I LOVE comments. Please leave some even if they are brief half-formed ideas
that you aren't even sure you really believe. I just love comments.

Thursday, September 20, 2007

Submarine Secrets

So this has absolutely nothing to do with religion or politics or faith or the church, but it is something I know a little about. Thanks to Liam for sending me a link about the story. It appears that Virtual Earth from Google provided a glimpse of the prop on a trident submarine. I couldn't bring myself to post the picture, although I found it easily, and it is a very clear view of the prop. This picture was on a submarine fan site and was captioned, "This is probably what an Ohio class prop looks like," or something like that.

For what it is worth, I think this is concerning. The size and shape of the prop gives important information about what the ship would sould like and could help enemies track the missile boats. Not good.

What I don't understand is why the Navy was not already aware of this possibility. Sure, Google Earth is new, but didn't the Russians have spy satellites? It seems odd to me.

I was on this boat. It is no longer.

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

The Four Rules of Shared Inquiry Discussion

I have a link to the Great Books Society website on the right. I am certified by this group to lead group discussions, or shared inquiries. I really enjoy doing these, and I follow the rules religiously. I thinking doing these from time to time has actually made me much more open minded. It has taught me to search for ideas in what other say rather than assume that only my ideas are important.

In any case, although these rules are designed for a group considering a written work, I believe it would be wonderful if we applied them to our national discourse.

1. Only those who have read the selection may take part in discussion.
Participants who have not read the selection cannot support their opinions with evidence from the text, nor can they bring a knowledge of the text to bear on the opinions of others.

2. Discussion is restricted to the selection that everyone has read.
This rule gives everyone an equal chance to contribute, because it limits discussion to a selection that all participants are familiar with and have before them. When the selection is the sole focus of discussion, everyone can determine whether facts are accurately recalled and opinions adequately supported.

3. Support for opinions should be found within the selection.
Participants may introduce outside opinions only if they can restate the opinions in their own words and support the ideas with evidence from the selection. This rule encourages participants to read carefully and think for themselves.

4. Leaders may only ask questions—they may not answer them.
Leaders help themselves and participants understand a selection by asking questions that prompt thoughtful inquiry.


Monday, September 17, 2007

Mixing it up

There are several really great things about Chalice Christian Church. For one, it is a community of thinking people. For two, it is a community dedicated to doing good works for the larger community. But another great thing about Chalice is the way it experiments with church structure. One of those experiments can be seen in section 3.6 of its by-laws:
Term of Service: With the exception of paid employees and staff of the Church,no member shall serve in a given position as Officer, Elder, Deacon, Teacher or Team Leader for more than three consecutive years. Such members may serve in a new capacity. This process will generate openings for others to satisfy a calling to a given ministry and will allow each member to more fully explore his or her gifts.

I have really taken this to heart. When for whatever reason I need to take a break from doing something at the church, I try to replace it with something new. This Sunday I switched from teaching the junior high and high school students to teaching children 5 - 11 years old.
Teaching the high school students was one of the most rewarding things I did Sunday after Sunday for the last few years. Teaching the younger kids was equally great. In some respects they were easier than the high school kids. They sang along with the songs I lead. They listened to the story as long as I kept things short. On the other hand I had to be much more prepared. I could not just count on engaging them in conversation. But whatever the age, there are few things as fulfilling and enjoyable as exploring my faith with a group of curious people.