Monthly Archives: April 2006

Bennington Disc Golf :: LAMER!

I like to think that a lame disc golf course is better than no disc golf course at all. I think this is so, but the course in Bennington, Vermont at Willow Park may actually be one of the worst courses in the nation, yea, the world. The only way we could explain the design and lay out of this 9-hole course is that the designers do not actually play the sport. Even a cross-eyed, pigeon-toed, novice could see that many of the “holes” are in really, really bad locations.

“How bad could it be?” you ask. Let’s just begin with a list of “obstacles”:

  • A large play ground
  • A Basketball court
  • A little shanty shack called a youth pavilion
  • Several baseballs fields and the fencing area around home plate
  • Picnic tables
  • A concession stand/bathroom

Oh, and I forgot to mention that the course repeatedly insersects with a pedestrian walking path!!! No fewer than three holes are located in a very crowded public area complete with the large play ground, pedestrian path, picnic tables (you have to throw over one table to get to the hole), baseball field, spectator area, and concession stand. If the park is empty, it’s a nice course for practicing your short game, as most of the holes are not too long. Yet the maddening thing is the existence of wide open fields in several areas that could easily accomodate the course. Even if the courses overlapped a little, at least disc golf players would be at hazard insted of the many pedestrians enjoying the park.

In any case, despite our griping, we did enjoy ourselves and will simply have to avoid baseball season and other people in general in order to use the course. Perhaps late night or early morning is the way to go. We could also try to go there during dinner time. Whatever the case may be, we’ll probably be back. Our disc golf options in SW VT are kind of limited!

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Speculating on Judas (part one)

The Complex Christ has a post that speculates on the motivation of Judas in betraying Jesus. Whether or not this is correct, the topic intrigues me to no end. While having some time to think over vacation last week, I began to realize that I really have no idea why Judas would betray Jesus, save to snatch up a little extra money. But is that really why he turned Jesus over?

Every student of scripture should note that the Gospels supply us with very little information about the motives of Judas, and therefore, we should not worry ourselves with what they do not tell us. The information left out was deemed as non-essential in communicating the Gospel and creating Christian community. Nevertheless, we do have a few clips in which Judas figures prominently, and these must be studied with care. With the death of Christ playing a significant role in the salvaiton of humanity, it is important to understand the betrayer of Christ form the written accounts we possess. Understanding why Judas would do what many regard as unthinkable may give us a clue into the expectations placed on Jesus, the controversial message he preached, and our own response to Jesus today. In addition, we should never distance ourselves so far from Judas that we consider betraying Jesus beyond our own capabilities.

I hope to spend a little time over the coming week wrestling through the Gospel narratives and providing some possible reasons why Judas would betray Jesus. My theory as of now, in a nutshell, is that Judas was after power and wealth. He quite rationally thought that Jesus, the long-anticipated Messiah who had God on his side, would be his ticket to this fame and fortune. Judas may not have been a zealous patriot who would sacrifice himself to throw off Roman rule, but he did expect a king, as did most everyone else at that time, who would rule the nation much like David. Once things began to unravel and Jesus’ final trip continued to move closer to death and tragedy, Judas opted out of Jesus’ group, sought to win the favor of the Jewish leaders, and tried to come out ahead financially.

There is much more to be said in the coming week, but provides a rough sketch of where I’m going. I am curious to hear what others have to say about my little theory. While I have an idea of why Judas committed suicide, I am also wondering if any one with experience in this area can shed some light as well. I would think that Judas’ knowledge of the OT law weighed heavily on his mind, not to mention that he had now alienated himself from both Jesus’ followers and the Jewish leaders, leaving himself with no allies.

Enough for now. Feel free to chime in if you think I’m out to lunch with all of this!

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“A Bittersweet Land” in the Pepperpot

I will soon have a short story published in an anthology put together by the Southshire Roundtable called The Southshire Pepperpot. It will be available soon from Windstorm Creative for pre-orders.

The anthology is “an eclectic mix of prose and poetry full of whimsy, humor, reflection, wonder, along with a mouth-watering collection of recipes sure to inspire the cook or baker in us all.” Though I’m no chef, I had a fun time sharing my first experience with Turkish coffee while studying in Jerusalem in a story called “A Bittersweet Land.” Included in the story is a recipe for Turkish coffee, something that I typically would prefer to leave to the professionals!

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Suburban Theology by Scott

My friend from Biblical Seminary, Scott Berkheimer, has a wonderful series on suburban theology at his theopraxis blog. Scott lives right in the middle of the ‘burbs around Philly. In fact, I admire him for sticking it out, he lives in an area that is quite crowded.

He currently has nine installments in this series, which I think says a lot about how much thought he has given this subject. I usually lose interest in my own series of posts by my fourth or fifth. You can always rely on Scott to mull things over thoroughly and to carefully weigh his words. Post number eight in the series is particularly good. He starts off with a bang:

“Who is telling the stories that shape the imaginations of those in suburban contexts?

This question is critical to addressing the idea of the pursuit of happiness as the focus of the suburban lifestyle. As I’ve mentioned before, happiness in this context is typically defined in terms of comfort, security, and personal fulfillment. And who is it that does the defining? I’d argue that it’s primarily the voice of marketing and consumption. The stories that are told that give shape to the suburban ethos are, interestingly enough, primarily stories about lack. The irony is biting – the affluent are being told that they need more stuff to find fulfillment, and the story is being accepted and owned.”


Manchester history center to close for lack of money

The Rutland Herald reports:

“MANCHESTER — A museum designed as a historic “hands-on” learning center is closing because it has not been able to raise enough money.The North Shire Museum and History Center has operated for four years and was trying to raise the $2 million it needed to buy the 5-acre property on which the center sat.” Read the whole story.

I was at a meeting a few weeks ago where a board member of the center (I think) announced the decision. They had a really neat vision, but the plan seemed to have relied too heavily on donations and didn’t have enough time to generate income. I hope that a developer doesn’t come in and buy the site, leveling the historic buildings. There are enough new buildings in Manchester, VT.

Hitting the Links

<%image(20060425-sudan.gif|203|152|sudan)%>The sluggish response of the international community to the violence in the Darfur region of Sudan is coming with a heavy price. Not only are thousands of people continuing to suffer attacks and hunger, the neighboring country of Chad has been destablized in the process. This means that Chad’s president has become increasingly resentful of the presence of so many refugees in the eastern part of his country. Sadly, the Sudanese refugees now have no place to go. Here’s a short collection of links related to this story, as well as some other notables in the world:

From NPR
Refugees from Border Wars Crowd Chad Village

From the BBC
Rebels and robbers rampage in eastern Chad
UN to vote on Sudanese sanctions
Chad capital’s scars of battle
This last article is from April 13th, but it helps provide some context for the continuing struggle between the government and rebels in the nation of Chad.

Other Links:
30 Are Killed in Sinai as Bombs Rock Egyptian Resort City
This is particularly heart-breaking because Dahab is such a quaint, peaceful village.
Blogs link families with children at war
While I’m not sure if I like the term “milblogging,” this is an excellent example of how the internet has decentralized communication and authority. One mother discovered through the online community that her son’s injuries were not fatal several days before official military communication came to her. Now if the military can be OK with this, we may be on to something.

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