Sunday, October 21, 2007

Did they mean that?

In Chalmonix we saw a store called Amazone Lingerie on Ravanel la Rouge. You do remember the legends of the Amazons, who cut off the right breast so it wouldn't interfere with the bowstring when shooting, right? Somebody didn't.

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

25% of Germans...

Drudge Report linked to a hysterical poll report saying that 25% of Germans found some good in the Nazi government. For a change, you can actually see how the question is worded (albeit in translation).

Pollsters for the Forsa agency, commissioned by the weekly magazine Stern, asked whether National Socialism also had some "good sides (such as) the construction of the highway system, the elimination of unemployment, the low criminality rate (and) the encouragement of the family."

A more interesting question is not why 25% of Germans thought that roads were a good thing, but why 70% couldn't think so. Either the Green infection is horrifyingly widespread, or some people don't realize that you can hate and work to destroy something that actually does some good now and then. Must be nice: no hard choices to make, just demons to oppose.

Yes, I know Adolph and his supporters came pretty close to filling that bill, but this attitude carries over into less clear-cut quarrels as well.

Non-dancing men

In the US airports there's a man with two glowing pointers guiding airplanes into the gate. In Brussels, there's nobody. I wonder if this is featherbedding in the US or a real safety issue.

Dancing Men

The Ethiopian airlines logo looks like the Dancing Men from the Sherlock Holmes story.

Tuesday, October 09, 2007

Despair or envy?

A friend from our old church said there was to be a special church meeting last Thursday. Saturday there was a big tent up, which was odd, and on Sunday there were 4 or 5 men guiding parking in the newly renamed “Heartland” church. My wife and I talked about that briefly, and I thought there must have been a merger.

I was sort of right.

September 28, 2007 (Rockford, Il) — Mark Bankord, Directional Leader of Heartland Community Church, announced today that the elders, Board of Directors, and Leadership Team of Heartland, after prayerful consideration, have agreed to accept the gift of the assets of the non-denominational, evangelical Pathway Community Church in Sun Prairie, Wisconsin. Effective Monday, September 24, 2007, Pathway has changed its name to Heartland Community Church and offer Heartland’s “different way to do church” to their community. “Based on counsel from True North 128, Inc., a Christian Church Consulting firm, the elders of Pathway approached us with the idea,” said Mark Bankord. “They are gifting the assets of their church to Heartland and adopting the Heartland name and model. They will rely on the leadership of Heartland here in Rockford to help them positively impact their community.” Pathway, a 29 year-old church that owns 40 prime acres near Madison, has been without a senior pastor/leader for the past five months. The desire of the Pathway elders and the members has been to determine the best method available to grow their congregation and to reach out to their community. Heartland’s Leadership Team in Rockford will duplicate the methodology that has been in place since the church was founded in 1998.

Apparently the Heartland methodology is to rely heavily on video lessons.

The Thursday meeting was an announcement, not a discussion: typical of the elder board, I fear. Their ambition has been to grow the church into a “megachurch” using the currently fashionable worship and ministry models. Along the way the elders alienated over half the congregation, including most of the mature and experienced members.

I'm startled to find them choosing this option, though. Perhaps they were overwhelmed with the quality of the Heartland model and materials, and figured that piggy-backing was the only way to get started fast. Or perhaps they looked around at the number of workers left, and decided they needed help from outside.

Years ago the elders decided they weren't very interested in adult education, and canned everything in the hopes that small groups would do the job instead. It looks like the Heartland model will let them just pop in a video tape and sit back.

Better than nothing, I suppose. But the plan has that attenuated “tele-church” feel. Does a video-taped speaker count as one of the “two or three gathered in my name?”

Thursday, October 04, 2007

Travel reports

Middle Daughter is used to noise, but not the noise of her new host family in Dakar, Senegal. She met them last night, and knows 5 names out of the fifteen or so going in and out. She also has not figured out who is an in-law, a younger child or an older grandchild. She sounded a little dazed. We tried calling the number she gave us, but the message said it was disconnected

About Red Oak: It's in North Aurora, IL, along the east bank of the Fox River. I hear that Jim the manager is still there after 20-odd years. I used to take Eldest Son and Eldest Daughter to see the six foot bull snake and the raptors waiting for their wings to heal. The beehive's glass case is built into the wall, and Eldest Daughter always looked for the queen bee. Middle daughter wouldn't remember it, and the younger ones have never been there.

Our apartment complex was then at the edge of civilization. We took plaster casts of deer tracks and turned in some of our discoveries, such as a fox skull, to Red Oak. The lot was home to half a million caterpillars. I once had to chase a muskrat out of the hall; the door didn't close properly until after the muskrat had wandered in, and he was not happy. Right after we moved back to Wisconsin, the bulldozers came through. The Pick-your-own-raspberry farm with its petting zoo and ice cream shop, our half million caterpillars, and a lot of Illinois countryside disappeared in a hurry.

Red Oak's trails were short enough for toddlers to handle but long enough for them to find something interesting. There are now longer trails and a bike path.

Hello Crow lived in an old grain bin, just off the trail around the bend from the nature center. People had been greeting him with "hello" for years, and so he would always hop to the edge and croak, "'Ello, 'ello, 'ello." He was a very friendly bird. One day we didn't see him and I asked Vince, the assistant at the time, where Hello Crow was. Vince said blandly, "Hello Crow died the other day." Later, with the kids out of earshot, he told me that some teenagers had stabbed the bird when he came up to greet them.

The nature center now has a lobby, an auditorium, and office space. The office space Jim used to use is now serving its proper function as a storage closet. The old raptor room has reptiles and amphibians, including a delightful fat salamander and a huge Florida king snake. The bees and the play-with-it table, with deer antlers and fox skulls and snake skins, is the same as before, except for new paint. I'm glad we took the detour.

Mrs. James