In June, I posted about my return to running. Well, it’s September, and I’m still at it. No, don’t applaud. I’m still slow. And I’m still wrestling with “shin splints” and having to take it much easier than I’d like. But I’m enjoying it. A couple weeks ago, I went out for a walk and just found myself breaking into a run (no, the police didn’t pull up next to me). It’s good to be addicted to something good.

Running has given me a unique window on my neighborhood. I generally run after dark after the kids, and sometimes my wife, are in bed. As I meander through the neighborhood on my various routes, I get glimpses into the homes I pass, slices of life. I initially listened to music while I ran, and I still do on occasion, but I typically leave the player at home. A friend said she skipped the music and took her running time to think and pray; I’ve decided to do the same (though I'll crank a bit of "Achtung Baby" if I'm needing to do a bit of speedwork). Running earbudless has the added benefit of making me a better neighborhood watchman.

Running also has been just plain fun. I recently went for a run to Wrigley Field and back. About five minutes into my run, it began pouring down rain. Everyone was racing for cover, but I just kept plugging along. It felt so good. I can’t remember the last time I deliberately let myself get soaked like that (except for the time last year I climbed into my daughter’s bath completely dressed in my work clothes—it’s fun to keep your kids guessing! ;). It made for a truly invigorating run.

Well, it’s been good and will continue to be, I have no doubt. Thanks to those who’ve helped me stay hooked. Thanks to my wife who encourages me and puts up with my running clothes ("They're special 'wicking' fabrics, hon...") drip drying in the shower and late night excursions. Thanks to those who’ve asked how it’s going and offered advice and motivation. And thanks, too, to those whose examples inspire me to stay with it, like the friend who overcame huge obstacles to race again (and did well!) and the one who’d never run before but took it on for a good cause. [Thanks to you, too, general reader for indulging this self-motivational post ;)]


Look, Up in the Sky!!!

My apologies for the long lapse in posting. No, my blog wasn’t frozen by the NSA for my previous post, though my wife is convinced I’m on a number of “lists." Kinda’ makes me proud.

Let’s go “tabloid” for a post, shall we? The topic? Aliens and UFOs.

I have always been entertained by the idea of aliens from outer space visiting our planet or making contact with us in some way. You have been, too. Admit it. Even if you’re fairly certain, as I am, that it can’t and won’t happen, it still gets the imagination going.

Interestingly, sightings of unidentified flying objects have been on the rise, or so it seems with increased media attention over the past few years. While you can find dubious footage on YouTube and other user-fed sites, more compelling stories, such as last year’s UFO sighting at O’Hare airport and the recent video of UFOs taken by the Mexican Air Force, have also been making the news.

Roswell UFO crash stories have become embedded in popular culture, but stories of people seeing strange flying objects they couldn’t explain have gone back centuries. Chances are fairly good that someone you know has seen a UFO. So what’s the truth about these phenomena?

Technically speaking, we’ve probably all seen an Unidentified Flying Object. Ever been hit by a piece of candy or who-knows-what at a movie theatre? That was a UFO. The vast majority of UFOs are later classified as Identified Flying Objects (i.e. experimental planes, weather balloons, ball lightning, JuJu Fruits, etc.), but what about those that are never identified?

Hugh Ross, an astronomer and evangelical Christian, has published a book called Lights in the Sky and Little Green Men: A Rational Christian Look at UFOs and Extraterrestrials (if you know me, I've probably recommended this book before). In it, he looks at the research available on UFOs and is able to explain away the vast majority of them as objects that were later identified, hoaxes or the product of mental illness in the witness. There is, however, a remaining small percentage, roughly 5% if I recall correctly, which appear to be credible accounts with no earthly explanation. He refers to these as Residual UFOs (RUFOs).

I won't get into all the science, but Ross looks at the likelihood of life existing elsewhere in the universe (very unlikely, according to him) and the possibility of that life getting to Earth (extremely unlikely/impossible). From this, he hypothesizes that the RUFOs are actually extra-dimensional, or demonic, in nature with the goal of inciting fear, confusion, false beliefs, etc. in the witnesses. Very interesting...

So what are your thoughts? Ever seen a UFO? Do you believe life exists elsewhere in the universe? Would the existence or non-existence of extraterrestrials have any impact on your faith? Inquiring minds want to know.