Monthly Archives: October 2012

Sundays Musings 10/28

For thus says the One who is high and lifted up, who inhabits eternity, whose name is Holy: “I dwell in the high and holy place, and also with him who is of a contrite and lowly spirit, to revive the spirit of the lowly, and to revive the heart of the contrite. Isaiah 57:15 (ESV)

Last night, this verse was going through my mind. I attended my home church for our semi-annual Communion service. I realized again how blessed I am to be part of a church that cares. A church that reaches out to the hurting. A church that supports, cares, and ministers to members who are weak and hurting.

I realize that not all churches are this way, that many people do not have this experience. That knowledge hurts. It pains me to see people walk away due to the insensitivity of the church.

But as this verse states, God revives them that humble themselves, them that yield their hurts and frustrations to Him and come just as they are. He doesn’t condemn; rather, He gives new life.

EJ

Categories: Paraguayan Parables | 1 Comment

New York City Skyline

So after many weeks of having been there, I find time to post pictures of NYC. I worked with some of these and here are a clutch of the better, more iconic pictures.

Now, just a bit of background on the reason for the trip. About 16 of us ministry students along with 3 instructors went to NYC on a week long ministry trip. Our purpose was to visit various missions and to observe their work in relating to those who truly need our Christian love and aid. One of the big questions that we had prior to the trip was “How to alleviate and not encourage homelessness, poverty and a life of despair and hopelessness: Do these missions accomplish this?”. After the trip, the common consensus amongst us was that indeed, the missions we visited did alleviate and encourage people to life worth living, the life in Christ.

All this time in and around the city definitely gave opportunity for pictures. So, I being the trip photographer, shot away. To people who don’t haven’t been bitten by the photography bug, it’s like an addiction. You look constantly for scenery and angles that will make your picture different from anyone else’s picture of the same thing.

 

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Simply the new NYC skyline shot with a in-camera black and white gradient. I find it quite stunning

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Taken as our group was travelling across from Staten Island via the ferry on a clear morning. This building, One World Trade Center, rises above the rest of the skyline in impressive, dominating fashion.

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Taken south of the tower between where Occupy Wall Street had been and Battery Park. This was on 9/11 and the flags in the foreground add a patriotic remembrance to what occurred 11 years ago.

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Another picture from the ferry crossing. This was shot with a black-and-white grain filter that is in-camera as well. Another shot that I favor, this filter, working with the early morning sun, set off the angles and shadows of the skyline and in particular 1 WTC.

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I hope you aren’t bored yet of the subject material. When we left Manhattan Island the evening of 9/11, night already had fallen and the tower was lit up in these lights as well as the Tower of Lights. I had trouble getting a clear photo. The motion of the ferry and the extended shutter speed worked against me. Hoping for another shot some other evening, I was disappointed. Either our group times never worked out to give me a shot opportunity or when they did, I never got this combination of lights. But I have this one as a keepsake.

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Sunset as seen from Battery Park. Quite gorgeous and peaceful.

So hit me back. Which of these do you like the best? Which encapsulates NYC’s new-look skyline?

EJ

Categories: Pictures | Tags: , , , | 1 Comment

Sundays Musings 10/21

School requires so much. Papers to write, books to read, music to study, etcetera. Mix some of my interests such as photography, blogging and volleyball, to my classroom duties, spare time is stretched thin these days. But I’m taking time to post. Lay the homework down, the books aside and share the musing for this Sunday

Today, during the worship time, we read the “Breastplate of St. Patrick”. I was impressed!  A incredible piece of liturgy that is both expressive and yet, fresh as the day it was penned 1500 years ago. It’s far too long to post here in its entirety. I encourage a reading of this marvelous work. Here is the link.

But to whet your tastes for what the poem is like, two snippets are below.

 

I arise today,

Through the strength of heaven:

Light of sun,

Radiance of moon,

Splendor of fire,

Speed of lightning,

Swiftness of wind,

Depth of sea,

Stability of earth,

Firmness of rock.

 

And

 

Christ with me,

Christ before me, Christ behind me,

Christ in me,

Christ beneath me, Christ above me,

Christ on my right, Christ on my left

 

Hit the link and enjoy the liturgy! Tis beautiful, I assure you.

EJ

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Sundays Musings 10/14

Today, due to a massive influx of teachers for a conference here at Faith Builders, all non-teachers had to attend else where for Sunday morning services. A 5 minute walk brought me to a church meeting. The home pastor was on vacation and in his place, there was a visiting preacher. His message was about John 15. Not on John 15 but the setting and context where Jesus spoke those immortal words, “Abide in Me”. It was a good message and here are some highlights.

What is our purpose on earth? It’s to glorify God, to make much of Him. Jesus said that God is glorified in Him. It should be our aim to mimic Christ and that is to glorify God.

How do we do so? By bearing fruit. We are in Christ. From that relationship we have a inner life. A energy to overcome life’s obstacles. Our lives should be one of continued fruitfulness.

This fruit is love. Jesus said that if we love Him, we will love the people around us. More importantly, Jesus said that that will be our witness to the world if we are truly being disciples of Jesus.

So are we glorifying God by bearing the fruit of love? That is the challenge from today’s message for all of us Christians.

EJ

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A Deserted Classic

So what makes this picture unique? The content, a old deserted car behind a chain link fence? The location, Brooklyn? The abstractedness of the photo, it being here as a solitary picture and not in a album of other related photos?

I put it here to contrast what some minor post processing can do. This one here is the original.

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Here is the processed one. I like this one better. The sepia tone fits the vehicle’s style a bit more. It oozes nostalgia. Looking at this picture, one can almost imagine a couple from the Victorian era going for a pleasant Sunday drive. One problem with that mind picture. This vehicle didn’t exist in that period of time.

But I still like this picture.

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EJ

Categories: Paraguayan Parables | 1 Comment

The Glory of Autumn

The leaves are falling. Two responses, yes and yikes! Yes in that it’s one of the most beautiful times of year. The crispness of the air and the palette of colors combine to make one feel alive in a way that only the zephyrs of spring can match.

The yikes! is in response to the passage of time. The year is almost over. Where has the time gone? What good have I done in that time?

Part of what excites me this year about fall is that I can finally enjoy fall. It has been 3 years since I’ve experienced a North American autumn. In South America, leastways where I was, there was nothing like this fall-like feeling. The leaves didn’t burst into a fiery display prior to dropping. They simply lost color and fell to the ground. That’s so bland. I like this type better!

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I went for a walk and was rewarded by this blaze of display.  

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A photographer must look down as well. These beauties provide stark contrast to the deadness around them.

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Looking through the woods, the soft light provides a charming back drop to the vibrancy of the leafy header of this shot.

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Ah! Photographical lusciousness!!

EJ

Categories: About life, Pictures | 3 Comments

Sundays Musings 10/07

These are my musings from this past Sunday. Again, these are late in coming; a disturbing trend that I hope to rectify in the future.

Friends are great. Weddings are beautiful affairs. I was at a wedding on Saturday of two friends. Combine the friends and weddings and it makes for a lovely day. I met friends before the wedding and after the wedding whom I haven’t seen in years. This was a enjoyed blessing throughout the weekend.

The drive from Lancaster to Guys Mills offered me plenty of time for reflection. Does God change His mind? Does HIs revealed will change? For example,here’s a hypothetical scenario. I think I should apply for a job. I sense God telling me this through a variety of methods. So, apply I do. Now, if my application comes back and I’m accepted, then obviously this is from God, right? Yet if it be negative, was I truly listening to God? Did I misunderstand Him? Does the fault lie with me or Him? On this I thought briefly.

The leaves are changing into their autumnal glory. Take advantage and enjoy the outdoors while it lasts. I’ve been enjoying it. Next up will be some pictures of fall around here, here being Guys Mills, Pennsylvania.

musing,

EJ

Categories: About life, Just me, Sunday's Musings | Leave a comment

Sundays Musings 9/30

I’ll start with two disclaimers. First, as I have said, this particular post title is for my collection of thoughts from my various Sunday morning church services wherever I happen to be. This post is about none of that. I forget the 2nd one.

This post could be renamed “The One Gift I Do Not Want For A Christmas”.  Prepare yourself, this is a shocker. In this day and age, with the ubiquitous of cell phones and the almost unnatural urge of people to upgrade at every chance, I feel a reluctance to post this. Yet It’s a rant and part of my life so….here goes. The one gift I do not want for Christmas is….a smart phone. There I said. Let me explain why.

At my present position in life, I do not wish for one, even if the contract were paid by someone else. The point is, I have no need for one. What I need from a phone is the ability to make a phone call and to send a text. Period. This past week re-highlighted the awareness that I have no need of a smart phone.

In the local paper, there was an article on this subject of cell phones and their place in the American family and it got me to thinking. Especially this quote that came from that article,

Mrs. T figures that she and her husband would need to scrape more than $1,000 to pay full price for 2 new high end phones or settle for one of Verizon’s tiered data plans which she fears would cost a lot more given her habit of streaming video over Verizon’s 3G network.

(As a response to this, I think….drop the video habit AND the mentality that you NEED a smartphone)

I find this “need” sad. Where has this insane urge to constantly have the latest and best come from? Why do we feel we need to spend anywhere from $80-90+ a month on a cell phone plan? This is a outrage! That money could be spent on so much more useful things. Let’s crunch some numbers, shall we?

Stepping over to to this website, we find these kinds of numbers.

  • A smartphone: $40 a month.
  • 1 GB of service via a data plan: $50.
  • All told: $90 a month for one device.

At $90 a month, that’s $1080 for the year. What all can YOU do with a extra $1080? How about some extra money for utilities and other household bills? Or extra spending money for holiday shopping? Or a weekend vacation? A normal cell phone contract is 2 years in length. If you save that money for 2 years, voila!, there’s enough funds for a down payment on a vehicle (not that I condone borrowing money for a vehicle neither). Granted, I’m assuming that a smart phone would be dropped without picking up another form of mobile communication. A simple feature phone from Verizon plus monthly service is $40 a month or thereabouts. That’s only $480 a year. For the purposes of the argument here and with the numbers given, that is a savings of $600. What could you do with $600?.

[interesting side note: they say that the average data device only uses between 1-2GB a month. I know I use more bandwidth than that via my laptop at a fraction of the cost. Viva la laptop]

My beef is 2-fold. 1, I hate seeing all that money being spent on a electronic device that will be out of style in a couple of years if not months. It’s not that I’m against the cell phone. Only that for half of what a normal smart phone plan costs, one could get a phone that will work just as functionally as a smart phone. I’m a purist and I when I say functionally, I’m speaking of the basics of a phone, calling, texting and a basic tool for organization and reminders. Do we really expect that we need more?

Secondly, is the rabidness of fans, particularly those of Apple’s iPhone. If there is one thing that I admire of Apple is their marketing. They have been highly successful at making things people didn’t realize that they needed and promptly telling them that they need it. From a solely hardware viewpoint, Cupertino makes some of the best designed equipment in the technological world today. But it’s bile to the stomach to see some of the vanity and arrogance of Apple fans with their devices. This arrogance continues to cement my aloofness for all products Apple.

But I digress. This post is turning into a rant on Apple, which is not it’s original intent. That intent is why smartphones are not for me, and by extension, I’ll contend, not for most mobile users.

For me, I’m not a business owner. I don’t NEED to be connected daily. Secondly, I have a laptop for my online necessities. Thirdly, I’m a college student. I can’t spare the extra cash for a smartphone plan. AND, I do not want someone else paying for that service for me. Therefore, it is the gift I don’t want for Christmas

Now, there is a sufficient place for smartphones. If it increases your productivity and is a help in running your business, keep using it and making the most out of your device. But if you are not such a person and find yourself low on available funds, consider ditching the phone and going with a basic feature phone. And should the day arrive that all that the mobile carriers have are smartphones, go to the landline or VoIP. You’ll probably find me there.

EJ

Categories: About life, Just me, Praise, Quotes, Rants and Randomness, Sunday's Musings | Tags: , , , | Leave a comment

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