Sunday, September 23, 2007

An Irresistible Revolutionary

We were fortunate enough to go see one my current heroes, Shane Claiborne, speak last night at Duke Memorial UMC in Durham. Shane is the author of the Irresistible Revolution and one of the founders of the Simple Way, an intentional Christian community in the "badlands" of North Philadelphia. Shane spoke on Grace and Peace, 2 things that seem to be greatly lacking in the world today. He was funny, inspiring, eye-opening, engaging, hope-giving. Shane has had an amazing life, working with Mother Teresa, protesting the war in Iraq by traveling to Baghdad during "Shock and Awe", serving an internship at Willow Creek (how brave!), and moving to inner-city Philly. He considers his life an experiment in trying to actually live the way Jesus talks about in the NT. I really strongly suggest his book, but I also promise you it will be a challenge. Six months later, I still don't know where to "put" what I learned.
Afterwards, we went with the Trogs to eat ice cream and of course, in Durham, you are always presented with opportunities to interact with folks in a way Shane talked about as a tall African-American man (claiming to be my cousin Slim) asked us for money on the way out of Francesca's. (He was scruffy-looking but wearing a Whole Foods t-shirts saying "Got Brie?" on the front.) All I had (since I had spent my cash on gelato and the Claiborne event) was the change in my car. I hope I interacted with him not out of fear, but out of love, and with truth and respect that would honor God.

Monday, September 17, 2007

Ohio Game Report: Tyrod Taylor Era Begins

I did not report on the LSU game last week, well, because it was bad. It was hard to watch and there was nothing interesting to reflect on other than the play of Tyrod Taylor, who came in late in the second quarter after it became obvious the offense could do nothing versus the Tiger D. I was torn, however, because I'm a big Sean Glennon fan. He's a good QB who's worked hard, represented the team and university well, and played very well in spots. Anyone who has ever been passed up for a position, promotion, project, etc. can empathize with him as he was passed over by a true freshman less than 2 full games into the season.
That said, TT is the real deal. After one game, it is now clear that he is the best QB on the team. My third post on this blog, less than a year and a half ago, announced the signing of Taylor. In his first start, he went 18-31 for 273 yards and rushed for a touchdown. His passes looked crisp, his reads looked good, and his mobility bought time when our still shaky O-Line broke down. My prediction: within a year, he'll be regarded as the best VT QB ever who has never served prison time. I think he puts us right back up there as a contender for the ACC title (seeing as no one else is that impressive in the league thusfar, other than maybe BC and Klimpsin.)
The weather in Blacksburg was perfect, a pre-game meal at Buffalo Wild Wings was excellent, and a 28-7 win by the Hokies was satisfying.

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

Making the world a better place, one Muslim liquor store at a time

My BIL Dave had told me about the website Kiva.Org several months ago. I finally got into using it today. It is a website that links you with people desiring microfinance loans in poorer parts of the world. Microfinance is growing in popularity and visability as a way to sustainably help folks elevate themselves from poverty. Other organizations let you donate money to their microfinance programs (like World relief, which is an awesome orgaization as well), but on Kiva, you can pick which businesses you want to invest in and get an update on how the businesses are doing later. You are only allowed to loan $25 to each business, with most businesses needing a $500-1000 total loan amount. The repayment rate is over 99%.

Anyway, Oprah mentioned them on her show this week, so they have been flooded with money and only have a few businesses on at a time that are in need of loans. This morning I invested in 4 businesses, including Farhod in Tajikistan, who is starting a liquor shop. Check kiva out, it's pretty cool!

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Buy Fergie's Hummer, Save the Planet!

OK, I know the rich and famous tend to be disconnected from reality and all, but am I missing something here? Fergie is inspired by her Live Earth performance, so has decided to sell her Hummer on e-Bay, and give the money to some environmental charity! So now, someone else can drive the thing around, using just as much gas and generating just as much pollution. Fergie, however will be driving a Prius , donating thousands of dollars to a charity, and living with a clear conscience.
One of my Dads dreams was to buy and old car, park it in our back yard, plant flowers around it, and let us kids play around in it. That's the best thing I can think of to do with a Humvee. Anyone got a spare $64,000?

Thursday, September 06, 2007

Return to Blacksburg

Last weekend we went to the first football game of the season, and it was my first trip to Blacksburg since the shootings in April. It was an emotional time for everyone. We went out to dinner and then to a divey Irish Bar on Friday night in Roanoke with a group of friends. Since we stayed in Roanoke, we were able to head out to Blacksburg early for a trip to the memorial. We walked from our parking spot to Norris Hall, where 30 people were shot and the shooter took his own life. A small parking lot across from Randolph, where most of my classes were, there were a few people outside looking at the doors that he chained to keep his victims in and the windows where students escaped. About 50 yards from the front of Norris is the “interim” memorial on the drillfield in front of Burruss Hall, the main administration building and the building you see on the front of postcards and such. There was a large group of people there, decked out in Orange and Maroon, solemnly and quietly processing by the 32 “Hokie” stones, each with the name of a victim carved in them. A man and his young son, each wearing a replica football jersey laid flowers on each of the stones in front of us as we joined the procession. In a few hours, we would transform in to a creaming horde of football fans, but for a few minutes we reflected and remembered – you could have heard a pin drop. The memorial is beautiful (I actually hope they leave it instead of building the planned memorial) – A reminder in the middle of this large secular university that we are mortal and the land is borrowed. Holy Ground. (Genesis 28:16-18)

Afterwards, while our minds were not completely on football, our feet were. We hit up the bookstore to buy Hokies United t-shirts, and then walked to the soccer practice fields where ESPN Gameday was being shot, to a tailgate where some friends were for a quick visit and a Natural Light, and then onto the stadium. After a pregame ceremony (watch the beautiful video shown on the dumbotron here - the song is by folk/pop band Eddie from Ohio, the lead singer Julie is a Tech grad), and an F-15 flyover, an exciting game started. The fans and the team seemed a little drained, and ECU played really well (I think they will be better than expected), but the Hokies played well enough to win 17-7. Our O-Line will have to be much better to win next week against #2 LSU in Baton Rouge (I really wish I was going).

I never lost it, but I came close: once when walking around the memorial and once during the pregame video.