Enclave or assimilate


I noticed it on Saturday. The men of the local Islamic center were digging holes to put posts in front of the drive for their parking lot. Today I ran by and saw that they are putting bricks down between the poles, leaving just an open space between the two central ones for, I assume, a gate to let vehicles in and out.

The place where the Islamic center now is was a vacant building when my family moved to the community in 2003. That corner had two buildings, an old retail building, and some sort of abandoned office/motel (I was never quite sure). It took until the beginning of 2010 before that began to change. The retail building became the Corner Store, which has managed to thrive over the past seven years.

A bit later the office building was taken over by a group that we gradually learned was an Islamic Center of people who had immigrated from Bosnia. Over the years they slowly made very nice improvements to the lot, always keeping a low profile and not drawing attention to themselves. It took a long time for a sign to go up so we were sure exactly what the group was that had so improved the corner.

But more recently they have started creating a sense of enclave. It started with the slatted wooden fence around the back and sides, that prevented the sort of cutting across the corner lot that people were prone to do. And now they are sealing off the last side of the lot, this time with iron posts and cement blocks. I only saw two levels of blocks when I was going by today, and only on one side of what I took for the gate, but the other side was obviously prepped for the same treatment.

This sort of construction has two possible intentions, not always meant simultaneously: to keep people in, or to keep people out.

Now, practically, they wouldn’t be keeping people in — their people come and go all the time — but creating a place where they stay separate from other people, and don’t assimilate into the national culture, but remain distinct and foreign for generations, that is something I know this group isn’t intending to do. They have people from their leadership attending the local community association meetings, and becoming more active than a lot of the long-time residents.

So my sorrow is that I see this as a sense of keeping people out. They have fear of being attacked themselves, for their difference and religion, and are ensuring their property and people are kept safe.

With the recent event in London, among other events,  they have reason to be concerned that some people will see them, unfortunately, as an appropriate target, and are thus continuing their sense of enclave.

I, for one, don’t want them to gain that sense. They need to know they are welcome in the community, and that we want them to be a part of our greater American culture and community. Unlike some immigrants in some places, they have not moved in and insisted we change our ways to meet their religious laws. To anyone who does that I can only say “nay”. But to those who come to dwell in peace, we should give them peace.

I don’t object to limiting immigrants from countries where terrorism is rife, and putting extra security screenings before letting people in. That is only right and good. But once they are here, they should be treated as free and welcomed, and in return they should show themselves free and open to accommodating and acculturating into the body politic, while adding the strength of their uniqueness to that which is America.

Which is why I hope, and pray, that the whispers of intolerance don’t teach these good neighbors the wrong lessons about America, but that they might continue to open to us, and that we will stay open to them.

#178: The Bible Stands


(Part of a series singing through the hymnbook I grew up with: Great Hymns of the Faith)


The Bible stands like a rock undaunted

‘Mid the raging storms of time;

Its pages burn with the truth eternal,

And they glow with a light sublime.


The Bible stands tho the hills may tumble,

It will firmly stand when the earth shall crumble;

I will plant my feet on its firm foundation,

For the Bible stands.


The Bible stands like a mountain tow’ring

Far above the works of men;

Its truth by none ever was refuted,

And destroy it they never can.



The Bible stands, at it will forever

When the world has passed away;

Bi inspiration it has been given —

All its precepts I will obey.



The Bible stands ev’ry test we give it

For its Author is divine;

By grace alone I expect to live it

And to prove it and make it mine.



The Veneer of Science


I went into the GNC store to purchase a new supply of ON Gold Standard 100% Whey protein shake powder. The store was full of boxes on the floor being opened and unloaded, with one employee there working and doing everything to get them organized.

While he helped me with my choice of flavors. He mentioned that they were “moving back in again”, and he got to unpack all the boxes and put everything up, just the way it was supposed to. It was better for his OCD to do that than when trying to put regular, disorganized shelves back in order.

I realized that this was something our society does. We take ordinary things, and we talk about them “scientifically”. We take ordinary life events and describe them in scientific terms, as if we have control and understand things better in the “real world” by having scientific terminology to describe it. We are a culture where science is truth.

But as I have discussed in other posts, science may be knowledge,  but it isn’t truth, and there are many types of science, many types of knowledge. Our culture uses the illusion of science as truth to pretend we have the answers or an understanding of situations.

So this veneer of pseudo-scientific assurance covers all our conversations, our assurance of knowledge hiding the discovery of real truth.

Fitness Update: Weekly Log


This week I am going to do some day-to-day entries showing how I worked out after my 10K race:

Monday — Barely made my 10,000 steps today. Was intending to get up and go to the pool for the first time in months, but the cold and wind deterred me, so instead I biked into work and did a cardio/flexibility/weight routine for 20 minutes. Biked home from work for 12 miles total daily cycling. Daily steps just over 10K.

Tuesday — Got up early and ran a 5K in the 26-degree weather. Just one degree colder than Saturday’s race, but quite a bit darker. Got in overk 6K steps. Then biked into work for the same cardio/flexibility/weight routine as Monday. Biked home from work for 12 miles total daily cycling. Daily steps just under 17K.

Wednesday — Felt worn this morning, so didn’t do anything special. Took the day off. Only the 12 miles of cycling to and from work. Managed to get in my 10,000 steps by the end of the day.

Thursday — Felt good getting up for this morning’s run. Didn’t have motivation issues getting started.  Of course, I did start three times.  Went out the door and realized I’d put on the wrong shoes. Came back and put on the running shoes. Went back out the door and realized I’d forgotten the sweat band. Came back in for it.  Went out and did the run. Weather 34 degrees instead of the 26 from Tuesday. Could tell the difference right away. Not merely that it was warmer, but trending so. I could feel the warming pattern of a weather system blowing into the area, even without feeling any wind. Got in another 6K steps before the bike trip to work, but no workout when I got to work.biking home for 12 mile daily cycling. Just over 18K steps.

Friday — Today was another resting day. I got up a bit early and took a slightly longer bike ride into work. By the time I got off work it was almost 70 degrees, and I took a slightly longer leisurely  route home.  It was very pleasant, except for the wind that seem to be ever-present on the parts of the route north of the river.  Ended up with almost 20 miles instead of 12 for the day. Just under 11K steps.

Saturday — The rest on Friday was  because of the planned long run of 8 miles.  I went down to the river dike where much of the route will be to practice on the gravel part of the route there.  I haven’t run on anything but payment, so need some practice on all the running surfaces I will face. The gravel run wasn’t bad, but I felt a rest to my ankles when I transferred to the asphalt section of the trail. So it is good to practice on the changing surfaces. I also noted the signs on the trail heads indicated that the trail was longer than MapMyWalk gave me (MapMyWalk had the entire trail on its map, but refused to follow about half of the trail, so I had to manually do it, which probably caused the problem). I figured out when I got back that it was actually 8.4 miles. My pace was down to 6.3 mph, but I felt even slower than that, so it was good. I’ll put it down to gravel adopting. But I felt I could go on after I got done. The run gave me 16K steps itself, and the 20 mile bike trip there and back added another 4K apparently. Over 23K steps for the day

Sunday — Another day of rest. In fact, all the effort from Saturday seemed to make the evening an early one, with sleeping from 9 p.m. to almost 9 a.m. After church and a nap, I took a “leisurely” bike ride, doing a loop around area trails. With the 80s weather I took a leisure course, stopped around the trails on a bench now and then to rest and watch the walkers and bikers going by. On my last stop I actually stretched out by a fountain and think I took an unintended nap, before awaking and returning home. Just over 11K steps.





#177: Thy Word Have I Hid in My Heart


(Part of a series singing through the hymnbook I grew up with: Great Hymns of the Faith)


Thy Word is a lamp to my fee,

A light to my path alway,

To guide and to save me from sin

And show me the heav’nly way.


Thy word have I hid in my heart, (in my heart,) 

That I might not sin against Thee; (against Thee;)

That I might not sin, that I  might not sin,

Thy Word have I hid in my heart.


Forever, O Lord, is Thy Word

Established and fixed on high;

Thy faithfulness unto all men

Abideth forever nigh.



At morning, at noon, and at night

I ever will give Thee praise;

For Thou art my portion, O Lord,

And shall be thru all my days!



Thru Him whom Thy Word hath foretold;

The Savior and Morning Star,

Salvation and peace have been brought

To those who have strayed afar.


Standing Desk: I am Autonomous


Today’s post is a quick, mostly pictorial one.  It features one of my most recent purchases: An adjustable height desk.

My company has a different brand of adjustable desks at work, and I probably spend about half my time standing and half sitting during a regular work day. Since I have the option to work from home half the time, I usually do, and so I actually sit more when working from home than at work. When one of my coworkers mentioned buying an adjustable desk for when he worked from home, I had to look into it. Took me several months, but I finally go the link from him, and looked into it, and finally bought the desk you will see in this post.

Unlike the desks at work, which adjust with a manual switch, the desk by Autonomous has a motor that moves it up and down. Per the pictures you will see of the control, its lowest height is 27.9 inches, and its highest is 46.8 inches. I currently have got it set for 42.1 inches as my standard standing working height.

I bought the ergonomic style desk, with a curve on the center of the side where I sit. I think it makes it easier for me to get close to my work, as well as to get in and out of the desk with the arrangement of the room where it sits.

The first picture below shows the desk set up in its spot, adjusted for the lowest height setting. That seems to by my preference for seated height.


The desk at its lowest height

To adjust the desk, you can press the up or down arrow on the control, or press one of the 4 preset buttons. You get to program the presets to heights of your choice. I have set 1 for lowest, 4 for highest, and 3 for my preferred standing height. If I use 2, it will be for some height in the middle that I have a reason to want.


Enter a caption

The control mechanism. Note it is currently at the lowest height. The down and up arrows allow for variable adjustment. The preset numbers allow instant movement to a specific height. The “M” button allows you to set the presets.


Here the desk is enroute to a new height.


The desk is now at my regular standing height.


The desk is at its highest setting.

I am enjoying the desk so far, but haven’t had it long enough to see how much I will enjoy it on a permament basis.  Based on my experience at the office, I expect a positive experience. That said, I may write something in the futuer with additional observations.


Desk at preferred standing height.


Desk at top height.