Saturday, July 30, 2005

Engaging Comments

Unlike my good friend the Jollyblogger, I don't usually get a lot of engaging comments. If you don't usually check out the comments on my blog, you might want to read this one. It is with the blog post I sarcastically titled "Chaplains Disloyal To National Religion". It does come from a different point of view but has some engaging thoughts.

The Man Who Wouldn't Give Up - Christian History & Biography -

The story of William Carey is one of encouragement to me. Follow the links....

The Man Who Wouldn't Give Up - Christian History & Biography - "It was inconceivable that a poor, English cobbler would spend his Sunday this way. But it was not untypical of William Carey’s first year in India.

“In the morning and afternoon addressed my family,” he wrote in his diary in May 1794, “and in the evening began my work of publishing the Word of God to the heathen. Though imperfect in the knowledge of the language [Bengali], yet, with the help of moonshi [a translator], I conversed with two Brahmans in the presence of about two hundred people, about the things of God. I had been to see a temple, in which were the images of Dukkinroy, the god of the woods, riding on a tiger; Sheetulla, goddess of the small pox, without a head, riding on a horse without a head; Puchanon, with large ears .… I therefore discoursed with them upon … the folly and wickedness of idolatry, the nature and attributes of God, and the way of salvation by Christ.… I cannot tell what effect it may have, as I may never see them again.”

That Carey was in India at all was preposterous, and even more, that he survived and flourished there for more than forty years. Then again, William Carey expected great things and he attempted nothing less."

Friday, July 29, 2005

The Christian Century

Laytham asks some questions here that I beleive must be answered. I would disagree with some of his answers but, I'm glad he has the courage to really face the issues. It does not surprise me though that he would not join the military chaplaincy.

The Christian Century: "Loyalty oath
A matter of ultimate allegiance
by D. Brent Laytham
Two years ago one of my students wrote a master's thesis defending just war, then joined the U.S. Air Force to train as a fighter pilot. I suppose you could look at this as pedagogical success: I'm a teacher who helped one of my students turn the corner from theory to practice. But as a pacifist, I took it pretty hard.
" Click the link for the full story....

Chaplains Disloyal To National Religion

I heard this story on NPR regarding the over abundance of evangelicals Christians in the ranks of chaplains of the military. Having been a part of military chapel system at times I feel it is an incredibly tough job to be a chaplain. It is a political mine field. Over the years, my wife and I talked about the possibiliites of going into the chaplaincy, but because there has to be so much compromise, we felt it would not be a fit.

In this story NPR basically stated that the evangelical Chaplains were not playing by the rules when it comes to evangelizing and when it comes to serving those of other faiths. In a sense I think NPR is stating that the national religion of the United States is an ecumenical one. In a sense, the Unitarian faith would be the state sponsored church and these chaplains are disloyal. (Perhaps I overstate my case.) However, the main push of the story seemed to be that the evangelical men and women who serve as chaplains should be more generic and less specific in the way they expressed their faith. This tension is exactly why I felt I had to leave the chapel at Frankfurt, Germany. While I did not begrudge a Christian Science chaplain from serving, I did not want non-trinitarian chaplain preaching a different gospel to my family. I wanted him to serve, just not serve me and my family. Generic religion may be fine if that is what you beleive, but some of us believe God sets the standards, not the Chaplain Corps, the US government, nor NPR.

As I understand it, the Chaplain Corps attempts to recruit the same percentages as reflect the rank and file in the military at large. Also as I understand it, the Chaplain Corps has gone to great lengths to recruit Roman Catholic chaplains. They have even made it so that a Roman Catholic priest can be much older than his evangelical counterparts. But there are many reasons Roman Catholics are not entering the ministry. Then if they do enter, why seek to serve in the military when there are many needs in the civilian sector.

The capitalization of the word evangelical in the story and using the term evangelical the same way you would properly capitalize Roman Catholic is an error. Evangelical is not a denomination. There are many small and varied groups that one might (or might not) call evangelical. I think the numbers in the Chaplain Corps should reflect each specific denomination. Lumping certain groups together by one's liking into a single category may simplify the recruiting issue and the accusation building, however, those who are a part of those groups find their distinctions being trampled upon.

I think you will find that the Chaplain Corps has been working hard to make their ranks look like the soldier ranks. I also think these public servants by and large try to balance faith and national service in a way that does not unnecessarily comprehmise either.

Thursday, July 28, 2005

David Wilkerson Versus Friends

I read Cross and the Switchblade when I was in High School. That was a long time ago, but that is how I think of New York. I’m planning to go there but I don’t know if Friends or the David Wilkerson book is closer to the reality I will meet.

Fun Quiz Which Is Really A Bible Study On Romans 3:9-20

Outline of Passage

I. Both Jews and Greeks Are Under Sin (Verse 9)
II. List of Bible Verses Woven Together To Show Universal Problem of Sin (Verse 10-18)
1. Heart and Mind Issues Psalm 14:1-3 or Psalm 53:1-3
2. Throat and Mouth Issues Psalm 5:9, Psalm 140:3, Psalm 10:7
3. Feet and Paths Issues Proverbs 1:16; Isaiah 59:7; Psalm 36:1
III. The Whole World Accountable (Verse 19)
IV. The Law Does Not Justify But Brings Knowledge of Sin (Verse 20)

Key Words: Both, Whole World, Every, One, All, None, No One, Justified

Theme: There is a universal problem of sin and the law merely gives knowledge to that and is not the solution in and of itself.

(Verse 9)
1.In the prior section it says the advantage that the Jews had was that they had the Word of God. (Romans 3:2) Who has the Word of God today?
A. The Church
B. Many People
C. Zondervon Publishers
D. The Jews

2.In what sense were the Jews not any better off?
A. They did and did not have an advantage. They had the Word of God but it did not justify them. They needed faith in Christ just like everybody else.
B. They were no better off because everyone can have a Bible today.
C. They were no better off because they were missing the New Testament.
D. They were not better off because they did not have ice cream floats.

(Verse 10-12)
3.What is the main idea behind Psalm 53?
A. Life is a bummer.
B. All have sinned and need a savior.
C. Choirmasters should use four/four beat.
D. There are evil people among us, even we ourselves are evil, so God help us.

4.Psalm 14 has a very different message from Psalm 53.

True or False

(Verse 13)
5.Why would the order of the mouth parts be throat, tongue, lips then mouth?
A. Alphabetical listing
B. Bar code order
C. This is how our words are formed on the inside and exit from our mouths.
D. As good as any list

6. Does Psalm 5:9 show a universal problem of sin? (Read the context to help you decide.)
A. Yes, or else Paul would not have used it.
B. No, but it does show how sin controls people's speech.
C. Yes, any one could mis-speak on an issue.
D. No, but it fits Paul's progression of addressing heart, mouth and actions.

7. Why would the writer of Psalm 140 say the venom of the asp is in its lips?
A. It is imagery of how evil words come from a person's mouth, not science about who venom is injected into its victim.
B. The lips are those who sin, not the snake's.
C. The lips of a snake are close to the fangs.
D. The asp does not have fangs like other poisonous snakes. It is dispensed via the lips.

(Verse 14)
8. In Psalm 10:7, what is the sinner primarily accused of being? (Read context)
A. Gluttony
B. Laziness
C. Idolatry
D. Pride

(Verse 15-17)
9. How do feet shed blood?
A. You step on someone.
B. You don't.
C. It means your feet take you to the place where you do this.
D. You kick someone.

10. If we are not directly involved in war, we are not doing what this says.

True or False

(Verse 18)
11. How does fear of God sum up the listing?
A. Fear of the Lord does not sum up the list.
B. Fear of the Lord is a total disposition of being submissive to God.
C. Fear of the Lord means you are too scared to sin.
D. Fear of the Lord means you induce fear in others.

(Verse 19)
12. How is every mouth stopped and the whole world held accountable if the law speaks to only those under the law?
A. Those who are not under the law usually don't have the same problem of self-righteousness. Those who are self-righteous without the scriptures usually have a standard besides the Bible by which to judge their righteousness. This functions as law.
B. The Greeks Paul's day knew they were sinners.
C. The gospel will spread and everyone will someday hear the scriptures. Then everyone will know their sin. Some will know the savior too.
D. This is a bunch of hogwash. Everyone is a sinner.

(Verse 20)
13. If the purpose of the law is to give knowledge of sin, how are we justified?
A. We are justified by the work of Christ on the cross of Calvary.
B. We are justified by a declaration of God that we have the righteousness of Christ.
C. We are justified when acknowledge we are a sinner and trust in Christ alone for eternal salvation.
D. Justification is an act of God's free grace, wherein he pardons all our sins, and accepts us as righteous in his sight only for the righteousness of Christ imputed to us, and received by faith alone.

Tuesday, July 26, 2005

100 Things About Me

It seems to be a well known thing to blog about. Since someone else I know has written one, I have decided to write one too.

1. My wife and I have five daughters.
2. I grew up hardly ever traveling.
3. I love traveling.
4. I joined the Army for just one tour to get college money.
5. I spent a whole career in the Army.
6. I have taken classes at four, soon to be five, seminaries.
7. I hate to compete.
8. I challenge authority based on what I see as principles.
9. My favorite sports activities are lone activities.
10. My height is 5 foot, 9 ½ inches. If I'm dehydrated or tired I'm closer to 5'9'', if I'm well rested and hydrated, I'm closer to 5'10''.
11. Green is my favorite color.
12. As a child I wanted to be a scientist.
13. I like to read non-fiction biographies, histories and linguistics.
14. I like interpreting statistics.
15. I once made a collage of maps from places I had visited. The collage covered my entire cubical at work. People did not know what to think of it.
16. I have repelled from a helicopter.
17. I did not have a birth certificate until I was almost 40 years old.
18. I once had trouble convincing a group of Algerian guest workers in Frankfurt, Germany that I was an American. They thought Americans can't speak Arabic.
19. I helped develop the software test plan for the Bible translators software “Speech Works”.
20. I have had stitches on my right eye, left hand, left cheek, stomach twice, on my lower lip and in my mouth.
21. I prefer to take out my own stitches.
22. I have slept outside at 40 below zero in a tent and no heater.
23. I have given someone an IV. (Any one care to let me demonstrate again?)
24. I have a hard time memorizing things but an easy time learning things.
25. One of my most useful classes in high school turned out to be gym class.
26. I did not know I had eye problems until I took my driving test.
27. I did not know I had a birth defect on my eye until I was in my 30s.
28. My favorite animal is the turtle.
29. I have read the Bible through several times.
30. I have translated at least 17 chapters of the Bible from the original Greek and Hebrew.
31. I have read about a quarter of the New Testament in Arabic.
32. I have written a journal for years. I tend to write the same things over and over again.
33. My wife once gave me a bullet as a present. I still have it. It was an antique Civil War mini.
34. I drove my car at over 100 miles per hour once. It was night in a secluded area. (Kids don't try this at home.)
35. I have jogged way over 1000 miles.
36. I'm not very athletically gifted.
37. My goals are not always realistic.
38. I received the Louie Armstrong Jazz Award in High School with my best friend Tim Word. I think we were the only ones to ever share the prize. If I had a choice in it I would give it to Tim. (Tim went on to study music at Bob Jones University. I have not seen Tim in years.)
39. Also while I was in High School, I received the Best Citizen Award from a local civic club in my home town.
40. Some of my best work has never received recognition.
41. I like public transportation because I like people watching. Trains, planes and buses!
42. My favorite music has to be instrumental jazz.
43. I learned to appreciate 'Manhattan Transfer' while on the exercise 'Brim Frost' in Alaska.
44. I started reading murder mysteries because my wife is an avid reader.
45. I have no desire to read Harry Potter.
46. I make enemies easily, I have a hard time making friends.
47. My favorite painters are the Impressionists.
48. I also like the landscape paintings of Fredrick E. Church.
49. I once attended a formal event in D.C. in jeans.
50. I'm embarrassed by my spelling and grammar mistakes.
51. I do not hear a big difference in short vowels, I really have to work at it.
52. I shook hands with the singer-song writer Keith Green once.
53. I met Missouri Senator John Danforth at a funeral.
54. I felt a lot of rejection as a child. I thought it was probably just feelings of inadequacy until as an adult I needed a proof of citizenship for a passport. I read some fairly hostile words in my school records from a teacher.
55. I have suffered two periods of depression, one as a child and one as an adult. The first followed the divorce of my parents, the second was following death of a vision.
56. One of my biggest joys in life is raising kids.
57. I snore. (Sometimes.)
58. I sleep because I have to, not because I want to.
59. I am allergic to shellfish.
60. The song 'Route 66' has special meaning for me since I grew up along that highway.
61. I get hurt by people because I assume good of people.
62. I like to read magazines.
63. My first magazine subscription was to 'Campus Life', a Christian magazine written for youth.
64. I still find my wife a very interesting and engaging person.
65. I have read 'Robert's Rules of Order'.
66. I still have my vinyl albums from my teen years.
67. I have nothing to play them on.
68. I have an older brother and a younger sister.
69. I basically try to live debt free.
70. I am an aggressive learner.
71. I have briefed three star Generals.
72. I don't sense other people's emotions well at all.
73. Other people see me as averse to risk but I am drawn to taking risk.
74. Gambling does not seem glamorous to me.
75. Investments in the stock market sound intriguing to me.
76. I don't have enough money to really invest in a big way.
77. I have been attempting to build a monetary inheritance for my children for 20 years.
78. My home is my biggest investment.
79. I have a whole year beyond college that is not a part of any program of study.
80. I have 33 hours of masters credit beyond that.
81. I learn things best by teaching them to myself. Class room study functions best for me to fill in the gaps and re-enforce the basics.
82. I would like to be a pastor-missionary but we will see what God has in store.
83. Singing Handel's Messiah is a great memory of Christmas for me.
84. I read music but I can't sing harmony by ear.
85. Portable devices like PDAs, iPods, and laptop computers fascinate me.
86. I knew four of my great-grandparents. All were born in the 1800s. They were a fun connection with history.
87. I prefer virtual geocaching to finding a traditional cache. That is I prefer to find a historical or interesting location that has been designated as a geocache.
88. I like to explore new foods and find hole in the wall restaurants when I travel.
89. I find Mexican restaurants in the American southwest very interesting.
90. I really like an authentic breakfast burrito.
91. One of my favorite foods are hot dogs.
92. I'm sorry to say they still are.
93. I like museums.
94. I would like to create my own private museum sometime.
95. My favorite museum to visit was the Guttenburg museum in Mainz, Germany.
96. I functioned as the printer in a demonstration of the Guttenburg press.
97. I enjoy visiting cathedrals. I think they are sort of a museum often times.
98. I like to learn. I don't understand why everyone does not share that passion.
99. I believe the heavens and the earth were created in six days. I'm not sure what to think about the apparent age of the universe.
100. I'm not sure why God is gracious to me.

Saturday, July 23, 2005

Test On Romans 3:1-8

I like doing creative lessons for my small group. This is my tricky but I hope answerable questions on Romans 3:1-8. Warning! Sometimes there is more than one answer. The questions are designed to make us look at our assumptions with which we come to the scripture. If any one is interested in my answers, just leave a comment and I will post them.
Lesson on Romans 3:1-8
By Terry L. Pruitt
July 17, 2005

Supporting Texts: 2 Samuel 11:1-12:15a; Psalm 51

Theme: God is faithful to his people though they may be unfaithful with his Word.

Outline Of Romans 3:1-8

Key Words: Faithful/unfaithful, Righteous/unrighteous, Judge

Transition sentences tie the prior topic to content of 3:1-8.

I. The Jews were to be faithful with the Word of God.
II. God's faithfulness is not diminished by their/our unfaithfulness.
A. God is righteous in his Word and in his judgments.
B. Psalm 51:4 is Quoted
III. God's righteousness is contrasted with our unrighteousness.
IV. God is righteous to judge the unrighteous.

(Verse 1)

1.What was the 'true Jew' in the prior chapter?
A. One whose heart had been transformed in his inner man.
B. Someone who kept the Law.
C. A person who keeps kosher.
D. A person who has been justified.

(Verse 2)

2. What is the Word of God?
A. Some fables of long ago.
B. Some oral traditions.
C. Revelation from God
D. Words written about the mystic experiences from one culture.

3. What types of knowledge should you trust? (Choose all that apply.)
A. Intuition (A sense that you may not be able to explain.)
B. Empirical evidence (Things you can see, hear, smell, taste, and feel.)
C. Deduced knowledge (This that are known from reasoning.)
D. Revelation (Special knowledge given from God through his Word.)
E. Authentic Life (Things you trust because of the authentic life of the messengers.)
F. Pragmatism (You know something is true because it works.)

4. How is one faithful to the Word of God?
A. Reads it daily
B. Uses it for self examination
C. Translates it from the original languages.
D. Uses only the King James Version
E. Lives according to its teachings

(Verse 3)

5. How might somebody nullify a warranty on a car?
A. Change the oil at a Jiffy Lube.
B. Drive it into the Patapsco River.
C. Run diesel in the engine.
D. Bad mouth the dealer.

6.How can God remain faithful when we are faithless?
A. He has to be the one who is faithful since we can not do it.
B. God is faithful because his goodness and mercy are not a response to ours.
C. God is glorified in his mercy.
D. We have no sin larger than the love of God.

(Verse 4)

7. This verse quotes Psalm 51:4. Why would Paul use the Psalm about David's repentance from murder and adultery to show God's faithfulness?
A. Paul is saying that the Jewish nation is no longer where the throne of David resides. It is now in heaven.
B. Paul is helping the readers in Rome to remember that David was a murderer and a adulterer and yet God blessed him.
C. Paul is reminding the people that David was judged by having his son Absolom rebel against him.
D. Paul is reminding the people that David's son from Bathsheba did not live beyond infancy.

(Verse 5)

8. In the ESV version there are two questions.

"But if our unrighteousness serves to show the righteousness of God, what shall we say?"

"That God is unrighteous to inflict wrath on us?"

Are both statements human reasoning? Explain your answer.

(Verse 6)

9.It seems that judgment is assumed by Paul in his reference. What do you think most people you know would say about the judgment on mankind?

A. Judgment is just a cosmic boggy man to keep weak minded people on the straight and narrow.
B. Judgment will be the regrets we carry to the grave.
C. Judgment is something we just don't know what will happen.
D. Judgment is where all those evil people will get what is coming to them.
E. Judgment is where God will weigh all our thoughts, words and deeds.

(Verse 7)

10. If good things come from my so-called sin, is it really evil?
A. God turns our evil to good because he is so powerful.
B. God redeems us from evil, but good and evil are not based on outcomes.
C. Joseph's brothers meant their actions for evil but God meant it for good. Therefore, it was not really bad.
D. This is just a bunch of hogwash. These folks are excusing their sin and they know it.

(Verse 8)

11. Who is condemned?
A. Paul's disciples
B. Paul and all the Romans
C. Those who slander Paul
D. Those who do evil so that good may come

Friday, July 22, 2005

Gadfly's Muse

My blogging muse has not hit this week very well so I have been pointing toward other people's postings I thought deserved some accolades and attention. But instead of pointing to a post I thought I would point to the Gadfly's entire blog. He is new to blogging. I have known the Gadfly for a number of years, but I know him as a pastor in Maryland here. He has a rich and diverse background in academia, military and now a pastor. Again check out his blog.

Gadfly's Muse

Joe Missionary: Interview with a Bible Translator

Check this out....

Joe Missionary: Interview with a Bible Translator: "Interview with a Bible Translator

Today I'm interviewing Wayne Leman of Better Bibles Blog. He's a real-life Bible translator (as opposed to the other kind?) working with a Native American group. I'm excited to see a Bible translation blog, because the process of translation - whether into English or other minority languages - is really interesting to me. "

Follow the link to read the complete interview.

Thursday, July 21, 2005

Reflections of the Times

Trolling the blog-o-sphere and I came across this post on homeschooling and socialization. We homeschool and of course all flaws that my family has can be attributed to this malidy called homeschooling. (end of sarcasim) I would say two of my children are introverts and two are extroverts and I don't know on my youngest. It does seem that extroverts often feel that their disposition is the only way that is healthy. By the way, I am in the middle on the introvert-extrovert scale. So is my wife.

Reflections of the Times: "I read a post today at Letter' Rip called Pious and Reclusive for Christ. The author Susanna had alot of great things to say about the way Christian parents should raise their children, to be powerful witnesses for Christ - but then she added:

'Let us show them what it means to passionately share their faith, love and reach out to others that we would not raise kids who are pious and reclusive for the savior of the world.' (emphasis mine)

I must say, reading the title of her post, and that one comment, bothered me all afternoon.

I tried to reply at her blog but the first one disappeared into the cyber-round-file after I hit enter, and the second one only partially posted - so it doesn't even make sense.

So I will elaborate/vent here." Follow the link to get more of her thoughts.

Wednesday, July 20, 2005

How To Sing the Blues

The Jollyblogger and I ate at the Red, Hot and Blue last night. I had the pulled pork. I don't know what the pork pulled. I did not pull any punches. Perhaps it pulled some shenanigans when it was a pigglet. Any way, I'm considering dumping my job, my computer and changing my name to Flat-footed Apple Adams after reading this. Oh, yeah, Jolly...being his jolly self...asked the staff for the following.


by Lame Mango Washington (attributed to Memphis Earlene Gray with help from Uncle Plunky, revisions by Little Blind Patti D. and Dr. Stevie Franklin)

1. Most Blues begin, 'Woke up this morning.'

2.'I got a good woman' is a bad way to begin the Blues, 'less you stick something nasty in the next line, like ' I got a good woman, with the meanest face in town.'

3. The Blues is simple. After you get the first line right, repeat it.Then find something that rhymes ... sort of: 'Got a good woman--with the meanest face in town. Got teeth like Margaret Thatcher - and she weigh 500 pound.'

4. The Blues are not about choice. You stuck in a ditch, you stuck in a ditch; ain't no way out.

5. Blues cars: Chevys and Cadillacs and broken-down trucks. Blues don't travel in Volvos, BMWs, or Sport Utility Vehicles. Most Blues transportation is a Greyhound bus or a southbound train. Jet aircraft an' state-sponsored motor pools ain't even in the running. Walkin' plays a major part in the blues lifestyle. So does fixin' to die.

6. Teenagers can't sing the Blues. They ain't fixin' to die yet. Adults sing the Blues. In Blues, ' adulthood' means being old enough to get the electric chair if you shoot a man in Memphis.

7. Blues can take place in New York City but not in Hawaii or any place in Canada. Hard times in St. Paul or Tucson is just clinical depression. Chicago, St. Louis, and Kansas City still the best places to have the Blues. You cannot have the blues in any place that don't get rain.

8. A man with male pattern baldness ain't the blues. A woman with male pattern baldness is. Breaking your leg cuz you skiing is not the blues. Breaking your leg cuz an alligator be chomping on it is.

9. You can't have no Blues in an office or a shopping mall. The lighting is wrong. Go outside to the parking lot or sit by the dumpster.

10. Good places for the Blues:

a. highway
b. jailhouse
c. empty bed
d. bottom of a whiskey glass

Bad places:

a. Ashrams
b. gallery openings
c. Ivy League institutions
d. golf courses

11. No one will believe it's the Blues if you wear a suit, 'less you happen to be very old , and you slept in it.

12. Do you have the right to sing the Blues? Yes, if:

a. you're older than dirt
b. you're blind
c. you shot a man in Memphis
d. you can't be satisfied

No, if:

a. you have all your teeth
b. you were once blind but now can see
c. the man in Memphis lived.
d. you have a retirement plan or trust fund.

13. Blues is not a matter of color. It's a matter of bad luck. Tiger Woods cannot sing the blues. Gary Coleman could. Ugly white people also got a leg up on the blues.

14. If you ask for water and Baby give you gasoline, it's the Blues. Other acceptable Blues beverages are:

a. wine
b. whiskey or bourbon
c. muddy water
d. black coffee

The following are NOT Blues beverages:

a. mixed drinks
b. kosher wine
c. Snapple
d. sparkling water

15. If it occurs in a cheap motel or a shotgun shack, it's a Blues death. Stabbed in the back by a jealous lover is another Blues way to die. So is the electric chair, substance abuse, and dying lonely on a broken down cot. You can't have a Blues death if you die during a tennis match or getting liposuction.

16. Some Blues names for women:

a. Sadie
b. Big Mama
c. Bessie
d. Fat River Dumpling

17. Some Blues names for men:

a. Joe
b. Willie
c. Little Willie
d. Big Willie

18. Persons with names like Sierra, Sequoia, Auburn, and Rainbow can't sing the Blues no matter how many men they shoot in Memphis.

19. Make your own Blues name (starter kit): a. name of physical infirmity (Blind, Cripple, Lame, etc.) b. first name (see above) plus name of fruit (Lemon, Lime, Kiwi,etc.) c. last name of President (Jefferson, Johnson, Fillmore, etc.) For example, Blind Lime Jefferson, or Cripple Kiwi Fillmore, etc. (Well, maybe not "Kiwi.")

20. I don't care how tragic your life: you own a computer, you cannot sing the blues. You best destroy it. Fire, a spilled bottle of Mad Dog, or get out a shotgun. Maybe your big woman just done sat on it.

Saturday, July 16, 2005

Innovation in Theological Education: The Problem Of Early Adopters

It seems that theological education is both one of the biggest innovators in education and at the same time stuck in practices of the past.

As I understand it, some theological schools in the past offered complete Masters degrees via correspondence. Not just a few people took advantage of this distance learning. Sometimes people who were not morally or socially qualified for ministry. Some even obtained the theological degree as a form of mockery to the Christian faith. In response to this the accrediting agency made 18 hours the maximum hours that could be done via coorspondance. Now accredited schools are severely limited in the types of distance learning they can offer in fully accredited M. Div. program.

In the technology field, there are individuals called 'early adopters'. Early adopters purchase produces when the new product first comes out. They are willing to take some risk. At the present there are some people who are purchasing hybrid cars. These are run on electricity and gasoline. One big advantage for these cars is the fuel effeciency. However there are many unknowns in adopting these cars. What happens when they go to the junk heap? How do we dispose of the battery components? How do we ensure there is not a hazardous waste spill polluting the water shed at the site of every major wreck? Perhaps these questions have been answered by industry experts, but still adopting new technology brings risk.

By analogy, when we innovate in educational practices, we incur risk and may cause unintended outcomes. Who would have thought that distance learning would have brought mockery upon the field of distance learning in theological education? Now that distance learning means hooking up to the Internet to do classes, distance learning has a number of schools who offer degrees totally on line. But accredited theological institutions do not offer M. Div degrees via distance education because they were an early adopter who got burned with unintended outcomes.

I believe the accrediting agencies for theological schools need to rethink their stand on this issue and offer alternatives to 18 hours limitation on correspondence study. However, the bigger issue is how does one innovate in the feild of theological education?

Friday, July 15, 2005

I completed the Silver Award at

This morning I got up and completed my final exercise session to win the Silver Award. Having retired from the Army, I need to ensure I continue to get exercise to be a good steward of my health. I tend to gain weight if I do not exercise. Mentally I benifit from exercise too. Even though my depression seems to have passed, exercise helps me keep a healthy disposition.

Thursday, July 14, 2005

The Christian Century

I don't read Christian Century, I'm more of a Christianity Today and World Magazine sort of guy. But this article is interesting from the fact of I beleive they are sort of displaying Warren as a poster child of need for social change to counter systemic evils. The two types of morality, corperate and individual, need not be contrasted, however it is easy to gravitate toward one or the other.

The Christian Century: "Rick Warren pursuing programs against world poverty
by Holly Lebowitz Rossi
Usually when the words evangelical and poverty appear in the same sentence, the minister at the helm is Jim Wallis, Ron Sider or Tony Campolo. When Rick Warren is written and talked about, it's almost never in the context of any political issue.

But Warren, the pastor of Saddleback Church in Lake Forest, California, and the author of the blockbuster The Purpose-Driven Life, is diving into the issue of Christian responsibility to combat global poverty.

The move was signaled by an open letter campaign to President Bush, launched June 3 by Warren with heavyweights Billy Graham and British evangelical John Stott and sent to more than 150,000 evangelicals nationwide."

Hat Tip: Real Live Preacher on the link to The Christian Century site.

Tuesday, July 12, 2005

Weblog: Is Gonzales Pro-Life? Does it Matter? - Christianity Today Magazine

For international readers, I'm writing about a U.S. problem and that is our selection of a Suprem Court Justice. In the spirit of the cultural mandate, I want to say that as Christians we need to be careful not to look at this as a power grab time, but as a time to set up a solid foundation of government that is based on solid prinicipals law.

I have linked to a good story in Christianity Today. I have said for a while that if we are against judicial activism, we can't turn around and ask potential judges personal opinions on an issue, we should ask them about their craft, which is law and its interpretation. One person in this story says that Gonzolaz is more concerned about technical interpretation of the law than he is about babies. Well, that leads to a good question. If we are merely concerned about an outcome of one case, we could use force and cohercion to get one way or another. If we are looking for a lasting system of justice that protects human life, we have to build a consensus that abortion stops a beating heart. Then pass laws that support the sense of justic as we have advocated and won the hearts and minds in getting laws passed. The law is important because it keeps the mechanisms for change in the realm of public discourse and not in the realm of violence. Pull apart our political system which is based on law and you unravel any future for our nation.

Weblog: Is Gonzales Pro-Life? Does it Matter? - Christianity Today Magazine: "'There are no litmus tests for judicial candidates,' Gonzales told the Los Angeles Times in 2001. 'My own personal feelings about [abortion] don't matter. … The question is, what is the law, what is the precedent, what is binding in rendering your decision. Sometimes, interpreting a statute, you may have to uphold a statute that you may find personally offensive. But as a judge, that's your job.' "

Sunday, July 10, 2005

'All' As Used By Biblical Writers

Modern set theory makes a big deal about things like 'all', 'every', and 'some' as very distinguished things. This used to confuse me when I studied passages like 2 Peter 3:9 which says “The Lord is not slow to fulfill his promise as some count slowness, but is patient toward you, not wishing that any should perish, but that all should reach repentance.” (ESV) If the sacrifice of Christ is large enough for all mankind, then what does this passage mean. After extensive studies in the Greek, literally, I found that the word 'all' is used differently in ancient times than we use it today. We have a strict mathematical sense of the words 'some' and 'all' while it is in ancient times they were much more free about not explaining exceptions to the rules applied to the set we call 'all'. For instance when Philippians says “so that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father,” it does not mean that Jesus himself will bow to himself. They felt no need to be that exacting.

A quote from by William Perkins, a puritan preacher, in his lectures on Bible interpretation and preaching:

“A general word may have a particular meaning and vice-versa. Thus 'all' may mean 'many', and 'many' may mean 'all' (as Augustine made clear). We see this frequently in Scripture (e.g. Gen. 33:11; Exodus 9:6; Deut. 28:64; 1 Kings 12:18; Jer. 8:6, 26:9; Matt. 4;23, 21:26; John 14:13, 1 Cor. 6:12; Phil 2:21). 'Nothing' may mean 'little' or 'small' (John 18:20; Acts 27:33). 'None' can be 'often' or 'long' (Jer. 8:6; 1 Cor. 2:8). 'Always' may mean 'often' or 'long' (Prov. 13:10; Luke 18:1, 24:53; John 18:29). 'Eternal' may mean 'a long time' if that suits the context best (e.g. Gen. 17:8; Lev. 25:46; Deut. 15:17; 1 Chron. 15:2; Isa. 34:6; Dan. 2:4; Jer. 25:9). 'Everywhere' can mean 'here and there' (Mark 16:20; Acts 17:30). A negative is often limited in its significance to one particular matter (e.g. in Psa 7:4; John 9:3). 'Not' may mean 'seldom', 'scarcely', or 'hardly' (1 Kings 15:5; Luke 2:37).”

'All' As Used By Biblical Writers

Modern set theory makes a big deal about things like 'all', 'every', and 'some' as very distinguished things. This used to confuse me when I studied passages like 2 Peter 3:9 which says “The Lord is not slow to fulfill his promise as some count slowness, but is patient toward you, not wishing that any should perish, but that all should reach repentance.” (ESV) If the sacrifice of Christ is large enough for all mankind, then what does this passage mean. After extensive studies in the Greek, literally, I found that the word 'all' is used differently in ancient times than we use it today. We have a strict mathematical sense of the words 'some' and 'all' while it is in ancient times they were much more free about not explaining exceptions to the rules applied to the set we call 'all'. For instance when Philippians says “so that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father,” it does not mean that Jesus himself will bow to himself. They felt no need to be that exacting.

A quote from by William Perkins, a puritan preacher, in his lectures on Bible interpretation and preaching:

“A general word may have a particular meaning and vice-versa. Thus 'all' may mean 'many', and 'many' may mean 'all' (as Augustine made clear). We see this frequently in Scripture (e.g. Gen. 33:11; Exodus 9:6; Deut. 28:64; 1 Kings 12:18; Jer. 8:6, 26:9; Matt. 4;23, 21:26; John 14:13, 1 Cor. 6:12; Phil 2:21). 'Nothing' may mean 'little' or 'small' (John 18:20; Acts 27:33). 'None' can be 'often' or 'long' (Jer. 8:6; 1 Cor. 2:8). 'Always' may mean 'often' or 'long' (Prov. 13:10; Luke 18:1, 24:53; John 18:29). 'Eternal' may mean 'a long time' if that suits the context best (e.g. Gen. 17:8; Lev. 25:46; Deut. 15:17; 1 Chron. 15:2; Isa. 34:6; Dan. 2:4; Jer. 25:9). 'Everywhere' can mean 'here and there' (Mark 16:20; Acts 17:30). A negative is often limited in its significance to one particular matter (e.g. in Psa 7:4; John 9:3). 'Not' may mean 'seldom', 'scarcely', or 'hardly' (1 Kings 15:5; Luke 2:37).”

Saturday, July 09, 2005

Study Questions Whether Short-Term Missions Make a Difference - Christianity Today Magazine

The link below will take you to a summary of a study whether Short-Term Missions make a difference. This article says that short-term missions studies usually have smaller samples than professor Ver Beek, his seems to only have interviewed people from one location. So I see it as one case study which should be used to compare with other short-term missions trips. He also look for several out comes to the experince, which look sort of like educational outcomes to me. He seems to want to change behaviors in those who went. While the outcomes seem noble to me, I would have to take some time to decided if those were the outcomes I was looking for in a short-term missions trip. I think he sees spiritual growth as being measured by quantifiables such as increased giving by the short-term missionaries and long lasting friendships. But if those were the measurement sticks by which to judge success, trip leaders could be designing those components into the trip. It seems to me trips were designed primarily to provide housing. Did they do that? Even if someone thought there was a better way to do the project, for instance send money to have locals build it, that is an obvious other path to doing this.

Short-term missions have become a force and use our resources. Professor Ver Beek brings some of his assumptions about the movement as well as his suggestions. He claims his data could be interpreted differently by others, but I would counter that examining his assumptions are more important for public discourse. Assuming that someone is going to lead a short-term missions trip what are the desirable outcomes?

If any of my readers have gone on a short-term missions trip, what were the goals of the leadership? What were your goals? Did you acheive them?

Study Questions Whether Short-Term Missions Make a Difference - Christianity Today Magazine: "Study Questions Whether Short-Term Missions Make a Difference
Missionaries don't keep giving after they return; hosts prefer money to guests, Calvin sociologist finds.
by Abram Huyser Honig | posted 06/20/2005 09:00 a.m.

Short-term mission trips to foreign countries are the biggest trend to hit the evangelical Christian outreach scene since vacation Bible school. Between 1 million and 4 million North American Christians reportedly participated in STMs in 2003, and the number keeps rising.

Praises and critiques of the trend tend to be proportionately extreme, touting STMs either as miraculous recruiters of long-term missionaries or insidious sowers of third-world dependency.

But a new study, to which I contributed the literature review, suggests both sides are off the mark.

According to Kurt Ver Beek, professor of sociology and third-world development at Calvin College in Grand Rapids, Michigan, traditional STMs don't do much at all.

That conclusion might sound odd to those familiar with any of the with the 50-odd dissertations written on the subject in the last 15 years, or with Roger Peterson's well-known studies in the subject. " Click on the link to read the rest.

Friday, July 08, 2005 » Myths of the Modern Mega-Church

Hat Tip: » Myths of the Modern Mega-Church: "6 Myths of the Modern Mega-Church, according to Pastor Rick Warren (of Saddleback and Purpose-Driven Life renown):

1. Mega-churches are a uniquely American phenomenon.
2. Mega-churches are politically active.
3. Mega-churches attract people because of their size.
4. Mega-churches have televised services.
5. Mega-churches require little or no commitment.
6. Mega-churches grow by marketing.


Wednesday, July 06, 2005

The First Cause: I've been tagged !!

One of the folks I tagged on the Five Things Meme....

Check him out...

The First Cause: I've been tagged !!: "The first thing I miss about my childhood is hearing my Mom sing. It didn't matter wha"

43 Places

I have been using 43 Things web site to assist me in my blogging and self-improvement. Now they have expanded their site to included 43 Places. Most excellent idea!

43 Places: "Where do you want to go?"

Or you can look at my 43 Places to which I want to go!

Cool During The Heat

I understand that if it gets really hot out, say 100 degrees that you really can’t beat the heat even on the mountains. When we were there a couple of weeks ago it was 10 degree cooler on the mountains than the valleys. We enjoyed the wild life, lots of deer.

Taking The Survey

Take the MIT Weblog Survey

Monday, July 04, 2005

JOLLYBLOGGER: Check out the Fat Triplets and Their Cool New Shirts

The Jollyblogger's I think therefore I blog T-shirts seem to be catching on.

JOLLYBLOGGER: Check out the Fat Triplets and Their Cool New Shirts: "Fattriplets2_smallScott, Seth and Steve Spearman, aka The Fat Triplets are sporting the latest in blogger fashion on their weblog. Thanks to Steve for sending me this picture of the three handsome fellas in their brand new 'I Think, Therefore I Blog,' t-shirts. "

Soup Kitchen International

I'm thinking of traveling to New York City. When I do, where do I take my lovely red headed wife? I think she needs a cup of soup for lunch. So perhaps we can go to the Soup Kitchen that the episode of Seinfeld on the Soup Nazi was based on. That would be a hoot.

Soup Kitchen International - Contact:

My Nation

It was amazing to me to find out a few years ago that there is a difference between the nation and the state. Some people like Alvin Toffler say that the contemporary nation-state is new on the scene since the 1800s. In studying this concept regarding the Balkans Crisis of the mid-1990s, I was amazed to find out that in different places the nation is defined different ways. In the United States, the concept of what makes up the nation is not debated, nor something discussed much outside High School civics classes. Most people assume we know what a nation is and why we should be loyal to our nation. However, if someone is a native American living on a reservation, are you a citizen of the United States or are part of the Indian Nations? In reality, sometimes the Indian Nations are treated as sovereign and at other times that is concept that would just not be allow to even begin to raise its head. What are the different concepts of what the essence of a nation is?

Clan or Family - There are those who see a nation as mostly biological. The Old Testament defines nations in terms of family membership. Abraham is blessed by being the father of many nations. While there is a larger sense of fulfillment for the Abrahamic through the unity of many nations in the faith of Abraham, but there is also a fulfillment in the people who were the descendants of Ishmael and the one we usually think of the descendants of Isaac. This idea that nations are primarily biological has been taken to extremes in conflicts like the Balkans crisis of the 1990s. The Serbs in Bosnia-Herzegovina used biology to distinguish themselves from the Croatian and the Bosniacs. My understanding is that biologically and linguistically these three groups are actually pretty much the same. The real difference between these groups was their religious heritage, Catholic, Orthodox Christian, and Muslim. However, a religious war was untenable and so they defined their nations by biology to make it more acceptable morally. Some of the wars in Africa in recent years have been clan based. In the United States we are not able to unit on one dominant biological connection. We are melting pot of many biological lines. Family linage is a strong force and many modern nations realize their connections based on those biological connections. There is no way for this to be true in the United States without some sort of terrible and appalling changes. That is not to say that nations like Japan or Greece which do use biology as a dominant national definition are wrong but it just will not, can not work for the United States.

Land - Our nation has been able to define ourself in times past based on our land. We sing songs about from sea to shining sea. Of course as we do so we leave out Alaska and Hawaii, but the don't complain. Or at least I have never heard them complain. Our borders are not in dispute generally speaking, however when people look back at the blood shed and wars that helped define our borders, many people are appalled. There was a whole philosophy of the time that a coast to coast nation was a manifest destiny. In our contemporary setting, do not have such things as uncharted territory and so the political situation is quite a bit different. And realizing that borders here were a matter of maps and surveyors, but there were many and conflicting maps, land grants and charters. In essence our borders were established through both legal means mentioned above but also by people going to explore and settle the land. Once people start to risk their lives and families, that is when border establishment gives way to wars and blood shed. In our contemporary times we could never imagine doing what our forefathers did in going to war over land with the Native Americans. However if we were living in their days, we would see a vast land that was relatively unsettled. The people who lived their were not using much of it and at least on some occasions had different concepts of land ownership. We now have a mess which we have created with the Native Americans living on reservations, living with many educational, medical and economic disadvantages that can not be easily fixed. To take an analogy from most people's heritage, when you go back we are often the product of some ungodly people. Our forefathers may have been less than good and less than noble. Our land is one dimension of what defines us, despite the bad things in how we came to get it, there is also a noble aspect of settling this land. What courage it took to leave Europe to start a new life in America. When African Americans traveled west to enlist in the Army as a Buffalo Soldier, they took risk and changed the geographic environment. As people struggled on the plains of Kansas to farm wheat, they established a bread basket for the world. As people connected one coast with the other with a rail system, they created a continental rail system. As we celebrate our nation, we must celebrate our diverse and beautiful land. I believe that is one of the functions of our National Park system.

State – I would like to say that in our concept of government lexus rexus, in other words law is king. I think for the most part that is our concept of government. But there are those that once they have power, they use it as they wish. As I understand it, many nations of the world have a constitution that mirrors the constitution of the United States. They have lifted phrases and ideas of our constitution. While they have the legal document, in reality the President and other officials do pretty much as they please. Dictators keep the nation defined by sealing the borders and keep everyone in check, whether they are an ethnic majority or an ethnic minority. And again, as I understand it, many people in their world respect a strong government, even if it is oppressive because power is respected. I would not equate our state as our nation in sense of enforcing their power over the people but in a sense of limiting their power over the people. The polar opposite of how power is often practiced. I do not want to be too broad in my statements, there are many fine countries in the world who also limit the power of the state. At the same time, it is an American distinctive that I celebrate.

Culture – At one time, we could think of our British heritage as the dominant cultural heritage. Other cultures that immigrated to the United States kept some features of their culture but often learned speak English. These people's children spoke English with no accent, and attended public schools. Their was a common American experience in our language and education. (There were many exceptions, however, this was the rule.) In times of national crisis, service in the military was also a common shaping experience. These ideal common experiences, due to the size and variety of our nation, have become less ideal and less common. Our movies, books, and television shows have become somewhat of a shared experience. But most of these are developed from a marketing point of view and artistic mediocrity abounds. The messages spoken are designed to sell well and not offend. Culturally, we do have some unity, but less so. Trying to hold on to some idealization of our culture in the past would just back fire. At one time, our nation could be define a great deal by a common culture, but less so today.

Religion – At the beginning of the United States as colonies, there was a religious identity that defined the nation. Some religious persuasions were allowed and others were endorsed. The religious identity by the middle of the 20th Century was that their was a gentleman's agreement that Protestantism, Catholicism and Judaism formed the Judao-Christian heritage. Of course there has always been more than that in America. But these three agreed to disagree on certain issues and in matters of public discourse could unite to do things like hold commencements services for a graduating class. This seemed to be a safe ground to hold as a common point of reference, freedom with a dash of broad unity. However, those who were not religious or came from a minority religion felt that they were not being represented by this broad category. At this time in our nation, we do have dominant religious forces that define us. Some are good and some are bad. Mormonism is a part of the fabric of our religious heritage. I disagree with the Mormon doctrines on revelation and salvation and other key issues. I could not disagree more with them, however, they are a defining element in our nations identity. I am not saying that they are state supported, but they have mass of numbers, influence in our culture on a scale that they are a part of that American religious fabric. In the same way, due to numbers of people who adhere to Evangelical Protestantism, and influence on American thinking, Evangelical Protestantism is a part of our American religious fabric. There are other forces out there too. Religion does define our nation sometimes for good and sometimes for bad. We should celebrate our religious heritage, despite it not being state sponsored.

Ideas – In writing this little essay on what a nation is, I have already talked about some ideas we hold as common. But the idea of freedom is probably the most dominant idea that defines us as a nation. Freedom to pursue goals, or freedom to live a quiet life. Freedom to serve God or freedom to serve yourself. While many nations of the world are defined by a strong government or their ethnic heritage, the United States is defined by a set of ideas, the most dominant being freedom. This idea of freedom is not unique to the United States, but it is a defining feature we celebrate. I don't think the idea even originated with us. We can lament when we have unjustly taken other people's freedom, however, there is a day to lament and there is a day to rejoice, let us rejoice in the our heritage. Those of you who hail by other nations, we rejoice with you too in your days of celebration. We rejoice that there are some things that transcend national boundaries, such as our freedom from sin in Christ Jesus. You pray for us and we will pray for you.

Meme Links: Five Things I Miss...

I have tagged some others on the Five Things I Miss from my childhood meme. I will link to them as they get posted. Here is the linage of the meme.

1. justaskjudy: I've Been Tagged
2. Loose Leaf: Meme: 5 Things I Miss.
3. Black Currant Jam: Meme: 5 Things I Miss.
4. Allthings2all: I Wanted Green Hair.
5. Rebecca Writes: It's a Meme: Snakes and Other Good Things.

Sunday, July 03, 2005

NARA | The National Archives Experience

NARA | The National Archives Experience: "The Declaration of Independence: A Transcription

IN CONGRESS, July 4, 1776.

The unanimous Declaration of the thirteen united States of America,

When in the Course of human events, it becomes necessary for one people to dissolve the political bands which have connected them with another, and to assume among the powers of the earth, the separate and equal station to which the Laws of Nature and of Nature's God entitle them, a decent respect to the opinions of mankind requires that they should declare the causes which impel them to the separation.

We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.--That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, --That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness. Prudence, indeed, will dictate that Governments long established should not be changed for light and transient causes; and accordingly all experience hath shewn, that mankind are more disposed to suffer, while evils are sufferable, than to right themselves by abolishing the forms to which they are accustomed. But when a long train of abuses and usurpations, pursuing invariably the same Object evinces a design to reduce them under absolute Despotism, it is their right, it is their duty, to throw off such Government, and to provide new Guards for their future security.--Such has been the patient sufferance of these Colonies; and such is now the necessity which constrains them to alter their for"

Saturday, July 02, 2005

Meme: Five Things I Miss From ...

Meme: Five Things I Miss

I have been tagged by Rebecca Writes with the five things I miss from my childhood meme.

Four of my great-grandparents were living when I was a child. I did not know how fortunate I was to hear stories from people who were born in the 1800s. The grew up with no electricity, no cars, no plumbing, and no guile. We had separate names for each great-grandparent. My mother's grandparents were called granny and gramp on her mothers side and Grandpa Bert and Grandma Bert on her father's side.

1. Granny - I really did not think of them as nicknames or that you would call Granny anything but Granny. She was a sweet woman who worked hard all her life. Her disposition was extremely cordial. She had an eighth grade education but that was considered a complete education in those days. When I came to visit, she would fix me breakfast and joke and joke and joke. Come to think of it, most of the time she made a play on words.

2. Gramp - At times I was scared of Gramp. He was hard of hearing so he only entered a discussion when he had to. His normal work clothes included overalls and a hat. He drank coffee from a special cup and saucer in the morning and had a glass chalice type cup to use at lunch and the evening meal. He smoked a pipe, but only in his living room. I don't think I ever saw him smoke in any other venue. He was a man of habits and routine. But when he did them, they were not boring or routine. Come on now, drinking from a chalice everyday is not boring. I always liked him having his special things.

3. Grandma Bert – Now I was confused why we called Grandma Bert that name. But her name was Roberta. I always like going to her house. She sewed and cooked not only for functional reasons but because she enjoyed it. She always wanted to do the right thing and expected others to do so also. When I think she was in her eighties, raccoons were getting into her corn and eating it at night. She set a trap and the next morning went down with her gun and ended the troublesome raids of her corn patch. She had hominy to make and those 'coons were not going to ruin her plans. Making hominy was one of her signature dishes. It is a lot of work to make but she enjoyed making it.

4. Grandpa Bert – Okay now this is what was confusing, he was called Bert too, but that was because his name was Bert. He was a Methodist minister, a farmer, a veterinarian, a horse handler, a hunter and a professional boxer. Pro boxing was not the same in the early 1900 in Wyoming as it is today. As I understand it we are talking about getting in the ring and winning a few fights. He was a good story teller. I still remember him telling about the fellow who was the first to beat him in the ring. My Grandpa Bert's technique was to wait to get in one good punch that would down his opponent. The fellow that beat him and ended his boxing winning streak studied him over several fights. When he got in the ring, he knew what my Grandpa was going to do and never let down his guard. My Grandpa studied after lunch everyday. He was a self-taught scholar.

5. Fireworks – For me fireworks is something you do, not something you watch. My brother, my cousin and I would get some fire crackers and set them off. Sometimes we would light the whole back and let them go off for a minute or so. At other times we would practice lighting them and throwing them into the air. We would try to get them to explode in mid-air. We would figure out new places to put them and see what would happen. We would put rocks in a pipe and set a fire cracker off in the other end. Even if the rocks traveled two inches we thought we were setting off cannons. Inevitably we would have a conversation about my cousin's birthday coming up just after the forth. He was a little older than me.