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Showing posts from June, 2009

Comfort for those who mourn the animals they loved

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Image via WikipediaA month ago our duck pen was visited by a predator. That was terrible. It was the first time we had forgotten to lock them up for the night. One duck was killed. It seemed wonderful later on that a friend of mine wanted to find a new home for his two Indian Runner Ducks. We had lost one but ended up with two more. We had four birds, 3 runners and one Khaki Campbell, our reliable egg layer. The Campbell survived the earlier attack.

She didn't survive last night's attack.

The predator pushed the cinder blocks out of the way and got in the duck house and chewed her and the newcomers up. I never found one carcass, presumably carried off for pups or kits, but I had to pick up two more. It was a brutal sight and made breakfast difficult going down. Image via WikipediaNorbert, our male who survived the first attack, survived this one as well, but bloodied with a limp leg. He was named after Hagrid's pet dragon. He's a tough duck.

My children were so upset last…

book report - Hitler, A Biography by Ian Kershaw, 1

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Cover of HitlerMy reading for this summer is Ian Kershaw's condensed-from-two-volumes-to-one-yet-still-massive biography of Hitler. I expect to plod through it in fits and starts. I also expect there will be many noteworthy quotes in it. My first one is from the prelude.
...as the key to understanding how Hitler could obtain, then exercise, his peculiar form of power, I turned to the concept of 'charismatic authority', as devised by the brilliant German sociologist Max Weber, who died before Hitler had been heard of - at least outside Munich beerhalls...'Charismatic authority', as deployed by Weber, did not rest primarily on demonstrable outstanding qualities of an individual. Rather, it derived from the perception of such qualities among a 'following' which, amid crisis conditions, projected on to a chosen leader unique 'heroic' attributes and saw in him personal greatness, the embodiment of a 'mission' of salvation. 'Charismatic authori…

tragic manicures going on in the world

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I just read a great short piece at Time.com about the Iranian media showing The Lord of the Image by misterarasmus via FlickrRings Trilogy to pacify the rightly upset public, HT: Get Religion. But then I followed a link to a slideshow of the violence against the protesters in Iran. But the tragedy is the list of the Top 10 read articles today at Time. Half of them are about Michael Jackson and one is about Farrah Fawcett. Two popular entertainers died while more are dying for more important things in Iran. In light of this, my brother reportedly, though I did not see it myself, wrote as his status on Facebook something like, "I don't care about Jackson dying when there are tragic manicures going on in the world." He had a brain fart. We all do. He meant "tragic massacres." His point is well taken. But I think, based on the media coverage I'm seeing today, most people act as if they don't care about injustice in Iran when there are tragic manicures and o…

travails of a barefoot runner

Last year was a bust for my barefoot running. I had some annoying pain running up my arch to my ankle bone that only bothered me when I ran barefoot. So I took the summer off. This winter, I ran a bit in my Nike Free shoes. I even ran a 5K with my wife, shod. The pain was gone in my ankle. When the sun was last out, about 2 months ago, I went on my first BF run and did fine. It was a mile and a half out shod and the return trip unshod. Then the sun disappeared, along with my motivation.

I needed a goal, and I decided on the free 12 miler in the blistering heat and humidity of August, which I did two years ago, unshod, and two years before that, shod. When the sun peaked out yesterday, I took off my shoes and went out for an easy 3. The tendon pain was gone. My technique was rusty but adequate. I thought all was fine. Four hours later, I pushed back from my desk and starting walking to my car with a sharp pain on the top of my foot up from the big toe. It feels to me like a fracture or …

book report - Nelson's Illustrated Guide to Religions by Beverly

James Beverly has put together an 800 page reference for Evangelical Christians titled, Nelson's Illustrated Guide to Religions, A Comprehensive Introduction to the Religions of the World. Beverly is Professor of Christian Thought and Ethics at Tyndale Seminary in Toronto, Ontario. He's published other titles on other religions previously.

His topics range from Branch Davidians to Islam, Scientology to the Moonies. He also has separate chapters on the Orthodox, Protestant and Catholic churches. Why a group of a few hundred at most is considered alongside a group of one billion is somewhat mystifying. However, the introduction clarifies that he intends the book "as a guide to understanding some of the most controversial religious groups and issues." p.1 The rogue's list of Christian Sectarian Groups in chapter 5 is depressing reading, especially the frequency of sexual perversion in these groups. He does not hold much weight in the concept of brainwashing, but he d…

my official facebook address

Feel free to "friend" me at http://www.facebook.com/john.p.umland
If I have never heard of you before, I will ignore your friend request unless you tell me you are a blog reader friend.
I find that lately I've been doing more at FB than at the Umblog. Today's post, in fact, was an expansion of the verse of the day I've been using for my status updates.

Rescued from this world

This morning I read Galatians 1 which opens with 3 Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ, 4 who gave himself for our sins to deliver us from the present evil age, according to the will of our God and Father, 5 to whom be the glory forever and ever. Amen.

Some theologians make a strong case for God's purpose is to redeem this world. But verses like this makes me think, he did come to redeem, but not everyone or everything. According to His will, some will be rescued and some won't. So God redeems individuals. The influence of the individuals can, and often do, improve the culture in which they are part. Sometimes, the culture destroys them. But no matter how many are redeemed, this present age will always be evil. But one day this age will end, when Jesus returns.

If you aren't redeemed by Jesus, then he'll treat you like an enemy according to His Word; 2 Thessalonians 1, 7b when the Lord Jesus is revealed from heaven with his mighty angel…

1 Thessalonians 5:12-28 sermon audio MP3

It can be found on the church blog, here.

book report: Guns, germs, and steel by Jared Diamond

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Cover via AmazonI've been meaning to read Guns, Germs, and Steel: The fates of human societies by Jared Diamond since it came out over 10 years ago. I finally finished it. I don't know if his argument still holds water 10 years later, but it did win a Pulitzer Prize, and I found his ideas persuasive.

The book is written in reponse to a question posed by a friend of Diamond's in New Guinea. He asks, "Why is it that you white people developed so much cargo and brought it to New Guinea, but we black people had little cargo of our own?" p. 14

The ignorant answer is that whites are better than non-whites. The answer Diamond gives is geographical determinism. Whites benefited from their origins in the fertile crescent with its abundant grains and domesticate animals. The sedentary life allowed class stratification, where people could trade abilities and craftwork for food. The animals in close proximity introduced diseases that eventually led to genetic resistance. That…

character defined

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A few months ago I tried to wrestle with the definition of character, especially in the context of the Jesus follower and church discipline. What I came up with over two posts (one and two) Dustin Hoffman said in one sentence to me last night through his character, Louis Dega, in the lame 1973 movie, Papillon. He said, "Temptation resisted is the true test of character."

The movie says it's based on a true story, but the publisher of Papillon admitted it was originally submitted as a novel. Another "autobiographical" best seller which suffered from truthiness. Only in a false autobiography does the hero get to live on a tropical beach in a primitive village with topless, pearl diving maidens for a few months while on the lam. That was the big tip off, the part of the story that could never be veriified, but had salacious entertainment.

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recovering

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Image via WikipediaBusy. Busy. We escaped for a night to Block Island for our 15th anniversary. Then I crammed for the sermon. Now my brain is still decompressing. I should have a book report soon. I also hope to have a Block Island vacation review. It's good. In the meantime, I finally have time to catch up with the blogs. See the links I'm liking at the top of the page or directly here.Image via Wikipedia

sermon on 1 Thess 5:12-28

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Let's read the end of 1 Thessalonians 5:12-28

12 Now we ask you, brothers, to respect those who work hard among you, who are over you in the Lord and who admonish you. 13 Hold them in the highest regard in love because of their work. Live in peace with each other. 14 And we urge you, brothers, warn those who are idle, encourage the timid, help the weak, be patient with everyone. 15 Make sure that nobody pays back wrong for wrong, but always try to be kind to each other and to everyone else.

16 Be joyful always; 17 pray continually; 18 give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God's will for you in Christ Jesus. 19 Do not put out the Spirit's fire; 20 do not treat prophecies with contempt. 21 Test everything. Hold on to the good. 22 Avoid every kind of evil.

23 May God himself, the God of peace, sanctify you through and through. May your whole spirit, soul and body be kept blameless at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ. 24 The one who calls you is faithful and he will do…