Compassion and hope without the overhead

Lovely piece in the New York Times today about a former evangelical pastor who is basically doing the same ministering i.e. spreading the message of love and values but without the overhead of supernaturalism. h/t to @chrimc for the article.

A few sections stood out for me:

Atheists and agnostics have long tried to rebottle religion: to get the community and the good works without the supernatural stuff. It has worked about as well as nonalcoholic beer.

Why is that? None of the atheists or humanists or people who describe themselves as “spiritual” attend anything like church. Many as they get older reflect that they wish they had the community of church but without the need for god or supernaturalism. I imagine several of the modern versions of paganism e.g. Wicca are at heart an attempt to build the community and sense of “we” but without traditional mainstream god concepts. Comic con, Cosplay, and things like that also appear to be community-building with an ethos of openness and inclusion; the new churches for a new millennium (or new Millennials since they don’t attend church).

Campolo told me that when students come to talk about a job they’ve been offered, he asks questions like: “What’s the culture like at that place? The guy who interviewed you — would you want to end up like him, with the kind of marriage he has and the kind of friendships he has?” Campolo went on: “And they say, ‘Huh, I never thought about that.’ And you want to say: ‘Where are your parents? Or your pastor? What is your Uncle Joe doing? Why is nobody asking value-oriented questions about your life?’ ”

Wonderful suggestion and something I will do when/if I am asked about career, college, etc. Much better than my normal line of “I don’t know, take a gap year or three and go ski in the Alps”.


#community, #humanism, #religion

Outside – what Northwest winters usually look like

Perma-gray, rainy, and 45 is what Northwest winters are all about. We rarely get snow but it snows a lot in the nearby mountains.


One goal for January is to get outside three times per week. That’s not much but I need to start the habit. Outside can be walking, hiking, skiing, running, etc. But just getting out of a building and moving a bit.

It wasn’t much yesterday, just a walk through the neighborhood. Found this lovely tree though and Google thoughtfully applied this filter.

10 Years Ago – My Own Private Windmill

10 years ago I came across Skystream – the basic idea was they would provide a personal windmill for your property. I wrote about how great this would be.

Turns out, well… like so many technologies this one didn’t quite make it. While the site is still running (more than I can say about many of my past projects) the copyright shows 2013. The news page stops in 2011.

It’s still a fun idea but it looks like personal solar has surpassed wind at least for now.


Big green egg

Great Thanksgiving/Christmas/birthday present. For last night’s feast I had this thing roaring hot. It looked like a jet engine. 

I probably won’t let it get that hot again, it was hard to get close enough to flip the steaks.

#bge, #grill

Happy Boxing Day

Christmas was a blast this year. We had family in town, two nights of sing-alongs, way too much food, and generally a wonderful time. Now on to skiing for the next few days weather permitting.

Interesting that there is no definitive explanation of “boxing”. Wikipedia calls out that it might reference giving staff a “Christmas box” but then fails to mention other ideas around the etymology.

We really should formally adopt this as a U.S. holiday – we need more holidays.

Not too many mornings like this at Crystal

Our local ski hill, Crystal Mountain, is lovely. But like everything else in the Pacific Northwest it tends to be grey and wet.

This week though, wow! Bluebird day.


#bluebird, #crystal-mountain, #ski