Saturday, June 27, 2009

Public Honor

I thought there was something strange about the news last week that the SC governor had taken a hike on the Appalachian Trail. I wondered why it made headlines. Obviously there was something fishy about his story, and the press was all over it. Then it turns out that he was in Argentina, indulging an adulterous affair.

I have to wonder what he was thinking. His wife already knew about the affair. How could he expect to keep it a secret? Why would he make such foolish decisions about being away from his responsibilities?

A friend remarked that his attitudes are part of what it takes to hold high office: an attitude of seeking power, and being above the law. What a shame.

Someone said that power corrupts and absolute power corrupts absolutely. Knowing this, our founding fathers set up government in which no one had absolute power. George Washington was offered this absolute power after the American Revolution. They offered to make him king, but he refused. What a wise man. What restraint!

Just a few years later, in 1789, the U.S. Constitution was ratified, and soon after, Washington was elected president. He knew the meaning of honor and service. He knew the power of temptation and the high calling of public service.

We need men and women today who will serve the public with that same sober sense of responsibility and humility. We've had enough of people who seek fame and power, believing they are above the law. May we ask God to give us such leaders.

Friday, June 19, 2009


Sometimes you hear about something once, for the first time, and then you seem to hear about it everywhere.  My neighbor told me last night that she had bought a "Kindle" for her 13-year-old son.  A what?  She explained it to me in general terms.

Then I got a junk email today saying that I could win a free Kindle.  OK.  Now I need to find out about this.  I found on Amazon some descriptions of it.  One commenter on the video description said that the Kindle is to books what the iPod is to music.  Now you can take it anywhere, any time.  

With this electronic device, you can buy any book on Amazon, instantly, from anywhere.  No Wi Fi needed.  No monthly subscription fees at all.  Just buy books.  It reads, they say, like a real book with ink on paper.  The screen has no backlighting.  

You can subscribe to newspapers with the device, too.  Pretty amazing.  I am looking forward to getting one of these puppies.  But I'm counting on the price coming down from $285 to something cheaper.

I could get more books without needing more bookshelf space.  That sounds really good.  But can I underline and make notes on the pages?

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Wise words on Friendship

Since I have begun accounts on Facebook and Twitter, I was intrigued with the title of a letter written by Nathan Hatch to the Wake Forest University class of 2009.    As an alumnus, class of ’84, I get the college’s email newsletter, and occasionally I click to read full articles.

 You can read the article called “Friendship means more than Facebook” at  To sum it up, Hatch says that on-line networking is valuable, but it can never replace real friendship.  I was glad to hear that Wake’s president values friendship so much, and that he has the courage to share his counter-cultural insights with today’s college graduates.

 I am reminded that connections with dozens of people can be good, but that we all need a few close friends.  Friendship takes time, and I need to keep making the investment.

Monday, June 15, 2009


Our mission trip to Jamaica was a great success.  We did construct two 20-foot concrete columns.  We made much better time with the second column, having figured out most of the engineering with the first one.

 This picture shows the first column, with the plywood forms in place.  When we took the form off, we saw a beautiful, concrete pillar.  It is no wonder that construction projects take so long in Jamaica.  If every job takes as long as this one, it is a wonder that anything is ever built.

 On June 7 we had a report time in our worship service at Crossroads.  I asked the team what they thought was their most significant impact during the trip.  Most of us thought that the impact we had on the missionary and his family was the most profound.

 We did do some permanent construction.  We did talk a lot to the people we saw around the Spanish Town Tabernacle church building.  We were a witness of how people can work together to accomplish a goal.  But I think that we brought some needed fellowship to the Kay family in Kingston.

 God helped me to grow during the trip.  I took a few hours after I returned to list some things that I don’t want to forget.  I expect the list to jog my memory, so that I can expound on my experience.  There are lots of interesting cultural differences, and I want to remember them.  There are also lots of spiritual insights and questions from the trip.

 Thank you to all who helped make this trip possible and so successful.  We are already thinking about our next mission trip!

Monday, June 1, 2009

Mission Accomplished

My apologies for not posting more blogs. I have not had easy access to the internet on my computer, so I am borrowing the host's computer.

Today we finished forming and pouring another 20' column for the church building. The church is called Spanish Town Tabernacle. They are a young church, only about 6 years old. Their worship service on Sunday was surprisingly similar to worship at Crossroads. They had some great singing, captured on video by Danny. They did a baby dedication, had prayer requests and prayed for mission work in Sri Lanka.

On Sunday night we all went into a ghetto, called Irish Pen, handing out tracts and inviting people to come to church. I was surprised how eager the people were to read the tracts. They were mostly very receptive to our invitations. I spoke one young man named Dwight who had recently been laid off and needs a job. I prayed with him about his need for work and encouraged him to seek all that God has for him. I shared the gospel with him and he seemed very receptive. I'm still praying for him to find work.

Although jobs are difficult to find in Jamaica, there are many businesses in the ghetto. I saw general stores, several bars, even grocery stores. Spanish Town Tabernacle is actually sponsoring a young entrepreneur in his chicken business in Irish Pen.

Goats are everywhere in Kingston and Spanish town. Although they are free range, they reportedly all have owners. "When you calls you goat, then he come," a lady told us today.

Tomorrow we will take a fun day and visit Dunns River Falls on the northern part of the island. Then on Wednesday we will fly home.

Check out Danny Sides' Facebook account for more info and some photos, including a picture of the "magic laundry basket" at our host home. More later...