Saturday, December 21, 2013

If Jesus had a Church in your Town, It Would be Smaller than Your Church

I just watched this excellent video from Francis Chan.

Remembering how I reviewed his book "Crazy Love" back in '09, I went back and reread that review.  It's here in case you were wondering.  I would consider it one of my more open and honest posts, not that any of them aren't honest, but we all guard ourselves a little.  In fact consider this a sequel.

Looking back at that post, wow, I have all those same questions now.  All of them.  I do feel that I've gotten an answer on one of them.  I am moving to Boulder Colorado to help start a new church.  Like Francis mentions in this video a few times, Bible Belt Christianity is sick and I am incredibly uncomfortable being here.  I know God loves these people too and I know there are strong believers here too, but I cannot handle it.  I've realized that worse than having to give up all my worldly possessions, I'd consider it the greater chore to have to live here for the rest of my life.  God could tell me in an audible voice "I am going to have you win the lottery and you will live in opulence and comfort for the rest of your life, but you have to do it in the Bible Belt," and I'd be like "I don't ... really want to do that."  I mean, I would, if God wanted me to do that, but I don't want to.  This is not my homeland.

If I had to compare it to something, I guess I would compare it to Laodicea in the book of Revelation.  There's a whole lot of "I believe in Jesus and vote Republican (or Democrat as the case may be)" but there doesn't seem to be much beyond that.  I see people whose life purpose has little to do with the work of the Kingdom.  The only difference between them and any normal person on the street is that they go to church on Sunday and I can't really see much difference otherwise.  They drive the same cars, live in the same houses, watch the same shows and movies, eat the same food, take the same vacations, and do the same thing everybody else does.  And there's so many people going to church that really, the members of the church actually is everybody else.

I come from a different environment.  I grew up in Oregon, polled at one point as the least churched state in the nation.  In high school, I was one of just a few in my circle of acquaintances who went to church and the only one of my group of friends for some time.  I describe it like this.  In Oregon, if you don't want to go to church, you just don't go, and Mr. Chan mentions that attitudes are similar in California.  It's not like that here in the South.  Church is much more of a cultural thing, but it's such a consumeristic thing.  There is such church hopping you wouldn't believe.  Our church staff was talking the other day, that you have to bring in hundreds of new people every year just to maintain a steady population.  They were talking about how Discovery Classes (new membership thing) are massively full and yet the church's population is not growing rapidly like you'd expect.

I remember one small church I went to for a couple years back in Oregon before I moved here.  It was quite a diverse church, and I don't just mean racially.  There were a whole lot of significant sinners, addicts, alcoholics, people who'd done prison time.  I feel like that's Jesus' sort of church.  It's a place where people know they are wretched, blind, poor, and naked.  (Revelation 3:17)  That looks to me like the sort of place where Jesus would hang out.  Most churches I've seen appear to be nursing homes for Christians stuck in that awkward and embarrassing parenthesis between baptism and death.

That's not where I want to be.  So I prayed "come get me."  And as far as I can tell, He has.  And I am very excited about moving, even though it will take a hit in our finances, it's a colder place, and I will leave some good friends.

Jesus said:  "If anyone comes to Me and does not hate his own father and mother, wife and children, brothers and sisters-yes, and even his own life-he cannot be My disciple.  Whoever does not bear his own cross and come after Me cannot be My disciple.  "For which of you, wanting to build a tower, doesn't first sit down and calculate the cost to see if he has enough to complete it?  Otherwise, after he has laid the foundation and cannot finish it, all the onlookers will begin to make fun of him,   saying, 'This man started to build and wasn't able to finish.'  "Or what king, going to war against another king, will not first sit down and decide if he is able with 10,000 to oppose the one who comes against him with 20,000?  If not, while the other is still far off, he sends a delegation and asks for terms of peace.  In the same way, therefore, every one of you who does not say good-bye to all his possessions cannot be My disciple.  "Now, salt is good, but if salt should lose its taste, how will it be made salty?  It isn't fit for the soil or for the manure pile; they throw it out. Anyone who has ears to hear should listen!" 

I don't necessarily think that everyone will need to be martyred, or that everyone will have their families abandon them or that they must live in their car or any other specific thing.  But some will.  Some will be asked to die.  Some will be asked to give everything.  Some will lose their home.  Some will lose their family.  It may not be you.  It may be.  But what you are asked to do, you better do it.  And if you're not living in the tension, then I don't think you're in tune with the Holy Spirit.  I wish Mr. Chan would have mentioned one of the most important things Jesus said when he was busy running people off.  

"How hard it is for those who have wealth to enter the kingdom of God!  For it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich person to enter the kingdom of God."  Those who heard this asked, "Then who can be saved?"  He replied, "What is impossible with men is possible with God."  Then Peter said, "Look, we have left what we had and followed You."  So He said to them, "I assure you: There is no one who has left a house, wife or brothers, parents or children because of the kingdom of God,  who will not receive many times more at this time, and eternal life in the age to come." There is a Midrash on the Song of Songs that uses the phrase to speak of God's willingness and ability beyond comparison, to accomplish the salvation of a sinner:  "The Holy One said, open for me a door as big as a needle's eye and I will open for you a door through which may enter tents and [camels?]."  God wants you.  Camel through a needle, God can do that, and he wants to.  And he wants some effort on your end.

I get harangued when I say things like this, but if you're the sort of person who gets mad at the church parking attendant when you're trying to leave early after pulling your kids out of Sunday school early so you can leave early and avoid traffic, I'd appreciate it if you would just not come back.  If you don't want to attend a church because service times changed, by all means, don't.  If you want to find another church because you don't like the music, please do.  If you don't feel like coming to church this morning, don't, and don't worry about it next week either.

Obligatory Phil Robertson and Duck Dynasty Post

Note the disdain in the title.  I'm not sure I want to do this.

It's really not out of the ordinary that something like what Phil Robertson said would be said.  I'm not surprised at all, it gets said all the time.  In fact, I don't even need to quote it here, you've heard it before.

Homosexuality is a sin, what's next, beastiality, plural marriage, etc.?

First of all, I'd like to point out that pissing someone off with a bad argument is a really bad way to start.

"Hey, what you're doing, that's just like copulating with a dog."

That's just rude.  It should never happen unless the person is actually copulating with a dog or other non-human creature.  What are your motivations here?  Are you trying to be friends with this person?  Failing.  Are you trying to convince them of the error of their ways?  Failing.  Trying to demonstrate what Jesus would do?  Epic failing.

Homosexuality is a sin according to the most direct reading of the Bible, but what's the point in pointing it out?  Are you gay?  Chances are pretty good you're not.  I'm not.  None of my close friends are.  What's the point of shouting it from the rooftops then?

A major purpose in my life, if not what should be the major purpose is to advance the Kingdom of God.  This blog is entitled "The Transition Government."  That's one thing it means.  But God's government doesn't work the same way human governments work.  His battles don't work the way human battles work.  He works from the inside.  In human fights, you want to have more and stronger and better equipped warriors on your side, be they politicians, voters, or actual warriors.  But God doesn't even need warriors.  There have been many people who have come to faith in Jesus without even needing another human being to convince them.  Our fight is not with flesh and blood.  Our purpose is not winning elections and changing laws.  Man looks upon the outward appearance, but God looks upon the heart and the heart is where he works.

The real sadness for me in all of this is the fact that the culture sees Christians as "hung up on sex."  Similarly, the rest of the world sees American Christians as "hung up on Hell."  The continued harping on homosexuality (applies to a tiny percentage of the population) serves only to drive the culture further away.  At the same time, we are not publicly living up to what the culture rightly expects of us in loving our neighbors, praying for our enemies, and serving the poor.  The 'rightness' of our position and the 'wrongness' of others' is a barrier to evangelism.  I read the New Testament and I see that virtually everyone was missing the mark sexually, it was expected.  It should be expected even today rather than excuse to point out someone else's sin while ignoring our own.  I have not conquered homosexuality (in that I have never struggled with it), who am I to point out the same sin in someone else?

Furthermore, it is not my job as a follower of Jesus to point out anyone's sin but my own.  You meet Jesus first.  One does not get told off into the Kingdom.  That's the equivalent of what is happening when someone goes out in public and harps on sin.  You're telling someone off and expecting it to ultimately be a positive experience for them.  How small minded and short sighted!

I want to introduce people to Jesus first.  It's his job to work on their sin, it's his job to show them where they're missing the mark.  Because homosexuality is a sin, but so is lust, and gluttony, and ignoring the plight of the poor, and greed, and ignoring your family, and not doing what the Holy Spirit tells you, and these are all sins that I have committed but no one is pointing them out.  Pointing out homosexuality publicly is akin to picking on a minority, picking on the small kid in class.  And I know what that's like.  It's not something Jesus would do.  In public, Jesus picked on religious people.

Saturday, October 19, 2013

First Runs of my GEK Gasifier

I have been pursuing renewable energy for the last few years.  I'd like to go off grid one day.  I figured the best way to start down that road was to develop the backup generator, what I use for power when the sun isn't shining and the wind isn't blowing.  Naturally, I cannot make gasoline or diesel or propane, but I can generally find wood.  So drawing on almost a hundred years of gasification history, I decided to start by building a gasifier.  All Power Labs ( offers designs and kits for their GEK, Gasifier Experimenter's Kit.  I opted to go with the weld-it-yourself kit.

A gasifier in short is a device which burns wood to produce a flammable gas composed most importantly of carbon monoxide and hydrogen.  It does this by oxidizing the wood into carbon dioxide and water and then through a hot bed of charcoal, reducing them into carbon monoxide and hydrogen.  These can be burned to produce heat or in a combustion engine to produce power.  The gas cannot be stored for any length of time.

My plan is to use this gasifier to power a generator, probably something like a Kubota DG972 attached to an alternator or DC motor in generator mode to charge a battery during times when extra generation is needed.  In this way, I can produce electricity with no input of fossil fuels outside the engine lubricants (I use synthetic oils anyway).

I made a video of the first run.

Here is a picture of the flare red hot after dark.

This is about the highest recorded temperature I saw:

A gasifier needs to run well above 800C to keep from producing tarry smoke.  There is also a high temperature to be avoided as well because the ash will solidify and clog up the works.

Normally, the cyclone empties in to a Mason jar, but I just put a cap on the bottom since I wasn't going to run it for long.  Here was the result:

The next job to do is figure out the engine, then a control system.  The APL people have figured out how to do all this and now produce 10, 20, and 100 kW machines ready to run.  I plan on doing it a bit cheaper though.  After that, batteries, inverters, solar panels, wind turbines and the list goes on.

One other thing, I'd love to do co-generation for this project.  What I'd do is capture the waste heat from the engine exhaust and coolant and use it to heat water to provide domestic hot water and heat for my house.  It will be a pretty complex system, but in some places, heat and power are expensive and/or time consuming.  As I've mentioned before, loving your neighbor involves avoiding the production of noxious chemicals they have to breathe.

Sunday, October 6, 2013

Isn't God no Better than the Flying Spaghetti Monster? or a 'Special Com...

I had to get a little chuckle out of this.

The Clay Gets a Say

Here's a nifty little passage I read the other day:

12 You will eat it as [you would] a barley cake and bake it over dried human excrement in their sight." 13 The Lord said, "This is how the Israelites will eat their bread-ceremonially unclean-among the nations where I will banish them." 14 But I said, "Ah, Lord God , I have never been defiled. From my youth until now I have not eaten anything that died naturally or was mauled by wild beasts. And impure meat has never entered my mouth." 15 He replied to me, "Look, I will let you [use] cow dung instead of human excrement, and you can make your bread over that."

Ezekiel is in a real rough patch here.  God is having him do a very elaborate dramatization of the destruction of Jerusalem.  And it's rough, read it, Ezekiel 4.

There has been this idea for a while now, well a dozen centuries or something, among a faction of theology which says everything goes on for a reason and God is in control of everything.  

Romans 9:21 says "Or has the potter no right over His clay, to make from the same lump one piece of pottery for honor and another for dishonor?"  What is Paul saying here?  Is he saying God makes some people to be saved and the rest to be damned?  And then his anger burns against the damned people for being damned even though that's how he made them?

You might think so if you didn't do some deeper research.  Let's do some deeper research.

Paul was well versed in the Old Testament.  As a Pharisee, he probably had the entire Torah memorized and knew major portions of the prophets and Psalms as well.  He would have known what we now call the Old Testament deeply.

So when he brings up a potter and clay analogy, we have to ask, where might he have gotten that?

If we're reading our Bibles once a year (a very good practice) we probably came across that just recently.

1 [This is] the word that came to Jeremiah from the Lord: 2 "Go down at once to the potter's house; there I will reveal My words to you." 3 So I went down to the potter's house, and there he was, working away at the wheel. 4 But the jar that he was making from the clay became flawed in the potter's hand, so he made it into another jar, as it seemed right for him to do. 5 The word of the Lord came to me: 6 "House of Israel, can I not treat you as this potter [treats his clay]?"-[this is] the Lord's declaration. "Just like clay in the potter's hand, so are you in My hand, house of Israel. 7 At one moment I might announce concerning a nation or a kingdom that I will uproot, tear down, and destroy [it]. 8 However, if that nation I have made an announcement about, turns from its evil, I will not bring the disaster on it I had planned. 9 At [another] time I announce that I will build and plant a nation or a kingdom. 10 However, if it does what is evil in My sight by not listening to My voice, I will not bring the good I had said I would do to it. 11 So now, say to the men of Judah and to the residents of Jerusalem: This is what the Lord says: I am about to bring harm to you and make plans against you. Turn now, each from your evil way, and correct your ways and your deeds. 12 But they will say: It's hopeless. We will continue to follow our plans, and each of us will continue to act according to the stubbornness of his evil heart." 

There you have it.  It's a different sort of a picture isn't it?  It's not God making some people to be saved and some to be damned, the damned ones are that way because they choose to be.  God even warns Israel to pay attention because he might preach damnation against some nation but then the nation decides to repent and God will repent of his pronouncements as well.  A prime example of this was the city of Nineveh in the book of Jonah.  Jonah was sent to preach the destruction of Nineveh and Jonah was truly a prophet of God, and yet his pronouncement did not come to pass because the people repented

Back to the clay.  We can see here that the clay has a say in how it's made, and we can see it with Ezekiel as well.  The clay didn't want to be a jar so the potter made something else with it.  God gave Ezekiel a command, something to do that was very nasty, would make him unclean, and may have even been sinful and he didn't want to do it.  So God relents of his pronouncement and let's him do something a little less nasty.  Did it make as big a point as it could have?  Probably not.  But so it seems, the clay gets a say.  

Trying Out the Holman Christian Standard Bible

When I first began reading the Bible in earnest, I used the NIV (New International Version).  The NIV is a very good translation.  It took a lot of criticism in the beginning, largely I believe, because it was such a break from the then tradition of biblical translation.  However, it’s been a number of decades and a lot of the KJV (King James Version) Only crowd have died off.  Many many more translations have been produced and the NIV has more or less fallen out of the popular spotlight though it is still quite popular.  Anyway, that’s the one I read at the time.  Using that Bible, I read through the New Testament a handful of times and the minor prophets and a few other Old Testament books here and there.

Then I heard about the ESV (English Standard Version).  It gained some sexiness in the mid 20-oughts.  Add to that, the Crossway covers (very sexy) and that was the first Bible I bought.  They had a free Kindle version too, which was nice.  Mark Driscoll also endorsed it along with a number of the Calvinist crowd.  But reading through the Bible, I started noticing some liberties being taken, especially in numerology.  People do complain about versions and the conversion of the word “man” to “people” but that’s not really what I’m after.  What I started noticing was that certain phrases or words were translated in ways other than the original text warranted.  It was things like in Exodus 20:6 where it says “showing steadfast love to thousands of those who love me.”  In the foot notes it says “or to the thousandth generation.”  A simple interpretation of a thought, yes, but when you mess with numbers in the Bible, you are missing with contextual meanings.  Can’t do that.  “Thousand” is used a number of times in the

Bible and specific meaning can be drawn from its usage. 

Compare the NIV:  but showing love to a thousand [generations] of those who love me.”

Compare the HCSB:  “but showing faithful love to a thousand [generations] of those who love Me.”

These make interpretations too, but they keep the terminology and they demonstrate what they’re doing while they’re doing it.  No footnotes.  Well, the NIV left out steadfast/faithful.
Another problem I have with many modern translations of the Bible is the traditional lack of translation of God’s personal name in the text.  Of course anybody reading the text knows that LORD means YHVH, the Hebrew transliteration of God’s name, so God’s name has not been “left out,” just left untranslated for tradition sake.  Virtually all scholars agree that the correct pronunciation of the tetragrammaton (four letter name) of God is Yahweh or Yah’weh.  But few translations of the Bible do.

So I started reading LORD as Yahweh in my own personal reading.  The thing is, the name is used A LOT, over 6000 times in the Old Testament.  But I was still reading the ESV, a version I knew had problems I didn’t like.

I had been told about the Holman Christian Standard Bible a while back by a Jehovah’s Witness or two.  They use the name Jehovah (a bastardized and Anglicized version of God’s name) profusely and stick it in everywhere in the OT and everywhere they feel it necessary to excise Jesus’ divinity in the New Testament.  Naturally, I distrusted anything coming from a JW.  They are after all perhaps the most well-known dangerous mind control cult.  But I came upon the HCSB on my own one day when researching the name Yahweh. 

The HCSB uses Yahweh when the name of God is stated in the Hebrew.  For instance, if the author says something like “our God, whose name is the LORD” it doesn’t really make much sense in English.  It’s like “they call me the Doctor!”  “Doctor who?”  “Exactly.”  Well, fun, but not useful.  It would seem to me a better translation would be “our God, whose name is Yahweh.”  Now you know what we’re talking about.

The HCSB still uses LORD pretty regularly.  They only use Yahweh a few more than one in ten times.  But remember, the name is in there over 6000 times.  That’s like eight times per page.
So after reading virtually all the Bible in NIV, and again in ESV, now I’m reading the HCSB.  Of course I still have access to every version available on various Bible apps, and my personal copies of the ESB, NIV, NASB, and even the Greek NT.  I can’t wait to get back to the New Testament to see how the HCSB translates those.

Tuesday, October 1, 2013

Love Your Enemy 3: Forgive

Forgiveness is hard.

Here's something for you to think about.  Why couldn't God just forgive sin?  Why did anybody have to die about it?  Couldn't God just forgive it and it be over with?

Maybe.  Or maybe such a question comes from a misunderstanding of forgiveness.

Forgiveness costs.  In an ultimate sense, it costs.  Say you stole something, five dollars from your friend.  To forgive you, that friend has to incur the cost of five dollars.  It cost that person five dollars to forgive you.  That person cannot just forgive you and not have to eat that five dollars.

God is the same way.  God is forgiving, but God is also just.  If God were to forgive you without incurring that cost, he would sacrifice his justice for the sake of his forgiveness.  But he is just and he is forgiving at the same time.  So he pays the price so that his justice and his mercy are fulfilled at the same time.

Forgiveness for you is the same way.  You can't "just let it go."  It hurts you to forgive, even if you don't realize it immediately.  Jesus said if someone asks for forgiveness seventy times seven times, we should forgive.  He was probably being facetious, but I think it's obvious we should always forgive.  And maybe that means we become people of sorrows, just as he was.

But the joy comes in the morning.

When teaching his disciples to pray, Jesus said "forgive our sins as we forgive those who sin against us."  In forgiveness, we release the other person to collect their ultimate dues and we don't drag ourselves down with them.  Unforgiveness is like eating poison and expecting the other person to die.

Love Your Enemy 2: Identify With Your Enemy

One of the biggest blocks to spreading the gospel is an "us" and "them" mentality.

In their apology against Christianity, I often see atheists and others pointing out that labeling people as "unbelievers" puts them in a class that is easily disparaged and discriminated against.  This is true....if Christianity were a set of logical propositions to be accepted or rejected based on their ability to describe the natural world.

But it isn't.

Well for quite a few people it is.  Many people accept Christianity because it's cultural.  They've always been christians.  Their parents are christians.  They are patriots and say the pledge of allegiance proudly at the [insert sport here] game and argue that there is a war on Christmas.  They think church is something we do for an hour and a half on Sunday or the building we do it in.

But it isn't.

Christianity is based around the person of Jesus the Messiah, the Son of God.  If you haven't met him, if you don't know him, you aren't a Christian no matter how many times you've gone to church rather than doing something you'd enjoy more.  Jesus calls this being "born again."  He said you have to be born again.  In Matthew, there's a story about people who get to the judgment and wonder why they're not in.  Jesus says "I never knew you."

So what does this have to do with your enemy? 

Because if you are born again, you have no enemies.  You can see through the eyes of others.  You see your sin as the most important thing for you to work on and not everybody else's.  You worry about controlling your own eyes rather than trying to censor television.  It is your sin Jesus says you need to be concerned about.  He likened it to trying to get a spec out of your friend's eye while you've got a board in yours.

Every person has value and everyone is welcomed by God through Jesus.  A real Christian won't treat a non-believer like a second class citizen.  We know that there is no one worse than us.  The Apostle Paul said "I am the chief of sinners."  I'm no better than you.  In fact I'm worse.  Because following Jesus isn't about being good, it's about being forgiven.  And the more you're forgiven, the more you know how truly evil you are.

Sunday, February 10, 2013

Book Review: Cross Roads

Some time ago, I read and reviewed The Shack written by W. Paul Young.  I was blessed that he found my review and left a comment.  I hope he does again, but if not, oh well.  He’s a bit busier now that he is a famous published author probably.

I just finished reading Cross Roads last night.  Like The Shack, it did not disappoint in enlightenment, and offered some new weirdness. 

Don’t get me wrong, weirdness is not bad.  I like weirdness.  But there was quite a bit of weirdness.

While The Shack offered an experience akin to an expository dream, Crossroads delves more into the realm of spiritual fantasy.  The main character Tony spends a good deal of time knocking about in other people’s minds, not just as a silent passenger, but as an active participant in their stories.

As Mr. Young seems to be able to do, this book brought tears to my eyes on several occasions.  Once or twice, I wept silently in my bed in the dark where I do most of my reading.  He very effectively presents a redemption story, though a worse human being I have rarely heard of.  Short of murder and rape, this guy was a really bad guy.  Imagine remarrying your ex-wife just so you can divorce her again, stick it in her face, and have the police escort her and your children from your own house which you bought out from under her while throwing her a get the hell out party.  This dude was mean.  There are other things that I consider even worse, but which I won’t tell you here because it’s a bit of a plot point.  He was a bad guy.

But when he suffers an accident and is laying on his death bed, his journey of redemption and salvation begins.  It’s the journey of a wicked and broken man finding out that God still loves him no matter how horrible he is.

Paul Young introduces us to Jesus and the Holy Spirit again though this time around the Holy Spirit takes the form of a different woman, a Native American.  Papa God doesn’t appear personally, but his presence is felt and spoken of thought Tony’s adventures while his body lay dying.

Jesus and the Holy Spirit live in a land through which Tony travels.  Jesus has a run down house and Grandmother (as she is called) lives in a “hovel” which is small and sparsely furnished.  But she’s still a good cook.  What these homes are supposed to represent is the space in our hearts, the space for which we have provided room for God.  I imagine in some spiritual giant’s heart, the homes would be large, well kept, and lavish.  But in Tony’s (an effective atheist) heart, only small homes were provided.

Like Paul Young’s last offering, this book provides a resource in dealing with loss.  The honest truth about the Bible is that it doesn’t offer much effective therapy for those grieving a loved one, whether that grief be due to death, disease, defect, or defection.  We mourn for those who we loved who have died, but we also mourn for those who are taken from us for some other reason, maybe Down’s Syndrome or some other genetic disorder which robs us of our full mental capacity.  A parent mourns for the lost opportunities, for lost baseball games, for lost report cards, for lost first words and first steps.  And honestly, the Bible doesn’t help us much with those.  But sometimes we meet a person who is much more in tune with how to deal with grief, and usually it's because they have grieved.  Paul Young is one such person in my eyes.

The overarching message of The Shack to me was “God’s ways are not our ways.”  For this book, I’d say it’s something like “I will never leave you.”  God is there to comfort, share pain, to love you and to hug you.  And he wants to redeem you always.  You’ll never reach a point where God gives up on you and leaves you completely even if you push him out completely.  He still wants you and he’ll always come back if you’ll have him.  Like Mr. Young said in The Shack, God is not just a better version of you.

I really enjoyed this book.  I recommend it to anyone.  Maybe it won’t keep you glued from the first page to the last and maybe it will, but it tells a story and the story has a lot of feeling and emotion and even meaning.  I hope you enjoy it too.


Monday, January 21, 2013

My First Electric Car

I have dreamed of the possibilities of electric cars for a long time.  I've certainly mentioned them here on the blog regularly.  Electric cars offer things the average car cannot.  You can generate electricity, enough even to power an electric car.  You cannot generate gasoline.

I don't remember when I first started following electric cars.  It was a long time ago.  And I'm usually a logically minded person.  Thinking through the reasons why one is a good idea, I get the following:

1.  I can generate electricity in any number of ways, but I cannot generate enough of any other fuel to power a reasonable car.

2.  Electric cars are more efficient on most levels, especially fuel economy, costing as low as a quarter of the cost of even a good economy car to drive.  And they also offer the option of driving more efficiently and learning to drive more efficiently.  Over the life of the car, they actually cost less than a comparable gasoline car.

3.  They don't need to warm up.  You hop in and go.  Even better, you can send a message via your computer or smart phone and your car will warm up for you before you even get there.

4.  Most wear in a car's engine takes place during start up and warm up.  With an electric car, there is no warm up.  Electric motors are extremely durable machines and last a very long time and are infinitely rebuildable.  It's like all your miles are highway miles.

So I got one.  It looks pretty similar to the picture at the top of this page.

The first thing I noticed was how smooth it was.  You don't realize how much your car vibrates until you drive a car without an engine.  I have learned to drive really efficiently and my wife is learning too.  I have no problems with range anxiety.  I have a 30 mile commute and my wife has a 40 mile commute.  Her commute is only three days a week though, so I take the Leaf two days a week and either use our other compact gas fueled car or my motorcycle which usually gets over 40 miles per gallon.

Charging has been no problem.  We opted to use the provided 120 volt charger.  It's actually a misnomer because the charger is in fact in the car, in the trunk.  The "charger" is actually a smart switch which tells the car that power is available and when the car asks for it, the switch turns itself on.  It's a pretty good system to keep people from getting shocked and it also keeps the car from moving while it is plugged in.  I guess there won't be any fail videos of electric cars driving away while still plugged in like I so often see filmed at gas stations with gas nozzles.  You can buy a good economy "charger" which will charge at more than twice as fast using 240 volts, but I also found a guy out in California who converts the stock "charger" into a 240 volt "charger."  You see, the wiring in the stock unit was well over engineered and handles the higher voltage just fine because after all, the real charger is actually in the trunk.  The "charger" isn't really a charger.  Here is his website.  His conversion price is a third the price of a commercially available "charger."

I am really enjoying this car.  It's kinda great to finally have something that I have dreamed about for a long time.  Next project:  Wood gasifier.  I want to make wood into electricity.  It will be by far my biggest, most involved and most complex project yet.  I've set myself a goal to be off grid (everything but internet) by my birthday in the year 2023.  I try to live what I believe.  Not always easy, but fulfilling.

Always in transition,