Wednesday, October 31, 2007

True in the Christian Life, Too

"It is not the critic who counts, not the man who points out how the strong man stumbled, or where the doer of deeds could have done better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena; whose face is marred by the dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs and comes short again and again; who knows the great enthusiasms, the great devotions and spends himself in a worthy course; who at the best, knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who, at worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly; so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who know neither victory or defeat."

-Theodore Roosevelt

Just War

As you may recall, I've been reading through some old speeches, interviews, and books by Martin Luther King, Jr. You may also know that he was opposed to the Vietnam War. The other day, I had time to just pick up a speech he gave outlining his opposition to that war.

I haven't finished it, so I'm not commenting on that directly.

What I'm more curious about is where you stand on war. This has at least two significant dimensions.

1) How would you, personally, feel about going to war?
2) How do you, as an American, feel about the country going to war?

And if you support war, how do you jive it with the Sermon on the Mount - specifically, "do not resist an evil person," "whoever strikes you on one cheek, turn to him the other, also," "whoever takes your cloak, give him your tunic also," etc?

This is not meant rhetorically - I'd really love to hear some opinions. So please, tell me what yout think.

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Retaking Christmas

Why? Because I want the message to be heard.

1) I don't need stuff this Christmas. Feel free not to spend your money on me, but give it to someone who needs it more instead. Consider, for example, Lifewater International - a Christian organization, with the seemingly simple goal of providing clean water wells to the poor in developing countries.

2) You probably don't need stuff this Christmas. There are exceptions, but lots of people have lots of stuff and the gifts we get at Christmas are appreciated for a moment, then banished to a shelf. Consider asking your friends and family who may plan on giving you gifts to donate to a charity instead.

3) We still like getting things. If people ask what you want, give them an option - like a picture they took, or a stuffed animal representing a donation made to a group like Heifer International.

Here's a Journal Article about people's happiness at Christmas. Happiness research tries to quantify what makes people more or less satisfied. There are some interesting conclusions, but probably stuff you already guessed were true: Shopping is stressful, Time with family is much better, and those that focused the most on material goods at Christmas felt less satisfied overall. An excerpt, for everyone who isn't big on the idea of correlations and statistics:

(All emphasis and parenthetical notes mine)

If, however, following the dictates of society is the primary way by which people obtain happiness at Christmas, the season’s materialistic aspects should also be positively associated with well-being, given the number of cultural messages trumpeting the path of spending and receiving. Such a prediction was clearly not supported in the current study. Instead, individuals reported significantly lower well-being when spending and receiving were especially salient experiences. Despite the fact that people spend relatively large portions of their income on gifts, as well as time shopping for and wrapping them, such behavior apparently contributes little to holiday joy. Further, the amount individuals spent and went into debt was unrelated to their CWB (Christmas Well-Being), suggesting that excessive economic activity does little to enhance satisfaction. Additionally, when people received gifts that totaled a substantial percentage of their income, they reported more NA (Negative Affect).

Monday, October 29, 2007

Coram Deo Service Map

I've updated the map of places Coram Deo has served. Now included, pictures and snippets of the write-ups that Steve and/or Teri have done for us. Kudos to them for their hard work!

All the "Camera" Icons can be clicked for a more detailed explanation and picture of that particular service event. Fun!

Thursday, October 25, 2007

The Evolution of Dance

Thank, or blame, Beth for showing this to me, because now I'm sharing it with all of you.

Man of the Year

Life imitates art. Sweet! Check out that Colbert is polling ahead of Republicans among under-30 voters, as an independent.

Hat tip to Jeff of Opinions NobodyAsked For.

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Christmas Was Meant to Change the World

Hat tip to Mary Jo Lange for mentioning this at our Cor Group last night. It's something Imago Dei, a church in Portland, is a part of (sponsoring?). The name is Advent Conspiracy and the self-description is "Advent Conspiracy is an international movement restoring the scandal of Christmas by substituting compassion for consumption."

You can read more about it HERE.

Kenny C. earlier noted that the disregard of the global poor may be one of the great evils of America today which the church dismisses. Here's a way to try thinking outside of the plastic retail packaging this Christmas.

Tuesday, October 23, 2007


Imgaine if everyone in Reno and Sparks - including the north valleys, the south meadows, everyone - was ordered to leave their homes because of wildfires.

That's about 500,000 people, and that's how many people have had to evacuate in San Diego.

Imagine every car you pass on the road, all heading out of town at once with their dearest posessions, not knowing if they'd see their home again. Everyone in the store, everyone at your school, until the valley was deserted.

They're the worst fires in San Diego History. And the evacuation has doubled from yesterday, when it was "only" 250,000.

Monday, October 22, 2007


KJKF AM Radio in Reno is 1230 AM on the radio dial. It's the local Air America affiliate - the liberal/progressive "alternative" to the predominant conservative talk radio selection. Typically, the only reason I listen in is because they have the re-broadcast of the 49ers radio announcers for every game. I had been listening in the car yesterday to the game when I went to get my finger examined.

When I got in the car to go to church, the radio was still on, and there was a show about faith. They had a couple guests, including the author of a New York Times editorial I referenced here before, about America not being a "Christian Nation." His discussion of it did the best job of explaining why that strikes a chord with me.

The first idea is that by claiming the "Christian Nation" title, the actions of the nation are often, in the minds of those outside the church, given implicit sanction by the church - if X is the action of a Christian Nation, it must be the proper Christian action. The other is that the church is far above and beyond the scope of any nation's interests. It is a gathering from all nations, tribes, tongues, ages, races, and genders. That in the church, since there is neither slave nor free, man or woman, Jew or Greek, there is no distinction for American or not-American either - all are one in Christ Jesus.

I listened to the show intently. That's the first time I've done that with talk radio in a while. It was a genuinely interesting, engaging discussion. It began with the thoughts of a couple believers on the position of some prominent atheists, and which of their arguments carried the most weight, and how the believers respond to them. It was a reasonable discussion, that did not dismiss the atheists out of hand, but said "Here's the argument that makes me think the most, and here's how I answer it."

Pretty nifty.

Friday, October 19, 2007

I promise, I'm not trying to make it happen...

August 31 - The suicide.
September 16 - Dad's heart attack
October 2 - Girl from old church is missing for a night
October 19 - I semi-deeply cut my left pinky while fixing a flat tire on my car. 3 stitches, a prescription for antibiotics, and a follow-up appointment in 2 days to make sure the joint is
not getting infected.

Every two weeks, something's happened. The trend continues, though much, much less severe.

The clock is resetting. Watch out in early November.

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

The World of Retail.

From an article I heard about on Living Refuge:

On the box for Jesus, these words are printed: "God's Son" and "Fully Poseable."

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Social Security

Evidently, more than twice as many Generation X people (of which I am very, very tail-end) believe in UFO's than that they will receive Social Security Benefits.

I find that both interesting and altogether reasonable.

Monday, October 15, 2007

Heaven and Hell

"I talked with many groups, including one group of two hundred ministers, my theme to them being that a minister cannot preach the glories of heaven while ignoring social conditions in his own community that cause men an earthly hell."

Agree or disagree? Why?

Form Without Substance, Salt Without Savor

Another line that struck me, though more than this sole line is needed for context: "Unless the early sacrificial spirit is recaptured, I am very much afraid that today's Christian church will lose its authenticity, forfeit the loyalty of millions, and we will see the Christian church dismissed as a social club with no meaning or effectiveness for our time, as a form without substance, as salt without savor. "

Is this an accurate description of what has happened to the church over the past 40 years? If so, is this a coincidence, or a result?

Pious Irrelevancies and Sanctimonious Trivialities

One line that struck me (and not just because I love the way the words flow) from the interview excerpt below was this: "As the Negro struggles against grave injustice, most white churchmen offer pious irrelevancies and sanctimonious trivialities."

On what issues today might the church (or some subset of it) be doing the same? It is my fear that the church could suffer from similar blind spots today... which we cannot see since we're in the midst of it.

What grave injustices do we ignore, or dismiss with hollow holy-speak?

Saturday, October 13, 2007

I Read It For The Articles

It's a pop culture joke when it comes to Playboy. But I was flipping through an anthology of Martin Luther King Jr's speeches, interviews, and books when I came across a lengthy interview (a series of interviews, covering some 6 hours) he did for that magazine. I didn't even make it all the way through, because I wanted to make sure to post the following pages. The book is A Testament of Hope. The following are on pages 344-348. My thoughts later, but for now I'll let his words do the speaking.


King: Well, the most pervasive mistake I have made was in believing that because our cause was just, we could be sure that the white ministers of the South, once their Christian consciences were challenged, would rise to our aid. I felt that white ministers would take our cause to the white power structures. I ended up, of course, chastened and disillusioned. As our movement unfolded, and direct appeals were made to white ministers, most folded their hands -- and some even took stands against us.

Playboy: Their stated reason for refusing to help was that it was not the proper role of the church to "intervene in secular affairs." Do you disagree with this view?

K: Most emphatically. The essence of the Epistles of Paul is that Christians should rejoice at being deemed worthy to suffer for what they believe. The projection of a social gospel, in my opinion, is the true witness of a Christian life. This is the meaning of the true ekklesia -- the inner, spiritual church. The church once changed society. But today, I feel that too much of the church is merely a thermometer, which measures rather than molds popular opinion.

P: Are you speaking of the church in general -- or the white church in particular?

K: The white church. I'm sorry to say. Its leadership has greatly disappointed me. Let me hasten to say there are some outstanding exceptions. As one whose Christian roots go back through three generations of ministers -- my father, grandfather, and great-grandfather -- I will remain true to the church as long as I live. But the laxity of the white church collectively has caused me to weep tears of love. There cannot be deep disappointment without deep love. Time and again in my travels, as I have seen the outward beauty of white churches, I have had to ask myself, "What kind of people worship there? Who is their God? Is their God the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, and is their Savior the Savior who hung on the cross at Golgotha? There were their voices then a black race took upon itself the cross of protest against man's injustice to man? Where were their voices when defiance and hatred were called for by white men who sat in these very churches?

As the Negro struggles against grave injustice, most white churchmen offer pious irrelevancies and sanctimonious trivialities. As you say, they claim that the gospel of Christ should have no concern with social issues. Yet white churchgoers, who insist that they are Christians, practice segregation as rigidly in the house of God as they do in movie houses. Too much of the white church is timid and ineffectual, and some of it is shrill in its defense of bigotry and prejudice. In most communities, the spirit of status quo is endorsed by the churches.

My personal disillusionment with the church began when I was thrust into the leadership of the bus protest in Montgomery. I was confident that the white ministers, priests, and rabbis of the South would prove strong allies in our just cause. But some became open adversaries, some cautiously shrank from the issue, and others hid behind silence. My optimism about the white church was shattered; and on too many occasions since, my hopes for the white church have been dashed. There are many signs that the judgment of God is upon the church as never before. Unless the early sacrificial spirit is recaptured, I am very much afraid that today's Christian church will lose its authenticity, forfeit the loyalty of millions, and we will see the Christian church dismissed as a social club with no meaning or effectiveness for our time, as a form without substance, as salt without savor. The real tragedy, though, is not Martin Luther King's disillusionment; the tragedy is that in my travels, I meet young people of all races whose disillusionment with the church has soured into outright disgust.

P: Do you feel that the Negro church has come any closer to "the projection of the social gospel" in its commitment to the cause?

K: I must say that when my Southern Christian Leadership Conference began its work in Birmingham, we encountered numerous Negro church reactions that had to be overcome. Negro ministers were among other Negro leaders who felt they were being pulled into something that they had not helped to organize. This is almost always a problem. Negro community unity was the first requisite if our goals were to be realized. I talked with many groups, including one group of two hundred ministers, my theme to them being that a minister cannot preach the glories of heaven while ignoring social conditions in his own community that cause men an earthly hell. I stressed that the Negro minister had particular freedom and independence to provide strong, firm leadership, and I asked how the Negro would ever gain freedom without his minister's guidance, support, and inspiration. These ministers finally decided to entrust our movement with their support, and as a result, the role of the Negro church today, by and large, is a glorious example in the history of Christendom. For never in Christian history, within a Christian country, have Christian churches been on the receiving end of such naked brutality and violence as we are witnessing here in America today. Not since the days of the Christians in the catacombs has God's house, as a symbol, weathered such attack as the Negro churches.

I shall never forget the grief and bitterness I felt on that terrible September morning when a bomb blew out the lives of those four little, innocent girls sitting in their Sunday-school class in the 16th Street Baptist church in Birmingham. I think of how a woman cried out, crunching through the broken glass, "My God, we're not even safe in church!" I think of how that explosion blew out the face of Jesus Christ from a stained-glass window. It was symbolic of how sin and evil had blotted out the life of Christ. I can remember thinking that if men were this bestial, was it all worth it? Was there any hope? Was there any way out?

P: Do you still feel this way?

K: No, time has healed the wounds -- and buoyed me with the inspiration of another moment which I shall never forget: when I saw with my own eyes over three thousand young Negro boys and girls, totally unarmed, leave Birmingham's 16th Street Baptist Church to march to a prayer meeting -- ready to pit nothing but the power of their bodies and souls against Bull Connor's police dogs, clubs, and fire hoses. When the refused Connor's bellowed order to turn back, he whirled and shouted to his men to turn on the hoses. It was one of the most fantastic events of the Birmingham story that these Negroes, many of them on their knees, stared, unafraid and unmoving, at Connor's men with the hose nozzles in their hands. Then, slowly, the Negros stood up and advanced, and Connor's men fell back as though hypnotized, as the Negroes marched on past to hold their prayer meeting. I saw there, I felt there, for the first time, the pride and the power of nonviolence.

Another time I will never forget was one Saturday night, late, when my brother telephoned me in Atlanta from Birmingham -- the city that some call "Bombingham" -- which I had just left. He told me that a bomb had wrecked his home, and that another bomb, positioned to exert its maximum force upon the motel room in which I had been staying, had injured several people. My brother described the terror in the streets as Negroes, furious at the bombings, fought whites. Then, behind his voice, I heard a rising chorus of beautiful singing: "We shall overcome." Tears came into my eyes that at such a tragic moment, my race still could sing its hope and faith.

Friday, October 12, 2007


The next two months are prime-time for the Christmas Shopping Season.

Please note: I have all the stuff I need. Feel very free not to give me anything. I list a number of charities on the left side of this blog - donate something to them.

A shout out to a local guy trying to make a difference - $30 will do a lot more good for Transformed International than it would to buy me a DVD.

I'm also going to encourage others: try going without gifts, especially if you don't have need of something. But you have to let people know that you'd prefer their money go to someone who's really in need. It might not be easy, or it might be very easy. But it requires you to step up to the plate and say something.

Because it's not that I don't like or want stuff. But there are people whose lives can be changed for the price of a trifle I'll enjoy for a handful of moments.

Thursday, October 11, 2007

For my Reference

Though you may get to it before I. It's the "last lecture" of a professor who has a couple months to live. Evidently, the "last lecture" is generally given as if the professor were dying. In this case, there is no if.

I've heard it's good. There's a transcript and a link to the video HERE.

I read in a Dilbert book, of all places, yesterday that we tend to sensationalize some deaths, like those caused by a serial killer, while ignoring others. That really, aren't 10 unrelated deaths more tragic than 9 caused by a single person?

Googleing the Church

Check out what you get if you search Google Maps for "Coram Deo, Reno." Yeah... I'm proud. Less because I made the map getting linked, but because there's so many we-served-here points popping up.

If you do the same search in standard Google, you get our website, a blurb about the AIDS Walk, a reference to us on the Join Together Northern Nevada website, and a blog note about a couple that volunteered with Camp Solace.

My World

I've been pretty scatterbrained the last couple months. There are things I have talked about, things I may not have talked about, things I thought I talked about and didn't, and so forth. So, for those that are interested, here's been the happenings in my world over that time. But, knowing me, I'll probably leave something out.

August 11-12: Spent the night on the Black Rock Desert playa with some friends. Wanted to stargaze and take cool pictures, but howling winds, dust, and a bright light at the Burning Man construction site spoiled our plans. I awoke in the morning with a very irritated uvula, probably from inhaling the alkali dust. It hurt to swallow for a day or so.

August 21: I got my chance to try some astrophotography with my new camera when I went to Boca to watch a total lunar eclipse. It was cool. I watched the moon go into the eclipse so carefully, that I fell fast asleep during the eclipse.

August 31: I went to my typical Friday-night gathering with my roommate and that circle of friends. We went to a intalian place in the Summit Sierra Shopping Center. I got home, and there was a message from Dawson on the phone. "Call me as soon as you get this." It was getting late, but I decided to call, just in case. Good thing I did. A young guy in our church had committed suicide. A sleepless night sitting with his wife, Beth, and various family and friends in a conference room in the ICU followed.

September 1: From ICU to my parents' home (once some other guys arrived to stay with the family) to watch the opening Nevada football game of the season (after a "nap" on the couch). We played with Nebraska for about 20 minutes. In the other 40 minutes of the game, we got pummelled. I went home sometime in the third quarter. I slept for a couple hours. Then, back to the ICU until the family said "We're going home. You go home, too."

September 2: The guy who shot himself was declared brain dead the previous day, but was still on a ventilator, as the family wanted him to donate as many organs and tissues as possible. This meant that they didn't really say goodbye until around 2am Sunday night / Monday morning. Church that Sunday was quite somber. Dawson was asked to do the funeral in Colorado, for family there. I told him I'd go if he needed company. When I get home, I talk with my roommate for a while. Then he gets a call - his mom was taken to the hospital with blood-sugar issues. I drive him there, he sits with her for an hour or so while I wait in the waiting room.

September 5: The Reno funeral. A couple in the church with a big yard opened it up for use. He was given military honors, and people stayed until well after dark. It was standing-room only.

September 8: Nevada plays football at Northwestern. Dominant first half, weak second half. Gives up a go-ahead score late in the game, only to come right back and reclaim the lead. This appears solid until the other team leads a 1-minute touchdown drive with no timeouts. We lose.

September 9: Church starts getting back to normal, as much as normal can be. Dawson and I coordinate to go to Colorado, since his wife is not feeling able to go.

September 14: We fly to Denver. Jokes come from both Dawson and Miriam (on the phone) about how they "thought the Rocky Mountains would be a whole lot rockier." Dumb and Dumber referenced are a dime a dozen. We make a wrong turn, and decide to visit Buffalo Bill's grave. I call my sister that night, wanting to get an update on the game. Silly me, the game's tomorrow.

September 15: The Colorado funeral. The good news is, this is the last "event" focused on the death two weeks ago. We get home, and I call my sister for an update on the game. What?! We're down 10-3. But wait... the crowd cheers... TOUCHDOWN! The game is now tied. I consider myself good luck. I hang up - unbeknownst to anyone, my dad's heart attack is happening right now. 30 minutes alter, the phone rings. I guess that it's my sister, calling with a game update. It is my sister, but she says an ambulance has taken dad to the hospital. It might be a heart attack. A little later, another phone call: it was a heart attack and they're doing a dye test to see how severe. An hour later, it was a Massive heart attack. "If he makes it" through the next 3-5 days, we'll go from there. I thank Beth's family for staying up with me, but I'm going to try and get some sleep - though I have a phone right beside me. A little later, "the next couple hours are very critical." A little later, he seems to be stabilized. I get a couple hours sleep.

September 16: We fly back from Denver to Reno. Dawson and I happen to be on the same flight as Beth. We ask the ticket guy to put us together, and for no charge he does so... and puts the three 6-foot people in the emergency exit row, too. Props to United's TED airline. Beth entertains all of us for most of the flight by reading random advertisements in the Sky Mall catalog. I head right to the hospital, visit with dad and family, head home for some sleep, eat dinner, go back to the hospital.

September 17: Hospital, home, hospital, repeat.

September 18-21: I go back to work, visiting the hospital on the way home. Unfortunately, that's right before shift change, so I don't stay for more than an hour. On Friday, my dad is moved out of ICU to a regular room, where he has a view of the Street Vibrations fireworks.

September 22: I go on a long drive with Rob and Heather to take pictures of fall colors. We get some, but not a whole lot.

September 23: My dad's released from the hospital to go home.

September 28: The Friday night crew gathers to play Halo 3 until the wee hours of the morning.

September 29: The UNLV football game. Coram Deo is hoping to have a tailgate in which we offer food to others, give them water for the game, and pick up their trash. #2 and #3 meet with marginal success. The best conversation of the day happens when we give away a parking space to a random guy. We then hang out, talk sports, share burgers, and act hospitable. My sister ends up putting the rest of us to shame, giving away most of the water herself by actually offering it to passers-by. Beth comes to the football game, where I run into a couple of old friends in the stands. We all watch a back-and-forth game that is tense until the final seconds have expired. I then head to the Sparks Marina for a birthday bash for a guy at church. I forget to tell Beth to take any street but Virginia to the freeway - she is stuck in an hour of traffic as a result. We all play volleyball at the Marina until it starts to get dark, and a collision between two players gives a pregnant girl a cut below her eye (that later requires stitches). We head to the Great Basin Brewery for dinner. I try a specialty beer with dinner. My non-love for beer in all forms is reinforced... but hey, I tried. Over the day, I get rather sun-burned.

October 2: A woman goes missing in Reno. So happens she's an old friend from church, and a former roommate of the wife of an elder in the church. Can we get two weeks without crisis? Doesn't seem like it.

October 3: She's found, without harm. On an unrelated note, Dawson calls a church in Montana looking to give away a $10,000 sound system. The pastor likes our story/vision/heart the most, and decides to give it to us. He doesn't want the hassle of shipping it. A U-Haul is $1,800 to go there and back. What will we do? Turns out Dawson's father was planning a trip to Montana anyway, a short distance from where this church is. He'll pick it up and bring it abck for free. Essentially, we got a $12,000 gift from God. Quite nice, quite unexpected.

October 6: Nevada plays Fresno State for homecoming. We get slaughtered. We lose our starting quarterback to a freak injury. We make the game look respectable at the end, losing only 49-41.

October 7: Amid the terrible football news, it's announced that Nevada basketball has gotten a commitment from it's second Top-100 high school player for the 2008 class. Yay! The future is looking bright.

October 11: It's today, and nothing fascinating has happened, except I have typed this blog. Snazzy!

Wednesday, October 10, 2007


Hopefully, I'm never stranded on a desert island with nothing but coconuts.

I went to the store yesterday to get some fresh fruits for grazing at the apartment. I got half a dozen apples, some dried raspberries, and on a lark a pineapple and a coconut. I was eager to try the coconut, as I LOVE just about anything made with shredded coconut. Assuming it tasted good, I pondered making a sort of pina-colada fresh fruit smoothie.

After a lot of effort (including 15 minutes in the oven after draining the milk), I finally got to the meat of the coconut. It didn't even make it to chew-and-swallow. I bit into it, and it just didn't taste good. And it smelled funny. I was most disappointed.

It wasn't at all what I expected, more's the pity. I did, however, have the pinapple handy, so I sliced that up, and enjoyed a mid-afternoon treat. If only the pineapple were as cheap as its canned chunks...

Monday, October 08, 2007

America is NOT a "Christian Nation"

In this great editorial, the title says it all: A nation of Christians is not a Christian Nation.

It's a distinction that the Republicans - especially those pandering to the religious segment of "the right" - regularly obscure, and it damages the cause of Christ when Christians try to hold on to it. I have no romantic notion that the United States of America is anything other than a political entity of this world. And this world is run by powers which are most hostile to God.

Friday, October 05, 2007

I suspect whole churches...

I suspect whole churches could learn from the words of an NFL Quarterback.

In the God Squad sect, players often use moral conviction as an excuse for closed-mindedness.

But that's not Kitna's style. His responses to questions about his faith and leadership are mostly tinged with humility, perspective and openness. Asked to consider whether a Muslim, Jewish or agnostic teammate might feel excluded by group exaltations, Kitna pauses, rubbing his head.

"I know there are people in the locker room who don't like where I stand, don't like me as a leader or wish I'd shut up," he says. "My first responsibility to this team is to be a quarterback. But my priority in life is to be a man of God. I don't use my faith maliciously, to damn or to judge -- people who do are not Christians. And when I've had Mormon teammates, I've tried to understand where they come from. Because we have different beliefs doesn't mean we can't coexist."


"What guys really have a problem with is inconsistency -- people who say one thing and do another. Hypocrites. Chameleons. My teammates learn pretty quick that this is who I am, every day and in every situation."

And the tests come constantly. Walking into the Lions' locker room a few days before the Vikings game, Kitna was greeted by silence. The Lions have three iPod docks that plug into their speaker system. But when someone began blasting Christian music, a tense standoff ensued. It was noted, loudly, that a majority of people in the room didn't want to listen to God rock. And so the speakers remained mute until Kitna arrived. "Everyone's music should be heard," he said, "or no one's." The Christian rock was resurrected, followed by a heavy dose of hip-hop.


Like many athletes who are outspoken about something as personal as faith, Kitna -- with his ubiquitous cross hats and constant biblical references -- is often dismissed as a loon. But his impact in Detroit is undeniable. He is part of a team prayer group on Friday afternoons and hosts a Bible study for teammates and their wives at his home on Monday nights.

Since he signed a four-year, $11.5 million deal in March 2006, about 20 Lions have given their lives to Christ. Teammates, converted or not, credit Kitna -- and, in part, this religious awakening -- with helping change the previously poisonous attitude in the Lions' locker room. Says Orlovsky, "He is the pulse and the heart and the soul of this team."

Thursday, October 04, 2007

With Enough Money

It would be hard not to do something like this.

My Work, In the News

Commentary on our department's reccomendation that the average UI tax be reduced from 1.38% to 1.33% for 2008:

Thankfully, at least one government body isn't embracing the taxing philosophy outlined above.

On Tuesday, the state Employment Security Council voted to reduce Nevada's unemployment tax in 2008 as a way to inject more cash into the economy.

Allowing employers to keep more of their earnings will "provide an economic stimulus, albeit a small one," said Cindy Jones, the commission's administrator who is expected to implement the recommendation next month.

What a refreshing concept.

Scott Adams on Economists' Brains

The creator of Dilbert studied economics in college. He muses on the effects of this on his thinking in a blog:

The primary skill of an economist is identifying all of the explanations for various phenomena. Cognitive dissonance is, at its core, the inability to recognize and accept other explanations. I’m oversimplifying, but you get the point. The more your brain is trained for economics, the less it is susceptible to cognitive dissonance, or so it seems.

The joke about economists is that they are always using the phrase “On the other hand.” Economists are trained to recognize all sides of an argument. That seems like an easy and obvious skill, but in my experience, the general population lacks that skill. Once people take a side, they interpret any argument on the other side as absurd. In other words, they are relatively susceptible to cognitive dissonance.

Wednesday, October 03, 2007

So Dawson doesn't feel Picked On

I have plenty of incriminating photos of myself, too. From a bus trip to Fresno for the 2006 football season opener:


Colorado Photos

The few photos I took (with my OLD camera) on my short trip to Colorado are up on Flickr. Here's a taste:

Dawson, or Noah?  You decide.

Tuesday, October 02, 2007

What We Don't Need

Reno does not need more luxury condos (1800 of them, in three 20-to-30 story towers, in the $380,000-3,000,000 price range).

When I first heard of this project, I thought it would be condos of the someone-can-actually-affor-to-buy-them variety. I was in support of that, because there is a need for affordable housing. $380,000 for a loft? Not "affordable."

Instead, this is another attempt to cash in on once-soaring real estate prices. The base prices for these condos are unreasonable, especially when trying to appeal to "young" workers with an urban feel.

The housing market is facing severe strain - too many people trying to sell too many homes for too high a price. This will only reinforce that trend. I'm hereby against this project. It's within their rights to build it, if they can get everything approved - and I don' t object to that. I just think it's a terrible idea.

Woman missing in South Reno

Here's the story in the RGJ. And it rather looks like a Megan I knew from the old college group at First E Free, though it's been a while and I can't tell. But she's about the right age.

For the record...

I am in favor of both a proposed (but won't go anywhere) 50-cent increase in the Federal gas tax, and a surtax to fund the Iraq war.

I'm not a fan of higher taxes, but I'm less a fan of defecit spending (Iraq War, and in particular Bush's use of supplemental budget requests to hide the true hit on the Federal Defecit), and I think a gas tax is a reasonable proposal to address the "gasoline over-consumption is harming the environment" furor. A much more reasonable proposal than raising CAFE standards, or other policies designed to make gas cheaper. Simple Economics says people consume relatively more when things are cheap, and relatively less when things are expensive (depending on the elasticity of the good).

The Federal government continuing the myth that present defecit spending does not matter is not good for anyone. That the Republicans would push it is something I'm ashamed of. If something is important enough to do (as every hawk will tell you Iraq is crucial), it's important enough to pay for. Money has to come from somewhere.

Monday, October 01, 2007

I'm not a cat person

But I know some people who are. Enjoy:

Birds of a Feather

Evidently, I'm not alone in my love for nacho-flavored Doritos.