"______" while driving.

Sign proudly displayed on the Cleveland
Police Department's homepage.
That latest trend in state and local government seems to be making it illegal to "text while driving."  Many people just nod their heads and agree that it's probably a good idea to do so.  Not me, I think it's insidious over-stepping of government authority, and a veiled flavor of ageism.  (Pam says I'm just crotchety and complain too much!)

Why am I against laws specifically blocking "texting" while driving?

Disqus: a Tech Giant in the Making?

Never heard of Disqus?  Think you've never used their service?  You're probably wrong, and have used many websites with Disqus, even if you don't yet realize it.

As long as "social media" has existed, I've been a proponent of openess on the Internet.  The quality of discourse goes up dramatically the instant people start using their real names, attaching a picture, and even listing where in the world they are.  Of course I recognize that security should be a concern, and that there is value in your family not knowing what you're buying them as gifts before they open them, but in most cases, the Internet is a much better place when there is openness.

The Kids' Swingset

Pam has suggested that I post some pictures of the swingset we made for our kids, so here they are.  Ours is larger, cheaper, sturdier, and more eccentric, than the kits we could find in stores.  Plus, the kids  built it from scratch, with our help.
I was most excited about the big, sloping roof that sheds snow and rain, and 12-foot long piece of 24" pipe we found as a leftover, to serve as our slide.

Proving that they're big enough!

Clubhouse and counter for snacks.

Little guy looking big
Testing out the pulley.
Keeping an eye on things.
She loves the slide!

"Loose Lips Sink Ships" (and deals!)

You've surely heard the saying, "loose lips sink ships," but the old saying translates surprisingly well to real estate development.  No disrespect meant to those whose lives are actually at stake like they were in the old military addage, but livelihoods are certainly at risk to rumor on a daily basis.

Personally, I'm a firm believer in honesty and openness- I've seen secrecy destroy relationships of all kinds, like a tree rotting from the inside out.  When I see secrecy for its own sake, or as a cover for other motives, it angers me, and makes me suspicious.

Putting Yourself in the Game

If you've been watching the NBA finals this week at all, then surely you noticed Chris Bosch returning to the Miami Heat's starting lineup last night.

Of course, we can assume that he spent hours in consultation with team doctors and the coaching staff, including head coach Erik Spoelstra, before the decision that he was ready to play after his injuries.  That assumption would be wrong, though.

Early reports being discussed on the radio this morning indicate that when the Heat started their off-day practice on Wednesday, coach Spoelstra ordered the starters, in red practice jerseys, to the floor first.  When Spoelstra turned around, there was Bosh, standing under the rim, in his red starters' practice jersey.  By the time practice was over, both Bosh and Spoelstra were telling the media, in uncoordinated agreement, that Bosh was starting.

If you're waiting for someone to put you in the game, any game, maybe it's time stand up, put on your starters' jersey, and put yourself in.

Family + Building Projects + Photography= FUN!

We've recently put the finishing touches on the kids' swingset & clubhouse in the back yard.  This week's cool, clear evenings have made for some great pictures.  I'm going to post some more soon, but here's a teaser, the first GIF I've ever made.

"Buy Local?"

"Buy local."  We hear it all the time.  We read it everywhere.  Local officials pound it into our heads as if the very fabric of our society will be at risk if we don't spend money as "locally" as possible.

Orthodox Christianity for a Modern Man?

To those whom I am closest to, it's no secret that in the past year and a half, I have drastically changed my thinking in terms of how I experience Jesus Christ, God the Father, and the Holy Spirit in daily living.  While I have long held scripture to be sacred, the doctrine had become hollow, and it is only through prayer, and prayer alone, that I can claim any relationship or faith in God.

Perhaps the biggest part of that transformation for me has occurred as I have learned to appreciate the historical, rote prayers of the Church.  One cannot explore historical prayer for long, without finding themselves on a deeper, more complex, journey into the history of the Orthodox Church, whose desert fathers (and mothers!) explored prayer like no other people on the face of the planet, before, or since.

Unfortunately, Orthodox Christianity and its ancient traditions seem very mysterious in our modern society.  This makes it very hard for me to both rationalize my own experiences, and to convey them to others.  So, recently, when I came across the article, "Eastern Right, Conservative minds convert to Orthodox Christianity," in The American Conservative, I was excited.  It is comforting to read of others who share a similar experience to mine, and a privilege to share some thoughts on the modern immigration to Orthodoxy occurring in America.

Even as an admirer of the Orthodox Church, I'm surprised by how much I relate to this statement from the article:
“From the outside, Orthodoxy seems exotic,” an Orthodox academic convert tells me. “From the inside, it feels like home.”
Far from mystical and strange, the prayers and traditions of Orthodoxy seem to only the draw us closer to the heart of God, which is a far more wonderful thing than it is an oddity.  I am continually surprised and thankful to read in essays and and books on Orthodox prayer reminders that the prayers should never become a mantra or chant that only bring comfort in their own rhythms.  Again and again, Orthodoxy teaches that prayer is a way we approach God, never a comfort in its own right.  When's the last time you heard that taught in Western Christianity?

The article also talks about an exciting trend in the United States- converts from "evangelical" Christianity.
Yet converts keep coming, and they bring with them a revivifying enthusiasm for the faith of Christian antiquity. One-third of Orthodox priests in the U.S. are converts—a number that skyrockets to 70 percent in the Antiochian Orthodox Church, a magnet for Evangelicals. 
It's refreshing to see that some clergy of mainline denominations aren't necessarily following those denominations' paths into an increasing bland flavor of liberal Christianity, almost indistinguishable from societal self-help groups in their message and practice.  Some clergy are actually looking for a church that celebrates the Christendom of the Bible as much as possible; changing themselves to be more God-like, instead of their churches to be more worldly.

One such example highlighted in the article linked to above is Frederica Mathewes-Green.  Frederica and her husband actually left the Episcopal church, and her husband is now an Orthodox Priest.  Frederica is a respected Orthodox teacher in her own right, and her writings have been a jumping-off point for many modern Christians who want to learn more about Orthodox tradition.  Her book, "The Jesus Prayer: The Ancient Desert Prayer that Tunes the Heart to God,"  is a well-thumbed favorite of mine.  If you are interested in learning more about how a modern person might begin to pray like the ancient Christians, I would highly recommend it as a starting point.

As Rob Dreher says in the article above, "Orthodoxy’s pre-modern traditionalism can be a rich new source of spiritual and cultural renewal."