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Showing posts from June, 2007

Life: Invite me

Would it be too arrogrant and evidence of hubris to say, invite me to speak at your group?

My mission statement would be this: to encourage people to thoughtful reflection on important issues of life through public speaking, dialogue facilitation and writing.

Though I'm a Briggs-Myers I-N/S-T/F-J and get nervous doing public speaking, I enjoy the opportunities I've had to do public speaking. I love the interaction with the audience as we discuss and react to questions about the topic I get to address. I delight in researching a topic and preparing it for presentation.

I've given research lectures as part of my life as a molecular biologist and taught science classes for undergraduates.

In the church setting, I've given talks and lead discussions on topics pertaining to the Christian faith and the Bible.

A short resume:

Education
1993 PhD in Molecular Biology, University of California, Irvine
1986 BS in Biochemistry, University of California, Los Angeles

Christian Part…

LA Scene: Star sighting - Jennifer Robertson

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image source: http://www.diamondfield.com/jenniferrobertson.php

Okay, well, Jennifer Robertson isn't a household name yet but she's on The 1/2 Hour News Hour the new comedy that takes the Saturday Night Live Weekend Update concept to a full show.

The other night I got to hear her along with one of the show's co-creators and one of the writers talk about how the show got started and a bit of the behind the scenes fun they all have doing the show.

The show has done well enough for more episodes to be ordered up. Since it is filmed right here in Los Angeles I might have to try to go to a taping!

Music: iTunes fan

Love iTunes. I hear something on the radio, on tv, in a movie, I like and I go to iTunes and can fetch it.

I can make up a playlist and burn my own mix and match CD to play it in the car.

On one recent CD I made the mix included:
American Pie - Don McLean
Kiss From a Rose - Seal
In the mood - Glenn Miller
24 Theme - Sean Callery
Folsom Prison Blues - Johnny Cash
Who are you - the Who
Evacuating London - The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe, film score - Harry Gregson-Williams

and many other tracks well known and obscure ...

Life: Meaning of marriage?

Dare I write about something I have not experienced?

But I suppose, as a single, I should have some idea of what I claim to want?

So based on what I've learned from my reflections on Christian spirituality and my observations of good and happy marriages, I pen (type) the following for your consideration ...

Marriage is a partnership for life between one man and one woman for:
(1) the daily help of the couple
(2) their spiritual growth and protection
(3) sharing love with each other and together to love others whom God brings into their lives
(4) which may include, Lord willing, children for them to raise into the family of faith.

And what kind of woman would I want to marry?

I want to marry a beautiful, good-hearted, intellectually curious, follower of Jesus, whom I love, who loves me and would want to fulfill the purposes of marriage described above with me.

What do you think?

Non-profit of the month: June 2007 - Freedom Center Iraq Project and Fisher G.I. Research Fund (Stanford Cancer Center)

One of my friends has left this life and has entered into the joy of the Lord.

In lieu of flowers, her family has requested donations be made to two causes she supported and I will be honoring that request and making contributions to these two organization as described in an email sent by the family:

Global Hope – Freedom Center Iraq Project.
(1) Brief description: The Freedom Center is a community center being built in Northern Iraq in a Kurdish city. After many years of war and oppression, the Kurds have opened their borders and its leaders have extended a Macedonia call for us to come and work among them. The door is open to share God’s love!
(2) Tax-deductible donation checks can be written to "Global Hope. Please write "Freedom Center" in the memo line of the checks.

Dr. George Fisher G.I. Research Fund (Stanford Cancer Center)
(1) Brief description: Dr. Fisher was my friend's oncologist at Stanford Hospital. She really appreciated being under the care of Dr. …

Devotional Thoughts: Theoretically it is all pretty straightforward

Am looking at Job 11 this morning.

Zophar, the third of Job's friends spoke here.

Then Zophar the Naamathite replied:
Are all these words to go unanswered?
Is this talker to be vindicated?
Will your idle talk reduce men to silence?
Will no one rebuke you when you mock?
You say to God, My beliefs are flawless
and I am pure in your sight.
Oh, how I wish that God would speak,
that he would open his lips against you
and disclose to you the secrets of wisdom,
for true wisdom has two sides.
Know this: God has even forgotten some of your sin.
Can you fathom the mysteries of God?
Can you probe the limits of the Almighty?
They are higher than the heavens - what can you do?
They are deeper than the depths of the grave - what can you know?
Their measure is longer than the earth
and wider than the sea.

When I read Job, I sometimes think about what is needed in a pastoral sense. In most cases, a human response, an emotional response is the …

Life: What to say when bad things happen to good people? Part II

This contemplation is provoked by something I read over at Reflecting. Part I of this post was sometime ago. Here is my long delayed follow up. My writing this follow up was spurred by the news that one of my friends will be meeting our Lord Jesus soon freed from a body crushed by cancer. My prayers are with her, her family and friends. With tears, I thank God for her life and with hope, I know she will breath freely in the presence of our God unbound by the limitations of the life she has had in recent times.

The email note from one of her friends ended with this quote from I Corinthians 2:9:Eye has not seen, neither has it entered into the heart of man, all that God has prepared for those who love Him.========

Nick's blog post was a response to the following premise in a seminary school class project:Sara Smith, a member of the class handed you a note in which she wrote, “As you know, my husband and I had a child who was born with a severe microcephalic condition, and died …

Sports: ESPN.com headline - All They Can 'Eat

Wooooooo Hooooooooo!!!!!

The Anteaters are stayin' alive with a 8-7 win in 10-innings!

Next up, Oregon State today.

Let's go Eaters, stomp, stomp, stomp-stomp-stomp! (repeat multiple times until you go crazy!)

UPDATE: Its a final Beavers defeat Anteaters 7-1. Congrats to the Anteaters for a good run in the post-season!

Youth: Parable of the Mustard Seed

In youth group this morning, we discussed Matthew 13:31-32:

He put another parable before them, saying, The kingdom of heaven is like a grain of mustard seed that a man took and sowed in his field. It is the smallest of all seeds, but when it has grown it is larger than all the garden plants and becomes a tree, so that the birds of the air come and make nests in its branches.

To help spur the discussion, we also saw this music video ...



Many of us were quite moved by the video.

What do you think?

Sports: UCLA and UCI in College Baseball Championships!

College Baseball is in its Sweet 16. Both that Anteaters and the Bruins are still in contention.

Here is the current bracket.

Go Bruins! Go Anteaters!

UPDATE: UCLA was eliminated by Cal State Fullerton. However, UC Irvine has advanced to the round of eight after defeating Wichita State!

UPDATE: Anteaters face elimination on 6/18/2007. They are up against the Fullerton Titans!

UPDATE: The Anteaters live to play another day with a 5-4 win in 13-innings.

Devotional Thoughts: Devotional Thoughts

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Have been posting my reflections on Job.

But this morning, thought I'd take a different turn on "devotional thoughts."

Devotion according to Merriam-Webster:1 a: religious fervor : piety b: an act of prayer or private worship - usually used in plural c: a religious exercise or practice other than the regular corporate worship of a congregation2 a: the act of devoting b: the fact or state of being ardently dedicated and loyal Thought according to m-w.com:1 a: the action or process of thinking : cogitation b: serious consideration : regard carchaic : recollection, remembrance2 a: reasoning power b: the power to imagine : conception3: something that is thought: as a: an individual act or product of thinking b: a developed intention or plan c: something (as an opinion or belief) in the mind d: the intellectual product or the organized views and principles of a period, place, group, or individual Using Scripture to prompt "devotional thoughts" is quite understanda…

Culture: Homophobic is in the eye of the hearer?

The subject of same-sex marriage and the question of homosexuality remains a controversial topic in our society.

As a blogger, I use this platform as a place to articulate and organize my thoughts. I'm open to re-examining issues and so here goes with some of my reactions to this subject.

My experiences with gay individuals is very limited. I have encountered a few in my working life and have found them to be just like everyone else: decent hard working people.

For a number of years, my molecular biology research work was in the area of HIV/AIDS. In the late '80s and early '90s, there was a lot of effort to understand the virus and I worked in two different labs that made some contributions to understanding the field. In a sense, all the "easy" research got done at that time when we went from knowing almost nothing about the virus to knowing some things.

At that time, I was very much moved by Surgeon General C. Everett Koop's perspective on the issue. As…

LA Scene: Dodger's All-You-Can-Eat Right Field Pavillion

Am going to visit this at Dodger's Stadium. It is one of their new marketing ploys for this season.

Here is the AP story on the new feature.

For a more snarky account of two fan's experiences see this item over at Slate.

UPDATE: For photos and a more detailed account, check my latest post over at LAFB.

World: Al-Qaida Suspected in Samarra Bombings

The news from Iraq is not good. The country is on edge as the potential for more reprisals is high.

When civil war broke out in Rwanda, the world stood by as hundreds of thousands were killed.

Many blamed the USA for failing to intervene.

Iraq is in Civil War or one or two steps from it.

What should the US military do?

Would it be better or worse for the Iraqis if the USA left?

America is damned if they do intervene and damned if they don't intervene.

What should we do?

Devotional Thoughts: No theological work books in the hospital?

Job 10.

Wow!

I don't know about you but when I'm discouraged to the point of being in the fetal position I have almost zero ability to articulate what it is I'm feeling. Job here in vivid poetic language described his despair.

I loathe my very life;
therefore I will give free rein to my complaint
and speak out in the bitterness of my soul.
I will say to God: Do not condemn me,
but tell me what charges you have against me.
Does it please you to oppress me,
to spurn the work of your hands,
while you smile on the schemes of the wicked?
Do you have eyes of flesh?
Do you see as a mortal sees?
Are your days like those of a mortal
or your years like those of a man,
that you must search out my faults
and probe after my sin -
though you know that I am not guilty
and that no one can rescue me from your hand?
Your hands shaped me and made me.
Will you now turn and destroy me?
Remember that you molded me like clay.
W…

Youth: Two new films from Kinetic

Two new shorts are up. This time the films are about Matthew 18.

Check 'em out ...

Life: Thank you Lizzie Palmer For Helping Us Remember

Heard about the Youtube.com video "Remember Me" on Fox News while channel surfing ...

Devotional Thoughts: Doubt - danger and opportunity

Looking at Job 9:25-35 this morning. Job continues the rant ...

Now my days are swifter than a runner;
They flee away, they see no good.
They pass by like swift ships,
Like an eagle swooping on its prey.

With great imagery, Job recognizes the shortness of his life. Though I think he, and us for that matter, may regret that life passes by so swiftly, the main source of angst is the sense that at times it seems all rather futile ...

If I say, ‘I will forget my complaint,
I will put off my sad face and wear a smile,’
I am afraid of all my sufferings;
I know that You will not hold me innocent.
If I am condemned,
Why then do I labor in vain?
If I wash myself with snow water,
And cleanse my hands with soap,
Yet You will plunge me into the pit,
And my own clothes will abhor me.
For He is not a man, as I am,
That I may answer Him,
And that we should go to court together.
Nor is there any mediator between us,
Who may lay his hand on us both.
Let Him tak…

Devotional Thoughts: Job shaking his fist at God

Continuing on in Job 9:11-24...

Behold, he passes by me, and I see him not;
he moves on, but I do not perceive him.

God is different from us. I can't claim I have "seen" God. However, I believe that God is at work in this world. One can't see the wind but one can see the effect of the wind.

But in any case, Job is feeling very abandoned at this moment.

Behold, he snatches away; who can turn him back?
Who will say to him, 'What are you doing?'

Would you ever have the nerve to tell God, "What *are* you doing?" This passage tells us that Job is tremendously honest. It is kind of like a private in the army asking the 5 star general, what are you doing?

Job continues ...

"God will not turn back his anger;
beneath him bowed the helpers of Rahab.
How then can I answer him,
choosing my words with him?
Though I am in the right, I cannot answer him;
I must appeal for mercy to my accuser.
If I summoned him and he answered me,
I would not believe …

World: Remembering June 6, 1944

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Thank you!



Image source: http://www.allposters.com/-sp/The-Greatest-Generation-D-Day-Landing-Omaha-Beach-June-6-1944-Posters_i996778_.htm

Go here to learn more about D-Day.

To read two speeches given by President Reagan at the 40th Anniversary go here (Point du Hoc) and here (Omaha Beach).

Excerpts from Point du Hoc speech:We're here to mark that day in history when the Allied armies joined in battle to reclaim this continent to liberty. For four long years, much of Europe had been under a terrible shadow. Free nations had fallen, Jews cried out in the camps, millions cried out for liberation. Europe was enslaved, and the world prayed for its rescue. Here in Normandy the rescue began. Here the Allies stood and fought against tyranny in a giant undertaking unparalleled in human history.

We stand on a lonely, windswept point on the northern shore of France. The air is soft, but 40 years ago at this moment, the air was dense with smoke and the cries of men, and the air was filled with th…

Science: Global Warming

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As a molecular biologist, I can't claim expertise in the global warming debate. Nonetheless, as someone trained in the sciences and having a personality with insatiable curiosity, I am naturally interested in what all the controversy is about.

The IPCC stands for Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change and they issued a preliminary report a few months back about the lastest research on global warming.

The media is highlighting the findings:
1. Scientists release a 21-page report strongly linking humans to climate change
2. Report scientist: Evidence of warming on the planet is unequivocal
3. Scientists predict global temperature increases of 3.2-7.1 degrees F by 2100
4. Sea levels could rise between 7 and 23 inches by the end of the century

As a scientist, I have to ask, show me the data!

Rising Temperatures

There are a number of web pages that discuss global warming (just run a google search and be inundated!). The National Climatic Data Center has a pretty good summary of the key id…

World: Remembering June 4, 1989

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18 years ago.

There are a handful of events in one's life where you remember where you were when you heard the news.

For people of my age those moments might include:
Attempt on Reagan's life on March 30, 1981.
Challenger explosion on January 28, 1986.
Terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001.
Columbia accident on February 1, 2003.



It was the Beijing Spring of 1989 when students were joined by the masses in rallies in Tiananmen Square to demonstrate for reform. In between the Forbidden City and Mao's Mausoleum is Tiananmen Square.

Below is a music video set to the haunting music of Clint Mansell performed by the Kronos Quartet for the film "Requiem for a Dream."



Click here to see the Guardian's report on the Massacre published on the 10th anniversary in 1999.

World: Global Warming Dialog

A few months ago, I went through a three-day training workshop with the Public Conversations Project.

This Sunday, our church will host a discussion about Global Warming. As part of our applying what we learned from PCP, our team that went through the training has drafted some questions for the dialog and will help facilitate the dialog tomorrow.

(1) The basis for your view on Global Warming ...
What in your personal experiences have shaped your views on Global Warming?

(2) The reason for your concern about the issue ...
Whatever your views on Global Warming, what values do you hold dear do you feel are at stake in the controversy?

(3) The permission to acknowledge uncertainty and doubt ...
What uncertainties do you hold regarding your personal views on the matter? What troubles you about the way the subject is discussed?

If so inclined, please pray for a meaningful time of sharing and listening to divergent opinions about a controversial subject!

To get a taste of the PCP approach, check …

Devotional Thoughts: Astronomer Job

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Previously, in Job, we got the "behind the scenes" look in Job 1-2.

Job 3 is Job's first monologue where he laments his situation.

Job 4-5 is Eliphaz's first monologue where his argument is mainly, God blesses the good people and won't mistreat the innocent. The hidden message: Job you must have sinned.

Job 6-7 is Job's reply which contains the disappointment in his friend for the implication of his words. Job acknowledges the finite and transient nature of his life but wonders what God is up to.

Job 8 is Bildad's first monologue where he picks up Eliphaz's argument but is explicit about the connection between sin and suffering.

Job 9 is Job's reaction.

Will look at his speech from verses 1-10 only though the speech runs through chapter 10.

Then Job replied:
Indeed, I know that this is true.
But how can a mortal be righteous before God?

In Job's response to Eliphaz, he was much hotter under the collar. This time, Job is a bit more restrained. He …

Politics: 2008's Campaign Should be Interesting?!

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Take this test to have a better idea of what you really believe about politics!

Not surprisingly, I was a centrist but leaning toward the conservative/libertarian camp.

First presidential vote

I cast my first presidential ballot in 1984 for Reagan. For the early years of my voting life, I was a registered independent. However, I voted Republican somewhat more often than Democrat. Eventually, I registered Republican in 1996 since I leaned in that direction anyway so why not step fully into that pond!

First campaign

I volunteered in my first presidential campaign in 1996 working in the Dole for president office in Washington DC. Made some fund raising phone calls (not very successfully), answered phone calls from the public (you can't imagine how many loons call presidential campaigns!) and prepared voter information packets for mailing.

Bob Dole had little chance against a popular incumbent in good economic times and we really didn't expect otherwise. What really amazed me was …