Monthly Archives: February 2007

Movie Review: Facing the Giants

This is my netflex review for the Christian movie Facing the Giants which is now out on DVD.

I have kids in high school – and I went to high school – and this high school and the squeeky clean way this school is presented matches neither experience. No coach would ever say “give God the knee” in a public high school and have everybody bow their knee. I really thought that this movie portrayed religion in a superficial way – with really stupid football analogies. Apparently taking the “narrow road” that Jesus talked about is not kicking the ball “wide left” or “wide right” but through the field goal. If you follow God you will win football games, get a truck, solve your infertility problems, and get a big raise, and be Mr. Popular. Right. I would like to totally hate this movie – but unfortunately it is fairly gripping, the acting isn’t terrible, and there were tears in my eyes at the end of the movie. Every scene is predictable – everything works out  when the almighty is acknowledged. I wish the world did work like it is portrayed in this movie.

I gave this movie 3 stars as in “luke warm”.


Filed under Christianity, movies

Tropical Cyclone Favio Hits Mozambique

Tropical Cyclone Favio

A deadly cyclone hit Mozambique last week, and this is after massive flooding of that southern African country. Fortunately, because of a early warning system, not too many people died – but thousands and thousands of huts were destroyed leaving 160,000 people homeless. I have not seen very much about this on the news. Here is some more information:

In pics: Mozambique cyclone damage from the BBC

“Everything is smashed – the infrastructure is gone”

Aid Worker Francois Goemans

and from World Vision:

Learn More

>> Read about Mozambique’s looming food crisis because of the recent flooding.
>> See how Mozambican children are standing up for their right to be protected from AIDS.

Get Involved

>> Please pray for the tens of thousands of Mozambique’s flood-displaced; pray also for World Vision staff to be able to continue providing emergency aid, effectively.
>> Donate now to help disaster victims. Your donations are urgently needed to help families around the world caught in disasters, like those who have been displaced by heavy flooding in central Mozambique.

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Filed under Global Warming, Sustaining Technologies, Weather

Barefoot College – teaching solar engineering to village women

Here is an interesting interview about teaching women villagers solar engineering techniques to light their villages:

RocketBoom Feb 22, 2007

lighted Afghanistan Village

This is the first solar-electricity generated lighted village in Afghanistan.

Here is an article about the Barefoot College:

The Barefoot Approach Beyond India
First they ignore you, then they laugh at you, then they fight you and then you win.
– Mahatma Gandhi
The Barefoot College of Tilonia, India demonstrates that illiteracy is not a barrier to poor
communities developing themselves and that the most sophisticated of technologies can
be disseminated by poor rural men and women who can barely read and write. The
Barefoot College strongly believes that it is a myth that the development of poor rural
communities requires people with formal degrees and qualifications. The Barefoot
College has extended its informal training programs to empower a growing number of
female solar power engineers, and the Barefoot approach to development has spread
across India and around the world.
The Barefoot College is a radical departure from the traditional concept of a “college.”
The lifestyle and workstyle is very Gandhian. Rather than reading, writing, and formal
degrees, the Barefoot College promotes the kind of education one absorbs from family,
community, and practical experience. The College confers no degrees and all members,
regardless of class, education, or caste, are considered equal. For the drop-out children
who cannot afford to go to school in the day because they have to look after their
animals in the fields, classes take place at night in the villages. The education is entirely
practical — many of the children who pass through Night School become health
workers, engineers, accountants, and teachers AND serve their own communities.
Unlike the paper-qualified urban experts sent to help them, Barefoot-educated
professionals focus on local decision-making and grassroots development. As one
Barefoot College staff member explains, “It is Gandhian — like Mahatma Gandhi we do
believe power resides in the poor. They have dignity but do not have opportunities. We
are harnessing human potential.” By giving the rural poor access to practical knowledge,
the Barefoot College demystifies technology and puts it in the hands of villagers
To date, Barefoot professionals have helped bring solar electricity to over 200 remote
villages in seven states across India, fulfilling such basic needs as lighting and heating.
In this capacity alone, the Barefoot College has improved the quality of life of more than
80,000 people.
The philosophies of the College have done more than bring practical technological
advancements; they also empower villagers, especially women. As one female Barefoot
engineer explained, her husband and in-laws were first unhappy with her pursuit of
education and grassroots activism, but they soon came to respect her work: “My
husband will never say it, but I know he’s very proud of me. Now he asks me to maintain
his accounts for him!” Another female scholar explains, “I now look back at my childhood
when I always dreamed of doing something big for my society. My mother used to laugh
at me. Today my family, my neighbors, and even the village elders respect me and value
my contribution. It feels wonderful.”
The Barefoot approach to the solar-electrification of rural communities has been adopted
by the Asian Development Bank in Afghanistan and in 2007 will be adopted in 25
villages in Bhutan. Similar initiatives are developing in Sierra Leone, The
Gambia, Mali, Bolivia, Cameroon, Tanzania, Senegal, Mauritania, Malawi, Kenya and
Ethiopia. Both the UNDP and Skoll Foundation have provided funds for training 34
Barefoot solar and water engineers from Ethiopia. In six months during 2006, 19
inaccessible villages in Ethiopia were solar electrified by Barefoot solar engineers
trained by the Barefoot College in Tilonia.
Skoll Foundation has provided financial support to replicate the Barefoot approach in
solar electrification and roof top rainwater harvesting for drinking water and sanitation in
Afghhanistan, Ethiopia,Sierra Leone, Senegal, Cameroon and Bolivia. The Barefoot
College’s $1 million Alcan Prize for Sustainability will be used to replicate the Barefoot
model in even more villages in these countries.
Barefoot College founder Bunker Roy said: “It is the only College in India built by the
poor for the poor and for the last 34 years managed and controlled and owned by the
poor following the life-style and work-style of Gandhi. It is based on very simple living,
eating, living, and working on the floor where people come for the challenge rather than
the money. No one in the college can earn more than $100 a month.”
“It’s the only college where paper degrees, diplomas and doctorates are a
disqualification because the worth of the person is judged by his or her honesty,
integrity, compassion, practical skills, creativity and their ability to work with people
without discrimination.”
The Barefoot College, formally known as the Social Work Research Centre, was
established in 1972 in Tilonia, a small village in the semi-arid regions of Rajasthan,
India. The College’s founder, Bunker Roy, has lived and worked in this village since the
College was established 35 years ago.
The College was designed by a semi-literate Barefoot architect and was built by a team
of Barefoot architects, Barefoot solar engineers, and Barefoot water engineers. The
College collects rainwater from the roofs of the campus and stores 400,000 liters of
water in an underground tank built under a community stage. The open-air theater can
seat an audience of 5,000 for performances. The College is fully solar electrified and
powers its computers, photocopying machines, media center, pathology lab, and 700
lights and fans of its administrative offices, classrooms and living spaces with sunlight.
A small body of determined spirits fired by an unquenchable faith in their mission
can alter the course of history.
– Mahatma Gandhi
February 2007


Filed under politics, Sustaining Technologies, Uncategorized

Beyond War – West Chester

Our neighborhood association, which I have never gone to, but I am on their email list, sent me this:

March 28th Neighborhood Association Meeting YWCA: Beyond War

Gayle Landt, Executive Director of Beyond War, and Martin Jones, a physician who is part of the Beyond War team, are coming to Pennsylvania and will do a presentation for us on March 28th. The presentation is nonpartisan, nonreligious, non-blaming AND both provocative and compelling! This presentation demonstrates what “war is obsolete” really means. Participants will learn why the principle “We all live on one planet” is core to building this world-view and the new actions that will result.


Beyond War is a nonprofit organization that provides education about what people and nations can do instead of war, and that coordinates a

network of citizens who promote these ideas and actions. Come and learn about what you can do to build a world beyond war.

So that’s an interesting neighborhood issue. Maybe I will go to my first neighborhood association meeting!

Beyond War

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Filed under politics, War, West Chester

Sam is published!

My oldest son Sam  just got a poem published in Thieves Jargon. It is called dark harold because it is dark and about a guy named harold. It is reminiscent of John Steinbeck’s Of Mice and Men.

To figure out what Thieves Jargon is, check out these reviews of Online Poetry Magazines here.

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Ten Reasons why Men should not be Christian Pastors

 This is a satirical piece on why men should not be pastors from a Swedish Christian Blog. Here is what it says:

10. A man’s place is in the army.

9. For men who have children, their duties might distract them from the responsibilities of being a parent.

8. Their physical build indicates that men are more suited to tasks such as chopping down trees and wrestling mountain lions. It would be “unnatural” for them to do other forms of work.

7. Man was created before woman. It is therefore obvious that man was a prototype. Thus, they represent an experiment, rather than the crowning achievement of creation.

6. Men are too emotional to be priests or pastors. This is easily demonstrated by their conduct at football games and watching basketball tournaments.

5. Some men are handsome; they will distract women worshipers.

4. To be ordained pastor is to nurture the congregation. But this is not a traditional male role. Rather, throughout history, women have been considered to be not only more skilled than men at nurturing, but also more frequently attracted to it. This makes them the obvious choice for ordination.

3. Men are overly prone to violence. No really manly man wants to settle disputes by any means other than by fighting about it. Thus, they would be poor role models, as well as being dangerously unstable in positions of leadership.

2. Men can still be involved in church activities, even without being ordained. They can sweep paths, repair the church roof, and maybe even lead the singing on Father’s Day. By confining themselves to such traditional male roles, they can still be vitally important in the life of the Church.

1. In the New Testament account, the person who betrayed Jesus was a man. Thus, his lack of faith and ensuing punishment stands as a symbol of the subordinated position that all men should take.


Filed under Christianity, mission, Religion


Ben and I went to the barber yesterday – and the barber told us, using her high tech barber computer, that we had not been there for 72 weeks. Yards of hair was dispensed on the floor, and probably put in the trash. When it could have been auctioned on Ebay to pay for the Nintendo Wii. Like Britney! Check out!

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Filed under strange

The machine is us/ing us

a look at text, content, form and the digital world from Kansas State University professor Michael Wesch.

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Hannah is on the front page of the Sunday Daily Local!

My daughter Hannah is in the news today. She is the girl standing up in the main picture below. If you click on the picture, you will see a slightly larger picture and to read the article in its entirety click this link.

If the link doesn’t work – go to and search for Underground. The article is from February 11, 2007.

Here is some background: West Chester Fellowship Church started an outreach to teens called the Underground. Several college students and young adults  led up that ministry in the church basement- and Hannah and her friends discovered that it was a free and fun place to spend their Saturday nights. Pretty soon, a crowd of one hundred to two hundred teens (mostly dressed in black) were going to it on a regular basis. Things got a little wild with teens hanging out outside the building. Hopefully, the reference to sex in the article is about normal teen PDA (public display of affection), but in any case it freaked out the neighbors and store owners. Several parents volunteered to pray in the sanctuary, Christian bands were invited, and an evangelical Bible Study was initiated. Signs were put up to cut out obscenity, to be quiet for the neighbors etc., but there were still big problems so the Underground has been closed twice – and is currently closed.

There is a big need to reach out in love to these teenagers and to give them a safe all-age venue in downtown West Chester – and even better – the knowledge that God loves everybody (except for maybe self righteous hypocrites, which none of these kids are). So please pray that  these kids can initiate service projects to help the neighbors, and that the leaders would have wisdom on knowing how to best reach out to these kids- most of whom would never go to a church on Saturday night. Pray for the new pastor of the church – David Pearson – that he would chase after God like King David did, with all his heart and in reality. God loves these kids!

Hannah Cole in the News

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Filed under Christianity, love, mission, Religion

John F Kennedy’s: Speech on the NASA Moon Mission

There is something inspiring about this speech that captures one’s attention. Unlike Martin Luther King’s “I have a Dream” speech (so far) – the goal was attained. The challenge was met on time. Great goals are met by clear vision, clever planning, and sufficient resources. They require a plan, a desire to meet the plan, an equipping to do the plan, and determination and perseverence to fulfill the plan even when faced with setbacks like Apollo 1, where fire incinerated three astronauts – Virgil Grissom, Roger Chaffee and Ed White in the cockpit  of their spaceship. They were wearing flammable space suits and it took technicians many minutes to unscrew all the many bolts that held the hatch in place.

Despite setbacks – you can still do great things.

I tell you the truth, anyone who has faith in me will do what I have been doing. He will do even greater things than these, because I am going to the Father – John 14:12 NIV

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Filed under Astronomy, mission, moon, space travel