Aug 25 2008

Panic Vs. Complacency – The hurricane that wasn’t

Jamie Barrows

This past weekend we had a hurricane/tropical storm hit the Pensacola area. Now Pensacola is no stranger to hurricanes. In the recent past we’ve had several large ones. Ivan and Denis both caused a significant amount of damage to the area. But this hurricane, Fay, had actually made landfall almost a week before.

Now, if you know anything about hurricanes, you know that hurricanes build strength over water and lose it over land. Fay made landfall on the tip of the Florida peninsula the weekend before and had been working it’s way up the whole week. It had followed the coast line and remained just enough over water to keep from dissipating, but far enough over land to keep it from really regaining any strength. So it dropped enormous amounts of water in the form of rain wherever it went, but didn’t have the strength to cause any real damage.

So for most of us, who have been through hurricanes, it wasn’t too worrying. After all, the storm was nothing but a big rainstorm. That isn’t to say we weren’t prepared. We had our hurricane kits and had made sure our insurance was up to date. But we do that every year when hurricane season starts. So we didn’t bother to make any special plans or preparations for this storm.

Other people, who I assume had never been through a hurricane, were in full panic mode. Every grocery store in the area was out of ice and bottled water. Batteries, canned food, and emergency supplies flew off the shelves. There were lines at gas stations for people getting gas for their home generators. I even heard of people evacuating the area!

And what ended up happening? The storm completely dissipated as it hit the Pensacola area. We didn’t even get as much rain as we were expecting. So the panic filled shopping and evacuations were completely unneeded. I just hope that this little hurricane that wasn’t, doesn’t cause people to become complacent and leave them unprepared when the next storm comes. Because when a real storm hits the area, the purchasing of emergency supplies and even evacuations will be necessary.

Aug 23 2008

New family website

Jamie Barrows

I just spent the day setting up a new family website. I’m using wordpress mu as the back end for it. The cool thing about using wordpress mu, rather than standard wordpress, is that you can set up each user with their own site using subdomains.
So each of my sisters and brothers can have their own customized site. Check it out. www.BarrowsNotes.com

Aug 23 2008

New iPhone

Jamie Barrows

I finally did it. I gave in to the pressure and bought an iPhone. I’ve had a Blackberry for a while now, but I finally decided to switch to the iPhone. The push email ability and the new 3G network were big factors in the decision.

Aug 19 2008

Interesting People

Jamie Barrows

Thursday I had a rather interesting and odd event happen to me. Something that seems rather bizzare and that reminded me of the many strange and odd people that live in our country.
I had worked late Wednesday night, and hadn’t gotten to bed until about 2 am. So Thursday morning I was kind of sleeping in. I didn’t have to go to work, until 2 pm. So there was no reason not to catch up on the sleep I had missed the day before.

Around 9 am I woke up to hear someone knocking on the door of the house. Now, I was still pretty tired and I really didn’t want to wake up. So I waited to see if Stacey(my sister in law) would get up to answer it. But after the third knock, I realized that either Stacey wasn’t home, or she wasn’t going to wake up. So I got up, pulled on a pair of pants, and rushed down stairs to answer the door.
I’m sure I looked pretty wild. Barefoot, no shirt, my hair sticking up all over the place. I really wasn’t all that presentable. And the truth is I wasn’t very awake yet either.

So when I opened the door, I wasn’t really prepared for what I saw. There was the most backwoods, redneck looking lady I’ve ever seen standing at my door. She was wearing some type of flannel shirt and a pair of old jeans. But what really hit me, was that she was missing some teeth.

The first thing she did was hand me a paper that looked like it had been drawn with a crayon. Now remember, I’m not all that awake yet. So while I’m staring rather blankly at the paper, trying to decipher the crayon hieroglyphics she had drawn on it, she starts talking to me. (Click the thumb to see the paper she gave me)

It turns out, that she wants to know if she and her husband can have an old metal cage that had been left on the property by the previous owners of the property. I had been meaning to get rid of it ever since I moved in, but never got around to it.

So, still not all that awake, I told her to go ahead and take it. She gets this huge grin on her face(remember the missing teeth) and turns around to give her husband a thumbs up. Which caused me to look out at the street in front of my house. And there I saw the oldest most beat up truck I’ve seen in a long time. Her husband was just starting to get out of the truck. And believe me, he was just as redneck as she was. He started unloading sledge hammers to beat the cage apart with, and she ran down the stairs off my porch like she was afraid I might change my mind about letting them have the old cage.

They beat the cage apart, loaded it into the old truck and drove off. The strangest thing I ever saw.

Aug 4 2008

What happened to church?

Jamie Barrows

What happened to church? When did church become a chore? When did it become a duty rather than a joy? For many people, church is just that. A place where people go because they have to, rather than because they want to. I don’t mean they don’t want to go. They do, but not because they like it. Rather they want to go because they feel like it is the right thing to do.

But it shouldn’t be that way. Church should be a place we want to be. Attending church should be the highlight of the week. That’s the way it was for the early church. Acts is full of stories about the new believers. And it’s clear that they enjoyed getting together. They didn’t see it as a duty or a chore. They gladly attended every service they could. Thousands would show up to hear the apostles speak and to have fellowship with each other. And it wasn’t about the the facilities, the comfortable seats, or the entertainment. The early churches were meeting in homes and outdoor fields. And yet they clearly had great joy and happiness. Everyone, no matter what their station or class was welcome. It didn’t matter who or what they had done. All that mattered was that they had accepted Jesus. Jesus loved them, and that meant they were family. And all of them enjoyed getting together to worship and enjoy Jesus. So what happened?

Why isn’t it that way today. We sing songs of worship, but we don’t think about what we are saying. The way we sing them is empty and meaningless. It’s just ritual and tradition. Where did the joy go? We fellowship with people at church, but we keep our guard up. We have to make sure we always keep our church face on. Not because our real face is wrong, but because our real face is different. And different people aren’t welcome. Only people who fit the traditional mold are welcome. So church rather than being a place of joy and a family, has become a place of meaningless ritual, tension, and rejection.

I’m not saying all churches are like that. There are exceptions, the one I attend being one of them, but the majority of churches aren’t the happy family they should be. They are judgmental, ritualistic, and depressing. And it shouldn’t be that way.