Sunday, June 30, 2019

Lord of All Nature

"For every material and every element and nature that is to be seen in the world was brought together in the body in which Christ rose from the dead." - Sean O Duinn

Saturday, June 29, 2019

The Waters of The West River

If your eyes see,
And ears hear,
Not a doubt you'll cherish - 
How naturally the rain drips
From the eaves!

The spring is come, softly blows the wind,
The peaches and apricots are in full bloom.
The dews are thick in the autumnal nights,
The leaves fall from the paulownia tree.

The flowers, the maple leaves in autumn,
And the wintry snows covering the field all white - 
How beautiful they are each in its way!
I for my attachments still did not go beyond
the sensuous (for I know now what Reality is).

Inside the sacred fence before which I bow
There must be a pond filled with clear water;
As my mind-moon becomes bright
I see shadow reflected in the water.

Wherever and whenever the mind is found
attached to anything,
Make haste to detach yourself from it.
When you tarry for any length of time
It will turn again into your old home town.

Abandon all the arts
You have learned
In swordsmanship,
And in one gulp
Drink up all the waters of the West River.

I thought all the time
I was learning how to win;
But I realize now:
To win is no more, 
No less, than to lose.

In the well not dug,
In the water not filling it,
A shadow is reflected;
And a man with now form, no shadow
Is drawing water from the well.

A man with no form, no shadow,
Turns into a rice pounder
when he pounds rice.

- From Bujutsu Sosho, Collected Works on Swordsmanship (1925)

Thursday, June 27, 2019

Wednesday, June 26, 2019

The Need To Do Good

A moment of clarity in the midst of training.

Monday night, after the last formal class had ended and we had all had dinner and I was getting in the car to drive home, I had a brief thought about work (still two days away) and everything that undoubtedly had to be done.  I sighed a little bit inside, and thought "I wish I was doing more good."

And then it hit me:  I lost the feeling of doing good.

Ask anyone in my line of work that has been in it for a while, and at some point in the conversation they will tell you they are in the field because they believe that they are doing good.  It is not only my industry, of course:  lots of people in lots of industries want to feel that they are doing good, that they are making a contribution to the betterment of something, be it society or the environment or the lives of rabbits.

But my job is really not that at all anymore.

My job is making sure that projects meet time lines.  That things get built and moved and published and hooked up on schedule.  That things moves forward.  But no sense of doing good any more.

A bit of a pipe dream, perhaps?  After all, many people do not do not jobs that result in "good".  Lots of folks simply do things that enable things to occur, like selling or delivery or cooking.  This is correct, of course - but it is certainly not true for me.

When doing good (for me, anyway) is eclipsed by making sure things are moving forward, the long hours and days begin to take a toll - after all, there will always be something else that needs to be done or a time line that needs to be hit.  It becomes a never end pursuit of destination that one will never quite reach.

I am not sure what to do with this epiphany.  All I do know is that one of two things needs to happen.  Either I need to rediscover how I am doing good where I am - or I need to be doing it or something else somewhere else.

Tuesday, June 25, 2019

Your New Life II

Back in March I posted this:

Turns out it is part of a larger quote, still very useful:


Monday, June 24, 2019

Of Iai Training And Background Noise

Over the past four days - including this day - my dojo has been training with the head of my sword school.

Training with Soke is a rare opportunity, as I am sure that it is with the head of anything.  We have worked very hard during these training sessions, harder than I can remember working outside of training in Japan.  Which is good, of course.

The difficulty is that the rest of my life keeps hanging in the back of my mind.

This is the weight I cannot escape from at this point of the program, the fact that work is still there (and everything I am not doing while I am training) and all of the other bits which, although perhaps not as time sensitive, still need attention.  Even though I am "on vacation", I am not, really.

Part of this - I think - points back to this idea of having a life consistent with one's values, interests and goals (yes, I realize that a life as a swordsman is a singularly impractical one - hang with me for a minute).  And perhaps while none of us can completely get there, what we can do is make an effort to close the gap wherever we can.   At least try and do less of things that are wildly removed from the things that are supposed to be doing.

(Yes, I know, that implies one knows what one is to be doing.  I am working on that.)

Which really points back to essentialism and conscious living, I think. That does make for a nice, unified package.

If only I can figure out what that really means for me.

Saturday, June 22, 2019

Conscious And Unconscious Living: Making A Path Forward

So I have established that, for myself, unconscious living is something I have been doing and conscious living is something I need to be doing.  The question is, how do I get from here to there?

Five steps, I think:

1)  Focus:  Focus on one activity at a time, preferably the activity currently being engaged in - if not, either stop and do the other activity or make a note of what the thought is and continue on with the first.

2)  Stop Multi-tasking:  There is not a great deal to say here, other than it does not lead to more actual accomplishment.  And for me, I am very bad at it.  Simply admit that you will get less done, but it will be of a better quality.

3)  Do No Activity That Also Allows You To Do An Unconscious Activity:  Simply put, this means that if I am doing something, it should not be something that allows me to do two things.  For example, watching TV tends to lead me to eat excessively - so I should not do that. Whereas, for example, mowing the lawn is all about mowing and nothing else.

4)  Train The Mind:  The mind can be trained to be brought back to task when it starts to wander.  This is related to Point 1 above, but is different in the fact that it not an activity as much as it training.  Let one thought rest at a time in the mind, then move on to the next.

5)  Do It The Hard Way:  There is a correlation between effort and consciousness.  The harder a thing is, the more engaged the mind and body is in the activity.  For example, it takes me almost no time and effort to just put up a social media post, whereas to express the same thing in a blog post is more intensive because I have to write out an entire article - so I am more in the moment.  Let us not be silly, of course: I may not build my own house when I can have someone else do it - but I can be more wise and engaged in how I choose to do the activities that I do.

Socrates is credited with saying "The unexamined life is not worth living".  If we extend that to "The unconscious life is not worth living", it might change how we view every activity that we are doing.

Friday, June 21, 2019

Conscious And Unconscious Living: What Is Conscious Living?

Yesterday I posited the concept of Conscious and Unconscious Living - and that, in at least a number of situations, I seem to be going about life unconsciously.  That said, what might Conscious Living look like?

Conscious Living: I have examples, which may define the concept.

Working out:  When I work out with weights, I am very conscious of everything that I am doing.  Why?  Because the weights are heavy and the risk for injury is substantial if one is not paying attention.  To that end, I am constantly paying attention:  to the weight, how it is being lifted and how it is being placed when I am resting, and to my body - how do my muscles feel, do I feel anything untoward or starting to give?  I am completely, utterly in the moment of what I am doing.

Iaijutsu training:  When we are in training, one is constantly aware - not only of the kata being practiced but also of one's sword placement and body placement.  One also has to be aware of one's fellow students, both to prevent injury and (as a more senior student) to observe to see if anything varies significantly.  One also aware of the placement of one's training sword - not just out in front, but the entire movement of the sword around the body, to the back, to the side.  In paired drills this becomes even more intense, especially at higher speeds:  one pays attention to doing the technique correctly and paying attention to one's partner to preserve space and distance.

Now if you ask me to define the concept from examples, I would stumble a bit.  What I would probably end on is that Conscious Living is the practice of being 100% engaged in the activity of the moment to the point that all other thoughts and activities fade from one's mind.  One is focused on the activity at hand.

That requires a high level of concentration, of course.  And that is something that modern society makes very hard to maintain.

Think about a simple example:  Once upon a time, purchasing something meant walking or driving to a location, selecting the item, purchasing the item, and then driving back home.  Now, I can do everything with the click of a button from home.  The activity is no longer a process in which I have to fully engage; instead, I can merely look, click and continue to do a second activity at the same time.

Or entertainment.  Once upon a time I had to plan a schedule around watching a show or (even more exciting) travel to a movie theater.  Now, I can watch whatever I want when I want to watch it - and do something else while I am watching it.  There is no focus, no engagement - just me deciding and then un-deciding to do something.

I compare this with my training for the last two years in Japan.  In this case, I have to travel a long way - and effectively cut myself off from the outside world.  While I am there, we are on a schedule:  we wake up at a certain time, train at certain times, eat at certain times, shower at a certain time - and all collapse in bed at certain time (that, at least is "unscheduled").  Part of what makes the experience possible is being completely engage in what I am doing - but part of it as well is that the conscious choices I would have to make are pulled from me.  I have consciously chosen to move certain decisions to the side - and thus, I can live consciously in the rest of the moment.

But if Living Consciously is desirable (and I would argue it is) but hard to do in modern society (I would argue it also is), then how do we accomplish it?

Thursday, June 20, 2019

Conscious And Unconscious Living

I woke up this morning with an epiphany.  These do not happen quite as often as I would like, so I always try to pay attention.  This time, it was as clear as a bell:

You are living unconsciously.

The genesis of this whole concept has been twofold.  On the more intellectual side, I have been reading Zen and Japanese Culture by Daisetz Suzuki, slowly wending my way now through Zen and Swordsmanship (obviously of interest) and how the swordsman is always presented with the most blunt of situations, life and death.

On the less intellectual side, it is me watching movies.

Not that there is anything wrong per se with me watching movies - but what I have found over the last few times is that if I am watching movies, I tend to eat - and drink a lot.  Without really thinking about eating and drinking.  It has happened enough over the last three or four weeks that it caused me to finally start thinking about it.

Why do I (over) eat or (over drink) when I am watching movies?  In theory I am engaged in some activity (assuming that I like the movie), so it is not that.  But I eat and drink?  I am doing it unconsciously, to fill the time or my boredom.  Or really just because I am not paying attention to what I am actually doing.

Suddenly, it clicked.

To live unconsciously is to live in a very real way, without questioning anything.  It can look like a lot of different things, at least in my own experience:  a daily schedule which over time turns into a daily rut you never question; doing things and yet doing other things along with them without thinking about what you are doing or why; even multi-tasking in which some things are done along with other things that are not done well because we have to do everything together and thus some things get done without thinking in order to get done.

Living unconsciously suddenly because a way that I lived through every day.  Without thought really, just doing something - or multiple somethings - and then doing something else.

The question became, what is Conscious Living?

Wednesday, June 19, 2019

Inazuma

Flashes of  white light
illumine the evening's clouds:
my blade in darkness.



[Inazuma (稲妻, Lighting) is a technique in our sword school.]

Tuesday, June 18, 2019

Getting Rid Of More Things

We are starting to go through a giant purge in our house.

Na Clann started it.  The youngest two first, with a end of school year purge of clothing.  Then the oldest got home after 9 months overseas and she started going through her room and cleaning as well.  Suddenly, our house seems to be filled with bags of things ready to go for donation.

I have to confess that I am not immune to this need to move stuff out.  I have a rather large bag of clothing to go out as well.  And do you know what?  I still have as many clothes to wear as I ever had.

This has made me begin to look around and think about other things in my life, which seem to fall into four categories:

1)  Things I use regularly
2)  Things that have sentimental value
3)  Things that I use occasionally but are useful to have when you need them
4)  Things that I hold onto which I do not seem to use regularly, have no sentimental value, but are simply there.

Oddly enough, category 2 - items that have sentimental value - often seem the hardest to get rid of.  It is easy enough to get rid of a shirt I no longer wear; it is much more difficult to get rid a shirt I no longer wear that was given to me by someone I care about.  So I split the difference and try to work around those things.

I am not sure, for myself, what drives me into these waves of getting rid of things.  It seems to be driven by factors outside of need to purge myself, factors of what is going on my life in other places:  lost friendships, a general need to remove myself more and more from life's flow (and thus, the stuff that makes up life's flow), a general need to fall back from the tyranny of things.  So I will go through the urging and purging again, circle the wagons after, and then consider once again what I have - and why I have it.

Monday, June 17, 2019

Social Media Recovery

I am coming to realize what an addiction I had to social media.

I have come to the conclusion - through  a couple of different venues - that my time on The Book of Face is limited.  And so, I have been constricting my time spent on it even more. What has resulted is this incredible feeling of isolation and loneliness.

Loneliness?  Isolation?  Those thoughts seem ridiculous to me- after all, I am in my mid-fifties and have been around a great deal longer than social media.  The thought that this should be so is someone surprising to me.  But as God is my witness, this is exactly how I feel.

Which is odd - after all, it is not as if I was more "connected" when I was using The Book of Face on a daily or sometimes hourly basis.  Sure, I got to see what people were doing and feel as if they were involved in my life when they "approved" my posts.  But that was not it at all, if for no other reason that - when  you are not there - no-one really seems to notice.

The first reaction is, of course, the reaction of any addict:  I need to log back in.  But that really does not solve anything - in fact, not only does it extend your current addiction but you are additionally hit with the fact that your absence was really not noticed by a lot of people.  So I fight it, and try and find something else to do.  The road to recovery, I trow, will be long.

There is a second aspect to this though, and one that I find more alarming.  I am old enough to remember a time before social media and thus can imagine a time where my life is not run by it.  What to all of those who are younger and only see life through the lens of social media?  What will they do if they are "removed" because of some reason or the entire system simply crashes.

For me, it is an inconvenience and something to work through.  For them, it may be something they never recover from.

Sunday, June 16, 2019

On Not Enough Problem Solving

I realized this week that I do not really do enough problem solving.

Oh, do not get me wrong.  I do problem solve.  All day.  It really seems to be the key component of my job these days:  What do you think about this?  What should we do about that?  What is your opinion on...?

But really, it is all different versions of the same problem.

The thought occurred to me this weekend while I was taking one of my semi-regular jaunts down memory lane to role playing games (hang with me, there is a point).  Role Playing games - if you have never done one - also involved a great deal of problem solving.  Of a different kind, of course - after all, deciding whether to throw a lightning bolt or fireball in a small space is a little different from real life, as is an Old World technology item which, if improperly used, will blow your character up - but still mental problem solving.

There are plenty of other problem solving things, of course - crosswords, Sudoku, even repairing items or building things.  And all use a slightly different part of the brain.

My problem, I fear, is that I am now only essentially solving one set of problems with my brain - and ignoring all the others.  Or worse, not solving enough problems at all.

What am I going to do?  Not sure, really - it is not like I can start doing crosswords or role playing full time.  But it is something to least give a little thought on.

After all, if problem solving makes you smarter and more facile (and maybe helps with your brain), why should I not be doing everything I can to do more of it?

Saturday, June 15, 2019

On Developing The Inner Man

I spend a great deal of time developing the outer man, and very little time developing the inner man.

On a good week, I have 3 hours of work outs, 2 hours of Iai class, 3 hours of Iai training/practice, and 3 hours or so of aerobic - 11 hours a week.  At the same time, I maybe have 1 hour total of prayer, thinking, and reading the Scriptures.

It is not surprising at all, as I look at that, that the inner man is so greatly confused and impotent.

I need to change it.

How?  It is going to require time:  time spent in prayer, Scripture reading, meditation, thought, and writing.  It means that time will have to pulled from somewhere else for sure.  But it is an investment that I have to make.

How does one go about creating a personal development plan for internal development and character?

I have a plan (I think):

First, one needs to make a commitment.
Second, one needs to decide what it is that one wants or needs to develop.
Third, one needs to define the tools one needs to accomplish this:  books, facilities, classes, etc.
Fourth, one needs to define a specific time for this to occur.
Fifth, one must do it.

Thursday, June 13, 2019

Continued Media Withdrawal

The withdrawal from social media - and really most media in general - continues apace.

I have allowed myself again to start participating in the greater review of "media" post Lent.  What I have found - on the whole - is exactly what I left in the beginning:  there are twists and unexpected turns, but on the whole my lack of follow up has not translated into being able to stop anything or even prepare for it more than I am doing now.

The aggregator sites are really no better:  in fact, having been away and then re-visiting them again, I find them even more snarky, condescending, and doom-ish than ever.  It is interesting and informative to read about potential large disruptive events; it becomes less so when ever day seems to involve "The Big One" which, when it fails to happen, is suddenly passed on to the next event.  Think of it as the media equivalent of date setters for the pre-tribulational rapture.

I mention condescending - it had not struck me so blatantly before, but such aggregator sites and their articles are very much "look -down-your-nose" at anyone who does not see things there way (I believe the technical term used is "Idiots").  Which is fine to write and have your opinion on - but if your goal is to convert people to your way of thinking, not a terribly clever marketing plan.

Social media suffers from the same sorts of things for me:  either controversial, snarky, or just plain boring.  ("I finished cooking dinner today.")  Again, there is very little original thought or concepts being shared.   Really more of a time waster (my friend K over at Saturated in Seattle has actually gone to the extent of completely deactivating her account to save her free time and help her to use it better).

(I will say here that Instagram seems to be the one thing bucking this trend for me.  Just the posting of pictures and short movies sort of makes all of this impossible.  And it is a great way to keep up with my children.)

Blogs, of course - as I have written - are the one great exception here, and one that I am actually working on expanding my list of regularly visiting. 

But on the whole - no, social and InterWeb media continues to have less and less to offer me.  I simply assume the worst is going to happen and act accordingly. 

Wednesday, June 12, 2019

Connections

After writing "Too Many Friends" and then thinking about it before I re-wrote it and posted it, I realized that there was one very important aspect that I have failed to cover:  the blog.  The blog is everything that a social media site is not.

A blog is something that an individual authors and caretakes.  It is something that someone has to seek out intentionally - via an actual search or even just a click through - instead of something that is force fed when an individual logs on.

A blog is also something that someone has to take the time to respond to - not just with a click and "thumbs up" sign or a small comment but an actual response to an actual posting.  A sharing of opinions can take place between the author and the readers or even between the readers and the reader - but these are interactions, not 10 second dashed out responses.

A blog is something that author actively participates in the maintenance of, even if it is only once a week or once a month.  Everything that appears in any blog has been hand selected by the author, not merely moved from one other feed to their own.  In some actual way, it is the expression of the blogger in question.

A final thing:  a blog can become a mechanism of friendship.  We proudly have a cast of tens here (instead of the much overused "cast of thousands") that frequently or infrequently post.  Through these posts - really your posts, no third person needed - I get to see a little bit into the soul of the commenter (you).  The exchanges are often short - a post, and a response - but even in these short comments over the years, I have come to know more about some of you than of the many I know on social media where I know is the activities they do and the pictures they post. 

As always of course, thank you - thank you for your readership, thank you for comments, thank you for your patronage (not that there are any bills we are paying here of course - but if there were, you would be doing it).  Most importantly, thank you for being the InterWeb Social Media counterrevolution. 

We are few, but we are mighty.

Tuesday, June 11, 2019

Too Many "Friends"

One of the great attractions of social media is that you can have hundreds of acquaintances - called "friends", "followers", or just plan "virtual people I know but have never met."  Suddenly you are meeting people all across the world.  It feels, well, connected.

Except that, sadly, you are not.

For any of these services, the more people you have, the more you flow through their radar and the more they flow through yours  Suddenly, your last act is not an act that people see and react to but one of fifty that just runs together in their feed of the moment.  All of these stories become nothing more than a background tide of information, flowing and ebbing across the brief moments that people engage with it.

It is not these people are "ignoring" you (probably not, but there is always a small group that does) as they are just overwhelmed by the amount of information that is coming through - and unless you have been marked as "important", you are likely to get lost as background noise.

Suddenly, those hundreds of connections are completely meaningless as they are not really connections or "friends" but rather statistics.  And you have simply become one more of them.

No wonder so many people feel so disconnected and alone in this age when we are more connected than ever.  We have become not people and relationships, but bytes of information scrolling across a screen and we nothing more than a value, a number to be either bragged about or forgotten about but seldom engaged.

Monday, June 10, 2019

The Collapse: A Perspective.

So this past week, I had the opportunity to try a very small portion of the protagonist of The Collapse.  All the family was gone on vacation and so I spent a week living by myself.

It was not completely the same, of course. I have a much larger house and I had to go work during the week.   But other than that - in terms of contact, media, etc. - I was very much similar to our hero.

Some things that I found out:

1)  Meals when you are on your own often become very short term events, as the intent is to eat, not to eat and socialize.  They become a great deal simpler as well: more than one meal was a peanut butter and honey sandwich.

2)  It is very easy to spend non-work time not speaking to anyone except the animals.  And they make pretty good conversationalists.

3)  One can live pretty cheaply when one is on one's own.  There is little enough that you want or need outside of necessities by yourself.

4)  Just like I have found in my normal life, schedules make life very livable.  It also ensures that the important things get done.

And...5)  I do not do very well when The Ravishing Mrs. TB is gone.  Not well at all.

It was a good experiment.  I hope to continue to analyze the experience.

Sunday, June 09, 2019

C.S. Lewis On Forgiveness

"I find that when I think I am asking God to forgive me I am often in reality asking him not to forgive me but to excuse me."

Saturday, June 08, 2019

Sweet Potatoes!

Sorry for the delay this morning - I was out planting sweet potatoes.

These are all thanks to Sow True Seed.  Three varieties:  White Bonita, Beureguard, and Covington




They come in slips (I did not know that before I looked into it a bit):



Planted, about 3 inches deep and 12 inches apart:


I have never grown these before, so anything is a win!

Thursday, June 06, 2019

Oh, The Places Your Blog Will Go

Back hidden away under the magic "Stats" button in Blogger is a statistic of where your blog is viewed in the world.  It is kind of interesting to see:

This is by the week:


No real surprises, I guess - except for Germany?  I have a following in Germany?

The all time is even more fun:


Who knew I was a thing in the United Arab Emirates?  And more importantly, where is this "Unknown Region" that keeps coming up:  Malawi?  Mars?  Another dimension?  The information seems a bit...unclear.

I had a lot of hopes back when I started this blog, most of which have never been realized.  It does comfort me though that perhaps in some aspect, my blog is doing something, somewhere, that I had never envisioned.

Wednesday, June 05, 2019

A Little Overwhelmed

I will confess it to you - after all, you are all among my closest friends at this point, or at least the one's I really do talk to every day - that I have reached the point that I feel badly overwhelmed by my job.

You reach a moment where you feel like, no matter what you do, you are constantly doing the wrong thing and considerably behind the eight ball.  You try and plug a hole over here, something else happens over there. Decisions which were made - and in theory everyone subscribed to months ago - are suddenly something that no-one seems to remember agreeing to.  

Simply put, you feel like you have suddenly reached a point where the position has greatly over-reached you and that you are simply not competent for it.  If you were completely honest, you would admit that you go to work daily feeling like this may be the day that you get let go.

Yeah.  It feels like that.

I keep thinking what would be something that would turn around this situation, that would somehow make me feel empowered and on course again.  The issue is that I have yet to come up with something.  No matter what sense of progress I make, I always feel the backward pull of the outgoing tide.

Just for fun, I keep going over our "Break In Case Of Glass" budget.  Not that I think anything could happen - but I would rather know my options in the event that they do.  It is not the only thing I can do, but oddly enough, it sure feels the one I am making the most progress in.

Tuesday, June 04, 2019

On Changing The Shopping Of Books

Sadly, my regular visits to my local used bookstore chain are probably ending.  I have gotten myself into a quandary:  I go almost weekly, yet scarcely do I find anything that I really want to buy.

Really, it is my own fault.  My interests have become rather specialized over the years.  In some cases it was these trips to the bookstore that started me down this path - Isocrates, for example, or Procopius' History of Justin's Wars - but those were one-off purchases.  When I went back, I can never seen to find the additional works that I need to fill out the collection or series.

Along with this, there seem to be a lot of the same books there now.  The survival and agrarian shelves have grown mightily since I started going there, but let us be honest:  how many books on chickens do I really need?  (Not as many as are published, it seems.)  Some authors have virtually every book they ever published for sale (if you are a fan of R.A. Salvatore and his Drow stories from Forgotten Realms, you are set), while others (mostly the ones I grew up with in the 70's and 80's) only appear periodically at best.

What does this mean?  Basically, my options are to keep rolling the dice (unreliable at best) or simply admit that most of the books I want from now on in are going to have to come from online sources.

I am not a fan of paying the shipping,mind you.  $3.99 a pop makes even the cheapest book close to $5.00.  But I am also not a fan of continuing to waste my time idly wandering through aisles of books, never really finding the ones that I want.  It is inefficient - and I have better things to do with my time.

I will still wander in from time to time, of course - there is never something as exciting to me as a used book store.  But I will wander a lot less and find my surprise factor all the greater when something comes into view.


Monday, June 03, 2019

On The Death Of InterWeb Friendships

The falling away of InterWeb friendships is a very odd thing.

In most real life friendships, the falling away is something that one can see coming:  arguments, less frequent conversations, even downright nastiness.  But looking back, one can track a trajectory, an inflection point where one says "Yes, that is where things started to fall apart."

InterWeb friendships are not like that.  As there is (typically) no in-person interaction, there is really no way to "say" when an inflection point is reached.  Certainly, one might look to a time when contact became less frequent - but to be fair, the nature of the InterWeb is such that infrequent is often times the way the friendships work.  It just occurs: one day, you are suddenly no longer in contact with the person.  Perhaps there is an explanation or perhaps you only realize it days or weeks later when you are suddenly made aware you have not heard from the person in some time.

Oddly enough, one of the most noticeable issues from this is simply the sudden lack of routine that develops.  I suspect for many, contacts with InterWeb friends becomes an activity like any other:  most likely I will answer at this time because Y will also respond.  Or, we get used to checking to see if someone responded to our communication.  All that is gone, of course:  the responses will not be there no matter how often one goes and checks.  It is as if, in the old days, a friend moved and you kept calling their phone only to never get it answered.

What does this argue?  I am not sure.  I am certainly questioning such friendships right now as they can disappear without warning (which kind of defeats the purpose of a friendship).  It certainly is teaching me that sometimes how I use my time is not based on how people actually respond but rather the degree and the speed to which I believe they should respond.  And - like my media fast during Lent - I find it creating space in my life, space with silence that nothing seems to fill up.

We have reached the age where friendships come in to being without an explosion of emotion and end in a quiet fluttering away of electrons, never to return.  Our words, like our feelings, disappear into the great void like a program being executed.

Sunday, June 02, 2019

The Church

"When viewed from the perspective of eternity, the most critical need of the hour may well be that the Church should be brought back from her long Babylonian captivity and the name of God be glorified in her as of old.  Yet we must not think that of the Church as an anonymous body, a mystical religious abstraction.  We Christians are the Church and whatever we do is what the Church is doing.  The matter, therefore, is for each of us a personal one.  Any forward step in the Church must begin with the individual."

- A.W. Tozer, The Knowledge Of The Holy

Saturday, June 01, 2019

A Few Words From...H. Beam Piper

"It had been the dissatisfied, of course, the discontented, the dreamers, who had led the vanguard of man's exploration into space following the discovery of the hyperspace drive.  They had gone from Terra cherishing the things that had been dumped into the dust bin of history, carrying with them pictures of ways of life that had passed away, or that had never really been.  Then, in their new life, on new planets, they had set to work making those dreams and those pictures live.

And many times, they had come close to succeeding."

"Keep a government poor and weak and it's your servant; let it get rich and powerful and it's your master."

- Lone Star Planet (originally A Planet For Texans) - [This book comes highly recommended (by me). You can find it under the title Four-Day Planet/Lone Star Planet at your local major InterWeb Book Seller.]