24 August 2011

Why Jesus is the Answer...to Perry

You know me. I purposefully avoid politics as much as possible, but I do "enjoy" watching politics play out on the national scene particularly with a presidential election looming next year. But I will be honest...you could have asked me who Rick Perry was several weeks ago and I would have said "dunno". Maybe that is how people view Mitch outside of Hoosierdom.

But then came his announcement calling for a day of prayer in the Lone Star state and soon the hype on Perry escalated to a fervor in anticipation of his declaring a run for president. People were comparing him to Reagan and questioned if this day of prayer could distance him from the center of the GOP. Calling for the abolishment of the Department of Education, you would think, would push him even farther from center.

But I think people forget what race Perry is trying to win. Not only do you need to look far to the right, you better have some extreme ideas in this political climate. Perry is playing to the Tea Party and Evangelicals. Frankly, he could win with one or the other's support, but since there is no one in the Republican field courting evangelicals-I could go out on a limb here and say he may well have the nomination wrapped up. Perry will appear left of Bachman, assuming her shooting star hasn't fizzled by the end of the year, but still far right to gain Tea Party supporters that may come to realize Bachman is terribly unqualified.

People on the left are afraid of Perry. Maybe legitimately so, I don't know. The thing that makes me want to puke (yes, I'm using that strong of a word) concerning Perry is his political strategy. I think we are used to politicians invoking the name of God to score political points, but c'mon, seriously, Perry calls for a day of prayer one week prior to his big announcement? When asked what he would be asking prayer for he said economic prosperity. What? Where is that in the Bible, or is Perry a believer in the prosperity doctrine? And why wait until this stage of the game to ask for a day of prayer (obvious answer), why not 2008?

I feel so strongly that the church, and particularly Evangelicals, need to extract themselves not just from the GOP, but politics in general, if they ever hope to be the salt and light God called them to be. Christians falling victim to wolves in sheep's clothing, like Governor Perry, is proof of the warning in Scripture that God's children will be led away from the truth of God. The Church in America is at deadly tipping point and I believe that Christ has been calling for His bride to stop playing the whore to politics. If you're reading this and you are incensed, good. Spend some time reading through the Bible and let me know what from Christ's sermon on the mount runs parallel to Republican party politics. We've sold out to it and it is an anti-Christ-model agenda. What concerns me most is that it may take the nation's full embrace, and subsequent failure, of this agenda before the church can truly be broken.

17 August 2011

The Back to School Blues

checking on her flower garden

I hated going back to school when I was a kid. It was like impending doom as soon as August 1st rolled around and I dreaded any time we drove past LaPaz Elementary. Then as I entered Junior High and High School, the impending doom began about May 1st when I preferred to just stay in school-even though I loved the summer.

Now that I have kids of my own, two very differently tempered kids but both with their father's sense of humor, I could feel the tension around the house this morning with it being the first day back to school. But it was dad and mom that had the blues. I think the boy was nervous-his first day at intermediate school, and my daughter, who got to celebrate her 9th birthday by going back to school...ughh, I think was looking forward to it.

learning to whittle

I have to admit that while settling into a new, much quieter, routine working from home is going to have some benefits, I had some uneasiness sending the boy off to that next stage of his life, and knowing my baby girl was turning 9 today pretty much did me in......especially when my wife sent a message that she was a teary-eyed mess after dropping the kids off. Hmm...what's changed?

This summer was rough, both emotionally and because our schedules seemed to be packed full of something going on all the time. We wrapped up our vacation last week and presto-the summer was over. Maybe it is all of the gray hairs I seem to have gotten over the last two years, the occaisonal aches and pains, too many funerals this summer, a high sense of weariness of the world around me, or knowing that my kids are growing up way too fast.....but it seemed to hit me hard today.

I pray that my kids do well. That they cling to God every step of the way and not let others define who they are. But mostly I pray that I don't screw them up too badly as we continue to move, quickly, through this life. The one thing that I've tried to do, having felt this way for a while now, is find an opportunity to grab both my kids together and give them a big hug and say that I have the best kids in the world and that I love them. It's about all we can do.

12 August 2011

Kayaking the Eel River

Yellow, check. Sugar, check. Tippecanoe, check. Kayaking the Eel River, check.

In an effort to get to know Indiana's waterways, and to satisfy the need to hear water lapping the sides of my kayak, I headed out for a four hour trip on the Eel River with a few guys two weeks ago. The trip took us through northern Wabash County from Laketon, near North Manchester, to Stockdale at the Miami County line, near Roann. Had we known the trip would have been as short as it was, we likely would have stayed in to Mexico (Indiana, of course).

The hot weather of a few weeks ago was the perfect climate for kayaking. The water was cool and invited more than one dip and swim to the other side. The current was steady until we got to the dam at Stockdale, where the river widened out and slowed down considerably. This stretch of river offered pristine woodlands with virtually no development. Near the end of the excursion we crossed beneath the Roann Covered Bridge and ended at the historic Stockdale Mill. No tangles, no portaging, and very little in the way of scraping bottom. Perfect. We concluded the outing with a stayover at Chain of Lakes State Park-really nice camp site and not a long hike to the fresh coffee brewed at the campstore in the morning.

I hope to cruise down several more rivers in the coming years. I have my sights set on Wildcat Creek next so that my Facebook status can state I "tamed the Wildcat".

01 August 2011

three years ago today.....

The first project out on my own was a National Register nomination for the Koerting House in Elkhart. It was designed in 1937 by Alden Dow, one of Frank Lloyd Wright's most accomplished proteges.

The owner made a mean martini, also a first for me.

Another anniversary to celebrate here on Sycamore Hill. It was three years ago today that I walked across the threshold of my former employer's office door for the last time. It was a rather anti-climatic moment considering it was the only job I had known since college and twelve of the best years of my life. Married, bought our first home, celebrated the births of both our children, good elections and bad...and a whopping 10 minute round-trip commute on foot.

But it was liberating as well. I had no job to go to and no real plans to work for myself. I had a small project a friend asked me to do for their organization a few months earlier, but it would hardly pay the bills. But that first day I didn't go to work a second little job came in, then a third, and then....well, I figured I would ride it as far as it would go even though an architect friend of mine told me a few weeks later that August 2008 was the worse time to be going out on your own.

She had it wrong, 2010 was the worse time to be out on your own. 2009 was a stellar year and 2010 was not. But all the way back in January I realized 2011 would turn out all right. Hence the business principle of averages. Thank God I remembered something from my previous degree, which finally was put to use.

Speaking of God, a number of people have commented about the faith I must have had to start my own business. Well, I'll let you in on a secret. I can't consider it a step of faith when I was pushed by God. There didn't seem to be a choice in the matter, so I want to give credit where credit is due and God certainly gets all the credit here. He made the decision obvious, and He has always been the one to provide.

I love what I do. Maybe my work wouldn't appeal to you, but having the opportunity to travel all over the state, working in large and small communities, with a lot of like-minded people has given me a little hope for Indiana. I've enjoyed the dozens of histories explored, the architecture revealed, and new creations that rise from the ground. I've enjoyed linking our stories together across the state to reveal what makes us unique. And I've enjoyed going to work some days in nothing but shorts or my pajamas.

So, here's to three great years....and hoping for many more (retirement age is now 80, right?).