys, deadly gases, lasers and man-eating sharks.

Anyone can land a 747 as long as there is someone in the control tower to talk you down.

During all police investigations it will be necessary to visit a strip club at least once.

All teen house parties have one of every stereotypical subculture present (even people who aren’t liked and would never get invited to parties).

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Only in the movies

Since I have had Tuesdays off for the past few months, Diane and I have been going to the cheap theater on Tuesday nights from time to time. It is only $1.50 on Tuesday nights and it is kind of fun to go out and about with one another.

Last night, we caught the Tom Cruise and Cameron Diaz action comedy "Knight and Day." It was meant to be a fanciful and funny thriller, and it lived up to that with some things that you only see in the movies.

One of the things in this movie: When Tom Cruise got into a fight, the attackers would all mill around making threatening martial arts type poses while waiting his turn to be beat up or killed by Tom Cruise.

Maybe tomorrow I will give you the list of other things that you see only in the movies.

In the meantime, I am back to work on Tuesdays, so help us brainstorm things that we can do together for only $3.00.