Thursday, November 20, 2014

The Future is an Adventure we have not yet Imagined

So a few weeks ago I published a blog that was rather dismissive of books people recommend or give me to read. At about the same time Jason recommended I read Eragon by Christopher Paolini. It is about 700 pages long and the first of a four volume series; each volume slightly longer than the one before. I was honest with Jason that I didn’t do well with long books. I gave up after the third or fourth volume of Harry Potter as each volume got longer and longer.

However he spoke eloquently enough about the merits of Eragon that I was moved to immediately seek out the book. However possibly as an expression of my commitment my first stop was McKay’s Used Books, unfortunately McKay’s did not have a copy. I was already near Barnes and Nobles so I headed over and picked up Eragon.

This is a story about dragons and dragon riders, Elves, Dwarves and Urgals (A tame sort of Orc.) as well as humans all battling the evil empire lead by a misguided former dragon rider. It is full of magic and magicians and spells as well as various other sinister creatures. There is a tremendous amount of lore and back story as well as battles and dragon fights. It was strongly reminiscent of and probably influenced by the works of J. R. R. Tolkien.

Well at times it was as if a spell had been cast over me. When I would start reading I couldn’t stop until at least whatever danger or conflict had befallen the heroes had been overcome. I sped through the four volumes in a month and enjoyed each thoroughly.

So once again I am confronted by the reality that the past is no predictor of the future. And the future is an adventure we have not yet imagined. 

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

People who Made a Difference

I remember the evening clearly. We were watching the Thursday night lineup of network sitcoms. Yes we watched network shows and sitcoms back in those days. It was November 9, 1989. The shows were interrupted to announce history as it happened.

A Mistake

Pressures had been building for a time to reduce travel restrictions between East and West Germany. At some point in the day a decision had been made to move forward on those plans the next day after border guards could be informed and other preparations made. Günter Schabowski the spokesperson for the East German politburo had a scheduled press conference. He was handed a note with this information right before the press conference. He either didn’t fully read the note or it was not clear, but he announced the border would open immediately.

A Decision

Crowds began to gather at the gates of the Berlin Wall. Harald Jäger, the commander of the Bornholmer Straße border crossing had actually been on break earlier and had seen the press conference so he knew why this was happening. He called his superiors but they had no instructions and would not make any decisions.  His border Guards were fearful that if violence broke out they would be quickly overwhelmed. They turned to him for direction, but also wanted no responsibility for a decision. The mass of the crowd also began to be in and of itself a threat to safety. Jager ordered the gates opened. Before the night was over East and West Germans were dancing on top of the wall.


A reality that had been changing moved into fast forward that night propelled forward by a border guard acting on his own, unfortunately because the crossings were demilitarized they no longer needed border guards Jager was unemployed. He wrote about his experience in a book titled The Man Who Opened the Berlin Wall. 

Thursday, November 6, 2014

Every Day Heros

Arnold Abbott is a 90 year old man with a heart for feeding hungry people. Unfortunately the people he wants to feed are homeless and in Ft. Lauderdale, Florida and in Ft. Lauderdale, Florida it is against the law to feed people in public places. Ft. Lauderdale is one of 30 cities who in the past two years have passed laws to outlaw or regulate the feeding of the hungry in public places.

These cities must hope that by being inhospitable to the homeless the homeless will just move on. Do they have any suggestions as to where they should move to? Aren’t the homeless also citizens? I am not unsympathetic to the sanitary and other challenges created by a homeless camp, yet the solutions are not to deny their existence or to drive them away, but to find ways to incorporate them into the community.

Arnold Abbott received a citation from the police and a court date. He returned to his previous location and continued to feed people. When he has his day in court he could face a fine and or jail time. If the jail time is based on so many days per person fed in a public place I wonder how long Jesus would have to spend in Jail.