Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Team World Vision and the Chicago Marathon

Rick Warren once said, “The purpose of influence is to speak up for those who have no influence.” With that in mind I’m taking a simple step to do something about the AIDS crisis in Africa. I’ll be running the Chicago marathon to raise awareness of AIDS pandemic and to raise sponsorship for children in the countries affected by it. I’m also raising money to provide clean drinking water for a village in Zambia. Through World Vision, over the last five years my wife Janet and I have sponsored several kids in underdeveloped countries. This year I want to invite others in the running and surfing communities to literally take on a child from one of these countries. It costs about $35 a month to sponsor a kid. For most of us, that’s dinner out. For the kids its clothes, an education, and food on the table! It’s an easy way to take our wealth and use it to help someone else.

I’ll run the Chicago marathon as a visual way to give people the opportunity to consider this opportunity. Maybe some of you would like to run it with me? Or maybe others would consider sharing this blog with a friend or perhaps sharing the opportunity with a friend. It won’t take a lot of time or energy and most of all it can make a difference in someone else’s life. Go to the “comment” section on this post and check “open ID” and post me your responses. Or you can click on the “Dave Miles and Team World Vision” link and consider what you might do. Thanks for reading this post.

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Beauty--do we recognize it?

Do we really recognize beauty when we see it? I recently read a story about one of the world’s greatest violinist, Joshua Bell who in conjunction with a group of researchers, decided to test our nations capacity to recognize beauty. Bell, a handsome single man, is also one of the world’s best violinists. Gathering his $3 million dollar Stratavarious violin, Bell went to a busy subway station in Washington DC, and for 45 minutes, played some of the worlds best music created for violin. He was dressed like a street musician and opened his violin case to collect money for his performance.

Someone filmed the experiment and upon review, noted that 1097 people passed by Bell as he played. Of that number, only seven people stopped to take in the performance for at least a minute. Another 27 gave money, most of them on the run, for a total of $32 and change. The author of the article concluded that we have lost our appreciation for beauty in the modern world. At the end of the article the author made this intriguing comment: “If we can’t take the time out of our lives to stay a moment and listen to one of the best musicians on earth play some of the best music ever written; if the surge of modern life so overpowers us that we are deaf and blind to something like that—then what else are we missing?” Intriguing right? It made me wonder what I am missing.

Beauty draws us in an invites us to engage, touch, tap our feet, sing along, ponder, and look. I’ve decided to take beauty seriously. I’ve been trying to smell the smells and see the sites a little more intentionally. The ability to run, surf, smell the ocean, see the mountains and trees, read poetry, listen to music, enjoy architecture, food, and people is all part of the experience of beauty that God gives us. It is my opinion that all beauty points to the creator of all beauty; God himself. The Psalmist says, “One thing I ask of the LORD, this is what I seek: that I may dwell in the house of the LORD all the days of my life, to gaze upon the beauty of the LORD and to seek him in his temple” (Psa. 27:4). The video is Pipeline in Hawaii. Beautiful!!