Saturday, July 27, 2002

Evening Musings-We're back from belated honeymoon, spending time in the Panhandle, Pensacola in particular. I'll have some more interesting details later, including a couple of evenings at Brownsville AoG. Bene Diction has started up his new blog here. Godspeed, sir, to the Velvet Divorce of blogdom. Usually, the changes are bloggers who don't have the time to keep up their own blogs and join a group blog. Joshua Claybourn has a series of good pieces on the mini-tempest he got going on his bad-lyrics post, including this piece that acknowledges and largely agrees with his critics, including yours truly. I was being a critic in the best sense of the word, pointing out the good and the bad, and there's a truckload of good on his site which far offsets this one post. I'm planning to include Josh in my Unbanned at WSC list. There are some good sites that will launch the rare f-bomb and live to tell the tale. [Update 8:30PM Food for thought via a nice e-mail and post from Bobby Allison-Gilmore. Was I wrong to rebuke Josh in public, or should I have privately e-mailed him on the subject? I'm not sure. More on that issue later; that will take some skull-sweat.]

Wednesday, July 24, 2002

Tedsicle Theology-I'm a bit late to the Ted Williams cryonics story, but I'm surprised to be agreeing with Rand Sindburg on a theology point.
Since there's no scientific way to determine its validity, cryonicists assume that there is no such thing called a soul, or alternatively, that it will take care of itself or that God will take care of it as needed, but it's not necessary to be concerned with it in order to suspend and reanimate a person.
I don't have a good theology of the transition to the afterlife, but my thought on the location of the soul is that it would be taken to heaven (or that other place that Ted looks to be a candidate for) upon death. Three points to ponder.
(1) A sovereign, omniscient God wouldn't yank Ted's soul prematurely. You're unlikely to get a real-world reenactment of Heaven Can Wait by a soul being yanked back to mortal existance; "Ooops, got to send that one back, he wasn't quite dead yet." (2) Is there a intermediary purgatory or shoel? I don't think so, as Heaven and God are Trans-time. People would arrive in the afterlife at the same "time," thus no need for some sort of waiting room. (3) Is there any fear of the soul going bye-bye, leaving a soulless corpse to reanimate in the future? Not as I would interpret scripture.
If for some reason they do manage to unthaw the Tedsicle, the soul will be in the house as well.

Off on Honeymoon-Don't expect any posting for the rest of the week, we'll be heading off to spend some quality time away from Winter Haven for a few days. We were planning to wait until my class ends a week from Saturday, but since Eileen's job starts Monday, we've moved it up.

Prayers for Jeffery Collins-he's got some sort of ballance problem that's got him down for the count.

Edifier du jour-1 Peter 5:6-11
Humble yourselves, therefore, under God's mighty hand, that he may lift you up in due time. Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you. Be self-controlled and alert. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour. Resist him, standing firm in the faith, because you know that your brothers throughout the world are undergoing the same kind of sufferings. And the God of all grace, who called you to his eternal glory in Christ, after you have suffered a little while, will himself restore you and make you strong, firm and steadfast. To him be the power for ever and ever. Amen.
Be alert; we need more lerts. Satan uses every little angle to make our live miserable. We can overstate the presence of the demonic, but many of our day-to-day problems have a spiritual component and need to be dealt with as such, casting out spirits and bringing an extra dose of the Holy Spirit Without going into any details, my household was under attack last week. Despite being in the word and praying together on a daily basis, Satan was using little slights and misunderstandings to create tension and anxiety in the household as we adjusted to married life and Florida life. The turning point was when we recognized on Thursday that we were under attack and prayed through our apartment. Eileen remember when her friends Josh and Steph moved into their house, they had themselves and some friends pray through the house, placing a hedge of protection around the house and driving out any unclean spirits in the house. The two of us did likewise Thursday night, and things began to improve. My Saturday class went much better (although we nearly had a Jerry Springer moment when the subject turned to racial profiling) and Eileen landed a job yesterday (Tuesday) morning. Don't be afraid to go to war. Jesus has given us power over the Devil in His name. We've read the end of the story, and the Good Guys win.

Tuesday, July 23, 2002

Bleeping Lyrics-I was a bit perturbed when Josh Claybourn presented some modern music/rap lyrics as is, with an f-bomb and the second-half of BS in their full glory. Spudlets was equally perturbed
I have posted about sexual innuendos in the past, and Joshua even left a kind comment about the post. His post, though, in no way was innuendo. He reprinted the lyrics to make a point, but in doing so I wonder if he has stepped over the line. Most of us are aware about the trash that passes for music nowadays, and for those of us who are parents we need to be constantly vigilant. This is new territory for me on the blogosphere, and I'm not sure what the best response to him should be. It's not like I can gather two or three others to confront him, or can I? This is the Net, and anything goes, but at what point do we say that something does not belong on the "Christian" blogosphere? Joshua may say that his blog is not necessarily Christian, but just things that are going on in his life. I really don't know him, so deciding to discuss his post was difficult.
Given that I'm a professor at a Christian college and plan to have students reading some blog material that is pertinent to their classes (a couple of Megan McArdle economics pieces come quickly to mind) I will have to be careful what I'm endorsing. Our ISP at the school has blocked blogspot and I've talked with the Computer Services director about having me get a list of blogs to unblock for student (and faculty!!) use. Josh's site would be one that I might likely use for a good insightful political or economic piece, but that latest section gave me pause as to whether I could unblock his sight, given WSC's policy on proper language. I might have to settle for asking permission to reprint a clean piece. I tend to use synonyms (derriere, she-dog, crap) for some of the common foul language, and even sent one blogger into low-earth orbit when I bowdlerized his use of a synonym for anal orifice. I'm not sure if it's more honest than quoting the lyrics verbatim, but I think it's more edifying. Philippians 4:8 comes to mind- "Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable–if anything is excellent or praiseworthy–think about such things." There will be some that think that replacing the original with "F---ing" or "s--t" is prudish, but if such vocabulary isn't suitable for everyday use, we're better off paraphrasing rather than giving a verbatim quote, for the bowdlerized version is close to the admirableness that Paul spoke of while still representing the person's statement. Consider this a gentle, loving rebuke, Josh. I'm not perfect on the language front, either, but strive to be edifying while being down-to-earth at the same time. Let's not get too earthy when we get down-to-earth.

Blogspot Blackout-The ISP that the school uses has just put in a block on Blogspot, so I'll have to be reading those guys at home until I make some inquiries. It doesn't block Blogger itself, so I can make this post, but it does block everything with a .blogspot.com address, even squeaky-clean sites and my own.

Plate Tectonics in the Anglican Community-In a badly-kept secret, Tony Blair went and named Rowan Williams Archbishop of Canterbury. Williams is a theological and political liberal, in favor (among other things) of ordained homosexuals. Don't be surprised if the Anglican community (Episcopal Church in the US) proceeds to split down the middle along theological lines. Evangelical Episcopalians such as Christopher Johnson and Robert Bauer have openly wondered whether to stay with their church, with Johnson hanging with his local church and our Hokie Pundit trying out some more evangelical churches at school. Here's a bit of Bauer's less-edifying experiences with Anglicanism in England this summer. A few maverick conservatives have jumped ship from their liberal leadership, taking their leadership from more evangelical Anglican churches in Singapore and Rwanda. We might see more of this, and possibly a new fellowship of conservative Anglican churches not that far down the line. There may be some serious blood on the floor in this area in the years to come. If I'm not mistaken, there hasn't been a major schism in the Anglican movement (a few breakaway movements like Methodism, but not an all-out schism) since the Tudor days. They might be overdue for one.

Praise Report-Eileen's got herself a job teaching at a "school of choice" (a.k.a.magnet school) in Lake Alfred just north of Winter Haven. Thanks for the prayers. This space may be blank for a few days while we get a delayed honeymoon in. We didn't realy get one after the weding, as moving stuff got in the way. Once my class is done tonight, I don't need to be on campus until next Tuesday; since Eileen's job starts Monday, it's time to get out of Dodge and head out first thing tomorrow. There is a silver lining in this hiatus for my readers once I get back, she'll have a full-time job and I'll have more "I-time" to blog. For now, we're maxing out on the togetherness.

Edifier du jour-1 Peter 4:7-11
The end of all things is near. Therefore be clear minded and self-controlled so that you can pray. Above all, love each other deeply, because love covers over a multitude of sins. Offer hospitality to one another without grumbling. Each one should use whatever gift he has received to serve others, faithfully administering God's grace in its various forms. If anyone speaks, he should do it as one speaking the very words of God. If anyone serves, he should do it with the strength God provides, so that in all things God may be praised through Jesus Christ. To him be the glory and the power for ever and ever. Amen.
This verse strikes home as a newlywed. As Eileen and I struggle to fit into a single household, hurt feelings can result from small things, like what recipe to follow for sloppy joes. Love does cover a multitude of sins. Use that talents you have to help one another, and that aid will patch over a lot of wounds.

Monday, July 22, 2002

On the Antioch Road Again-Jason Steffans' News For Christians site has been rechristened Antioch Road to appeal to a broader audience. Seeker-friendly web-sites? As long as you keep preaching the Gospel, Jason, I'm with you. It also gets you to the head of the list in alphabetical order.

Upgrade to Flea Market Blog-Thanks to Bryan Preston for (a) giving a nice link to a long piece on WorldCom and (b) taking the weekend off, leaving it front and center for the whole weekend, giving me a truckload of traffic. Well, Bryan's tanned, rested and ready. I'm just going to tell you to head over there, he's InstaPundit productive, multi-tasking en fuego today.

Granola Sprawl-Kevin James gives a good paraphrase of an e-mail exchange we had on urban sprawl spinning off of the Granola Conservative meme. Go thou and readeth.

Evening Musings- Whoever prayed for Eileen and my MIS class, thanks. The students were much better behaved on Saturday. After spending a week and a half doing setting-up-a-household and getting used to getting married stuff, Eileen started job hunting for a teaching position this morning. God blessed her efforts, getting one interview over in Lakeland this afternoon (after calling just before noon, quick, no?) and another one in Lake Alfred (just north of Winter Haven) tomorrow morning. Keep praying for her to find the right spot. In answer to the most pressing issue of the day, I second Josh Claybourn's vote for Wendy's. While I try and avoid the gastronomical excesses of triple-decker burgers, Wendys does make the best burgers of the Big Three, as well as the best fries. One of Kevin's readers put in a plug for White Castle, which brought back memories of the guilty pleasures of a bag fulla gut grenades on special in Cuyahoga Falls and a InterVarsity road trip from East Lansing to Ypsilanti in the Mercedes from Hades to the nearest WC to fill the chapter president's urge for some of those sliders. The Dow's under 8000. Stay there until my 403B kicks in.

Edifier du jour-Psalm 34:18
The Lord is close to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit.
I read that verse and had a number of musical and poetic commentaries on the subject coming to my mind. One was that old prose poem Footprints, where the times were you felt the most alone was the times that God was carrying you. God does come alongside the crushed and the brokenhearted and carries us when we need it the most. The other note came from a Margaret Becker song, Moment of Choice-"Sometimes a broken heart is the strongest heart of all." God can do a lot with a broken heart, as with our egos at a low point, he can rebuild us from scratch the way he wants, making a stronger heart. In exercise, muscle is built (if I remember my physiology) by making small tears and them adding protein to fill in the tears, thus creating a stronger muscle. We can grow spiritually as well, by allowing God to increase our faith as we struggle with the world, filling in the wounded spots with an extra dose of the Holy Spirit.

Sunday, July 21, 2002

ESPN Tort Center?-It looks like Milwaukee has a new Crime Dog, as Glenn Robinson has been arrested for "domestic battery, assault and illegal possession of a firearm." With Iverson in legal hot water (the Pistons almost traded for him last off-season, whew) this might make the path for the Pistons to repeat as Midwest champs and possibly winning the East a lot better.

Is Artificial Intelgence Doable?-We had an interesting back-and-forth in my MIS class yesterday on whether we will ever get a sufficiently detailed model of how the brain works to create an AI system. One good Baptist guy stood by the position that God designed the brain to be so complex as to not be figured out by man. I'm not so sure. God is a god of order and created a orderly, knowable universe. While man is His ultimate creation, made in His image, I think that the basic ground-rules He set in place that make the brain work are possibly knowable. A second possibility is that we will never know the full details of how the brain works but that we'll get close enough to it to make a serviceable AI system. It might not be a perfect replica of the human brain, but one that will do many thinking tasks currently reserved for humans, becoming as to the brain what margarine is to butter, an imperfect but close substitute. We're decades away from such a system, but I do think that a serviceable AI system might be feasible in our lifetimes. However, I don't think that should change our theology, for computers don't have a soul. They might occasionally be demon-possessed (I had to exorcise one at Hurley), but one can't impart a saving faith into an machine. Thoughts from the Peanut Gallery are welcome.

Edifier du jour-1 Peter 3:3-4
Your beauty should not come from outward adornment, such as braided hair and the wearing of gold jewelry and fine clothes. Instead, it should be that of your inner self, the unfading beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is of great worth in God's sight.
I've been reading through 1 Peter this week, and would have read this anyway today, but this passage (actually verses 1-6) showed up today in the Meditations for the Newly Married book Eileen and I have been reading through as well. This is addressed to wives, but I think it can apply to us all. We're often obsessed with outward appearance to the detriment of our spirit, our inner selves. We need to develop that gentle and quiet spirit, even if we're guys, and learn to appreciate that inner beauty in others. I remember before meeting Eileen, I was making friends with a young lady in a Bible study class, who was smart, godly, funny and had one of the sweetest hearts on the planet but was, well, dumpy. "If she only looked a bit nicer...." It took me a year to get past her lack of good looks to the point of thinking "Maybe this could be the gal for me, this is someone I could be best friends with for the rest of my life," for God allowed me to see her inner beauty. I was on the cusp of a romantic interest in her on Valentines Day of 2001, but opted not to give her anything (I had almost scared off a female friend that way years ago). A few days after the 14th, I shared that with her, and she stated that she didn't see any more than friendship between up, but was flattered that I was seeing wife material in her. God must of blessed that desire to see that inner beauty. A few weeks later in March of last year, I met Eileen, who was as smart, as funny, as godly, had a even sweeter heart and was pretty to boot. I think God will honor that search for inner beauty, contrary to what the world may have us think.

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