The Thirty Minute Blogger

Exploring Books and the Writer's Life, Faith and Works, Culture and Pop Culture, Space Science and Science Fiction, Technology and Nostalgia, Parenting and Childhood, Health: Physical and Emotional ... All Under the Iron Hands of the Clock and That 30 Minute Deadline

Friday, May 22, 2015

Taking Back My Faith from the Angry and Fearful

Beginning in the last quarter of the twentieth century, people of faith (okay, Christians like me to narrow the focus a bit) of moderate to progressive leaning (except for the extremely progressive) have been reluctant to speak up in the face of very angry voices coming from the extreme ends of the faith, both very conservative and very liberal. As a result, Christianity has been painted as an extreme faith filled with angry voices fearfully reacting to the world around them. They have lashed out against those who believe differently than they do. They have attempted to get everyone to bow to their belief system, at least to the extent that propositions and/or theories are not raised in their presence that would challenge even some tiny corner of what they believe. The rest of us have recoiled from the onslaught, shaking our hands and heads, quietly saying they don't speak for us, but doing very little about it. As a result, the faith of love, hope, and truth that I believe in has not been represented. The faith that bridges gaps between others rather than erecting firewalls, the faith that believes God loves everyone and wishes to know them all (to love them all ... let's be specific here ... and see the parable of the Prodigal Son for details about what that means), and the faith that firmly believes we have to work hard to help others and protect the world we were given as stewards, needs representation. The faith that has no problem with scientific advance, by the way, needs representation. More to the point, this faith needs action.

The silence of the vast majority has also led to a reactionary, angry, fearful atheism spawned right out of the most right wing elements of the faith. This has led to another nattering class slinging epiphets and stooping to the most childish taunts. All the adherents of both these faiths (yes, both are faith systems) are now far too willing to stoop to rank bigotry and that must stop. Fair warning, I will call out bigots on all sides of this fracas when I hear or see them. It has to stop.

There are many wonderful examples of faithful people helping others. For the past few years, I have been providing my alternate point of view via this blog and several church blogs. I'll be stepping up my campaign in a wide variety of ways in the years ahead. I hope like minded people of faith will join me. We have too much to do and too many skewed perspectives to correct to remain silent any longer. If you want to see what my denonmination does regularly to help others, look up the history of American Baptist Churches, USA ... and the Northern Baptists (our predecessor organization). We have a long history of standing up for the civil and human rights of others. It is a history I support and look to extend into the future.

God bless you all. 

Thursday, May 21, 2015

Christian Churches Can Stop Hurting Themselves and Move Forward OR ...

Here is an insightful article from Sojourner's Magazine about how Christian churches can move forward creatively as God calls them to do ... or die. God's love and message will continue.


What do you think?

Monday, May 18, 2015

1941 Cadillac Sightings

On Friday and Saturday, I saw two examples of a car I had never seen before. It had the long body, high fenders, and rounded edges of 1940s design. It was distinctive and when I saw it the first day, what caught my eye most was an oval emblem on the front hood. It appeared to be raised wings with something in the center but I was too far away to make out that detail. The example I saw was a hard top.

The next day, my family was out on business and diverted to a car show for a few minutes. Behold, there was the same emblem on a large, streamlined convertible. It turned out to be a rare 1941 Cadillac. Speaking to the owner, I discovered only 400 were made (given the year, I'm not surprised) and that sighting these rolling rarities was not at all common. I felt fortunate to make my discovery and be able to identify what had been a mystery car to me, all in 24 hours.

Here it is ...
Photo courtesy of Madeline Snyder

Photo courtesy of Madeline Snyder

Photo courtesy of Madeline Snyder

If you want to see more, see: or

Saturday, May 16, 2015

SpaceX Crew Dragon Flies in Pad Abort Test

The future crewed version of the SpaceX Dragon takes another step forward with a successful test of their abort system designed to get the crew away from the Falcon 9 rocket should things go disastrously wrong at the time of launch. This is another hopeful sign for the future of human spaceflight from the United States.

Friday, May 15, 2015

Call For Peace

I am an American Baptist Churches USA denominational pastor. After the recent violence in our cities involving police and African American men, American Baptist Churches USA released the following article:

This is recommended reading for anyone, in my opinion. 

Here is the challenge the denomination gives to American Baptists everywhere. I firmly believe everyone could use these methods successfully: 

Therefore, as a sign of our prophetic calling, we call upon all American Baptists,
American Baptist churches, and American Baptist organizations to do the following:

1. To be peacemakers, builders of God’s shalom;
2. To work for the prevention of violence, the peaceful resolution of conflicts and just reconciliation;
3. To advocate for a more responsible media;
4. To challenge ideologies, structures, politics and policies that lead to violence.

Wishing you all peace ... and the desire to work for peace. 

Wednesday, May 13, 2015

What Do Millennials Want in Religion? Pew Says ...

It's easy. It's no big surprise either. First, Millennials don't want churches and religions endlessly arguing about culture war issues they and their friends have decided for themselves already and left us in the dust over. They have no interest in that. So shut up.

Second, Millennials want to DO something. They want to HELP someone, some group, some people. They actually want to DO what Jesus called (commanded) us to DO. So, if we don't want to lose Millennials forever, get busy. Stop arguing. Stop squaring off conservative vs progressive, literalist vs humanist vs inspiration, etc., etc., ad nausium. Stop engaging in endless, foolish public debates. Instead, look around, see what your community needs (ask them), make a quick plan to help (revise after each attempt), AND then invite Millennials to help. It's really not that hard.

It's that or head back to social media and natter on endlessly over one hot button issue or another, judging others in precisely the way we are called not to, ever. Let's trust God to deal with God's stuff and let's get busy with the loving (God and humanity) part.

Wishing you a blessed and busy day.

Monday, May 11, 2015

When Holidays Hurt

Mother's Day this year was not a pleasant experience for me. I lost my Mom a few years back and I have been extremely busy since. I have a new career in ministry I wish she had lived to see that career begin. I'm thankful she saw my graduation from seminary. I have been busy enough I suspect I have not addressed grieving as completely as I might have along the way. That caught up to me today.

It is an isolating feeling to be less than celebratory on a recognized holiday. It is frustrating. The nerves are left raw. So, today I reach out to all those who suffer through one holiday or another. You are not alone in your grief. Others are going through similar trials. While this is an isolating time, do not allow it to give you the poisonous illusions that either you do this alone or that you are wrong to be suffering at all. Neither is true. One individual I know posted today that he felt withdrawn and was still missing his mom 40 years after her passing.

We're out there with you. We are your fellow sufferers, whether you are suffering the loss of a mom, you had a mom who hurt or abandoned you, or you were never able to be the mom you wanted to be yourself. We may not speak out much, but know we are there with you. I hope that will be some comfort to you.

Wishing everyone who suffers on one holiday or another a measure of peace. I stand with you in your pain. Let's stand together and look toward tomorrow, toward a better day to come. Never give up and never give in to these damaging, isolating feelings. Finally, never abandon some good project or some good person during these blue times that you undertook (project) or befriended (person) when you were happier. You don't want to compound these complicated feelings with that sort of mistake.

Oh, by the way, one last thing ... if a difficult day such as today has left you feeling like hurting yourself in any way, talk to someone who can help immediately. You are a person of worth, you are a person loved, you are a person who needs to live on. Call someone now and get help. 

Saturday, May 9, 2015

Quotable Quotes: Doing What Is Right

There are times in this raucous, bellicose, demanding society of ours when it is hard to know what the right thing to do might be. There are so many people who state their point of view so strongly, who shout down all opposition so completely, that it is hard not to simply agree with them and move on.

However, Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., in this text "A Proper Sense of Priorities," wrote on how to discern the proper path to follow amidst all the screaming voices and howling points of view. He wrote, "On some positions, cowardice asks the question, 'is it safe?' Expediency asks the question, 'is it politic?' Vanity asks the question, 'is it popular?' But conscience asks the question, 'is it right?' And there comes a time when a true follower of Jesus Christ must take a position that's neither safe nor politic nor popular but he [or she] must do it because it is right."

I think anyone of good conscience can follow this path with good results. In fact, I recommend it.

Wishing you good conscience in the years to come as you do what it right. I'll see you there.  

Thursday, May 7, 2015

Apologies from Me and Space News ...

I'm apologizing for being gone more than I am here these days. The new career is heating up, is full of engaging challenges and new techniques to learn. I'll write about that from time to time. Thank you for all who read me when I do make an appearance.

In space news, one of my favorite topics, two items: 1) The Dragon took more equipment to the ISS and the Falcon 9 came so close to landing on that floating deck! 2) The Dragon crew module test bed just made a wonderful test launch of the emergency escape system built into the module.

On item 1) I was able to watch the launch and landing attempt. It was wonderful to hear the status coming back on both the advancing Dragon and descending first stage. However, Space X team in your command center, you may want to watch your body language. I knew the landing attempt had failed long before you announced it. First, we stopped receiving reports about the Falcon 9, a Space X habit when things don't go according to plan (I'm not criticizing here, just noting). Then one controller slammed his hands down on his console. This was followed by him and two others rocking back hard in their chairs like they'd been slapped. Two of them grabbed their heads. It was pretty clear the Falcon 9 came heartbreakingly close to success. That time will come, I'm sure.

On item 2) congratulations on this test of the abort system off the pad in Florida. I look forward to hearing that all that looked like it went so well actually did. I can't wait to see a fully operational (why do I always hear Emperor Palpatine when I say that?) crewed Dragon, Boeing, and Orion lifting astronauts to space (LEO and far beyond) in the near future.

Keep up the good work guys.

Thank you readers for continuing to stop by. I'll try to have more to say soon.

Fighting Bigotry with Humble Truth

In the "religious vs secular divide" there is a lot of bigotry among the most ardent devotees of each camp. Between them they leave a lot of wounded people behind and just don't seem to care. Here's an excellent editorial by E.J. Dionne (Opinion Writer, Washington Post) dealing with this topic from the perspective of a lawmaker who is both a student of science and faith (which I understand completely as I fall into that camp). Please read and reflect on the following:

Be warned, ardent and outspoken zealots, I'll be calling you on your bigotry from now on.