Tuesday, May 31, 2005
  Less angst-ridden post...
Well I actually had a pretty good weekend.

My in-laws came in Friday and we celebrated my daughter's birthday early.

Saturday was a mix of spending more time with the in-laws, lazing around a bit, getting work done around the house. Leigh spent some time with a friend and I vegged.

Sunday was church. I went though I wasn't in the frame of mind to go. The sermon flew way over my head. Sunday school was lively with more talk of heresy. We went out to eat and did some shopping.

Monday was a real treat. We spent the morning with Dan and Molly. Then that afternoon we went to Chez Gray and had a lovely picnic with the folks from the local SCA chapter. Leigh and I took turns at the archery range and I got to throw some axes/knives. That evening I played LOTR: The Third Age while Leigh snoozed on the couch.

All in all not a boring weekend but not too exciting. In a word, restful.

No SW Ep. III to be had, but I'm not broken up about it. It'll be around for another week or two at least.

God and I still aren't exactly what you'd call on speaking terms right now, but at least I'm not against the idea.
Friday, May 27, 2005
  Current struggles...
Okay the biggest reason I have this stupid thing is to vent and let you lovely folks know what rattles around in my cranium. So here ‘tis.

I think the biggest problem I’m having right now is a question I’ve asked myself (and have been asked) time and again over the years. How do I know that what I believe is really real? How do I know that God exists? How do I know that I’m not a heretic?

I ran that last one past Leigh last night. I mean seriously, “heresy” started with the apostles and hasn’t stopped to take a breath. Let’s say for argument’s sake that my current understanding of the scripture is one hundred percent spot-on. If that’s the case then an argument could be made that if you’re Arminian in theology then you are a heretic. If you’re SDA or Mormon, you’re a heretic. Unitarian? Straight to Hell. ICOC? Roasting with the rich man.

Now let’s flip that around. Suppose that I’m off base on even one thing (a major thing like baptism or the nature of the Trinity). Then that spells trouble for me, especially as I have been a teacher and God supposedly holds us to a higher standard (how that can really work I don’t know since we have “all sinned and fallen short of the glory of God”). I could be a heretic and not even know it. When you consider that a lot of the early church fathers (2nd and 3rd century) were already slipping in some major weird theology I would be in good company I suppose, but that doesn’t get me “right with God”.

Now I know that I don’t have to be perfect. I know that I don’t have to teach everything correctly. I know that God’s grace is sufficient for his children. I’m pretty sure that there was even forgiveness for Judas. (Again all assuming that I understand what I read and that that is true.) How does all of this mesh with a God that is perfect in his righteousness and blood thirsty in his nature?

Now to the next question. What if all us Christians are wrong? From the RCC to the snake handlers in Appalachia, we could all be off our collective rockers. There is no shortage of belief systems out there, some older than Christianity some newer and all taken just as seriously as we take our faith. What if they’re right? Or what if the atheists are right? Okay that wouldn’t be as bad considering that there would be no afterlife for us to look stupid in but think about all the years of unnecessary guilt and shame we have felt. Sure we’ve done some good if we’re doing good works, but an equal amount of harm has been done in the name of various gods to start wars and make people’s lives miserable because that don’t “measure up” to our standard (I’m looking at you Religious Right). In any case this whole thing would’ve been a colossal waste of time at best.

I know that the apologists out there have a whole bunch of pat answers out there for all of these questions. I don’t need pat answers. I’m not sure what I need.

Here’s what I know.

I love my family.

I love my friends.

I love complete strangers and those that hate and persecute me or wish to.

I want to enjoy this life I have. No matter what the truth is, I only have one go round in this particular world.

I’ve no wish to hurt anyone in any way (including myself).

So I guess I’m not in a horrible place. I’m not completely in the dark. I feel love from friends and family. I know that there are people that care about me and don’t judge me for any of this. So I guess that’s it for now.
Wednesday, May 25, 2005
  The fight...
Call it a fight or a race or whatever you want but I'm done with it all for now. No more Church, no more Bible, no more prayer, not until I get some things sorted out in my head. Maybe not even then.

I'm tired of believing without evidence.

I'm tired of being thought of as a sinner who needs grace.

I'm tired of praying to thin air.

I'm tired of feeling like someone getting scraps from a feast.

I'm just plain tired.
Tuesday, May 24, 2005
Having a bit of a lively discussion over here and I just don't understand folks that say, "Well I think Jesus was just a really cool guy." and leave it at that.

They can defend it all day by saying that the gospels aren't history and that historians can pick and choose which parts need to be excised in order to make it "real". This allows them great freedom to build a Jesus that suits them. Of course I'm certain that Christians are guilty of this same behavior. I just want to know the real Christ and I think he can be easily found in the Bible without changing a thing.

This is the Christ that challenges me.

"Do not suppose that I have come to bring peace to the earth. I did not come to bring peace, but a sword."

"So he made a whip out of cords, and drove all from the temple area, both sheep and cattle; he scattered the coins of the money changers and overturned their tables."

"No one can come to me unless the Father who sent me draws him, and I will raise him up at the last day."

I just don't know why the apostles would make this up.
Monday, May 23, 2005
  The Weekend
Friday - Went to Kalila's graduation and spent some quality time with my mom, aunt, and wife, discussing politics and religion without blood shed and prepared for the yard sale until about 1:00 am.

Saturday - Had a very successful yard sale. It meant having to get up at 5:00 am (whoever invented this rule needs to be hoss whipped) but it worked. After that I went with my daughter to pick up some mulch. I mulched various parts of the yard and mowed while listening to some Clapton. We went shopping were I got some Young's Waggledance Ale and some Young's Double Chocolate Stout and Leigh got a nice Riesling. We ate and put the kiddos to bed. After that some light housekeeping and the Waggledance finished off the evening with an early bedtime.

Sunday - Slept until 8:30!!! Missed church unfortunately, due to the fact that I wanted to accompany some new friends to an SCA heavy fighter practice. Saw some cool fighting and met some very nice people. After weedeating, I grilled some chicken marinated in Raspberry Walnut vinaigrette and Leigh made an outstanding salad and garlicky new potatoes. We worked on the kitchen and then collapsed in the living room to watch L&O:CI. D'Onofrio and Erbe are a mighty compelling team.
Friday, May 20, 2005
  Revenge of the Sith
Well I expect that everyone I know will see this before me. Word of mouth from several geeks I know is good.

Pray for patience.
Pray for patience.
Pray for patience.
Pray for patience.
Pray for patience.
Pray for patience.
Pray for patience.
Thursday, May 19, 2005
  The use of the word Satan and how it is translated -
Part two of my ongoing Satan study.

Sometimes the Old Testament translates the word Satan as “adversary” as we noted yesterday that is what it literally means. Sometimes the translators opt to transcribe it simply as Satan where it then in English becomes a proper noun. I found that intriguing, so I looked at the text again this time searching through the original language for the Hebrew word Satan and then checking the English translation.

The following are my assumptions based on reading the text.

In the first part of the Old Testament the word Satan is almost always translated. In Numbers 22 it is translated as adversary because it is the angel of the Lord and it is being used as a noun, not a proper noun. Again in I Samuel it is referring to a specific person. II Samuel is talking about the “sons of Zeruiah”. I Kings mentions specific people. I Chronicles does not mention a specific person, so some unnamed individual is the adversary here and it is transcribed rather than translated. Interestingly a parallel telling in 2 Sam 24:1 “And a again the anger of the LORD was kindled against Israel, and b he moved David against them to say, Go, number Israel and Judah.” attributes it to the “anger of the Lord”. The book of Job mentions no one by name so it is transliterated. Here we see God’s attack dog. I’m not sure why Psalms doesn’t translate it as adversary which could just as easily fit here. Zechariah has Satan standing with the Angel of the Lord and so is a proper noun.

The New Testament always transcribes it. The gospels either have him showing up or have people referencing him as a unique person. Matthew 4:10 mentions him as tempting Christ in person. Matthew12:26 is where Jesus talks about Satan being unable to cast out Satan. In Matthew 16:23, Jesus calls Peter Satan. Mark is largely a repeat of Matthew. Luke adds attacks on 3 people. John has Satan as entering Judas and that is his only mention in that book.

The later half of the New Tetament has him acting on believers. Acts tells us that Satan tempted Ananias which caused him to drop dead when confronted and also shows Jesus talking about people being under the power of Satan. In 2 Corinthians a “thorn” in Paul’s flesh is called a “messenger of Satan”. Satan sends some sort of struggle with sin or possibly a physical problem which benefits Paul though it pains him. Paul shows Satan to be a tempter, deceiver, hindrance, and yet in 1st Timothy he is helpful to God’s plans. Finally in Revelation we get the dragon in the final battle.

It seems that as the Bible progresses from Genesis to Revelation, Satan become more of a “person” and takes an active role in God’s creation. It’s interesting to me that the serpent in the Garden is never called Satan and yet many if not most Christians believe that the serpent was none other than the Father of Lies. Which brings up another point and that is that this adversary is called by many names in the Bible.

He is called Abadon, Apollyon, the Devil, and the god of the world among others. Are all of these the same “person”? And how/why did the biblical vision of this now seemingly supernatural personage change over the 2000 years or so that the Bible was written. What did the Jews of Jesus’ time believe about him? How has the view of him changed in the time since? When did he become the goateed and goat horned one of heavy metal album covers?

I want to cover all of these bases and look at Satan’s minions and what the Bible says about them. But this is it for now. Comments? Questions? Post away!
Tuesday, May 17, 2005
  Satan – Hebrew for "Adversary; accuser".
Part the First-

As a word it appears 47 times in the Bible.

In I Chronicles it is said that he incited David to take a census. Because of David’s sin he was given a choice between three years of famine, three months of loss to his enemies, or three days of plagues. He chose the last and seventy thousand Israelites died, though it does seem that God was so grieved by the loss that the full plague was not carried out. He gave David the opportunity to build an altar to end the suffering.

Then there comes Job. Here Satan approaches God’s throne and demands that God test Job and interestingly God allows Satan to test him, but only to certain points.

Again in Zechariah God is shown as having authority over Satan and rebukes him.

In the New Testament Jesus rebukes Satan and casts out devils, proving that he is not Satan.

He “enters” Judas.

He wants to ”sift” Simon like wheat, but Jesus prays for him and prevents it.

He fills Ananias’ heart and costs him his life. The death of he and his wife causes great fear in the church.

He tempts us if we separate ourselves from our spouses for too long. He can be used to try brethren in the process of sanctification. Gives us thorns, may stop us from acting on God’s will (though at God’s good pleasure if the Satan of Job is the same one). He has a throne in Pergamum. He will be bound for a thousand years only to be released to attack God’s city. Ultimately he will be cast into a lake of fire to be tormented forever.

So what we have is this cross between the mystical drug dealer who gets us hooked on a particular sin and a supernatural DA who wants nothing but a chance to confront us with that sin and watch us go down for it.

Sometimes God uses him to help us grow and sometimes He just lets Satan have his way. This makes me pretty uncomfortable overall. God has Satan on a sort of leash, or so it seems.
  Battle of the Search Toolbars
Hey it even rhymes with battle of the network stars!!!

Microsoft has released a desktop search engine that also searches the net. This comes not long after Google’s similar product. I love M$’s flair for the original.

It says in the article that they will be releasing a version of the toolbar with a tabbed browsing feature. They’ll hit a high note with that feature. One might even say a note of operatic proportions.

Speaking of Bill Gates, I’ll be starting a little self study on Satan and devils today.
Thursday, May 12, 2005
  Chronicles of Narnia
Watch the exclusive here.
Wednesday, May 11, 2005
  Your Political Typology

Learn About OtherTypology Groups
Social Conservatives
Pro-Government Conservatives
Conservative Democrats
Disadvantaged Democrats
See what others like you think...

Based on your answers to the questionnaire, you most closely resemble survey respondents within the Liberal typology group. This does not mean that you necessarily fit every group characteristic or agree with the group on all issues.
Liberals represent 17 percent of the American public, and 19 percent of registered voters.
Basic Description-This group has nearly doubled in proportion since 1999, Liberals now comprise the largest share of Democrats and is the single largest of the nine Typology groups. They are the most opposed to an assertive foreign policy, the most secular, and take the most liberal views on social issues such as homosexuality, abortion, and censorship. They differ from other Democratic groups in that they are strongly pro-environment and pro-immigration, issues which are more controversial among Conservative and Disadvantaged Democrats.
Defining Values-Strongest preference for diplomacy over use of military force. Pro-choice, supportive of gay marriage and strongly favor environmental protection. Low participation in religious activities. Most sympathetic of any group to immigrants as well as labor unions, and most opposed to the anti-terrorism Patriot Act.
Who They Are-Most (62%) identify themselves as liberal. Predominantly white (83%), most highly educated group (49% have a college degree or more), and youngest group after Bystanders. Least religious group in typology: 43% report they seldom or never attend religious services; nearly a quarter (22%) are seculars. More than one-third never married (36%). Largest group residing in urban areas (42%) and in the western half the country (34%). Wealthiest Democratic group (41% earn at least $75,000).
Lifestyle Notes-Largest group to have been born (or whose parents were born) outside of the U.S. or Canada (20%). Least likely to report having a gun at home (23%) or attending bible study or prayer group meetings (13%).
2004 Election-Bush 2%, Kerry 81%
Party ID-59% Democrat; 40% Independent/No Preference, 1% Republican (92% Dem/Lean Dem)
Media Use-Liberals are second only to Enterprisers in following news about government and public affairs most of the time (60%). Liberals’ use of the internet to get news is the highest among all groups (37%).
Note: All descriptions and percentages are based on the national sample of adults surveyed by telephone in December. Based on your answers to the survey questions, you most closely resemble survey respondents within this group, even though you may differ significantly on one or more issues or traits.
In the overall typology there is a ninth group called “Bystanders” who are defined as adults who are not registered, who do not follow news about government and public affairs, and who say they rarely or never vote.
  Movie Marketers Turn to Subtle, Sophisticated Tactics
Story at NPR

Subtle? Sophisticated? Product placement in movies and TV is nothing new, subtle, or particularly sophisticated. Now I suppose a brief mention of a movie in the plot of a TV show is sort of subliminal, but I don’t think it’s “inherently deceptive” and I don’t think it needs an on screen warning to consumers.

Now where I do have a problem with this story is the paleontologist that fudged the date on the discovery of a T. Rex. Granted it wasn’t a huge scientific discovery and the false date wasn’t published in a peer reviewed journal, but I think that ethically a scientist's whole philosophy should be the pursuit and dissemination of the TRUTH.

And really what was the point of moving the date just a bit? I mean the average person’s memory for these things is so short that I can’t imagine unless you released it on the same day, people would remember. If what appears in the press is “meaningless” then why bother? This man is making excuses for his lying for money. Granted thanks to his lies I suppose he was able to do more research, but is it worth it? At what point are you a sell out?

Altering the date seems more than “weird”. It is just plain wrong.
Monday, May 09, 2005
  Heavy Weekend

mattockpick, originally uploaded by capteucalyptus.

Picked (hah hah) up this bad boy to do some serious digging. Leigh wants a fence up and so I got an excuse to buy a heavy bladed object.

Got a lot of yardwork done and even a box or two unpacked.

I am a bad son though. I didn't call my mom though I did send her a card. I'll call her today.

Friday, May 06, 2005
  Star Wars: The TV Show
Old news to some but Lucas wants to do a live action TV show in the SW universe.

This could be great or it could really suck.

Great – Let us see more of the universe. Characters we’ve heard of on the fringe, new one, races/creatures we’ve only heard of. Get some fresh talent to write/direct. Make it episodic, maybe Twilight Zone-ish.

Suck – Let GL direct it. Give us crap like we got in the prequels (not horrible but nowhere near the OT). Characters/action that are lacking in spunk.

I wouldn’t mind it if this took place post ROTJ, but DON”T make it Episode VII. No jedis would be fine with me. Give me more Wookies, cool aliens, epic space battles, and no freakin’ prime directive!
  Impeach Bush?
It seems that there’s a memo that came to light in the London Times on Monday that shows that Bush had the facts “fixed” so that he could start the war on his time table.

You tell me oh enlightened readers, if after reading this article what you think. I think there’s an excellent case to be made.
Thursday, May 05, 2005
  SCA name
Leaning towards Maewynn (St. Patrick's real first name) de Roiste (pronounced ROW-ish-teh and my last name in Gaelic).

Not that any of you cared.
  Mummies and Rap Music…
Okay, so I’m watching the news and they show a piece on a mummy that was recently excavated. I LOOOOOOOOVE all things mummy, both IRL and in the movies. I even love Stephen Sommers, The Mummy.

So they show the mummy and it is really cool. Incredibly richly detailed and decorated. Everything is in pristine condition. There are pictures of various gods and goddesses all over the thing.

On comes the talking head and I hear the words “Mummy bling” come out of this VERY white man. I couldn’t get over it.

Now when a man this white uses a rap word to describe decorations on a 3.500 year old mummy, I can only believe that this word has not only jumped the shark but it is well on its way over the moon.

I’m working diligently to find this news clip. It must be seen.
Wednesday, May 04, 2005
  My prayers…
Today is a day of prayer for me. I just spent about a half hour walking around my grounds at work and praying. I cling to this as I pray.

James 5:16b "The prayer of a righteous man is powerful and effective."

I claim no personal righteousness. Mine comes through Christ and it is His power that I claim.

I pray for:

TMAG - The group of guys I meet with that struggle deeply with sexual sin, with some successes and some failures. God’s grace is sufficient for us my brothers.

Mark Brown - Keep your faith brother. God has got you in precisely the right place. Your ministry is a blessing to more people than you know.

The adult education program at Redeemer - We are equipping the saints and sending them out. My prayer is that it not only continue, but to improve and for the fruit to bust open the doors of the storehouse. And as an extension to that I pray for Steve Beck that he would continue to help people answer the call to missions work and that we as a body support him in whatever his needs may be.

The staff at Redeemer - May your families bless you and may your ministries bless you as they have us.

John "Bear" Payne - You are my brother. The only thing that keeps that from being true in every sense is blood and Christ took care of that. I pray for you and your wife, your health, wisdom, and gifts that will bless the world for generations to come. You aren't alone in this fight.

Big Jay - You've had a hard time and I pray that God will heal you form broken relationships and see you through things. May his grace shower on you without ceasing.

My wife and children - I am not the best father/husband in the world, not even close, but I do want to lead my family in a way that will glorify God. May he help me in that endeavor.

My co-workers - I want to be a blessing to them and I pray for the prayer group here that it continues to be strong and that it will continue to bless lives here.

My job - They say that your job is a ministry and I pray that it would be. May my work point people to Christ. I don’t know how that will happen, but I am convinced that God can do it.

Chuck E - I think both he and God are certain of what my prayers are here.

My parents/grandparents/etc. and Leigh's Mom/grandparents/etc. - They have continued to be a blessing to our family and I pray that God will bless them a thousand times over there provision for us.

The family/church that donated their truck so that I would have a vehicle - I pray that God repays your generosity as well and that He continues to use your life in the lives of others.

I pray all these things claiming the power that resides in Christ’s shed blood and in His name. Amen.
Monday, May 02, 2005
The internet just ate two posts in a row. Thankfully there's a feature that may prevent that in the future. No more "Blog this!" for me. In a nutshell.

Weekend good.

Saturday –
Coffee drunk.

Southwestern ate.

Conversation had.

Romans 10 listened: 14How, then, can they call on the one they have not believed in? And how can they believe in the one of whom they have not heard? And how can they hear without someone preaching to them? 15And how can they preach unless they are sent? As it is written, "How beautiful are the feet of those who bring good news!"[g]

Church fathers.

Tonight -
Sca meeting.

Need name.

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