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The Khans

Don’t feel like posting about much else. I don’t think anyone I’ve ever known has been murdered. How do you process that? It seems like it was on a television show — it doesn’t seem real. But it is. I keep imagining what their last moments must have been like.

Can’t believe they’re gone. The trip to visit them (doesn’t seem like it was seven years ago) and spend time in Pakistan was one of the best experiences of my life. They were so committed to what they were doing. And it was all for the Gospel of Christ, that beautiful story that offers salvation to all who believe. That was their motivation. And they died for it. They died because they believed so thoroughly that the Gospel is the power of God to salvation that they were compelled to let that truth spill over from their lives to the nation of Pakistan and beyond.

The blood of the martyrs is the seed of the church. That saying means so much more now. It’s personal. My friends were killed. They were the martyrs. Their family will bear the pain.

We have to believe that this was never out of God’s control, that even inexplicable things have a purpose, that we need to trust him. He will get glory for himself, even through the darkness.

I’m thankful for the Khans and their life of passionate service to their God. I’m thankful for their integrity and that there’s no question of that for those who knew them. I’m thankful for their lives, for their example, for their hope.

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The Silence of the Earth

Habakkuk 2:18-20:

18 “What profit is an idol
   when its maker has shaped it,
   a metal image, a teacher of lies?
For its maker trusts in his own creation
   when he makes speechless idols!
19 Woe to him who says to a wooden thing, Awake;
   to a silent stone, Arise!
Can this teach? Behold, it is overlaid with gold and silver,
   and there is no breath at all in it.
20 But the LORD is in his holy temple;
    let all the earth keep silence before him.”

This is the God we serve — not one we have made with our own hands, but one who is holy beyond our imagining. Look at the contrast between v.18-19 and v.20. Trusting in our own creations will take us nowhere — there is no breath in them. Listening to our own noisy words will do nothing for us. How much better to trust a God who is worthy of the silence of all the Earth.

Blonde Joke

Ok, I have to post this. I’ve been debating because I don’t want to ridicule someone. But she knew going into the pageant that this was part of it. You know how people always make fun of beauty pageant contestants and those ridiculous questions-and-answers they do? This is why:

Saw her on the Today show this morning and she said she was overwhelmed and froze in the spotlight. Yep, she did.

4D Baby

So here’s an early picture of the new little Hoak baby. This is at about 18 weeks. They call it a 4D picture — amazing what technology can do.

4d-baby.jpg

Psalm 139:13 For you formed my inward parts;
   you knitted me together in my mother’s womb.

Liberals Don’t Want to Be Happy

Garrison Keillor writes a weekly syndicated column that our esteemed local paper, the Messenger-Inquirer (where I used to work), carries. Keillor is a talented, funny writer. Loads of people love listening to A Prairie Home Companion every week, and his daily Writer’s Almanac is usually full of interesting info. He’s also quite a liberal who relentlessly pounds us with his disdain for the President and most people or things associated with him.

His latest column, which ran last Friday, discussed Karl Rove’s resignation from the White House. It started out  funnily enough, talking about his aversion to canoe trips, camping and the great outdoors:

“But for the grace of God, I could be sitting on the ground, filthy, embittered, a homeless person, eating freeze-dried fruit and listening to the Master Woodsman tell what a great experience you’re having and meanwhile the woods are not lovely, just dark and deep, and a cloud of mosquitoes has come out to avenge the white man’s colonizing of North America.”

Although it’s funny and we all know people like that (some of you are probably just like that :), the first clue something is wrong is that he hates camping . . . Then he goes on to say this about Karl Rove:

“… what I find eerie about the man is his inexhaustible self-confidence and optimism.”

Read that again. He finds it strange to be confident in yourself and optimistic about the country. Apparently, he thinks we should all be moping around, unsure of what we’re doing and depressed about it.

That’s liberalism for you — you shouldn’t be happy and optimistic, but gloomy and depressed all the time. No thanks.

Later, Keillor mentions how much of the immigration bill’s failure was because of Rove, and because the bill didn’t pass, Homeland Security is going to crack down on illegal immigrants who are “forced to sneak across the border … so we can get them cheap.” Yep — someone is pointing a gun to their heads and making these illegals come here. We obviously should just let them stay.

Offbeat News

This is overdue from last week, but some of these are too good not to post:

–Wonder if he had to sleep on the couch the next night?: Deputy Charged With DUI After Husband Pulls Her Over Twice

–There are lots of reasons not to be Muslim, but here’s one advantage for ladies — the headscarf can hide your earphones (at least until you get caught).

–Daniel W. might want to be careful with his lawnmower gadgets. This could happen.

Another name we won’t be using for the baby. It’s still available for all you other expectant parents: “@”

–Leave it to the Hoosiers: Indiana Neighbors Shot Each Other to Death Over Dispute

–Of course, I can’t say much: Kentucky Man Wraps Head in Duct Tape as Disguise for Attempted Robbery

–And finally, how can you not notice this? (C’mon, click on it. You know you want to.)

Harrod and Funck

hf2

This post is primarily for three people: Aaron and Erin H. and Stef M., although Brooke M. and Dani S. will also appreciate it. The rest of you will also thank me once you discover these two fine gentlemen.

If you like acoustic/folk/singer-songwriter type music, you need to hear Jason Harrod and Brian Funck (Harrod is on the right, Funck on the left). They’re no longer singing together, but they made some beautiful music several years ago. We (A and E, Stef, some others) got to go to the release party for their second CD in Boston, where they were based, and it was good stuff — still have a picture of that somewhere.

They both write the songs (their lyrics actually mean something), they take turns singing lead and their harmonies are incredible. Not sure if they’re Christians, but I wouldn’t be surprised either way. They’ve released three cds: Dreams of the Colorblind, Harrod and Funck, and Live, and we’ve always wanted more.

I randomly Googled them the other day and discovered this site, which talks about who they are, has a discography, lyrics, a fan forum, etc. Some of the comments led me to this site, where I hit the motherload: four recorded Harrod and Funck concerts (one at Taylor College, the other three at Wheaton College, where they both went). It takes a while, but you can download all four concerts (scroll down to the bottom).

There are lots of the familiar songs, but it’s cool to hear them in a different setting. And, there are lots of songs that aren’t on the cd’s — I haven’t listened to them all yet, but from what I’ve heard so far, it’s more Harrod and Funck goodness. The sound quality isn’t spectacular, but you can hear them fairly well.

All four shows add up to quite a few songs — they’re all on my iPod now, but I’ll probably listen through them once and then get rid of the duplicates

Do yourself a favor and check out Harrod and Funck. Owensboro people, you’re welcome to borrow one of my cd’s. If you want to buy the cd’s, go to Wheaton College’s online bookstore and all three cd’s are there. I’d start with Dreams of the Colorblind. You won’t be disappointed.

On the Homefront

Three things:

–Made chocolate chip cookies last night. Don’t think I’ve ever done that before. They were good, too. Ask Kelsey.

–You get a lot of pee on your hands when you’re potty training a kid. (Hopefully I washed them before I made the cookies . . .). Also, Lightning McQueen underwear are exciting and talking toilets should be banned. Forever. Would my son hate me forever if I just took the batteries out?

–Felt the baby kick last night. Just once, but very cool.

Font Design — Exciting, Right?

road-signs.jpgSo this is the kind of story that I think is fascinating. You, however, may think I’m a bit of a dork because I think it’s cool, and you’d probably be right. Ah well. At least you’re reading my site, right?

In this week’s New York Times Magazine, an article titled The Road to Clarity by Joshua Yaffa details something we all see every day, but have probably never given a second thought to: the fonts on road signs, especially on federal highways. You know — those big green signs with white lettering that tell you what exit is coming up.

There wasn’t any real plan when they first designed them — they just kind of went with what worked. Over time, they realized the font — called Highway Gothic — was kind of clunky, odd and hard to see at night, especially for older drivers.

So a couple of men designed a new font, called Clearview. It’s brighter, cleaner and easier to read. Check out the difference in this photo. You might not see much at first, but the longer you look at it, the more you’ll see. And if you read the article, you’ll find out even more.

On the left is Highway Gothic, the old font. On the right is Clearview, the new font. (Photo courtesy of Don Meeker, via the New York Times.)

road-signs.jpg 

It’s harder than you would think to actually design a completely new font that is much more effective in the same amount of space. The article describes how and why the whole thing happened. There’s even a testing center in Pennsylvania where they try out different versions of signs. The new font will be phased in gradually, as old signs are replaced.

This is one of those areas of life that you never think about, but affects you more than you know. Design is a critical component of just about everything you see. People spend their whole careers on things like these. Even details like this don’t escape God’s notice — they’re part of the world that he has created, and he’s given people incredible talents to be able to work on something like font design. At first glance, it seems to be insignificant, but it’s really quite influential.

Pop quiz for today: What’s the difference in serif fonts and san serif fonts? And why is it important? First correct answer wins the grand prize: the everlasting admiration of the thousands of readers who frequent this little corner of the Internet. Get ready — your 15 minutes of fame are about to begin.

Offbeat News

Offbeat news of the week:

–Ever wonder how they measure the distance for a marathon, especially for Olympic trials? Yeah, me neither, but it’s pretty interesting once you think about it. A New York Times article — Olympian Task: Measuring 26.2 Miles, to the Inch — explains how they do it. There are people who actually measure things for a living. For the marathon, they calibrate a measuring device on the front wheel of their bikes, then ride their bikes carefully along the route. They do it in the middle of the night too — it’s dark, but there’s less chance of getting squashed by a truck.

–Who judges the judges? “A scheduling conflict between two judges needing to use the same Searcy County courtroom Wednesday morning started an argument that escalated to threats of arrest, witnesses said.” Read about it here.

–We will not be naming our yet-to-be-born child this, no matter if it’s a boy or a girl.

–Finally, this convenience store clerk is the man. A young man comes in with a shotgun to rob the store. He gets distracted while taking the money, so he lays the gun on the counter. The clerk sees his chance and takes the gun away from him. The robber leaves, then comes back and jumps the counter to try to get his gun back. He doesn’t succeed and is eventually arrested. The video’s pretty good — keep watching, because they show it from several different angles (a short ad will play before the story begins).