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Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Shinkolobwe

What if there was a place that could produce the raw material for greenhouse-gas-free energy. What if that place was also the source of potentially dangerous material that could in a many years be a serious threat to our national security. What if the government in control of this place was actually looking for someone to take it over. Do you think it would be a good idea for the United States to take that government up on its offer? I know it would be a large expenditure, for sure. But it seems to me this would be a no brainer for the Department of Energy, Department of Homeland Security, and or Department of Defense to support.

Shinkolobwe for sale, reported on NPR.

Monday, May 26, 2008

Memorial Day 2008

This is Ronald Allen, an Army Specialist who died in Iraq, in August 2003. He was 22 years old. link He also was from Mitchell, Indiana, which is where I went to high school. I didn't know him. But someone from my hometown is about as close as I can get to this war, even though I was on active duty for five years.

Another fallen veteran I "remembered" today is Samuel Evans Ottenbacher. He was an Aviation Radionman Third Class, USNR, and died in November 1942. He lived at 120 S. Emerson, Indianapolis; my grandmother lived at 120 S. Bancroft. He was a dear friend of hers, and my dad, and therefore me, and therefore my son, have the middle name Evans in honor of him. Dad was born in 1948. My grandmother, pictured here, died this year.

Americans can go overboard celebrating war. And calling on the image of "those who died to keep us free" has become a trite tool used by those who seek to keep us at war. I hope that the country has grown weary of efforts to paint war as the only expression of courage. That does not change the fact that I am glad we set a day aside to remember those who sacrificed so much for their country. Some seeking to exploit these acts of selflessness does not make the acts less selfless or noble or worthy of praise.

While many other young men from neighborhoods throughout Indiana risked their lives when their country called on them to do so, these two, like the others we honor on this day, lost theirs. In pausing to honor their loss, I pray that other such losses will stop soon.

Sunday, May 25, 2008

Discipline

So, I haven't posted since May 7. That's pretty sad. To tell you the truth, after it had been about two weeks, I started to simultaneously feel guilty about not posting and dread posting. It got me thinking a lot about personal & spiritual discipline.

I often feel like I have not been sufficiently disciplined. General professional reading languishes unread in my Outlook inbox. Efforts at daily journaling (or blogging) peter out. Healthy eating (and an eternity ago exercise programs) begun with enthusiasm fade away.

Lack of discipline is related to procrastination, but distinct in this way. Procrastination relates to defined commitments. When I put off addressing the needs of my work, church, family or community organizations, I find myself back on my heels doing only what has to be done immediately. It leads to less than optimal performance and it is a serious problem, to be sure. But lack of discipline does not have such dramatic results. Lack of discipline results in being disappointed in how I have shaped myself. Looking back and saying, "Why haven't I paid down more of my debts, lost more weight, written that story, made this change happen in my organization, community, or world?"

The opposite of discipline isn't procrastination, it is leisure. Which brings me to my question, because unlike procrastination which is always unhelpful, leisure is a crucial component of the human condition. Rest and Relaxation are both desirable and necessary.

So, how do you balance discipline and leisure? How do you ensure you work sufficiently hard to shape yourself and be the best you possible, while at the same time fully enjoying the gift that is life?