Wednesday, March 29, 2006

Eclipse-NY Times Special

March 29, 2006
Eclipse Offers 3 Minutes of Astronomical Wonder
KASTELLORIZO, Greece, March 29 — The shadow of the Moon swept across the globe today and blotted the Sun from the sky in a swath from the tip of Brazil to northern Asia.
In this postcard fishing village in easternmost Greece, about halfway along the track of the eclipse, the alignment of the worlds — Sun, Moon and a rocky island only about four miles across at its widest — was brief, only three minutes.

But that was enough to play out a primordial pageant of death and rebirth of light, and afford a few hundred amateur and professional astronomers (and some 3,000 day trippers who swarmed off cruise ships all morning) one of the rarest and most scientifically valuable sights in nature: the delicate pearly light of the Sun's corona, streaming like an eagle's pale wings out into space.

The reappearance of the Sun from behind the Moon, an effect called the "diamond ring" through smoky whorls of rapidly encroaching clouds, drew cries of "Bravo, bravo!" from the spectators. In the harbor, ships blasted their horns.

Within minutes, delighted astronomers were calling up digital images recorded through their telescopes and oohing and ahhing and hugging. A 3-year-old girl was seen dancing in the reborn light.

"I'm elated," said Jay Pasachoff of Williams College in Massachusetts, leader of a multinational team of some three dozen astronomers who set up their telescopes on a hotel terrace overlooking the blue harbor here.

John Seiradakis, a radio astronomer at Aristotle University in Thessaloniki, who organized the astronomical activities here, pronounced himself "exhilarated." This was his first eclipse. "I had students who came to thank me for bringing them to the eclipse," he said. "I wanted to thank them."

Kastellorizo, some 72 miles from Rhodes but only a mile and a half from Turkey, is so far east that it does not even show on many maps of Greece. Once a prosperous trading and fishing center with a population of 15,000, it has remained stoutly Greek in the face of numerous invasions and occupation. In World War II it was bombed by the allies, and its population dispersed to places like Australia. Today it is home to just 300 people.

Next to the ruins of the 14th-century castle that gave the island its name, Greek soldiers man machine guns , on a promontory overlooking the harbor, maintaining a vigilance over the narrow gulf separating them from Turkey. Today they were joined on the castle top by a friendly invasion of eclipse viewers.

Expeditions to view solar eclipses in remote and romantic locations are part of astronomical lore and are still necessary, even in this day of space astronomy, Dr. Pasachoff said.

The corona, an envelope of super hot gas that streams far into space, is one of the Sun's most exotic but bashful features. Its pearly light is less than a millionth as bright as the Sun's disk and thus is visible only during those rare and often geographically difficult instances in which the Moon completely covers the Sun.

Among other things, astronomers would like to know why and how the corona gets so hot — more than a million degrees while the Sun's surface itself is only about 12,000 degrees Fahrenheit.

Dr. Pasachoff, a veteran of 42 eclipses, has spent much of his professional career seeking clues to this mystery. Today, he said, armed with new digital cameras financed by a NASA grant, his team, which included six Williams undergraduates, had gotten their best data ever.

"This was the most successful of the 42," he said.

New Book Conversation Invitation

Alright, I've got friends who want to read a book together and comment on it and grow through it together and I want to put the invite out to anybody who wants to join, to join.

We'll be reading Christianity Rediscovered by Vincent Donovan.

You can buy it here.

I really hope to have as many as possible reading this together...(that would be about 3-5 of you)...

Tuesday, March 28, 2006


So Aubrey and I only watch one show regularly, and that's 24. It's on Fox and it rocks.

But the issue is this: Aubrey doesn't get home until 10ish. So we have to tape it.

So I taped it last night, and Aubrey and I get all excited about watching it and right at the climax of the show, the tape cuts off. With 15 minutes left, our tape had run out of room. Agh! So we missed everything that the show had been building up to...

But it got me thinking about the whole "to be continued" thing...

God has started something in our lives and he wants us to continue it. We are the last 15 minutes.

God has started a way of love and peace: may we continue it.

Wednesday, March 22, 2006

The Woes

I was reading through Luke the other day and was reading about Jesus' woes he gave to the cities and to the teachers of his day. It got me thinking.

I wonder what the woes would be today. I wonder what Jesus would speak out against here. I think we might be surprised to find ourselves somewhere on the list.

I thought of a couple woes...I might be wrong, because I don't have the big picture like Him, but I'll take a stab at it...If you have any thoughts, I'd love to hear them. If you think I'm wrong, or you have some woes you'd like to give, i'd like to hear that too. And since all is not lost I think we might have a list of beautitudes coming up too.

Woe to you conservatives who make the gospel of Christ so exclusive that people have to clean up before they can enter the fellowship.

Woe to you liberals who are so willing to open the gates of heaven that you don't speak truth that changes people.

Woe to you people in the middle of the road who don't take a stand for anything. You'll be blown over when you're finally put to the test.

Woe to you church for making the small things the big things, and for missing the point of Christ's life: redemption for all people from sin.

Congratulations to Doug and Elizabeth

Well, my good friend Doug is taking the plunge. Last night he officially asked his former girlfriend (now fiance) to marry him. And she said "yes"!

So congratulations Doug. As our friend Jon says, "the boy is becoming a man".

Tuesday, March 21, 2006

Can you say "ouch"?

Got this from a friend. What a pain in the butt this would be.

God of the "outsider"

Reading through Matthew with some students in our ministry. Just passed through chapters 21 and 22 and was struck by two of the parables.

The first is the parable of the vineyard workers, where the owner of the vineyard hires day workers throughout the day and pays them all the same at the end of the day no matter the amount of time worked. God's grace system is nothing like ours (think about Jesus' forgiveness pattern in 18:22-forgive your brother 70 times 7).

The second is the parable of the king's banquet, where the king invites specific people who don't come, and then just pulls anybody off the streets to party with him. Everybody's invited to God's party, not just the people who are expected to be there...but come to party ready to celebrate or get kicked out (22:11-13).

What does this look like for us? What does it look like to live a life of forgiveness, to extend welcome to all? If God is the God of the "outsider", is it possible to be the church of the "outsider"?

Wednesday, March 15, 2006

Quick Trip to VA

Well, Aubrey has Spring Break this week, so to celebrate before we head off to Festival of Life, we went down to VA for a couple days. And what fun it was.

We couldn't have asked for better weather. We even came back with sunburn!

But we got to go to our friend's service at Southside Nazarene. Their service is called Ephesus and it was great to be there with them. It's cool to see my high school friends leading others in a revolution to be followers of Christ.

We were able to go to some places where we had gone on dates (Maymont Park) and were able to hang with our families (my parents are in town for a while). That was really great! And I got to help my brother in law with his English project (a hilarious video comedy of the Odyssey). All in the span of two days. What fun.

So, tomorrow we'll head to Boston with our teens for Festival of Life. Should be nice to connect with our teens in a concentrated manner...but crazy no sleep...also should be cool, because the good friend, Brian Hull will be up there too!

Wednesday, March 08, 2006

Lectio Diviniwhat?

So, I am in Gel right now while our middle school students meet with their leaders. Great times...

These past couple weeks we have been trying to do various spiritual exercises, giving the students practical experiences of what they can do at home to experience God. Well, tonight we tried Lectio Divina, a sacred way of reading scriptures. We read through it three times total. The first time we read through it, we just meditated on the words. The second time we read through it, we picked a word from the passage and dwelled on it and then shared it with the group. The third time we read through it, we picked a phrase from the passage and shared it.

Well, it was a great idea and might work if we try it again, but...the kids couldn't get the timing down for when they were supposed to say their word. So we had kids saying their words while the scripture was still being read. And then when we stopped and asked the kids to say their words they all shouted their words at the same time, creating a cacophony of middle school voices...

I had to laugh. And I did. And I still am.

Trying to get them in a serious mood...setting it up really well...and blam, something weird happens...that's what happens in middle school ministry. Just gotta go with the flow, laugh it off and be glad for the kids.


Forgiveness lifts me above the battle, disentagles me from the mangled mess of anger, vengeance, trustlessness. In the heat of the battle, I am brought out so that when the dust settles and all that remains are ears ringing and carnage my "opponent" discovers I was never in the fight anyway. His words of deceit aimed at inciting me have landed softly without impaling.

Forgiveness brings us into another realm; a realm of understanding, love and patience. Understanding that all of us have stories that drive our character; love for all the people in their stories-love that existed before their story was written; and patience/hope that all will someday enter that realm.

Tuesday, March 07, 2006


To repent means to resist the seductiveness of the sinful values and practices and to let the new order of God’s reign be established in one’s heart. For a victim to repent means not to allow the oppressors to determine the terms under which social conflict is carried out, the values around which the conflict is raging, and the means by which it is fought. Repentance thus empowers victims and disempowers the oppressors. It “humanizes” the victims precisely by protecting them from either mimicking or dehumanizing the oppressors. Far from being a sign of acquiescence to the dominant order, repentance creates a haven of God’s new world in the midst of the old and so makes the transformation of the old possible.

Miroslav Volf, Exclusion and Embrace, 116

Monday, March 06, 2006

Teaching Moments

Well, I read somewhere or heard somewhere that the preferred method of teaching by a Rabbi is through daily life experiences. So, they would be with people just doing normal things and then a teaching moment would come up and the Rabbi would point that out. Sounds great to me.

And I've had the pleasure of actually being able to do this a couple times in the past couple weeks.

I've been hanging with two of my students at Borders every other Thursday, with the intention of sharing life with them and helping them become more like our Master Jesus. And the past two times we have been there we've had incredible teaching moments.

1st time when we were on our way into Borders we were caught by a gentleman who appeared to be some type of official person. I actually thought he was an owner of Borders or something of that sort. He greeted us by saying, "Hey gentlemen, you here for coffee or to peruse the books?" We told him we were there for both. He seemed so genuine and interested. And then he bantered on a bit about the joy of the freedom to do such things and then started telling us about a program he is involved with that would provide us with more freedom and more money. As he spoke to us we began to get uncomfortable, but there was no easy escape. We were in the mezzanine trapped between a row of books, a wall and him and his buddy (whose name was too mafia-like for me...Boris). Geez it was uncomfortable...and when we finally got in my friends were so frustrated and felt used. What made it so great was that I was able to capture their feelings and ask them how people who aren't in the Way of Christ might feel when Christians come and push their stuff on them...really able to understand the need to be totally authentic with people and not have any agenda except to love others. If someone wants to join in, the invitation is always there, but it is never pushed on them...

The second teaching moment actually happened at Borders too. I was telling these two guys how important it is to listen to people of other faiths, not to change faiths, but to learn what they know and become friends. And what do you know, a Jewish teen sits on the end of our couch with his friends. He didn't talk to us until I was trying to explain something about the Old Testament/Tanak...then he was like, "um, can I say something here?" And he shared with us his perspectives. And then we chatted for a bit longer. A great teaching moment...for all of us.

This further supports the idea that we need to be with our teens in real life situations, hanging with them in places where we can learn together what God is doing in life and how we can change.

Friday, March 03, 2006

Music Videos Online

Relevant TV

Relevant Magazine has some good stuff. But they don't have all the videos that Yahoo Music Videos does.

I hope they do sometime. I think it's great that a group run by Christians are trying to find a middle way, playing the best music out there, using discretion at the same time.