Posted by: Caleb | March 16, 2011

a time to fight?

Dave Glover, a talk radio host here in St. Louis, was talking about this YouTube video today on the radio. As the story goes, the skinny kid is a bully, and constantly picks on the chubbier kid.

I couldn’t help but think about what I would do if Noah or Eli were the bullied kid, and they did this to someone.

I’ve always thought that if my sons got in a fight, I wouldn’t punish them simply for fighting. They will know that there are times when fighting is appropriate; however, even more importantly, they will know that there are times when fighting is definitely not appropriate. If they beat a kid at school for the wrong reason, they’ll know that the school’s punishment won’t hold a candle to what they’ll get when they get home.

If they beat a kid because they’re defending themselves or someone else, they will not be punished at home.

For those of you with school-age kids, is it that simple? If it’s your kid, what do you do? Is there an appropriate time for violence?

Sound off in the comments!

[update] The YouTube video has been deleted since I originally posted this. The video was about 3 minutes long, and for about a minute, a little skinny kid is walking around a larger kid. He’s pushing him, and after a minute, he punches the bigger kid in the face, and a few times in the gut. You can see the bigger kid is embarrassed, and he starts getting upset, and finally, he picks up the bully and slams him to the ground. It was pretty violent, and the bully gets up and is obviously hurt.

Posted by: Caleb | March 13, 2011

isn’t god just an angry judge?

In our current series at church, we’re discussing “The Trouble with Christianity”, and the topic this week is “Isn’t God Just an Angry Judge?”

As luck would have it, we’re also discussing it in our Life Group on Tuesday night. I sent the following in an email to the entire Life Group, detailing some things we’re going to discuss. I thought I’d share, and see if I could get some good feedback from the interwebs:


1.) What is one of the most memorable punishments that you received as a child? (Feel free to have some fun with this one.)
2.) How can a loving God send people to Hell? Have you ever struggled with this question? If yes, have you ever satisfactorily resolved your struggles with it? How?

READ: Matthew 25:31-46 | Mark 9:42-48 | Luke 16:19-31 | 2 Peter 3:8-9


1.) Do you find the doctrine of divine judgement, or the idea of God’s “wrath”, offensive or troubling? If not, why do you think some people might?

2.) John talked about Hell being a state of self-centeredness, about how people could center their lives on something other than God, and that these things are often good things (being a good father or mother, for example). What are some other things that people could put in the place of God? Do you think people ever put something ahead of God on purpose? What is something on which you focus much of your energy that could be taking the place of God in your life, that might be giving you a sense of who you are?

3.) In response to the objection that a God of love cannot be a God of anger, Tim Keller says [in the book The Reason for God: Belief in an Age of Skepticism], “all loving persons are sometimes filled with wrath, not just despite of but because of their love. Anger isn’t the opposite of love, hate is, and the final form of hate is indifference.” [pg 73]. Do you agree? Why? Do you find this true in your personal experience, especially the bit about wrath coming about because of love? If you find that little or nothing in the world angers you, what does this say about you? Do you find it a good response to the idea that a God of love cannot possibly be a God of wrath?

The parting thought comes from C.S. Lewis:

“In the long run the answer to all those who object to the doctrine of hell, is itself a question: ‘What are you asking God to do?’ To wipe out their past sins and, at all costs, to give them a fresh start, smoothing every difficulty and offering every miraculous help? But he has done so, on Calvary.”

Again, please feel free to have a good, sane, courteous discussion in the comments.

Posted by: Caleb | March 9, 2011

i’ll race you!

Boomtown Run

2011 Boomtown 1/2 Marathon

I started running a little over a year ago. A blog post by Donald Miller in January of last year (which I’ll talk about in more detail in a future post) inspired me to start running; while I haven’t been the most consistent runner, I ran one race last October, the Lewis & Clark 1/2 Marathon. I ran a 2:03, which I was pretty proud of. And, to make it even better, I beat the crud out of my buddy, Andy. (To be perfectly fair to Andy, he was pretty hairy that day. Lots of wind resistance, I guess.)

This brings me to my reason for this post:

I’ve officially registered for my second half marathon race, the Boomtown Run, held in Joplin, MO, on June 11, 2011.

My goal this year is to run the full 13.1 miles in under 2 hours; this equates to just over 9 minutes per mile (9:09.618 minutes per mile, to be more exact). This would mean that I would have to shave off right around 14 seconds per mile over my average pace from October. This seems like a pretty big deal to me; 9 minutes per mile for 13.1 miles is going to be hard.

Luckily, I’ve got help. There are all kinds of awesome training schedules out there, and for this one, I’ve selected a 9-week training guide from Runner’s World.

And this looks intense. First off, I’m running four days a week. You might think that’s no big deal, but try running 7-8 miles in a day, and then turning around and running 8-10 miles the next day. It adds up, and can deal some pretty intense punishment to your body. (In comparison, I only ran 3 days a week in my training last year.)

Second, this schedule doesn’t just have me running for miles at a time; there are things like aerobic intervals and gentle pickups that promise to kick me in the pant seat.

Honestly, I’m looking forward to it. I think I’ll do well, and, hopefully, I’ll beat my goal of 2 hours this time around, so when I run my next one this fall, I can have a new goal to beat.

If you’re a runner, how do you train for races? Do you even race? Why or why not?

Posted by: Caleb | March 6, 2011

while i’m dreaming

As I’ve mentioned before, I’m in training to be a high school science teacher. I’m in my second semester at Lindenwood University here in St. Charles, Missouri. While learning to be a teacher, I’ve spent some time researching what kinds of things I’d like to have in my classroom.

I came across one that I’m probably never going to have, but that I’ll fight tooth and nail for just the same: the Apple Macbook Learning Lab. This thing is awesome.

Some might ask what the purpose is, or the reason why I would need this. My answer is pretty simple, if not a bit longwinded.

Apple Macbook Learning Labs

1. The operating system, Mac OS X, is robust, stable, and simple. It’s easy to learn, and easy to teach. It’s also much less susceptible to malware infections than your average OS.

2. The laptops themselves are physically robust; they can meet the students’ demands of them, and last the test of time. A related strength is that any computer running a Mac OS is built by Apple for the express purpose of running Apple’s OS. There aren’t any sub-par “bargain” machines running a great OS that are going to crash quickly simply because they’re cheap.

3. Macbooks can connect seamlessly with pretty much any network, wired or wireless, that I’ll ever meet in my teaching career.

4. Macbooks are incredibly slim, at only 1″ thick, and at 4.6 pounds, they pack a lot of punch into a small package.

5. Macbooks play nice with other major operating systems, especially Windows. Do you prefer Microsoft Word over Pages? Powerpoint over Keynote? Outlook over Mail? That’s fine, because there’s Microsoft Office for Mac.

6. Macbooks are easily secured; it’s simple to set up each Macbook so kids can’t do things they’re not supposed to do on a school computer, from protecting them from seeing things on the Internet they’re not supposed to see, and from infecting school computers with malware, spyware, and just general nastiness.

7. Technology is an integral part of American high schoolers’ lives, and has moved past the point of only being used in computer class or keyboarding class. Making solid, robust, usable machines available in every classroom students enter is the least we can do to help them succeed in school.

These are just some of the reasons I think this is an incredibly useful teaching tool.

I think it’s worth noting that I haven’t even discussed software yet.

There are software suites out there that can be utilized in every classroom in any school building.

iMovie for Mac

For instance, how cool would it be for your kids to put together a slide show of their summer vacation for art class? There’s an app for that: iMovie, an app that ships preinstalled on all new Macbooks. With iMovie, kids can use photos, videos, and music to create a movie that they themselves shoot. It’s even useful in business and drama classes.

GarageBand for Mac

GarageBand for Mac

Or what if your kid is really into music, and in their band class, they want to record and mix their own songs? There’s an app for that, too: GarageBand, which also ships on all new Macs. With GarageBand, kids can record themselves playing all the different parts of a song, and mix it together to create their own tracks.

Students can also use GarageBand to create Podcasts, write papers with Word and Pages, create PowerPoint and Keynote presentations, and research homework assignments safely, easily, and quickly. These kinds of projects are assigned in every classroom; why not provide a single tool that can accomplish every goal?

Macbooks are just plain awesome. And when it comes down to it, do you really need any other reason?

What do you think? Are Macbooks really necessary, are they indulgent, or is your typical computer lab “good enough”?

Posted by: Caleb | March 4, 2011

the shield that guards the realms of men

So, this is a post about something that I’m really excited for.

In fact, I’m not sure I’ve been this excited for the release of anything since…well, ever. But first, a little background.

I first started reading George R. R. Martin’s A Game of Thrones somewhere in the neighborhood of 2004. I read the first four chapters without putting it down (which, if you’ve ready any of the Song of Ice and Fire books, you know is nothing small) and I was instantly hooked. These books are probably the best fantasy fiction of my admittedly limited experience.

After reading A Game of Thrones in less than a week, I quickly moved on to A Clash of Kings, and then just as quickly to A Storm of Swords, which each equally enthralled me. I’m telling you, if you like fantasy at all, then consider giving this series a try. (See disclaimer at the end of this post, please!!!)

After this, I had to wait for A Feast for Crows, released in 2005, shortly after I got married. I read it in a matter of days, and then I had nothing left to read. According to the author, the next book would be released in spring/summer 2006. Then, it turned into “by the end of the year”. Then, it became “spring 2007”. And, to make a long story short, here’s what I’m excited about:

July 12, 2011.

A Dance With Dragons finally, after over 5 years of waiting, is coming to my friendly neighborhood bookstore.

Has anybody else read this series? How excited are you? Sound off in the comments!

**Disclaimer: This series is VERY GRAPHIC!! If you’re offended by graphic language, violence, and/or sexual content, then THESE BOOKS ARE NOT FOR YOU. It’s a “mature” story, and is therefore intended for a “mature” audience. Consider yourselves warned.**

Posted by: Caleb | February 27, 2011

like tears in rain

I’ve seen things you people wouldn’t believe. Attack ships on fire off the shoulder of Orion. I watched C-beams glitter in the dark near the Tannhauser gate. All those moments will be lost in time… like tears in rain… Time to die.

So, I have a blog. It’s something I’ve thought about doing for a while now, and I’ve finally decided it’s something I think would be useful. In this post, I’m going to write a little about myself, why I started this blog, and what the title means.

So, myself: my name is Caleb. I’m happily married to my wife of 5 years, Stephanie, and we have two little boys. Noah just turned three, and Elijah is almost 11 months old, and we live with our 9 year old black lab, Leila, in a suburb of St. Louis. I’m a chemist by trade, and a large part of why I’m starting this blog is a pretty serious career change I’m in the middle of: I am currently in training to be a high school science teacher (more on this later).

I’ve decided to start this blog in an attempt to connect with others who can help me be the best teacher I can be; while this won’t be exclusively a “teaching blog”, it’s something I hope to use it for. I also plan to write about what’s happening in my life. Stephanie and I are very involved in our church, and I plan on posts involving our involvement in Harvester Christian Church’s programs, from our Life Group experiences, to our experiences with the awesome Junior High ministry we’re involved in, to my reactions to corporate church services. It won’t be exclusively a “religious blog”, but you can expect posts dealing with our experiences with the church.

Now; what does the title mean? I’m sure you noticed the movie quote above. Go ahead, scroll up and read it again. It’s a quote from Blade Runner, one of the greatest science fiction films in the history of great science fiction films. It’s from a monologue given by the replicant Roy Batty when blade runner Rick Deckard finds him and ‘retires’ him. This quote has always resonated with me; I always felt bad for the replicant, because all the experiences he’s ever had are going to be forgotten.

I don’t want my life to end like that.

This is the single biggest reason I’m changing my career; I don’t feel like I’m helping anyone in my current career, and I don’t want my impact on the people around me to simply be overwhelmed by the chaos of the world around them. I’m not saying I want people to remember me; rather, I want my life to positively influence the lives of the people around me, and I don’t feel that my current career fulfills that goal.

I want to make a difference. I don’t want to be lost…well, like tears in rain.

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