Dave Brubeck, "Take Five"

Noah's Ark Replica Coming to Northern Kentucky

I'd heard rumblings of this in the past, but was surprised to read in the newest issue of The Atlantic, that not only is the Ark project going to happen, it's going to be a full-scale replica, and address many of the logistical questions that arise when considering the flood.  The builder says it will be the "second-ever" full-scale Ark built from God's instructions.

From the article

"Ark Encounter—which is to sit on an 800-acre plot of land in Williamstown, about 40 miles south of Cincinnati—will be filled with actors and animals (some real, some mechanical) and will also feature a Tower of Babel, a walled city, an aviary, a “first-century village,” and something called a “Journey Through Biblical History,” involving a boat ride down the Nile."
I'm personally excited to see Answers in Genesis applying hard science to demonstrate that a literal reading of the Bible is plausible.  Paired with the nearby Creation museum, the organization is clearly taking its mission seriously, and not cutting any corners.  Whether you regard the Old Testament accounts as literal or not, I hope you'll appreciate the initiative of those who would seek to intelligently put forth proofs that those accounts could be taken at their word.

"The Journey: Walking the Road to Bethlehem", a Review and Encouragement to Contemplate

"The Journey" by Adam Hamilton
One of the great anchors in my spiritual life is my Sunday School class.  Adult Sunday School is unfamiliar to many, but ours is almost 40 people strong, committed to missions and supporting the work of our local church, and studies a wide variety of material throughout the year.  I am more accountable to study when I know this group will all have done so, and I get more from scripture when I hear a variety of insights.  It's not unusual for our class to study material that fits with the church calendar, so I didn't think too much about the decision to undertake The Journey: Walking the Road to Bethlehem, by Adam Hamilton this Advent.  I am excited to write that the study has already made a marked difference in my appreciation of Advent.

In the book, Hamilton explores the birth of Christ from a historical, archaeological perspective.  He relies heavily on Scripture, but adds relevant information about the geography and character of the Holy Land, that many modern Christians might not be familiar with.  For example, simply considering that Bethlehem is about an eighty mile journey from Nazareth by foot, changes the way a person thinks about the trip.  

A Perspective on the Christian Calendar

Many thanks to my wife, Pam, for first sharing this with me.  The church calendar is important to me, and I appreciate the efforts of this church to contextualize it for those who aren't familiar with it.  Perhaps this will help you understand why you hear me talk about Advent as much as Christmas, and why I crave the season as much as the celebration.

Working Hard

I am a huge proponent of small businesses.  I think it's an awesome thing to watch a small business find a niche where they can succeed and thrive.  I recognize that there are all kinds of forces, economic, governmental, and financial constraints to name a few, that can impede, and end a small business. I also happen to believe that most of the time, when a small business fails, it is not primarily for any of those reasons.  Small business is inherently about working hard.  

Earlier this week, I found myself this morning standing outside the door of two small businesses, both whose name and trade are closely linked to breakfast.  It was 7:55 AM.  I was not standing outside of those two doors trying to decide which to enter, though.  I had already parked, and was now standing in the cold outside, when I read on their respective doors that both opened at 8AM. I decided to be patient, and wait to see which would open first.  At 8:00, one of the doors did open, and the owner let me in.  We turned on the lights together, and she let me know that most of the baked goods were still in the oven.  

I respect that small business owner for having a vision and pursuing it.  I hope that she succeeds and the business sustains her family, adds to the community, and is a blessing to many.  If the business would struggle, though, I'll wonder why someone opens a breakfast spot and isn't jumping out of bed early each morning to greet the day and its opportunities.

I'm not trying to point fingers at others, but to encourage thought for myself, and others who may read this, to think about what makes small business work.
Am I, in my work, a baker who doesn't come to work and open shop until breakfast is half-over for many of my customers?  
When I can't find customers, have they already passed me over at a time or place that I wasn't ready to meet them?  
What is the very core of the business that I work in, that demands no sacrifice be made there?

As much as I love supporting my town, the people in it, and the small businesses here, I'll be at Starbucks most mornings, sipping black coffee that I could buy anywhere in town, if only anywhere else was open as early as the local branch of the largest coffee shop in the nation.

Perhaps Thomas Edison said it best, "Opportunity is missed by most people because it is dressed in overalls and looks like work."