Tuesday, December 27, 2016

Running My Race - David Alan Black

I just finished reading "Running My Race: Reflections On Life, Loss, Aging, and Forty Years of Teaching" by David Alan Black and I must say that it came as a breath of fresh air.  So many "Christian" books that get published are not calling disciples to a deeper understanding of Jesus, themselves in Christ, or the calling of the Church, but Black is very different.  His message goes out as a clarion call for believers to get back to the simple understanding of the purpose of the body of Christ.

The chapters are labeled:

  1. Marriage
  2. Grief
  3. Aging
  4. Mission
  5. Teaching
  6. After Words

In each chapter Black invites his readers into a deeply personal view of his life.   His views on marriage and aging were poignant, especially as I find myself married and advancing past middle-age.  The chapter on grief was almost hard to read.  I love my wife dearly and I could feel his pain as he described moving on to a new phase of life without Becky.  At the same time, I felt hopeful, because I could see that even when I experience loss God has something good in store for me.

The idea of missions permeates this book.  Black is passionate about missions, but not in the way we have come to think of them.  "We are all missionaries" is a consistent theme.  Wherever you are and whatever you are doing, you are a missionary.  Black is calling the church back to this basic understanding.

I cannot recommend this book enough.  If you want to read something that goes beyond the basic, American "Christian" book and may make you uncomfortable, this book is for you.

Thursday, August 25, 2016

Taking a Tour of UGA

I've been in Athens at a conference for work.  I decided to take a stroll on Wednesday night.  I wanted to walk about three miles.  I took a wrong turn and ended up walking six miles.  Pretty funny.  I told Mandi I probably saw more of the UGA campus than most UGA students ever do!  Pretty good for a Tech fan!

If you are ever in Athens you need to go to Jittery Joes.  Was a good cup of coffee right off Broad Street.  Was more of the local vibe than Starbucks.

Saturday, August 20, 2016

Leucocoprinus fragilissimus

So on our hike the other day Abi and I ran across the most beautiful mushrooms.  They almost looked like flowers.  There were not many of them and they were all in the same area.  I emailed a mycologist at UGA and she identified them as Leucocoprinus fragilissimus.

The tops open up like this and are very thin.  The stem is long and skinny.  The description says that they do not last very long and we felt blessed to be able to see them.

Friday, August 19, 2016

Hiking on the river

Abi and I had a great time hiking on the Cartecay River last week.  This is some of my old stomping grounds from childhood and it was fun to take her there.  The scenery was great and it was nice to spend some time with my daughter.

The photo to the right doesn't actually show the Cartecay, but is a tributary.  I spent a lot of time as a kid fishing at the bottom of that waterfall.  It's amazing how much flood damage has been done through here the past few years.

The photo to the left shows the Cartecay right above where the tributary runs in.  Lots of large rock outcroppings and several little islands.  This is a beautiful area and makes for a fun, easy hike.

Saturday, July 18, 2015

Studying the Bible on Your Own - Building a Bridge

Studying the Bible on Your Own

Building a Bridge

We just finished our Sunday School study of Romans and I couldn't decide what to go to next.  After going over a few options I decided to do a series on how to study the Bible.  At Luther Rice we used a book called "Grasping God's Word" by J. Scott Duvall and J. Daniel Hays.  I am going to adapt some of their ideas for my Sunday School class.

The main thrust is how to find the main theological principle(s) that God intended.  We do not create meaning or find what the text "means to me."  We are looking for the meaning that is already there.  Duval and Hays provide a five step process for this.

Find the biblical principle
While the specifics of a particular passage may only apply to the particular situation of the biblical audience, the theological principles revealed in the text are applicable to all of God’s people at all times.

·      “Build a bridge based on the principle”

  1. Grasping the text in their town
    • What did the text mean to the biblical audience?
  2. Measuring the width of the river to cross
    • What are the differences between the biblical audience and us?
  3. Crossing the “Principlizing Bridge”
    • What is the theological principle in this text?
      • The principle should be reflected in the text.
      • The principle should be timeless and not tied to a specific situation.
      • The principle should not be culturally bound
      • The principle should correspond to the teaching of the rest of Scripture
      • The principle should be relevant to both the biblical and the contemporary audience
  4. Consult the Biblical Map
    • How does our theological principle fit with the rest of the Bible?
  5. Grasping the text in our town
    • How should individual Christians today live out the theological principles?


In class we practiced with Joshua 1.1-9.  Get your Bible out and give it a go.

Saturday, April 25, 2015

Making a Leather Journal

A good friend of mine has a neat leather journal.  I tried to buy one like it, but couldn't find one I liked or they were just too expensive.  I figured I could make one if I put my mind to it so I decided to see what it would take.

The first thing I'd need was a good piece of leather.  I quickly found out there are a lot of variations.  There are differences in tanning, thickness, stiffness, color, etc.  From what I could tell I'd need a piece that was 4-6 ounces in weight (that's really thickness), semi-soft or soft, and oil-tanned.  The color was just preference.  I found that The Leather Guy sold what I needed at a good price.  I bought a piece that made two large journals and one small one for around $30.00 (http://www.theleatherguy.org/leather-hides/project-pieces/oil-tanned-pieces/).

I knew that I'd want my journal to be refillable.  That way, when I was done, I could continue to use the same journal without having to make a new one.  The best technique I found for that was on YouTube here - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Yju82AwTb_M.  I adapted his technique to what I wanted.  I did not want an elastic tie around my journal.  I just used the elastic for the spine to hold the paper in.

Next was cutting the leather to size.  Mandi showed me how to use her fabric cutting setup.  I cut the leather to make sure I had a 3/8" lip on each side.  Once I had that done I cut out the piece.  I left enough leather on to make my the flap to close up the journal (see last pictures).

Once I had the leather cut out I punched holes just like the gentleman did in the youtube video.  For mine I ended up with a center hole top and bottom and a hole 1/4" to the right of that hole top and bottom.  Even though you can see a third hole is marked I did not punch the hole to the left of the center hole.  I also did not punch a hole in the very middle of the fabric as the video did because I'm not making an elastic tie.

Once the holes were punched I ran my elastic.  I started from the outside in so only a little bit of the elastic shows from the outside.  I tied off the two strands on the inside.  You do want some tension on the elastic so that the leather bends a little.  See the video for an example.  Once that's done you can slide in your journal and use the strand without the knot to hold the journal.

Now that the journal is in I can see how long I need the flap to be.  I cut for length and put in a decorative curve.  Once that was done I punch a hole in the flap and ran a leather strip through it and tied off a knot so it couldn't come back through.  I use the leather strip for my tie.  I had a decorative weight for the other end that will help hold it in place.  All done!

Overall, to make one journal took about an hour, but could be done more quickly once you were used to it.

Saturday, July 19, 2014

Dates and Rolls

Today has been a pretty full day.  Woke up this morning and Naomi and I went on a breakfast date.  Went to the Martyn House, which is just north of the square.  If you are in Ellijay you really need to check it out.  Naomi had a breakfast sandwich and I had a fritatta.  Had a fun time talking and playing a little chess.

Got back home and rested for a while and Abi decided she wanted to cook some chocolate/cream cheese sweet rolls (think cinnamon roll).  She and Naomi took a cooking class a couple of weeks back and this was one of the recipes.  You can tell from the photos that they turned out great!