Monthly Archives: April 2008

Men’s Hike 2008 – Part 2

4/25 – Clouds met us the morning of day three.  Breakfast consisted of two packs of instant oatmeal that someone graciously gave me and a stick of cheese – Breakfast of Champions!  We met around the campfire around 9 am for the morning brief.  Chris’s lesson was on Fear and Worrying.  Big fears usually start out as small worries.  He started with a quote from Arthur Somers Roche –

 

“Worry is a thin stream of fear trickling through the mind. If encouraged, it cuts a channel into which all other thoughts are drained.

 

The two most common things that we pray for are provisions and protection.  Jesus speaks of both of these things in the Matthew 6:24. 

 

Fear -> unbelief -> unwillingness -> unhappiness

 

Recall the rich young ruler, he was accustomed to being completely in charge of his life and was unwilling to let it go. Why?

 

Next, Chris compared two different rulers from the Old Testament.

 

  1. Pharaoh in the story of Joseph – When Joseph comes on the scene, the Pharaoh had a descent relationship with the Hebrew people.  After a generation had passed, the new Pharaoh didn’t have the understanding with the Hebrew people like the previous one.  As a matter of fact the new one was afraid of the Hebrew population under his control.  He feared their number, so he issued a decree for all of the midwives to kill all male babies.  The midwives didn’t do it, so he issued another decree to kill all first born males. (Remember Moses in the basket floating down the river).  Pharaoh struggled with fear and it drove him to make desperate, evil decisions.
  2. David – While a Shepard boy, a lion attached his flock and seized one of his sheep.  David didn’t write that sheep off – he chased the lion down killed it and got the sheep back.  A time later a bear stole one of his sheep and he chased the bear down, and again layed the smack down to get his sheep back.  David had fear – it’s a natural emotion, but he was not slave to his fear.  David attacked his little fears before they grew into big, debilitating fears.  He layed them out to God.  This prepared him for his big fight with Goliath.  Each time he overcame one of his little fears (I’m glad fighting lions aren’t my “little” fears), he grew stronger and more sure of himself.  He had already faced a lion and a bear and beat them both with his bare hands – He knew God was going to be with him as he fought Goliath.

 

One leader was consumed by fear and thought killing everyone was a good method to rule over people, one experienced fear, but attacked the fear when it was small by lifting it up to God – keeping it from corrupting his thoughts and actions.

Thought for the day: Think of some of the challenges in your life.  What actions do we need to work on?  Remember to attack the smaller fears.  Faith is a practice and a habit that must be exercised daily.

 

Instead of sending us on our way, we were next invited to experience an hour of solitude.  Bruce encouraged us to go off and find a place where you can’t see anyone else and just be with God.  I loved this part of the hike last year and this year was no different.  I walked up a spring fed creek for about a quarter mile and then walked straight up a steep slope to a patch of small trees.  It took me about fifteen minutes to clear my mind.  I find solitude difficult at first.  My mind almost fights it by running a bazillion thoughts through it.  Eventually my mind unwinds.  I spent the rest of the time journaling and just lying on my back watching the thick, heavy rain clouds race through the newly greened tree limbs.  It was refreshing.  I hope I can continue to find time to disconnect and be in solitude with God – I have many distractions in my life and feel that I pay more attention to them than maintaining a silent dialog with God.

 

We all came back together after an hour, packed up our gear and went on our way to the next camp site.  We hiked through Garenflo gap, up long mountain, and then descended to the campsite at Deer Park Mountain.  The camp area extended down a gorge.  Some of the guys camped on the upper side.  Half of us made camp at the bottom of the gorge along Blood Creek.  It started to rain, so we hung our tarps, rainflys, rain ponchos, and garbage bags together to make our own shanty town.  We packed four tents under the cover and waited for the rain to stop.  Everyone had a few extra meals left, so we cooked and ate a lot of food (I think Tony ate five pasta meals that evening). 

 

The campfire debrief was great.  We all talked about the little fears that eat at us.  The conversation went on for almost two hours. 

 

4/26 – We had to rise and shine at 6am.  Its amazing how you learn to run with the sun when you live in the wild.  We ate (more instant oatmeal) and packed up our gear.  Bruce lead the final day briefing around the theme – God is Awful.  Bruce started discussing the fear of the dark which combines and mirrors many fears.  Fear of the darkness leads to the sin of timidity – timidity keeps us from being obedient to God.  He next described Luke 12:4 making the point that we are very valuable to God, and then quickly went through other verses discussing fear – James 24:14, Psalm 34:9, Proverbs 9:10, Ecclesiastes 12:13, Acts 10:34, 1 Peter 1:17.   What is this fear that the verses are speaking too?  Fear does not equal wrath.  Fearing God is to know that he is awful – inspiring full awe.  Difference between awesome and awful – Tiger Woods and Lance Armstrong are awesome – specific aspects of them inspire great awe.  God illicits full awe – He is awful!  To correct Mr. Mullins “Our God is an Awful God”.  To live in fear of God as the scripture suggests is to live in total awe of God.  When we are in full awe of God – nothing is too bad – God is bigger than “that”.  The fruit of living in God is boldness.  If we live in fear of God, there is nothing else we should fear.  It actually liberates us.  We are free to fail when we live in fear of God.  To live in full-awe of God, you are not afraid of people – you can love them.  To live in full-awe of God, you are not afraid of money – you can give and give freely. To live in full-awe of God, you are not constantly protecting your turf.  Trade fear for Love, control for rest, timidity for boldness.  We need to learn to recognize the love God has for us (1 John 15).  There is no fear in Love. God’s response to our brokenness is “I love you”.  Most of us mentioned the fear of losing our kids or spouse over the weekend.  God loves my children and spouse far more than I can ever love them, therefore I can trust him with them.  I don’t need to drag this fear of death or loss around with me.  We need to encourage one another and carry each others burdens.  We closed by offering words of appreciation and encouragement to each other.  Beautiful message!

 

Now it was time to hike out to Hot Springs, NC.  The last hike is in complete solitude.  Each of us took off with a 10 minute interval in-between.  This was great.  I had a two hour conversation with God – Just telling him what’s on my heart.  People kept popping into my head, so I held all of them up in prayer one at a time.  It was powerful!  The peace finally broke as we descended into Hot Spring and heard the sound of car brakes, the hammering of a construction site, and rumble of motorcycle engines.  It was a little depressing.  I kinda wanted to turn around and go back, but life awaited.  We bathed at the Hot Spring Resort (very liberal use of that word) and then went to the Paddler’s Pub for dinner.  We ate, drank, and laughed.  We all went around a very large table and shared out high and low from the adventure.  (Low – auto troubles, High – getting foodbag stolen by a bear – I can’t wait to tell the story to my kids!)

 

I departed with Jon, Scott, and Jason to go back to Sevierville to get my car.  It turns out that the radio had a short in it that shut down the entire electrical system.  A new radio and $650 later, the car was as good as it has ever been.  I cruised home to my wife and family through an absolute deluge.  We got off the mountain at the right time.  Man, God is awful!

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Men’s Hike 2008 – Part 1

This years men’s hike was an adventure.  We started at Max Patch and hiked 20.2 miles over four days and finished at Hot Spring’s, NC.  This years attendees include: Larry Lowe, Bennett Weir, Brandon Tate, Craig “Camping Sucks” Herr, Matt “Bob Par” Rainey, Charlie Wilson, Kenny “James Beam” Kirby, Pat “I have to work Monday” Sanders, Don Sanders, Phil Wright, Jason “Bear Bag” Terry, David “Poo-shoe” Heigel, Jamie Tash, Tony Akers, Jon Clark, Scott McMichael, Brian Patrick, Jeff Womble, Brandon “llama” Zeller, David Dodd, Tom Salter, Kenney Walker, Bruce Martin, and Chris Holden.  Bruce and Chris were our trail and spiritual guides on the trip. 

Trip Summary:

4/21 – Arrive home from Colorado Springs business trip at 11:30.  Kevin dropped off his camping gear earlier in the day.  I’m tired and decide to pack in the morning.

4/22 – Start packing.  Realize that my boots are at my parent’s house.  They brought them to me.  Had to get a water bottle that fit kevin’s water filter – the only color left was bright pink.  Met everyone at church at 5pm – loaded up the car’s and drove to Chattanooga for a dinner at Glenn Jean Deli.  Left Chattanooga and arrived at the Bridgemont Camp.  We unloaded the cars for an evening sleep in cabins.  I went back out to the car for my toothbrush and realized that the car would not start – nothing worked, the whole car was dead.  I rationalized that maybe the car was just tired and would start in the morning.  I didn’t sleep very well.

4/23 – Woke up and tried to start the car – nothing.  I had to call a tow truck to take me to the GMC dealership in Sevierville, TN.  About five guys fooled around with the battery and other parts under the hood and one of them found a mummified rat in the engine block – very bizarre.  While waiting for the tow truck I ate a huge breakfast and listened to the first kickoff briefing for the hike.  Bruce starts each day with a briefing where he discusses a scripture lesson and asks us to consider a few specific questions while we hike.  This year’s topic was FEAR.  Bruce quoted many scripture verses describing fear.  Fear is one of the most abominable sins because it is the dis-trust of God.  The two questions that Bruce wanted us to chew on while we hiked were 1. What is it that you fear the most?, and 2. What is God inviting you to trust him with?  The tow truck arrived.  The car was winched up on the truck and off I went.  The group met me there an hour later.  I decided to just leave the truck at the dealership and hope that it is fixed by Sunday afternoon (I have to give props to my wife Amanda at this point.  She told me to just leave the truck and she would take care of taking care of the payment and logistics of working remotely with the repair shop).  We got to Max Patch at 2pm and started hiking straight up hill.  Beautiful weather.  We hiked 5.8 miles to a campsite just beyond the Roaring Fork Shelter.  We set up camp and ate steak and potato dinners (Most of the guys packed frozen steaks for the first night dinner since Llama brought a grill to go over the fire).  While we were setting up a through-hiker stopped by our site.  His name was Noah.  He looked hungry and in need of fellowship, so we invited him to stay at our camp with us.  First (and probably last) time that he had a steak dinner on the trail.  The campfire debrief was good.  Bruce opens the fire up for anyone to discuss what God put on their heart during the hike.  We talked a bit about our fears.  Noah asked if he could share his story with us.  He grew up in a family that went to church very sparingly. After a difficult year in college where he was drinking himself to sleep every night and contemplating suicide, he got on his knees and prayed – asked for a sign and told God he wanted to make everything right.  He asked us many questions that night.  He is definitely searching for a relationship with God.  He told us how much of an impact we made on him – I hope he realizes the impact he made on our group.  He reminded me to be aware of the random opportunities that we have to witness to people everyday – mostly through our actions and grace, invitation, and humility.  This is where the story gets interesting.  After the conversation wound down, Bruce went to check on the bear bags (we had to hang our food bags in trees to keep them away from the bears).  He came back and told us there was a bear at our bags.  We all jumped up and ran down the path to see (Note to the wives – we realize that this was not the smartest thing to do, but city boys don’t get the chance to see a wild bear that often, plus we probably scared the bear pretty bad with twenty four guys with headlamps running down the path).  The bear got Craig’s foodbag.  We all decided to rehang our foodbags and go to bed (total circus rehanging the foodbags).  At one point I woke up in the night to heavy breathing outside my tent, at first I thought it was Jamie, but I think it was the bear.  Tom Salter poked his head out of his tent and saw the bear in our camp during the night. 

4/24

We woke up the next morning and everyone was accounted for – the only problem was that we were missing three more food bags including mine!  I had to bum food from the rest of the guys the entire trip.  No worries, we had plenty of food in the group. 

Bruce gave the morning brief on The Greatest King That Could Have Been – King Saul ( 1 Samuel).  Saul was the first king of Isreal.  He was described three different times as being a very large man – head and shoulders bigger than everyone else.  Saul was a king that was consumed with fear.  1. In the ceremony where he is to be anointed king, he is found hiding in a warehouse – obviously afraid of his calling. (Fearing your destiny can define your destiny) 2. In the battle with the Philistines, Saul did not wait for Samuel to come offer the burnt offering before embarking on battle because his men were quaking with fear and began scattering (Saul was fearful of the battle – when the leader is fearful, those being led will be fearful. (Fearing your future can sabotage your future) 3. Saul instructed to destroy the Amalekites every man, woman, child, and animal.  Saul wins the battle but doesn’t obey God.  He enslaves some of the Amalekites and takes their animals as spoils.  He was afraid of his own people.  (Fearing people will lead you to make bad, desparatedecisions) 4.  Story of Saul and Goliath.  Saul and his men were terrified by Goliath.  Goliath called for them to send their biggest guy to settle the matter.  This is a direct reference to Saul, who was earlier described as a very large man.  Goliath was calling out Saul, and Saul didn’t have the guts to fulfill his destiny.  Along comes David who wasn’t going to let anyone deride the name of his Lord and we know the rest of that story.  I had never heard the story told from the perspective of Saul’s paralyzing fear that held him back his whole life.  (Fearing failure can make you miss your greatest success).  5. Saul was critically wounded in battle and was afraid to die at the enemies hand, so he asks his armor-bearer to finish the job.  The armor bearer was afraid and botched the job.  An Amalakite (supposed to be completely destroyed) came through the camp and finished the job. (Fearing your enemy is suicide).Bruce summed it up with the statement “Fear is the worst of all motivations – it must be dealt with ruthlessly in order for us to experience our destiny with God”.  The question he wanted us to deal with was – How many times has fear drove the decisions you made? 

We hiked 7.2 miles through Lemon Gap, up Walnut Mountain, down a valley and then up Bluff mountain. We camped at a beautiful meadow campsite at Three Springs.  A little bit of rain, and a rowdy campfire made for a fun evening! 

Stay tuned for the rest of the adventure!

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Good friend

I want to give a shout out to a friend I met at the Q conference in New York City.  He blogs daily and i enjoy his view on Christian living in the workplace.  Duncan and his wife Kathy live in Edinburgh, Scotland.  He is the one that inspired me to blog.  I can’t wait for him to tell me what he is up to this summer in India.

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Men’s Hike on the AT

I am going on a 26 mile hike over four days on the Appelachian Trail with 20 guys from my church this weekend.  We leave Wednesday after work.  I am looking forward to experiencing the largeness of God’s earth and the minuteness of me.

Cheers to my brother for letting me borrow all of his gear again this year! 

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Christian View of Sex – Senior High Retreat: Beyond the Birds and the bees

This past weekend I was a small group leader for a senior high sexuality workshop at my church.  We had twelve youth go through the program.  These twelve kids in this group represent a good diverse cross section of youth.  Robin Blakemore did an excellent job leading the event.  She has a passion and a gift for teaching junior and senior high school students a healthy, God-given perspective on relationships and sexual activity.  The twelve youth in my group are really great kids that come from solid households.  Given all of this, some of them are struggling with some very heavy relationship issues and some have grossly distorted views of sex.  The intent of the workshop is to express God’s vision for a loving relationship and paint a compelling picture of love and sex that they will want to have for themselves.

 

I will start by telling you all why I wanted to be a part of this conversation with the youth.  Ideally parents should be the front line dialoging with their children about relationships and sex and modeling what a healthy sexually fulfilling marriage looks like.  Unfortunately, this is not happening at a high enough frequency.  So the next line of defense is the church.  I believe that the church (collective) does a very poor job of portraying what healthy relationships looks like – equal parts friendship, commitment and physical passion – and why it makes sense to have boundaries that allow relationships to develop slowly.  This affects everyone, because if parents and the church are not portraying what it looks like, we are left to society, media, and pop culture to get our cues.  The most vulnerable are the middle and high school students that are just budding into maturity and trying to make sense of their bodies, sexuality, and relationships.  Talking about sex in church still feels taboo.  If the church is not going to engage our current culture in this conversation, can we blame our youth for thinking that intercourse at age sixteen is normal and that you don’t share your honest feelings with someone until after you are married (more on this later)?  Can we blame our young and old for porn addictions and illicit affairs?  Can we blame adults for the high divorce rate in our country?  Criticism without offering a solution is pedantic and isn’t helping communicate the beauty and power of love and sex to a world that, I believe, is desperately looking for it.  I want to be a part of the solution with the youth.  They need adults that are not afraid to answer the disturbing, heart-braking, silly, scary, honest questions that they have about dating, relationships, and sex.  We have to paint a compelling picture of what God intended with relationships so that they choose to want that for themselves, while also arming them with as much information as possible.  We need more adults engaging in this conversation with each other and with the youth that we treasure.

 

Event Description, Notes and Observations:

 

  • There were four sessions that focused on different aspects of a healthy relationship. 
  • At the end of sessions 1, 2 and 3 the youth had an opportunity to submit anonymous questions in to the question box.  Anything was fair game to ask the question box.
  • During each session we spent time in small groups and together as a collective group (3 small groups together) lead by Robin.
  • Before any of the sessions began, each of the small groups made their own rules of conduct for the workshop.  Here is what the youth in my group came up with:

·         The word of the day was “abstinence” – if anyone drops it in conversation everyone else has to scream. (Pee-Wee’s playhouse anyone?)

·         Be respectful.

·         What’s said in the room, stays in the room.

·         Use clean and appropriate language when describing body parts – no slang.

·         No one can be put on the spot to answer questions.

·         Don’t use real names when describing stories about friends.  All males are to be named “Greg” and all females are to me named “Sarah”  (We had a lot of Greg and Sarah stories)

·         No Chuck Norris jokes

 

Session 1

Goal: Establish the difference between sex and sexuality and how God affects our perception of both and to look at how the world defines “sexy”.

 

The first session eases everyone into the conversation.  It is easy to talk about the message of sex that media puts out there.  Someone brought up the premiere of ER last week.  Opening scene is a new doctor in bed with two women.  He gets up to shower, one of them follows him in and goes down on him in the shower.  Wow! this is mainstream, primetime programming.  

 

Session 2

Goal: To begin a discussion about dating and relationships, to look at challenges in dating relationships, to introduce the differences in love and infatuation, and to define intimacy.

 

This session had discussion worksheets that allowed the girls to express the annoying habits boys have in courting, relationships, and dating.  It also allowed the boys to express the same about the girls.  This is why the mixed sex groups work so well.  I think it was helpful for both sides to explore this and tell each other what works and what doesn’t work.

 

We watched the Nooma video “Flame”. This is an excellent video where Rob Bell describes the three Hebrew words for love used in the book of the Bible Song of Songs: raya meaning friend, ahava meaning an emotion that leads to a commitment, and dod meaning the sexual, physical element.  He used a lighter flame to represent each of the loves.  The video makes the case that when all three flames together, as God intended in a loving healthy relationship, that the fire explode into a huge bonfire (in the video he drops the lighter in diesel fuel starting a massive bonfire. 

 

Session 3

Goal: To compare when sexual activities are currently happening to when they are appropriate, to look at Christian values and decision making, to look at marriage and the long-term consequences of premarital sexual activity, and to discuss what God intends for us in sexual relationships and how that affects us now.

 

This session started off with a timeline in the middle of the floor.  Also on the floor was a pile of notecards with different relationship actions ranging from “holding hands with opposite sex” to “oral sex” to “get married”.  We first asked the youth to put the cards on the timeline where they know the activities are occurring (Not necessarily them performing the actions, but where the activities are occurring with others in their peer groups).  Here are the results:

 

  • 10 – Talk with opposite sex, Buy boy/girlfriend a present
  • 11
  • 12 – Give a Boy/Girl your picture, Put arm around your date, Go on a date, Hug opposite sex
  • 13 – Hold hands, Flirt with a boy/girl, Weekend date, Kiss
  • 14 – Group date, Lay on couch and watch TV with date, French kiss, Double date, Go steady
  • 15 – Feel above waist, Tell someone you love them
  • 16 – Feel below the waist, Have oral sex, Have intercourse
  • 17 – Car date, Use contraceptives, Blind date
  • 18
  • 19 – Get engaged
  • 20
  • 21 – Get married
  • 22
  • 23
  • 24
  • 25 – Tell someone your honest feelings

 

Observations:

  • For the average sexually active kid everything your bodies are physically made to do are done by age 16, all the activity is compressed to age sixteen and below.  Robin has seen the activity compress over the past eleven years she has been leading this workshop (i.e. Oral sex almost the next step after French kissing now).
  • Contraceptives are used the year after sex starts
  • They think people get engaged at age 19 and married at age 21.
  • The absolute most striking observation is that they think that you don’t share you honest feeldings with someone until AFTER you are married.

 

Digesting the information:

I don’t think all of the kids in the group are sexually active, but the sexual activity of their peers is influencing them in their conversations and expectations in relationships – they are wrestling and dealing with it.

They have completely divorced investing emotionally into other (telling them their honest feelings) from physical activity.  This to me is the most troubling observation.

 

After talking with them about this (many Greg and Sarah stories), we asked them to redo the timeline the way God intends for them to progress.  This time the activities had a slower linear progression.  We made it clear that dating is not bad.  Dating helps them find out what they are looking for in their future husband/wife – it’s a form of self-discovery.  We stressed the need for having boundaries before getting into relationships and at the right time expressing the boundaries with their boyfriend/girlfriend.  Without thought out boundaries you have chaos and will probably get caught up in the tide and this will go a lot further than desired.

 

We also went over discussion sheets that provided a process for Christian decision making.  We also generated a two column list for YES/NO on Waiting for Marriage for sex.  Most of the reasons not to wait were positive (“win popularity”, “personal pleasure”, “do it before you die”, “you might not get another chance”, “further a relationship”, “put out to maintain a relationship”) and some of the reasons to wait were negative (“not prepared for child”, “No STDs”, “Save it for soul mate”, “Be the person you want your future spouse to be”, “God wants us to”).  For believers the “because God wants us to” trumps all else.  He wired us a specific way and if we decide to short circuit the progression, weird things happen and it very seldom (if ever) turns out enhancing a relationship at their age.

 

Session 4

Goal: To look at differences between males and females, to understand how to better interact with the opposite sex, to begin the process of setting personal boundaries in relationships, and to understand that we all make mistakes and there is Grace, Forgiveness, and Redemption in God’s eyes.

 

In this session we went through discussion sheets about setting healthy boundaries before you get into situations.  We talked about the need for boundaries in all aspects of their life, not just relationships. 

 

We also stressed that if any of them were already sexually active that we have an incredibly loving God that gives us grace, forgiveness and redemption.  Your current reputation does not define who you have to be in your next relationship.  You have the ability to make the path you desire.  We hope we described a compelling path that they want to travel on.

 

Question box:

 

The question box deserves a section unto itself.  At the end of sessions 1, 2, and 3 the youth were given the opportunity to write anonymous questions on a note card and stuff them into the question box.  In between sessions we rewrote the questions so that no one could be identified by handwriting.  The questions were then reviewed one at a time during the following session.  Some of them were very serious like the first one below, some sophomoric (I didn’t include those), and some were very innocent.  I listed a subset of the questions below.

 

  • How do you help a friend who has been sexually abused in a relationship?
  • Are threesomes appropriate before or after marriage?
  • Can swimming in a pool with sperm in it get you pregnant?
  • What is some advice for a first date?
  • What do most girls/guys find most attractive in the opposite sex?
  • Why do people (mainly adults) assume that if they leave a teenage couple together alone they’ll have sex?
  • What is a rim job?
  • Why has sex become something that is not such a big deal?
  • Why is sex not private anymore?
  • Is pornography ok?
  • Does being sexually active tear you apart from God?
  • Explain the bases.
  • Is oral sex really sex?

 

I think the range of questions illustrate the confusion that youth today are dealing with when it comes to sex and relationships. On one hand they are innocently still nervous about first dates and want to know what the opposite sex finds most attractive.  One the other hand they are wondering when it appropriate to have sex with multiple partners and if oral sex is really sex. All the while asking why sex has become something that is not such a big deal and wonder why it’s not private anymore.

 

The sex education that these kids get in school is devoid of the emotional and spiritual consequences of engaging in sex too early, and the historic abstinence only message of the church is not effective.  We have to get more creative and honest and paint a picture of what God wants for them in a healthy, committed, passionate relationship.

 

Our youth and children deserve more from us!

 

What do you think?

 

How do we paint a compelling picture of God’s vision of healthy, committed, passionate relationships to our youth and other adults?

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Rock the Vote – Huntsville

This evening at the Historic Huntsville Roundhouse Depot First Fridays, Huntsville Young Professionals (HYP), and the Committee of 100 hosted “Rock the Vote”.  The event provided an opportunity for young professionals in the Huntsville community to register to vote, talk to candidates running for local office, eat BBQ, and listen to a really good jazz band called Abstract.  Here are a few observations about the event and the candidates I talked to.

Observations:

  • The diversity of the young professionals was very refreshing.  The mix was 50-50 between African American and Caucasian. The total attendance is estimated to be around 200 young professionals. 
  • Over 60 young professionals got registered to vote.
  • The acoustics in the Roundhouse made it difficult to hold a conversation.

Candidates:

  • Bob Wagner is running for County Commissioner in District 2 against incumbent, Faye Dyer.  Commissioner Dyer did not show up for the event.  Bob seems like her earnestly wants to get Madison City and Huntsville working together.  He believes the Tennessee Valley will soon grow big enough to be recognized as a regional brand (like Research Triangle or Silicon Valley).  He points out that Faye Dyer does not have a plan to move into the future, but only wants to point to what she has done in the past.  Bob meets every Monday at Sazios in Five Points to discuss his platform.
  • Chris Stuckey is running for County Commissioner in District 1 against incumbent, Roger Jones.  Commissioner Jones did not show up for the event.  Chris is running on a “No Sales Tax Increase” platform.  The county commissioners voted down a half cent sales tax increase for education infrastructure earlier this year.  He believes that the county commission has done a poor job communicating with the public.  He agrees that education capital is a huge need, but he does not unilaterally want to increase his constituency’s sales tax.  He believes that a ad valorem tax is a much more stable tax structure.  He wants to educate the public on the problems and needs in the area and let them decide the best way to remedy the situation.
  • Linda Hall is an incumbent running for Madison County Tax Collector.  The tax collector collects your taxes.  I asked her if my property tax was going to decrease given the burst in the housing market.  She was quick to point out that that is the job of the Tax Assessor not the Tax Collector.  She was appointed to her position when the sitting tax collector was appointed as a judge.  She is the daughter of the late Albert Hall.  Governor Seigleman appointed her to her position.  She ran four years ago and won.
  • Cory Brown is also running for Madison County Tax Assessor.  He pointed out that Madison County is one of the only counties in the state that separates the offices of the tax Collector and the Tax Assessor.  Most other counties appoint a Revenue Commissioner to do both jobs.  He said it is his sole purpose to get elected and get someone in Montgomery to push legislation to merge the two offices in Madison County – even if it means he loses his position.
  • Tommy Battle is running for Mayor of Huntsville.  He believes that it is time for a change.  He believes that the downtown restoration needs some real vision.  He believes that the roads have been neglected far too long and that the Alabama DOT needs to be called to the carpet on the number of contracts they have let in Madison County.  He believes that more needs to be done to unify the two ends of the city.  He also beleives that we must act quickly ensure that we maintain a quality public school system.  I get the feeling that Tommy believes that Mayor Spencer has been in office too long and that she no longer has any real vision for the city.
  • Mayor Loretta Spensor also attended the event.  She showed up at 8:oopm and left at 8:15pm.  She thanked a few people for helping sponsor the event and told us about how busy her schedule.  She is a very nice grandmotherly lady.
  • Other officials that attended – Dale Strong (County Commissioner District 4), Jackie Reed (running for Mayor), Sandy Kirkindall (Mayor of Madison City), Alta Moore (Huntsville City School Board), and many others.

Do you pay attention to local politics?

What issues do you think are the most pressing in the communities in Madison County?

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Filed under Huntsville Politics

Tag Lines

Being new to this blogging thing, I have come to realize that I need to be careful about the tags that I put on my posts.  There is an option that allows someone to surf other blogs according to tag lines.  Since “sex” was one of my tag lines, a whole lot of sex blogs came up.  None of them were too graphic, but content was… colorful (erotica anyone?).  I guess others that are searching tag lines for “sex” with intent probably came across my blog entry, which I guess may be a good thing.  I guess its ok to be a Christian voice in this conversation…

What do you think?

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Filed under Culture - Sex