Monday, September 03, 2007

In The Shadow of the Moon!

I was 11 years old. We had dinner on TV trays in our den, and watched Neil Armstrong set foot on the moon. It was the buzz of our neighborhood for weeks; we had neighbors who worked in the aerospace industry.

Nearly 30 years later, as a part of my work, I walked through the buildings in Downey, California, where Apollo was assembled. Even walking through those long empty buildings, I got chills.

Just two days ago, I had the privilege of visiting
here, a place filled with the history of space travel. I met with people in Huntsville, Alabama, who actually knew of Wernher von Braun and his team of rocket men.

Truly remarkble stuff....make that "The Right Stuff".

And then, this afternoon, while taking a break at the end of our vacation, I spotted and article about this movie, due out in September. To my friend John Wierick, who reads this blog on occasion -- buddy, we are going to the movies soon!

This is real adventure, real courage! Watching this trailer gives me chills again...

Disconnected and Connecting

Lots of things have been rattling around in my brain of recent. In order to clear space for Bruin Football scores, its time to dump at least one thought out.

While flying to Nashville for our vacation week, I listened to
this podcast, which reminded me, yet again, of how often disconnected my own life, and our lives together in our modern culture, have become. Disconnected from one another. We prefer to spend time with our Tivos, Ipods, laptops and email, rather than with real flesh and blood people. And when relationships between friends becomes strained, (and this is particularly acute in the church) we often choose not to work to heal, but rather to disconnect, to distance ourselves. I will admit, I sometimes am tempted to behave like this.

The podcast was with
Dr. Edward Hallowell, who wrote a book entitled Connect back in 2001 that urges readers to “make time for connectedness,” which he alternately defines as having person-to-person interaction or being involved with something greater than oneself. He identifies “Twelve Points of Connection” (i.e., marriage, family, friends, work, beauty, the past, nature, pets, ideas and information, institutions, religious concerns, and self-knowledge) that can supply this grounding.

As I heard this, looking out the window of American Airlines flight 1974, at majestic thunderheads floating past, I thought "Yes! I need this! I need to connect!"

Our family has spent the last four days in
Huntsville, Alabama, population 160,000. This was a town that had a population of 15,000 in 1950. But then, in the middle 1950s, NASA developed the Marshall Space Flight Center here, populated by Dr. Wernher von Braun and his band of German rocket scientists, and nothing has ever been the same.

And yet. It is so very different here from our home in Southern California. First impression: where are all the people? The streets here seem nearly deserted, compared with the clogged, congested, traffic snarled streets of Los Angeles.

And the people. Oh, the people. They have time. Time to talk, time to listen. And at least with the good Christian folk we spent time with, they have time to grow community, to love, to laugh. There is much we can learn from these folks. They seem to understand what it means to be connected to one another. I envy their connection.

What can I do, in the metropolis of Los Angeles, to become better connected? I wonder.
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