Thursday Thoughts and Miscellaneous Ramblings

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When your child comes up to you and sighs, “Dad, are you ever gonna get off the computer?” you know you’ve been crankin’. Work has consumed my every waking second the last ten days, thus the cobwebs and crickets on the blog. It’s great that business has recovered from the lull I experienced the first half of the year, but I’ve actually got a case of tendonitis from spending too much time interfacing with my anti-ergonomic office setup. Heck, my desk and chair are the same ones from when I was 13-years old, so what does that tell you? (Hey, don’t laugh. Ethan Allen is good furniture, unlike the sawdust-board junk coming out of China today.)

Anyway, I’m still hoping to post on genuine revival someday. Got another post that will probably get me delisted from a number of blogs, too, called “The Rescue of Moonbase Asimov!” Genuine storyline in that one. Now if I could just find the time to write them both.

When I don’t have time to write something well-researched and filled with gravitas, I toss out various disconnected thoughts, the kind of sampling that goes on in my head every 1.5 seconds, so it’s true to life, even if it is a bit scary to the uninitiated.

So here goes:

Many of you know that I’ve been advocating a low-glycemic diet. I’ve lost 30 pounds on that diet and kept them off. I’ve even added back in a few “no-no” foods and still kept the weight off. Very cool. What’s uncool is that I finally realized that the three bouts with kidney stones I’ve had in the last seven months are…well, due to the diet. Seems that switching to healthier foods and substituting foods with a lower glycemic index means eating more foods higher in oxylates, calcium oxylate being the primary ingredient in the most common kind of kidney stone. In fact, I checked what I eat and almost every single item is high in oxylates. Some people don’t tolerate that well, and I just happen to be one of those people. Any urologists out there with some advice? Ugh.

If you’ve got an old, unused PC sitting around that might have a 1GB 168-pin PC100/133 ECC DIMM, and you’re willing to sell the DIMM for a cheap price, let me know. I need one badly.

I’ve been too busy to keep up with all the comments on my Lakeland posts, but thanks and welcome to all the first-timers who came and commented. Things are a bit abnormal around here right now blogging-wise, but I hope to get back to my normal schedule soon.

Thank you also to all the people praying for my family in the wake of some of the illnesses we’ve endured recently. Those prayers are still coveted. What’s happened in the last few months is a major reason the blogging continues to suffer.

A number of regional banks are in deep doo-doo, including one I banked at for years, a bank considered in the industry to be one of the best run. In fact, three of the largest banks in my area are in trouble. The problem? Collapsing hedge funds coupled with turmoil in the mortgage industry. In fact, if I were you, I’d be very careful about where you have your money right now. Some big name banks may go belly up. As someone who is familiar with this (I had money in the savings & loan that precipitated the savings & loan crisis long ago), I know the signs. Be careful out  there. Don’t rely on FDIC. We’re in for some nasty bumps ahead.

This continues to be the rainiest spring I can recall. Great sleeping weather, though. Now if only I could find some time to sleep!

Do social networking sites actually DO anything for you? I’ve been on LinkedIn for a long time, but I’m mystified at what it brings me. Any LinkedIn gurus out there who really know how to play that network?

As a child, the neighbor’s collie used to bite me constantly. When you’re being routinely attacked by Lassie… well, it can scar you for life. Nonetheless, we became dog owners recently.  RosebudWe come to ownership reluctantly as our new mutt (pictured right) was unceremoniously abandoned on our property by yet another heartless fiend. See, we live a mile off a rural highway out in an idyllic spot, and people love to dump their puppies and kittens on our property thinking we’ll take care of them. Here’s a clue: most die. Feral dogs and coyotes mangle the kittens for fun (or else the furballs starve to death) and puppies wind up roadkill or diseased. It breaks my heart that some people are so thoughtless, but then again, even Jodi Minivan is capable of atrocities done in the name of expediency and personal comfort.

More than just about anything else, I want to believe that the American Church is healthy. The facts prove otherwise.  I am weary of people pulling out the “touch not the Lord’s anointed” and “so-called ‘discernment’ is nothing more than divisiveness” trump cards. But hey, what people want to fill themselves with is between them and God. I just want to add this: “My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge.” That’s worth memorizing.

Any other men out there at that strange age where you realize that the attractive businesswomen in their early twenties that you run into in the course of your day, the kind you would’ve chatted up in your single days, are now young enough to be your daughters?

I’m old enough to remember that presidential nominations occurred at the party convention. Anyone else remember? You didn’t have a presidential candidate tabbed until then. Quaint, I know. This is why I am deeply disturbed by the events unfolding in the Democratic Party (as if the party isn’t disturbing enough already). You’ve got two candidates that split the vote right down the middle, yet it’s as if one never existed. In another time, Obama and Clinton would’ve both gone into their convention flying high and no one would have thought it unusual to have two viable candidates to choose from in a real, gen-u-wine nominating convention. Instead, you’ve got this travesty of superdelegates that has usurped the people’s vote. And what craven political monsters those superdelegates are. You can bet that most are just trying to save their political futures and alliances rather than thinking about what is best for this country. But hey, I’m in a flyover state, so what do I know.

Man, is there anything more time consuming than trying to switch automatic checking account debits from one bank to another? I’ve spent almost ten hours following up on a dozen of these things and I’m still not done. It’s a great convenience when you don’t have to pay the bills, but the act of switching may undo all the time you saved!

In that same vein, the older I get, the more I see that all our time-saving devices don’t really save us time. They only make life more frantic trying to pay for and maintain them.

With age also comes this serious question: How do most people live? (Darned if I know.)

The box of store brand chocolate-chip cookies that was $1.29 last year is now $2.19. I don’t know who these economists are who keep talking about the slow, meager rise in consumer prices, but going from $1.29 to $2.19 in a year is not “a slow, meager rise.”

We’re seeing wild turkeys on our property regularly. I never saw turkeys around here until just the last few years. Now I see them everywhere.

On the other hand, the rural highway near us looks like a deer abattoir. Talk in the insurance industry has insurance companies ditching payment for accidents involving deer. Nice.

The Wall Street Journal, the newspaper of record in the Edelen household, could not be any more schizophrenic than it is right now on the topic of the economy. Every day they print a flurry of editorials talking about the fact that the country is NOT slipping into recession (or worse), yet their business pages are filled with one company after another reporting massive downturns in revenue or declaring bankruptcy outright. My take? Too many rich pundits are out of touch with how “the other half” live.

Considering all the spurious commentary on my part so far, I want to end with a serious question: When was the last time a stranger came up to you and asked whether you were born again? Used to happen to me all the time more than a decade ago, but almost never now. Now we can say that’s because people found that form of evangelism to be unproductive, but are we just lying to ourselves? Maybe we’re not really all that interested anymore in evangelism and where people spend eternity. Does any legitimate reason exist that you and I can’t help lead at least one person to Christ each year? Honestly?

Have a great weekend.

9 thoughts on “Thursday Thoughts and Miscellaneous Ramblings

  1. Bob Aarhus

    Dan,

    I’m not a doctor, but I did once see a Vaudeville act that might help you with your oxylate sensitivity.

    Patient: “Doctor, it hurts when I do this.”

    Doctor: “Well then, don’t do that!

    Looking forward to the Moonbase Asimov post…

    Bob

    • Bob,

      I wish I could “not do that,” but the irony is that the good food has oxylates and the junk food doesn’t. That’s because oxylates are found in high concentrations in high-quality, plant-based foods. There’s no way around that.

      Doritos, Fritos, and Cheetos? Low in oxylates. Almonds, cashews, and peanuts? All loaded with oxylates.

      Quite a dilemma, eh? What’s good for you is bad for you!

  2. Cheryl

    In regards to the last part of your post I often will get the question.. “are you religious? ” In which case I answer as graciously as I can. I then try to explain the difference between religion and relationship etc. I am a christian, a follower of Jesus or something like that. I sometimes use the term born again or I say evangelical.

    Now, I do ask people if they are born again. If they seem ” religious” or are church goers. I live in a borough of NYC. I see alot of civil religion here especially in the black community ( sorry if I just offended anyone , but Oz Guinness has a good take on that I heard him teach once ) so when I ask some of these baptist and pentecostal ,apostolic, COC if they are born-again I just get a blank stare. Same thing with some reformed folks. Incidentally alot of these same folks by their life style and gossip definately don’t have an aroma of Christ about them anyway as I see them day in and day out on my job and community.
    It’s discouraging and I don’t know what to make of it.

  3. Dave Block

    Your last item:
    Does any legitimate reason exist that you and I can’t help lead at least one person to Christ each year? Honestly?

    You can spent all sorts of time on witnessing, ministry, relationship building and prayer, but unless God draws that person to Christ, you’re not leading an unsaved person to Him. That’s a very legitimate reason. Our call is to be faithful, not to fulfill an arbitrary minimum of leading one person to Christ each year. It might make sense to say we should all share the gospel with at least one (or whatever number) person each year, or to engage in an ongoing relationship with a certain number of unsaved people each year that includes sharing the gospel, but assigning a minimum number for how many accept Christ wrongfully assumes it’s within our power to control their decision. As Jesus said, “No one can come to me unless the Father who sent me draws him.”

    The assumption behind the question promotes a man-centered view of salvation and can be discouraging to those who share the love and truth of Jesus without seeing people come to Christ. That way of thinking would categorize some as failures who actually are among the most faithful believers.

    • Dave,

      No doubt you are right on many of your points. I guess my counter would be numbers. The more we talk to others about the Lord, the more likely we are to be there in a reaping situation. No talk = no reap.

      I don’t think the assumption promotes a man-centered view of salvation at all. It didn’t for Paul:

      For “everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.” How then will they call on him in whom they have not believed? And how are they to believe in him of whom they have never heard? And how are they to hear without someone preaching? And how are they to preach unless they are sent? As it is written, “How beautiful are the feet of those who preach the good news!”
      —Romans 10:13-15

      And Jesus said it best:

      Then he said to his disciples, “The harvest is plentiful, but the laborers are few; therefore pray earnestly to the Lord of the harvest to send out laborers into his harvest.”
      —Matthew 9:37-38

      God has no bone to pick with people who are laboring and finding the harvest to be difficult work and not as rewarding as they would like. His bone of contention is with the people who aren’t laboring at all. And those are the people at whom I’m aiming this comment.

  4. “When was the last time a stranger came up to you and asked whether you were born again?” Never.

    When was the last time an acquaintance or co-worker or anybody else asked whether I was born again? Never. It’s true, but then I live in upstate New York, not the Bible belt.

    In fact, when God was calling me into His kingdom, back in 1993-94, I knew something was going on, but, at the age of 39, I hadn’t a clue of what to do about it. Apparently God couldn’t find anybody around here to explain things to me, so this is what happened: I lost my job, which prompted me to buy a computer (IBM 496) which I used to make some money after I figured out how it worked. Then I figured out how to get on AOL, the only internet in the area at the time, for which I paid exceedingly-high long-distance phone charges to access. I met a Christian from Daytona, Florida, over 1200 miles away, (bless you, Anch!) who chatted with me for several days, and eventually led me to the Lord.. Even at the time, I wondered why God couldn’t find somebody closer to home.

    So I think your question is legitimate, while acknowledging Dave’s point that God has to do the leading. I think, for the most part, American Christians, are wimpy and selfish. On the whole, picking up our crosses and following the Lord is acceptable only when it doesn’t involve suffering or sacrifice on our part. This is cynical, I know, but it’s a mindset that’s prevalent today, and one the church rarely addresses.

  5. Amy

    In relation to your question,
    “When was the last time a stranger came up to you and asked whether you were born again?
    I also answer NEVER. I sometimes marvel at the series of events God pulled off to get me to walk into a church on my own & respond to His call. 😉
    I was forwarded this link recently & having been one who traipsed the length of this particular street in Sydney regularly, I often wonder how would I have responded?

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tfBIDKuwADU

    It is well worth a listen. It brought me back to the simplicity of Christs message.

    oh & btw. How crazy is it transferring bank accounts!!! man it is a HUGE task 😉

  6. I just heard this week on NPR’s Marketplace that the ‘core inflation rate’ that they always talk about strips out food and energy prices because they are too volatile and therefore skew the results. They are now thinking that maybe leaving them out is skewing the results since the core rate remains low but everyone knows that food and energy are way up. Duh.

    We just did a budget analysis (thanks to Quicken) and compared to this time last year our gas expense is up $1,000. That’s about 40%. Ironically, food wasn’t up that much. If that trend continues, higher gas prices will have eaten up our entire ‘stimulus check’.

    • salguod,

      I could not wait to pay off our tractor a few years ago. But by the time we did, though, tax and insurance increases had eaten up that savings. Same goes for my wife’s car. By the time we paid it off, gas prices had risen so much as to counter the money we saved by paying it off.

      Now one can argue that we’d be paying on top of those rising prices if we had not paid them both off, but that’s little consolation if you ask me. That kind of Pollyanna-ish thinking is the same kind that sees the glass as half-full instead of noting that there’s a hole in the glass!

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