Thursday, May 29, 2008

He found it!

My Grandson found his thumb today. He was so excited about finding it that even though he was exhausted, he had to stay awake to enjoy it. I think he forced his little eyes to stay open at least a half hour past the time his body was mostly relaxed.

OK, I know that this is not news that most of the world cares about. But since I was a thumb sucker and one of my daughters was as well, it is kind of fun for me.

As for news that most of the world seems to not care about, I read an article today about the conflict in Congo. This is not an article for children to read. It is quite long, so be ready to sit for a while.

The stuff that happens there is unimaginable. The really frightening part of the article is the reason for the insanity. The western world's demand for the diamonds, and for the metals that go into making cell phones, laptop computers, and game systems is what drives the violence there.

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

What makes a healthy church?

Recently I read a booklet about the traits of a healthy church. According to this writer, a church that is strong in all eight of these traits will also naturally be a growing and healthy church.

These are the qualities:
  1. Empowering leadership.
  2. Gift-oriented ministry.
  3. Passionate spirituality.
  4. Functional structures.
  5. Inspiring worship service.
  6. Holistic small groups.
  7. Need-oriented evangelism.
  8. Loving relationships.
According to the writer, after studying at least 1000 churches of all sizes, from all five continents, including countries where there is persecution and countries where churches are supported by the state, and also including countries where there is great revival as well as countries where faith seems to be on the decline---these eight qualities were true of every growing and healthy church.

Monday, May 19, 2008

It' s been so long since I have posted. Whenever major things are going on, it is hard to find time to post, or to know what to write. I guess I need an idea file to keep me going when my life is a little too personal for the internet.

The latest Newsweek, which we got last week, had an excellent article about Barak Obama and how he runs his campaign. Staffers who have worked with him for four years say that they have only heard him raise his voice twice. When he disagrees with something being said, he leans back in his chair and closes his eyes. In a meeting, he believes that those who are most quiet are probably the ones who are questioning what is being said. He wants to hear all viewpoints, so he makes a point of asking those who are quiet to say what they are thinking. This is a person I could vote for. Probably will.

Spent a lot of time working in my flower beds with my parents last week. I'd just about given up having flower beds this year. Now they are dug, mixed with lots of compost, and filled with flowers. I even dug a new spot this evening for some hollyhocks.

I don't actually dig. I have a field hoe that has a big enough blade to go as deep as a rototiller would. My dirt is more clay than dirt. When it is dry it resembles brick. Hoeing it gets my heart rate up to the aerobic rate quite well. Then I still have to bring in the compost and hoe it all again to mix it in. After that---fun. Planting the flowers.

I haven't added compost for a long time, so what usually happens at this point is a sad decline. That clay becomes tighter and the flowers look sadder, and I realize it's really pretty stupid to spend the money on flowers with this dirt.

This spring had been so busy. I was considering planting the beds to ground covers and bushes. I didn't really want to do that though, so I bought a couple of flats of annuals. I worked, composted and planted one bed but couldn't get any farther because of weather and schedules. Then my parents came to my aid, bringing a rototiller, a bush trimmer, and boxes of perennials culled from their own flower beds.

There is still more to do. A little each day is enough.