Friday, August 26, 2011


"We are all worms, but I do believe that I am a glow worm." - Winston Churchill

     I may be a worm, but I am certainly not the kind of worm that attracts fish. A few weeks ago, my dad, grandfather, and I went on a fishing trip in east Michigan. Actually, it was more of an "ing" trip, because there weren't very many fish involved. Nevertheless, we had an enjoyable time. The weather was great, as were the Oreos. 
     It's the sad reality that our annual fishing trips usually turn out to be "ing" trips, but definitely not for lack of trying. I have officially decided that, when we're out on the boat, the fish order pizza and soda, and then sit around on the lake floor laughing at us like a comedy show. "And now it's time for 'Name That Lure!'" I can imagine a five pound Largemouth drawling out in a mocking, sing-song voice as we toss out all the lures in our tackle boxes. "$4:99 from Wal Mart!" would shout a thirty inch pike as a shiny diver flies past it's nose. "Cheap one from Cabelas!" would cry a walleye, rolling it's eyes at the tastiest looking spoon on the lake.
     Nonetheless, there is something special about being out on the water even when the fish aren't biting. It's the simple lapping of the water against the boat, and the reflected line where the sky meets the treetops on the other side of the lake. It's the call of the loon and the "gzzzz" of a casting line.
     These are also the things that can make a body go crazy, and write fishing stories about shotguns and dynamite.
     As Yeshua, Jesus, our messiah said in Matthew 4:19 to his first disciples-to-be, "Follow me, and I will make you fishers of men." Fishing for men is no different in philosophy than fishing for fish. There may be "dry" spells when the lake or community isn't as full of curious fish. We have to remember in life that, even when the "fish" aren't biting, as long as we're casting our lines and truly living a disciple's life -- one of imitation of our master, we need only be patient. Out of a hundred disinterested fish, only one may be interested in what you have to offer. But the truth of life is that every "fish" has a God sized hole in their souls. Deep down, they are always searching for the bait to fill that hole, even if their minds are telling them that they have it all together. There is an insatiable hunger for truth that can errantly get filled with sweet-coated lies like evolutionary theory and other rationalized explanations of supernatural events. 
    For the fisherman, waiting for the one fish who will bite can drive you insane. You begin to have fantasies about dynamite, firearms, or, in life, a sound smack across the head with a bible or a soapbox sermon in the middle of Times Square. But many times, it are these aggressive forms of discipleship that can turn people even farther away from the truth and safety that God provides. True entry into discipleship depends on the curiosity of the fish, not the zealousness of the fisherman. Making disciples is a process of patient waiting. Nibbles will come. 

Friday, August 19, 2011

The Little Processor That Could

"It has become appallingly obvious that our technology has exceeded our humanity." - Albert Einstein

Chug chug! Puff puff! Ding dong! Along worked the little Macbook dual core processor. She was sorting out many heavy operations and applications. 

In her CPU usage were all sorts of large percentages. There were Quicktime movies, iTunes music, and the trickiest 3D modeling application there ever was.

But all at once, the little processor choked at the foot of a huge Final Cut Pro render. She could hardly move at all! How would she make it?P

"Please little processor," cried all the other applications, "don't stop now!"

"Oh my," said the little dual core Intel processor. "I'm not very big. And I've never done this big of a Final Cut Pro render before! But I will try!"

So the Macbook processor taxed her 64 bit architecture and pulled and tugged. "I think I can. I think I can," she said.

Slowly, the little processor began to render. "I think I can. I think I can. I think I can." and up the CPU percentages went as she continued to handle all the other applications.

Just as the render reached 85%, the cursor pinwheeled, and the little processor stalled. "Oh no!" she cried. Final Cut Pro failed to respond and the processor had to preform an emergency force quit. The applications derailed, and Paul decided to upgrade to a Macbook Pro.

The End.

The blog post has no moral this week.

Friday, August 5, 2011

Black and White

     "I cannot pretend to be impartial about the colours. I rejoice with the brilliant ones, and am genuinely sorry for the poor browns." - Winston Churchill

     For my birthday this year, my parents got me a gift card to the technology and appliance store Best Buy. Although I was pretty sure that I wasn't going to purchase a refrigerator, I had no idea what I was going to use my gift card on. In fact, that particular gift card is still tucked in my wallet waiting for the perfect use. Anyhow, our closest Best Buy is around forty-five minutes away from us in a town where my mom shops occasionally. I went with her on one of those infrequent shopping trips, and she dropped me off at Best Buy to look around while she ran a few errands. I made my inspection of the store looking at three-dimensional televisions, cellular telephones, high-definition handy cameras and other such inventions of the twenty-first century. I started to worry the store employees after I asked if they carried typewriters, but after an hour or so, I found my little corner of the store where I settled in. The isle with the digital SLR cameras. The expensive cameras. After I found out that the store model cameras that they put on display actually took pictures, I was hooked. I took pictures of the isle. I took pictures of brochures, I took pictures of light-bulbs. And I took pictures of the store employees who were now even more worried.
     I love photography. Photographs are like extensions of the mind. Like utensils are extensions of the hands, and swimming flippers are extensions of the feet, photography can extend the mind to far away places or take you back in time. 
     Black and white photography, especially, has an added dimension of visual language. Actually, it's more of a removed dimension of visual language that lets you better explore shapes and textures. I love taking pictures around our farm. The ten acres gives an endless amount of material to shoot. Black and white photos really make natural lighting dramatic and interesting. Black and white pictures of cloudless noon give a very sharp cast, while the shadows near sunset on a cloudy day are dramatic and sometimes mysterious. Black and white brings all these attributes out in a photograph. Sometimes, however, (and more often than not) it is the color of a subject that makes the photograph come alive. Black and white is not always the right filter to lay over photographs with a vibrant color.
     I'm a very black and white person. I see the world a bit to simplistically sometimes. Either something is hot or it's cold; painful or painless; good or bad. These general, "computer language" type of distinctions are the "shapes and textures" that black and white accentuates in photographs. A lot of times, it works. Polarized views about difficult and complex things can truly clarify and explicate them, but when it's the vibrant color--the middle ground--that makes the subject come alive, a black and white perspective detracts from and muddles the subject. Like photography, it can be important to analyze your perspective and see if it's the middle colors that really illuminate the issue.
     Nonetheless, it can be nearly impossible to catch yourself in black and white thinking when in the middle of a heated discussion on the science of lightsabers. Before you know it, you could have over-simplified the argument and lost the color. Simply asking yourself if you are applying an "either-or" filter where there are actually more than two options can greatly help when deciding if a black and white perspective is the best choice.
     Before I simplify this blog post too much, I'm off to take some pictures.