Walking the line between nerd and cool.

Random Musings

Post 555: Onward and Upward

This is my 555th post here. It’s also my last.

I’m moving on to my new digs at JasonTheDCE.com. Go check it out. If you’re reading this via email or an RSS reader, it means you need to go to the new site and update your subscription.


Fish or Fishing

One of the things I love about Dona Trautwein, our administrative assistant, is that she’s always insisting I teach her to fish. You’ve probably heard the phrase before:

Give a man a fish and you feed him for a day. Teach a man to fish and you feed him for a lifetime.

One of my unwritten job duties is fixing computers. It’s one way I use the gifts God has given me for technology to help others. Dona will often have a question about something and rather than just getting it fixed (which, by the way, is way faster in the short-run than teaching, though much worse in the long-run), she insists I teach her what I’m doing.

Now, don’t get me wrong. Sometimes it just needs to be fixed and I do it, but if it’s anything she remotely has a chance of needing to know again in the next year or two, I try to accommodate her and teach instead of just giving. She’s actually learned quite a bit since she’s been here. It’s fun teaching her because she wants to learn.

One of the things that Dona and I both do regularly is put together the worship PowerPoint slides. Dona works on Traditional and I do the Contemporary. The other day, I was watching her work on the slides when she duplicated a slide without using the mouse. As it turns out, Control-D will duplicate a slide, and I never would have discovered it if Dona hadn’t taught me. You might know this quote too:

I’ve been waiting for you, Obi-Wan. We meet again, at last. The circle is now complete. When I left you, I was but the learner; now *I* am the master.

That was Darth Vader to Obi-Wan. Hrmm… I hope she’s not Darth Vader in disguise…

Chuck Norris and the Karate Kid: Mastering Spiritual Disciplines

When reflecting on my favorite part laptop cover from the Jesus Loves Nerds post I wrote yesterday, I decided that my runner-up for best tidbit on the laptop cover was a joke about Chuck Norris. I’m not sure if you’ve heard of Chuck Norris jokes or not. It’s a common internet meme and popular culture phenomenon. Here are a few to give you a taste:

  • Fear of spiders is arachnophobia, fear of tight spaces is claustrophobia, fear of Chuck Norris is called Logic.
  • When Alexander Bell invented the telephone, he had 3 missed calls from Chuck Norris.
  • Chuck Norris has already been to Mars. That’s why there’s no signs of life.
  • Chuck Norris can win a game of Connect Four in only three moves.
  • Some people wear Superman pajamas. Superman wears Chuck Norris pajamas.

Some of the jokes are really funny. Nearly every Chuck Norris joke makes me chuckle. But there’s a problem with these jokes and Hollywood films like the Karate Kid (and so many others). We laugh about Chuck Norris’ super powers. We cheer for Daniel Russo when he wins the All Valley Karate Championship. But Chuck Norris doesn’t really have super powers (though he is super cool). And Daniel Russo never would have won that karate championship. You can’t train for a few weeks or even months and beat kids that have been training their whole life.

While writing that post, I came across a blog post about why Chuck Norris jokes are dangerous. The author writes:

Unfortunately, I think a lot of us believe that we should instantly be great at something when we first try it. Or if not instantly, we should, in a matter of weeks, begin mastering the skills. Instead, Malcolm Gladwell argues in his (excellent) book Outliers that true mastery takes about 10,000 hours. TEN. THOUSAND. HOURS.

10,000 hours. That’s a lot of time. It’s almost 14 months actually. Later in the article, she referenced an article by David Wong (How the Karate Kid Ruined the Modern World) that talks about “Effort Shock.” The relevant portion of the article:

We have a vague idea in our head of the “price” of certain accomplishments, how difficult it should be to get a degree, or succeed at a job, or stay in shape, or raise a kid, or build a house. And that vague idea is almost always catastrophically wrong.

Guess what? Mastering spiritual disciplines like Prayer, Giving, Serving and Reading the Bible are hard work. It’s going to take a while. And you’ll probably have “Effort Shock” once you get into it. In fact, you’ve probably already experienced it. Maybe you thought reading the Bible or praying would be easier than it is. But it’s not. It’s hard work. It’s a long, slow journey, not a quick fix.There are distractions, pitfalls, obstacles. The devil will do everything he can to stop us from mastering the spiritual disciplines.

Thankfully, we’re not working alone at it. God Himself is with us.

The Long Winter

We’ve managed to avoid winter for longer than usual here in Buffalo. While I love the people and area of Buffalo, I still don’t like winter. Despite growing up in similar condition in Cleveland and going to school in winter wind-happy Chicago, I just don’t like winter. I’m sure it has to do with doing my first years in ministry in the Houston, Texas area. I discovered this truth there: People don’t have to live like this! It’s true! There are places without this awful weather!

One of the joys of winter, however, is bringing out and using our favorite quilt. When we left Texas, one of my youth group kids (Sarah) took a bunch of our t-shirts and turned them into a quilt to keep us warm up north. I couldn’t get all of the shirts in the photo, but it includes shirts from several VBS’s, mission trips, our youth group shirts, staff shirts and some from Crosspoint, where Jaime worked.

Whenever we curl up under the quilt, we always think of our friends in Texas. It’s probably the best gift I’ve ever received in ministry because of all the time and love that went into making it. While I still can’t condone winter, the quilt at least makes it bearable.

Twitter and Blogging

For a while now, I’ve Tweeted (and by extension, Facebooked) my blog posts. They’ve taken the format:

Blog // Title of a Post // Address to find it

I’m uncertain if this is a good practice. Instead, I’m going to try asking a question in a Tweet that might get people to tune into the blog. I’m trying to help people find valuable content that’s relevant to them rather than just shamelessly promoting myself.

Hopefully, if people are interested in the question, they’ll click through. If not, that’s cool too.

I’m not sure you wanted to know this, but now you do.

Merry Christmas!

Hope you are having a wonderful Christmas season! I give you, a Lego Christmas:

40 Inspirational Speeches in Two Minutes

Saw this over on Lifehacker:

As a big movie-watcher, it was interesting to see how they were all cut together.  I’ve probably seen 2/3 of the movies in there and recognized a few others.