Thursday, February 26, 2004

Dissertation Proposal at Saint Louis University: Done!!!

Well, yesterday was one of those days I don't care to relive. At 10:00 I had to present my Dissertation Proposal to the students and faculty of the Saint Louis University Department of American Studies. I knew my Dissertation Topic was too broad. I called my topic A Consuming View: The Northern California Cultural Landscape As Viewed Through Literature 1845-2000. I knew that it was too broad, but I had hoped that by limiting my research to how literature describes the landscape would focus the topic more. I guess I didn't fool anyone. The faculty caught right on and wants me to focus on a smaller time period. The periods I think that are the most interesting are the Gold Rush (1849-1860), the turn of the century (1900-1910), the Dustbowl years (1930-1940), the turbulent 1960s, or the Dotcom Boom of the (1990-2000). I will probably decide between a focus on the 1930s and analyze Steinbeck's Grapes of Wrath and In Dubious Battle, which is probably an overdone time period, or concentrate on the turn of the century and analyze Frank Norris' The Octopus. The turn of the century hasn't been researched nearly as much and is probably a little bit more of an open field, but doesn't have quite as much color and glamour as the 1930s. Either way I have my work cut out for me over the next year.

The SLU faculty, unbelievably, approved my Dissertation Proposal with some modifications (narrowing the focus) and thinks my subject is worthwhile and will bring new knowledge to light. One of the questions that puzzled me a little though is the one that went like this, "When most people study landscape they study physical landscape, why do you want to study landscapes created in an author's mind?" Well, research is supposed to be original! No one is doing research on mentally created landscapes (what I call cognitive landscape). Maybe it is because it is too hard, but it is sure a wide open field.

Anyhow, we'll see how this all pans out. I still have to complete the language requirement (I'll be taking a Spanish translation test next month) and finish the Dissertation. Then it will be Doc Rick!

It was a really cold and windy, but beautiful day at SLU, so I took some pictures of campus and put them in our family fotopage here.

After presenting my Dissertation Proposal I hopped back to work to finish out the day. Last night we had two events going on at The College Church at the Gate. The David Crowder Band (David Crowder is an awesome praise and worship leader from Waco, Texas) was playing in Lincoln, Illinois and most of our church went up there for the concert. I stayed behind incase anyone showed up that didn't go to the concert. No one came, so I went home and turned in early. It was a long, but productive day! Thank you Lord.

Tuesday, February 24, 2004

Great Impact Worship Last Sunday Night

Bob and Liz Ridlon came and shared with us last Sunday evening and did a wonderful job explaining the basic concepts of intelligent design. They used mathematical formulae to show us how macro-evolution (evolution between species) was statistically impossible, shared how there is absolutely no scientific evidence for macro-evolution, and shared how the evidences that evolutionists use to prove their theories are actually better suited to prove creation than evolution.

This has been an amazing week with collegiate evangelist and apologist Phil Nelson coming last Wednesday and the Ridlons sharing their creation research last Sunday. I will try to schedule them again for the fall, right after the start of the school year to follow up and help provide us a firm foundation for evangelism and apologetics. They go hand in hand. If we can know how to back up what we believe I feel we will can more effectively share Christ with others.

Take care and God bless you all.

Thursday, February 19, 2004

Great Bible Study Last Night

Good Morning Brothers and Sisters in the Lord,

Wow! Phil Nelson really laid it on us last night. The only reason we were created was to worship the Lord and to tell the good news of the gospel. I saw a lot of light bulbs going on while Phil was talking. He is absolutely right. The Lord provides us with so many opportunities each day to plant seeds and begin talking about Him. And, if we don't have a strategy we will miss most of them. Our responsibility is to have our eyes, ears, minds, and hearts open, on, and ready to respond to the opportunities that God leads our way. I waste so many opportunities each day that I am embarrassed to think about it. The Holy Spirit, through Phil, convicted me last night to be consciously seeking out those opportunities that God provides to share the good news of Jesus.

Here is the web link to Phil's Collegiate Conversations Yahoo Group. It is a growing group and is dedicated to collegiate evangelism and Christian aplogetics (being able to back up what you believe through scripture). I have also placed a link to Phil's Yahoo Group off on the column to the right. We have a Yahoo group for the College Church. The link is here and also off to the right. In order to use a Yahoo group you will have to join the group. It is free, and you can join even if you don't have a Yahoo E-Mail account. It is a siimple process to join and well worth the effort.

Thanks for another awesome night. The Holy Spirit was ministering to many of us. I appreciate each and every one of you coming and being a part of our group.

Your brother in Christ,


Wednesday, February 18, 2004

Phil Nelson and Collegiate Evangelism Strategy

Tonight at our Wednesday Night Bible Study at the College Church at the Gate (225 N. Monroe, Lebanon) we have the opportunity to have Phil Nelson visit with us. Phil is the Illinois Baptist State Association's Collegiate Evangelist. He will be speaking to us about evangelism strategies on our college campuses. Phil is a dynamic speaker and should help us understand how to better share our relationship with Jesus with unbelievers on campus. I'm excited to have Phil come and join us for the evening. I hjope to see you there.

Your brother in the Lord,


Monday, February 16, 2004

An Awesome Night of Worship Last Night!

We had an awesome night of worship last night. Noah hit the mark on how we each have those times in our lives where we are like Elijah after his battle with the prophets of Baal and asks the Lord to take his life in 1 Kings 18 and David when he fled to the cave and acted insane in 1 Samuel 21. We each have times when we are depressed and don't know what to do. Sometimes moments of tremendous victory are followed by the depths of our deepest depression. God is always there for us and will guide us through those times. If we keep our sights on Him and don't lose faith, He will deliver.

Andy capped a great message by leading us through some incredible music. The Holy Spirit was ministering to us last night and it left me speachless.

We have a great week coming up with Phil Nelson, the IBSA's collegiate evangelist sharing with us on Wednesday Night and bob and Liz Ridlon presenting their Creation Research next Sunday evening. Hope to see you there.

Take a chance and live for the Lord every day.


Wednesday, February 11, 2004

Bible Study Tonight

Tonight is the Wednesday Night College Church Bible Study at 8:00 at the Gate (225 N Monroe, Lebanon, Illinois). We will be studying another week of The Heart of David. Andy will lead us in music and Noah will lead the Bible Study. We look forward to seeing all of you. Please bring a friend and an appetite for the Lord.

Tuesday, February 10, 2004

Is Our Preaching Out Of Touch?

Here's a great article by Tom Allen on some different preaching styles in the emerging church. I think it says a lot about how people want to become more involved in the spiritual direction of their house of worship. It seems to be asking that we give a little more room for both interaction and the moving of the Holy Spirit.

Monday, February 09, 2004

Busy Day at Work

Wow, today was a busy day at work! The project I am working on requires many long hours of hard work followed by short periods of complete boredom. It is just the opposite of a quote I once heard about flying. It really applies to my former job in Air Mobility Command . The quote is “Flying is hours and hours of sheer boredom interlaced with minutes of complete panic.” That about sums it up. Now that my flying days are over (before I retired from the Air Force I flew C-130s and C-5s) it still rings true at my civilian job. Only now I fill my boredom time with blogging and surfing. The internet is a wonderful thing. Not much time today to blog though, I’ve been pretty busy coordinating comments to the Air Force publication I am authoring.

The Birth of College Church

We had a great Sunday Night Alive! last night. We dedicated the College Church and spent the whole evening worshipping and praising God for His greatness. We had 30 people attend our frist Sunday Night service! The Lord is great and continues to provide our every need. My daughter Bethany took some wonderful pictures and I will post them at the College Church fotopage this evening. Greg Alexander, the Director of Collegiate Ministry from the Illinois Baptist State Association (IBSA), was there and also took some pictures he hopes to use in an article on the College Church in a future issue of the IBSA newsletter.

Thanks to Julie and Christa for preparing the food. Thanks goes out to Decrease for the super time of worship they led us through and to Noah for an inspirational message from God's word. Thanks to Marilyn for hanging in there and providing so much support. Thanks to Matthew and Bethany for the help they provided, and thanks to the College and Career family from FBCOF who attended. This ministry is for you as well as the McKendree students.

All in all I feel the Lord has directed us to a path that will glorify His name on the McKendree campus, in Lebanon, and throughout the St Louis Metro East. It is not about us, but about Him. Our desire is to simply conform our will to His.

We are officially up and running. Come and visit anytime! We are located at 225 N. Monroe, Lebanon, Illinois. We meet for bible Study on Wednesday evenings at 8:00 and our weekly worship time is Sunday evenings at 7:30. We hope to see you sometime soon.

Take care and God bless you all,


Wednesday, February 04, 2004

Wednesday Night Bible Study Tonight

Come join us for this week's Wednesday Night Bible Study. Noah Oldham will continue to lead us through a study of the Heart of David and Andy Rains will lead us in music. Bible Study starts at 8:30 and music starts around 9:15. Hope to see you there. We had a great time in the Lord last week and I can hardly wait to see what happens tonight. We are meeting at the College Church at the Gate located at 225 N. Monroe, Lebanon, Illinois.

Tuesday, February 03, 2004

World License Plates had a link to this. It is pretty cool. I checked out my license plate style from my car when I lived in Kyongg-Do province in Korea in 2000-2001. Looks pretty neat.

Another Snowy Night

We had about 2 inches of snow last night. It made for a slippery commute to work this morning, but the roads weren't too bad and the roads were back to normal at lunch time. I went to the YMCA for a workout at lunchtime. I ran for 20 minutes and swam for 15 minutes. I'm starting to feel a little more in shape, but it is a very painful process.

St Louis Fox 2 News Report on Blogging

Here's the Fox 2 News report on blogging that ran last night on the 9:00pm news:


There is a new buzz word in town and it's blog, short for web-log. And, a growing number of everyday people in St. Louis have one for the world to see. In the Fox Files, Kevin Steincross explains what a blog is and who uses one.

Howard Dean has one. John Kerry has one. Even soldiers in Iraq have blogs. Blogs are basically an on-line journal about your life. “I blog, my wife blogs and we blog for our baby. And, my mother blogs, my father blogs. Everybody blogs. It's just a really good way to talk with people that you don't necessarily keep in touch with everyday, but you would like to.” Ben Vierck not only blogs, but he has designed free blogger software called Bloghorn, to make it easier to blog. “We've had more than a thousand people use the software. It's all open. It's all free.”

So what exactly do people blog about? “If you are interested in knitting, for example, you can write all about knitting in your web log. And the people that are interested in knitting will find you eventually and they will say, ‘Wow, I like this knitting idea that you had and here's something that I did.’” There is blogging software out there. They are website based, so you don't even have to download them, and instantly, your life is an open book to the world. “This last weekend, for example, our baby was sick and everyone was concerned. So, we posted an update on our baby’s web log and all of our friends and family just watched that and didn't inundate us with phone calls. There was a web log that was pretty popular that was being written by an Iraqi during the war over in Iraq and people were reading this. We also saw some military personnel doing the same thing. What does it mean to get into the head and to see the thoughts of these people, both the Iraqi people and our troops, while this is all going on? These politicians are listening to the people that are blogging, because what spreads amongst the blogging community will probably spread amongst everybody else.”

One St. Louis blogger is known as Mae Midwest to the world. “My blog started as a showcase for me as an actress and a voice over talent. I decided to write stories about my experiences in the field, and suddenly people are e-mailing me and responding and saying, ‘tell me more about your life,’ which of course is so flattering.” A section of her blog is patterned after Mae West, where she can say and do anything, but another section of her blog deals her past infertility experience. “Just reaching out and getting comfort from total strangers, it's making me believe in people again.” Some even as far away as England send in gifts to her and the baby. “It is a community. Oh, definitely. We have get-togethers and have gone to each other’s weddings and baby showers and become a part of each other’s lives. Some people want to talk about politics, some people want to open up about their lives, some people say way too much, but that's what makes it so fascinating.”

Finding a blog that you’re interested in commenting on is easy. Just go to any search engine and then type in the name of something that interests you. Let's say,based on the Superbowl, you pick Janet Jackson. Just go into the search engine, type in that name followed by blog, click enter, and you are likely come up with thousands of blog sites to visit. And Ben says blogging isn't likely to go away. “Some people say eventually everybody will blog, everybody will. I think it could permeate society, where we have 10-20% of people that you interact with are blogging.”

For blogger software, visit
to meet st. Louis bloggers, visit