Our house is filled with the sound of family this weekend, including our grandson Xavier Dominik. He's a delight and has opened our eyes to the bright side of being a grandparent. I've found myself rusty in my baby-holding technique, but it's coming back. Super-wife still has the touch. More pictures to come.
25 posts from August 2010
Wild birds are already making decisions about which back yards they will visit this winter. Even though natural food sources are plentiful right now, birds are definitely taking note of which yards have food available.
We have made an intentional effort the past few years to feed and attract birds. How do we keep them and add to those we usually have?
We have started by cleaning our feeders. What else do we need to do?
Young peope are bailing out of the Lutheran church in Michigan and leaders of the Michigan District of the Lutheran Church Missouri Synod (LCMS) are digging deep to change that.
I think they are going through the painful realization that more and more of their young people have left the church and are wandering and looking for meaning and purpose in their lives.
The LCMS is conservative Christian and is solidly anchored in the hope of the cross of Jesus Christ and what that means for eternity. But, the relevance of that seems to be blowing by many young people and others.
Check out this blog from the Michigan District of the church where they pose these questions and they invite conversation. Your opinion should be important to them. The answers will determine where many will spend their eternity.
He pointed out that Christian congregations are increasingly demanding that their pastors dumb down the message, preaching merely to entertain or to make their congregants feel good.
It would be easier to not comment about this post-click link above-from a Lutheran Church Missouri Synod pastor from Houston, Texas. So many people get defensive and they don't try to really listen.
So why bother?
This pastor writes about how ministers are leaving the profession because their members are asking them to dumb down their sermons. The members, they say, want to be entertained with a short message laden with funny stories.
I grew up in the Lutheran Church Missouri Synod and always belonged to one of their churches until I was in my early sixties. During that time I noticed that fewer and fewer people were going to the Missouri Synod churches I belonged to.
Many of these churches are at-risk for their survival. Why? Is it the secular desire of the members creeping in who resist the teaching of the pastors?
I realize the central role of the Gospel in my life. I get my worth from being a saved sinner. And I do need to be reminded of that.
But most of the several thousand sermons I've heard never took me beyond the cross of Jesus into everyday life. Pastors need to show how the gospel is relevant to everyday life.
For me, it happened infrequently. I thought I was less of a believer because of that. I had to find a church that helped me take the Good News and apply it to where I'm at right now.
I don't think many Missouri Synod pastors are doing that and members are responding by leaving.
I don't have anything profound to share as I get ready to turn 64-years-old in less than two weeks. I'm a member of the first class of baby-boomers born in 1946 right after the end of World War II when my dad came home from the South Pacific.
I'm now able to view life with some perspective. I remember lots and I've forgotten lots. I remember when having a television was a big deal and I remember when cars had more sheet metal than most armored vehicles in Iraq. I remember the Kennedy-Nixon television debate and I remember the shock of the Kennedy assiassination as I watched it in black and white on television.
I even remember when Michigan State University went to the Rose Bowl with a coach named Duffy Daugherty and was in the stands when they played Notre Dame to a controversial tie game.
My personal highlights would be filled with lots of jobs that I liked for the most part, a mom who led a purpose-driven life, twenty-four aunts and uncles on my mom's side who I always didn't appreciate fully at the time, a dad that left more questions than answers, a wife of almost 30 years who has been a God-given gift to me, my two kids who have added new layers of meaning to my life, my new grandson who I look forward to getting to know and much more.
What's next? What's left to do?
I'm not sure I have a profound answer. Life is lived daily and it's lived locally. That's where the important stuff happens, I feel. What does that mean? In the next few days, I hope to use this space to sort some of that out.
Do I still have a purpose for living? You bet. And I will as long as I'm breathing. I'm in the process of deciding what to leave on my plate and what to take off.
They'll have to if Detroit is to escape becoming a lawless city. I've read a shocking string of reports lately in which Detroiters talk about rarely seeing a cop car on their streets, the impossibility of getting police to respond to their calls for help, the sense that criminals know they can get away with anything because no one is enforcing the law.
Do you live in a Michigan city and are you concerned about over-worked cops responding when you need their protection?
Check out the above Detroit News story about residents of the city's Russell Woods neighborhood and how they responded when an elderly woman was raped in her own home.
This happened in a neighborhood of the city that's regarded as being safe and very livable.
Citizens responded by taking responsibility for protecting each other, rather than depending first on the police.
Is this going to become the pattern for those who want to live safely in a Michigan neighborhood?
Check this CNN video of a bullfight in Spain where the bull jumps the wall separating the bull ring from the audience. Reminds me of going to a professional wrestling match where one of the performers jumps into the audience to confront taunters.
I've often wondered how the late President Ronald Reagan would have handled our economic and other problems in this country. He oversaw many historic changes in this country that grew the middle class and the fall of the Soviet Union. Is it worldview? Check this video clip of Reagan for part of his answer.
What kind of smartphone does Rick Snyder have? A new Apple iPhone? A Droid? Does he even have a smartphone? I want to know.
I also want to know how he uses it. Does he, himself, send tweets from his phone to communicate directly with the voters? Does he even know what Twitter is? Does he write on the wall of his Facebook page or does he have a staffer do it?
He talks about totally re-inventing Michigan. Go to his website and look for this topic and you'll find in small type a word-smithed explanation of what that means. Can he explain it in his own voice? Can he do it online? Can he engage people online about it?
Why doesn't he blog? It's a perfect way to connect himself and his ideas with voters throughout the state and for them to kick his tires. He has a blog, I think, but it appeared to be nothing more than a billboard for his news releases.
This guy is not too old for these new tools to connect people. My 85-year-old aunt has an iPad and she uses it everyday. My 87-year-old uncle is on Facebook and he uses it.
If Snyder is serious about changing Michigan, he needs to do more than share his ideas. He needs to listen and he needs to engage.
I've not seen evidence of that yet.
His campaign communications staff needs to spend some quality time with him to bring him to full nerd status. He hasn't shown that he's there yet. If he can't communicate more effectively, he'll meet the same fate as Dick Devos.
When Rick says “We can’t just fix it, we need to reinvent Michigan”, what does he mean?
Quite simply, he means that we’re well beyond the point where timid reforms, half-hearted reorganizations, policy tweaks or band-aids of any other sort will solve our problems. Our economy has fundamentally changed and there’s no going back to the way things were. We need new models for economic development, education, healthcare, central cities revitalization, environmental stewardship and more. Our citizens, particularly the young, need the education and training appropriate for today’s global, knowledge based economy.
I've seen all the television ads where Republican gubernatorial candidate Rick Snyder describes himself as a true geek, especially a computer geek.
I'm not seeing it. From looking at his website, he appears to be a business guy who ran a computer company, but he's not a geek and that disappoints me.
A true geek would use social media on the Internet to connect people and to have a conversation in the marketplace. By conversation, I mean more than a proclamation from a CEO, but a careful effort to listen to and nurture comments from the people you serve.
Go to Cluetrain Manifesto.com, a foundational document about how the marketplace for products and ideas has changed and you'll see how much Snyder misses the mark.
The marketplace has become a conversation. People want to be heard and they want a connection with the top guy.
Go to Snyder's website. Do you see any indication that he cares about the thoughts of somebody in Saginaw, Muskegon, St. Joseph, Bay City, Trenton?
He's missing a wonderful opportunity to bring people together.
I just wish they had a "none of the above" choice on the governor's ballot.
This is a quote I picked up from church yesterday:
Strip me naked and leave me in a room and I will still have more than I deserve.
For yourself, can you agree? Disagree?
I'm trying to learn more about Republican gubernatorial candidate Rick Snyder and found this video on the Capital Confidential website from the Mackinac Center. When asked for his favorite job, he has an interesting answer.
It's dirty businesses, reflects a disdain for the intelligence of voters, recklessly distracts from the real issues and exposes the Democrat's win-by-any- means-necessary mentality.
Forget hearing a real debate about the issues facing Michigan from the Democratic and Republican candidates this fall.
Democratic candidate Virg Bernero and city of Lansing mayor is to far behind in the polls that he will have to go on the attack against Rick Snyder his Republican opponent.
That means the only way Bernero can win is by publicly urinating in a figurative sense all over his opponent. There will be accusations from Virg along with shouting, screaming and lots of volume.
The Detroit News' Nolan Finley writes about that today-click above link-and warns Michigan voters to not expect a debate. It will be about nastiness.
Voters should expect and demand more. Right?
The new state smoking ban, Shepard said, is just one more encroachment on personal freedom, a decision handed down by out-of-touch politicians 500 miles away. She likens it to restrictions on gun rights and creeping government intrusion generally.
"We're not a communist country yet, but we're only one step away from it," she said.
It's hard to read this Detroit Free Press story about the American Legion Post in Baraga in the Upper Peninsula and not smile with some degree of respect.
They are defying the state's ban on smoking in public places by saying that they are consuming a legal substance. They say it's their right to smoke and they're not going to put away the ashtrays at their American Legion Post.
They are also suing to keep this right.
Are these just "old soaks" with too much time on their hands or are they engaging in a righteous fight to protect their rights?
The roar of a waterfall is truly majestic, but it is quite a different matter to be in the water hurtling toward the falls. That may be the situation you are in today.
It's a few minutes past 6:30 a.m. on Sunday and I'm trying to get my head and my heart focused in the right direction before we go to church.
Today I'm reading the devotion above from Our Daily Bread based on Psalm 93 which seems so relevant to those living under some type of immediate stress.
It's the difference between being on the sidelines watching a waterfall and being in the water approaching a waterfall. Will you go over the falls?
I know that right now there are many who face physical, financial and relational problems that seem overwhelming and like going over a waterfall.
But God is greater than all of this.
For me, I've been reminded through a bunch of old family pictures that I've been scanning that "the Lord reigns. He is clothed in majesty."
Okay, I've got an iPad and I really like it and that's why I was attracted to this story in the Detroit Free Press about this podcast-the iPad Show-about the device that's produced just down the road and has a worldwide following.
The story really demonstrates the power of the web in connecting people with like interests.
These guys produce the show from a bedroom and get thousands of downloads from around the world. The show is not slick, but seems to be interesting to anybody with an iPad or anybody thinking about buying one.
Have you watched it? Has it been helpful? Any other good podcasts worth watching?
But do our political leaders have any sense of what people are feeling deep down? They don't act as if they do. I think their detachment from how normal people think is more dangerous and disturbing than it has been in the past.
It doesn't take much to see what columnist Peggy Noonan is talking about in the above column about how America is boiling over because of a separation between the political class and the people they serve.
It's happening right now. People are losing hope and they see this country as being lost in the muck and mire of polarization.
Is the American dream a thing of the past? Are you hopeful that your kids will have a better life than you?
Authorities say two teenage brothers arrested Friday planned and then executed an attack on a blind man who had just cashed his Social Security disability check, robbing and beating 50-year-old Dan Perron with his own cane last week in Mount Clemens.
If you were blind and you were beaten and robbed by two teens, how would you react?
That happened in Macomb County's Mount Clemens where two brothers aged 16 and 17 confessed to beating and robbing a 50-year-old blind man.
Is the victim mad? He wants to see them rehabilitated.
What would your attitude be?
For Michigan, which has endured its own "one-state recession" for years, the prospect of a double dip could be devastating, says Patrick Anderson, CEO of the Anderson Economic Group in East Lansing. The state is expected to have lost 1 million jobs during the downturn and still posts a 13.2 percent unemployment rate.
"Michigan is concerned about survival, not growth at this point," Anderson said. "If the economy goes down it won't be a double dip for Michigan, it will be a double canyon."
The Detroit News this morning has a story about the possibility of double-dip recession where our economy went down, came back up and may be headed right back down.
Check the quote above from economist Patrick Anderson about how Michigan is concerned about its survival.
It's not over with yet.
What's the answer?
Can I add another item to your prayer list? My daughter and son-in-law are getting ready to move overseas and need the right buyers for their openhouse today. It's a challenging real estate market and on Facebook they are asking others to join in their prayer for divine help.