Friday, August 11, 2006

90 by 50 update

Today was my official 12 week weigh-in. My goal was to have lost 18 pounds by this point. The official scale at the Old Texas Barbell Company indicates a loss of 16 pounds. I'm really not discouraged. This last six week period included two church camps, one mission trip and a two-week vacation! I am working the plan pretty well. I did my walking a few times on vacation and I did my weight training three times at a nice fitness center in Shoreview MN. On most days I kept my food diary. I've never done these things on vacation before . . . they seemed to really help. Keep prayin' for me. God has been merciful and good.

Wednesday, August 02, 2006

Expresso meets technology and is found wanting

I'm on my yearly pilgrimage (vacation) to Minnesota to see my parents and some of my wife's relatives and friends. Our habit is to spend the first night at a nice La Quinta Inn in Norman, Oklahoma. I have another tradition associated with this stop--visiting the Starbucks located in the Barnes & Noble store next to the hotel for my morning coffee before making the next leg of the trip to Kansas City.

My stop in Norman proceeded according to habit until I got to the Starbucks counter. I ordered my Cafe Americano. The young lady who took my order took two steps to their new computerized expresso machine . . . pressed a couple of buttons . . . and viola the machine very quietly delivered my coffee to the cup. And, to be honest, the taste was indistinguishable from the coffee produced by the old fashioned method.

Something was still missing for me--the process. For me, a significant part of the experience has been the sound grinding expresso beans, the smell of freshly ground coffee that follows, and the sound of steaming water infusing with the ground beans. Buying coffee this time was sterile and mundane.

I count expresso as one of many things for which a major infusion of technology doesn't improve . . . and may perhaps detract. And I would include church in that list, particularly virtual expressions of Christian community. I'm obviously no Ludite--this blog should certainly speak to my embracing technology at some level. I don't think that virtual community will ever adequately replace real community. Virtual community will always be missing a part of the process of community. In virtual community you don't have to grind out interpersonal conflicts. You can't always smell whiffs of Christ's presence and love being shared together. You miss the delightful sounds of the Spirit infusing with people in worship, service together, and face-to-face fellowship. These are things so important for the vigor of a Christian community. They are what keep Christian community from being sterile and mundane.

I'm not sure where I'm going with this. No one has asked me to pastor a church on or anything. Just sharing an observation. I would love to hear your reflections on these thoughts. Why not click on "Comments" below and share them with me.