Dispatches from Outland
A little song. A little dance. A little seltzer down your pants. Copyright © 2003 Roy M. Jacobsen.

Friday, May 16, 2003  

Small Great Things Department: Browsing through a file of "inspirational" quotes I've accumulated over the years, I came across this:

You arx a kxy pxrson

Xvxn though my typxwritxr is an old modxl, it works vxry wxll - xxcxpt for onx kxy. You would think that with all thx othxr kxys functioning propxrly, onx kxy not working would hardly bx noticxd; but just onx kxy out of whack sxxms to ruin thx wholx xffort.

You may say to yoursxlf, "Wxll, I'm only onx pxrson. No onx will noticx if I don't do my bxst." But it doxs makx a diffxrxncx bxcausx to bx xffxctivx, an organization nxxds activx participation by xvxry onx to thx bxst of his or hxr ability.

So thx nxxt timx you think you arx not important, rxmxmbxr my old typxwritxr. You arx a kxy pxrson.
Francis Schaeffer wrote an article that articulates the idea that there are no little people, no little places. (And that was the title, in fact.) The book it was published in, No Little People, is out of print. However, the kind people at antithesis have made it available online.

(The department name, by the way, is a song on Mr. Buechner's Dream by Daniel Amos.)

posted by Roy M. Jacobsen at 4:22 PM

Fruit From Small Seeds Of Obedience Department: I'm currently listening to Sara Grove's All Right Here. I was looking for additional info about this album and a Google search led me to this article on ChristianityToday.com. In it, Groves tells the amazing story of the spiritual legacy that her grandfather left; a legacy that was the outgrowth of a small but ponderous step of obedience.

A godly man, and father of four, Harry Snook spent several decades honing his craft as a carpenter before leaving behind a thriving business at age 42 for a new calling. In a dream, he saw an image of an old country church in a small Vermont community, and knew he was needed. He took a drive and found the town just as it had been in his vision, with a boarded up church overrun with weeds and suffering from 39 years of neglect. He packed up his family and, using his carpentry skills, he refurbished the building and began holding Sunday services on the property. Soon, he was traveling to three different churches each Sunday, and over the span of his life would pastor six churches, four of them built with his own hands.

During the Jesus Movement of the early '70s, Sara's newlywed parents joined her grandfather in his work at a New Jersey church, where a group of young former drug users had radically changed their lives for Christ. Every Saturday night, a busload of youth would drive 45 minutes to Atlantic City to reach out to the tourists and hippies that gravitated to the boardwalk. Her mom would play a small Hammond organ and her dad would sing before offering the simple invitation: "Come to Jesus and change your life." One by one, people accepted Jesus while standing a few feet away from Steel Pier, "the home of Salt Water Taffy." Looking back, Sara sees it as one of the defining moment of her grandpa's ministry, a testament to the power of being in the right place at the right time and being willing to follow when God calls.

For Sara, that call came at her grandfather's funeral. He had never graduated from Bible school and never achieved any real fame, but hundreds of mourners packed the church to honor him one last time, telling story after story of how their lives were dramatically changed by his ministry. Some had gone into ministry themselves. Others said they'd be dead if Harry hadn't come for them all those years ago in that bus. Then there was the letter from a woman who was one of two who braved a blizzard one Saturday night to hear Sara's grandfather speak. Sara's grandmother had warned him not to go-no one would come out in such weather-but he made the trip, driving in near-zero visibility to keep his commitment. The woman and her brother were waiting and that night, and during that poorly attended Bible study Harry led that young man to the Lord. At the time the letter was sent, he had four sons and 16 grandchildren who were all serving the Lord.

Sara sat in awe and listened until it was her turn to approach the podium. Working as a teacher at the time, she had been singled out to represent the 15 grandchildren. "As I was sitting there, I just felt this amazing feeling of responsibility," she recalls. "I felt very inadequate and very overwhelmed, but I found myself saying 'whatever it means for my life, I commit now to take this mantle of ministry and I will die trying to carry it.'"
And I find myself asking "What is the burden I'm called to take up? Am I willing to die triyng to carry it?"

Stay tuned.

posted by Roy M. Jacobsen at 4:11 PM

God's Light Show Department: The kids and I stayed up to watch the lunar eclipse last night. In our part of the world, the moon was quite low in the eastern sky at the time it was approaching the total eclipse. We had a cloudless sky, so it was a beautiful show, even in town.

I got to thinking about what it would be like to be on the moon during a lunar eclipse, and I realized it would be a solar eclipse there. And during a solar eclipse here, an observer on the moon would see an earth eclipse. Of course, that would only consist of a small black spot moving across the face of the earth; but still, it would be cool.

The next total lunar eclipse will happen November 9 (weather and authorities permitting).

Some facts about lunar eclipses here.

posted by Roy M. Jacobsen at 8:48 AM

Wednesday, May 14, 2003  

Bad Joke! Bad! Department: Thanks [cough!] to Scott Kurtz at Player v. Player.

Why can't you eat any soup inside the Matrix?

Because there is no spoon.

Oh, the humanity!

posted by Roy M. Jacobsen at 1:16 PM

Falcon-cam Department: Joel Fuhrmann has linked to a web-cam showing a falcon nesting box on the Kodak building in Rochester, NY. Well, Fargo, ND has a pair of nesting falcons on the Community First Bank building, and there's a web-cam for that one as well. Take a look.

posted by Roy M. Jacobsen at 10:21 AM

On The Bookshelf Department: Farenheit 451 turns 50 in October. John J. Miller reflects on this book and its impact at Opinion Journal:

Mr. Bradbury insists that the purpose of "Fahrenheit 451" was not to prophesy. "I wasn't trying to predict the future," he says. "I was trying to prevent it."

In one immediate sense, he failed. In 1979, he discovered that "some cubby-hole editors" had bowdlerized his book in 98 places. One line--"Feel like I've a hangover. God, I'm hungry"--became "Feel like I've a headache. I'm hungry." The changes first appeared in a 1967 edition for high-school students, but it wasn't until Mr. Bradbury learned of the problem a dozen years later and complained that his publisher saw the irony of censoring a powerful anticensorship novel. "I will not go gently onto a shelf, degutted, to become a non-book," he wrote of the incident.
I can't remember when I first read Farenheit 451, but I was young. My older brother had several Bradbury books in his shelf of science fiction; I think the first one I read was The Martian Chronicles (and to this day, that book is associated in my mind with Led Zeppelin's untitled fourth album, because that album was playing as I read it, and both had a powerful effect on me), but soon after I turned to the story of Guy Montag. I think one of the things that stayed with me was the the scene at the end when Montag met the other book readers. He wasn't alone anymore.

posted by Roy M. Jacobsen at 10:04 AM

[Censored] Grandma Department: Editor's note: OK, what's up with that headline? I had initially written a very blunt, crude name for a department, but I reconsidered when I realized I was bound to get me some nasty Google hits because of it. If you must know, it rhymes with "nutty." On to the point.

On the Sunday before Mother's Day, the New York Times ("All the news that fits our biases, we print. The rest, we make up.") published an interview [not available online] with a woman who, as her 67th birthday approached, decided to have sex with as many men as she could. (Now you know where that word that rhymes with "nutty" came into the equation.)

Frederica Mathewes-Green gives this case the fisking it so greatly deserves over at National Review Online.

Only inhabitants of the stratospheric reaches of trendy intellectualism can believe that women play with their grandchildren in a desperate attempt to kill the bitterness they feel over not having multiple sex partners at age 70. Only very sophisticated people could fall for such a self-evidently stupid idea. Only self-congratulatingly bohemian people could have such contempt for normal, healthy family life. It's an index of how much else is missing, how much has gone wrong, in their lives.

posted by Roy M. Jacobsen at 9:07 AM

Tuesday, May 13, 2003  

Quotes Department: Orrin Judd posted this one.

You cannot bring about prosperity by discouraging thrift.
You cannot help small men by tearing down big men.
You cannot strengthen the weak by weakening the strong.
You cannot lift the wage-earner by pulling down the wage-payer.
You cannot help the poor man by destroying the rich.
You cannot keep out of trouble by spending more than your income.
You cannot further the brotherhood of man by inciting class hatred.
You cannot establish security on borrowed money.
You cannot build character and courage by taking away men's initiative and independence.
You cannot help men permanently by doing for them what they could and should do for themselves.
--William Boetcker (1873-1962) German-born Presbyterian clergyman

posted by Roy M. Jacobsen at 9:05 AM
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