Sunday, February 28, 2010

Vulcan Craters.

This is a few miles west of Albuquerque. For you Trekies, Spock is buried here. I am uploading these pictures from the airport and should be flying home shortly.





















































































The La Luz Trail.

My daughter and I did a quarter of the La Luz Trail which heads up from Albuquerque to Sandia Crest at 10,678 foot elevation. It is a fairly easy grade so I have no idea how it got the rating as one of the "twelve most grueling trail races in North America" from Trail Runner Magazine. A storm is coming in, so things look a bit hazy.




































If this were a bicycle race, passing means shoving, and with all the cactus along the trail ... perhaps that is why this is rated as a "grueling" place for a trail run?


















Saturday, February 27, 2010

"I love you like the rat loves the rice ..."

My wife sent this to me to remind me that it is time to head on back home.

Friday, February 26, 2010

Petroglyph National Monument.





























Cliff Art. (Still working on some of the translations.)

Beep Beep.













Cheers.













Hi Mom.

Thursday, February 25, 2010

Along the Rio Grande on a cold, windy winter day.





























Indian Gaming Casinos.

It seems we were never too far from a sign advertising a Casino on the way out. The last one I saw was at an I-40 interchange just west of Albuquerque. The drive out being on Monday and Tuesday of a week in February, there weren't many long haul drivers on the road, but plenty of long-haul truckers. What caught my attention was that the Casino parking lot was full of cars at about 2:00PM on a work day. Sheesh! Don't these people need to work? This also reminded me of the backdoor legalization of Marijuana in California. For the time being, the debate is over and equality has become equality of virtue and vice. Can a civilization which doesn't cherish virtue more than vice survive in the long run?

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Apartment shopping in Albuquerque: Done.

That was quick. My daughter found a lady who was renting part of her house on Craig's list. We met up with them this morning. The lady drives a Dodge RAM pickup truck with as much clearance as an Army vehicle, while the daughter drives a larger Ford F350 truck with a CB radio and a trailer hitch - for the horses. They had decided from a phone call last week that my daughter was the right tenant and turned away the others who called.

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Day 2. Sickness and a snowstorm dissuaded us from going to the Grand Canyon, so here we are choosing the safe route eastward from Flagstaff.















A pronghorn antelope has more important things to worry about than us.












The Petrified Forest. Trees turned to stone. The signs boast of an understanding of the process, yet how many intellectuals have turned a tree into stone?












Petroglyphs.














Quoth the raven, "nevermore". I retorted that it is up to God, and not you. By God's grace, we are now settled into a hotel in Albuquerque.

Monday, February 22, 2010

Can an airplane land on a truck?















Spring has sprung in the California Central Valley.













Got wind? Actually, the wind is blowing hard, but the wind turbines are on strike here on the Tehachapi Pass.











Joshua trees on the other side of the Tehachapi.













Going solar.













Miles of beauty as we cross the Mojave.













The Needles.













The sun is setting as we make our way into Arizona. There is snow here and tomorrow's low is supposed to be 0F.

Saturday, February 20, 2010

Another sad song as we pack. One of us will be heading for a new job and life in the promised land, but the other will return home empty handed. The picture is of the Rio Grande from last year's family trip.














Friday, February 19, 2010

My sister arrived yesterday from Massachusetts. We went up Mission Peak to enjoy the great views of the Bay Area.















Thursday, February 18, 2010

Augustine regarding the treatment of women before Christianity:

He is writing about his mother, Monica who was a Christian, but his father was not:

"She bore with his infidelities and never had any quarrel with her husband on this account. For she looked forward to your mercy coming upon him in hope that, as he came to believe in you, he might become chaste. Furthermore, he was exceptional both for his kindness and for his quick temper. She knew that an angry husband should not be opposed, not merely by anything she did, but even by a word. Once she saw that he had become calm and quiet, and that the occasion was opportune, she would explain the reason for her action, in case perhaps he had reacted without sufficient consideration. Indeed many wives married to gentler husbands bore the marks of blows and suffered disfigurement to their faces. In conversation together they used to complain about their husband's behavior. Monica, speaking as if in jest but offering serious advice, used to blame their tongues. She would say that since the day when they heard the so-called matrimonial contract read out to them, they should reckon them to be legally binding documents by which they had become servants. She thought they should remember their condition and not proudly withstand their masters. The wives were astounded, knowing what a violent husband she had to put up with." - Confessions.IX.19.

I had recently read about an Obama appointee to take a lead role in the Justice Department, Dawn Johnsen. Some years back, she made a statement that motherhood is "disturbingly suggestive of involuntary servitude", which generated a lot of animated discussion over the relationship between slavery and motherhood. More on Dawn here and here.

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Charismatics vs. Conservatives ...

"... women should remain silent in the churches ... be eager to prophesy, and do not forbid speaking in tongues ..." 1 Corinthians 14:34-39

I finished reviewing the Alpha Course which I started reviewing earlier. There was a lesson on Healing, which is one of the biggies of charismatics that sends skeptics into a tizzy. What surprised me is that Nicky Gumbel brought up John Wimber and the Vineyard Church, along with advocating their theology of Healing. John Wimber didn't just promote healing. He would go into a congregation and make prophetic statements about who needed what healing first, and then wait for those who were suffering in secret to acknowledge their presence. Now how is it that a former Jewish atheist from England would be promoting this? Besides disturbing atheists and agnostics, this charismatic denomination sets most conservative Christian churches on edge too. I had earlier read books by Jack Deere (Surprised by the Power of the Spirit) which also goes into John Wimber and the Vineyard Church, but to much more detail. Some conservative churches have tried to ban their youth from reading this, not realizing that banning it only makes it all the more enticing!

What I wanted to get at is the above two adjacent statements in 1 Corinthians. One of the distinctive features of conservative denominations is that they don't allow women to lead adult groups, and would gladly cite the first part of the Bible quote to support that position. On the other hand, they refuse to accept prophecy (unless they redefine it) and gifts of tongues are also waffled about. If I turn this around, the charismatic would gladly cite the second part of the quote, but charismatic denominations almost always allow women to be preachers. A female prophet would, of course, be quite awkward per the scripture. How can you prophecy and remain silent? Is it possible to have a church which is both charismatic and conservative?
Yesterday the children decided to have a party on Mission Peak at 6:00AM. I had gone ahead while they waited for the entire group to show up and was taking some time delay pictures of stars. (Focus was bad, gotta try again.) A lamp was heading up the path, and I thought surely it must be them, so I took the picture. It was a man named John, 73 years old, and he tells me he makes his way up the mountain once a week to keep his health up. Most of the high school seniors just couldn't keep up!





























73 years old, and still going strong!

Monday, February 15, 2010

No fair shooting the enemy while they are reloading or when their gun isn't pointed at you ...

"US Marines said they are constrained by strict new rules of engagement that make their task more dangerous. Under the rules, troops cannot fire at people unless they commit a hostile act or show intent.

Corporal Travis Anderson, 20, from Iowa, said his platoon had repeatedly seen Afghan fighters dropping their guns into ditches before melting away into the civilian population.

'It’s hard to fight a war like this,' he said. 'They’re using our rules of engagement against us.'"

The article is here. Wonder if the Call of Duty video games will have the scoring system updated?

Sunday, February 14, 2010

I have to send my daughter off to a different state soon for a new life and career.















Something to bring back some memories and give a bit of my mood.

Can anything good come from the Church of England?

I have been reviewing the Alpha Course as presented by Nicky Gumbel. It is a set of lectures on the basics of Christianity. The content seems quite sound to me, and I must say that his English accent and choice of examples is a bit more to my liking than Rick Warren. Of course the comparison between Alpha and Purpose Driven Life is deliberate, since they have the same objective of introducing Christianity to those who know little. The audience in the video, however, all have Bibles and turn to the passages within a few seconds! I can imagine this in the US, but the UK?

To get a different perspective, I poked around a bit on the net to see if there were any nay-sayers. There were some LGBT sort whinging about the notion of sin being a sin. Then there was a hyper-Calvinist who couldn't believe that the Doctrine of Total Depravity was short changed and popery wasn't sufficiently condemned. There is a charge that it is too ecumenical. Of course Jesus offers salvation to all who confess their sins, repent, and accept him as savior, so is this complaint against Jesus? Yes, there are things to divide over, but there is also a time to set them aside.

Another gripe is that it is too charismatic. I am not quite sure how to define charismatic. At one level it is all about the Holy Spirit. At another extreme, it seems to be people who let their emotions run wild - after having been given a lecture about caring for you neighbor, or worshiping God. Terrifying! I am still trying to understand the fear that charismatics put in the hearts of conservative Christians.

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Tuesday, February 09, 2010

I love this advertisement.

A clear view of San Francisco from Mission Peak today.

Augustine regarding Julian's edict forbidding Christians to teach.

"As soon as your servant Simplicianus told me this story about Victorinus, I was ardent to follow his example. He had indeed told it to me with this object in view. Later on, he added, in the time of the emperor Julian when a law was promulgated forbidding Christians to teach literature and rhetoric, Victorinus welcomed the law and preferred to abandon the school of loquacious chattering rather than your word, by which you make 'skilled the tongues of infants' (Wisd. 10:21)." - Confessions, VIII.v.10.

I have been wanting to find out more about the emperor Julian's edict against Christians teaching. Apparently a number of people (classical writers) have written on this subject. Edward Gibbons notes this law here, but doesn't give the source(s). My hope is to locate the rest.

Simplicianus and Victorinus were two characters based in Rome. They had been pagan philosophers who argued against Christianity, but became Christians late in life. The Roman Christian congregation rejoiced, but I haven't encountered any signs of a modern, Rome based Catholic Church revolving around a pope.

Sunday, February 07, 2010

More from yesterday on Rose Peak.

This bull was angry, tearing up the ground with his horns and making a terrible noise that could be heard a long distance. He took a look at me but thankfully decided that it wasn't worth the bother to crush me into a pancake.