My One Word: Dependence

Posted on by Aaron in FENX 4.0, Star Wars | Leave a comment

A few months ago, I found myself fulfilling one of the smaller things in life I wanted to accomplish:  ride the new Star Tours (Star Wars) ride at Disney Hollywood Studios with my brother.  Having visited Disney World late last year to experience the ride, the circle just wasn’t complete without him there.  Over the course of the weekend in Florida, where I actually crossed path with a friend that I met at Disney last year, I found myself reflecting on where life was one year ago and much that had happened since.  A year ago the occupational component of my life went into a tail-spin as I got to see what a congressional scandal looks like from a vantage point that – while not first row and behind the class at center ice – was far closer than I ever wanted.  When the “situation couldn’t get worse” it did, twice over.   At one of the highest points of life, seeing 25 incredible teenage leaders be bequeathed the mantle of Reborn Ranger, one of the worst things happened:  my job was being taken from me and I was powerless to arrest that development.  I had shared with the Rangers about having spent 30 years learning how to be dependent, and now they were seeing me have to live it.

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Planetfall and the Wisdom of Kenobi

Posted on by Aaron in FENX 4.0, Star Wars, Uncategorized | Leave a comment

“In my experience, there’s no such thing as luck” – Obi-Wan Kenobi, Star Wars Episode IV:  A New Hope

Recently, I attended an event held by the American Association for the Advancement of Science, called PlanetfallPlanetfall is actually a book of composite digital images that an artist created from source material gathered by various NASA satellites used to photograph planets in our solar system.

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The Evergreen Tavern moment…

Posted on by Aaron in FENX 4.0 | Leave a comment

In my favorite novel – This Present Darkness by Frank Peretti –  Bernice Kruger and Marshall Hogan, the reporter and editor of the local paper, find themselves victims of mysterious engine trouble in the small town of Baker.  While stranded in Baker, Bernice walks over to the Evergreen Tavern and chances to meet Kevin Weed: a frequently drunk and semi-employed logger, who is the former classmate and boyfriend of Bernice’s sister’s roommate, Susan Jacobson a character who later holds the answers to an unresolved murder case in which Bernice’s sister was the victim).  Long story short, Weed becomes a critical character as the plot unfolds from that point.  After that meeting, Marshall’s station wagon starts right up, the previous engine trouble having mysteriously vanished.

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What do you “make boring”?

Posted on by Aaron in FENX 4.0 | Leave a comment

“You make walking look boring!” – a middle school student from Naples, FL visiting DC

A few days ago my Dad brought the FENX back to DC after a many month hiatus to do repairs and add some “special modifications”.  Since then I’ve been spending large swaths of the last few days doing shake down tests as I drive around DC.   Today was no different , as I made my way down the National Mall and back to test the overall range and speed of the vehicle.

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A case of “more than you can ask or think”…

Posted on by Aaron in FENX 4.0, NBC News, Star Wars | Leave a comment

Sometimes things happen in life that are so out of left field and unexpected that all you can do is step back, scratch your head, and marvel at how people and events work in concert, often unknowingly.

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The Bucket List: 10,000 and TED

Posted on by Aaron in FENX 4.0 | 2 Comments

Sometimes crazy ideas find their way into our minds.  A few days ago I caught one of those.  Last week, I finished leading a small group at National Community Church (NCC) that read through Pastor Mark Batterson‘s The Circle Maker (In full disclosure Mark is the Pastor at NCC).  In our final meeting as a small group, we embarked on an exercise of creating a list of Life Goals; things we’d like to have accomplished by the time our lives come to an end.  Personally I think it’s much wiser to start thinking about this at 29, or even earlier, as opposed to a later time.  In The Circle Maker, Pastor Mark has some pretty interesting life goals: making a movie, speaking at a commencement, and writing a New York Times Bestseller to name a few (which he has done with The Circle Maker).

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The FENX and The Fox: The “non-role” role of a Racing Jacket in the Origins of The FENX

Posted on by Aaron in Cedarville University, FENX 4.0, FENX II, Star Wars, Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Not all Jackets are created equal, they just aren’t; it’s a fact of life.   I happen to know this because I own one of the coolest jackets ever; it’s so cool that it was probably the understudy for Luke Skywalker’s jacket at the Yavin awards ceremony in Star Wars Episode IV:  A New Hope (I wonder  if that got broadcast across the galaxy as”The First Yavin Awards”?)  This happens to be a black, red, and white Fox Racing  padded leather jacket given to me in college by my father; the first racing jacket he ever owned.  He previously tried to give it to my  brother, but for some reason the cool factor didn’t hit him the same way.  I pull it out every Spring and Fall, never knowing what adventures it might be involved in.

Several years ago, one Spring afternoon in April, this jacket was resting on a post in my dorm room at Cedarville University.  The weather was perfect and my brain told me that my Lake Ann Camp polo shirt didn’t need that jacket to tag along to ward off the elements; the elements weren’t the danger, something else was coming.    The clock on the wall said I was late for a afternoon class, my last class of the day before my dad was supposed to pick me up for Easter break in Michigan.  Exiting the room, I assessed my transportation options:  the Revo scooter wasn’t working, so my best option was the navy blue custom tricycle I sometimes called the “FENX II”.  Strapping my feet into the pedal locks and adjusting the handlebars, I flew out of the dorm at nearly top speed…right down the paved hill my dorm rested on.  Hurtling towards the sidewalk, I didn’t see the motorcycle coming right away; once I did the bigger cycle missed me, but my cycle still flipped over and I was attached to it at the pedals.

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The FENX and Prayer: Being Someone Elses’s Answer

Posted on by Aaron in FENX 4.0, Star Wars | 1 Comment

On the rare occasion that I get to go before an audience and speak about my journey so far, it is all but inevitable that I will talk about purpose and destiny at some point; partly because they are ideas that interest me, and partly because it’s easier to bring in Star Wars, Lord of the Rings, or Terminator that way (all popular franchises in our culture that speak to destiny).  Speaking before a Christian audience, I’ll often frame my ideas about destiny and purpose around the words of the Apostle Paul in Ephesians 2:10 – “For we are God’s workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which He prepared for us in advance (or ‘in advance for us to do’)”.  Put another way, I will sometimes ask this question:  “Whose prayers are you destined to be the answer to?” I’ve thought much about this as an idea in recent years, as a third-person concept outside of my personal orbit.  Recently, that’s changed – and for the better.

In my last post I mentioned attending the Leadership Summit at National Community Church two weekends ago.  After it’s conclusion my brain was more than full but I wasn’t done thinking.  I began thinking about this idea of answers to prayer again and it was as if God was asking me personally “What if you intentionally prayed that way?  What if, every morning you prayed that that day, somehow, some way, you could be the answer to the prayer of someone else; what might happen?”  I’ll be the first to admit that I was harboring some apprehension about this prayer “experiment” because consistent prayer is one of the things that puts you on the front-lines of combat in spiritual terms and in conflict, those on the front-lines generally pose the greatest threat to the opposition.  The opposition in turn wants to strike back at your weakest point, and for me that’s a point of biological structure; because of some primary and secondary conditions I’ve lived with all my life, or a long stretch of it, I’m weaker and very vulnerable to pain and discomfort.  Moreover, already knowing what this feels like and what forms it can manifest in, tends to increase the dread if you know it’s coming (or might come); hence, the apprehension.

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Life As Story: I never thought I would actually read a book by Donald Miller.

Posted on by Aaron in Comic Books/Superheroes, FENX 4.0, NBC News, Star Trek, Star Wars | 2 Comments

I really like books; I like owning them, having shelves full of them, and reading them.  I’m currently in the midst of four separate books between various small groups and my own personal reading.  I started reading Frank Peretti at 11 years old and started collecting the Star Wars expanded Universe at 12; 17 years later my Star Wars  novels count is well over 80 and takes up three shelves of one of my bookcases.  I was obsessed with Christian apocalyptic fiction for most of Jr. High and High School thanks to the Left Behind books (but I won’t say anything more about that – except that I never finished the whole series).  When looking at my bookshelves, I never expected for it to hold a book by Donald Miller, the author of Blue Like Jazz (which is going to be released as a theatrical film soon)JRR Tolkien, C.S. Lewis, Susan Cooper, G.P. Taylor, Chuck Colson, and two series on Philosophy and Popular Culture (Star Wars, Star Trek, Transformers, Terminator, Green Lantern, Batman, X-MEN, Battlestar Galactica, 24, LOST) sure, you’d find those, but Donald Miller?  Wasn’t he the guy that the “cool kids” read, those on the 21st Century cutting edge of Christianity?  Yeah, that was way too “Christian Hipster” for me when I actually thought about it, and I honestly would have rather read The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy books if given the choice (which I own but  haven’t finished).

All that changed one night a few weeks ago.  It was a cold Tuesday night and I’d just finished leading a C.S. Lewis reading group called “The Inklings” (what else would you call it?) when I ran into my friend Andy.  We hadn’t seen one another since the Leadership retreat for National Community Church a few weeks prior, so we got to talking.  Before we knew it we got talking about dreams, destiny, and how it takes intense conflict and perseverance to make a good story (all in “epic superhero/comic book movie” context as well as some of my own life story).  All of the sudden a light goes on inside Andy’s mind and he asks me “Have you ever read Donald Miller?”  I said “no”, and I wasn’t so eager to begin.    Andy began to explain that he understood my hesitation, as he didn’t like Donald Miller either, at first.  It wasn’t until he read A Million Miles in a Thousand Years that his perspective began to change (and he has now lead multiple smallgroups though this book).  In fact, my friend believed so much that I should read this book that he bought me a copy and had it sent to my house.  When that happens, you’ve got to give the book a shot because someone you respect sees it as a powerful vessel for wisdom, transformation, and change.  So I began reading.

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The FENX and the journey from the Moons of Nibia to the planet Vulcan: The Converese of an Idea

Posted on by Aaron in FENX 4.0, Star Trek | 3 Comments

Author’s note: I’m spoiling the plot for a few of the original Star Trek films here, so if you have never seen them and plan to, stop. reading. now.

The genesis of a blog post will often come in like The Flash, swift and mind jarring, and at the most random times.  Recently I was thinking back to a few summers ago when a local cinema in Washington, DC was showing some of the original Star Trek films at midnight in preparation for the imminent release of the reboot directed by J.J. Abrams.  As such, when some friends of mine asked if I wanted to go see Star Trek II:  The Wrath of Kahn with them at midnight I couldn’t turn down the offer to see the finest film in the series on the silver screen, as it was released shortly before I was born.  Over the years I’ve developed a deep appreciation for the film (and it’s sequel) because of how it handles issue of life, death, loss, love, and responsibility (or lack thereof) and the reality that “no one is ever safe” in the midst of characters that for many are synonymous with popular culture.

The tale begins with Admiral James Kirk overseeing a batch of cadets at Starfleet Academy undergoing the Kobyashi Maru scenario, a test of command ability that everyone fails.  It’s Kirk’s birthday and he struggles with aging and riding a desk job instead of exploring the galaxy from the bridge of the U.S.S. Enterprise.  Soon enough, they are asked to take the Enterprise on a mission with the training crew of cadets to investigate an incident at a Federation starbase, Regula I.  Meanwhile, another Starfleet vessel, the U.S.S. Reliant, has been hijacked by an old enemy of Kirk’s, an enemy bent on revenge for actions from 15 years prior.  This enemy comes across knowledge of the Genesis Device – technology that can create life from lifelessness (as well as the reverse), which happens to have been created and stewarded by an old flame of  Admiral Kirk’s and the son Kirk never knew.  After a brutal battle fueled by the rage of his old enemy, Kirk’s best friend makes a great sacrifice to keep the  “ship…out of danger…” telling James that “the needs of the many outweigh the needs of the few or the one” and the film concludes with the hope of new life from lifelessness.

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