Friday, October 12, 2007

Let Us Not Lay Again the Foundation...

Many people today recognize that the Christian, at least in America, is sorely in need of revitalization. We squibble and squabble and fight and protest over elementary doctrine. Amazing, isn't it? How are we to grow if we do not have the essentials firmly established?

The book of Hebrews was written to Christians who, though they should be teaching others, were still needing milk, not solid food, in what they were being taught. Because they needed to grow, the writer of Hebrews says (6:1-2)
Therefore let us leave the elementary teachings about Christ and go on to maturity, not laying again the foundation of repentance from acts that lead to death, and of faith in God, instruction about baptisms, the laying on of hands, the resurrection of the dead, and eternal judgment.

These were the doctrines that needed to be laid for baby Christians. How shocking. Nowadays, the pastors and the PhD students and the bright people often argue over these very doctrines! Why do we not accept these doctrines? They are necessary to move on to the solid food we need to teach others - these doctrines are the milk.

Join me in prayer for the church. May we move onto the solid food not needing to lay again this foundation. God permitting, we will do so.

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Friday, October 5, 2007

Sputnik and the Dawn of the Space Age

History changed on October 4, 1957, when the Soviet Union successfully launched Sputnik I. The world's first artificial satellite was about the size of a beach ball (58 cm.or 22.8 inches in diameter), weighed only 83.6 kg. or 183.9 pounds, and took about 98 minutes to orbit the Earth on its elliptical path. That launch ushered in new political, military, technological, and scientific developments.

While the Sputnik launch was a single event, it marked the start of the space age and the U.S.-U.S.S.R space race.

The story begins in 1952, when the International Council of Scientific Unions decided to establish July 1, 1957, to December 31, 1958, as the International Geophysical Year (IGY) because the scientists knew that the cycles of solar activity would be at a high point then. In October 1954, the council adopted a resolution calling for artificial satellites to be launched during the IGY to map the Earth's surface.

In July 1955, the White House announced plans to launch an Earth-orbiting satellite for the IGY and solicited proposals from various Government research agencies to undertake development. In September 1955, the Naval Research Laboratory's Vanguard proposal was chosen to represent the U.S. during the IGY.

The Sputnik launch changed everything. As a technical achievement, Sputnik caught the world's attention and the American public off-guard. Its size was more impressive than Vanguard's intended 3.5-pound payload. In addition, the public feared that the Soviets' ability to launch satellites also translated into the capability to launch ballistic missiles that could carry nuclear weapons from Europe to the U.S. Then the Soviets struck again; on November 3, Sputnik II was launched, carrying a much heavier payload, including a dog named Laika.

Immediately after the Sputnik I launch in October, the U.S. Defense Department responded to the political furor by approving funding for another U.S. satellite project. As a simultaneous alternative to Vanguard, Wernher von Braun and his Army Redstone Arsenal team began work on the Explorer project.

On January 31, 1958, the tide changed, when the United States successfully launched Explorer I. This satellite carried a small scientific payload that eventually discovered the magnetic radiation belts around the Earth, named after principal investigator James Van Allen. The Explorer program continued as a successful ongoing series of lightweight, scientifically useful spacecraft.
The Sputnik launch also led directly to the creation of National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA). In July 1958, Congress passed the National Aeronautics and Space Act (commonly called the "Space Act"), which created NASA as of October 1, 1958 from the National Advisory Committee for Aeronautics (NACA) and other government agencies.


Monday, October 1, 2007

Isolation in Expansion: The Cell Phone Bubble

Nowadays people travel like never before, and have fewer friends. Technology has exploded (figuratively) and in its wake is a bunch of lonely people. IM, text messaging, cell phone calls, email, and the list goes on. When was the last time you were on an airplane and actually talked to the stranger next to you? No "Hi" "How are you?" "Fine" but an actual conversation. Back in the day you actually knew the people at the grocery store, post office, and your favorite food joint. Not just their name, you knew them. And (can you imagine) you knew how to and actually did interact with strangers. People you didn't know. And new friends were made. New ways to keep up with friends is great. Unfortunately even the few friends you actually have surface conversations usually predominate. There are a lot of lonely people out there talking on their cell phone who don't even realize that the person behind them in line could be their best friend, if given a chance. So hang up your phone and strike up a conversation with someone face to face. You may be surprised at the results.

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