Welcome to SBH
Thanks for stopping by the bear cave and checking it out. Being serious all the time is un-bear-able, so we have added a great comic strip at the bottom of page for your enjoyment. Please feel free to leave your thoughts,or shoot us an e-mail with the link to the right. We'd love to hear from all the creatures in the forest.

Wednesday, January 31, 2007

Fellow Blogger off to India

Check out Big- Mac / CJ Wells's India Adventure @ http://redhillsindia.blogspot.com/ It should be fun to follow this adventure as he travels to and around Red Hills, India. Big Mac is a wizard evidently at the techie film stuff. Anyway, enjoy!

A Hunter in the midst of Gathers. The plight of an ADHD person.

I was sent a link to this OUTSTANDING article Called "The Gift of ADHD by Thom Hartman. In his article he hits on some huge issues with today's views of ADHD. Below is a small segment of his article. If this section caught your attention like it did mine, take the time to read his entire article. The link is http://www.thomhartmann.com/whosorder.shtml


"In the Seventies, when I was Executive Director of a residential treatment
facility for disturbed children, I developed a metaphor to explain ADHD to
children, a metaphor which I subsequently published in 1991. The metaphor was
that hyperactive kids were actually "good hunters," whereas the very steady,
stable, classroom-capable kids were "good farmers." The hunters, I suggested,
would do great in the forest or battlefield: their constant scanning
("distractibility") would ensure they wouldn’t miss anything; their ability to
make instant decisions and to act on them ("impulsivity") would guarantee they’d
be able to react to high-stress and response-demanding situations; and their
love of stimulation ("need for high levels of stimulation") would cause them to
enjoy the hunting world in the first place. (At its core, ADHD is diagnosed by
evaluating the intensity and persistence of these three behaviors.) I told these
kids, however, that they needed to learn the basic "farmer skills," because the
world has been taken over by the farmers. Even our schools were organized by the
farmers: schools let kids out in the summer so they can help bring in the crops.
And factories and cubicles, of course, are just an Industrial/Technological Age
extension of the skill-set useful in agriculture."

Monday, January 29, 2007

NIKE Advertisement

"Sooner or later, you start taking yourself seriously. You know when you need a break. You know when you need a rest. You know what to get worked up about and what to get rid of. And you know when it's time to take care of yourself, for yourself. To do something that makes you stronger, faster, more complete. Because you know it's never too late to have a life. And never too late to change one."

Sunday, January 28, 2007

The Power of Feedback

Could feedback be the root of all choice? If we think about all of our choices and why we made them, I would wager that somewhere in there we thought about some form of feedback. Whether it be achieving eternal life or which potato chips to buy, we make those choices based on some kind of feedback.

We start this agonizing journey of feedback accumulation when we are babies. We act and the mothership responds. It first starts with basic things (i.e. messy pants, hunger, tired) and progresses into the big choices (i.e. who to marry, where to live, etc).

How does our performance increase or decrease based on the feedback we get? This is where we feel the feedback. I love climbing sports because I can accomplish some very difficult routes with the feedback from my climbing partner/s. But not all feedback is externally based is it? We create our own feedback. I suck, I can't, I can, I'm great and so on are all forms of internal feedback. I often make a choice based off of what I tell myself as well as the comments made by others.

Ice climbing brought a form of feedback to my attention. I was used to feeling the rock, or more importantly when I was slipping off the rock. Ice climbing reduces that tactile feedback to a great degree. Instead of my own fingers feeling the rock, now they can only feel the ice tool handle and the firmness of its purchase into the ice. So, for me at least, instead of feeling the hold, now I hear the hold. I can pick up the slight sound variations the tool makes when it is planted firmly into the ice. Feedback comes in many different forms, shapes, sizes, sounds, and feelings. But it is coming at a constant rate whether I want it to or not.

The cool thing is that we can choice to filter what feedback we base our choices off of. Our minds are an incredible thing that we can actually control. I do not have to accept negative feedback. Although some negative feedback could be, and would be beneficial for me to respond to. Like the sound of moaning or cracking ice, I think it is time to bale off of the route. Take the time to think about what feedback you are basing your choices off of. Just maybe, it is counter productive to your performance and how you see yourself.

Eric Hoffer

"Men weary as much of not doing the things they want to do as of doing the things they do not want to do."

How do we put it all into perspective?

If you have be a regular SBH reader, you will know that I am big on perceptions and perspectives. This is something that I spend many hours pondering about. I try to remain open minded enough to take the risk of seeing something from another's eyes. Anyway, without going into some long blah blah blah post about this, I thought I would give you a link to a video I liked a lot. This clip is not a happy one. But it will take you, in a few minutes, to the same emotional place I spend many hours contemplating. The link is (http://youtube.com/watch?v=ppAn0LNU_V8 ). It is subtitled, but that wont matter. When you are done viewing it, I would love to hear , or read, your comments about it.

When I grow up, I want to be mean.

Recently I was looking through some old pictures and came across one of me when I was a lot younger. I put the old picture next to a more recent one and immediately noticed a huge change in my eyes. They are much harder looking now 'a days. As the two photos lay on the desk, staring at me, I began to think about the journey that has hardened a young boy. A journey that has sown and reaped the seeds of anger, frustration, fear and meanness.

As I dissected this journey, I broke it down into chapters or seasons. I weighed each season trying to find out which one was responsible for such a drastic change in my life. Marriage is no doubt one of the causal factors of some of the hardening, but the real heated forge is the chapter I currently find myself in now; my job. Mind you there have been many chapters that I have weathered without such of a callousing impact, but the last decade and a half have no doubt left its mark on me to the point that it has not only changed my appearance, but my demeanor as well. This is what troubles me. Am I content with that which I have become?

I watched a video on You Tube recently ( http://youtube.com/watch?v=VZvm5H4F-aA ). It starts with a quote, "You can only be free when you have nothing to lose." I do not think that this is something to be taken lightly. We speak of reckless abandonment, radicalism, dying to oneself, and living an all in lifestyle, but really, do we or can we afford the cost of such talk? The video impacted me because of the statement at the end (I won't spoil it for you, you will have to go watch it). The fact is, we are all living on borrowed time. Our day are numbered, none of us get out of this thing called life, alive, but we hold on to it like we can.

I began to imagine what this hardened boy I see in the two photos would do if I was told by a doctor that I am dying. Would I loose my anger on those who arrogantly and selfishly rule their little kingdoms with contempt for those around them? Would I be able to let go of my fears, and speak the truth? Would I still hold back my passions for standing up for those who can not stand up for themselves? I would like to think I could. So then why not do this now? Why can't I stand up and face the giant before me? Why do I bite my tongue, sit quietly, grit my teeth and say nothing? I have been rehearsing for such a fight every time I clip on to a rope and face paralyzing fears. I have risk physical harm numerous times in my life. So why can't I stand up and face the giant known as rejection? Every time I think of this my hardened eyes narrow, my jaw becomes clinched, and I become so internally frustrated.

This season is teaching me to become attentively mean. Mean to the point of extreme passion and drive. Mean enough to stand and face what needs to be faced with no forethought of the aftermath. The kind of meanness that comes from exposure to so much evil that kindness is abandoned in the pursuit of justice. The kind of meanness that is not tolerant of wrongs. The kind of meanness that changes the course of history itself.

Although I do not like the impact this season has had on my eyes, I think I am content with that which I am becoming, even though I struggle for the balance.

Arrogance does not make you right

Thursday, January 25, 2007

I think we must have forgotten about the Devil

I have always found it amusing that when a group of individuals start to bicker about something they have forgotten about what opposes them. Nothing unites better then a common enemy. I think that many of us have been come complacent about our common enemy; the Devil. There are many warnings given to us about this horrendous foe. But, life is good and we are fat and happy, how can we remember that there is an evil lurking out there looking, waiting, and salivating to devour us. We are callous to the news of such victims to this fate. Well, they should have been ready for such a thing. I wonder if the night watchman is callous to such evil doings? I wonder how we would fare being exposed to the nights evil escapades? Would we feel safe enough to tear at each other in the morning? Would we be so concerned with theology if the night before we found a baby murder by it's parents? Or if we had to comfort a young rape victim. Evil is consuming us and we remain fat and happy. We bicker over issues that will not comfort the needy. We ignore the monsters in our proverbial closets. Have we forgotten who the enemy is? Have we become blinded to the destruction of his path? I think we have, what do yo think?

Who is your Neighbor?

I was thinking about some of the recent posting about God's will and my mind started to meander down the old dusty roads of the gospels. I really took a long hard look at the "good Samaritan" passage, picking it apart and playing with the roles of not only the stories characters but the characters sitting around at the time Jesus told the story. It always amazes me what comes to light when I do this with different passages. I began to realize that Jesus was a master at creating paradigm shifts. His stories or parables held so much insight that we should really not teach them in the early years of life, but wait until we can grasp the depth of the lesson. I fear that we hear the kiddie version and leave it there, never going back to harvest the true lesson. This story is a great example of how a child's Sunday school lesson can never really understand or portray the dynamics of what is happening. We, as humans do not learn about hate, prejudice, rejection, fear, arrogance, stubbornness, and such things until we get out into the world and get the crap kicked out of us. It is on this stage that the good Samaritan comes to us. Here is the passage;

The Parable of the Good Samaritan
25On one occasion an expert in the law stood up to test Jesus. "Teacher," he asked, "what must I do to inherit eternal life?" 26"What is written in the Law?" he replied. "How do you read it?" 27He answered: " 'Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength and with all your mind'[
c]; and, 'Love your neighbor as yourself.'[d]" 28"You have answered correctly," Jesus replied. "Do this and you will live." 29But he wanted to justify himself, so he asked Jesus, "And who is my neighbor?" 30In reply Jesus said: "A man was going down from Jerusalem to Jericho, when he fell into the hands of robbers. They stripped him of his clothes, beat him and went away, leaving him half dead. 31A priest happened to be going down the same road, and when he saw the man, he passed by on the other side. 32So too, a Levite, when he came to the place and saw him, passed by on the other side. 33But a Samaritan, as he traveled, came where the man was; and when he saw him, he took pity on him. 34He went to him and bandaged his wounds, pouring on oil and wine. Then he put the man on his own donkey, took him to an inn and took care of him. 35The next day he took out two silver coins[e] and gave them to the innkeeper. 'Look after him,' he said, 'and when I return, I will reimburse you for any extra expense you may have.' 36"Which of these three do you think was a neighbor to the man who fell into the hands of robbers?" 37The expert in the law replied, "The one who had mercy on him." Jesus told him, "Go and do likewise."
So, here we have Jesus, and an expert in the law. The expert chooses to test Jesus. This expert comes up with what he thinks is a tricky question to see how Jesus will answer. The question ("what must I do to inherit eternal life?" ) is THE question that has, in my opinion, driven a wage into the church body creating tremendous division. This is no simple question, and Jesus is asked it point blank here. The answer give is unique and simple. ("What is written in the Law?" he replied. "How do you read it?" ) Jesus put it back on the tester. I think Jesus must have been giddy inside. You know that happy feeling when you have been waiting for someone to ask a certain question and when it is asked you can barely hold in the "I got you" feelings. I think Jesus was doing just that, he was walking this guy right into a paradigm shift. The tester answers with (27He answered: " 'Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength and with all your mind'[c]; and, 'Love your neighbor as yourself.'[d]" ) . But this leaves another question that the tester feels he should get clarification on. The old, humm, "I wonder if I have done this?" kind of clarification, or justification, is more like it. How does Jesus define who my neighbor is? Is it the saved, God's elect, seekers, the guy next door, who is our neighbor? And, so, Jesus tells the story of the Samaritan. Now mind you, the writer of this gospel, Luke, just a little before this account told us about a Samaritan who rejected Jesus. So, of all the characters to choose from to be in this story, Jesus picks a very conflicting set of men to be in the story. He goes with a Pastor, a Levite, a Samaritan, and an unknown victim of a crime. Mind you this is no mistake, Jesus is driving home a huge point here. The Pastor and the Levite would be easy neighbors to love, but the other two possess a huge problem in that time, and maybe even today. The Samaritan is the one that comes through in a big way in this story. Or, the character that would most likely have the least expectation to help anyone. And the ones that we would expect to help, don't.

Can we, today, love our neighbor as ourselves? Do we actually do this? Or, are we more caught up with "what's your belief, I need to know before I help you?" Seriously, this is a huge issue today. Can we love our neighbor no matter what their belief is? Do we only love the saved? Do we walk past those in need as if it is not our problem? When you think about it, loving our neighbor becomes one of the elements to eternal life per Jesus himself. Leaving rude comments, slandering each other, or just being harsh toward others IS NOT LOVING YOUR NEIGHBOR, is it?

Sunday, January 21, 2007

Sanctified Scat

I have picked up an old question again. A question that my friends and I used to have fun debating in bible college. The debate circles around the concepts of free will and predestination. This conflict between those of God's elect Churches (Calvinist) and evangelistic minded Churches(Arminianist) is enough to make God himself sick to his stomach, I think. To be honest, I am extremely sorry I picked this one up again. There is much to-do about it at a blog called Team Pyro. I have also shared here that I am currently reading a book called "The forgotten ways." In this book, a statement is made about........, well I think I will just write the passage.

"Why this was syncretism and not just political expedience is that the vast
majority of whites in South Africa lived under a very religious, Calvinist
code-they are a deeply religious people (there are traffic jams getting to
church on Sunday). It was the theologians who gave apartheid its original
legitimacy and sustaining authority." Alan Hirsch (The Forgotten
Ways),Brazos Press,pg98.
Wow, what a statement. So far I really like Alan's book. And I can see his point about how far is to far when talking about incarnational missionary mindsets.What I like is Alan's focus on christocentric monotheism as a guide. He uses the apartheid as a sample of how a surrounding culture intrudes on the lordship of Jesus and his exclusive claim over all aspects of our lives. He recognizes, as I do, the need for sound theology throughout the missional movement. But to take the stance of "I got mine" your on your own, maybe God will elect you too, is crazy, no?

What really gets me upset is that this debate between predestination and freewill has become extremely destructive, beyond my wildest dreams. Can we be so blinded by our arrogance that we still today reject others because of their difference? Can educated "Godly" men create an environment of rejection and hate? If you think that they can not, or wont, just read the christian stuff posted at Team Pyro (mind you that many of these guys are pastors). Here is the kicker, The Team Pyro guys (Calvinist) are the victims of unbelievable slander from the other side. Hell reading that stuff makes me want to say that I have nothing to do with either theology. I am thinking more of going with the " faith of a child" theology. Is the love that Christ talked about dead and gone; buried by theology? Come on people, get a grip, your destroying the church. Is it really to hard for us to love our brothers? Can we not just share our lives and let God sort it out? I am at a lose on how we can become so hateful to each other. It is just unbelievable to me.

John Williamson

"Anyone can hate. It costs to love."

Life in a desolate place

Once upon a time, an old wise man told me that "to much sunshine makes a desert." Perplexed as I was at the time about this statement, life itself has unraveled the riddle; conflict is a good thing, once in awhile. Conflicting air pressures create storms, storms create water, and water is needed for growth. This concept is much easier to see in nature then it is to grasp with mental conflict. Several mental storms (i.e. how should I live my life?, am I a good person?, why do I feel so damn lonely?) have been heavy on my mind lately.

Weathering these storms can take a toll on one's overall outlook in life. This is where the internal conflict becomes much more then just a daily struggle for me. I feel like I am wrestling with huge choices that will dictate my life's outcome. Choices that are rooted down deep into my soul and effect my entire belief structure. These kind of things can not, and should not, be looked at lightly or decided on quickly. As I peel back the many layers involved with such life-defining choices, I began to get the notion (real or imagined) that I am living in a very desolate place. I wonder who else has ventured into this desolation seeking to understand perfect and complete love.

How can I taste the fruit from the tree of love when it is hidden in a world of hate? What path must I take, what mountain must I climb, what sea must I sail , what hate must I endure to get to such a perfect place as love? Why do I agonize over this quest of mine to search for such an elusive prize? Because for me, it is the key to solving so many other questions. Every layer I have peeled, every heartache I have felt, every conflict I have partaken in reveals the absence of love. It seems to me as if hatred has built its fortress around the well spring of love, forbidding anyone to even dare approach. We learn so easily to hate ourselves, as if it is the natural course for our lives. How can we grow love from the seed of hate? Bodies bled, bones broken, wills crushed, and souls sacrificed over this constant conflict; can I hate and still find love?

Friday, January 19, 2007

Wednesday, January 17, 2007

From the journals of Talking Bear

"I lay here, huddled in the dark, hoping, praying for the sun to rise. Scared and lonely, waiting for warmth. Then I realized, as he stood there so tall, white and majestic, soft and gentle, kind and compassionate, I was being held."

Eleanor Roosevelt

"No one can make you feel inferior without your consent."

Ponder This

Babe Ruth struck out 1,330 times during twenty two seasons of play.


"Every strike brings me closer to the next home run" Babe Ruth



From my little book called "Fail Better" by; Herter Studio, Running Press

What is a "Radical?"

What the hell does radical really mean? When you have to ask that question, the word probably should not be used when calling on others to be that. So, what in my view, is a radical person, how does this behavior or lifestyle effect ones real life.

I looked up the word radical and we may be surprised at its technical meaning. Here are a few definitions;
adjective

1. of or going to the root or origin; fundamental: a radical difference.
2. thoroughgoing or extreme, esp. as regards change from accepted or traditional forms: a radical change in the policy of a company.
3. favoring drastic political, economic, or social reforms: radical ideas; radical and anarchistic ideologues.
4. forming a basis or foundation.

–noun

9. a person who holds or follows strong convictions or extreme principles; extremist.
10. a person who advocates fundamental political, economic, and social reforms by direct and often uncompromising methods.


It would seem, to me, that a radical person would be one who forms or discovers a foundational or fundamental root, through strong conviction and drastic means, which challenges current or traditional belief structures of society. A radical person is one who advocates fundamental change by any means possible outside the normal scope of society. (I think defining NORMAL would be much harder today)

I can see why many institutions of society would tend to shy away from radical persons, they are a threat to the accepted norm. It is the accepted norm that creates a since of dis-equilibrium in many radical people. Where do these trouble makers come from? Are they born with a special " I am going to make you uncomfortable" gene, or are the grown into restless "apple cart" tippers? I think it may be both. Many of the "out of the box" doers tend to be full of energy from birth. Their energy takes them past the neighborhood sandlot and into areas of pending disaster as kids. Skateboarding down the steepest street around, or jumping the biggest dirt pile on bikes, or climbing the tallest tree. They are internally driven to explore their world, even if it means going past the safety of normalcy, they are driven to that place called adventure risk.

These radical types began to soon realize that their peers have a distorted view of them. The radical kid learns that stepping outside the parameters of society yields rejection. They garner names like crazy, weird, freak, insane, stupid, uncontrollable, and so on. But then as all things do, these kids grow up. They are exposed to the watershed domain between acceptance and rejection. They are both feared and loved. They become the driven fortune 500 CEO, the decorated general, the community activist, the one who is constantly hanging it all out there with the "all in" attitude that makes others either embrace them or run from them.

This mixed message sent to radical person's creates a huge internal struggle. Stepping outside societies norms, although natural for radicals, seems to give birth to self condemnation for being different, wrong, or broken. Like everyone else, radicals have an innate need for acceptance and belongingness which is seldom met. Why cant radicals just shut up, sit down, and be like everyone else? But if that happened, where would we be today. What would society look like without the likes of Edison, Einstein, Franklin, Parks, King, or Jesus? From my desktop, society would be a pretty ugly place to live. Many of societies norms need to be challenged. Many behaviors need to be redirected towards better life solutions. The " it has always be done this way" is not always a good platform to base one's life choices off of. Safety and caution go together like radical and risk, but can not both arenas work together to create a better place for all of us to live?

Do we really want to live in the mundane complacency of the daily sheltered routine our entire life? Are we not bored with the safety of same-ness? I think we are as a whole. Why else would all of these "risky" reality shows be so popular? I think there are millions of you out there screaming for some real adventure in life. I think many of you are literally dying to have some meaningful experience to an otherwise fearfully safe life. I think it is time you seek out your local radical and say "I'm in, take me past the sandlot and lets explore the possibilities life has to offer."

How do we become radical in our everyday life? Seek to change your daily perspectives. I challenge you to spend just one day of being aware of different possible view points to your normal routine. Take a different way to work, shop at a different store, look out different windows then you normally do, listen when you would normally talk, turn off the television for the whole day, read one chapter from several books in one sitting, these are small steps to changing the way you see life. You may just wake up in a different world, I know that is risky but its fun.

Wayne Dyer

"Needing approval is tantamount to saying, 'your view of me is more important than my own opinion of myself.'"

The Progression of Pain

I was recently looking through one of my old journals and came across a sobering time from the past. As I sat there in my quite loneliness, I reflected on life's past, present, and future. One thing I love about journaling is that when we look back and read about difficult times that seemed to have no way out, we can see how God's hand somehow finds our path for us. Anyway, I thought I would share a small peek into the past. I had just arrived back into the United States from a 10 country "walk about." I received a phone call from my only brother, who was like a hero to me, that his young wife had died. As things came to light, we learned that she had a long and violent addiction to drugs, which in the end was the suspected cause of her death. Below, are two poems, one written by my brothers young daughter (Crystal) and one by me.

"Pain"
The rain is my tears,
The sun my anger
My pain progresses

The wind is my threats,
The fog my mourning
My pain progresses

The thunder is my cries,
The lighting my struggle
My pain progresses

She's gone!
My pain progress!!

Crystal 1989

My soul cries out for understanding
Stand here with me and tell me what you see

Tell me your feelings, I dare
Open your soul and share
you may shed a tear if you care
Tell me what you see

Some see the sun shining on the waves
Some see a cold dark place
Some see the struggle of life
Tell me what you see

Some see a majestic mountain
Some see a stormy peak
Some see the struggle of life
Tell what you see

Tell me what you see when you look through a child's eyes?
Tell me what you feel when you feel with a child's heart?
Who can bear the pain, only He who sends the rain
Tell me what you see; a bum, a drunk, a drug user,
Or someone who is laboring under great pain, running away in vain?
Tell me what you see

Talking Bear 1989

Tuesday, January 16, 2007

Being an honest Bear is hard sometimes

I wrote a short blurb on my other blog that I liked so I will make a link to it here in case you are unaware of my Growling Grizzly Blog.

For God so loved the world that He cast many away.

I have no problem admitting that when it comes to any argument dealing with biblical theology I am the first one to sit down, shut up and listen. I am no theologian. But I have some questions regarding this watershed issue that is alarmingly alive and increasingly dividing.

As in all arguments that I have seen or heard , I have one primary question. Are we absolutely sure that there are no other explanations to the problem? Is this a two sided, or two dimensional situation. Could there be a third or fourth dimension that can give a crystal clear solution to the argument that has not yet been discovered or realized? It's not like this has never occurred before, people fighting over an issue, than some new knowledge appears and we find out that both sides were correct in seeing only part of the whole. I think of the story I use about the three blind men that walk up to the elephant and are asked to describe what they feel. Each one has a different version of what they felt. Who is right? All three of them. So, are we sure that we have the whole picture. Like two cells existing separately, and when combined, both cells create a third cell that we have no knowledge of at this time?

I do know that the argument between Calvinism and Arminianism has/is creating a division among the church, and this IS bad. This division can been seen throughout the world, books, blogosphere; just surf around a bit and you can see the passion behind each camps side. But how can we be so confident that we have the whole picture on this? There are Biblical passages that present enough evidence to fuel each sides position. There is also Biblical passages that tell us that we know in part. Are we willing to destroy the church body over what we think we know in full? Should we not be more humble in our approach to these matters?

Is God so small that He only operates within our understanding of things? If God chooses (election/Calvinists) who he saves, when does this choice occur? If He is all knowing from beginning to end and knows how, or who, will be saved, does this not play into the mix of possibilities? If God asks us to gather the others unto Him (freewill/Arminian) can he not still choose who will be saved in the end? Can both of these coexist or be intertwined in such a way that eludes us at the moment?

Why do we always assume that we know so much about something, that we create either / or solutions? Why do we allow our fledgling intellect to create so much pride within us that we demand destructive alignments. The Bible tells us That God chooses who he wishes. The Bible also tells us to go and preach the good news. Just because we can not fathom the two working together does not mean that they don't in God's world. Twenty years ago we had no clue about DNA, today it is a house hold commonality. God's love may be different then the definition we have given it? Maybe He loves enough to destroy that which needs destroying?

To use the harvesting theme that is often used in the Bible, the harvest has to be gathered first. Then the chaff is sifted out and burned. The true harvested seeds are then but to use. Some harvest, some sift, but in the end, He is going to chose what is chaff and what is seed. These are just some of my questions on the matter. What do you think?

Monday, January 15, 2007

Key Questions about Election

Brian @ "Voice of the Sheep" has posted a great MP3 interview with John MacArthur where he discusses questions about Election. The interview is an hour long, but it is worth the listen if you have ever wonder about this topic. VOTS is evidently the only place you can get the MP3 version of this interview on the Web.

Marines, Missions, and the Meaning of Mercy

A fellow bloger-PeaJay @ Much talk on little cause had posted a wonderfull story. I loved the closing statement;

"We are not human beings going through a temporary spiritual experience. We are
spiritual beings going through a temporary human experience."

Sunday, January 14, 2007

Communitas; the new community

I have mentioned Alan Hirsch's new book "The Forgotten Ways" here before. I want to take a moment and touch on an "issue" he brings up in Chapter 8. But, before I go there I must mentioned that Alan set the stage for me earlier in the book. In Chapter one he opened the chapter with a quote from J. Oswald Sanders.

"A great deal more failure is the result of an excess of cation than of bold
experimentation with new ideas. The frontiers of the kingdom of God were
never advanced by men and women of caution"
This quote caught my fancy so to speak. Alan makes a statement when he wrote

"The most vigorous forms of community are those that come together in the context
of a shared ordeal or those that define themselves as a group with a mission that
lies beyond themselves - thus initiating a risky journey. Too much concern
with safety and security, combined with comfort and convenience, has lulled us
out of our true calling and purpose. We all love adventure. Or do
we? This chapter (Ch 8) aims at putting the adventure back into the
venture." (Pg 25)

This has been my calling for many years; exposing the huddle and cuddle types to the edge of discovery through adventure. Building teams through wilderness experiential education is my passion. I am jazzed to see someone calling for adventure to come back into the mindset of today's church. Alan goes on to make his excellent point in chapter 8.

What I find interesting is that there is another book that I have mentioned here on SBH. That book is called the Danger Habit by Mike Barrett. Mike's book deals with his struggle with the passion for adventure and how that passion has always seemed to be in conflict with mainstream Christianity. He has at times been made to feel like his passion for adventure was some how sinful and that he was broken (as not right in the head) for wanting and seeking such adventure as a christian.

It is my belief that while the church has developed the huddle and cuddle mindset, the world has done an end run around the church stealing today's youth away from the church. It is common knowledge that if a church can not bring in the youth of today it will not have a congregation tomorrow. Once we realize and accept this huge issue of today's church, we can understand just how important the message is in both of these books. The youth of today are creating the opportunity to adventurously prove themselves whether society is ready for it or not. This can been seen when we look at juvenile crime stats and the growth of gangs in our society. This can also been see by the hordes of youth leaving the boring huddle and cuddle churches throughout America. If the church of tomorrow wants to still be around, today's youth are demanding a divergence from the safe and boring talking church to a adventurous doing (missional) church. We can go to our graves safely, or we can go forging a fruitfully risk filled future. The choice is ours.

Cmdr. Benjamin Sisko, Star Trek: Deep Space Nine

"It is the unknown that defines our existence. We are constantly seeking, not just for answers to our questions, but for new questions. We are explores."

Quote from; Alan Hirsh's The forgotten wyas, Brazos Press, 2006, Pg 217.

Understanding the heart of the work.

I have become a lover of art. My transitional point on this matter came from learning the stories of different pieces of art. Facts that include, the materials used, the time period and what was happening in that period of time, and the journey of the artist up to the point of creating the piece of work, all play into the story of the art work itself. This information I had longed ignored and therefore never felt the heart of the work. I have also realized that each and every life is in fact a piece of art with a beating heart.

Here is where my point of view differs from many of my peers. I think that every life is valued by GOD and therefore used by God. I do not think God only uses "believers" to work on his greatest piece; the whole of mankind.

I had an epiphany in my Hebrew history college theology class. That epiphany was that God uses everyone and everything to bring about his will, regardless of which religious "club" they belong to. This place we call life is nothing less than God's master piece. This lesson was important for me because I began to develop a desire, a compassion, to learn about the stories of each and every piece of art work God has made. I began to realize that although I am unique there are many similar to me. Even though some may look different, they have the same heart as I do.

Everyone of us is a work of art. We are all part of a great art master piece. I feel it is wrong for me to reject any piece. In fact I want to get to know the heart of each and every piece of art God has made. But to do this, I have to be willing to learn the story behind each piece, and that each piece has its plcae in the story. I need to accept and understand the heart of the Master painter's work, even if the brush strokes a different from mine.

Loren Eiseley

"Each one of us is a statistical impossibility around which hover a million other lives that were never destined to be born."

Saturday, January 13, 2007

Incentive based society

We live in a world ruled by incentive driven behavior. Every one of us is controlled somehow by incentive marketing. Feel free to disagree, but you will soon realize that it is true.

There are various incentives that control our every action. There are Incentives like; internal and external ones, big and small ones, moral and monetary ones, spiritual and spacial ones just to name a few. The question is "What are yours?"

We develop behaviors because we believe that those behaviors will benefit us somehow. Some where we have been exposed to some marketing strategy that sold us on a "this for that" mentality. Answer a few questions with the reason why you do something and you will see my point. Why do you go to church?, Why do you go to work?, Why do we pay money for higher education?, Why do we make such an effort to build friendships? There is always some incentive for us at the end to the day. Mind you that our incentive does not have to be monetary. Incentives can be, and often are, the meeting of an internal need. I need to feel accepted, therefore I will do things for, or with, you if you make me feel accepted.

There are also negative incentives. The laws of the land create a pretty good (negative) incentive not to do something. Fines, punishment, rejection, all fall under the negative incentives program of mankind. Think of some things that you may have thought about doing, but you chose not to because of some kind of negative return. When you start to make a list of all you do and don't do and the why, couple that list, with who is in control of that "why" (incentive) and we can start to see who, or what, is in control of our life. This can be a sobering process, especially if we think we are running our own show.

What I want to learn how to do is control my own incentives. But, I wonder if that is even possible or healthy to do? By becoming more aware of this process called incentive marketing, I can at least begin to chose who's incentives I pursue. This choosing of who's incentives I chase is healthy and very do able. I can be apart of something without trying to gain something from it. Kind of like, be in the world but not of the world. I can be externally engaged but internal securely removed. I think most of us handle the external incentives fairly well. It is the internal incentives that betray us. Chasing the acceptance incentive from a person can, and most likely will, lead us into destructive arenas. I know some really good folks who have compromised on a lot to gain acceptance from the wrong crowd.

What do we do when two opposing incentives presents themselves to us? Let say, gaining fame and fortune for sleeping with a beautiful married woman (there is a movie on this one). What will you do when an external incentive collides with an internal incentive; moral compromise VS. monetary gain. This is the arena called "everyone has their price." Moral gain VS. monetary loss is much easier to contemplate I think. Anyway, I look forward to some of you weighing in on this one. Let me know what you think about all of this incentive stuff. I will post the best response with some really great coodo's to the writer, humm, another incentive.

Friday, January 12, 2007

Anonynous

Watch your thoughts, as they be come your words,
Watch your words, as they become your actions,
Watch your actions, as they become your habits,
Watch your habits, as they become your character,
Watch your character, as this becmes your destiny.

A great post left at SBH by FNL, Thanks.

Thursday, January 11, 2007

Seeds to Saplings to Fruition.

How do we take an idea (seed) foster it and nurture it into a plan (sapling) follow through with it until implementation (fruition)?

I hear a lot of great ideas, but few become reality. I read a sign once that I loved. It said " The smallest deed is better then the greatest intention." I hear ideas like: "let's feed the starving", "Lets cloth the homeless", "let's save the lost" but then the reality of the idea brings silence. The idea dies with the idleness of the possible contributors. No one takes ownership of the idea. Hey at least we feel better about ourselves by talking through the concept. OK, let's go grab a double latte and talk about another one of those ideas.

So how do we bring an idea into fruition? I submit that it starts with movement, any movement. I think when we plan for things we do not plan for the reality of completion. I know several climbers that plan for the summit, but what about the down climb, that is part of the journey. We must first start the journey between idea to fruition by taking action, and once that action is taking, we need to take it all the way to the end no matter how fatigued we get. I have worked on numerous projects where the success of the project hinged on one person grabbing ownership and taking action. That one person was committed to the idea even if no one else came along to play. When you build a house, someone has to drive the first nail.

I also submit that we do not try and climb the mountain all at once. Climbers break a mountain up into pitches (rope lengths of 165 ft, normally) Each pitch is broken up by pro placement and resting places. A mountain is climbed on inch at a time. To big is death to ideas. We might not be able to get enough food to feed all of the starving, but I can feed the starving person next to me with what I do have. I can teach and grow that starving person to be able to help me feed two more starving persons. It starts to sound like one of the old V05 adds. Take the idea and break it up into "doable" stages.

Once you get to this point, I think it starts to become like a surfer at the top of a cresting wave, you're committed. Taking ideas and turning them into fruition is really not that hard is it. The hard part is that we really do not want to do most of these ideas we come up with. We want someone else to do them. We should say "someone else should feed the starving, I am to busy." If you really want to do these things, then do them. It is that simple.

Madness, Mayhem, and Miracles.

For thousands of years people have been asking for miracles to happen in their lives. This request usually come amidst the madness and mayhem of life. Let me win the lotto, or heal this or that. Some say that miracles do not exist anymore. I beg to differ on this one. I think miracles happen everyday and we are just to busy or just to stubborn to see them. But every once in awhile something happens and we know inside that the outcome should have been different. We know that something happened that we did not deserve but we are very grateful for.

I have often wonder about the Israelites in the desert wondering around following the pillar of fire and eating the manna. How long did it actually take for them to become bored of their daily miracles? How could they forget that their food was appearing in some miraculous way? How could they become so calloused that they asked God for something different to be wowed over? The Israelites remind me of us today. We want the big show. We are bored with the little stuff. I wonder if God hears as " come larger or stay in heaven?" Anyway, I am thankful he ignores our stupidity once in awhile and shows us he is still alive and well in our lives. The following is three accounts of the wow, the big show, the miracles that many of us miss everyday.

I have a friend who would ride his motorcycle home from work every night. On this one night it was very cold, so he hunkered down behind his bikes small windshield and headed down the freeway. This helped keep him warmer but it also caused his vision of the road ahead to be limited. This was not a problem because at the speed his was going he had plenty of time to safely react to any vehicles he approached. Little did he know that a drunk driver thought he was in a parking lot and parked his pickup truck in the middle of the freeway and turned off his lights. My friend hit the back end of the truck at a normal rate of freeway speed (55-60 MPH). he had no time for brakes,and no time for swift maneuvering. Normally, the bike rider would slam into the back of the cab and that would be the end. But not this night. This night my friend was "somehow" lifted up and over the cab and sailed down the highway. He lived. Yea, he was busted up real bad, but the officers at the scene said " this was a miracle, you should have been killed."

I pulled up to a horrendous wreck that had just happened. I saw what used to be a Honda smashed into pieces. The front wheels, axle and all, were several hundred feet down the road. The Honda was complete destroyed. As I walked up to the car I prepared myself for the worst possible scene I could imagine. There was no way the occupants of this vehicle could be alive. I wish I had a picture to post for you. The carnage of this wreck was massive. The two young ladies in the car walked away with minor scraps and bruises. The vehicle collision occurred at a rate of speed in excess of 95 MPH. I realized that I was looking at a miracle.

I received this e-mail recently while I was at work:

I received a phone call last night that every parent fears. There has been an accident. My son was on his way home from work when the car he was a passenger in tried to take a corner to fast. He was doing 80 instead of 40. His skid marks were at least 120 feet long.they flew off the road into the ditch filled with water. When my friend (a LT on the force)called me to let me know what happened, he told me that they should have been dead. They missed a phone pole by 2 feet and the bridge base by 3 feet. Every nerve in my body was alive. I drove by the site this morning to see it for my self. I was shaking and in tears when I got back in the car. They should have died. The boy that was driving is my pastors son. My pastor called me this morning and said that he was sorry it happened and that the Holy spirit woke his wife Tracy up and told her to pray. The time was 10:15pm, the time when the boys were skidding out of control. All this to say,always kiss your loved ones goodbye and tell them that you love them. YOU never know what could happen. And to show the power of prayer and the still small voice of the Holy Spirit. Of course I was sleeping at that time!! Learn to listen to that still small voice the Holy Spirit.

Maybe I have not painted a real good picture for you of just how much carnage these stories included. I don't know, maybe your right, miracles don't happen anymore. It is all about coincidence. But then again, I don't believe in coincidences, I believe in miracles no matter how small, we need everyone we are afforded. What do you believe in?

Wednesday, January 10, 2007

What knowledge awaits me?

There are so many questions in this life I live. Questions about things like love, faith, wisdom, friendship and so on. Many speak of heaven as a place where many things are set straight. The Bible tells me in

1 Corinthians 13:10-12 (NIV) For we know in part and we prophesy in part, but
when perfection comes, the imperfect disappears. 11When I was a child, I talked
like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child. When I became a
man, I put childish ways behind me. 12Now we see but a poor reflection as in a
mirror; then we shall see face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know
fully, even as I am fully kno
wn.
I realize that there is theological debate about this versus. From what I understand, the issue is about what is the perfect? But I am not going to debate that here. I do want to highlight for a moment the simple section about "I know in part; then I shall know fully." I want to couple that with a passage that the writer speaks on earlier in the same book. I wonder if he saw what was coming? The versus is

1 Corinthians 1:10(NIV)[ Divisions in the Church ] I appeal to you, brothers, in
the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that all of you agree with one another so
that there may be no divisions among you and that you may be perfectly united in
mind and thought
.
I think that we have not done well in this area. In fact, I think, we have done just the opposite. We have argued theology to point that there are several divisions among us. Which denomination ("Christian") has the right theology? Now there is a question that no one can really answer for sure. Let's see, we have Lutherans, Baptist (actual several kinds of Baptists) Presbyterians, Charismatics, Non-Charismatics, Evangelical, Foursquare, Catholic and so on, you get the point I am sure. We have argued our points to the point of argument and division. Can anyone honestly tell me that our Christian house is not divided?

So, now to get to the point of my post "What knowledge awaits me?" If we know in part now, then what knowledge will we gain when we know in full? I wonder if an apologetic Calvin will come up and say sorry? Or if Luther will say that he did not realize the pain and suffering caused by his 99 thesis as Protestant and Catholic kill each other. I can not help but wonder how all this theological debating will hold up then? I wonder if a life spent seeking the true/right theology will be a life wasted on foolishness when we all show up with the countless "least of these" (Matthew 25:34 Any Version). Don't get me wrong, I realize that we need some guidance from elders so we do not inadvertently follow false prophets and the like. But how can there be so much division with in our own ranks. Give me some theology that I can apply to feeding the poor, sick, and tired masses. Why do we always want to "save" everyone and then leave them to their vices? Where is the long term theology that teaches us how to care for each other? I do not need to be spiritually smart, I need to be spiritually compassionate (faith, love and hope), or at least that is what it seems Jesus was talking about in Matthews recounting. I have no doubt that some of the knowledge that awaits me will shatter my heart. The world is weeping for help and we give them great theology. I don't know maybe it is just me, but I don't think that is going to cut it. I guess I want some kind of hope that the millions of dollars spent on Bible college tuition is building a church that applies it's theology opposed to only praying that God will send someone else to help the "least" of these. What do you think?

Tuesday, January 09, 2007

Statistics don't lie...

The Power of Motion, part 2

There is a correlation between motion and risk. With little motion there is little risk and with big motion there is big risk. This dance of motion begins as children begin to explore their world. Little steps lead to bigger steps and the escalation of risk is born. The bigger the steps, the more the motion, the more the risk. This evolution of risk beckons us to experience the grandness of all life has to offer; to explore and experience, to risk and receive, to feel alive and embrace this dance of life. We were made to move.

As I watch mother nature's dance, I can see she has found her rhythm. The seasons chase each other again and again. The planets spin round and round. Life comes and goes time and time again. She stretches out her hand and pulls me into this dance. At first I am clumsy, then I slowly find my rhythm. I dance my dance of motion; up and down, day and night, hot and cold. Soon I reach my hand out and pull another into the dance. We were made to move.

As nature continues its ever moving dance of life, many seek out a false haven of safety. Still and quiet, they watch the world go by with its moving, risking, and dancing .What can be so strong to bring our dance of movement to a halt? What can be so strong to steal our movement of life? I wonder as I carefully watch the partners nature chooses; life and death, fear and love, sorrow and joy, they seem to dance so gracefully together. Who am I to stop this ebb and flow of nature's dance; this, give and take of heaven and earth? The song of life never stops, nor shall we. We were made to move.

Walker Percy

"The search is what anyone would undertake if he were not sunk in the everydayness of his own life. To become aware of the possibility of the search is to be onto something. Not to be onto something is to be in despair. "

The Power of Motion: part 1

When we look at nature we can see the power of motion. It is all around us. The sea, the wind, the rivers ,the animals and the Earth itself, are all in constant motion. We too, were made to be in motion. When I step out into the raw and ever flowing energy of nature, motion beckons to me. It seduces me to come and live. To be a part of something much bigger then me. This is my mistress, this dance of constant motion.

It is this dance of life that makes me complete. I become a part of the Master painters picture. A picture I think was meant to be fluid and free. Free to move and breathe in the freshness that each turn of the earth creates. Everything about me, my heart, my blood, my breath are driven by this ever present energy we call movement. I was made to move.

Thoughts of setting idle, being sedentary, complacent and stagnate make me cringe. These thoughts of stillness are like a disease that eats away at my very core. They suffocate me. They make me weep for my Master; the One who put my life in motion. They make me beg for freedom. Do not harness me with burdens of quietness, for I will surely fail at them. I was made to move.

This is the call for me, to venture. It is a place of motion. A place where I can dance with creation. It is the dance of life which I was created for. Let the wind buffet me, the sea swell around me, and the Earth spin me. My heart longs for this dance of life. I was made to move.

Monday, January 08, 2007

Celtic Faith

I came across this prayer in the book Listening for the Heartbeat of God, A Celtic Spirituality by J. Philip Newell. It's by a woman from the Isle of Harris who was exiled from her community due to a skin disease. She was made to live along the seashore, alone. Collecting plants and shellfish for food, she used the left-over boiled water to wash the sores on her skin...after a time the skin affliction was cured; healed by the power of God's creation!




There is no plant in the ground but is full of His virtue,

There is no form in the strand but is full of His blessing,
Jesu! Jesu,!Jesu! Jesu who ought to be praised.

There is no life in the sea, There is no creature in the river, There
is naught in the firmament, but proclaims His goodness. Jesu! Jesu! Jesu!
Jesu who ought to be praised.


There is no bird on the wing, There is no star in the sky, There is
nothing beneath the sun, but proclaims His goodness. Jesu! Jesu! Jesu! Jesu who
ought to be praised.


SBH's new video blog

Check out my new Bear Blog. This will be a video blog extension of SBH. I already have to much on this one. Anyway, I am in search of extreme video and will post it on the Bear Blog. In the links section to the right you will find a link (SBH's VIDEO bearblog ) to the bearblog as well. Enjoy the madness and fun, you may want to take a deep breath before you watch some of these. You may find yourself holding your breath on some of them.

Sunday, January 07, 2007

Cognitive Behavior

Some folks think that cogitative behavior is some munbo jumbo, deep think process. I assure you that it is much simpler than all that. I am going to give you a little test here to allow you to see just how simple this whole cogitative process works. Don't blink, you will miss it. I am going to alter your future behavior by exposing you to some information.

There is a company that ships packages and such world wide. So this should work for all who venture here. The companies name is FedEx. FedEx spent a lot of money on this logo that we see just about everyday without giving it a second thought. This will change, you will look at every FedEx logo and look for something from here on out. OK here is the logo, which I am sure you have already looked at


OK, here is where we begin to change our cogitative thought process. Look at the bottom part of the space between the E and the x. In the "negative" space you should see an arrow pointing forward. This was designed into the logo to show which direction FedEx was moving; Forward. Now, when you see the FedEx logo you will see what I mean by looking at it different. It is compulsive to look for the arrow, as if it has some how moved or disappeared. As you become aware of new information, your perceptions change. That change often time affects behavior. Let me know how many times you notice the arrow now on FedEx trucks this next week.

Free forum comment post

I had to laugh the other day. The post with the SBH comments record (11) was a very simple thank you post and a kind of New Year greeting. Anyway, I thought I would start to every now and again just put a post up that you all can just comment on with out having to comment on anything particular. So here it is ;)

That sucks!

I recently inherited some valuable gems from my family. They were "uncut" and rough to say the least. I never really paid much attention to them in the past because I did not think my Father would give them to me. I did not realize their true value. Anyway, I was in a hurry to get one all cleaned up and polished . I did not take the time to learn anything about this process of taking something from rough to finish. I was hasty and immature for sure, now that I look back on what I did.

I guess you would think that if you had something of value, you would learn about it, nurture it, and try to refine it to the best of your ability. Not me! I just went the cheapest and quickest way I could. Guess what? I got screwed. My precious gift looks like crap and I have only myself to blame.

Here is the twist. My gift has nothing to do with diamonds or any other precious stone. My gift is ME. My life; the character traits and personality that I was given. I think it is odd that a rough cut stone holds more value to most of us than our own life. We should take steps to learn about the special gifts, traits, characteristics that we have. Nurture those gifts and treat them as a precious stones. Take the time to build substance to your life. The fast flash and fake facades will leave your gifts looking like crap.

George W. Crane

"Act the way you'd like to be and soon you'll be the way you act. "

Whats your wood Worth has posted a great beer add

"BEER Is better than Religion"

I want to go there, but can I do it?

One of my good friends, Dave, who is a director for a YWAM wilderness experiential education base, challenged me to look at my interests in secular psychology and find avenues that I think bridge over into Christian concepts. I have long believed that understanding how God made us is very important to understanding the importance of our pursuit of Him. I realize that in many camps it is an either or argument between the two; psychology Vs Christianity. I think that they are intertwined. So I will attempt to find a bridge here. Please give me some grace and feedback would be welcomed. I do not present this as an absolute, only as a possible bridge.

I was doing some recreational studying about Self-Efficacy and came across an interesting article that was published by the American Psychological Association, Inc in the Journal of personality and social Psychology, 1983, Vol, 45, No. 5, 1017-1028, Titled; Self-Evaluative and Self-Efficacy Mechanisms Governing the Motivational Effects of Goal Systems, By Albert Bandura and Daniel Cervone; (http://www.psy.lmu.de/ape/Lehrmaterialien/Mueller/mainColumnParagraphs/06/document/
bandura&cervone_1983.pdf
)(retrieved 01-06-06)


In a nut shell, These guys did a study to find out how feedback effects our self efficacy perceptions and how those perceptions can activate our desires to achieve various levels of performance. In other words, If we think we are doing good in something (self-evaluation) and we think we have the ability to achieve that something (Self efficacy) and we can acquire in one form or fashion a measure of our performance (feedback) we tend to increase or decrease our efforts in achieving that something (self-reactive mechanism). At least that is my take on the wordy 11 page document that was written while I was still popping pimples in my teen years. If I was to try and make some mathematical formula to expressed this concept it may look like this;

Actual Personal Performance =(Self evaluation of ability+Self evaluation of perceived performance)+/-(feedback)+(desired performance standards).

In rock jock terms, let's say I want to climb a 5.13 (desired performance standards). I think I can do it because I wear cool Lycra tights (self evaluation of ability), so I rope up and start to climb this monster. After a few wingers, I start to think to myself "maybe I am not ready for this beasty (self-evaluation of perceived performance). After a few falls my climbing partner starts to encourage me, telling me that everyone falls there and that I am doing great (feedback). So I dig deeper and push harder and make it past the crux and to the next belay(Actual personal performance). As you can see each element is very important to the actual attainment of the goal.

Now let's compare it to a Jesus Jock? I want to go to haven and experience eternal life (desired performance standard). I think this is possible because I do as John 3:16 says and other bible standards express (self evaluation of ability). However, I continue to sin and struggle and start to think that maybe I am doing something wrong(self-evaluation of perceived performance). Due to my struggles, I go to another Jesus Jock and seek some guidance The second Jesus Jock says well dude you are from a different kind of church, or theology, and I am not even sure your really saved (feedback). Now my self evaluation of performance is really sucking wind. I look at the whole eternal life goal and begin to think that I can never attain it. So what do I do. I create an out, an excuse, something like it was an unrealistic goal to start with, or I am not good enough to get there, and so on. My effort to attain the goal beings to diminish.

I think Jesus went to great strides to teach us how valued we are for a reason. To give us a belief in our ability to follow him. I think the Bible is a part of a mechanism to help us with our self evaluation of performance. I think the church is supposed to provide positive and constructive feedback to all. I also think that many, if not all, are in need of so much feedback that we tend to destroy others abilities to continue on with the struggle of goal attainment. I think we desperately need the "Teacher" to come back and give us a refresher course on how to tenderly encourage and care for each other. This perception of mine comes at a time when I have possible the strongest goal attainment drive ever. I realize that attaining the goal is not an individual sport. I am called to get the whole team there if I can. Finishing a route by yourself is only attaining half of the original goal standard. I honestly think that much of our high end theology is destroying the church body as a whole. Yes, some among us should and need to know it. But it should be to bring the body together not divide it. How many Christian denominations do we have now? I do not need to know the mechanical specs of a cam. I need to know that it will hold when I fall on it. I will place it where I need it and take risks based off of my faith that it will work.

What do yo think about all of this?

Saturday, January 06, 2007

Ponder This

Recently I saw a post regarding the cost of a new American fighter jet projected at $275 Billion over ten years. Some believe that this is an extreme cost for a highly advanced fighter jet and a waste of tax payer money.

I started reading a new economics book (Freakonomics) today and came across a few other American expenditures (page 10) that may put the jets overall cost into prospective.


New fighter jet Annual costs (for ten years)...........................................................$27.5 Billion
2003 Ford Motor Co. annual sales and revenue....................................................$138.4 Billion
American annual expenditures on chewing gum ...................................................$1 Billion
American annual expenditures on political campaigns ..........................................$1 Billion

I will concead to the fact that we Americans spend "stupid" money when we could fund efforts to solve that which we complain about.

Talking Bear

"Living your passion for life should never be seen as something to regret. Stay home if you choose, but you will not be any safer in the end. Dare not, but death will find you anyway. Live not, and you will be ready for death when it comes."

Carlos Kristolis

"No mother gives birth to a thug."

God don't care about your colors, just color it!

I came across a great post at Pyromaniacs called Bible and my decisions. I loved how the author used Adam's naming of the animals to color a picture of how God's will and our will can exist simultaneously. This "Pyro" post, coupled with an ongoing question, posted by Mike at Adventurefaith, about when pursuing action sports becomes SIN, has lead my down one of my long and dusty thought trails. The story of Adam and the animals has just become one of my favorite stories.

In Mike's post he asked a question about when pursuing something becomes SIN. The ongoing debate in the comments has brought up the issues, or struggles, with understanding the difference (if there really is one) between God's will and our own free will. Teampyro coined a phrase "free coloring with in the lines", which I love.

Adam was told to name the animals, we have all heard that story I am pretty sure. But what I never really looked at in that story was that Adam did it without the agonizing and constant asking God about each name, he just did it. God's will was to have a name for each critter, Adams will was the actual name of the critter. Maybe God really does not care about what shirt I wear, or if I eat sushi tonight. Maybe He just wants me to follow His standards and have a relationship with Him? Maybe the rest, IS, free coloring? I would love to get some of your thoughts on this.

Friday, January 05, 2007

Ibn Gabirol

"Plan for this world as if you expect to live forever; but plan for the hereafter as if you expect to die tomorrow. "

Thursday, January 04, 2007

The Power of Pants

Tonight I realized that driving on a six lane freeway at mach 1, steering with your knees while you sip on a quad grenade latte, puffing on a Cohiba diplomat just enough to keep that nice big cherry lit, talking on a cell phone and trying to read billboards, all at the same time is difficult. It is challenges like this that makes southern California such a cool place to live. Anyway, As I was ripping down the freeway a huge billboard add caught my eye, well, really the gorgeous woman on it did. There was a five stories tall blond with a hot pink silk spaghetti strap dress standing next to a nerdy guy in a suit. The only words I had time to read were " Embrace your inner opposite." Now being from So-cal this could mean that the chick wanted to be a dude and the dude wanted to be a chick. Or, That the gorgeous woman was nerdy on the inside and the nerd was a stud on the inside. Take it how you will, I started to think about how cloth draped over our carcass often times creates, or greatly impacts, one's self-concept.

Now I usually would not have thought this much about the topic at hand, except for the fact, that I was driving home from a two hour session with inner city kids on self-concepts. So, as I processed this thought, I realized that when I wear different cloths I "feel" different and therefore act different. How can a pair of pants change my self-concept so much that it changes my behavior? I thought about all of the pairs of pants I wear and the correlating feelings that go along with such pants. Levis, Carharts, Patagonia, Dockers, Uniform pants, Suit pants, and so on, wow, when you think about it my behavior is partially dictated by my pants. Maybe, I am just a nut, I don't know for sure. But have you ever thought about the fact that we wear our self-concept out in the open so everyone can see how we see ourselves. When my clothes do not match my self-concept what do I do? I go change my clothes. If this is true then maybe we can start to see more clearly how people see themselves. I had these kids do this exercise where they write their current self-concept on a piece of paper, fold it in half, and write how they want to see themselves in the future. I started to notice a correlation of the self-concept of failure and a certain style of dress.

So, parents, are you aware of your child's self-concept? And, are you in touch with what gave them that self-concept? Why do some parents let their child leave the house wearing a negative self-concept? The "oh it is just fashion" does not cut it with me. YOU NEED TO PROTECT YOUR CHILD'S SELF-CONCEPT. Help mold it into a good image. Teach them about the power of the pants. Create in them a positive self-concept and help them dress for success.

Knights of Pythagoras

"A man never stands as tall as when he kneels to help a child. "

Two Bears out Fishing by: Megan

It was a stormy, rainy afternoon out on the lake. It was quiet, except for the raindrops that disrupted the calm water and the distant rumble of thunder that sounded every now and again. We were out fishing, my dad and I. Few others were doing so, due to the weather, so the area was quiet and still. I had a simple routine: cast out and retrieve, cast, retrieve, and over again and again. The air was cool, crisp, and wet with the smell of rain. Lost in thought in this relaxing moment, I was abruptly awoken when my pole began to pull down and away, like a kite on a windy day. A fish, a big fish was on my line, but we should not start there. Let us rewind the day for a moment or so.

It had already been a long day when we returned to camp after our early, 4am fishing start. We all decided to take naps, and went to sleep listening to the flapping of the tent fabric, listening to the sound of a storm on its way. When we awoke, clouds had already rolled in. Rain slowly began to fall from the gloomy, gray sky, and the smell of wet dirt, and of rain, slowly filled the camp. That is when my dad posed the question, “Want to go fishing?”

In minutes we had loaded our fishing gear in the truck and were headed to Intake #2. Raindrops skidded down the window, and blurred my vision of the scenery outside. In moments we pulled into the lake parking lot. The rain had stopped for the moment and we quickly grabbed our gear and went to find a spot. We watched as people left, not wanting to get caught in the rain. Thunder boomed in the distance and the smell of rain filled the air. There was no wind, and the perimeter of the lake was emptying, growing ever quieter, as a stadium after a game.

We found a spot towards the back of the lake, the area that was said to be the best. The spot gave a perfect view of the rest of the lake, including the hills and the mountains in the distance. We changed out hooks for lures and began to fish, using a cast and retrieve pattern. It began to rain again. No longer were the dark blue waters of the lake still. Raindrops began to ripple it, creating rings that would start small, grow, and then fade back into the water. With the absence of the wind, the weather was enjoyable. It simply could not get any quieter, any more peaceful. The gray-cast sky conveyed the mood, though not sad, but relaxing. So far, neither my dad nor I were having any luck. However, things were already looking better than it had been earlier that morning.

In the time that passed we had gotten a couple bites, but nothing to reel in. Every time my line flew out and my lure hit the water, a spark of hope that ‘this would be the one’ would linger until I had reeled in all the way; then I would just give another swing of my pole, and my line would be out for another chance. There was not another place in the world that I would rather be.

Time continued to pass easily. The weather still refreshing and relaxing, the area still silent and peaceful, when I suddenly felt a tug on my pole, heard a splash in the water, and heard the buzzing sound of my line pulling out. For a moment, I did not know what was happening, but soon I began to reel in. My pole began to waver from side to side, and my reeling could not have been any less smooth. Adrenaline, excitement, and the thrill of the moment soon caught up to me. After my eyes had followed the line, and saw the size of the fish, I reeled faster; I had to bring this fish in!

Now I could see the fish in the water, a few feet from me. I brought him closer, for my dad, who while I was reeling in, had picked up the net. I was anxious, and even more so as the net proved too small for the fish, who was flopping around and slipping away, like soap for wet hands. I held my breath, still holding my pole, as my dad tried to flip the fish up. With quick effort, the fish was finally flipped out of the water, onto the concrete, and pinned down. The instant he had been flipped out, he spit out the lure; any longer in the water, he would have been gone.

Letting out the air I had held in, I took a sigh of relief and high-fived my dad. Fishermen down the way, who had seen us, yelled out “Nice fish!” and “Nice job!” We hooked the fish up and set him back in the water. I could not believe what had just happened! Everything in the moment that passed, except for me, my pole, and the fish, had been blocked out. And now, now it was done, finished, over; I had succeeded.

We fished a bit more after that, but I, still lost in the moment, could have caught nothing else and still have been happy. The fish was a good size and I could not wait to get it weighed. After ten to fifteen minutes or so we packed up. As it was, I did not catch anything else, and even snagged and lost my lure on a net, but was still happy and content. We grabbed the fish and headed back to the truck.

It turned out that that fish weighed a little over three pounds; my first Alper. It was an amazing and exciting moment for me. No fishing experiences, to date, have been the same. I will always remember that day, that stormy afternoon on the lake with my dad.

SBH-Helping Bring Change

I received an e-mail today about SBH's effort to help the poor (see right side bar "Helping to bring change"). One of SBH's loans has been disbursed to an man in Azerbaijan ( which I picked from a list of folks looking for help). I should also just note that Kiva has a very good anti-terrorist policy, which was one of the issues I was concerned about when I checked into them. Here is the message I got:


Dear "Talking Bear" ,

This is an update on Cattle trade: Thank
you for your loan. It has been disbursed to Najaf Musayev by Normicro
(Norwegian Microcredit LLC) in Azerbaijan. We are excited to watch this
business grow. Over the next 12 - 16 months, Normicro (Norwegian
Microcredit LLC) will be collecting repayments from this entrepreneur and
posting progress updates on the Kiva website. Kiva very much appreciates your
responses online. You can read and respond to this journal online at:

http://www.kiva.org/app.php?page=businesses&action=comment&id=2386&ent=3897

Some of our partners choose to write their journal entries in the local language in
order to keep their overhead low. If this journal entry is in a foreign
language, please feel free to use an online translator such as Altavista's
Babelfish (http://babelfish.altavista.com). Thanks!-- Kiva Staff

To
view your Kiva
loan portfolio go to:
http://www.kiva.org/app.php?page=account

______________________________
Loans that change lives

http://www.kiva.org

I will keep SBH's readers up to date on the progress of this project. By checking out the ads in the Google AdSense banners, together we can fund more micro loans to help the poverty stricken. SBH will roll over all micro loans into new micro loans and hopefully perpetuate this idea into something that allows us to become the difference. (see my article "http://sleepybearhollow.blogspot.com/2007/01/being-difference.html")

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