Saturday, August 22, 2015

Hurricane Danny at the door -- ETA EC, Monday morning

Hurricane Danny is knocking at the Eastern Caribbean's door:

As Weather Underground's blog explains:
  • Hurricane Danny has begun its long-anticipated weakening. Maximum sustained winds were estimated at 100 mph as of 5 a.m. EDT Saturday.
  • Danny was located about 740 miles east of the Leeward Islands in the eastern Atlantic Ocean.
  • Danny will track west-northwest, reaching the Leeward Islands Monday, then Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands Tuesday.
  • A weakened Danny should bring welcome rainfall to drought-stricken Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands.
  • Danny peaked as a category 3 hurricane with maximum sustained winds up to 115 mph Friday afternoon, becoming the first major hurricane of the 2015 Atlantic hurricane season.
WU goes on to explain and to caution:
Wind shear vs Hurricane Danny as it approaches the EC
Danny has started to move into an environment with more wind shear, or change in wind speed with height either in speed and/or direction, and this has caused the hurricane to be downgraded from Category 3 to Category 2 intensity . . . . Small circulations such as Danny are prone to sudden changes in intensity, which can be difficult to forecast.

(MORE: Track Danny with our Interactive Storm Tracker)

The large-scale atmosphere Danny is moving into, as well as its potential track over land areas of the Caribbean, will induce further weakening the next several days.

Danny will encounter an ample reservoir of dry air extending westward into the Caribbean Sea.
Dry air hampers tropical cyclones by encouraging the development of stronger thunderstorm downdrafts, which then either squelch nearby thunderstorms from forming or push them away.
This dry air is also stable, meaning it suppresses upward vertical columns of air needed to maintain or form new thunderstorms.

Danny is also moving into what has been so far this season a figurative Caribbean "wall of wind shear". According to tropical meteorologist Phil Klotzbach, wind shear over the Caribbean Sea had been at record levels from mid-July through mid-August.

Wind shear can blow convection away from the center from a tropical cyclone. If strong enough, it can rip apart existing tropical cyclones.
 In short, we would be well-advised to follow developments and to bear in mind the particular unpredictability of small tropical cyclones.

However, before closing, I want to note that Daniel is a very significant name: God is [my] judge.

And Jesus once warned leaders of Israel that while they were good at judging the signs of the skies, they were failing to properly judge the spiritual signs of their times.

DV, I will follow up on that side in a little while, a hurricane named Daniel is speaking to us, even as we all have a strange blend of hope and concern as it approaches: hope for rain to relieve a terrible drought that is seeing coconut trees dry up and die here, something I have never seen before. Concern, as hurricane winds can be astonishingly destructive.

We have not only signs in our skies but signs of our times to address.

Let us pray for showers of blessing with not too much wind. END

Friday, August 21, 2015

1 Chron 12:32 report, 117: The challenge of change and signs of our times

Recently, I have been thinking about how hard it is to make change happen in organisations, governments and communities, and especially on how we tend to lock in business as usual (BAU) until it is almost too late -- "almost," if we are lucky:

I think two Greek terms that frequently pop up in the New Testament are relevant {Let's u/d w links to Bible Hub, Aug 23}, kairos --> opportunity or season, etc.; and krisis --> break-/decision- point of judgement (for good or ill) . . . as in, in a trial, etc.  (There are echoes of pistis, too --> faith, as confident trust rooted in [soundly arrived at . . . ] conviction taken as a warranty from credible source that guides confident action and hope for success due to the trustworthiness of the source of the warranty. [Cf. our implicit trust in a high quality dictionary.] Also, metanoia is relevant --> a morally freighted transformational change of mind, heart, purpose from evil and/or folly towards the right, just, wise and true.)

Given how circumstances are never static, our environment is always changing, leading to opportunities and threats. These may or may not match well with our strengths and weaknesses . . . and yes, I am using the SWOT concept here. 

The thing is, that as the above diagram shows, opportunities tend to come as windows that open and may shut, so business as usual may become increasingly out of touch with reality, leading to an adverse trend and perhaps exploding into a crisis as things break and maybe go over the cliff. By definition, in a crisis, one has lost control and there is danger of the cliff edge collapsing under us -- of, a disaster.

There is never a guarantee that we can back away from a cliff- edge in time:

So that gives warning-signs extreme importance.

And, it means we should prize the sensitivity and/or strategic insight that allow one to read and respond in good time to the signs of the times -- as opposed to locking out, dismissing or even killing our prophets through the very bad habit of shooting at the messenger who brings bad news. Or, whose report threatens our comfort-zone or power-base.

Four scriptures speak to me on this:
1 Chron 12: 32 Of Issachar, men who had understanding of the times, to know what Israel ought to do, 200 chiefs, and all their kinsmen under their command.

Matt 16: 1 . . . the Pharisees and Sadducees came, and to test him they asked him to show them a sign from heaven. He answered them,[a] “When it is evening, you say, ‘It will be fair weather, for the sky is red.’ And in the morning, ‘It will be stormy today, for the sky is red and threatening.’ You know how to interpret the appearance of the sky, but you cannot interpret the signs of the times. An evil and adulterous generation seeks for a sign, but no sign will be given to it except the sign of Jonah.” So he left them and departed.

Acts 17: 24 The God who made the world and everything in it, being Lord of heaven and earth, does not live in temples made by man,[c] 25 nor is he served by human hands, as though he needed anything, since he himself gives to all mankind life and breath and everything. 26 And he made from one man every nation of mankind to live on all the face of the earth, having determined allotted periods and the boundaries of their dwelling place, 27 that they should seek God, and perhaps feel their way toward him and find him. Yet he is actually not far from each one of us, 28 for“‘In him we live and move and have our being’ . . .

Rev 3:14 “And to the angel of the church in Laodicea write: ‘The words of the Amen, the faithful and true witness, the beginning of God's creation.

15 “‘I know your works: you are neither cold nor hot. Would that you were either cold or hot! 16 So, because you are lukewarm, and neither hot nor cold, I will spit you out of my mouth. 

17 For you say, I am rich, I have prospered, and I need nothing, not realizing that you are wretched, pitiable, poor, blind, and naked. 18 I counsel you to buy from me gold refined by fire, so that you may be rich, and white garments so that you may clothe yourself and the shame of your nakedness may not be seen, and salve to anoint your eyes, so that you may see.
19 Those whom I love, I reprove and discipline, so be zealous and repent. 

20 Behold, I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in to him and eat with him, and he with me. 21 The one who conquers, I will grant him to sit with me on my throne, as I also conquered and sat down with my Father on his throne. 

22 He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches.’” [ESV]
I believe that in our day, the influential or powerful voices in many organisations, churches, communities, governments and nations have become so self-satisfied, so caught up in getting or being wealthy and comfortable, so polarised against others, so wise in our own eyes that we have lost sight of the signs of our times that would otherwise lead us to realise that we need to change.

And, I must -- with fear and trembling -- say this more: I fear that we are in danger of being caught up in the spirit of Laodicea, locking out our Lord and being deaf to his knock and his voice.

More broadly, we need to add to our analysis tool-boxes the strategic management concepts of a business as usual track, a window of opportunity (a kairos), warning-signs, and the possibility that we are approaching a crumbling cliff edge that can make delay fatal.

So, we need to think in terms of strategic change to a more robust, more sound, more sustainable alternative, based on a SWOT analysis and strategy alignment exercise:

Especially, as we contemplate the circumstances our region, communities, governments, organisations and our churches (also the wider civilisation) now face. 

Before I close off, as a thought-sparker, let me pose the 3-4-5 good governance & risk/hazard management challenge to decision-makers and leaders:

And, DV in coming days and weeks,  I intend to address what I think is facing us in more details.

As ever, the Mordecai challenge confronts: why not now, why not here, why not us? END

Monday, August 03, 2015

Matt 24 watch, 268: Todd Starnes debates on the media outcry over killing Cecil the Lion vs the unresponsiveness to revelations that Abortionists are butchering aborted unborn children to sell their body parts for "medical research"

Some points in history become moments of truth, a day of kairos -- too often unrecognised at the time -- where we must either walk towards light or darkness. 

So, the juxtaposition at this moment between the media headlined outcry over the illegal shooting of Cedric the lion vs the attempts to discredit and dismiss the citizen journalism expose of Planned Parenthood's ongoing sale of body parts of unborn children slaughtered in their taxpayer-funded clinics exposes the endarkened, conscience-benumbed heart of our civilisation at this time.

Well did Isaiah cry out:

Isa 5:18 Woe to those who draw iniquity with cords of falsehood,
    who draw sin as with cart ropes,
19 who say: “Let him be quick,
    let him speed his work
    that we may see it;
let the counsel of the Holy One of Israel draw near,
    and let it come, that we may know it!”
20 Woe to those who call evil good
    and good evil,
who put darkness for light
    and light for darkness,
who put bitter for sweet
    and sweet for bitter!
21 Woe to those who are wise in their own eyes,
    and shrewd in their own sight!

22 Woe to those who are heroes at drinking wine,
    and valiant men in mixing strong drink,
23 who acquit the guilty for a bribe,
    and deprive the innocent of his right!

24 Therefore, as the tongue of fire devours the stubble,
    and as dry grass sinks down in the flame,
so their root will be as rottenness,
    and their blossom go up like dust;
for they have rejected the law of the Lord of hosts,
    and have despised the word of the Holy One of Israel.

Well did Jesus warn:
 Matt 6:22 “The eye is the lamp of the body.
So, if your eye is healthy, your whole body will be full of light, 23 but if your eye is bad, your whole body will be full of darkness. If then the light in you is darkness, how great is the darkness!

24 “No one can serve two masters, for either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and money.

Well did Paul Counsel:
 Eph 4:17 Now this I say and testify in the Lord, that you must no longer walk as the Gentiles do, in the futility of their minds. 

18 They are darkened in their understanding, alienated from the life of God because of the ignorance that is in them, due to their hardness of heart. 19 They have become callous and have given themselves up to sensuality, greedy to practice every kind of impurity. 

 20 But that is not the way you learned Christ!— 21 assuming that you have heard about him and were taught in him, as the truth is in Jesus, 22 to put off your old self,[f] which belongs to your former manner of life and is corrupt through deceitful desires, 23 and to be renewed in the spirit of your minds, 24 and to put on the new self, created after the likeness of God in true righteousness and holiness.

25 Therefore, having put away falsehood, let each one of you speak the truth with his neighbor, for we are members one of another. 26 Be angry and do not sin; do not let the sun go down on your anger, 27 and give no opportunity to the devil. 28 Let the thief no longer steal, but rather let him labor, doing honest work with his own hands, so that he may have something to share with anyone in need. 29 Let no corrupting talk come out of your mouths, but only such as is good for building up, as fits the occasion, that it may give grace to those who hear. 
30 And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, by whom you were sealed for the day of redemption. [All, ESV]

Todd Starnes is right to raise the issue in a Fox News video exchange: click the link to watch.

Here is a video short by Starnes that focusses the issue, on YouTube:

(Somehow, we seem to have forgotten that a significant number -- thousands -- of Concentration camp inmates were used as subjects for medical experiments by Mengele and others, actually providing major medical science advances . . . I recall discussing this with medical students in my hall of residence in my undergrad days. The profession of medicine found itself in the dilemma of having to use tainted knowledge and spent decades replicating the results through ethically clean research. The baby body parts for sale issue seems to be shockingly similar. And, I find it significant about the agenda of the elites that dominate news, views and opinion media in our civilisation,  that seemingly almost no one dares make the obvious connexion in public in the face of the major media cameras and microphones. After all, that would only get you dismissed as a wild-eyed crank. Let us ask about one of the things that came out after WW II: what did all the good Germans living next to the Prison Camps think when they saw the trains heading to the camps and saw and smelled the smoke plumes from their crematoria? 

 There is a world-famous picture of a woman at a tour of shame at a just liberated camp where the people of a nearby city, Weimar -- yes, the very city the failed Weimar post WW I Liberal German Republic overthrown by the Nazis was named after --  were forced to see for themselves what had been going on at Buchenwald, through a tour of shame:

Do we dare say: enablers of evil?)

Broadening this, it seems to me that a lot of the headlined, drumbeat issues and sidelined issues we see today follow a pattern of distraction from inconvenient facts, issues, cases and evidence multiplied by drumming in the message of a favoured agenda.

For similar instance, the Iran nuke deal and its implications should be a major scandal, but it is not. That, speaks volumes.

Food for thought. END