Wednesday, May 27, 2009

You can buy this house for nothing -- if you pay to move it - Kansas City Star

You can buy this house for nothing -- if you pay to move it - Kansas City Star:
"A house in Manhattan, Kan., is being given away for free — as long as the new homeowner moves it.

First Presbyterian Church in Manhattan owns the large home built in 1890 and now wants to use the area for green space. ..."
Hmmmm. As a former member of First Presbyterian in Manhattan KS (1983-1986), I remember the old house on the church property. It would be a shame to see it leveled, but I would imagine it costing more to move it than to raze it. Maybe the Session could strike a deal with a prospective owner and offer the cost of razing the house if the new owner pays the balance to move it....

Sunday, May 17, 2009

I Greet Thee, Who My Sure Redeemer Art

John Calvin, born nearly 500 years ago on July 10, 1509, wrote this hymn in 1545. It is sung to the melody Toulon, which appeared in the Genevan Psalter in 1551.
I greet Thee, who my sure Redeemer art,
My only trust and Savior of my heart,
Who pain didst undergo for my poor sake;
I pray Thee from our hearts all cares to take.

Thou art the King of mercy and of grace,
Reigning omnipotent in every place;
So come, O King, and our whole being sway;
Shine on us with the light of Thy pure day.

Thou art the life, by which alone we live,
And all our substance and our strength receive;
Sustain us by Thy faith and by Thy power,
And give us strength in every trying hour.

Thou hast the true and perfect gentleness,
No harshness hast Thou and no bitterness;
O grant to us the grace we find in Thee,
That we may dwell in perfect unity.

Our hope is in no other save in Thee;
Our faith is built upon Thy promise free;
Lord, give us peace, and make us calm and sure,
That in Thy strength we evermore endure.
(words from The Cyber Hymnal)
The Presbyterian Hymnal (1990) has this as hymn 457, and employs all verses unaltered.

Paul enjoined the Ephesians to "5:19 Speak to one another with psalms, hymns and spiritual songs. Sing and make music in your heart to the Lord, 20 always giving thanks to God the Father for everything, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ."

Among the uses to which hymns are put is instruction in faith and theology. I Greet Thee, Who My Sure Redeemer Art is not only a hymn of praise, but a hymn that provides us with instruction that is squarely rooted in the Reformation.

Saturday, May 16, 2009

Explorer-Scouts Train in Post-9/11 Law Enforcement Methods -

Explorer-Scouts Train in Post-9/11 Law Enforcement Methods -
"...The responding officers — eight teenage boys and girls, the youngest 14 — face tripwire, a thin cloud of poisonous gas and loud shots — BAM! BAM! — fired from behind a flimsy wall. They move quickly, pellet guns drawn and masks affixed.

“United States Border Patrol! Put your hands up!” screams one in a voice cracking with adolescent determination as the suspect is subdued.

It is all quite a step up from the square knot. ..."
This was a little jarring to read, especially written as it was in a sensational style. A couple things need to be noted, though.

The Explorer division of the Boy Scouts of America are NOT Boy Scouts. They are Explorers. They are a coeducational group of young men and women from 14 through 20 who typically explore such career paths as medicine, law enforcement, firefighting, and other emergency services -- as well as government, communications, and other career paths. Even so, they do not enforce laws, practice medicine, fight fires, or perform any other activities that are not appropriate for teenagers. They do learn about such career paths and may perform duties that are appropriate for their age and training.

In the late 1960s I was a part of the Exploring program in a unit (referred to as a "Post") that specialized generally in emergency preparedness. In 1969 Hurricane Camille devastated parts of
Virginia and our post was asked to be a part of the cleanup and support team that was deployed to Nelson County. I spent a week there with a few of my fellow Explorers doing such things as cleaning buildings, moving debris from roads and fence lines, and performing other tasks as needed. We saw first-hand the devastation of the land and in people's lives. It was emotionally draining, but fostered in me a sense of service that has stayed with me, and that I have the privilege of passing on to my own son as well as other youth.

The Explorers of today are a part of the Learning For Life program, which is not a "traditional" Scouting program. Since much of the LFL program is conducted in the public schools in age-appropriate programs for K-12, some of the requirements of the Boys Scouts of America are not appropriate, including the requirement to perform one's religious duties.

The Learning for Life websites has a short response to the New York Times article.

Saturday, May 09, 2009

Calvin's Institutes

I mentioned on my Facebook page that I was going to be bored during the enforced leisure of my convalescence from foot surgery earlier this week. Beau Weston (The Gruntled Center) advised me to read Calvin. I decided to give it a try, since the full text of the Institutes of the Christian Religion is on my laptop. And besides, "Calvin" is my middle name....

It wasn't long (like the second paragraph) before I read this:
"... For, since we are all naturally prone to hypocrisy, any empty semblance of righteousness is quite enough to satisfy us instead of righteousness itself. And since nothing appears within us or around us that is not tainted with very great impurity, so long as we keep our mind within the confines of human pollution, anything which is in some small degree less defiled delights us as if it were most pure just as an eye, to which nothing but black had been previously presented, deems an object of a whitish, or even of a brownish hue, to be perfectly white. ..."
Very thought provoking and a mirror that I would rather not look into. But, I'm afraid I'm going to have to.

Friday, May 08, 2009

BBC NEWS | Eco-sailors rescued by oil tanker

Eco-sailors rescued by oil tanker:
"An expedition team which set sail from Plymouth on a 5,000-mile carbon emission-free trip to Greenland have been rescued by an oil tanker. ..."
How ironic....

And they have been gracious in expressing their gratitude.

Thursday, May 07, 2009

This is a test of blogging from my cell phone.

Home phones go off the hook, cell-only use on the rise - Columbia Missourian

Home phones go off the hook, cell-only use on the rise - Columbia Missourian:
"WASHINGTON — In a high-tech shift accelerated by the recession, the number of U.S. households opting for only cell phones has for the first time surpassed those that just have traditional landlines.

Twenty percent of households had only cells during the last half of 2008, according to a Centers for Disease Control and Prevention survey released Wednesday. That was an increase of nearly 3 percentage points over the first half of the year, the largest six-month increase since the government started gathering such data in 2003.

The 20 percent of homes with only cell phones compared to 17 percent with landlines but no cells. ..."
Hmmm. Why is the CDC collecting these data? Is modern technology a disease? Maybe I'd better withdraw the question....

We got our first cell phone in the Fall of 1992 while Susan was approaching full-term with our son. I was doing a fair amount of evening trips, so it seemed a good idea to have a means of communication. At least that was my excuse. A few years later parental health problems prompted us to add a line, and before long it became obvious that what started as a convenient luxury had now become such an ingrained part of our lives that we couldn't imagine live without cell phones.

Every so often we wonder what it would be like if we just ditched the wired line and went solely with the cell service. And we have thus far resisted that impulse. If a massive emergency situation arises, I have more confidence in the land lines than I do in the cellular network.

Wednesday, May 06, 2009

Judge Rules Against Teacher in Creationism Case | NBC Bay Area

Judge Rules Against Teacher in Creationism Case | NBC Bay Area:
"A federal judge has ruled that a history teacher at a Southern California public high school violated the First Amendment when he called creationism 'superstitious nonsense' during a classroom lecture. ..."
Without going into the merits of the creationism issue, this ruling is significant because it recognizes that there are actually two religion clauses incorporated into the First Amendment to the US Constitution:
"Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances."
(emphasis added)

The establishment clause (which most people associate with the separation of Church and State) is followed immediately by the free exercise clause, which was the issue in this ruling.

It has never made sense to me that ridiculing religion could be a form of protected speech if promoting it were not protected. Perhaps this is a trend toward even-handed treatment of religion in the public sector.

Tuesday, May 05, 2009

Surgery Today

I report to Same Day Surgery late this morning for a 1:03pm session with my podiatrist. It should go well, and I will have some enforced leisure the remainder of the week and maybe into next week.

I think I will let them put me into la-la-land for this one. The nerve block will prevent any pain during the procedure, but I think I will pass on the sound effects this time around.

I may actually get a chance to do a little blogging this coming week.