Exponential Influence

Let me see if I recall middle school math: 2 x 2 = 4, 2 x 2 x 2 = 8, 2 x 2 x 2 x 2 = 16, etc. These were called “powers of” or “exponents”, which if I understood computers better I could probably figure out how to type (e.g. 2 with a little 2, 3, or 4 to the right). This presidential election round, one party (really does not matter which for this blog) seems to be using exponential math to fills its line-up of primary candidates. Continue reading

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Farm Life: Murder in the Barnyard

P1030139Have you ever heard a goat bleat? You might think that something awful were going on in the barn. The other morning, Linda asked if I were going out to feed the goats because they were making this horrid sound, “I know their just complaining about the food service around here, but when they cry like that I worry….”  Continue reading

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Buildling a Roman Church, The Basilica

P1010281The Greek temple structure was prescribed by the weight-bearing capacity of stone and wood.  Our vision of ancient ruins is either of a bunch of stubby column bases, or possibly columns, with a few support structures around the outer rim.  These are all stone, as the wooden supports have either burnt or rotted away.  However, the stone supports have rectangular cuts in them, where the wooden roof beams would have been. Continue reading

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Building a Roman Church: Foundation

P1010587A tradition in the Catholic Church is the pilgrimage.  On our recent trip to Naples and Rome, you may have noticed that we spent a lot of time in church.  Our pilgrimage may have been more out of interest in art and history, than a spiritual quest.  But, these are pilgrimages in some manner.  I have argued previously, that going to art and history museums, historic home and battlefields, are in essence pilgrimages.  Rather than connecting with the divine, we are trying to connect with our past in someway.  The core element is seeking something beyond ourselves.  Going into a church can be an overwhelming experience.  From the entry to the apse, especially Roman churches are full of figure-ground challenging frescos, paintings, architectural features, etc.  For this blog series, I will use churches we visited in Rome to illustrate the features of a Roman Church.  Of course, you can go to your local place of worship and find similar elements in any number of variations. Continue reading

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When It’s “Win or Lose”, We All Lose

Our politic affairs have become so partisan and divisive that any advocacy, position, platform, bill, legislation, and now Supreme Court decision is bound to be the chip-knocked-off-someone’s-shoulder.  Thoughtful debate degenerates into sarcastic barbs (i.e. Justice Scalia’s superb wit has no where else to go). Understanding of multiple positions is betrayal of one’s cause.  Compromise is selling out.   Continue reading

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From the Bookshelf: Art and Prayer, by Timohty Verdon

P1030054Timothy Verdon provides us with half a century of his study and knowledge of Christian art in his book Art and Prayer, The Beauty of Turning to God.  After reading Culture Care on the flight west, reading Verdon’s text on the flight home kept the theme about faith and art going.  While Culture Care outlined the value of having beauty in daily life,  Art and Prayer gives the reader an appreciation of the art that has been created over centuries to enhance the meditative process. Continue reading

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P1030051Past, present, future. My history minded readers enjoy our discussions of the ages. Give us great speeches, or Shakespeare’s history plays, or Plutarch’s Lives, to debate. Let us analyze the politics of today, finding parallels to past triumphs and corruption. My nature minded readers glory at the cycles of time. Let us observe the seasons, with seeds breaking through the soil or farm animals bearing their young. Let us harvest in our generative years, before we begin to decompose, returning our atoms and bacteria to the soil and water that nurtures future Springs. My science oriented readers revel in the physics of that provide the structure for and the chemistry that energy for life. Big-bangs, black holes, god-particles, plate tectonics, hydraulic cycles rings their chimes. But, with all this activity, where does eternity come from?  Continue reading

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