Tuesday, February 21, 2006

Yes, I'm still alive.

My apologies for the gap in posting. There have been a lot of things I'd like to comment on but not really enough time. I wanted to comment on Pope Benedict's new encyclical, and some world events that I can't even recall now, alas.

I've been in Portland a little over a month now. Whee!

From Karl Keating's newsletter today (if you don't subscribe, you should!):


If you were a member of the Disciples of Christ Church, you would not find the latest statistics consoling.

In the last forty years your denomination lost 57 percent of its membership (more than 1 million people), doing even worse than the Presbyterian Church in the USA, which lost 44 percent (1.8 million) and the Episcopal Church, which lost 35 percent (1.3 million). In fact, all of the mainline Protestant churches have seen a precipitous decline in membership.

That decline has been offset by big increases for more conservative denominations. The Assemblies of God gained 2.2 million members, for a 377 percent increase, and the Southern Baptist Convention gained 5.7 million for a 53 percent increase.

The biggest gainer of all in terms of head count has been the Catholic Church, up by 21 million members for a growth of 45 percent.

That's got to be one of the most under-reported stories there is.

To subscribe to Karl Keating's E-Letter, send an e-mail to eletter@catholic.com.

Thursday, February 09, 2006

Portland Impressions

So now that I've been here a while... some impressions of Portland:
  • It's definitely wet! For the first two weeks we were here it rained pretty much every day for at least a while. This week has been somewhat dry and the sun has come out, which has been really nice.
  • It's cool. Not really that cold. It's only been below freezing a couple of times, but it never really warms up either. It's like Tucson on a cold winter day, it's just that it's that way all the time.
  • It's green. For some reason I expected that in winter it wouldn't be green, but for whatever reason, there's green grass all over the place.
  • Beaverton, in particular, is a strange mix of rural and suburban life all together. It's pretty obvious which parts of the town were built when, and the mix is rather jarring in places.
I rode the MAX (light rail) home from work today. Pretty nice, actually. There's a shuttle from work to the MAX station, and then it's a 15 minute ride from Hillsboro to the MAX station near the house. Marie picked me up at the station which is probably 1.5 miles from the house. It's $1.65 each way. Intel subsidizes MAX monthly passes so I'll probably get one.

On the negative side is mostly that I get tired of the cold and the wet. Intel is great; the people are really nice and the work is interesting.

Collegium Concert

Alas I won't be there to sing, but there's a nice article in the Wildcat on the upcoming Collegium Musicum concert. If you're in Tucson, you should go -- it should be a really good concert!