Saturday, April 23, 2016

Isolation and Irrelevance

15 years ago, I talked to a friend of mine about some of the problems I was having with living at college. I felt like an outsider, without strong relationships with my classmates, my friends from the various groups I attended, et cetera. And when I say talked I mean wrote letters longhand. And several of them were tear- stained, something that's odd even for me. I didn't really get an answer from my friend, and I spent most of the last 15 years struggling with perceived isolation and perceived irrelevance.

I felt this way about several of my jobs, including my eight years as a programmer in Leavenworth. I was the youngest , I was the one who wasn't buying new cars new trucks big houses and I have to concede that a jealousy hit hard those days. I still have problems with jealousy  - ask my wife how I feel about the Legends shopping center. (Like a lactose intolerant ice cream truck driver, or just so painfully jealous that I never never want to go there again.)

The young adults group at the church in St. Joseph was another example of me being the outsider. Young with family, many miles away, and not part of the old group, I wasn't one of them.

Then we have perhaps my best-case of dream becomes a nightmare, city of Severance. The only geek in the town. The only Big Town guy in a very very small town, or at least it felt like it. The only reason I was on the city council was because there was an opening there and the city was short on volunteers. They didn't ask me for advice. For various reasons they tried to get me off the council at several times, and I suppose reasonably so. For various reasons I'm very glad we got out of Severance and I promise you no one misses me.

And then there was my blog. Two of them. With very very few comments or readers. Just proof that my ideas were either irrelevant, or no one wants to change their mind (yeah, no one does)

I'm lost my confidence on my skills and opinions, so I've got no point speaking my mind if I'm not even sure I'm right. Hard enough to persuade when one is persuaded.

So what is it? Was it being homeschooled that possibly affected me? Or the attempted following of Gothard ? (imagine Duggars with an alcoholic father) Or being a genius and therefore accelerate ahead of my peers? (high school graduate 15, bachelor's graduate 19)
Or being the adult child of a now deceased alcoholic?

But this has been a problem for years...

I want to be somebody.

Saturday, April 16, 2016

America the Great?

Is America a great nation?

I hear many people wanting to talk about how America was once great and is now not great, or how America has fallen from greatness. And I'm left to wonder, how do you define greatness?

Possible answers:

Economy. Gross national product, exports, per capita income, upward mobility, strong middle class, low income inequality, employment, low inflation??

Military strength.  Largest army, most advanced weapons, plenty of nukes in the silos, winning the wars the nation chooses to fight?

Is it defined by following a moral code, or by religion?  Is it because America is good? Being a "Christian nation", whatever the hell that means? Leading the world in the new morality, treating everyone with equality? Holding on to the old morality? More progressive? More socialist? Less progressive? Less socialist? Low crime? High adherence to a religion "and I don't care what it is"

To those who claim that we were born a Christian Nation, although I understand your arguments in favor of that, I have to question how deep the Christian ethic sunk in, in a nation whose history is splattered with the blood drawn from the whip on the back of the black man, and the blood of the red man as we crossed the borders and broke every treaty we made with them. 

Saturday, April 9, 2016

Fifteen years

’Tis grace hath brought me safe thus far, And grace will lead me home.

Fifteen years ago, the adventure of married life began.  And today, at the church I currently attend, I'll be renewing my vows with my wife.

November 2000, engaged
April 2001, wedding pictures
August 2007
May 2013
April 2016

Saturday, April 2, 2016

2nd Title. 1st Commandment

Several months ago, the Royals won the World Series. There was a parade. And the largest crowd Missouri had ever seen came to celebrate the Royals victory on Tuesday, November 3.

A friend of mine felt that the adoration and celebration of that 800,000 fan crowd constituted idolatry.

Was it idolatry?  Let's go to the dictionary.

Idolatry. 1) The worship of idols, images, or any thing made by hands, or which is not God.
(Not really the applicable definition, let's go to...)

2) Excessive attachment or veneration for anything, or that which borders on adoration [defined by this dictionary as "the act of paying honors to a dive being; the worship paid to God; the act of addressing as a God / Homage paid to one in high esteem; profound reverence."]
So...thank you, Noah Webster, it comes down to a question of whether we're worshipping our sports heroes/teams...
Worship...To adore, to pay divine honors to, to reverence with supreme respect and veneration.
In my opinion...I wouldn't call attendance at a victory parade for a league championship a violation of the 1st Commandment.
BUT... it goes to the same question about any hobby or what point is it too much. Parade? Season tickets? Road trips to follow the club? I leave that to the conscience of my reader.