Archive for April, 2016

Waste Approval

Wednesday, April 27th, 2016

In the world of today, throwing something away – other than in your basement – is a tricky thing.

We are in the midst of demolishing a house.  Abandoned with nothing removed for years.

All we wanted to do was take the house, and it’s remains, and put them somewhere else.

But first we must sort.  Then transport the sorted materials to various waste and transfer sites.  With the hope that our sorting has been sufficient so that the waste will be accepted.

Now, this is not unusual.  Go back a century or so ago.  The rusted tractors were set into the back forty to rust and deteriorate.  Burnable materials were burned.  The outhouse was moved when the pit became full.

I guess the real change over the decades is the amount of anxiety we have with garbage.  Science has shown that almost all materials have the possibility of morphing into some type of toxin.  Without regulation we could be polluting ourselves and our children.  Better safe than sorry!

And so, I’m not out of sorts, just sort of busy sorting!

Data drag lines

Sunday, April 24th, 2016

Humans have innate curiosity.  For all sorts of things.  And I use the term, “things”, on purpose.

We set out our data drag lines with morning coffee times and news casts.  We close our days with evening videos and Facebook trolling.  The rest of the day is more of the same.

Data can be loosely defined in our internet culture as bits of information contained in words, video, expressions, impressions.  Of course, the net catches what we want to catch (we call that bias), and sometimes unexpectedly surprises us (we call that aha moments).

We like to think that we are susceptible to only the factoids and not the misinformation of society. 

Wishful thinking!

In this day and age of information, there is a great need to reposition our data drag lines.

What should we be thinking on?  What should we dismiss or purposely skirt around?

We can determine to look for things that are true, honorable, right, pure,  lovely and admirable.  Our society needs clean minds to create a healthy environment.

We can determine not to troll for things that are shady, half truths, polluting, distorted and, slightly or largely on the wild side.  Sensationalism is not the necessary first placement of our data drag lines.  Airbrushed and sculpted pornography is a half truth and distortion of reality.  Resource investment gossip is a path to being consumed that often leads to bankruptcy.  And the list goes on.

Maybe Google maps needs to generate a set of directions for collecting data – a guide of biblical direction. 

Oops!

We already have that!  

Upon entering

Wednesday, April 20th, 2016

We have cleaned out a full floor of an abandoned house.

The occupant, deceased a few years ago, had been a hoarder.  By that I mean he piled each room full.  One or two of the rooms didn’t even have a path into them.

Our waste management site requires sorting.  The easier way would have been to just push the house over and demolish it. 

Instead we are sorting.

As an archivist, I would love to save all sorts of stuff.  But that will not happen, due to the time the house was sealed (three years ago) and the deterioration that has happened.

Nevertheless, there are some interesting factoids we have gleaned.  The occupant had a Bachelor of Arts degree, was a bit of an electronics freak (we have found 9 TV’s to date, at least 5 cell phones and other electronic miscellany), and once owned property in California. 

And that is just from the first floor contents.  More to come I’m sure!

Contamination

Monday, April 18th, 2016

Graveside service, dental appointment, visit to my daughter’s family, pastoral (retired!) visits, coffee and more.  What a week.

The most interesting part was finally getting into the abandoned house we had bought.  The boarded up edifice had sat there for three years with no one in or out.  As we prepared to enter, we were not sure what we were entering!

On went full face masks, boots and coveralls.  We borrowed a horse trailer to contain the household garbage.  Two full trailer loads headed to the dump, with a third ready to go.  And that was only 3/4 of the first floor – there is still a basement (which is even fuller) and an upstairs.  To say the previous occupant was a hoarder is to understate the situation.

As we finished the day, we removed our protective outwear.  We did not want to run across someone and contaminate them with whatever evil we had encountered in the house.  We washed and were ready to meet people – the next large gathering was a church service the following day.

I’ve been ready the Old Testament book of Ezekiel.  In the 44th chapter, verse 19, the priests, who have gone into God’s house, are told to wear protective gear.  When they leave at the end of their shift, they are told to leave that gear behind.  Just in case they brush up against someone and contaminate them with holiness.

The likeness of both situations is striking.  There is something deeply disturbing about bacteria and contaminates in our abandoned house.   There is something deeply disturbing about godliness and holiness in God’s house.

Take a stab at this one! 

Why were the priests told not to transmit holiness to the people?  What was to  be feared about this contamination?

A penchant for protuberance

Monday, April 11th, 2016

Maybe its just who humans are. 

We like to change flat surfaces.  Add a decoration.  Or create a house.  Or construct a hill (or mountain, which we can name Blackstrap!).

A protuberance just seems to make things a little less boring.

I struggle to keep a balance between changing (I call it improving) everything I see, or just enjoying the view.

God doesn’t take sides on this one, as far as I can tell.  He did a great job of creating our world.  The prairies are a prize possession of his, I’m sure.

Every once in a while, a volcano may push up a pimple on the flat surface of our earth.  Or the wind creates a beautiful pattern in the sand deserts of the earth.

Which seems to imply that God wants us to keep our eyes open – at all times.  You never know what may pop up.

Discipline: Distraction and disruption

Thursday, April 7th, 2016

As a society we are intentionally a disciplined group.  At least, that’s what we portray to ourselves and others.

  • We diet – to keep our weight down
  • We attend seminars – to keep our minds active
  • We set appointments – to keep our socialization complete
  • We have timers – to keep our life pro-active
  • And the examples go on and on.

Our problem?

We are not always so disciplined.  We overeat, miss appointments, stay home, veg out, . . .

I have noted two different areas in which our discipline breaks down.

Distraction – Our focus, or what we perceive to be our need for focus, is led down another track.  Children are notorious for this – we wonder how they ended up with a peanut butter sandwich when all we had sent them to do was get a fork for lunch. 

Our distractions are self-led.

Disruptions – Our focus, or what we perceive to be that which needs to be next in priority, is led unwillingly down another path.  Refugees are a supreme example of those who often do desire to determine their own destiny, but are forced in another direction.

Our disruptions are other-led.

The question for those of us who wish to be disciplined?

Am I being led into the ditch of my own accord, or is someone else leading me?

When we answer that, we will know where our next step should take us.

100 years young

Sunday, April 3rd, 2016

Mary’s birthday party was yesterday.  Her birthday is on Tuesday.  At 100 years you take whatever opportunity you can to celebrate. 

We were glad to be part of the party.

Mary began life in 1916.  During the middle of a war.  Her teens were during the middle of depression.  She had children in the post war years, was widowed, remarried and widowed once again.  Her sight is dim but her mind is keen.

I enjoy our visits.  They are times to reminisce, to hear stories and to laugh.

Perhaps that is one trait of a long liver! 

Life is a series of events.  Those events can be measured in terms of seismic consequences.  Emotional, physical, spiritual, mental.

The scars can be seen as disfiguring, or enhancing.  Scars can be loving reminders or weighing encumbrances.  Mary embraces her years with love.

Mary is a bit of a historian.  Anyone 100 years old is a living archive.  She has chosen to be lively, not deadly.  She could walk another 100 years and her attitude would still call us into her life – just to see what would come next!

Mary, you are an example for us all.