Coffee Day Q&A

Today is National Coffee Day supposedly sponsored by Juan Valdez.
To honor the Day I offer you a few caffeine flavored questions and answers.
  1. Favorite Brand? Starbucks by the bag but San Francisco Bay k-cups from Costco.
  2. Favorite Blend?  Verona by the bag but I like French Roasted k-cups.
  3. Cups per day? I usually have one k-cupped coffee in the morning and occasionally a decaf latte in the afternoon.
  4. Cream or Sugar? I do like sugar but can live without it - not!
  5. Favorite Specialty Coffee? Foamy decaf latte in the afternoon.
  6. Favorite Cafe? I like Starbucks but enjoy the Opera House down the street from my place.
  7. Alone or with Company? I enjoy sharing a cup of coffee with the fabulous Ann!
I did this 3 years ago (here) and my answers have changed a bit since Keurig came on the scene.

Please chime in, answer a few of the questions and share a bit about your caffeine addiction.

Doubt as a Sign of Faith

"When the Most Rev. Justin Welby, the archbishop of Canterbury, said recently that at times he questioned if God was really there, much of the reaction was predictably juvenile: Even God’s earthly emissary isn’t sure if the whole thing is made up! The International Business Times called it “the doubt of the century.”
Archbishop Welby’s candor only makes him human. He may lead 80 million Anglicans worldwide, but he is also a man who knows anguish, rage, incomprehension and the cold bareness of grief. He lost his firstborn child, Johanna, a 7-month-old baby girl, in a car accident in 1983, a period he has described as “utter agony.” As a teenager he cared for an alcoholic father. When explaining his thoughts on doubt, he referred to the mournful Psalm 88, which describes the despair of a man who has lost all of his friends and cries out, “Why, Lord, do you reject me and hide your face from me?” The psalm reads bleakly: “Darkness is my closest friend.”

Faith cannot block out darkness, or doubt. When on the cross, Jesus did not cry out “Here I come!” but “My God, why have you forsaken me?” His disciples brimmed with doubts and misgivings.

Just as courage is persisting in the face of fear, so faith is persisting in the presence of doubt. Faith becomes then a commitment, a practice and a pact that is usually sustained by belief. But doubt is not just a roiling, or a vulnerability; it can also be a strength. Doubt acknowledges our own limitations and confirms — or challenges — fundamental beliefs, and is not a detractor of belief but a crucial part of it.
The philosopher Bertrand Russell put it best. The whole problem with the world, he wrote, is that “the stupid are cocksure while the intelligent are full of doubt.” Of that at least we can be certain. I’m pretty sure, anyway."

... excerpted from a NY Times post by Julia Baird. Read it in full here.

The Enemy of Humility

“For the most part people are not curious except about themselves.” -John Steinbeck

“Whoever loves becomes humble. Those who love have, so to speak, pawned a part of their narcissism.” -Sigmund Freud

“Even though friends say they are interested in your life, they never really want to talk about you as much as you want them to.” -Charise Mericle Harper

“To focus on how I'm doing more than what Christ has done is Christian narcissism.”
-Tullian Tchividjian

My Way

Have you seen the recent Gatorade ad that showcases retiring New York Yankee, Derek Jeter? You can view it here - it has almost five million views on YouTube. The ad showcases Frank Sinatra singing his iconic song, "My Way". It reminds me how I struggle with the words of that song. As a theist, I bristle when I hear the phrase "I did it my way". And then I remember that the song is not really about having it "My Way" but is more about standing up for what you believe. It is not about refusing to kneel to God but not bending with popular opinion. It is not about having an opinion but about having a conviction. Here is the way that the song says it: "For what is a man, what has he got? If not himself, then he has naught. To say the things he truly feels and not the words of one who kneels." My hope is that, in the end, I will be remembered as a person who was more courageous than fearful.

On being a Proactive Realist

“People who are too optimistic seem annoying. This is an unfortunate misinterpretation of what an optimist really is.

An optimist is neither naive, nor blind to the facts, nor in denial of grim reality. An optimist believes in the optimal usage of all options available, no matter how limited. As such, an optimist always sees the big picture. How else to keep track of all that’s out there? An optimist is simply a proactive realist.

An idealist focuses only on the best aspects of all things (sometimes in detriment to reality); an optimist strives to find an effective solution. A pessimist sees limited or no choices in dark times; an optimist makes choices.

When bobbing for apples, an idealist endlessly reaches for the best apple, a pessimist settles for the first one within reach, while an optimist drains the barrel, fishes out all the apples and makes pie. Annoying? Yes. But, oh-so tasty!”

― Vera Nazarian, The Perpetual Calendar of Inspiration

Transcendence | ★★★★★☆☆☆☆☆

I wanted to like this movie more than I really did. I think that I have seen better versions of the whole human becoming a computer or computer becoming sentient in other places. The movie was not all that bad but it seemed to be yet another narrative of how people are afraid of things like artificial intelligence and of machines taking over the world.

The story is about a scientist who dies and has his memories / intelligence digitally captured by his wife. The premise was not bad but I felt the story lacked imagination and was a great waste of Johnny Depp's acting ability. I thought that the flick was much in need of editing - this was really a ninety minute movie that went close to two hours.

I neither hated or loved this movie and, on a scale of ten, give it ★★★★★.

Catch my other mini-reviews by selecting the Movies link in the menu bar above.

These men moved the world, and so can we all.

"Some believe there is nothing one man or one woman can do against the enormous array of the world's ills. Yet many of the world's great movements, of thought and action, have flowed from the work of a single man. A young monk began the Protestant reformation, a young general extended an empire from Macedonia to the borders of the earth, and a young woman reclaimed the territory of France. It was a young Italian explorer who discovered the New World, and the thirty-two-year-old Thomas Jefferson who proclaimed that all men are created equal.

These men moved the world, and so can we all. Few will have the greatness to bend history itself, but each of us can work to change a small portion of events, and in the total of all those acts will be written the history of this generation. It is from numberless diverse acts of courage and belief that human history is shaped. Each time a man stands up for an ideal, or acts to improve the lot of others, or strikes out against injustice, he sends forth a tiny ripple of hope, and crossing each other from a million different centers of energy and daring, those ripples build a current that can sweep down the mightiest walls of oppression and resistance." - Robert F. Kennedy

Anybody want a Phablet?

A few years ago I would not have considered having a phone as large as my Samsung Nexus 4. These days I wonder if something as big as these phablets might be workable if I had a bluetooth earpiece to make and receive phone calls. What say you? Would you get rid of your phone and tablet for a phablet?

The Upside of Mistakes

"What is it about human nature that makes it easier to dwell on the one thing we did wrong rather than on everything else we did right?"

Read this quote in an mail from Kim Allen and got to thinking about how hard it is to forgive ourselves when we make mistakes. Kim goes on to say:
"Mistakes are what they are. They happen. Feeling badly about them is only an opinion based on a limited perspective. That’s because 'beat myself up' thoughts and emotions like guilt, worry and "I can't do anything right!" trigger a cascade of physiological responses that not only wear us down, but prevent us from thinking clearly or seeing the situation any other way. We literally can't remember all we do right."
I have to admit that I struggle in this area. I am prone to sometimes fixate on the negative and not see all of the positive things. Perhaps it is simply a matter of trusting that God is using even my mistakes to make me a better person. And in reality, I think that mistakes, my own and the ones others make, have made me a more loving and forgiving person.

Politics and Church Attendance :: Which comes first?

The religious affiliation of candidates (or lack thereof) is at least a minor point of discussion in virtually every election, and pundits regularly pour over data about the “Evangelical vote,” the “Catholic vote,” and even the “nonreligious vote.” Implicit in all of this number-crunching is the idea that when it comes to a American voter’s political opinions, religion matters. But despite all the attention given to the voting patterns of the faithful, the question remains: does where you go to church (or temple, or mosque, or service, etc.) actually dictate your political views?

That is the way that an article at Think Progress starts. I find the question to be thought provoking. I have always been attracted to churches that have certain political views. Social-political issues like abortion have always been a factor in my church attending decisions. And I think that issues like homosexuality drive church attendance for many folks.

These days I think that I am more attracted to churches that do not take black and white positions on political candidates and issues. I feel that the leadership of the church I attend these days fosters an environment that attracts people of differing politics because they present balanced views of social and political issues. They also present a balanced view of these issues in the scriptures. Great to be a part of a church that fosters cooperation instead of polarization.

So what do you think? Does a church's political positions play a role in where you go to church? Or do you feel that the church you attend takes certain positions on political issues because you (and folks like you) attend there?