Recently I shared in a sermon that I’ve developed an unusual habit related to the search for satisfaction and contentment. When I begin to use a new bottle of shampoo in the shower, I look at the bottle and think “What will my life be like when this bottle is empty?” This quirky practice was particularly pertinent to me years ago when I was deeply dissatisfied with my current employment. I was looking for a way out, and the musings about the future helped me to cope, I suppose. Read the rest of this entry »
To see a display of color that can rival the leaves on a sunny autumn day, visit a gathering of hang glider pilots as they unfurl their wings to prepare them for a day of flying. Some sail colors are subdued, but most are bright and symmetrical, and it’s typically rare to see identical patterns from one kite to the next. Other variations exist in the sizes and types of gliders. Beginner wings typically have a lower “aspect ratio” with noticeably wider square footage nose to tail. Higher performance kites are thinner, and the structure of the wing may be more rigid, imitating the wing design found on fixed wing airplanes. Read the rest of this entry »
We have three boys who are now adults. Our oldest, Ryan, is interested in the more traditional sports, especially basketball and golf. Ryan has the most naturally gorgeous basketball shooting form of anyone I know, and the same is true of his golf swing. The guy just had it from the womb! Jeff, my second son, and his brother Phil have had an interest in non-traditional sports, particularly extreme BMX biking. Donna and I have supported all 3 boys in their interests and activities, usually timing our summer vacation plans around the sports camps they wanted to attend. Read the rest of this entry »
We all do it. We all recreate. If you want to start a lively discussion among friends or even strangers, just ask them what they like to do to have fun. Those of us who seek to live an integrated life in which our faith in God is actively woven through every fabric of our existence had better develop a theology that includes recreation as a vital element. Otherwise we could be accused of being inconsistent in our systems of belief.
I have devoted much time in reflection and study of this topic. Perhaps this is because I enjoy playing so much that I hope to justify the time I spend in the pursuit of recreational happiness. But I honestly believe that God is pleased when our frolic bolsters our faith and when the end result of an afternoon of play causes us to well up in gratitude to the Lord of creation who made it all possible. So allow me to take a crack at developing a theology of recreation that may settle into your soul, giving you reason to rejoice in the God of rest and refreshment. Read the rest of this entry »
Eagles are majestic birds who rule the skies above mountains and ridges, but few birds compare in their thermal soaring abilities like the turkey vulture. These relatively large birds live all over the North American continent and are usually associated by most people as devourers of carrion – dead animals (as in road kill). Vultures scavenge for food in open fields, along shorelines, and in rocky terrain, but they most often are seen circling in the skies as they search for their next meal. The scientific name for turkey vulture, Cathartes aura, means “cleansing breeze.” They are not deemed the most beautiful of birds, perched in a creepy, hunched over position when not in flight. Read the rest of this entry »
The most memorable flight I’ve had so far took place at the Richmond Dale ridge on a Saturday afternoon in mid-October 2007. The flight lasted 3 1/2 hours. Two other Ohio Flyer pilots enjoyed the flying on that day which always adds a extra level of enjoyment as together we explore the atmosphere around the ridge. Only a few times did I need to scratch (fly close to the trees or near the top of the ridge) to stay up. Most of the time I was able to experiment with finding the best part of the lift band while trying to gain as much altitude as possible. I was only able to achieve a maximum altitude of 350 feet above the launch, but my variometer logbook recorded a cumulative altitude gain during the flight of 10,700 feet. Read the rest of this entry »
Team Challenge is a hang gliding competition event sponsored and hosted by the Tennessee Tree Toppers hang gliding club based in Dunlap, Tennessee. Their premier launch sight at Henson’s Gap is the location of the week long meet that is promoted as an event where cross-country flying novices are teamed up with more experienced pilots. Scoring is based on a sliding scale where the distances accomplished by team members each day are multiplied by a factor determined by each pilot’s relative skill level and glider performance level. Tom, a member of the Ohio Flyers club, had lobbied for our involvement in the meet each year, but to my knowledge no team made up of just Ohio Flyers members had ever competed. Dad’s challenge to me to “go for it” prompted my registration for the event in the fall of 2008. Some other Ohio Flyers registered as well. Read the rest of this entry »