Friday, January 28, 2011

Space Shuttles

I remember where I was when the first Space Shuttle launched back in 1981. I was working for a funeral home in Alabama and I had been dispatched to the crematorium on Birmingham's south side. The company I worked for at the time had 17 funeral homes in Alabama, but only one of them actually was equipped for cremation. Anyway, I was there to pick up the remains of the deceased -- and the morticians were all gathered around a TV to watch the launching of the Columbia. I remember that it seemed like a science fiction movie. Human beings were going to orbit the earth, return to the atmosphere and land the space craft at an airstrip. It was incredible.

I had just returned home from a seminary class in 1986 and switched on the TV in our apartment and watched the Challenger accident. It was surreal. Obviously, the fact that a school teacher was aboard the space craft heightened everyone's awareness of the launch and added to the grief of the whole experience.

I moved to Huntsville, Alabama in 1995 and became more knowledgeable about the space industry due to NASA's presence in that community. The NASA folks in Huntsville take all the space tragedys very personally. Generally speaking, the Marshall Space and Flight Center in Huntsville is in charge of each launch until the space vehicle leaves the atmosphere. Then, Mission Control in Houston takes over. So, the Challenger accident was principally connected to the Huntsville branch of NASA. It is a tough anniversary each year in Huntsville, to say the least.

Then, I was awakened early one Saturday morning in 2003 when something struck our roof. It was such a strange sound that I got up and went outside to look around. We then received a phone call from one of our friends to alert us to the fact that Columbia has been obliterated upon re-entry into the atmosphere. Parts of the shuttle were strewn across north Texas. Again, it was surreal.

We have certainly benefited from NASA's space exploration program. However, like most significant endeavors, it comes with risk and cost. Unfortunately the cost has been measured in more than dollars and man hours. It has actually resulted in the loss of several lives. These folks are heroes to us. They were willing to risk their lives to be involved in one of the most adventurous and daring enterprises in scientific discovery -- exploring outer space. Today, we remember them and pay tribute to their contributions.


Sunday, January 02, 2011

Should Old Guys be Blogging?

I think it is a legit question. I mean -- guys over 50 (that would be me) -- should we be blogging? The good bloggers all seem to be hip, cool and aware of the latest trends. They also have cool graphics and just good stuff on their blog pages.

What about us old guys? I don't really know how to put cool stuff on here. I'm not too good at adding links, photos and such.

But -- I'm going to try blogging for a while. See what happens. I guess I'll answer my own question -- at least for me.

Today, I preached on Ephesians 4. It is an awesome passage of scripture! So rich in meaning. The imagery is profound. Connecting "worthy" to the use of scales in the market was a brilliant stroke of Paul's pen (stylus or whatever he used). Recognizing our connectedness to one another is also a powerful word from this passage. And -- I love the challenge to progress toward maturity.

Yeah, Ephesians 4 is a great place to start the new year.