Thinking Out Loud

February 17, 2017

We’re Back!

Filed under: Christianity — Tags: , — paulthinkingoutloud @ 9:12 am

hotel

For a number of reasons, the vacation we just returned from represented our first time on an airplane in 28 years. Money, kids, health, work, money, sandwich generation issues, and money are just some of the reasons why we never got away.

I know a lot of you get to travel and I don’t want to sound like an overexcited neophyte, but the point is that we did go to a part of the world that my 74% US readership have never visited, Cuba. Over the next few days, I’ll be sharing a little bit of that experience once we’ve got the film developed, so to speak. I want to consider a number of things surrounding the contrast between the excesses in the resorts and the poverty of the masses in the rest of the country; and also the strange ways in which these worlds intersect.

For us, it was a life-changing experience; but then again, I’ll probably overuse that phrase many times in the next few days.

 

September 3, 2010

Greetings from the French Riviera

Filed under: blogging — Tags: , , , — paulthinkingoutloud @ 9:50 am

Long before I started this blog, I was following other bloggers for several years, and one of the things that absolutely frustrated me was the size and scope of their summer vacations.   I wondered what some readers — many of whom haven’t left their hometowns in years — think of these elaborate holiday travels, and accompanying pictures and videos.

Christian blog writing is, apparently, very upper middle class.

Rob Bell told a story years ago about taking some kids from Grand Rapids about an hour west to go to the beach on Lake Michigan.   Both the children and their adult chaperones were overcome by the seemingly limitless stretch of water.   Clearly, some of the adults had never seen Lake Michigan, even though it is only an hour away.

For those of you who can empathize, let me say for the record that we are not on the French Riviera.   This is a post I wrote a few days ago because I expect today to be in a place where — while I’ve been promised electricity — internet access is hard to find.   Nothing too elaborate.

But I feel for people for whom even the weekend is hardship, who are then forced to read about the ‘beautiful people’ going down waterslides or hiking the Appalachian Trail.   Too much of that — when you’re stuck in a hot apartment with no air conditioning — can get downright depressing.

Statistics confirm that blog readership does drop significantly on weekends, and many bloggers don’t put in the effort.  In the summer especially, there’s what Canadians call a “cottage mentality” or Americans could call a “cabin mentality” that assumes everybody has better things to do at week’s end.

But statistics also show there are people — good numbers of them — who surf the blogosphere on weekends in search of something to read.

So if that’s you; this post is for you.  While other blogs shut down on weekends, this one actually ramps it up on Friday thru Sunday.   In fact, some of my best posts over the past years have been on weekends that statistics show fewer people were reading.   (Feel free to browse the archives.)

Of course, churches often have a summer shutdown mentality that parallels this.   But again, there are good numbers of people who are seeking and searching in the summer months.   They deserve the same quality of worship and teaching in July as the church offers in January.

So if you’re sitting a room somewhere, clicking around the blogosphere, wishing you were somewhere else; let me tell you that I can relate.   We went about eight years never taking anything resembling a holiday.  And not all the ones since then would rate mentioning, except as an exhibit in the “Do Not Do This” showcase of travel.

I pray your opportunity will come.   In the meantime, be a tourist in your own town or city.   Take a walk in the park and talk to someone you’ve never seen before.    Treat yourself to dessert, even if it’s just a grocery store item you wouldn’t normally buy.   Call someone you haven’t spoken with in a long, long time.

And thanks for taking the time to read all this.   Don’t let the people flaunting the Florida, or Grand Canyon, or Rocky Mountian vacations get you down!

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