Showing posts from February, 2009

The evil inside, the goodness of religion

This may be too long to get through, so I will understand if this is something that has to be bitten off into a couple of parts. There are only a few books that have impacted me like Jesus Among Other Gods by Ravi Zacharias. He records a conversation that he and a friend were having with an individual about God and this individual seemed relentlessly focused on the problem of evil in the world. He had such a focus on this that Zacharias' friend finally asked this person if they were as concerned about the evil in his own heart as he seemed to be with the evil that was external to him. He didn't have an answer. This internal focus is a hallmark of Christ and Christianity and led me down another path. Man has misused their belief in God to such an extent that there is a class of people that look at that abuse as a plank in their atheism. They are focused on the evil that has been (and is being) perpetuated in the name of God and want nothing to do with God and religion as a resul


Many would think the opposite of me, but I do not like to be interrupted. Of course I know that I do my fair share of interrupting other people, but that is another matter entirely. It is great, for me, to be heads-down on a project or thought for an extended period of time. When I am interrupted I have a tendency to take a really long time getting back to what I was doing before the interruption. A really long time. Too long. I would like to think that this perturbation (that's a word, right?) has its origin in a close examination of my personality and the fact that it will take me longer to accomplish what I set out to do. In reality I am sure it has more to do with my bent on doing what I want when I want to do it. If my motives were more towards the former I would have more of an issue interrupting other people. I don't have an issue with that at all. Again the "heck to live with" preceded by the phrase "I must be" is brought to my mind.

Is anyone like me?

I was just wondering if anyone else, when listening to the Forum album by Undercover, pretends it is actually Sim Wilson singing and not Rob Gallas? I mean they sound enough alike, right? Yeah...I didn't think so.

Talking versus writing

I have to admit that I like to talk - as long as most of the subject matter is either mundane or nonsensical. It takes a lot of energy for me to talk about substantive issues and I don't like the vulnerability it leads me into. Of course there are other issues that this uncovers as well, but communication is something that I often pay lip service to and almost never have a desire to engage in. OK, getting that all out of the way I have often toyed with the idea of making this written blog into an audio one. I am continually intrigued by the human voice and the instrument that it is. There was a time in my youth where I was more interested in any other instrument save the human voice in the music I listened to. I preferred even the synthesizer over it. I have mellowed somewhat since then as I have come to respect the power of the spoken word. Why not the sung word you may ask. Well, to me, singing in a known language is just another form of speaking. Now the "ahs" and &quo

From **Thwack** to **Click**

I have blogged before about how certain people have explained things to me before in such a way that it made things very clear and affected my realtionship with God in a profound and meaningful way. Last Sunday was one of those days for me. I am sure everyone around heard the **Click** in my brain as one of our pastors used 1 Timothy 4:12 in a way that I will use to, hopefully, benefit my growing boys: 12 Don't let anyone look down on you because you are young, but set an example for the believers in speech, in life, in love, in faith and in purity. What a great template for examining our lives: make sure that we are setting an example for others in our speech, life (conduct), love, faith (faithfulness here), and purity (moral, sexual). This is an especially pertinent passage for young folks as it is addressed to a young man by an older one. What a great tool to use in my life and in my parenting of my boys. I pray that I do use it when the time comes as an encouragement to them an

**Thwack Thwack Thwack**

I have to admit I am slow sometimes. Not the brightest bulb in the bunch, a couple of fries short of a Happy Meal, elevator doesn't go to the top floor, etc. etc. I had something fall into place yesterday during Sunday School that I had never connected before and it had everything to do with the TNIV (Today's New International Version). Now I am not a big proponent of all of the TNIV but I do find the majority of it to be quite refreshing at times even when compared to the NIV. Well, there was a passage in Acts 17 that always puzzled me. In the NIV it reads: 10 As soon as it was night, the brothers sent Paul and Silas away to Berea. On arriving there, they went to the Jewish synagogue. 11 Now the Bereans were of more noble character than the Thessalonians, for they received the message with great eagerness and examined the Scriptures every day to see if what Paul said was true. 12 Many of the Jews believed, as did also a number of prominent Greek women and many Greek men. I was

Jillian was in my head...

After a couple of months of slacking I have determined to get back onto the treadmill. Well, I went whole hog on Wednesday and boy did I feel it all day Thursday. I should have slowly worked my way up to the way I was but when have I ever "shoulded" anything? Well, this morning I was hemming and hawing as to whether I should get back onto the treadmill when it happened. Jillian (from the Biggest Loser) popped into my head. She didn't say a word. She didn't have to as her hands on her hips and was glaring at me. She's no Judge Judy - I can outrun her. Jillian takes "the look" to another level entirely and I know she's fast. I knew what I had to do. I did my 30 minutes - all of it. I was going to poop out at the 20-minute mark, but I did the whole thing. Phew. So when Jillian popped into my head again she was all smiles and high fives...wait, who am I kidding. She was still ticked that she had to get ticked at me to get me to do something that was good

The grand illusion

I was listening to the radio the other day and there was a interview with a doctor who was talking about practicing medicine in the United States. He spoke of a doctor that he had interviewed that said something that stuck with me. I have been meditating on it a bit and thought that it was a very profound statement. This doctor mentioned that the most powerful tool he has at his disposal as a physician when meeting with a patient is the creation of the illusion that he has "no one else to talk to and nowhere else to go". He has found that there are a class of patients that just want the interaction to end quickly and he does not spend as much time with them. There is a separate class of patients that need (and the term is need) more interaction with him and he gives it to them. He has found that he still gets to see as many patients as he would have otherwise seen if not employing the creation of this illusion. Obviously there is quite a bit of skill and knowledge needed to b

Why it is so hard to be me (at times)

I think that I just made a big mistake. I thought that I would go messing around in my Google account and I deleted my account. That, of course, meant that my nice email address for Google is gone (the new one is not as great) and my blog access went away too. I, thankfully, had a backup blog over at so I exported the blogposts in XML and got it converted to where I could import the posts into my new blog at markdudleyramble.blogspot. com. Note there is no "s" in the URL now. I have a feeling my readership is going to take a dive for a while and may never recover. **Sigh** Life is hard, but it is harder when you're stupid.

The hazards of eating at my desk

I admit it. I eat at my desk. After today I wonder if I will continue to do it. I put some honey mustard on my ham sandwich this morning. Well, I bit into it and a stream mustard squirted out of the sandwich and landed on my chair in between my legs. I then noticed it running towards the back of the chair and inching ever closer to my...ahem...crotch. Praying that it would not make its way to that seam in my pants that is associated with the object of many jokes about plumbers when their pants are down are down (I'll spell it out for people who do not know what I am talking about) I leaped into the air. Now I had a problem. I had to clean up the mess on my chair but I wasn't sure whether the mustard made it "all the way back there" or not. I can just imagine what honey mustard on my aforementioned pant seam would look like. (When you're driving in your Chevy and your pants feel..) I had to chance it and I did. Keeping my nether parts pointed as close to the wall a

Culturally relevant

Smash, smash, smash the guitar Who made the music? Who is the star? Smash, smash, smash the guitar When the money changers go too far Smash the guitar. - Smash the Guitar , One Bad Pig I am not too sure how one of the pastors who lead our church would react to me revealing the fact that the sermon that was preached on Sunday reminded me of a song by One Bad Pig but it absolutely did. We were talking about the worship that takes place on Sunday mornings and the quest we have as a church to stay culturally relevant. Now there are a lot of nuances to that term and the wisdom of having cultural relevancy as one of the non-negotiables of our church body, but there was something that stuck in my head when I contemplated it: God has redeemed the guitar. I am not sure when it happened but God has absolutely been using the guitar to focus minds and voices on Him. I do know that the music that often comes from (and came from) the guitar is (was) at best secular and at worst Satanic. Leave it t

Part of the solution to the "new poverty"?

There are certain convictions that I have that drive some of the ways I go about accomplishing the more mundane things in my life. I remember reading an article back in 1993 or 1994 from the president of Bread for the World. He mentioned that the new poverty would be defined by those who had access to information and those who did not. That set me on a course that impacts how I go about my daily work. I am already in a push to be completely paperless in my work processes. I do not have a pen at my desk (I do have a pencil that is in need of sharpening, however) and carry a small PDA (Palm m500) with me into every meeting for note taking and task recording. I really dig online meetings because I can take notes on a wiki and immediately posting them after the meeting is complete. It is a bit of a challenge to go completely paperless, but I am in a mode now where this is getting to be less and less of a stretch for me.   My new challenge is to be completely operating system agnostic. I kn

I received a notification today

There is probably something very wrong with blogging about a Facebook notification but I received one today that read: "Your friends Heidi Bixby, Kim Zentz and Terri Mackmer are having a blast playing Scramble. Click here to join the fun and we'll give you 10 free word credits!" Curiously, even the lure of 10 free word credits will not coax me into joining the "fun" of playing Scramble. Those close to me who know my Scramble prowess will agree that this is a good decision. On a separate note, while picking up our sons from Awana last night the youngest yelled down the hall at me, "Daddy! Tonight I was appropriate!" This does surprise me somewhat knowing his inclination is more towards the inappropriate (as mine is), but I do wonder who gave him this feedback. I do not, however, wonder about his desire to trumpet this to the heavens.

If I was...

With apologies to Midge Ure (well, not really because it wasn't such a great song) I was thinking about the names I would like if I was a captain. Of course Captain Fritz came to mind immediately, but there might already be one in the armada I would be leading so I think I would have to come up with a different name. Here are some candidates that crossed my mind: Captain Contestable Captain Craptastic Captain Carpool Captain Francis Captain Malfeasance Captain Cooper Captain de la Cruz Captain Catastrophe Captain Voluminous I know what I would vote for. Most of them don't make much sense, but there is a side of me that has always wanted to guide a ship of sorts. Most likely it would be a ship of fools and I would firmly grab the rudder and lead it even more firmly into utter foolishness, but it would be my ship nonetheless.

Continual condescension

I was privy to a sermon this past weekend that got m mind wandering into the waters of the condescension of God himself. I wondered what it would be like if God had not condescended to us in the manner that he did. There is no reason why he should have revealed himself to us through his Son becoming a human being, or speaking to us in Aramaic, or leaving his early followers with enough knowledge to spread his name throughout the earth...but he did. Not only did he do this, but he communicated to us in such a manner that my boys can understand the message. They don't need a PhD in theology or philosophy to understand what he is saying to them. The stories and pictures that he uses are, dare I say, too familiar to me and it somehow pleases him to not only reveal our condition to us through the use of them, but he reveals himself to me through their use as well. His love for me and for the world drove him to condescend to me and continually condescend. This smacks of extreme vulnerabi

Making the most of my time

My mind wanders a lot. I mean a lot. Too much. I need to force myself to, for example, take notes during a meeting. The meetings that I participate in, especially if they are over the web/conference call types, tend to find me zoning out and exploring areas of my mind that haven't been visited in a while. One thing that has really helped me is the blog and wiki that I have begun to use at work. Blogs and wikis are very public and I need to produce some high-quality input so that I am not embarrassed that people will actually read it. I also tell everyone that I am in a project with that I will be publishing content on the blog and wiki. That helps keep me accountable to pay attention and record quality items on them. I need that because I am, by nature, a free spirit and can be lazy at times. That's just me. In fact, I need to post on my work blog now. Even if it is not entirely interesting it at least shows I am paying attention. And I need to do that for them...but especially

That was too quick

I let my passport expire and, lo and behold, I need to do some international travel in the near future and had to get it renewed. Well, not looking forward to the hassle and time away I thought I would get some breathing room on the travel front waiting for my passport to come back. Now I don't want to complain about the efficiency of a government office (OK I do) but wow. I sent my passport application and photos in via the US postal service on January 22, 2009 and it showed up at my house on February 2, 2009. I thought it was going to take at least 3 weeks and was sort of hoping for 4 or 5. I think that me sending my previous, expired passport had something to do with the quick turnaround time on this one. Now I am free to roam about the globe. Can you sense the excitement in my typing? Me neither.