29 November 2007

Another Round Number

5,000 is a nice, round number. And, when it represents miles run, it's a BIG number! Today, I passed 5,000 miles since getting serious about running almost 4.5 years ago (July 2003) -- I'm at 5,002.9.

Run well, y'all,

23 November 2007

A Goal Bites the Dust

It only took me 17 days to complete the last 100 miles of my mileage goal for 2007. Something tells me I set my goal too low but, then, at the beginning of the year I didn't realize what kind of miles I would put in training for the half marathon.

Running in the afternoon/evening is not my favourite thing to do but Black Friday interfered with a morning run. (Yes, I did get some good deals -- a 500 gb drive for $85, a couple of 4 gb USB drives for $19.) On the other hand, though I cannot for the life of me figure out how I could possibly have run a 7:00 6th mile, my splits were pretty good:

Mile 1 -- 8:45
Mile 2 -- 8:15
Mile 3 -- 8:00
Mile 4 -- 8:15
Mile 5 -- 7:30
Mile 6 -- 7:00
Last 0.3 -- 2:16

Good way to fight off the cheesecake and pumpkin pie and dressing. :-; (Mmmmmm!)

Run well, y'all,

Fall Run in Richmond

I took some shots of a route (8.47 miles) that I occasionally run near our house. Unfortunately, the colours in the shots aren't bad but the leaves were much more beautiful in "real life". (DISCLAIMER: I accept no responsibility for the "related videos" that YouTube may link to in the frame below. As of right now, there's nothing offensive linked but I'm not sure how YouTube makes the relations.)

Run well, y'all,

22 November 2007

A Personal Turkey Trot

Headed out for my own, personal Turkey Trot this morning. Ran 6.2 miles in 51:24 -- set no records but came in first among all those who ran this Turkey Trot. Of course, I also came in dead last! :-)

On this day, I have a whole passle of things for which to be thankful:

** God's love for me and all people and His offer of salvation to all (1 John 4:19, 1 Timothy 2:4).
** A wonderful, beautiful wife who loves me in spite of my "warts".
** Two adult children who continue to make me proud.
** Parents who reared me right and continue to be active.
** A job that makes a difference in the world.
** Good friends, both those I know personally and those I know only virtually (online).
** Good health.
** The ability to run.

Run well and enjoy the turkey,

16 November 2007

Does Anybody Really Care About Blogging?

There's no doubt that blogging has changed the way many of us look at information, both our choices of sources of information and the empowerment (or perception of empowerment) of the common person to have a voice in sharing information. Ben Arment has written an interesting article on the real influence of bloggers, The Unlikely Prophets of Blogging. Many of those in my generation (I'm 53 and I'll let you decide where the young end of my generation is) downplay the impact of blogging. Often, I think we tend to do that because (1) blogging is not the way we interact with the world, (2) it's unruly, somewhat chaotic, and doesn't follow the "rules" of traditional information sources, and (3) if we acknowledge that blogging does have influence then we also have to either acknowledge that our own positions of influence/power are threatened or we have to change our ways.

I've also just finished reading The Starfish and the Spider by Ori Brafman and Rod A. Beckstrom. The same danger exists in how we view the shift toward decentralized organizations. The 7th chapter in the book really caught my attention as the authors dealt with hybrid organizations. Not every organization can or should make the switch to a fully leaderless model. I think that's the situation with the International Mission Board, the organization where I work. But, I think we could benefit in many ways by moving toward a hybrid organization. That's uncomfortable for a lot of folks, myself included. Some would accuse us of protecting our power but I think (hope) it has more to do with how seriously we take our mission. Still, uncomfortable or not, I think we would be more effective and would become more relevant to the emerging leadership and followership of our denomination if we decentralize wherever we can. Of course, part of the difficulty of making those changes is that we are the largest arm of our denomination and the denomination is a centralized organization.

What do those two things have to do with each other -- the impact of blogging and decentralizing the IMB? In a word, change: change in how our constituency is influenced and change in how we do our work. Change is hard.

Running: I've run 72+ miles in the last 12 days -- probably a high for me. Today's run was hard but good. I haven't run a tempo run since the Maymont Half-Marathon at the end of September but I don't want to lose my fitness level. So, I only had time for about 5 miles today and was planning to run the route on which I had been doing tempo runs, so I thought, "Why not?" Not bad -- mile splits were:

Mile 1: 9:00
Mile 2: 7:35
Mile 3: 7:30
Mile 4: 7:35
Mile 5: 8:25
Last 1/4: 1:41

I'll take it!

Run well, y'all,

11 November 2007

For the Beauty of the Earth

(Click the title to go to the Midi file of the hymn, For the Beauty of the Earth. I haven't figured out how to embed the file so it shows and plays directly from here.)

I had planned for today to be a day off of running. I had run 5 days straight and a 9.7 mile run on Saturday. But, driving to church this morning, the leaves were so beautiful that I wanted to run. That's the great thing about this time of year. I'm so hot natured that in July, if I don't run in the early morning, I just can't run later in the day. But in November, when the high is predicted to be 52°, I can run in the afternoon.

After church, our daughter and I went to lunch to kill our fajita craving (Casa Grande in Short Pump ain't bad). I had to leave at 5:30 to help with the African worship service at our orientation center. So, I knew I had to start my run between 3:00 and 3:30 -- 1 hour+ run, 15 minutes stretch, shower, supper, and leave.

My fajitas complained a little bit in the beginning, but I just took it slowly and was fine. It actually wasn't as slow as I thought but that was OK. Oh, the leaves are great! They're just a little beyond their peak -- maybe a week -- but the sun was shining, the air was crisp, there was a slight breeze, and there was lots of colour. I tell you, this just cannot have happened by accident. God created this -- Genesis 1:11-13.

Another comment on Unity versus Conformity: our pastor is preaching a sermon on our church's motto: Gayton Baptist Church...A Place to Belong...Believe...Become! Today was the second sermon on Believe and he touched on the concept of unity versus uniformity. In the sermon, he reminded me of a quote that applies to my thinking

We would be in the best shape if we kept in essentials, Unity; in non-essentials, Liberty; and in both Charity (Charity meaning, in modern usage, Love or Mutual Respect). This is often attributed to Augustine but is more likely attributable to Peter Meiderlin from a book he wrote in Latin in the mid-1620's, A Prayerful Admonition for Peace to the Theologians of the Augsburg Confession. While he was talking about doctrine, the philosophy applies in a lot of areas of life. (See the online article, "IN ESSENTIALS UNITY": THE PRE-HISTORY AND HISTORY OF A RESTORATION MOVEMENT SLOGAN

Run well, y'all,

09 November 2007

Running the Race Well

Last weekend, Ryan Hall ran the fastest ever US Olympic Trails marathon. The New York Road Runners web site has a good article on the trials: The Next Generation of Champions.

However, road races are not the only races that Ryan runs. He has his eyes fixed on the only meaningful finish line there is, Jesus (reference Hebrews 12:1-2). David Haywood, over at Running the Race, posted a video of Ryan. It's an inspiring run but also the faith story of a young man committed to following Christ. Enjoy. If, after watching the video, you want to talk about how you, too, can commit your life like this, contact me by leaving a comment or check out this site, Unconditional Love.

If you'd rather watch the video at the original web site, click here.

Run well, y'all, on the road and in life,

Unity vs. Conformity

Heat wave today: 37° (compared to 27° yesterday). I decided to push my run a bit this morning -- I haven't done a tempo run since the half marathon about 6 weeks ago. Not bad but I could tell that (1) it had been a while since the last tempo run and (2) I'm still not back to full strength after my cold. Here are my splits (if you're interested -- well, OK, here they are whether you're interested or not :) ):

1.0 X 8:30
1.0 X 7:24
1.0 X 7:26
1.0 X 7:49
0.5 X 4:41

The thing that's been on my mind a lot the last couple of days is the idea of unity versus conformity. What triggered my thinking was the IMB trustee action to censure one of the trustees, Wade Burleson. This whole thing is so complicated and I don't want to spend the time necessary to unpack it all here. Let me summarize my thoughts:

1. While I disagree with the trustees in their decisions on private prayer language (I neither practice nor advocate a ppl) and baptism (I strongly believe that baptism by immersion is the biblical approach; I just as strongly believe that the purpose of baptism is to demonstrate union with Christ and obedience to Him and not, at least primarily, to identify with a particular doctrinal position or church/denomination -- remember, this is not a full discussion of this), I will gladly submit to those decisions.

2. Disagreement and critique are not necessarily the same thing as disunity or slander. I think there have been some things said in all of the discussion on this over the last 2 years that have been inappropriate and beyond the bounds of good manners. But, bad manners is not necessarily slander.

3. The public stating of one's disagreement with and one's criticism of decisions are not disloyalty.

The big question that I'm wrestling with is, "At what point does non-conformity and disagreement become disunity?" And I don't know. I personally think that, even though some of the discussions on IMB trustee actions have been distasteful and inappropriate, overall it's been healthy. I don't think it's harmed the cause of missions within Southern Baptist life -- our annual missions offering reached an all tiem high last year in the midst of all the blogging and discussions; appointments seem to be up. But I do think that's the fundamental issue for us -- how closely must our thoughts, beliefs, words, blogs, discussions, etc. conform to everybody else?

OK, that's all pretty random and disconnected. I know the issue is broader than just the IMB trustees and I think it broader than just the inner wranglings of one Christian organization. So, I'll just keep on running and pondering.

Run well, y'all,

06 November 2007

On the Road Again -- Ahhh

I like round numbers so today was a good day -- I completed 1200 miles for the year!

After a cold and worst sore throat of my life last week, it was great to be out today. The weather could hardly have been more perfect -- 54° and 59% humidity. Nice and easy; ran a bit more than planned. Tomorrow will be cold -- the weatherman is predicting 33° at 5 AM.

I spent much of the time thinking about and praying for one our overseas units -- I had dreamt about them all night, too. If you're a follower of Christ, I would appreciate your lifting this unnamed family up to the Father.

Run well, y'all,