Noble Obsession by Charles Slack

9 01 2007

Who would have thought a book about the the discovery of vulcanization of rubber would be an interesting read?

The lesson learned from this book is patent your ideas.  It’s really that simple.

flying back home

8 01 2007

I have returned home from my trip.  I’ll try to start writing inflammatory ideas, lessons, thoughts, and opinions again soon.

ted haggard and the church

13 11 2006

Since my worthless post on Ted Haggard was so popular, it’s time to at least briefly summarize what I have been thinking about the situation.

Ted Haggard screwed up.  He has admitted he screwed up.  His exact transgressions are unknown to me and even though I want to know, it’s not any of my business.  Ted Haggard let down his family, his church, and Christianity.  Here’s the kicker:  we all have.

Ted Haggard is in a huge spotlight.  He has lived and is still living in a fishbowl.  As the pastor of the 14,000 member New Life Church, his actions and words have always been watched.  Unfortunately, Ted Haggard still had a sin nature.

Perhaps he said it best in the letter to his church:

I am a deceiver and a liar. There is a part of my life that is so repulsive and dark that I’ve
been warring against it all of my adult life. For extended periods of time, I would enjoy
victory and rejoice in freedom. Then, from time to time, the dirt that I thought was gone
would resurface, and I would find myself thinking thoughts and experiencing desires that
were contrary to everything I believe and teach.

Paul said very close to the same thing in Romans 7.

 We know that the law is spiritual; but I am unspiritual, sold as a slave to sin. I do not understand what I do. For what I want to do I do not do, but what I hate I do. And if I do what I do not want to do, I agree that the law is good.  As it is, it is no longer I myself who do it, but it is sin living in me.  I know that nothing good lives in me, that is, in my sinful nature.  For I have the desire to do what is good, but I cannot carry it out.  For what I do is not the good I want to do; no, the evil I do not want to do—this I keep on doing.  Now if I do what I do not want to do, it is no longer I who do it, but it is sin living in me that does it.

Does this excuse Ted Haggard’s behavior, whatever it was that he did?  No, of course not.  Romans 6 tells us that as Christians we should not continue in our sin.  We’ve died to it and should not remain in it any longer.

Christians sin.  Ted Haggard was in a position that made it very difficult for him to admit to any sin without a huge fallout.  Again, I’m not condoning his actions, I’m only trying to explain to myself and to you the reader why the events transpired as they did.  Haggard is the victim of a church that doesn’t accept sexual sin.  By church, I mean American Christian church, not specifically his church in Colorado Springs.  The only appropriate sexual sin to bring up in church is teenage boys looking at pictures of naked women.  What if Ted Haggard had admitted a few weeks ago that he had a problem with sin and was struggling with something?  I’d like to think that his church would have rallied around him and that he would have been surrounded by men and women who would help him be restored.

Haggard was a man with everything to lose.  He was the pastor of a huge church and the president of the National Association of Evangelicals.  He was exalted to a high place and named as one of the most influential Christians in America.  American Christians don’t want sinning leaders.  American Christians want figures who are as perfect as Jesus.  Here on earth, that will never be attained.  It’s unfortunate that we have created an environment where the very men who are calling on us to repent cannot repent without fear of losing their position.  Instead, I think that they feel that they must hide their sin.  The Bible speaks again and again about hidden things coming to the light and that is what happened in this situation.

The unbelieving world needs to see Ted Haggard go through the process of restoration that he spoke of last week.  Ted Haggard’s personal life is no longer personal, which again may be part of the problem.  I don’t know.  Evangelical Christians have an unrealistic of sexuality.  They start with the truth, but they want people to live up to God’s standards.  EC’s are okay with divorce, lying, and perhaps deceit, but nothing sexual.  I believe that marriage is between a man and a woman, that homosexuality is a sin, and that pastors who do meth with male prostitutes are out of bounds.  EC’s need to understand though that people are going to sin.  There’s a difference between accepting that someone is going to sin and accepting that sin.

At first, I was angry with Ted Haggard.  I felt that he had made Christians look bad.  I ranted to myself that he was a hypocrite.  I was upset that he couldn’t control his urges and that he would succumb to temptation.  And why wouldn’t he admit his sins before he got to such a place?  But when I began to reflect on my own life, I realized that I’m not much different than Ted Haggard.  I still need grace on a daily basis and I still sin.  I’m still a man in need of a Savior.

You can read Ted Haggard’s statement here and his wife’s statement here.  These are both PDF’s.


11 11 2006

It’s been one of those weeks that lends itself to a foul mood. The combination of so many things has caused this to take a dive into being fouled up.

It’s easy to say that our response should not be negative and that there should be a positive response to what happens. However, this week I have consistently made poor choices and made the wrong moves.

Maybe it’s okay to put on the happy face and plunge to the next step, but it’s a sad consequence that others are hurt by our bad choices and that our choice may have caused them to step back.

The world seems so big until you really start looking at it. Then you begin to realize how connected everything and everyone is. It’s an unfortunate reality that our decisions and actions have such an impact on so many.

Maybe sometime the lesson will be learned. Maybe the reality will strike that arrogance comes crashing down.

Someone should invent a crystal ball to show me weeks like this in advance and then plan out a game plan for how I show act and respond.


the price of educators

10 11 2006

The lecturers at Makerere University are on strike. They are demanding a salary of about $2,150 for the year. Last year, the average salary of a United States university professor was $88,491.

Disparity is everywhere in Uganda. You will notice it the minute your feet leave Entebbe’s airport.

I can’t really process it all today. Sometimes the lessons that I learn do not stick with me.

49 steps

8 11 2006

There are 49 steps going to the basement to Lincoln Hall. I walk down these steps to do my laundry about every other week.

In Uganda, Ruth always did my laundry when I lived at Maggie’s house. It was such a treat to have a washing machine and someone to do my laundry for me. I washed by hand sometimes, using Omo. Omo is the soap of all soaps. It’s used for clothes, dishes, cars, and everything else that needs to be cleaned. It’s quite simple. If it needs cleaned, use Omo.

Here, we have hand soap, body soap, car wash soap, and laundry soap. Let’s simplify. Pass the Omo.

The Democrats took control of the House last night and possibly the Senate. One of my friends eloquently put it best. He said, “I’m excited that the Democrats won, not because I agree with all of them, but because it will light a fire under the Republican’s asses and turn them to ideals.”

sunday morning coming down

5 11 2006

I walked to Rite Aid this morning. It’s a quiet, gray morning here and I have to admit it, I’m sick. I think this is the longest I have gone into the semester without getting sick before. I don’t know if I have less stress or am getting more sleep, but I was hoping to make it to Christmas without coming down with something. It’s miserable to be sick while living in a dorm. There’s no where to escape to, no kitchen to make tea in, and no porch to sit on to get some fresh air. Instead, I huddle by the window, sucking in clean air, hoping that the germs will be whisked away out of this third story opening.

While I walked this morning, I had some time to think and reflect. Part of the time I thought about Christianity and what it means to me and what affect Grove City College has had on my faith. Campus Crusade has been doing a survey on campus to find out whether the general opinion is that Grove City College has hurt or helped the faith of the students here. I think one of the questions on the survey hit it right on the head. The survey asked about local church involvement here. Personally, I think that’s the one thing that has affected me the most.

I was also thinking about my post on Uganda. One of my friends, David, who is still in Uganda sent me an email after reading the post and I was very happy to read what he wrote to me.  David and I have a relationship that is different than most other relationships that I have.  I have only spent about a week with him in person, yet there was some sort of deep connection that allows me to be open with him.  Here’s what he wrote:

We visited a Doctors without Borders picture exhibit last Saturday at the National Theater. The literature I picked up says:

“Fear of abduction and violence is the initial cause of night commuting, yet today it appears that other factors, directly or indirectly linked to war, lead children to seek refuge in these shelters every night.”

Incidentally, a sign at the exhibit said attendance has dropped from about 20,000 at the peak to about 4,800 this June. Something else that I saw mentioned that the cause of the night commuting now is that a generation of children have never known anything different. That’s why they go, they’ve always gone.

I’m very pleased to see a legitimate organization back up what I feel so strongly about. Unfortunately, university student bloggers don’t hold much clout in the world, but I’m encouraged that Doctors Without Borders is telling the truth: we have a problem, the original cause of that problem is over, we need to respond differently.

So much of me longs to go back to Uganda. I miss it in a way that is different than how I miss anything else in the world. I’d love to return to all sorts of places on earth and there’s a long list of other places that I would love to visit for the first time. Yet Uganda calls in a different way. I think my time in Uganda was a life changing experience that wasn’t done changing me when I left to come back home. I learned so much, but I feel left hanging, waiting for something. I have an idea of what that might be, but I’m not sure how to answer my own questions.