Saturday, September 17, 2011

Orchard Orioles Again

video
This is a 6-second video taken with my new camera (which I don't like) through my spotting scope.  I'm trying to figure a new way to attach the camera to the scope, but it isn't as easy as it was with my old camera.

Anyway,  the oriole pair was here again last week, and they are strikingly beautiful birds.  Even if my photos are rather crummy.


Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Is "Heaven Is for Real" for Real?

I'm a person of faith. I'm a Christian. I read the Bible and I believe it.

I'm also a bit of a skeptic. I'm the first to check Snopes.com when I read one of those "unbelievable" stories people send me in email forwards. After all, they are "unbelievable" for a reason!  (I've also caught a couple of preachers using faulty illustrations this way, but that's for another blog.)  In other words, I try not to be gullible.

I just finished reading Heaven Is For Real. I won't give a synopsis, because you can find several of them online, both by those who accept this book and those who think it is a bunch of hooey..

Here is what I want to say about the book:
  • Very interesting story, easy to read, captivating page-turner.
  • If the telling of this story is honest and truthful (that is, not made up or embellished by the author or his editor), then this is a pretty amazing story.
  • I say "If" because I know people exaggerate (since I do) or tell stories with a personal bias (since I do). On the other hand, I know some Weslyan preachers, and I have a hard time imagining they would make something up just to make lots of money from writing a book. One honest question I have: how did the Burpo family keep track of all that their son told them over the 18 months he revealed his story? Did they keep a detailed notebook with careful entries written as soon as the conversation with Colton was over? I ask that because I know we all have faulty memories and often can't get the details precisely straight after only a few days after the event.
  • Having said that, I'm going to now say that, unless evidence appears later to the contrary, I accept this book as an honest account of what happened to the Burpo family.
  • Having done that, I can now say that I found many parts of the book very inspiring to my own faith:  Jesus really, really loves the children.  Jesus has a cousin.  Satan isn't in hell yet.  Jesus wouldn't let me have a sword because he said I'd be too dangerous.
  • I was a bit disappointed when I went to their website to see that now there will be a kids version, and a DVD Bible study version.  What next--tee shirts?  Ah, that smacks of making a quick buck and cheapens the actual story, IMO.
Yes, I'd recommend that you read it.

Sunday, September 11, 2011

Where Were You On 9-11?

We were in Thainland at a conference on language assessment.  I don't often travel with Gary, but I did this time.  Part of my fare was paid in exchange for being one of the conference secretaries.
We had been out to eat and in the elevator on our way to our hotel room, someone told us to turn on the TV as something was going on in NYC.  That turned out to be a frustrating excercize:  there were three TV channels--one in Thai, one in French, and the only one in English was a business channel that could only talk about the unthinkable possibility that the stock market would be shut down.
It was irrational of me, but I immediately wanted to know if my kids were OK.  There was no reason they wouldn't be because they were no where near NYC, but I was still worried until I could contact each of them:  David a freshman at Taylor, Rachel a sophmore at Southern Nazarene University, and Andrew home in Dallas applying for grad school.