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January Update

February 5, 2014

Here’s what transpired in January at the Teichrib house!

Professionally

– Earlier in 2013, I was contacted by the Mormon Transhumanist Association and asked to develop an essay based on my presentation from that year’s MTA conference; “A Christian Critique of Christian Transhumanism.” So with the deadline looming, I spent a good chunk of time in mid-January working on the essay, which attempts to detail the evangelical, conservative Christian position and comparative critique regarding “Christian/Religious Transhumanism.” This essay, which is now submitted in its first draft, will go through a review process and, once finalized, become part of the official conference proceedings.

– Engaged in research, writing, and editing on a chapter for my manuscript on deep ecology. This was an intensive process as I plumbed the historical connections between the Christian community and the burgeoning ecology movement of the 1970s. The research for this chapter is now complete, and hopefully I can wrap up this section next week.

– Spoke at two churches: The first was a survey-based presentation on different world religions and philosophies, with an emphasis on better understanding the Biblical worldview in light of our changing religious and social environment. The second was a presentation titled “Is God Green?,” comparing and contrasting the social and spiritual dimensions of deep ecology with the Christian worldview. This talk was given as a huge blizzard tore through the province, leaving us “storm stayed” for an extra day in Morris, Manitoba, where the church was located. But that was ok as it was my sister’s church, and she and her family graciously hosted us until the blizzard blew out the following day.

– Radio Shows: Erskine Overnight did a taped interview at the end of December, and this was played in early January to his listening audience. I was a guest on The Janet Mefferd Show, and did an extensive interview with Christ Pinto’s Noise of Thunder program, which was split into two parts. Erskine and The Janet Mefferd Show tackled the “Global Events 2014 Calendar” that Forcing Change published in December – a major listing of political, economic, social and religious transformational events taking place around the world. The Chris Pinto’s show tackled Freemasonry.

Personally:

– We celebrated the high-school graduation of our son, Scott! And because we home-school, the celebration and sense of accomplishment was felt by his “teacher” and “principal” in a very personal way. But the event had some glitches, that is, two winter storms. We had booked the church to host this gathering of friends and family on a Friday evening, but alas, the day of the grad celebration witnessed blizzard-like conditions and we had to cancel just hours before the doors opened. So all the decorating and preparatory work had to be cleaned up, and everyone had to be notified of the cancellation. Scott’s grad, “take 2,” happened a week later. And as guests arrived we were hit with a blizzard, so we celebrated as the wind and snow pounded down. By the end of the evening the wind had subsided but the highway was slick ice and the country roads were heavily drifted-in, resulting in one out-of town couple having to stay overnight. Oh well, that’s Manitoba in January!

Our neighborhood. Don’t see any houses? Neither do we.

– Had two extended family “Christmas” gatherings! The first happened in the beginning of the month, and the last toward the end of January. Good food and good visits!

– During the course of one week my wife gave three speech/public speaking workshops. Both of us are involved in the Yellowhead Trail Toastmasters Club, and as a result, we occasionally help with local 4H speech events and other youth-related public speaking venues. It’s a good way of connecting with the community, and a practical extension of the Toastmaster’s program. However, mainly due to harsh winter conditions, our Toastmaster meetings for January were completely wiped out.

– Dig a little snowshoeing with my son, and later with my brother-in-law along our local river. And yes, we both broke through the ice, even after 8 weeks of below freezing temps, including almost 6 weeks of -25 to -35 temperatures. Our heavy snow acts as insulation and the ice wears underneath in faster parts of the river, and along the edges of banks and beaches. Besides the wet boot it was all good, including the huffing and puffing of tramping through the even deeper snow trapped in the river forest.  Oh well, I had to burn off some of those Christmas calories!

Books Read:

– Douglas Brown, Doomsday 1917: The Destruction of Russia’s Ruling Class (G.P. Putnam’s Sons, 1976). This was a good but brief general overview of the social and political complexities that revolved around the period of the Russian Revolution.

– Jamie Salazar, Legion of the Lost: The True Experience of an American in the French Foreign Legion (Berkley/Penguin, 2005). An interesting read on the training and social structure of the Foreign Legion, but I found the author’s sexual adventures to be an unnecessary part of the package.

– A. Scott Howe and Richard L. Bushman (editors), Parallels and Convergences: Mormon Thought and Engineering Vision (Greg Kofford Books, 2012). This is a collection of presentation-based essays from the 2009 Mormon Transhumanist Association conference. If you want to better understand Mormon thought in relation to science, engineering and transhuman concepts, this is a worthwhile book to get.

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