Wednesday, December 31, 2008
I decided to go for a final 2008 run this afternoon. Some runners from a local running club were going to run Waldo Canyon, which I have run many times, and so I thought I would give it a go. I particularly wanted to get out on a little longer run to test my knee after weeks of resting it...
...what a rude awakening!
I tried to keep pace with them up the first section, and did so for most of it, but went anaerobic and struggled to breathe the rest of the run (7.5 M in the mountains). I am really bummin' 'cause of my recently announced plan to run the Grand Canyon R2R2R in May 2009. I realize now how much I have to train, and how far I have fallen since October, when I was able to run 50K fairly easily.
I was one of the last ones in tonight (I think 4th from the last), and while everyone else was having a beer in the parking lot, I ran straight to my car and drove off (totally anti-social...but also, I was totally hypoxic!)
THE plan to start immediately when I get home from the wedding: Run and lose the extra 5-10 I picked up during this rest time!
Over at the Reformation21 Blog, Ligon Ducan has posted 10 reasons why you should join in on the reading of Calvin's Institutes this year...
Why should you read through Calvin's Institutes...in 2009?
1. Because it the most important book written in the last 500 years.
2. Because it is foundational for every Reformed systematic theology ever since.
3. Because Calvin was the best exegete in the history of Christianity.
4. Because Calvin is one of the five greatest theologians in Christian history.
5. Because he wrote it as a "sum of piety" not as an arid, speculative dogmatic treatise.
6. Because it gave J.I. Packer the idea for "Knowing God."
7. Because Calvin thought and wrote succintly and clearly. "Brevitas et claritas" was his motto - brief and clear!
8. Because you will know God better, if you read it prayerfully and believingly.
9. Because it's the 500th anniversary year of Calvin's birthday. Don't be a party pooper.
10. Because I agree with what Derek and Iain say in their posts.
Who has been historically known as "The Theologian of the Holy Spirit"?
Whose personal slogan was "Here Lord, I offer my heart sincerely and promptly?"
Who often sold portions of his personal library to buy new sheets and provisions for the widows of Protestant pastors whose husbands had been murdered in their beds by Roman Catholics?
Whose writings influenced the governments of 5 major western countries (England, Scotland, France, the Netherlands, and the United States)?
Who was born July 10, 1509, thus making this coming year, 2009, the quincentenary year (500th) of his birth?
Excluding the Apostles, the greatest theologians in the history of the Christian Church were probably Augustine, Athanasius, Luther, and Calvin. While Calvin is often derided and maligned, he is rarely read. In some circles you would think he had horns and a pointed tail. But the truth is, he was a meek and quiet man, totally devoted to God and His Word, and his labors have had lasting influence on not just the Church, but the entire world.
Therefore, I want to invite whoever, young or old (or in the middle), who is interested, to read through his Institutes of the Christian Religion with me in 2009. The best way to understand Calvin is to read him for yourself, and you will be amazed at what you will learn for your effort.
A PDF of a reading plan for 2009 that skips the Lord's Day each week is available here. I plan to blog some comments each week here throughout the year.
Monday, December 29, 2008
"As opportunities arise...plans change."
I have a new running goal for the first half of this year...
...the Grand Canyon R2R2R!
Recently C.R.U.D. announced this as its 2009 Spring trip and I can't resist it. Not only do I love the Grand Canyon, but to be able to be out there with some really experienced and talented runners will, I hope, be a plus in my shot at an honorable completion. Paul DeWitt writes:
"The route that the bulk of us will be taking is:
Down South Kaibab, up North Kaibab, down North Kaibab, up Bright Angel. This isn’t the fastest route but allows us to see both main south side trails and is the route I’ve taken before.
Note: All are welcome. I think most of us will be doing the full R2R2R, which is about 43 miles and 13,000 feet vertical but obviously you can also just go down to the river and back. If there is anyone who wishes to drive to the North Rim, there would also be the possibility of doing a R2R trip. For those planning the full trip (43 miles), plan on about one hour less than your San Juan 50 time."
My problem with the "plan on about an hour less than your San Juan 50 time" is that I have not done San Juan! So...I have a ton of training to do, but I am pretty sure that I can do it. Above, I spoke of an "honorable completion", and what I mean by this is that I actually run the bulk of it and don't come strolling in 20 hours later in the dark, or something like that.
I am talking with my good friend Jorge about coming along as well...I think he is game (but he hasn't run a marathon yet)!
Here is my tentative plan for training:
1. Keep running my regular 10 mile route in the Garden of the Gods 2-3 times each week.
2. Thursday tempo runs with C.R.U.D. (Through the winter, up Cheyenne Canyon; in the spring, up Barr Trail)
3. Start getting out for the Saturday long runs with C.R.U.D.
5. Pikes Peak Road Runners Winter Series (10K, 8M, 10M, and 20K)
6. As early as possible in 2009, run a Pikes Peak marathon.
7. In March, run a reverse Pikes Peak marathon (drive to the top, park, and run down to Manitou Springs...then back up to the summit)
8. In April, run from my house to the summit of Pikes Peak and back.
These extreme climbs, etc. are to get ready for the 13,000 feet of elevation gain on the R2R2R run. I have to be able to run down, back up, back down, and then finally back up out of the Canyon.
Oh, and it is all dependent on how my knee holds up...
Monday, December 22, 2008
I have still been sore in my knee after even a short 3 mile run. I tried resting for a couple weeks, but it came right back. I started reading on the internet about something called "bursitis" and I think it is what I have. There are these little sacks of fluid in all our major joints that are there to help us keep from injuring ourselves when over worked. I think that I have enflamed one of these sacks in my knee joint, and it keeps swelling every time I go running. This causes a bit of pain while I run, an especially after as my muscles stiffen up.
I think that I am deficient in the fluids that keep us lubricated in the joints and so I have been taking Glucosemene and Chondroitin, and I ran today with my daughter and finally had no pain.
Monday, December 15, 2008
Luke chapter 22 is an interesting study in the phenomena of backsliding. Backsliding is when a Christian moves backwards instead of forwards in their walk of faith. In this chapter we see some particular actions and heart attitudes that are typically found in those who grow cold and fall into sin. These are seen in the disciples words and actions, and particularly in Peter's life.
To begin with, we want to notice the pride that was shown to be in the disciples' hearts back in verse 24. Jesus had just revealed that He would give His life for them—that His body would be torn and His blood would be shed—and instead of being deeply moved and humbled by this revelation, they begin to argue about who is the greatest among them.
Following this, Jesus tells Peter that he will be attacked by the devil but not to fret because He will be praying for him and will restore him after he falls. Instead of being humbled by this revelation Peter swells with pride and asserts that he will never deny the Lord, but is ready to die for Him. Jesus tells him that before the rooster will crow that very day, Peter will have denied Him 3 times...before the end of this chapter, self-assured Peter will deny Christ rather than be honest with a slave girl.
The next thing we see is the Apostles hearing the Word of Christ, as pertaining to only their earthly lives. Jesus has spoken about the coming change of situation and the spiritual trials that they will face, but all they can think about—as has been the case throughout Christ's ministry—are things that concern the immediate issues of life. They are not hearing the spiritual message—things which concern the eternal—rather they are only hearing an earthly lesson—things which pertain merely to the temporal.
In the section which records Jesus in the Garden of Gethsemane, we see their lack of prayer. Jesus had warned them that hard trials are coming and therefore they needed to be in prayer, and yet they did not heed His warning. They show no spiritual discipline in their lives—no willingness to forgo their own comfort for Kingdom concerns—and thus instead of praying we find them sleeping.
Next, as the mob comes to arrest Jesus we observe them pull swords and cut off the servant’s ear. What we are see here is that they resort to earthly measures in the midst of trial. The hour has come and instead of relaying on the power of God, they put their trust in their own strength and seek to bring deliverance by their own measures.
And finally, as we read in verse 54 as the case was with Peter, he was following Him at a distance. Although this is a factual description of Peter's proximity to Christ as He is being led away, it is also descriptive of the backslider's method of operation. They comfort themselves with the thought that they are following Christ, but they are really far from Him, only following Him, as it were, at a distance. And when one follows Christ only at a distance, they fall into the practice that we see Peter engaged in here—hanging out with bad company—and then eventually falling from Christ.
Again, in review, the process of backsliding as we see it presented in this chapter is:
1.Pride in the heart—thinking we are better than we really are—an inflated view of our own greatness and superiority to others.
2.Not believing and heeding the Word of God as it speaks to our weakness—this flows out of a heart of pride, and disregards or does not take deadly serious what the Bible says about our sinfulness and weakness.
3.Using the Word of God as a self-help manual for our earthly concerns—this too flows from the first 2, for when you think highly of yourself and disregard the Bible's teaching about your sinfulness and need of salvation, you will not be looking for a Savior, but instead you will be looking for tips on self-improvement, life motivation, or psychological insights.
4.Neglecting the means of grace and spiritual disciplines like prayer—you see, when you misunderstand your real need, you will most likely employ and elevate the wrong measures to help yourself. Prayer makes no sense if your real need, as you perceive it, is self-improvement. You don't need time alone with God, you need time in front of a mirror. And a 'mirror' can come in many forms.
5.Resorting to worldly ways and methods and helps in trials—you see, this too flows out of what has come previously, because if you do not perceive your problem to be radical, to the core, sin and alienation from God—if you think you're pretty good and that all you need is to simply clean yourself up, then you will seek some superficial measure to help your problem. Normally this involves resorting to totally worldly methods of self-improvement or 'mirrors' in some form or another. It might be a small group therapy session, it might be devotional methodology, it might be a specific person—other than Christ—that you look to, to help you improve.
6.Following Christ only at a distance and hanging out with bad company—this too follows what has come before. Whether by outright worldliness or by putting your stock in a human measure or method—versus the ordained means of grace—we drift away from Christ. We pull back and away from Him and He gets further and further away from our view. Our tastes change, our habits morph, and the company we keep shows where our hearts really are. And do not fool yourself, bad company comes in various forms—movies, music, friends, magazines, books, websites, etc.
This is the recipe for spiritual disaster. This is the path that the disciples walked down in this chapter. These are the practices that led to Peter's denial.
Now, the means of avoiding backsliding, and the way to continue to move forward in your growth in grace, is exactly the opposite of each of these:
1.Humble yourself before God
2.Heed what the Word says about your weakness
3.Look to the Word as a revelation of your true need: Christ and His salvation
4.Attend yourself to the means of the grace—those which God calls you to, not those you think you need—and specifically, and especially, private prayer
5.Walk by faith, and not by sight—you will have to trust God and His promises...not your own intuition and wisdom
6.Draw near to Christ, seek to follow Him closely, and avoid bad company
Tuesday, November 11, 2008
Over the weekend of October 31-November 2 the Springs Reformed Church (RPCNA) hosted the first annual Colorado Springs Reformation Day Conference. Dr. R. Scott Clark of Westminster Seminary California was the speaker and addressed the general theme of "Recovering the Reformation". It was a great time had by all and we look forward to next year when Dr. Carl Trueman will speak on the theme of "Martin Luther: Saint & Sinner".
Monday, November 10, 2008
Wednesday, October 29, 2008
Tuesday, October 28, 2008
O.K...so I guess I did something to my knee running Palo Duro. It didn't hurt the entire run, but the next morning I felt like I had wacked in on something...like a bruise. My wife, who is a highly skilled massage therapist, says I probably bruised a tendon and it just needs to rest. That is fine, but I am itching to run!
In fact, I still plan to run the Pikes Peak Marathon route before the end of the year, only because I want to run the two, North American, marathons with the highest and lowest points respectively-Pikes Peak and Death Valley-in a single year. This knee thing though is slowing me down right now...
I ran about 9 miles in the Garden of the Gods yesterday with my wife, but it bugged me all day. I ran about 3 miles last Saturday, and I could feel it then too. I thought that with almost a week off since the 50K, I would be good to go, but today my knee feels like it did the day after Palo Duro...? I might try to take a whole week off of any running at all, have Elke work on it, and see if that wont get me through this right now.
I plan to solo/self support the Pikes Peak run, stashing a few fuel drops on the way up, and, taking advantage (by way of a few dollars in cash), of Barr Camp and the snack bar at the summit (this will be one time I am glad it is there). I should be able to get'r done in about 6 hours. The big question is whether or not the dog (Ezra) can make this run. He normally does about 5-15 miles at a time with me, but I am not sure that he can do 26.2 of moutain running. He is going on 8 years old, but acts like he is 3. So immature...
...here is the story:
GARDEN GROVE, California — Crystal Cathedral founder Reverend Robert H. Schuller has removed his son as preacher on the church's weekly "Hour of Power" syndicated TV broadcast.
Schuller said in a statement read to some 450 congregants Saturday by church president Jim Coleman that he and his son, Robert A. Schuller, "have different ideas as to the direction and the vision for this ministry."
"For this lack of shared vision and the jeopardy in which this is placing this entire ministry, it has become necessary for Robert and me to part ways," Schuller said.
Robert A. Schuller will remain as senior pastor of the Crystal Cathedral, though it was unknown whether he will continue to preach, a church spokesman told the Los Angeles Times.
The elder Schuller said in the statement that he was bringing in guest pastors to preach during the show.
Church officials did not return messages left Saturday seeking comment from Robert A. Schuller and details about what prompted the schism between him and his father.
Robert H. Schuller had turned over the church ministries and the "Hour of Power" TV program to his son during an emotional service at the Crystal Cathedral in January 2006.
Monday, October 27, 2008
Rome had polluted both the Gospel and the Worship of God by adding to what God had given. In the Gospel, they made the fatal error of putting sanctification (i.e. the process of becoming more righteous) before justification (i.e. the declaration of the verdict 'not guilty'). This effectively turned justification, which biblically is a singular, one-time, ACT, into a PROCESS. And particularly a process that conditioned justification upon a persons righteousness. That is, we must first be sanctified in order to be justified.
But the glorious truth of the Gospel is that God justifies the UNGOLDY. It is "good news" to sinners...not to saints. People who are well do not need a physician...but those who are sick do. Jesus came to seek and save the lost. But Rome had said that salvation is something that you must work out and attain to. The Reformation recovered the free grace of the biblical Gospel of Jesus Christ.
And, as with the Gospel, the Reformation recovered pure worship, meaning, that they took away all the additions that had been added to what God had given. The smells and bells, the new inovations that sought to make the worshipper feel like he or she was in the presence of God, etc. The rule of worship that the Reformers found in Scripture is that we should only do what God commmands. That is, whatever is not commanded is forbidden to be added to our worship.
This was a great relief to those who desired to draw near to God on His terms, but were greatly hindered by Romes props, etc. Jesus called for worship that was in Spirit and Truth, and this is what the Reformation sought to return to.
Sunday, October 26, 2008
Not really...not at all. But, I do find this funny. I also think it is amazing that in this day and age, in light of all that is allowed to be said out there-all the religion 'bashing' that goes on in the name of 'free speech'-that the gays would get a serious ear from anyone on this. Why, when believers are mocked, is it not contributing to "a climate of intolerance"? But, when an 82 year-old comedian says something that is really funny, we're supposed to hold our cap in hand and show contrition...?
I was in New Zealand 20 years ago and I remember joking with friends there then about how 'gay' cricket seemed. So when I heard that Lewis said, "Oh, cricket? It's a fag's game. What are you, nuts?" I busted up laughing my head off!
I think he should counter-complain against the GLAAD gays for slurring his comments as, "cheap homophobia". That's just plain mean. I think they are being really irresponsible by saying that about him. I think they might have hurt his feelings by saying that...
Here is the news report:
CANBERRA, Australia — Veteran comedian Jerry Lewis is under fire again for making an anti-gay slur on Australian television similar to one he apologized for using on his annual U.S. telethon a year ago.The 82-year-old King of Comedy dropped the slur when he was asked by a Network Ten national TV reporter following a press conference in Sydney on Friday for his opinion on the Australian nation sport of cricket."Oh, cricket? It's a f— game. What are you, nuts?" Lewis replied.
The network broadcast the comment in full on its Friday evening news bulletin along with footage of Lewis handling an imaginary cricket bat with an effeminate gesture.
Lewis apologized in September last year for using the term "illiterate f---" in Las Vegas during his annual Labor Day telethon that raises money for the Muscular Dystrophy Association.
In a statement released a day later, he described the slur as a "bad choice of words."
New York-based media discrimination watchdog Gay & Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation, or GLAAD, called for Lewis to again apologize.
GLAAD president Neil G. Giuliano said in a statement that "in an effort to be humorous, he has once again managed to offend and defame the gay community."
"For someone so well-known for helping others, Mr. Lewis shows an incredible lack of dignity and respect when he makes comments that contribute to a climate of intolerance," Giuliano added.
The Australian Coalition for Equality, a gay rights group, also called for an apology.
"Mr. Lewis is widely admired by many people for his talent and his charity work, so his words carry great weight," coalition spokesman Rodney Croome told The Associated Press on Saturday.
"He owes an apology to the gay community, to cricketers and to comedians for debasing their trade with his cheap homophobia," Croome added.
The comedian's Australian spokeswoman, Julie Cavanagh, said Saturday that Lewis did not intend to comment.
Lewis held Friday's press conference to promote his latest stage show that is touring Australia. It is a retrospective of his career that includes show tunes with a 24-piece band, excerpts from his scores of movies and television shows, and his trademark slapstick comedy.
Saturday, October 25, 2008
The athletes were competing in the Original Mountain Marathon, a two-day race across rough country in Britain's Lake District, about 300 miles north of London. High winds and heavy rain affected much of northwest England on Saturday.
According to the marathon's Web site, the race was called off just after noon Saturday. It's unknown how many people are stranded in the mountains."It is impossible to say how many people are up there because there is no mobile (phone) reception," said Bob Liddell, a member of a local mountain rescue team. "I don't believe the organizers will have been able to account for everyone at this stage."
Liddell said rescue teams would not be using Royal Air Force search-and-rescue helicopters because of the wind.In a statement, Cumbria Police said about 840 people had taken shelter in four different locations in the area, including a school, farm, and outdoor center.
"The competitors are mainly seasoned mountaineers, and are expected to be carrying suitable equipment to cope with adverse weather," the release said.
The Original Mountain Marathon Web site says the race was founded in 1968. Teams are "totally self-supporting," and competitors do not carry global positioning systems or mobile telephones, the Web site says.
Competitors race in pairs and carry their tents, clothing and enough food for 36 hours.
"The ethos of the event is to be totally self-reliant, in the wilds, carrying all equipment, no outside support," the Web site says.
"The event is for experienced fell (large hill) runners and everyone should have been able to cope," said Shane Ohly, who spoke to the BBC after completing the race. He said that if competitors got into difficulty they should be able to get into their tents to ride out any bad weather.
Mark Weir, who manages a mine in the area, said he had sheltered about 300 athletes.
"The weather is absolutely horrendous and it's a scene of chaos up here," he said.
The sleepmonsters.co.uk Web site, which filed reports on the race, said conditions had deteriorated throughout the afternoon.
"It seems likely many of those retiring will have to spend the night in whatever shelter they can find ... and everyone will have to wait until the rain stops and the waters subside," the Web site said.
None of the race organizers were immediately available for comment.
According to local hospitals and rescue services, more than a dozen people were treated for minor injuries and mild hypothermia.
The Reformation was an amazing time in the history of the Christian Church. All at the same time it was a rebuke, a recovery, and a rupture. Rome had blown it and needed rebuking. The Gospel had been buried and needed recovering. But, neither of these necessities could happen without struggle, pain, and consequences...a rupture. On October 31, 1517 Martin Luther nailed 95 theses on the church door in Wittenburg, Germany, and never again would the world be the same. From that hammer blow came Calvin, Zwingli, and Knox; the clearest articulation of the Gospel of free grace ever formulated by the Church; the purest manner of worship after the Apostles. But today, as we sit back and ponder the finer points of theology, we forget that the Reformation struggle, which America owes its' existance from, was one to the death. These were not the days of endless and meaningless Ph.D.s, prolific self-publishing and self-promotion, or internet chat groups. When you came to a conviction, it would most likely mean your life. This is why I tend to trust the Reformers more than today's psuedo-scholars.
More to come...
Monday, October 20, 2008
Well, I did my first "ultra" this past Saturday in Palo Duro Canyon State Park, TX. We loaded the kids in 'Vanmorisfun' (our '90 VW Westfalia Camper), and drove down through New Mexico for a very quick weekend. We camped in the canyon with a few of the guys and families from C.R.U.D. (Coloradians Running Ultra Distances), and were totally attacked by bugs! That part was lame...
...the race began at 7:00am, and we ran the first hour in the dark by headlamp. I made the mistake of going to the back of the pack, instead of positioning myself more in the middle. I ended up having to risk ankle-twisting, as I was passing people for the first 2-3 miles of single-track in the dark. After about 2 miles I caught Teddy from C.R.U.D., who seemed to be fighting to get past slow-pokes as well, and ran with him for about 6 miles 'til he dropped me (he ended up winning the masters-over 50-division)!
The next 10 miles or so, my stomach gave me problems. I had to keep my pace down or else I would almost barf. On top of that, I kept feeling like one of the safety pins holding my number on was scratching me. I looked down, and I had a big, red, blood stain around my left peck...my (white tech) shirt had rubbed off the ends of my nipples. I took my shirt off and ran the rest of the race shirtless, which given the hot weather, was just fine. The nausia kept up, but finally, at about mile 25, I got my tummy back and was able to finish the last 6 miles pretty strong. I finished at 6:15, which is really slow, but it was great to see that I could do this distance pretty reasonably, and, that longer races are possible for me.
We ended up getting back to Amarillo, TX for church on Sunday morning and visited the Orthodox Presbyterian Church there. We had a great time of worship and fellowship with them, and ate lunch at the church building with the congregation.
I am already looking forward to hopefully running the 50 miler next year, and getting back to the church there in Amarillo. I also look forward to running and learning more with the C.R.U.D. guys.
Saturday, October 11, 2008
Monday 10/06- Ran 9 miles in the Garden of the Gods
Wednesday 10/08 Biked 2 miles
Thursday 10/09-Ran 6 miles in the Garden of the Gods
Friday 10/10-Biked 10 miles
Saturday 10/11-Ran 6 miles in the Garden of the Gods
Total Running: 21 miles
Total Biking: 12 miles
Saturday, October 04, 2008
Saturday 9/27-Ran 6 miles in the Garden of the Gods
Monday 9/29-Biked 2, Ran 19 miles in the Garden of the Gods
Wednesday 10/1-Biked 10 miles
Thursday 10/2- Ran 10.5 miles at Rampart Res.
Satuday 10/4-Biked 10, hiked 2.5 Mt. Cutler
Total Running: 35.5
Total Biking: 22
In a few weeks, I will be attempting my first true "ultra" marathon, the Palo Dura 50k trail run. I actually have my sights on a 50 miler next year (actually, Palo Dura also has a 50 miler simultaneous with the 50k but I am not ready for that yet), so this will be a good test and revealer of where I am right now. Thus far this year, I have run the Death Valley All Trail Marathon (Feb.), the Pikes Peak Ascent (August), the Imogene Pass Run (Sept.), and, Palo Duro (Oct.) will do it for the year. Next year I hope to run Death Valley again (Feb.), Greenland 50k (Apr.), the Collegiate Peaks 25 miler (Apr.), and, if schedules work out right, the Great Wall Marathon in China (May)! Then, later in the year, I hope to do the 50 mile version of Palo Dura...
Saturday, September 13, 2008
The Imogene Pass Run (IPR) is a 17.1 mile point-to-point mountain race within the western San Juan mountains of Colorado, run along a route which connects the towns of Ouray (7810 ft.) and Telluride (8820 ft.) by way of 13,120 foot Imogene Pass. The IPR is held on the first Saturday after the Labor Day holiday, at the seasonal transition from late Summer to early Fall. Mountain weather at this time is famously "squirrelly" (rapidly changeable), and participants through the years have encountered a variety of weather conditions ranging from virtually perfect to terrible. This spectrum of weather during the race is in fact part of its lure and mystique. In good weather years the challenge of the mountainous traverse is rewarded by unsurpassed vistas and no small feeling of accomplishment upon crossing the finish line. In bad weather years, the wind, fog, rain and/or snow along the course make the successful arrival in Telluride a virtual rite of passage into the realm of true mountain running.
Each participant should keep in mind that the IPR is a mountain run in every sense of the word, and that "The Mountains Don't Care". The reality is that despite whatever emotions we may have for the mountains and their environment, they are in fact unfeeling objects and they follow the natural rules of physics which are not always benevolent toward living creatures, great or small. It is up to the participants themselves to be properly prepared for the challenges of this alpine foot journey, fair weather or foul. Despite the enthusiastic volunteer support at intervals along the course, each participant is ultimately responsible for his or her own safety and risk.
Except for short pavement stretches at the start and finish and a short trail section immediately below the pass, the IPR is run along a course consisting of normal to 4x4 dirt road. This is a traditional summer travel way between Ouray and Telluride and there may be minor vehicle traffic during the race. A total of six aid stations will be manned during the race (including one at the summit), support personnel will be stationed at critical junctions along the course, and numbered orange traffic cones will be placed at every mile interval from the start to the finish.
Wednesday, September 03, 2008
Tuesday, August 19, 2008
The son of a top Hamas leader has converted to Christianity and prays someday his family will also accept Jesus Christ as their savior, an Israeli newspaper reported. Masab Yousef, son of West Bank Hamas leader Sheik Hassan Yousef, revealed for the first time in an exclusive interview with Haaretz newspaper that he has left Islam and is now a Christian. Prior to the interview's publication last Thursday, Yousef's family did not know of his faith conversion even though he is in regular contact with them. "[T]his interview will open many people's eyes, it will shake Islam from the roots, and I'm not exaggerating," Yousef, who now resides in the United States, said. "What other case do you know where a son of a Hamas leader,who was raised on the tenets of extremist Islam, comes out against it?" Yousef, who is now 30-years-old, was first exposed to Christianity eight years ago while in Jerusalem where out of curiosity he accepted an invitation to hear about Christianity. Afterwards, he became "enthusiastic"about what he heard and would secretly read the Bible every day. "A verse like 'Love thine enemy' had a great influence on me," Yousef recalled. "At this stage I was still a Muslim and I thought that I would remain one. But every day I saw the terrible things done in the name of religion by those who considered themselves 'great believers.' "I studied Islam more thoroughly and found no answers there. I re-examinedthe Koran and the principals of the faith and found how it is mistaken and misleading." But with Christianity, Yousef said he could understand God as revealed through Jesus Christ. He said he could talk about God and Jesus for days, but Muslims are not able to say anything about God. "I consider Islam a big lie," said the son of one of Hamas' founders. "The people who supposedly represent the religion admired Mohammed more than God, killed innocent people in the name of Islam, beat their wives and don't have any idea what God is. "I have no doubt that they'll go to hell. I have a message for them: There is only one way to Paradise - the way of Jesus who sacrificed himself on the cross for all of us." Four years ago, Yousef decided to convert to Christianity but did not let his family know. He still helped his father with his political activities,and his father only knew his son had Christian friends. "I felt responsible. It was better for me to be there rather than a gang of fools who would poison his mind," Yousef explained. "I tried to understand those people, their thoughts, in order to change them from inside by means of a strong person like my father, who admitted to me in the past that he does not support suicide attacks." Yousef described his father as a moderate Hamas leader. But even before his encounter with Christianity, Yousef had already become disenchanted with Hamas and Islam while being imprisoned at the age of 18years old for heading a youth Islamic movement at his high school. He described the Hamas leaders he met in prison as people with "no morals"and "no integrity," although they hide their corruption better than Fatah party members. "Nobody knows them and how they operate as well as I do," Yousef said, recalling how the family of Hamas members killed by Israel were forced to beg for financial assistance while the leadership "abandoned" them and "wasted" tens of thousands of dollars a month only on security for themselves. "Then (in prison) I understood that not everyone in Hamas is like my father. He's a nice, friendly man. But I discovered how evil his colleagues are, "Yousef said. "After my release I lost the faith I had in those who ostensibly represented Islam." Hamas is considered a terrorist group by the United States, Israel, and many Western countries. The group has publicly vowed to destroy Israel. Now Yousef, the eldest son of Sheikh Yousef, says he "admires" Israel. "You Jews should be aware: You will never, but never have peace with Hamas," Yousef stated. "Islam, as the ideology that guides them, will not allow them to achieve a peace agreement with the Jews. They believe that tradition says that the Prophet Mohammed fought against the Jews and that therefore they must continue to fight them to the death." He denounced the "entire" Palestinian society as one that "sanctifies death and the suicide terrorist." "In Palestinian culture a suicide terrorist becomes a hero, a martyr. Sheiks tell their students about the 'heroism of the shaheeds (martyr).'" Yousef highlighted that Hamas was the first to use suicide bombers as weapons against civilians. "They (Hamas) are blind and ignorant. It's true, there are good and bad people everywhere, but Hamas supporters don't understand that they are led by a wicked and cruel group that brainwashes the children and gets them to believe that if they carry out a suicide attack they'll get to Paradise," he said. The Muslim-turned-Christian says he does not think Islam will survive formore than 25 years because the truth about Islam will be exposed given the mass communication available in the modern age. For his part, Yousef says he hopes to "open the eyes" of Muslims and "reveal the truth" to them about Islam and Christianity with the goal to "take them out of the darkness and the prison of Islam." "In that way they'll have an opportunity to correct their mistakes, to become better people and to bring a chance for peace in the Middle East," he said. Yousef, who has taken the biblical name of Joseph, said he dreams of one day becoming a writer to tell his personal story and about the Middle East conflicts. "But at the moment, at least, my ambitions are only to find work, a place to live," Yousef admits. "I have no money, I have no apartment," said the son of the Hamas leader who left behind properties in Ramallah to find true freedom. "I was about to become one of those homeless people [in the United States]," he confessed, "but people from the church are helping me. I'm dependent on them." He also dreams that someday he can return to his homeland and his family will accept Jesus Christ. "I know that I'm endangering my life and am even liable to lose my father, but I hope that he'll understand this and that God will give him and my family patience and willingness to open their eyes to Jesus and to Christianity," Yousef said. "Maybe one day I'll be able to return to Palestine and to Ramallah with Jesus, in the Kingdom of God."
Ethan Cole: Christian Post Reporter