J Walking

J Walking


Peter Ahlstrom

posted by David Kuo

And now there is our friend Peter Ahlstrom:

I’ve read your blog daily for about a year, and occasionally commented. Tempting Faith got me started. You caught my interest with your stand on helping the poor, and on fasting from politics to rediscover what’s really important.
My background? I grew up outside church, and was an atheist for a while. Then a friend nagged me till I visited his church. There I saw so much that was “real,” loving, and joyful, that I turned around 180 degrees.
But, though I now believed in God, it took years to begin learning to love him. And, in theory, I believed in “loving my neighbors,” but firmly drew the line at helping the poor. To me, that was doing them no favors.
That strongly conservative thinking continued through a 20-year career as college, public, and finally technical librarian, through four years of work in the Space Shuttle program (half in the Launch Control Center at Kennedy Space Center), and then through most of a second career as an aerospace/defense “master planner.”
But God kept “clubbing me over the head” (through a lot of experiences) until he got me curious enough to “dig” to see what the Bible itself meant by “love your neighbors.” That search changed my thinking radically, helped by experiences like living in a tent trailer for six years with my wife and children after most of us defense workers were laid off during government budget cuts. (The plant where I worked went from 17,000 workers to below 4,000.)
Should I write a book on all that? Actually, I have – a study on “loving our neighbors” that tells many of the experiences we went through and cites over 3,000 Bible verses. Any of you who’d like to see it are welcome to, at our family’s web site, www.sparkleofnature.com.
Best wishes to all of you, with all your varied views. David, my family’s very curious to see what direction God takes you in after your Uganda experience (knowing that it may take time). All four of us pray for you daily.



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canucklehead

posted May 14, 2008 at 1:25 am


Six YEARS in a tent trailer!!?? Wow, Peter, you are a survivor! That’s a remarkable accomplishment and you and your wife could probably teach us all a lot about grace.



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Donny

posted May 14, 2008 at 8:27 am


God dwelled in a tent for a long time and a long time before dwelling in Jesus. He also commended the Israelites, to celebrate the condition in a festival throughout the ages (Sukkot).
Have a good day everyone.



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Brian Horan

posted May 14, 2008 at 8:34 am


It’s funny that Evangelical political ideology seems more influenced by atheist and hyper individualist, Ayn Rand (Reagan said his favorite book was an Ayn Rand book) than the Gospels.
I learned from simply paying attention to rhetoric in the ’92 race that Bush the elder couldn’t give a rip about my lower middle class a$$. He also signed a lovely law that likely barred several million lower middle class kids from receiving financial aid.
Funny thing though, Bubba and Hill never revisited that faithful law. I started to realize that the conservative Democrats really just paid lip service to poverty issues too. The Clintons just didn’t feel my demographics pain.
In some sense I think poverty is relative. David illustrated in one of his posts indifferent impoverished kids’ beautiful attitudes that would probably make a Zen Buddhist master bow and blush.
Who knows except God?
Sorry for any suffering you had. Sometimes LIFE or God is “clubbing me (us) over the head” when consciousness is misdirected on the Zendo floor of daily living.
I’d like to check out your website: http://www.sparkleofnature.com.
Blessed be!



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Brian Horan

posted May 14, 2008 at 9:08 am


Peter,
Just checking out the website with the lovely Ctrl T feature. I’ll encourage anybody to visit an Evangelical website promoting the idea of loving/empathizing with our neighbor.
I’ve been trying to communicate the idea that LOVE is the central notion throughout the Bible. LOVE isn’t always lovie dovie, and it’s certainly not relative in a moral sense. Many times it’s the most difficult commandment to follow.
I believe LOVE is the highest calling and God demonstrates it without any preconditions via grace. God meets us where we live, be it in the streets or outside a discothéque. We’re really blessed when we can love the same way.
I believe that if we love others as ourselves then we’re probably on the straight and narrow. After all, who wants to be objectified, commodified, downsized, tortured, etc.?
I just checked out your Table of Contents on the book your seeking to publish. Looks cool. I’ll try and check it out.
“…after settling in Wyoming in 1999.”
You guys still up there?
“…his MA from the University of Denver”
My brother got his Masters in accounting from DU.
I live in the Denver Metro area.



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Doug

posted May 14, 2008 at 9:19 am


Following up on Donny’s cpmment, God moved from the tent into a temple. You all live in a temple?



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canucklehead

posted May 14, 2008 at 1:19 pm


or Tabernacle?



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Donny

posted May 16, 2008 at 7:19 am


canucklehead, keep following the Bible correctly. Notice that God didn’t demand the temple, like having a king over them, it was derived from the people. The world needs truth and sanity these days so it’s nice to see you know a bit about Biblical truth. As the western world follows the natural evolution to a cesspool of decadence and hedonism to demise . . . having another person “thinking straight” will help in rebuilding a society shattered by perversions. If you are luckily enough to get through the fall process. God lives in reality. We should too.



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aquaman

posted May 16, 2008 at 11:24 am


Can you imagine Isaiah and Zechariah on an ancient version of “Crossfire,” arguing over whether the Temple ought to be rebuilt following the exile?
Even in the Psalms, most of which were written specifically for Temple worship, God’s dwelling is most often described as a tent. The majesty of the dwellings we build for God matter far more to us than to God. The Church is defined by its faith in Christ– nothing more, nothing less.
If God is unimpressed with our megachurches, imagine how impressed God must be with our McMansions!!
Peter, I’m glad you don’t live in a tent anymore, but I’m even more glad that you used the experience to draw nearer to God, and have maintained that closeness even as your financial circumstances improved.
Peace.



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Doug

posted May 16, 2008 at 12:07 pm


Aquaman, that’s a funny crossfire fantasy. Nehemiah and Jeremiah would be a good match-up, too. I think you have to be a partisan idiot, though. A prophet is never honored on his own channel.



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Pete Ahlstrom

posted May 16, 2008 at 9:34 pm


Thanks for all your comments. Here are answers to a couple things you asked me -
Brian: Yes, we’re still up in western Wyoming, but about twice as far from Denver (where you are) as from Salt Lake. So the latter gets most of our shopping and doctor trips. (You do need those when your home town has 18,000 people, yet is the BIGGEST city for almost 200 miles in ANY direction). And, yes, I did get my MA from Denver, though I’m sure it was quite a few years before your brother. But I thought that connection was unexpected but very nice.
Doug: No, we didn’t move into a temple, but it sure seemed like it!!! You should have seen our kids’ eyes bug out, and light up, when they saw that they’d each have a whole bedroom in an apartment, instead of a just a 2 or 3 x 6 foot mattress in a camper! (Plus each bedroom had almost as much floor space as the entire camper.) Believe me, it DID feel like a temple! A real good lesson in appreciation.
Best wishes to all you who commented. Looking forward to meeting some of you in person some day! Thanks again,
Pete



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canucklehead

posted May 17, 2008 at 12:03 am


whereabouts in Wyoming, Pete? my wife’s company – Toromont Energy Services – builds/sells gas compression units in the Casper area



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Pete Ahlstrom

posted May 17, 2008 at 1:04 am


Hi Canucklehead, or can I just call you Tim?
We’re about 225 miles west-southwest of Casper, in Rock Springs (often lovingly called Rock Bottom or Hard Rock by locals). Your wife probably has a good number of sales to companies that work over here. Rock Springs is the center of a major natural gas boom right now, one that stretches 50 to 100 miles in all directions. Lots of growth is going on here, though whether it’ll fulfill all the predictions that it’ll be the largest town in the state in 5 years are to be taken with a few grains of sand, and there are plenty of those around. Even if true, Calgary will still dwarf it.
But it’s true the place is exploding – new business and homes going up like dandelions all around, new features like air pollution and ozone alerts, and very few businesses able to find enough people to fill their jobs (even Wal Mart, which needs 500, is usually about 200 short. I keep telling them that Amelia Earhart isn’t dead, she’s just in their line to buy supplies or get her GPS fixed.)
Good to hear from you – Pete.



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