I shot this photo of the Loop 360 bridge over Lake Austin this afternoon while stuck in traffic. The traffic was actually moving slowly, so I didn’t really have much time to compose. I just put the camera on auto, pointed it up through the windshield and shot. It came out much better than I expected. Turns out, the sky was a brighter blue than usual for July due to a ‘cold’ front that had blown through.
The bridge’s name is Pennybacker Bridge (thanks, Google), but nobody calls it that. Due to its striking architecture, it doesn’t need much to be identifiable.
In the course of explaining why he doesn’t understand the Trinity, Mike Todd makes this analogy:
Those of you who are parents may relate to this: think about the way you explain complex issues to your young children. You do your best to get the point across, but you do it in terms they can grasp. In the end you leave out a whole lot of details that you know will only confuse, and your explanation sometimes only vaguely resembles the reality of the situation.
I wonder how often God does that with us.
That kind of puts me in my place.
I took this photo of Katie’s mother while we were on vacation in New Mexico. We were sitting at a restaurant and the service was taking forever, so I was passing the time by playing with my camera and my small tripod. I set the tripod on the table top and pointed it at Kathy.
Mawmaw is frowning for several reasons: 1.) she’s really hungry and our food hasn’t come; 2.) the kids are really hungry, our food hasn’t come and therefore they’re acting badly, and 3.) she didn’t really want me to take the photo.
I didn’t include the photo in our vacation slideshow because Mawmaw thought it was an awful photo of her. However, I think it’s a great photo. Good lighting, and a very expressive face. I think of her wonderfully colorful character when I look at it (I mean that positively; I really do). So, I’m posting it in my blog instead.
I’ve been refreshing my photography skills. Here are some recent examples:
I read this book while on vacation based on Fred Clark’s blog entry about Christian entertainment. The article that Fred quotes cites Grisham’s book as an example of “What Would Jesus Do” in action.
In The Street Lawyer, the protagonist is a high powered lawyer (surprise!) who undergoes an experience that causes him to reject his pursuit of money, prestige, power, etc. Instead, he becomes a low-paid advocate for the homeless.
I would heartily recommend the book as a good example of someone ‘walking the walk’. I would also recommend it for its realistic porttrayal of the homeless. Toward the beginning of his change of heart, the protagonist is afraid of the homeless and of the bad parts of D.C. As he gains more experience with the homeless, however, he begins to see them as individuals and loses his fear. That’s a great lesson for us all.
For its pure entertainment value, however, I was not so impressed iwth The Street Lawyer. The protagonist undergoes a monumental life change, but frankly we don’t see much depth in his character or the other characters.
This morning on my way to work, I stopped at a light about 10 minutes from home. Suddenly, a panicked-looking anole lizard scrambled across my windshield and into the area where the wipers reside. After I got through the light, I pulled into a parking lot to rescue the lizard.
I managed to capture the lizard off the car, and threw him onto the grass next to the parking lot. As I turned around to get back in the car, I saw him scrambling back toward the parking lot, not toward the bushes in the other direction. It seems an interested mockingbird was sitting in a nearby crape myrtle tree, and the poor little lizard was heading for the nearest cover–my car.
I couldn’t reach him under my car, so I pulled ahead a few feet, hoping I wouldn’t squash him in the process. I got out; he was still alive, but when I went to catch him again, he once again ran under the car. Pulled the car ahead again, got out again and managed to capture him. This time, though, I walked him over the the nearby shrubs.
Poor thing, he was panting furiously. I’m sure he’d seen his little lizard life flash before his eyes several times this morning.
I’ve been moved recently by some blog entries by others about faith. One of them is “The Death of Evangelism” by fellow Pflugervillean and acquaintance of mine Matthew Sturges. In the essay, Matt ponders that term that scares so many mainstream Christians. Matt writes:
By “evangelism,” of course, I’m referring to the practice of spreading the Good News, the Gospel of Jesus. Already you’re cringing even reading the words, perhaps? Don’t feel bad–it’s a natural reaction. I’ll explain why in a moment. What’s important to note if you’re not up on your New Testament is that in three of the four Gospels, Jesus clearly gives a command to his disciples to baptize people and spread his teachings to all the nations of the world. A lot of Christians hate that part. Most of the people I know that consider themselves believers wouldn’t evangelize someone if their life depended on it, and certainly wouldn’t have the audacity to go up to some Buddhist and tell him that he was barrelling down the offramp to perdition.
. . .
So what’s the alternative? . . . The best answer I have, and I am not alone in this sentiment, is that Christians must evangelize by example. If I behave as I think a Christian ought, then my actions and my demeanor will be those of love and peace and acceptance. When people see that I am imbued with these qualities, they may ask me why. Or if they know a little bit about me and they see that I’m neither a strident moralist or an intense maniac, and that the people I know are also not that way, they might wonder if maybe religion isn’t necessarily a bad thing after all. “I mean,” they’ll say, “look at Matt over there. He believes in God, and he’s not a total tool. He’s not brainwashed. He appears to be free from moral absolutism. And he really seems pretty happy. Hmm. Maybe there’s something to this after all.”
In other words, Walk the Walk. Go read Matt’s entire essay; it’s very well written and insightful.
Being a fully pro-life candidate, according to Allio and others, doesn’t mean just promising to work to make abortion illegal, supporting laws against certain procedures, or pledging to pack the Supreme Court to one day overturn Roe vs. Wade. (And for some, it means using methods other than legal sanctions to reduce abortions.) While some pro-life politicians take the so-called “seamless garment” approach, adding assisted suicide, the death penalty, and perhaps stem-cell research to the abortion issue, progressive pro-lifers tend to see the issue even more broadly than that.
“To be pro-life means also to work to eradicate poverty, to provide universal health care, to provide affordable housing, to be consistent on war and peace,” says Allio, whose office works on precisely those issues.
This reminds me of my friend Hildegard Wilke in Constance, Germany. She passionately feels that abortion is wrong, but she prefers to act in her sphere of influence–where she has a good chance of actually helping individuals avoid abortions. Instead of getting caught up in endless political debates (admittedly, the political situation regarding abortion is different in Germany than in the US), she avidly promotes use of contraception and the dissemination of information about the various alternatives to abortion. She volunteers at an organization that helps women in need and she stands on street corners giving out information on alternatives to abortion and information on contraception. The most poignant sign of her commitment came when when a new form of birth control came out: Hildegard felt obligated to try it herself so she could speak from personal experience about it.
In some ways I guess I am also a progressive against abortion. However, I don’t believe that abortion should be outlawed. I think the political debate over the legality of abortion is immaterial. Abortions will continue to take place as long as the motivations remain, whether or not the procedures are legal.
Like Hildegard, I believe that the only thing that will truly end abortion is to address the contributing social factors (mentioned in the quote above), to educate people on the alternatives and to promote values of individual responsibility (and to me, that definitely DOES NOT just mean telling a woman that if she got pregnant, it’s her responsibility to raise the child. In many cases, the responsible thing is to help the birth mother realize that she is not the best person to raise the child due to circumstances).