Sunday, April 15, 2018

TESS

If I were to go back to school to take more courses, I think I might take a few courses in orbital mathematics. The number of interesting orbits around masses in space has captured my imagination. Take for example the orbit of the latest NASA orbital space telescope, TESS (Transiting Exoplanet Survey Satellite). The following graphic shows the path as TESS orbits between the earth and moon, checking in with NASA at regular intervals in its 13.7-day revolutions.




TESS will be launched April 16, 2018 and will be NASA’s latest space-telescope. It will spend much of its time looking for planets outside of our solar system. Kepler, a similar space-telescope identified more than 5,000 potential exo-planets and TESS is expected to find even more and will focus on finding potentially habitable planets. Once enough potentially habitable planets have been found, scientists can begin to focus on the most promising planets for potential colonization. Of course, none of this will be easy since even the closest of these planets will be several hundred light years away. Someone needs to begin to work on that Warp-Drive to make it possible to quickly visit some of these distant planets.


Saturday, April 14, 2018

Hello Cruel World


I just discovered the Essentials album by Gretchen Peters. She has written songs for Bryan Adams, Martina McBride, Faith Hill, and many others. "Hello Cruel World" is one of my favourite songs on the album. It is full of angst and tensions of good and evil. It makes one think about the struggles of this world and the struggle of light and darkness, Jesus and the devil. The piano and strings are beautiful, she sings one of the sweetest "oohs" in all of pop music, and the bass line is melancholic. Enjoy this song and meditate upon the goodness of creation and The Fall.

Hello Cruel World
(Words and Music by Gretchen Peters)
(Listen to the song here)

haven’t done as well as I thought I would
I’m not dead but I’m damaged goods
and it’s gettin’ late
I’m a rusty hinge, a squeaky wheel
at the bad end of a shaky deal
cursed by the hand of fate
and ooooooh – I’m a very lucky girl
yeah ooooooh – hello cruel world

I’m a ticking clock, a losing bet
a girl without a safety net
I’m a cause for some concern
you don’t live this long without regrets
telephone calls you don’t wanna get
stones you’d rather leave unturned
but ooooooh – the grain of sand becomes the pearl
yeah ooooooh – hello cruel world

some folks go the easy route
numb the pain or put the lights out
either way they got to go
me I’m gonna stick around
in for a penny in for a pound
cause I hate to miss the show
and ooooooh – I’m a very stubborn girl
yeah ooooooh – hello cruel world
hello cruel world

©2011 Circus Girl Music, administered by Carnival Music (ASCAP)





Saturday, March 31, 2018

If I Were You


If I Were You 
(Lyrics and Music by Wayne Watson, 1999, “Field of Souls”)  
If I were You, if I ran this place
There wouldn't be no mercy, no
There wouldn't be no grace
And people that wander off and go astray
I'd make real sure that they would pay
Yeah, that's what I'd do if I were You

And if I were You, if I ran this town
The righteous would be sitting pretty
And the rotten would come tumbling down
Oh, they'd beg and they'd wrangle for a second chance
I'd say, "sorry, boys, but I just can't"
Yeah, that's what I'd do if I were You

But You know me, I'm just a man
Of unclean lips and unclean hands
Some of the thoughts I have
Make me want to run and hide, yeah
Well, I don't know much, but I observe
You've never treated me like I deserve
Your loving arms are always open wide, yeah, yeah

Oh, well, You know me, I'm just a man
Of unclean lips and unclean hands
Some of the thoughts I have
Make me want to run and hide, run and hide
Well, I don't know much, but I've observed
You've never treated me like I've deserved
Your loving arms are always open wide, open wide

If I were You, oh, catastrophe, ooh...
I wonder what in the world
Kind of world would this world be
I guess I'll take my place
Wrapped in amazing grace
Let You be You
Uh-huh, that's what I'll do
Yeah, that's what I'll do
Yeah, that's what I'll do, ooh...

A few days ago, I ate lunch with some new friends and our conversation ranged in many directions and then settled in on philosophies about God and man. We come from very different perspectives on such subjects, but all agreed that the troubles of this world ultimately come down to humans being cruel to other humans. My friends complemented me on being a kind, forward-thinking, religious, person. If I had thought quicker on my feet, I would have quoted Solzhenitsyn’s words to them:

“Gradually it was disclosed to me that the line separating good and evil passes not through states, nor between classes, nor between political parties either -- but right through every human heart -- and through all human hearts. This line shifts. Inside us, it oscillates with the years. And even within hearts overwhelmed by evil, one small bridgehead of good is retained. And even in the best of all hearts, there remains ... an unuprooted small corner of evil.

Since then I have come to understand the truth of all the religions of the world: They struggle with the evil inside a human being (inside every human being). It is impossible to expel evil from the world in its entirety, but it is possible to constrict it within each person.”


The song lyrics quoted above and Solzhenitsyn’s words tell us what we already know. We are usually people who strive to be good and do right. We think of ourselves and our friends as the better part of humanity. Yet, inside all of us lurks evil that has never been uprooted, a small weed in the corner of our hearts. If God allowed any of us to “run the world” it would be a catastrophe. That is why God asks and we do well to acquiesce to letting God be God while we humans take our place "wrapped in amazing grace." “Uh-huh, that's what I'll do.”


Thursday, March 29, 2018

It's Friday, But Sunday's Coming


It’s Friday, but Sunday’s Coming

It’s Friday
Jesus is praying
Peter is sleeping
Judas is betraying
But Sunday’s comin’ 

It’s Friday
Pilate’s struggling
The council is conspiring
The crowd is vilifying
They don’t even know
That Sunday’s comin’

It’s Friday
The disciples are running
Like sheep without a shepherd
Mary’s crying
Peter is denying
But they don’t know
That Sunday’s a comin’ 

It’s Friday
The Romans beat my Jesus
They robe him in scarlet
They crown him with thorns
But they don’t know
That Sunday’s comin’ 

It’s Friday
See Jesus walking to Calvary
His blood dripping
His body stumbling
And his spirit’s burdened
But you see, it’s only Friday
Sunday’s comin’

It’s Friday
The world’s winning
People are sinning
And evil’s grinning 

It’s Friday
The soldiers nail my Savior’s hands
To the cross
They nail my Savior’s feet
To the cross
And then they raise him up
Next to criminals 
It’s Friday
But let me tell you something
Sunday’s comin’

It’s Friday
The disciples are questioning
What has happened to their King
And the Pharisees are celebrating
That their scheming
Has been achieved
But they don’t know
It’s only Friday
Sunday’s comin’ 

It’s Friday
He’s hanging on the cross
Feeling forsaken by his Father
Left alone and dying
Can nobody save him?
Ooooh
It’s Friday
But Sunday’s comin’

It’s Friday
The earth trembles
The sky grows dark
My King yields his spirit 

It’s Friday
Hope is lost
Death has won
Sin has conquered
and Satan’s just a laughin’

It’s Friday
Jesus is buried
A soldier stands guard
And a rock is rolled into place
But it’s Friday
It is only Friday
Sunday is a comin’!

This poem/sermon was originally delivered by S. M. Lockridge (Shadrach Meshach Lockridge) (March 7, 1913 – April 4, 2000). He was the Pastor of Calvary Baptist Church, San Diego, California, from 1953 to 1993. He was known as one of the great preachers of his time. He preached this sermon sometime in the 1950s.