Monday, February 27, 2006
  Desires of My Heart...
I want this:

even though I know that the computer I have is "good enough".

Also, I joined Gold's Gym and promised a buddy I'd be a workout partner. Pray for me. (I really am looking forward to it, but discipline has never been my strong suit.)

Oh and God's in there somewhere. ;-)
  Autistic Basketball Player...
Touching. Disney couldn't have invented this.
Someone (I believe it was Rock) pointed out that Johari had no or few negative words. Thus here is my nohari window which is its antithesis. Feel free to school me.
Friday, February 24, 2006
  Spiderman in Black

spideyhuge, originally uploaded by capteucalyptus.

Thanks to Sony Pictures by way of Chud by way of Codemorse


Adding some buttons to show what "category" my posts belong in. Right now they're just clip art-y, but soon I hope to have good things.
Thursday, February 23, 2006

I could so juggle like this.
  Mucking About...

As you can see I'm playing with the layout. Feel free to comment as things change.

Results of my Johari Window, of the 14 people who responded (thanks btw):
friendly (50%)
religious (50%)
intelligent (42%)
reflective (42%)
knowledgeable (42%)
witty (35%)
helpful (35%)
trustworthy (28%)
accepting (28%)
searching (28%)
caring (21%)
logical (21%)
loving (21%)
adaptable (14%)
complex (14%)
dependable (14%)
responsive (14%)
self-assertive (7%)
bold (7%)
observant (7%)
patient (7%)
quiet (7%)
giving (7%)
independent (7%)
introverted (7%)

I will be doing reviews for Hollywood Jesus down the line. Check it out!

Pray for our little familiy's health.

Wednesday, February 22, 2006
  The Long War...

That's what it's being called now. I feel that. It seems like we've been involved in this crap for decades now.

We're spending INSANE amounts of money on conventional warfare stuff like a new bomber when we are not fighting a conventional war. I agree that the military is just trying to feather its nest at this point, without spending any actual money to help our troops.

It does sound better than "The War on Terror" and is certainly more accurate, but I say we call it "The Loan War" because we'll be paying for it for a looooooong time.

Control the language and you control everything.
Tuesday, February 21, 2006
You probably thought I forgot and at the rate of one or two updates a month you could well have been right. But thanks to my constant reader Rock complaining, kvetching, and cajoling here you go. Should you thank him or burn him in effigy? You tell me.
It's unfortunate that we don't hear about the Muslims who are reasonable. Most of them want an apology for what the Danish papers printed (which I understand) and it seems some major names are also calling their extreme brethren to task for the bombings and other violent protests.

Cheers to Umm Yasmin.
  M.C.F.A.T. Volume VIII
1)From any television show past or present, which character would you wish to have as a sidekick in real life? Valid answers include but are not limited to talking vehicles, intelligent animals, ghosts, sassy maids and more.

Landshark, because he’s clever, hard to kill, and could eat people at my command.

2) ”Guns ‘n Roses” might be releasing a new album this year. If you could hear a new CD from a band that's no longer together, possibly with deceased members, what band would that be?

The easy answer would be the Beatles. I’m not gonna go there. I’ll go with Buddy Holly and the Crickets.

3) What's the worst thing a person could ask you on a job interview, and how would you respond?

I hate the question, “What do you consider one of your weaknesses?”. Typically I go with, “Interviews, I’m not good at ‘em.” Okay, not really.

4) What do you consider your greatest weakness, and greatest strength?

See there’s that question. At least here I can answer honestly.
Weakness - I’m not a sexual tyrannosaurus.
Strength – My sense of humor.

5) Who is your favorite game show host and why? If you don't watch game shows, you can skip this question or choose some random individual you’d enjoy as a host.

Wink Martindale for his name. Alex Trebec ‘cause he’s cool as ice.
Thursday, February 16, 2006
  It's Aliiiive...
Or rather I am. Internet at home now! Tremble in fear at the thought of an occasional evening/weekend update.
Wednesday, February 15, 2006
  Personality Awareness...

The Johari Window was invented by Joseph Luft and Harrington Ingram in the 1950s as a model for mapping personality awareness. By describing yourself from a fixed list of adjectives, then asking your friends and colleagues to describe you from the same list, a grid of overlap and difference can be built up.

Tell me by selecting five or six words from this list what you think about me. I'm interested in what I put out there and if it matches what I think about myself.
  Pocket Mod...

Free, customizable paper pda. It's a pretty cool thing, give it a look.

Shout out to The Tool Shed for the link.
Tuesday, February 14, 2006
Student finds toilet water cleaner than ice at fast food restaurants.

Again I say - ICK!!!
  Gorram it!

Flash back a couple of years... I was way to busy with life to watch this weird little sci-fi show by the guy who was responsible for Buffy (a show that I could never get into).

Fast forward to last year. I never get to watch every movie that I want to. Kids, a wife, a life all seem to get in the way, not to mention that whipping out forty bucks (tickets, popcorn, drink, sitter) every time the wife and I go to see a flicker is a bit hard. So I miss Serenity thinking, it looks cool but it doesn't look that cool.

So a guy gives me the series on DVD (Firefly in case you're in the dark so far). It took some time to watch it and when I did I would watch two or three at a pop. It's outstanding. It's what a television Western/Sci-fi series should be.

This thing has heart. It's funny. The characters are folk that after only a couple of episodes you care about. The sets are great. The special effects are awesome. The writing is top notch.

I watched the last two episodes last night. At the end of Heart of Gold I screamed "Nooooooo!" at the television, knowing that the major plot line they laid on me over the course of the previous twelve eps would never be resolved. Watching Objects in Space (the last one) made me sad and I almost didn't want to finish it, knowing that whatever happened would forever leave me hanging. I was right, but I'm glad I finished it.

Do yourself a favor and get the DVD's and watch them. Watch them in the order the writers intended (not the order that the ruttin' network aired them in).

There are rumbles that it will be picked up by the new network that's springing from the ashes of the WB, but I'm not holding my breath. After all a failed series and a failed movie are probably the nails in its coffin. But I'll hold out hope.
Monday, February 13, 2006

When Clinton signed Executive Order 12949 on February 9, the frightening mandate of the FISA, court was greatly expanded: It now has legal authority to approve black-bag operations to authorize Department of Justice (DoJ) requests to conduct physical as well as electronic searches, without obtaining a warrant in open court, without notifying the subject, without providing an inventory of items seized. The targets need not be under suspicion of committing a crime, but may be investigated when probable cause results solely from their associations or status: for example, belonging to, or aiding and abetting organizations deemed to pose a threat to U.S. national security. Furthermore, despite a lowered standard for applying the Fourth Amendment against unreasonable search and seizure than is necessary in other U.S. courts, under the 1995 expansion, evidence gathered by the FISA court may now be used in criminal trials. Previously, evidence was collected and stockpiled solely for intelligence purposes.

From the FreeRepublic.com forum. Apparently doing searches without warrants is bad. Someone should tell the President!
  Hollywood Jesus...
Added them to my Entertainment drop down.

They look at "pop culture from a spiritual point of view".

Seem to be an open minded bunch of folks. I shot a review of Shaun of the Dead David Bruce's way (he runs the site dontcha know) and he dug it. I may be writing more for them. We shall see.

Anyway I just thought I'd give them a shout out.
  Sincerest Form of Flattery...

I have three children and I can tell you that imitation is a HUGE part of the learning process. My son, the middle child, is always trying to do what his big sister does (and occasionally the converse happens). I don't think that flattery is their desire, in fact it often ends up annoying the target, but it can often give them an excuse for poor behavior. And too often it's poor behavior that they imitate.

Yesterday I was just completely disconnected from what was going on in church. I was there physically and mentally, but not emotionally or spiritually. That wasn't a good thing especially since I was singing with the choir. It's part of an ongoing spiritual schizophrenia I've been having of late.

On one side I feel really motivated to help out where needed (volunteering for the men's retreat, trying to find a place in the education/nurturing ministry, calling people who I thought could use a good word). On the other I just don't feel... connected with God. When I pray (which has been occurring with greater frequency and involving my wife) it just feels like me talking. Sometimes I just want to give up.

That got me to thinking about a passage in the NT that talks about being imitators of Christ. I did a quick search and there are actually three passages that talk about imitation.

Ephesians 5:1-2
Be imitators of God, therefore, as dearly loved children and live a life of love, just as Christ loved us and gave himself up for us as a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God.

1 Thessalonians 1:6
You became imitators of us and of the Lord; in spite of severe suffering, you welcomed the message with the joy given by the Holy Spirit.

1 Thessalonians 2:14-15
For you, brothers, became imitators of God's churches in Judea, which are in Christ Jesus: You suffered from your own countrymen the same things those churches suffered from the Jews, who killed the Lord Jesus and the prophets and also drove us out.

The first calls us to live lives of sacrifice and love through imitating Christ. The second and third urge us to continue in spite of suffering. We must, as children of God, imitate our Father (and older brother), but we aren't doing it to flatter. Instead our goal should be to learn and grow. We also have to imitate because that level of sacrifice and love is not in our nature. Imitation is our nature and too often we, like my children, pick up the bad habits we see. That's why we need to pick our role models carefully.

The amount of love and sacrifice we are called to is daunting and truthfully I expect my level of success to be about the same as when my five year old tries to imitate my serious frown. That shouldn't discourage us though. I believe that God knows us at least as well as I know my daughter and he doesn't expect us to be perfect any more than I expect her to. The high bar doesn't mean we should give up or fail to even try.
Friday, February 10, 2006
Play ALIAS 3. When you aren't working of course.
  Free will(y)...
R. C. Sproul schools us on Pelagianism/Semi-Pelagianism and why it's not good.

Free will is an interesting concept. I don't really believe that we have a free will at all. We don't choose our parents or method of upbringing and that, I think, is as much if not more responsible than genes (and genes play a definite role, no doubt). That's at least one area that I agree with "gay activists" on. I don't think anyone chooses to be a homosexual/heterosexual. I can't say what makes that decision for you, but it isn't your concious mind.

I never choose to like chocolate, I just do. I did choose to like Guiness, some things are an acquired taste and I suppose in that sense one could choose to be straight if one were born homosexual. I imagine though that every time one makes the choice to act like a heterosexual, one would remember that it was a choice just like I know that every time I have a Guiness I remember that my enjoyment of it didn't come naturally.

So, if our sin nature is something that we are born with, does that make God a cruel taskmaster for expecting us to choose Him when by that very nature we can't? I know that has been posited by many folks I've broached this subject with. How can God "punish" us for something that is not our fault?

I guess I think of it this way. Eternal seperation from God is a natuaral consequnce of having a sinful being. So it isn't so much that God is punishing those sinners, but that nature is taking its course. That raises another thorny issue though. Why does God snatch some of us up before our natural demise and adopt us as His own? If it has nothing to do with our will or our nature then what? This is perhaps my biggest struggle when it comes to Reformed theology.

The only answer I seem to find is in Romans. We aren't to question God and He will choose whom he pleases for His purpose. Believe me when I say that this answer doesn't please me any more than it does some of you.

But, if we are to believe in the God of the Bible, one that is infinite, loving, at times cruel, just, at times merciful, then it only makes sense that the above passage is true and perhaps more comforting than on its surface it would appear. If we all lack the will to choose God and if it is then up to Him to choose us then I suppose I should be in the business of trusting Him. It's not an easy road though.
  Multi-Touch Interaction Research...
Bi-manual, multi-point, and multi-user interactions on a graphical interaction surface.

Imagine a touch screen where you could use both hands and all ten fingers to manipulate the stuff on screen. Or if you can't imagine it then click the link and watch the video.

Oh and a shout out to Ananth Panagariya at Applegeeks for the link.
Tuesday, February 07, 2006
  Fred Phelps and Westboro Baptist Church...
These are the God Hates Fags people (I won't even provide a link to his site, Google it if you must).

Between Morse and an article on Get Religion these people have been on my mind.

Jamey Tucker, a reporter for News 2 in Nashville, TN has a blog and in a recent post he asks his readers if he should go cover Phelps and his "congregation". Apparently they're picketing another funeral. *sigh*

For the record I do think that Tucker should cover this thing. His reasons are as follows:

But, I would love to go and find out what part of the Bible they find that God hates anyone.

I can find support for God hating individual people, groups of people, even entire nations. Most of the time it's because these people have either rejected him out of hand or interfered with his people. I don't find support for God hating all homosexuals, but Paul does point out that the act is detestable as set forth in Leviticus. Given that and the passages following Rom. 1:27 I can say that God doesn't see practicing homosexuals in a good light. But then He doesn't see any sinner that hasn't accepted Christ in a good light. He sees them for who and what they are, sinners.

Some would argue that the idea that homosexuality is a sin is outdated and limited to the OT and its teachings. Paul was after all a Pharisee and his training was in OT law. I don't think that it's outdated and I think that it angers God and I'll tell you why. It goes beyond, "God said so."

God designed man and woman to have relationship; physically, mentally, and spiritually. Even if you take God's design out of the picture (I don't, but just for arguments sake) it's obvious that human men and women are intended to pair off in that fashion. Historically we compliment one another in the above ways. I'm not saying that gay men and women can't compliment one another, but given what I've seen it seems that when they do it is the exception and not the rule.

I know that plenty of heterosexual people are in abusive relationships, get divorced, cheat on one another, etc. I'm not saying that they're perfect. I'm also not saying that just any one man and one woman compliment each other either. You need to find the right person. In God's plan that would be a person of the opposite gender. Anything else can (and I believe will) lead to a disaster. I think that's what Paul is saying in Romans.

So does God hate you if you're gay? I don't think so, but you being gay isn't what He wants for you. Just like He doesn't want anyone to be with a member of the opposite sex out of wedlock (I like that word better than marriage actually). Of course if you love Him, I believe that He will accept you warts and all. Just know that God likes to love you in such a way that your warts get removed.

You say that you don't believe that God sees homosexuality as a wart? That's fine. I can't convince you otherwise (and won't try). We can disagree and love each other and love God. That is the key that the WBC doesn't get.

I'd also like to talk to them about the overall negative opinion of Christians that others might have because of their words, their actions and their lack of compassion.

I'm sure they'll have answers for that and most of it will be to trash talk those Christians that disagree with them. I think that those of us that call ourselves Christians would do well to remember John 13: 34"A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. 35By this all men will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another." It's not an easy command, but we must.

But what about those pesky non-Christians? Well Matthew 5:44-45 says, "But I say to you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, so that you may be sons of your Father who is in heaven; for He causes His sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous".

Will covering these people give them press that they don't need? Well I'm sure that even if this guy doesn't cover them, they'll get press. I'd be interested in hearing how they love their enemy and their brethren. I'm sure their answer won't satisfy me, but hey maybe I'll be surprised.

If you're reading these words and aren't Christian, understand that these people don't represent all of Christianity. My hope is that they don't represent a tenth part of us. If you're reading this and you are a Christian and agree with these folks then by all means enlighten me. Why do you?
  I-Monk Rules...
Take that LaHaye and Jenkins!
  Lift Your Voice...
My buddy, Matt Morse, a cool frood if there ever was, posted a link to a MoveOn.org petition. It concerns the wiretapping that President Bush and co. have been doing.

Matt added his comments to the petiton and I liked what he said so I'll reproduce it here (though you should really check out his site).

As a freedom-loving, loyal, and proud American, warrantless wiretaps concern me. Given the leeway which FISA already provides, it concerns me further that legal, established methods for wiretapping were ignored.

It is important to the democratic spirit of this country that we speak up and allow our voices to be heard when we feel that something is amiss in government. I salute and applaud our President's efforts to keep our country safe, and I firmly believe that he believes he has the best interests of our country at heart. But I firmly disagree, in that same democratic spirit, with the circumvention of the law in order to achieve a desired end.

I respectfully request that this matter is looked into by my elected representatives, and by my Attorney General. It is with the hope of maintaining the freedoms I hold dear that I make this request. I love my country, and I desire safety as much as anyone. But more than safety, I desire liberty. I desire freedom. I desire a government both open and accountable. Surely these desires are not incompatible?

This petition reads that I "demand" a thorough and independent investigation. I do not "demand" anything. I do not feel as though I have a need to do so. This is America, where the investigation of potential illegality should not come at a "demand," but because it is the right thing to do. Because it is the American thing to do.

Here's a link to the petition and here's another few reasons why you might want to sign it.
Monday, February 06, 2006
  15 lbs Burger...
Look at the video here. A little more planning and a lack of "beetroot" and that would be a perfect party burger.

Extreme food, in fact extreme anything is a pandemic in our country. We have Extreme Wrestling, Dating, Makeovers, Sports, and Ghostbusters. What does that say about our society?

America has to be the first, biggest, or best at just about everything. We aren't as good at inventing things as we are at re-inventing or super-sizing something. Then when something we make is too big we make it bit smaller (though it's still too big). We want big roller coasters, big movies, assault our senses with the biggest screens and stereo systems that money can buy. We aren't comfortable in our own small skins.

No wonder it's so hard to hear a still, small voice that's speaking to us. When you sit down to meet God in the Compaq Center and watch your pastor on the Jumbo-tron how can you have an intimate relationship with Him? Bigger is not necessarily better folks. Good things often do come in small packages.

The God of the Universe, bigger than all of his creation came down to us as a baby boy. He lived as we can only hope to. His ministry on Earth never went beyond the boundaries of his homeland. He only had a core of a dozen that followed him daily. Yes he preached to thousands, but even he had to get away and have solitude. Even he had to meet the Father in the quiet of the garden when things were really crushing down on him.

I'm not dogging my brothers and sisters in their mega-churches. God made and honors the big things of this world too. But every once in a while (to quote the master) you just have to say, "Let's get small."
  Fed Ex Commercial...
One of my favorites from Sunday.
  Who Should Paint You...
Who Should Paint You: M.C. Escher

Open and raw, you would let your true self show for your portrait.
And even if your painting turned out a bit dark, it would be honest.
What Artist Should Paint Your Portrait?
Thursday, February 02, 2006
to the Future.
  National Prayer Breakfast...
Thanks to GetReligion.

Apparently a group called The Family or the Fellowship Foundation organizes the National Prayer Breakfast every February.

It's mission statement is as follows:
"To develop and maintain an informal association of people banded together, to go out as "ambassadors of reconciliation", modeling the principles of Jesus, based on loving God and loving others. To work with the leaders of other nations, and as their hearts are touched, the poor, the oppressed, the widows and the youth of their country will be impacted in a positive manner. Youth groups will be developed under the thoughts of Jesus, including loving others as you want to be loved."

This year the breakfast will be co-chaired by Sen. Norm Coleman who happens to be Jewish. Apparently he was invited because certain rabbis believed that the breakfast was "overtly Christian" and they had a concern about "proselytizing literature". Rabbi Goldin also said that "(a)t a nondenominational event, there should be a recognition that different religions worship differently and believe differently".

Now it is my understanding that something that is "non-denominational" is still Christian as is something that is ecumenical. Of course people of different religions worship and pray differently. That's a no brainer. I'm not objecting to a Jewish person being a chair, co-chair, speaker, or filling any other role. What I don't understand is a statment by Representative Jim Slattery (D-Kan), "this is an event for Jews and Muslims and Christians and Hindus and Buddhists".

It's an event started by Christians, presumably for Christians. The Family talks about "modeling the principles of Jesus, based on loving God and loving others". That's beautiful, but a bit confusing. Are they going to tell these Muslims, Hindus, and Buddhists that as conservative Christians (which it sounds like these fellows are) that they believe that Christ is the only way to the Father?

My liberal side wants to applaud them for their spirit of inclusion, but isn't this a bit like opening your pulpit to the Dalai Lama? Nice, but it makes no sense given your beliefs. Does anyone else see a disconnect?
Wednesday, February 01, 2006
  New stuff!
Day Eighteen of Stranded and a new old story over at My Brain

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