Photos: Draper Bike Path Construction

We’ll start with a satellite view (thanks to Bing Maps) showing where the following photos were shot in numerical order. Think of this first image as number zero. The shots start at the head of the freshest clearing work near SE 104th and runs counterclockwise to the dam on the south end.

I have no way of showing everything, but the clearing work simply stops where SE 104th cuts down toward the lake shore and runs into the roadbed that was once Westminster Road, but has been used as a lake access road for some years. There are no survey stakes beyond the end of the clearing and the machinery has been moved back to one of the two parking areas for this project. This leads me to believe they intend running the trail alongside, or perhaps over, the old dirt roadbed of Westminster. That is represented on the satellite photo as a mostly reddish line that runs strait south, as much as possible, along the eastern shore starting with my number “01”. It’s also conveniently labeled in white.

That would make this part of the proposed bikeway one of two sections where it departs from chasing the main beltway road that circles the lake (image on the left), Stanley Draper Drive. Away from the lake, Westminster Road is a main thoroughfare out in eastern Oklahoma County. Where it stops at Draper Drive is about where the bikeway route stops chasing the ring road and dives off into the woods (above right) toward the current end point.

The trees uprooted for this project are dumped at this spot where Douglas Boulevard runs into the lake at the north end. This is one of the equipment parking areas, too. Behind that pile of mangled foliage is a grinder and a growing heap of shredded wood that can be used for some fill operations. Mixed with dirt, it’s a great way of filling mud holes in dirt roads. If you can see in the background behind all of that, on the right side of the image almost obscured behind the stop sign, there’s a digger and a packing roller marking the end of the current secondary dirt grading work on the trail. It stops at the bank of East Elm Creek.

So here’s my main complaint in all of this: poor hydrology. I’m not too impressed with how the engineers responded to potential washout spots. This image shows a fill to account for a sharp drop in the path. Instead of routing back off the road a bit, into the woods where the slope is not so sharp, they built a ramp that doesn’t account for our seasonal heavy rains. On the backside of that ramp is a low spot that will surely collect water the next time it rains hard, and there’s no place for the water to go but to run down along the base of the ramp and wash it away. In a couple of years, this thing will start breaking down.

Farther around the lake at my number “06” is this spot where there has already been some washout running across the construction (right). They can’t simply block the drainage built into the original road, but there are no rocks under this packed dirt. Here in central Oklahoma’s red clay soil, where there’s water you need rocks to stabilize the soil.

Whether the water is flowing or not makes no difference. Farther around the lake at my number “07” is this swampy spot (image above left). It was created when the paved road was built. The engineers just ran straight through it, filling it with dirt only. Sure, they put in a culvert and had to pump out the swamp to do it, but the issue is not flowing water, not in a swamp. The issue is water saturating a simple dirt fill. Once it rains a couple of times and the swamp refills, this fill bed will begin to soften and collapse because there’s no rock fill inside the dirt. Even better, they should have routed off to the right just long enough to get around this swamp.

Near the marina is the other equipment parking area (above right). This is where the first asphalt was laid. This is also near the other section where the route runs away from the main ring road around the lake. The point south and adjacent to the marina is Point 4, and the bikeway runs along the old shore road, then up through the woods and back to the main road. This is a smart diversion from the boredom of simply chasing Draper Drive.

This image (left) shows the bikeway path dropping down from the main road as you approach from the south. It doesn’t actually go to Point 4, but comes relatively close. As you might expect, at some point this bikeway has to cross the main road because it can’t be built on the high side of the dam. Thus, it does cross near the entrance to Point 1 (right). This image shows another hydrology issue that runs throughout the whole project: The trail is well below the natural ground level most of the way. I don’t know if they plan to leave these embankments along both sides, but there are places where it drops almost a meter below the soil level, and this just invites more drainage problems. I’m sure they did this to save money; it’s cheaper than a proper build-up using gravel and so forth.

The other end of the construction work ends at the west end of the dam (left). The dirt work is just visible across the way on the far side of the main road. I’m standing on an artificial berm piled up from scraping up the dirt for the bikeway. The view is across the intersection at the west end of the dam, where the water treatment facilities are clustered near the old water tower. Behind me is a row of survey stakes running down below the dam (image right, shot from a different angle), and I suppose part of the delay in pushing farther is because of the ongoing facilities construction already underway down in the bottom. I tried to follow the stakes with my eyes, and they march heedlessly straight across several obstacles that will complicate construction.

This last image shows the view downslope below the dam from the east end. Somewhere out there about a quarter-mile is where the survey stakes end for now. I have no way of estimating how they plan to connect the two current ends around the east side of the dam. This is where the pipeline from Atoke Lake and McGee Creek Reservoir come up, so it has to run outside the ring road there. But with the hydrology mistakes I’ve already seen, this thing will require significant repairs within the first two or three years after those weak sections are paved, never mind when the rest of the project is finished.

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Teachings of Jesus — Matthew 13:44-52

Here we have four parables in quick succession. Together they tell us that the Kingdom of Heaven is all or nothing. God discriminates between those who meet His Son at the foot of the Cross and sacrifice as He did, versus those who want things on their own terms.

The first two parables should always be taken together. Whether you stumble across the Kingdom by accident, or you are the kind who searched long and hard for it, the cost is the same: It demands everything you’ve got. That the Kingdom is worth far more than you and your life is taken for granted. If you know what a treasure it is, why would you hesitate? Eternal treasures are greater than this whole world.

But what does the Kingdom of Heaven value most? The treasury of Christ is His people. If we characterize the Kingdom as a fishing net, when its work is done and time has ended, humanity will be hauled in and judged. Those who valued the Kingdom will in turn be valuable to God. Those who failed to pay that price will be tossed into Hell, while those who sacrificed their lives for Christ will be gathered into His home.

By now the disciples are catching on. The meaning of the parables becomes obvious. So Jesus tells just one more. Given that we read so much bad news in the Gospels about scribes (lawyers), it’s refreshing to know that not all of them were legalizing fools. Jesus describes one scribe who truly understands what he read in the Scriptures as he devoted endless hours to copying the text by hand.

Such a man is like a clan chieftain who has seen a lot of events and paid attention with his heart. He knew what really mattered and God prospered his eldership. He has a store of wisdom that he can share with his household. He can evaluate morally the current events because he has a clear discerning memory of the past.

The question is whether we can recognize the treasures of the Kingdom when we find them.

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The Insignificance of Jerusalem

Everyone seems convinced that the recent move of the US Embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem is full of symbolism. It is, but it symbolizes rejecting God’s truth in this case.

Jerusalem was King David’s chosen royal city. He captured it as the last remaining stronghold of the Jebusites. Then he renovated the fortress and made it his palace. He later purchased a large flat spot above the fortress to the north from someone who had a threshing floor there, as the site of a future temple. A city grew there, spreading out mostly north and west from that ridge jutting out from Mount Moriah, renamed Mount Zion.

All the evangelical supporters of modern Israel make lots of noise about how Jerusalem has since that time always been the capital of Israel. In their minds, that is the very declaration of God Himself.

They keep forgetting how the whole thing rests on the Covenant of Moses. They keep forgetting that Israel forsook that covenant. They refuse to understand that modern Israel today still rejects that covenant. They refuse to understand the Judaism stands today as a continuing rejection of that Covenant. They refuse to go back and reread the Scriptures that warn how rejecting Jesus as Messiah abrogates the Covenant of Moses. Jesus fulfilled all the requirements of the Law regarding kingship and His claim as Anointed King of Israel.

Who occupies Jerusalem today has zero significance in biblical terms. That’s because the people there calling themselves “Jews” have zero connection to the Bible, seeing they reject the ancient Covenant of Moses and Jesus the Messiah. Jesus warned that Judaism — the teaching of the Pharisees — was not consistent with Moses. The Son of God declared this, so supporting modern Israel on biblical grounds is sinful. It’s blasphemous, a rejection of the gospel message. It is tantamount to crucifying our Savior again.

If you cannot see that, you stand in God’s wrath. For believers who reject this truth, it will be worse for them than it would be for common sinners who don’t profess to know Christ at all. Your tribulation in the coming days of God’s wrath on America will be more painful and more sorrowful than for those who don’t know the Lord.

Go ahead, fools; keep shaking your fist in the face of God and demand that He do things your way. That’s how Israel went into Exile. I’m waiting to see how God will do something on that scale to evangelicals who reject His Word in favor of the Dispensational heresy.

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Prayer Request: Damsel in Distress

Her name is Johnna (jaw’-nuh). She is the daughter of someone who has supported my ministry for more than a decade, including taking us into her home for a time when we had no where else to go. Johnna is in her 20s and having health issues uncommon for her age. She suffers from some sort of spinal disc degeneration that makes one leg numb and treatment has not yet been determined. She also appears to have something in her brain that afflicts the optic center, because her vision goes black for a few moments two-three times daily. She is getting care, but this is not easy stuff to live with.

Pray with me as you feel led on her behalf.

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Constitutional Deception

There are few things more annoying than getting lost in debate with someone who believes the US Constitution is somehow sacred writ.

First of all, on a legal level, the Constitution was a coup. It was the product of a cabal of conspirators who exceeded their mandate. The folks at the Constitutional Convention were not the same group that got things rolling in the first place with the Articles of Confederation. Each of the delegates had been commissioned individually by their sponsoring states to amend the Articles of Confederation. In order to do that, they were granted exceptional authority, which they abused.

They all but admitted they had wangled their election as delegates on false pretenses in each of their sponsoring states. The states’ governments remained firmly libertarian Enlightenment idealists, while the folks at the convention were sneaky centralists. Not every one of them, but a core group intended to destroy the libertarian vision of the founders and steer deliberations toward centralized tyranny. But they kept a veneer of libertarian language with all sorts of semantic traps (lawyer language) designed to hide from the various state legislatures the trap doors.

When some of the states reconsidered later, their changed vote was improperly ignored because the conspirators had no intention of being honorable and lawful. On this level, the US Constitution was a complete fraud in the first place.

Second, it was based on false assumptions. It assumes the broad voting population will think and act in ways that they never have and never will. There is some proof that the hijackers at the Constitutional Convention knew this and took advantage of it. Some of them appear to have known the libertarian founders were deluded about human nature. They were counting on people being too busy to rise up and in arms against bad government, something that was generally considered legitimate at the time. Still, the main point is that the federalists were liars; they were dishonest and willing to deceive to press their agenda. Their opponents were generally more honest about their intentions.

So The Federalist Papers is a collection of lying propaganda. They are revered today by people who regard themselves “strict constitutionalists,” but who are willingly deceived by the same lies that took America down the path to where it is today. What we have today with the corporate welfare and police state conditions is pretty much what the Federalists had in mind, as the ancestors of the elitist one-percenters who rule us today.

Finally, both the naive libertarians and predatory Federalists were building on an anti-biblical basis. Both were flavors of the same barbaric and deeply heathen cultural background of Western Civilization. To this day, their political descendants celebrate and defend Western Civilization, itself the result of an anti-Christian conspiracy to keep the religious tyrants of the church hierarchy in place. They knowingly altered the ethics of their message to sucker the invading Germanic tribes into buying a perverted version of Christian religion, thus preserving the pretense of evangelizing the invaders.

The resulting shift in philosophical approach to reading the Bible eventually gave birth to the conflicts of the Crusades, Renaissance, Reformation, etc., until we came to the highly secularized Enlightenment. And reading the Bible through Enlightenment eyes brought forth a horde of discordant heretical sects no better than the official church that had spawned them. And while the original Articles of Confederation rested firmly on such Enlightenment idealism, it simply opened the door for the slimy cabal that eventually took over America.

No, I don’t care for the Enlightenment “gospel” of the mainstream churches today. And I certainly don’t revere the US Constitution. Nor does much of our US government, apparently. It was carefully formulated to encourage tyrants to violate it with impunity. The will of the people can be safely ignored because what the Constitution demands us do to preserve our rights and liberty is precisely what we cannot do. We don’t have time for that ritualistic nonsense, and the Constitution has encouraged the elites to rob the masses and prevent us having leisure to revolt.

The US Constitution remains one of the biggest lies ever perpetrated on any country anywhere.

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Colors and Chatter

This is the first good ride I’ve had all week. I decided today was the day to shoot all those flowers I see growing along the routes to Draper and visible from the road around it. I don’t know the proper names for much of any of them, and I didn’t shoot any but the most eye-catching stuff. Meanwhile, I’ll throw in some chatter of this week’s events.

Because I worked on the car Sunday — and it was hard work — I decided to rest Monday. I chose Sunday to do the work so no one from the apartment staff would be here to notice; they fuss about anything that looks like major surgery. I had to disassemble my right-front McPherson strut and replace the upper seat and that would look like a big deal to them, since none of them are mechanics.

But I had to buy some more tools to finish the job so I couldn’t afford to fill the tank and take a drive to my next picturesque location: the Black Kettle National Grasslands. That’s an all-day trip out west of here, and there’s several historical sites and museums in the area. Plus, the place does offer a semi-rugged terrain that can be quite lovely in some places. Maybe I can get out there later this month.

I also missed my heavy workout because of weather and because I had a new computer tech support client this week. It was pretty simple stuff for me, just figuring out that some expensive printers were not wireless, but required ethernet cables to become network available for the home office.

Someone had mistaken a phone wire for an ethernet cable. The ends fit in the same port, but the contacts don’t match at all.

It looks like I’ll be working tomorrow for one of my old clients. Every time I visit her, I am reminded how pitiful it can be to rely on DSL with ancient rural wiring.

We are supposed to stay in a rain pattern off and on through Monday. This stuff usually comes through as a broad storm front covering the whole state, sweeping west to east. Several areas have suffered flash floods. It’s delaying the work on the new bike trails at Draper Lake. It looks like they have about eight or ten miles of trail ready for paving, but there are a couple of spots where it runs over fairly deep ravines. It looks like they are trying to cut into the hillside next to the main road to take advantage of the fill work done way back when, but that won’t be enough. Just one heavy rainstorm could run over that and wash it out, so I’m waiting to see how they’ll brace it up.

I expect to see a lot of heavy stones packed into the exposed dirt slope in the next week or two. As I was heading toward the exit trail from the lake area, I passed two very large asphalt paving machines borne on long lowboy trailers. That signals the paving will start in the next few days.

Another place I hope to visit is the Wichita Mountains in southeastern Oklahoma. I could stay down there a week and not see half of it. I took US Army Basic Training at Ft. Sill in one corner of that Wichitas back in 1979 and remember hiking through some of those mountains. It’s where I learned land navigation and reading topo maps. Apparently I learned it better than I realized, because several times afterward I was assigned to tutor folks who struggled with it.

I can visualize to some degree what the contour lines on the map represent. But I’ve long wanted to go back and revisit the area when I was free to choose where I wandered. The whole area is filled with major tourist sites, numerous long equestrian trails, gold rush relics, etc. I could spend the rest of the year just taking trips down there.

I’ll finish with a shot of red clover. It’s not rare in these parts, but it is unusual. The white clover is ubiquitous; you can’t get rid of it around here. The other thing that’s extremely common is honeysuckle. Even before I got to the lake area, it was sometimes overwhelming along the route. I never ceased smelling it around the lake. Here in central Oklahoma, it grows wild and can be found in almost any shady area that isn’t mowed.

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Futile Genealogy

By the time Apostle John died, around 100 AD, there were already a handful of Christian scholars rising to occupy the apostolic leadership of the early churches. We are not in any position to argue either way whether anyone was justified in claiming apostolic office, but we see clearly their influence was on that level.

John had several disciples who led churches and wrote about him and his teaching. They in turn taught others who rose to prominence and some of their writings have survived. What you can notice is the sad truth that very early these leaders began a drift toward cerebral orthodoxy and forsaking the mystical approach of the first apostles.

But their drift was not without a great deal of prodding from what they perceived was the greatest threat to the gospel: the Judaizers. The Early Church scholars were reacting to a lot of garbage. Reading between the lines, we grasp that these Judaizers had used several common tricks to derail churches from the gospel message. One of them was the debate about the genealogy of Jesus.

As noted in the linked Wikipedia article, there remains some dispute even today. Matthew and Luke apparently gave us different genealogies, and reconciling the difference is a real headache. That is, if you think it matters, then there is a problem. You can’t just embrace one explanation or another and wave your hands to dismiss those who disagree, if you are going to operate in the realm of law and historical research.

The proper approach is to first understand why either of the gospels include the list. Matthew is attempting to answer lingering questions Jewish believers may have. Yes, Joseph could legally adopt Jesus as his human son, for what it’s worth. Luke offers to a Gentile audience a scholarly statement that Jesus was a real human, not a fable. Whether or not Luke’s list is actually Mary’s genealogy is rather beside the point. Consider that Luke is working from Jewish records as an outsider, but as one familiar with Jewish scholarly traditions. Was it simply a matter of key figures, not a direct lineal descent? Was it a matter of different names for the same guys, something quite common in Hebrew history?

We don’t really know — and we shouldn’t get wrapped around the question as if it really mattered. What qualified Jesus for the title, “Son of God”? The issue was actually settled at Jesus’ baptism by His cousin’s hands in the Jordan River and again on the Mount of Transfiguration (Matthew 3:17, 17:5; Mark 1:11, 9:7; Luke 3:22, 9:35; 2 Peter 1:17). If you aren’t going to buy that, then there’s no point in pursuing any of this.

Jesus as the Son of God, and therefore rightly Lord of your life, is a truth that calls to you regardless of alleged factual data. I’ve said repeatedly that there is no such thing as objective truth. If you think objective facts matter, then you’ll never understand the gospel. Every mighty miracle of God comes with plausible deniability for the human mind. As long as your intellect rules your life, you cannot hear the voice of God in the first place.

If we cannot establish the facts about Jesus’ genealogy, it’s because they don’t really matter. The notion, commonly assumed in the West, that truth arises from facts, and that the facts must first be established before we can have truth, is the Devil’s trick from back in the Garden of Eden. If you don’t understand that what mankind commonly assumes to be “reality” is likely variable, then you’ll always struggle to hear the voice of God calling you to follow in Jesus’ footsteps.

Yes, I’m suggesting that alternate realities exist. It’s not just human perception that cannot be trusted, much less human memory, but that we cannot trust the human drive for seeking certitude, the myth that we can possibly arrive at objective factual certainty about much of anything. It’s not just miracles that affect reality — Jesus born of a virgin — but miracles abound in that space of uncertainty where humans differ on what they experienced in a particular moment of time.

It was part of the Judaizers’ game to act as if facts really mattered. All that really matters is narrative, the story we tell of God’s greatness in our personal lives. We should act as if reality is a person we all experience differently — the same person seeming different to different folks who encounter him/her (gender is immaterial and depends on your perception). This requires a heart-led level of awareness that never presumes to establish some alleged factual account, but decides whether it is justified at some point to take seriously the narrative someone offers.

Even if there was an objective reality, it’s highly doubtful that any human would be capable of knowing, much less communicating such knowledge, with sufficient reliability to compel others to agree.

John’s Revelation should teach us one thing: Trust your heart first over your intellect, or you’ll never understand anything that matters.

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