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Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Calories Do

Life keeps getting in the way of blogging, what with computer crashes and home repairs and such, but for the moment, there's this article from the NYT. Unfortunately, they failed to point out that if you run 10 miles a day you can increase your caloric input by 50% without gaining weight!
Just to hammer the point home, the New York City health department earlier this month put signs inside subway cars pointing out that most people need only about 2,000 calories a day.

The number of calories in food shocked most New Yorkers, according to a September survey by the health department. A Starbucks blueberry scone delivers 480 calories. A Quiznos regular tuna melt is 1,270 calories. Wraps, the refuge for low-carb sandwich lovers, can top 800 calories. Bagels pack more calories than doughnuts. A large bucket of buttered movie popcorn has more than half the calories anyone should eat in a day.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Saturday, October 18, 2008

Still Running...

I took it easy for a few weeks after Plain and now I'm running again and feelin' goo-ood! I've noticed more energy and speed in my runs, an extra spring in my step, that I haven't felt for a long time. Rest is good.

I ran a 10K today and finished in the top ten! OK, so there were only about 20 starters. Still.

I was curious to see how I'd do since I haven't been running a lot or doing much speed work, and I did do 12 miles the afternoon before the race. I didn't want to do too well because I have two more 10K's coming up in the next five weeks and I didn't want the first one to be the fastest!

I'd only run one 10K before, about 8 years ago, in 46:09. Today I finished in 46:57 (7:28 pace) at about 95% effort. I was told afterwards that the course GPS'd at 6.3 miles (10K = 6.2) so subtract 45 seconds and my equivalent true 10K speed would have been 46:12. Not too shabby for an old man! (Seriously, God is good- by His grace I've been injury free for the last two years).

My big goal is to run the California International Marathon in Sacramento this December and qualify for the Boston Marathon. I need to run the marathon faster than 3:45 (a pace of 8:45/mile). So far, so good.

Friday, October 17, 2008

Impulsive? Not when it comes to making money!

People who have jobs (and don't lose them) get up and go to work every time they are scheduled to do so. It's amazing how consistent they are! They don't consider whether they feel like it or not (except in extreme situations) or say, "I went to work yesterday, I'll just take a break today", or "I better get some yard work in before the weather changes."

Except for vacation or genuine sickness, they just do it.

Committed Christians used to treat Sunday morning worship that way.

Committed Christians used to treat church prayer meetings that way.

Committed Christians used to treat their daily appointment with God that way.

Impulsive Christians claim that all of that is legalistic and that they are much more pleasing to God now that they have thrown off those confining straitjackets. Or at least I guess that must be what they'd say. Most of them really don't want to talk about it.

Can you be a good worker if you don't have a nearly inviolable habit of going to work every day when you are scheduled to?

Can you be a good Christian if the basic cornerstones of Christian growth and obedience are not nearly inviolable habits (insofar as it is within your control)?

That's not a rhetorical question. The answer, he testifies dogmatically, is "no".

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Time for a little culture...

When Bruce Springsteen is good, he's one of the best ever. Here are two classics- a performance of "Glory Days" on David Letterman's last NBC show that defines performance Rock & Roll music at its best; and, in a very different vein from about 12 years later, an outstanding music video that evokes small town folk music, celebration and community while still ROCKing. If these don't put a smile on your face, you'd better check your pulse!

He looks a lot different, but he's still wearing (almost) the same shirt!

Copper Clappers

Sergeant Joe Friday takes on Peter Piper:

Monday, October 13, 2008

Ignorant of his wiles? (SF 1)

The apostle Paul claimed, on behalf of the first generation of believers, "we are not ignorant of (satan's) devices." Can our generation say the same today? Or have we allowed ourselves to do what the Bible insists we must not do, "become conformed to the spirit of the age"; a spirit that is stubbornly and insistently opposed to God and His ways?

Over the last 15 years I've done a lot of studying and contemplating on the question of what it means to be conformed to the world, that is, to the spirit of the age, in early 21st century USA.

In addition to post-graduate studies at Gordon-Conwell Seminary and teaching a class at Simpson College on "Faith and Culture" I have read scores of books and taken hundreds of pages of notes.

After awhile your mind gets filled with ideas about "consumerism" and "materialism" and "post-modernism" and "hedonism" and "subjectivism" and a dozen or more equally insidious "-isms" that form a sort of shorthand for the philosophies and cultural habits that condition our thinking in non-biblical ways.

What I still wasn't getting, after all this time, was a summarizing concept; a way to succinctly shorten all these so-called "shorthand" labels into a defining concept that would pinpoint the underlying satanic strategy to infiltrate the minds and lifestyles of Christians and render us spiritually impotent.

Teaching people about a bunch of "-isms" and their dangers wasn't cutting it. Helpful- yes; truly liberating- no.

Over the last year, however, my thinking has finally begun to crystallize and I believe I can summarize the basic gist of satan's core strategy in one word. Granted, anytime you do that you risk oversimplifying. I'm not saying that this is all there is to be said, but I am ready to say that I think that this is where the crux of the battle is being fought, and, to be honest, lost.

I'll be saying more about this in the months ahead, and, in our congregation, we will be exploring (throughout 2009) practical (i.e., radical, but realistic) ways to not only face up to this battle (as few are doing) but even, by the grace of God and the power of the Holy Spirit, turn the tide. But for now, I'll just give you the one-sentence summary and let you mull and pray over that yourself for awhile.

Make no mistake, this will be a battle. This is so insidious, and has become such a deep part of us, that many, if not most will shrink back from this battle, opt out, much like the "great" warriors of Israel did when confronted by Goliath.

This is OUR Goliath, and I'm sure that my practical suggestions will seem like not much more than a sling and five smooth stones. But I am confident that, as with David, there are invisible Realities, that will make our weapons much more powerful than they appear!

As in the parable of the sower, there will be yet others who will enter the battle with initial enthusiasm but will quickly drop out. When I say "radical, but realistic", I'm serious about both halves of that equation.

Here's my thesis: Satan's major strategy to undermine the Church in our generation, can be summed up as: Impulsiveness. I'll develop what I mean later. For now I'll just say that the opposite of impulsiveness, in real world terms, is Habit.

I'd rather let you mull this over yourself than spell out my case. I'll just add one clarification: I'm not saying that good habits are all we need to be godly. I am saying that they are necessary, and that they are the opposite of impulsiveness, and that the habits necessary for godliness are largely absent from our generation.

Feel free to comment. More... much more to come!

Saturday, October 11, 2008

News from my backyard

I've been hearing a lot about how Mexican drug cartels have been growing marijuana on public lands in California, particularly in the Redding area. Fortunately the USFS just hired two additional law enforcement agents for the area (before that there was only one!). The agent I talked to told me I'd be safe running in the woods if I stuck to the trails and roads, but if I got off trail, especially in the gullies, I'd be taking a big risk.

Here's news for you potheads- the marijuana you're smoking (unless you grew your own) is probably the opposite of organic:

"I've seen the pesticide residue on the plants," Foy said. "You ain't just smoking pot, bud. You're smoking some heavy-duty pesticides from Mexico." (full story here)

Meanwhile the growers, in addition to spraying and dumping pesticides by the gallon, are spreading rat poison, illegally killing bears and other wildlife, and setting dangerous booby-traps to keep people out.

Smoke a joint, pollute the earth.

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Sunday, October 5, 2008

VP Debate on SNL

I did watch the debate and thought Sarah did fine. And I have been appalled by the concentrated attack on her by the media. But I have to admit, SNL's take on the debate really was hilarious:

Saturday, October 4, 2008

A lesson in fuhnehticks

This is cute, see if you can guess his age before it's revealed at the end:

Frosty's Last Stand?

Water Printer

I might actually go to the mall if it had one of these:

Friday, October 3, 2008

A man after my own heart

I've been to busy to blog (or even run!) much lately, but I got a big kick out of this little anecdote from a woman on one of the ultrarunning forums:
When showing my Grandfather some blisters and missing toenails after an ultra (maybe looking for a little sympathy) he looked me in the eye and said, "well, you didn't think it was going to be a picnic did you?" He then went further to say the only thing he ever heard crazier than wanting to run 100 miles is thinking that it wouldn't hurt. After this he just sort of shook his head and informed me that it wasn't going to get me out of working in the fields.