Saturday, June 30, 2007

I'm With Fred.

But is Fred with me? That's the question these days. I'm conservative, and have voted Republican since I graduated college and was cured of my youthful liberalism. However, in the rush to jump into the election waters for 2008 before the pool is filled, the Republicans have come up with a pretty lackluster field of candidates. All have their pluses and minuses, but none really seems to capture what conservatives are looking for these days: someone who believes in limited government, fiscal responsibility, and can be a leader in time of war, and a social conservative.

Enter Fred Thompson. While others debate the ins and outs of McCain, Giuliani, and Romney, Fred has swooped in and captured the hearts of many conservatives without even declaring his candidacy. His commentaries and speeches make conservative hearts skip a beat, and he seems to have the gravitas needed in a leader. Hence the question. No one knows how much of the Hollywood actor is in the commentaries, and if he has the strength of will to back it all up at the test. Giuliani has demonstrated his ability to lead in a crisis, and Romney has fairly good conservative credentials. Either one could possibly do the job, and do it well; but for now, I'm with Fred.

The Green Man.

If you wander into any medieval cathedral or parish church in England, you may find, hidden among the carvings of angels and saints, a strange figure. He is usually a small grotesque man's head surrounded by foliage or disgorging leafy vines. He is known as the Green Man. I spent some time in Britain during college, in the University's study abroad program. I had the opportunity to see Green Men and Imps in cathedrals and churches from Lincoln to our own small village chapel at Harlaxton. The Green Man was interesting enough from an architectural perspective, but it was the explanation for him that I found fascinating.

In the 11th century, when many of these churches and cathedrals date to, there was a distinct class divide between the peasant builders and stonewrights who built these structures, and the clergy who resided and instructed in them. Thus there was always an element of mistrust, since all that the lower classes knew of Christianity is what the educated, well-fed, and wealthy clergy told them. The vicar I knew at Harlaxton described it this way; "The Green Man was insurance," he told me. "The people who built these churches were not convinced that they would go to heaven, just because the priests told them so." If they did, then they could point to the cathedral they built and say to God, "Look what I built for you." But if the priests were wrong, and the builders ended up in the other place, they could point to the Green Man carved in the rafters and say "You're there too."

The point of this history lesson? I'm thankful that we live in a day and age where we have access to the Scriptures and can know for our own certainty that God loves us, and wishes to save us from our sins. Jesus Christ is our insurance policy, with the premiums paid and the deductible satisfied. Thanks to men like Gutenberg and Luther, we do not need to rely on a clergy class that we mistrust to tell us this.

And the Green Man? He's still there, amusing onlookers and scholars alike; for like other images of carven stone, he had to be lifted into place, and remains impotent.

New Look

I've been experimenting with the blog editing tools and have redone the template. I hope you like the changes, as it suits my personality better, and is more interesting than simple white. I've also changed the comments settings to allow comments by anyone, so drop me a line and say hi. Let me know what you think.

A Sultry Morning.

Well, not really, though it is not uncommon in Indiana at this time of year. Today dawned overcast and mild, and the family and I took advantage of it to get out for an early morning walk around the neighborhood before breakfast. I was reminded of the summer days when I was a boy, riding my bike around these same streets in the bright morning sunshine. It always seemed so peaceful then; I loved the quiet after everyone had driven off to work, and before the rest of the world came out of bed.

It's rare that we have a Saturday morning free to do something like that. My wife took some nice pictures, and we all enjoyed the fresh air. As we turned for home, the sun came out and the air started to grow warm. Time for the bacon and eggs.

Friday, June 29, 2007

Who Needs a Shiny Sink?

Well...I do. By now, dear reader, you have probably noticed my slim blogroll and visited the sites where I get my daily dose of opinion and thought. One of those is 'Shiny Sink,' the blog of my lovely and devoted wife, Alicia. I can't describe in mere words how much this lady means to me. Though a self-described 'messy' (whereas I prefer to identify with the more humble and apt 'slob'), she has always made my home warm and cheerful, whether it was a two room campus apartment, or our little ranch in the Indy suburbs. She blunts my sharp ego with her soft compassion, and makes each day a joy. She worries and frets, and at times it seems as if cheering her up is a second job, but the beauty she reveals when she smiles makes it well worth the effort. For my part, I try to be the comforter and provider that she deserves. She was even kind enough to give me a shout out on her blog, so I'll do the same. If you would, click the link and pay her a visit. Here's to you, my love!

Oh, and she does keep the sink shiny.

A Need for Speed

I recently told my wife during a blue funk that I felt like I was going through a mid-life crisis. I had been down about a lot of different things, and I was beginning to see visions of red sports cars dancing in my head. But alas, where the spirit is willing, the wallet is weak; the only red sports car I'll likely ever enjoy is 1/25 scale and sits on my hobby bench awaiting construction.

But it was my wife's response that struck me, and got me thinking about what was really bothering me. As I worked through those issues (and I need not burden you with them), I came to realize what the fabled fantasy car really is: it is a mirage designed to distract us from what we have achieved and gained in our lives. Often we focus on the fantasy and ignore the reality, and while some of us with the means may make the fantasy a reality, it still remains just that: a fantasy. We can drive our shiny car to our hearts content, and amass a wealth of speeding tickets in a vain attempt to feel young, but our families are the ones who suffer.

In the end, the funk ended, and I found the best way to recapture youth. I opened up to my wife, and told her anew why I had fallen in love with her in the first place. Now, after eleven years, the honeymoon is still going strong.

Blogger Lunch.

You know you're addicted to the internet when you rush home on your half-hour lunch break to check your favorite websites and make a quick blog post. However, I've not quite turned on my blinker for the prophetic change to the fast lane. While at work this morning, we found an Indiana driving manual printed entirely in Spanish. I had never seen one, though I must say, I'm not surprised that such a creature exists. I work in a neighborhood with a growing latino population. Yet, I think back a mere four generations when my family came to the USA from Germany and endured the lines at Ellis Island. They did not have it so easy, and I wonder sometimes, what if they had?

Thursday, June 28, 2007

Be it Ever so Humble...

Let's face it: I love Indiana. I grew up here, went to school here, and like John Mellencamp, will probably be buried here. I've been many places around the country and in Europe, and I've enjoyed visiting each one. Yet, whether it was walking through the Tuscan hills, picnicking in the English Midlands, or driving in the Pacific Northwest, I always found something that reminded me of the Hoosier State. There's just nothing quite like sunset in the Heartland on a warm autumn day. Though I love to travel, and plan to visit many more places, the brisk breezes and golden fields will always call me back.


Greetings! Welcome to my blog. I read blogs, comment on blogs, yet have just now only taken the plunge to actually write a blog, so be patient with me while I learn what is what.

A brief introduction, if you will. You may call me Jezla. That is not really my name, but it is a handle I commonly use at various forums around the internet, so that's what I will call myself here. I live and work in Indianapolis, home of the Super Bowl winning Colts and the Indy 500. I have a lovely wife and three wonderful kids. When I am not taking care of them, I work for a national grocery chain and spend my free time playing computer games. I am Christian, and my politics tend toward the conservative. I am an unabashed city boy, but I enjoy getting out "into nature" every once and a while. I like to read, especially history and fantasy (which coincide more often than I'd like), and I occasionally dabble at writing.

That should be enough to go on, I think. I hope you will enjoy my musings, and thanks for reading!