Sunday, June 29, 2008

Fun Family Weekend

Today we slept in, went fishing (skunked), swam at Crystal Lake (not the one from Friday the 13th), and then hit the gathering at Solomon's Porch where I was the representative for Churches of Christ in speaking about the many traditions present at the Porch. It was a good day.

Yesterday we slept in, unpacked more boxes, went to the Burnsville International Festival, and watched movie. It was a good day.

Put those two good days together and it was a good weekend.

Monday, June 23, 2008

Obama's speech on fatherhood is worth all 24 minutes.

Click here to see it.

Friday, June 20, 2008

Professional Identity Disorder

When you enter a doctoral program like the one I am in, you are entering a culture of research. They will make a researcher out of you. I am becoming a researcher.

I am also a therapist and I maintain a small practice. I never want to give this up because it is valuable to the people I serve and keeps me humble. Talking with another person about the most sensitive and sometimes aching parts of their lives with the sense that i have something to offer them is humbling. We take on these challenges together and work toward solutions.

But I am also a teacher. I love to teach. However, I love to quality teach. What I mean by that is I don't think I am cut out for teaching 5 or 6 courses per semester. I can't give students why they need if I have that many students.

I am also a minister, in a sense. Although I will probably never be a minister professionally, I still have this heart of a minister that wants to do so much good for people.

So the question is, who am I (professionally speaking)? I think I might have Professional Identity Disorder (PID).

Anyone else outh there ever has a bout of professional PID?

My guess is that I will do some measure of all of these, but one identity will emerge as primary. Of all of these, I have the least training in research, so that is where I am placing most of academic efforts. Who know, maybe I'll become a decent researcher?

Sunday, June 15, 2008

Father's Day Reflections

I am a father, but I am not a creation of my children.
I am a husband, but I am not a creation of my wife.
I am a son, but I am not a creation of my parents.
I am a brother, but I am not a creation of my siblings.
I am a Christian, but I am not a creation of my religion.
I am a student, but I not a creation of my teachers.
I am a teacher, but I am not a creation of my students.
I am educated, but I am not a creation of my education.
I am male, but I am not a creation of my gender.
I am a Mexican-European-American, but I am not a creation of my race or my ethnicity.
I am a Minnesotan, but I am not a creation of my state.

In one sense, I am the confluence of dozens, if not hundred, of stories. But I am more than just the confluence of these stories, I am responsible for sorting these stories. I must decide to own or disown them, to allow or disallow their infleunce, to weigh their significance, and to decide which of these stories I will let go further stream.

But I am not merely the sorter of inherited stories, I am the author of my own. This authoring is the most importnat part of my life. However, I do no have to author anything. I may choose not to assert my authoring rights and simply allow the strongest of the inherited stories be my story. I could choose to be passive. I could choose to add nothing to the inheritance I received for the inheritance I am giving. I could just play the role I am supposed to play in the strongest story given me.

Or I could write.

I want to be a person who authored something in life, who contributed something of unique worth, something of value which is more than the sum of my inherited stories. I want to respect and gather in all I can from my inherited stories, but not be controlled by them. I want to be aware of their presence in great detail, but I want to use them as tools for writing my narrative.

Friday, June 13, 2008

The Best Is No More

Hearing the news today that Tim Russert collapsed and died was fully unbelievable. He was the best politcal news commentator, moderator, and question-asker - period.

The way he approached political commentary and reporting gave politics the energy of a good sporting event without demeaning or degrading the importance of the subject. Russert was smart, insightful and most of all totally fair.

He was so engaged with the topic of politics, it so intrigued him that it was next to impossible for his enthusiasm to be avoided. He was completely contagious.

Tim, you will be missed sorely this historic election year. I so looked forward to your words about Obama and McCain as they drew nearer to election day. I was counting on you to ask questions which made me think, "Yeah, that's what I wanted to know."

Good-bye, Tim.

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

30 mpg? BS

I want to go on record that I am insulted by TV commercials that tout 30 MPG cars as efficient. What a crock. Only two vehicles sold in the US get over 40 mpg, and those are hybrids. In Europe, the AVERAGE mpg is 40. In the US it half that - 20 mpg.

When the technology is available right now to get 100 mpg, why are we bragging about 30 mpg? When is the ever-suffering Detroit ever, EVER going to get a clue that Americans don't want 30 mpg, they want 100 mpg? If Detriot would ever have the courage to get out of bed with oil companies it would benefit the entire world, Americans first. If Detroit made a real commitment to the electrification of transportation, the world would follow. But you know what, Japan is going to do it - and the world will follow.

Detroit is gutless.
Politicians are either too gutless or self-defeatingly idealistic.
Americans are too complacent to rally.

The Problem With Democrats

OK, this problem is the same with Republicans as well, but I am mad at the Democrats today.
A bill failed today that would have eliminated government subsidies to oil and gas companies. But they just couldn't leave it at that. They had to overplay their hand and try to tack on a tax on profits.

Don't get me wrong, I agree with these policies. There is absolutely no reason whatsoever that oil companies clearing 100 billion dollars a year need even more money. Why should oil companies get money from me via their mark up on their product (some of which is fine) and through the tax code (which is nothing less than thievery)?

Democrats have vastly overestimated their power. This always happens in politics. I am pretty sure that eliminating the subsidies would have passed, but they had to go and sabotage their own efforts. Oh sure, they will blame the Republicans, but is it worth the headline and the soundbite in order to lose legislatively?

It was arrogant to overplay their hand. Democrats, if you really want my vote (and you have a pretty good chance at getting it life long Republican) then you had better get smarter and whole lot humbler than you are now. Please do as much as you can, not as much you want. Don't let your idealism paralyze you with nothing to show for it besides a bunch of noxious whining and blaming. Legislate intelligently, patiently, and skillfully.

For example, go for the subsidies now and then go for the tax increase on windfall profits in two years.

Wednesday, June 04, 2008

Cardboard Confessional

Click here to see the Cardboard Confessional - worth all 8 minutes.

(ht Preacher Mike)

Tuesday, June 03, 2008

Obama Makes History

Barack Obama is the Democratic nominee for president. This is an historic event. An African-American is the nominee of president of a major political party. This is a great day for America. No matter if he wins or loses the presidency, he has changed America forever.

Now we can have a different conversation about race. Now we can have a different conversation about power. We can no longer think certains things cannot or shoud not happen.

Obama is the voice of hope. He is the voice of courage. He is the voice of unification, despite his liberal leanings. He is willing to talk to anyone. He will work with Republicans, he will talk with conservatives. He will be gracious.

America, I am so proud of you.