Friday, April 24, 2020

A Walk and a Chat

What a beautiful Minnesota day today! I'm out on the deck for the first time this year, enjoying the sounds of Mandolin Orange with Charlie at my side. And there's little to no wind for a change!

We received our stimulus payment of $2400 into our bank account last week. What's happening with the coronavirus pandemic is such a huge hit to our economy. If you trust the science behind this pandemic, this is only the beginning stages of what lies ahead. I'd have rather seen the stimulus money directed at those who were hurt by the downturn in the economy rather than to people who suffered no loss in income. This amount of money will do little to help those whose pay has been drastically cut by businesses that had to close their doors.

There is going to have to be significantly more outlay in the form of monies for those in need to carry us through this. For all of the bluster from Trump about the strength of the economy, we're seeing that much of it was merely a veneer as people are struggling to provide even the basics for their families after less than a month of unemployment. I don't know what the answers are to getting us back on track but I do know a necessary component will be voting this clown of a president and a boatload of Republican representatives out of office this November. From my perspective, they've been far more a hindrance than a help with their lack of leadership.

I golfed for the first time this year on Monday. It was nice to back out on the links again. After a few holes, the single ahead of me waved me through. I was being pushed by a single behind me so we decided to pair-up. Within the first 30 seconds of chatting with Mike (not his real name), it was clear that, by the things he was saying, he's a very conservative man. He told me that he's the lead pastor for a church of 10,000 members here in the south metro. He began the church as a bible study in 1995 with 13 people. I thought to myself, this is going to be an interesting round.

We talked about a lot of stuff and I found myself having to push back on some of what he was telling me—some blatant right-wing propaganda. He was saying it's not right that Muslims are still allowed to worship in their mosques when Christians can't worship in their churches. I said I didn't believe that was the case. He was emphatic that it was. He's wrong. Mike also talked about the Clinton Foundation and how it was nothing more than a way for them to pedal their influence around the world and that it is a sham organization. It's not. I had to remind him that it was Trump's organization that was fined for abuses. It troubled me that he'd fallen for this sort of nonsense. I would expect someone in his position to be more discerning about such things.

We talked about same-sex marriage and I told him how I'm troubled by the way the church chooses to focus on that and not the things that the majority of the people filling their church pews are involved in: namely, idolatry. We all have so many idols in our lives but they're never the deal-breakers for the church that same-sex marriage is. I was trying to mostly give him things to consider rather than getting hard answers from him in that moment—because I don't think there are good answers he could give me although I was open to hearing him out.

I recall at one point stopping Mike in mid-sentence when he was heaping praise on Trump. I said, "You know he's using you, right?" Without missing a beat he said, "But it's mutual". The thought of making a deal with the devil kept playing on a loop in my head after that remark. Somehow, I think he is missing the mark of what it means to be a Christian—as are evangelicals worldwide for that matter (in my opinion). I would love to have an opportunity to pair up with him again someday because I have so much more I'd like to convey to him.

He mentioned the names of a few controllers I worked with; Brad, Doug, and Lee—that they're members of his church. I was actually impressed that he was able to come up with those names out of a flock of 10,000. He's not a dumb man. How he chooses to inform himself in political matters would say otherwise, though. And that's what leaves me troubled—watching in real-time how Mike could be so easily swayed by lies because of a lack of discernment on his part; either that or a willingness to want to believe what he wants to believe—facts be damned! What does that say about how men with an agenda could have and likely did influence church doctrine going back to the time of Christ?

We eventually talked about other stuff and I actually enjoyed my time with Mike. He is a very nice guy and (not that it matters) a decent golfer. We're simply on opposite ends of the political spectrum. I do hope our paths cross again someday.

I was back down in the studio last week working on my most involved sun-catcher yet. I'm happy with how it turned out. It's priced quite a lot higher than other offerings of mine but it's actually a bargain for the amount of labor that went into it. If it fails to sell, I'm fine with keeping it.

We've paused our group rides out of Northfield for the foreseeable future due to the pandemic. Rather than totally lose the sense of community the rides provide, Bruce has begun organizing a Saturday ride on a specified route that we all ride individually, either clockwise or counterclockwise, sharing photos of our journey with others via Facebook. It's such a great idea. I'll have to take a pass on tomorrow's ride due to some issues I'm having with the shifter for my rear derailleur on my gravel bike. I'll take to paved roads tomorrow on my road bike instead with hopes of being back on gravel next week.

The video below is from last Saturday's ride. Here's a link to the route we rode individually along with some photos.

That's all I've got.

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