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Wednesday, July 9, 2008

Runalong goes dark!

No more blogging until August 3rd. We leave in the morning for Vancouver, BC; Salt Spring Island; Sequim, WA; and Goat Rocks Wilderness. It's the first vacation in the long time for me where I'm not going anywhere new. "See" you when we get back: by then I hope that the smoke will be clear and Scotte will be feeling strong!

I'll be doing two races: the Kneeknacker 30Mile in Vancouver and the White River 50M near Mt Raineer. I'm looking forward to taking Mrs Runalong and the Bex backpacking in Goat Rocks, one of my very favorite places in the whole world:

Modern/Ancient Hedonism

Bart Ehrman is a former evangelical pastor, now making a good living as an avowed agnostic/atheistic/apostate author. "Why?" we ask:

"I knew I didn't really belong in church anymore when I was standing there reciting the Apostle's Creed: 'He was crucified under Pontius Pilate, dead and buried." That was it. I realized I couldn't say the rest... I think this life is all there is, and if this is all there is then you should really enjoy living. I drink better wine and eat better food since becoming an agnostic."

Shortly after the resurrection of Jesus (the part of the creed Ehrman can't say), Paul wrote: "If Christ has not been raised, our preaching is useless and so is your faith. More than that we are then found to be false witnesses about God... If only for this life we have hope in Christ, we are to be pitied more than all men. But Christ has indeed been raised from the dead... if the dead are not raised, 'Let us eat and drink for tomorrow we die.' Do not be misled ... Come back to your senses as you ought and stop sinning."

Monday, July 7, 2008

Performance Art: by the Birds

Hope2CU dancing?

I've filmed over 100 Hope2CU Sunday spots in about 8 countries and over a dozen states. This guy has been using a similar idea, with a bigger budget and a better camera and a lot more success. I have a message the world needs to hear, he has a lame dance. Where's the justice?!

Not getting enough calories or fat in your diet?

Here's just the prescription: The Krispy Kreme Bacon Burger!


Apparently when I was a kid I was quite the racist- an anti-Italian, anti-Mexican, anti-Oriental, anti-almost everything except northern European and midwestern American:
Toddlers who turn their noses up at spicy food from overseas could be branded racists by a Government-sponsored agency.

The National Children's Bureau, which receives £12 million a year, mainly from Government funded organisations, has issued guidance to play leaders and nursery teachers advising them to be alert for racist incidents among youngsters in their care.

This could include a child of as young as three who says "yuk" in response to being served unfamiliar foreign food.

The guidance by the NCB is designed to draw attention to potentially-racist attitudes in youngsters from a young age.
I'm happy to say I've since been rehabilitated. Still harbor some Mediterranean (Turkish, Greek, Moroccan) bigotries, though. And I probably have some unresolved issues with my parents since today I'm not all that fond of the "cuisine" they brought me up on.

OTOH: I've always loved watermelon!

Friday, July 4, 2008

Mt Shasta Five Mile Race

We went up to Mt Shasta yesterday for some time with Tyler and Joelle (and kids) and to run the big five mile race (Joelle and I ran). This was the first race I ever ran, way back in a prior millennium. I finished just under 42 minutes after starting too fast, went back a couple years later and finished in just under 37 minutes (2000).

I've only run one other "short" race since starting my ultra career so I was pretty nervous. I did a little speed work (very little) but I was also piling up the long slow miles in prep for my upcoming ultras. Not the best approach perhaps but I figured if I kept the first mile around 8 minutes flat, I could finish under 40 minutes even with the dreaded uphill finish.

I got in a good 5 mile warm up and my first mile was exactly 8:00. Then came 7:35, 7:25, 7:13 and the dreaded climb. By now my legs were pretty dead (partly due to June being my third highest mileage month ever and partly due to running the last three miles in 22:13) and I struggled up the hill with a final, slow 8:20 mile for a symmetrical 38:38 finish.

I had studied last year's results and knew that should be good for a top 100 finish and that last year it would have been good for third in my age group. Alas, this year it got me 109th (539 runners) and 5/28 in my age group. But I was just happy that I actually ran according to my plan.

Joelle had a good run, the Carter family (with a first place ribbon) and some of the Waddles and Benjamins and Janet Henry & her family and the Dunlaps (two first places!) and bunches of other Redding friends were there and a fun, not too hot and not at all smoky time was had by all.

You think it's easy to save the world?

A lot of people take politics really seriously. They're like, "If Obama gets elected or McCain gets elected and lets all the illegal immigrants in America, the world is going to end!" That's stupid. The way the world is going to end is if it gets hit by an asteroid. With everyone worrying about the stupid election, I don't think anyone is paying attention to the asteroids. One could hit us tomorrow and that's like it. We're all dead. Are the candidates talking about asteroids? No. They're talking about the economy and gas prices. Well, that's not going to help us. Doesn't matter if we have a lot of money; you can't bribe an asteroid. And I don't know what you'll do with gas to try and stop the asteroid except maybe coat it in it and set it on fire -- which will just get you a big flaming asteroid which is even worse.

Right now, the asteroids are hiding out between Jupiter and Mars plotting and planning and making their physics calculations on exactly how to launch themselves to hit us. If we want to stop them, we need a plan. Hundreds of years ago, the asteroids killed the dinosaurs. Know why? They didn't have a plan. We're going to be different.

Wednesday, July 2, 2008

The Toothpaste Test

I've been preaching on Matthew 23, highlighting the differences between spirituality that pleases God and toxic religion (the whole chapter is a diatribe by Jesus against religiosity gone bad).

One of the main differences: When people worry about the final Judgment and how God will evaluate their lives and whether He will accept them into heaven, they respond either by trying to justify themselves, or by relying on the justification provided by Jesus Christ on their behalf.

Trying to justify ourselves is always a tenuous position so those who do so are always looking for external supports for their fragile peace of mind. Since we can't see God, we look to other humans and how they evaluate us. The result of all of this is that we end up performing our "religious duties" for the sake of man's approval rather than God's.

This leads to a focus on externals (rather than on the heart, which only God sees) and on trivial and superficial stuff (the visible) rather than on the depths (invisible).

So which do you focus on? Here's a test. It's fallible, but revealing nonetheless:

Look at your last toothpaste purchase. Of the 3 billion varieties on the shelf, did you buy one whose label's claims focus on how it will make your teeth look (whiter!) or on how effective it is against tartar and plaque and gum disease? Which was more important: the facade or the foundation?

Now the real test: Do you make other choices in your life the same way you choose toothpaste? And, most importantly, do you make choices about your spiritual life based on what people can see or on what only your Heavenly Spiritual Hygenist can see?

What's THIS Doing on a Pastor's Blog?

French man with two asses surprises Swedish officials.

Tuesday, July 1, 2008

First: Do No Harm!

40% of patients in a "persistent vegetative state" are misdiagnosed.
According to Steven Laureys, professor of neurology at Li├Ęge University, there is constant pressure in many parts of the developed world to withdraw sustenance from vegetative patients in order to allow them to die so that their body parts can be harvested.

Opting out of WALL•E's world

But diabetes is anything but minor. It wreaks havoc on the entire body, affecting everything from hearing and vision to sexual function, mental health and sleep. It is the leading cause of blindness, amputations and kidney failure, and it can triple the risk for heart attack and stroke.

“It is a disease that does have the ability to eat you alive,” said Dr. John B. Buse, a professor at the University of North Carolina School of Medicine who is the diabetes association’s president for medicine and science. “It can be just awful — it’s almost unimaginable how bad it can be.”
Read the article for more bad news. The good news: it's largely preventable*. The sad news: It's becoming much more common.

Parents: If you love your kids- feed them right. You CAN control what your kids eat. If you fail to do so they won't be thanking you for all the treats when they are diagnosed with diabetes in 20 years.

*Type 2 diabetes. Other types are not, but type 2 is the type that is reaching epidemic proportions in the US. Causes: Too many calories, not enough movement. Take your kids to see WALL•E and then tell them- we're not going to let that happen to you!