Wednesday, July 29, 2009

I want to be a preacher

I really enjoy my job and what I get to do for people, but that doesn't mean that I don't think about other opportunities. For example, someone commented to me a while back that they thought I would make a good preacher. This was a real compliment coming from a preacher who I respect and admire a lot, but I'm not so sure.

The biggest problem with me becoming a preacher is that my religious views and church affiliation are with a church that has an unpaid clergy. It's very difficult to support a family with a full-time voluntary position. So I couldn't really be a 'preacher' for my church and I believe in my church so it would be a little weird to be a preacher for a different church.

Hold on, I've really thought about this. My desire to be a preacher doesn't revolve around the religious aspects. I really like the idea of being able to dedicate my life to helping people in need. I could spend my days in nursing homes visiting people who are lonely. I could prepare a speech once a week to provoke thought and encourage people to improve their lives and be kinder to those around them. I could help people work through the darkest, most difficult times of their lives, providing them with random acts of service and organizing or helping them find the help that they need. I could be paid to give hugs and love people. That's my dream job.

I've thought about professions that sort of mimic my dream job, but nothing quite fits. I could be a counselor, but the whole idea of someone paying me to talk with them and serve them somehow defeats the purpose. I could go into nursing or elder care (which I have done and very much enjoy), but you don't get the time that you need to dedicate to the people. It's all about solving the health problem and moving onto the next patient because the more patients you can see the more MONEY you can make. So the fact that what they really need is someone to talk to doesn't matter. The profession tract doesn't seem to fit what I want to do.

I've also thought about starting a sort of company being a preacher for those who don't have a belief system. That wouldn't compete with my beliefs and I could give an inspirational thought once a week on Wednesdays and go around to my non-believing congregation providing service through the week, helping them with whatever they may stand in need of, loving them and giving them hugs. I think it's a great idea, except that I have my doubts about how the finances would work.

In a regular church people pay a tithe or something like it to the church so the church can provide a building, services, etc. If I were a non-church preacher, I think I would have a hard time convincing people to give me 10% of their income. The rich people would figure out that they would have better results for less money with a shrink and the poor people wouldn't be able to pay me enough to support my family. Maybe I'm just being pessimistic, maybe I should give it a shot.

I have concluded that the next best thing is working at a non-profit gym where I get to serve people of all financial backgrounds and help give them the tools to improve their health. I really do love the people I get to work with, but hugs aren't exactly appropriate. I still wish I could go to homes and provide help as needed. I actually get to deal a little with people's hard times and help them through it, but not nearly to the extent that I wish I could. (Surprisingly, personal training type jobs are ~50% cheerleader, ~40% counselor and ~10% knowing something about exercise and being able to help people improve their health.) So if you have any ideas on starting "Sans' church", let me know.

As soon as we get the battery in the camera recharged I will post pictures.... I think

Saturday, July 4, 2009

dirty animals

I'm excited about my chickens. First, I think chickens were the next step in our sustainable lifestyle. I just hope I don't kill them. One thing I'm really excited about was their coop. I built the coop from an old picnic table that came with our house. We had to buy some things to complete it, but the picnic table was almost completely recycled into the coop. I wish I had taken pictures to show how.

Tonight I want to blog about dirty animals. When I tell people that we got chickens, I often hear that they are dirty, stinky animals. While I'm not going to deny that, I would like to put it into perspective.

Let's compare my chickens to the people who walk their dogs in front of our house. My chickens produce A LOT of poop. All of that poop can be composted into some of the best fertilizer possible for my garden. I get some leftover wood products as flooring, the chickens poop in it, I let it sit for awhile and compost and then I put it on my tomatoes and it helps them grow. The people with the dog, on the other hand, carry around a plastic bag (a petroleum product), wait for the dog to poop, pick it up in the plastic bag, carry it back home and put it in the trash. The trash man then drives his stinky truck to their house and takes the dog poop with the trash to the dump where it very slowly rots along with the other municipal waste that pollutes the dump.

The only thing that makes cats any better is that the owner doesn't follow the cat around waiting for it to poop. The cat goes to the litter box and does his thing in peace. Still the owner will eventually gather the cat poop in a plastic container and send it for a stinky ride to the dump to rot.

Even cats and dogs that live outdoors and don't have humans that collect their bodily waste don't produce anything of worth (like fertilizer or eggs).

So I've been thinking about this. Chickens are considered 'dirty' animals, but for some reason cats and dogs aren't. Yet when you look at what is done with the animal byproducts it really seems that cats and dogs are far dirtier. So what gives, why is there a discrepancy?

Ultimately my ideas turned to the separation of people from consequences. I'm thinking that if dog owners had to compost the animal waste and make it useful, they would find their animals to be dirtier. Since they are able to contain the mess in a convenient petroleum product and send it away they then don't have to think about it. It is more difficult to get the chicken mess sent away, therefore the chickens are considered dirty. It's not that the chickens themselves are really dirtier, but rather the mess is more difficult to get off the property.

Interestingly, that is the same reason that people still buy eggs from a huge chicken farm and meat from slaughterhouses. If they really had to experience the consequence of their actions, most would not want to participate. If they had to see the living conditions of the chickens or cows that are used to mass produce their food, they would recognize the real cost of what they are eating. I think we would have more vegetarians in the world if people understood their impact on animals.

It sounds like I'm going to burst into some PETA type rant and I'm far from that, but I also know there are serious health ramifications in eating products raised they way our mass produced animal products are raised.

I'm still going light on the computer, but I am back... sort of.