San Miguel Island

adventure, nature, personal, picture 1 Comment »

The San Miguel Island ’07 trip pictures are now in the gallery.

Elephant Seals

adventure, nature, picture 1 Comment »

In December Elephant seals, male and female, come down from Alaska to the beaches of SoCal islands to breed. The males leave pretty soon after their business is done (there isn’t a March of the Seals, to be sure) leaving the ladies to raise the babies. The females don’t eat during breeding or raising. When the pups are weaned, the females go swimming for a couple of months to eat. Then they come back to the islands and shed their skin. When this is done they swim back up to the Alaska, never getting out of the water until it’s time to breed again.

During the three weeks their skin is flaking off, the elephant seal females don’t eat. They just sit on the beach, lounging around.

away and back again

adventure, personal, picture No Comments »

Been a long while since I posted. No reason why. Though part of it is my thinking about making some big changes on dualravens in general and I’ve been otherwise focused on that.

Then again, for the last weekend at least, I didn’t even have a computer or any contact with the world, at least the civilized world. Me and the natural world had a grand time.

Went to San Miguel Island over the holiday weekend.

San Miguel Island
San Miguel Island
elephant seals on San Miguel Island

More pics later.

Springtime in Southern California

picture Comments Off on Springtime in Southern California

Pics from today –

view from my desk
Spring in Southern California
Spring in Southern California
Spring in Southern California

St. Paddys Day

picture 2 Comments »

Yesterday I spent the day at a Celtic Spirituality Retreat. It was a fine day of Celtic prayers, and whatnot, at a retreat center in what may be one of the more particularly nice sections of the LA area, Rancho Palos Verdes.

The setting was really beautiful. The day was really renewing and peaceful.

Though, the presence of this sign suggests it may not have been the most appropriate place for a St. Patrick’s day gathering.

Beware of Snakes

Though as I didn’t see one, maybe we drove them off.

The pic, by the by, was taken by my new cell phone, in case you are wondering.

workspace

personal, picture 2 Comments »

This past week I had a lot of work to do, and it kept me pretty busy. Fortunately, the weather turned nice and I was able to do a good bit of work in my office.

My office

emerging church, nature, picture, politics, writing Comments Off on

Merry Christmas!

7 new wonders

nature, picture 2 Comments »

There are seven wonders of the ancient world. 1. Pyramids of Egypt 2. Pharos of Alexandria | 3. Hanging Gardens of Babylon 4.The Temple of Artemis 5. Statue of Zeus 6. Mausoleum at Halicarnassus 7.The Colossus of Rhodes

The problem is only one of these is presently still gracing us with its wonder. The rest were demoted to the less than wonderful category of nonexistence.

Well, there are some folks who would like to make a new list of seven. Seven Still Existing Wonders of the World, or some such title. The nice thing is that instead of a secret cabal of elite wondermakers, they are inviting the people of the world to select which objects of human construction are the most wonder filled.

Apparently, however, there is still a bureaucracy of wonder as we have been given a narrowed list of 21 sites to wonder choose.

I just voted.

You have just become part of history in the making of the New7Wonders of the World

You have voted for these candidates

Christ Redeemer

Great Wall

Hagia Sophia

Kiyomizu Temple

Pyramids of Giza

Statue of Liberty

Stonehenge

My criteria was simple. Which wonders did I find particularly interesting and filled me with a curious wonder. This might mean I was struck by the meaning, the history, or the architectural genius, or any mix of the three. Complexity or size wasn’t a factor. For instance I think the Taj Mahal is much more grand and complex than the Christ Redeemer statue above Rio. Only I think an absurdly rich guy building a fancy tomb for his wife much less wonder compelling than a Jesus with open arms above a rather morally complex city. The former was a lot of money being thrown out. The latter is a deliciously pyschological and cultural puzzle, which has many varied meanings and symbolism wrapped up in an otherwise simple statue.

I’ve wondered about that statue. So, it’s one of my wonders. I’ve wondered about the rest as well, and find them, in different ways, wonderful.

Have a go at voting for your own choice of world wonders.

On ignoring the huge gray animal with the long inquisitive nose that’s taking up a lot a lot of space around my desk

nature, picture Comments Off on On ignoring the huge gray animal with the long inquisitive nose that’s taking up a lot a lot of space around my desk

You may have happened to notice there’s a bit of activity going on in the wider world, namely in the region whose initials sound like the award given to well appreciated television shows.

You may also have noticed I haven’t mentioned it, something that relegates me for the most part to contemporary commentary irrelevance. That’s not altogether bad, except for the fact the name of this blog is Present Matters, because we’re people of the future, and people of the past, but also living in the present and that matters. At least that’s about how a tagline from an earlier version of this page put it.

So, it’s a little silly to say the Present matters but not discuss what seems to matter in this present of ours. That’s right. This one. No, this one. Ah, this one. I could keep going I guess only that’s the tricky thing about the present, it’s only here for like a second and then it moves on.

But that ephemeral reality isn’t why I haven’t been talking about it. It’s something else.

This world is a big place, which seems particularly small what with television, and the internet, and email, and spam, and the United Nations, and supersonic travel, and cell phones, and satellite radio, and the World Cup, and Hollywood, and such forth. The only problem is the human soul and psyche isn’t any bigger. It has the same capacity only now there’s so much more input. Unlike Johnny 5 the reality is a human can only absorb so much input (five points and 10% off all merchandise in the Dualravens.com supermart for those who get that aged reference).

We get more input than our capacity and things get left out, or dismissed, or washed over, or otherwise unattended. We feel emotions and worry about that which we have no capacity to control, and that which, for the most part, we have no connection with besides our addicted need to be utterly informed.

There are a lot of real and substantive problems in this world, too many for one soul, too much for even those who have no other choice but to be absorbed by particular problems. Life is an all you can eat problem buffet. Our plates are only so large but we can in fact fill them up with a hearty selection, a little of this, some of that.

I’m paying attention only I find that when I get to the point of paying so much attention that I feel a need to leave my judgment on the matter on this page I am driving out some other important consideration which is a lot more relevant to my actual life. That I’m already feeling the increased web hopping tendencies is the case, and I don’t need to encourage it by feeding into my tendency to get quite interested in things which seem incredibly important but for the fact they don’t actually affect my life.

Yes, an argument can be made it all does in some abstract way. Of course, as I do believe everything is in fact related to everything else in a certain way this would mean I need to worry about significantly more than I even know about.

But, I need to not worry about those things at the expense of the things I can and should worry about in my present existence, things which I can get up right now and do something about. I can think about Lebanon, or I can wonder why in the last few days I’ve been both listless and irritable, a reality which in no way measures to the severity of the Middle East, except for the fact that I only have the ability to change my own soul. If each person took that to heart and worked on their own soul instead of blaming others for the state of their discontent then we might in fact have peace in this world.

So, I can seek peace, not in the Middle East where I would guess not a single person cares a whit about my opinion, but in my own life, where those I interact with feel my peace or lack of peace and that resonates into them, which resonates into those who they interact with.

Indeed, getting so caught up in politics or war or all the stupid things stupid people do stupidly at every moment can rob me of that which I would otherwise hold onto, giving me false emotions that have little to do with anything in my life but are instead a sort of emotional pornography that sparks my needing constant information titillation.

With this I begin to always dwell where I don’t matter and completely lose touch with where I do matter. I gain opinions and strategies for events I do not influence while ignoring the sphere I do influence. No, my problems are not as bad as those in the wider world. But the wider world is not the problem I am called to contend with.

I have no soul to control other than my own. Nothing has control over my soul except for me. And so when I wander away from it, I lose precious time. I lose precious moments of personal progress, which may or may not someday put me into a position where I would have wisdom in things which do practically matter to the wider world.

I can only do what I can do, and I should invest my worries and emotions and thoughts and judgments in those areas I am called to invest into.

So, that’s why I haven’t been bringing it up, and likely won’t bring up the various politics or events or opinions that relate. In this world of overwhelming input and information it becomes incredibly difficult to stay aware of the limits of my emotions and concerns, keeping them to that which matters, rather than that which is merely a fact of our global present.

As far as what I think on the whole matter, well… I think Wyatt Earp was in fact a good guy, despite his personal foibles.

why there is hunger

nature, picture Comments Off on why there is hunger

There are a lot of reasons there is hunger in the world. Some folks like to bring up the cost of terrorism or what’s going on in Iraq, weaping over their corn flakes about how much such money could help those who starve. That’s the rub for me. I’m all for feeding people. But it’s not a matter of there being too little resources, or not enough money.

It’s stuff like this. When leaders of countries are grossly corrupt their people starve. Send more money their way and their people still starve while my money goes into the bank account of a billionaire.

This doesn’t mean we cut off the flow. I’d just like to see more balanced responses to the issues. If the conversation doesn’t include how to end the vast political corruption then it’s without much worth besides self-congratulatory hand-wringing.

America is succesful not because we are an inherently better people, but because when there are Cunninghams or Jeffersons in our midst we throw the book at them, then put them in the stocks, and we make their downfall a serious insult to their entire political party.

Spain had a culture of corruption in its settlements. England did not. That’s why immigration to this day runs Northerly, not southernly. People of any sort are basically the same. It’s the context that makes some countries great and others perpetually poor.

Corruption doesn’t have to be ingrained in the culture and downtrodden countries can choose to rise to the top if they choose, as a society to fight their own crippling history.

The Clippers made it to the Western Conference semifinals this year.

A sign there is hope for anyone.