Saturday, June 25, 2011

The iPAD has made me a smarter person

I recently went out and bought an iPAD. Yes, I decided to jump in and experience an Apple product. Through the years, I've sat on the sidelines and watched people rave about the Mac, iPhone, iPod, and iTunes. Not so now!

Let me tell you, I've been amazed what you can do with tis thing! First, the iPAD is the coolest looking gadget you've ever seen. A small square of glossy glass and metal. What's more, it's handy and you can easily carry it around on travel to the gym, hotel Starbucks or Jamba Juice. Much nicer than the laptop. I'm still in the learning phase with the iPAD but really appreciate how savvy this item is. Christian readers will find scores of lectures on Christian theology and spirituality which one can download and watch for freet. For example, there are also many important lectures by New Testament scholars N.T. Wright, and others. There are also many other free applications which provides access to books and literature.

I'm starting the hunt for some Celtic "stuff" and will keep you posted. In the meantime, I am enjoying my slow conversion to Macintosh.

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Jerry Coffee and the practice of awareness

Almost two weeks ago, I had the opportunity to hear CPT Jerry Coffee speak at a dinner event I was attending. CPT Coffee is a well-known and respected veteran who spent over seven years as a prisoner of war in the Hanoi Hilton, largely restricted to a 3x6 foot room. He is a marvelous speaker and person, with a remarkable story.  Let me share some of the key features of his talk.

After being shot down in Vietnam, he was captured, forced to walk for twelve days, and then taken to the famous Hanoi Hilton prison. I visited the Hanoi Hilton back in 1997 and I can tell you that its a heavy, dank place, made of thick concrete. Hard to imagine what it would be like to stay there for seven, long years. It's a museum now, with wax figures lying on wooden racks and terrible lighting. 

CPT Coffee noted that a turning point came for him when he realized that he was going to be a POW for a while. He mistakenly thought he would be released early on, but after several years he realized this was not going to happen. A turning point came when he moved from a perspective of "Why me?" to "What can I learn from being here?". He found a purpose in these events and tried to use them to make his life more productive. As his perspective changed, Coffee noted how each moment and day had valuable lessons to teach. He remarked there were many nights he went to bed feeling he had not done everything he wanted to do.

Another high point of Coffee's speech centered around how the prisoners developed an alphabetic code and began communicating to each others by tapping on walls. Many nights, the most comforting words a prisoner received by "GB" or "God Bless".

I found a clip on Youtube of CPT Coffee story and which is linked here.  I hope you enjoy it.