Wednesday, July 09, 2008

Pickens's Plan

Boone Pickens's new plan is by no means the most interesting thing happening in energy development, renewables, etc., nor do I think it will accomplish the stated goal of replacing gas burning power plants (these plants are too new to simply shut down and too expensive to convert into coal burners), but I applaud Pickens's vision nevertheless.

The Christian faith requires us to be good stewards of the environment and the resources God has given us. It also requires us to think about the wider effects of how/where we spend our money. Supporting Hugo Chavez or the Middle East should not be an easy option for us. I think it is urgent that we develop nuclear power, as well as wind, solar, and in places like Peru, hydro and geothermal energy. I also applaud the major automakers for their work with plug-in hybrids, electric, and hydrogen fuel cell cars (we should pray that GM survives long enough to bring the Volt to production). Our long-term vision should be for a supremely efficient world run on all renewable energy. Pickens's plan probably will not accomplish his stated, short-term goals. It will be a noble step forward, however, towards our long-term goals, and hopefully it will get a lot of attention. The US has been dreadfully irresponsible in its energy policy for at least the last 40 years. Maybe an oilman can help us better appreciate the urgency of the situation.

I've added this addendum because, for some strange reason Blogger is not allowing me to respond to the comments that people leave.  This is a specific response to Gumbofil√©.

Part of what I hate about the current state of US politics in general, and discussions of energy policy/environmentalism in particular is that all sides have become too cynical of each other and are too quick to assume the worst about the other side's motives and intentions.  Such cynicism does nothing to promote dialogue.  It tends to shut down the discussion and leaves each side talking only to itself.

Even if one is convinced of the sinister motives or intentions of an opponent, it is seldom good debating strategy to tell the opponent of our suspicions.  Also, St. Paul's advice to Christians was that they should "bear all things, endure all things, hope all things, believe all things" which may be applied in our context as "put the best construction on other people's words and actions"--good counsel for Christians and non-Christians alike, methinks!

Now to the specifics of your comment.  Let's just grant (for argument's sake) that Pickens is only being self-serving.  How does that imply that the plan itself is a bad plan?  His motives really have nothing to do with the relative merits of his proposal.  I have certain misgivings about the specifics of his plan, but applaud his initiative to move forward with renewables.  The end result, I think, will be good in spite of some questionable details and no matter what may be his basic motivations for doing it.

However, having said all that, let me present a case for believing that Pickens may not be so sinisterly motivated as you suggest:

Pickens is eighty-something years old.  He has made his billions.  His entire estate is being left to charity.  Just in the past couple or three years he has given away over $700,000 to charity.  It seems much more likely that he wishes to do something noble in his old age.  He believes that the US has gotten herself into a difficult situation and nobody else is taking a serious stab at solving the problem.  He thinks he has an idea that will work (or at least help) and so he is willing to take a personal gamble and begin dealing with the problem.

Wes Baker

Tuesday, July 08, 2008

University Ministry and Leadership Development

University ministry is one of the key ingredients in our vision for renewing Peru through the power of the Gospel. We began working with students in Trujillo in October of 2002. The ministry limped along without a full-time campus minister until mid-2003. In January 2005 Gerardo Castro began leading the effort, joined in July 2006 by John Ferguson. During this time the ministry has developed, matured, and become a vibrant part of the life of our churches in Trujillo. We minister to students on four out of twelve Trujillo universities and recently graduated a strong slate of young men and women who are now members of our churches. In some ways this is a rebuilding year, but our weekly meetings still average between 25-40 students with eight to ten small groups meeting for bible study and discipleship throughout the week.

Doors continue to open as Pastor Gerardo has recently begun teaching classes at the Cesar Vallejo University. Also, Drs. David Doughty (Physics) and Gary Whiting (Ecology) from Christopher Newport University in Virginia were visiting lecturers on two of the campuses in early June. Both spoke on their current research topics, as well as the relationship between science and the Christian faith. These lectures were well received by students, faculty, and administration, and are giving our ministry a much more visible presence on the campuses than we have previously enjoyed.

Vision for the Future

In addition to evangelizing and discipling university students, the ministry also plays a strategic role in our long-term vision for renewing Peru through the power of the Gospel. Trujillo is foundational for future work in other major cities. The pattern of church life, university work, mercy ministry, and economic development will be easier to repeat once our labors in Trujillo are more firmly established. In addition, the university ministry is where the Lord is currently raising up bright young men and women. In order to have gifted pastors available within the next 4-6 years, we need to focus now on developing and training our most likely candidates.

Our strategy for developing these leaders and equipping them for ministry is two-fold: first, this will require continued development in our seminary. We need a greater commitment of prayer partners. We also need administrative help, a larger library, and funds for scholarships. Our second great need however, is for a better way of discipling and testing the gifts of new candidates, helping them to be more intentional and focused as they consider training for the ministry.

Internship Program

To do this we are beginning an internship program that we hope will provide a bridge from university to seminary. For Peruvian undergarduates, showing strong potential for future leadership, and who are within two years of graduation, we will offer a competitive, one-year internship (renewable for a second year). This will provide each intern with a stipend of $75/month toward his or her educational expenses. The intern will be under the oversight of the campus minister and will be responsible for leading a small-group Bible study, participating in the ministry's student leadership group, and completing a basic reading and study program.

The second stage of this program is a postgraduate internship. These will be competitive, full-time, one year positions (also renewable for a second year). The stipend will be $225/month, with the intern working as an assistant to the campus minister, leading small group bible studies, helping with organization and coordination of the ministry, and completing an intensive study program. Our hope is to see a growing flow of students from the university, through the internship program, and into the seminary for formal preparation. Even for those not called to the ministry, this program should help make them faithful servants and leaders in their local churches.

We hope to begin this fall with three undergraduate internships and three postgraduate internships. Please join us in praying for college ministry and leadership development in Peru and please consider sponsoring one or more of these positions. If you can help, please email or call (865) 684-4580.

Saturday, July 05, 2008

What Is This Wet Stuff?

Today, in New Braunfels, we are enjoying something we don't get to see very often in Trujillo. RAIN!!! We just love it! The rain started today around lunchtime and has been coming down off and on for the entire afternoon. I'm sure we look a bit strange to our neighbors ( yes we have neighbors) as we run out on our porch yelling and looking overly excited about a little rain! Not only are my kids happy for the showers today but so is my yard!!

Happy 4th of July

Happy 4th of July! We had a great day yesterday. For the first time in many years we celebrated with our families. We had some burgers from the grill, brownies and banana pudding, and finished the day with some hometown fireworks. It was a full day and we were all tired by the time we crawled into bed!

Tuesday, July 01, 2008

Happy Birthday Millie!

I can't believe my baby is 5 years old! Yesterday we celebrated Millie's birthday. We did some birthday shopping, had pizza for lunch, and had a great birthday cake. After cake we went to the movies. It was a fun day!
Millie has been missing her dress-up clothes, so she was pretty excited to get some new ones!