Wednesday, July 18, 2007

Harry Potter, Loud Music, and Vocabulary

Harry Potter: I'm not very current on what's popular from day-to-day. I have yet to see "The Passion of the Christ" and I have yet to read a single "Harry Potter" book (although I watched two movies, I think). Nonetheless, I found this article in the Washington Post both interesting and sad (sorry about the print-preview version, the main article requires subscription). The line that hit me was the author's daughter asking, "Do we have to keep reading this?" Frankly, it doesn't sound like a children's story to me (comparisons to Narnia and Middle Earth seem to me, at best, a reach), and even the movies don't interest me. The recent Newsweek review of the latest film doesn't make me reach for my mail-order DVD queue, either.

Ripping Music: I've ripped almost all of our CDs and burned them as data discs for my wife; she has just about every album we own in her car, right now, neatly in a 10-CD case. As I was listening to some of the music, attempting to hit them into logical collections on a single CD, it struck me that some music just didn't sound good. Not that the musicians were bad, but the music just didn't "strike a chord," as it were. Then I came across this video, which argues that today's record companies use too much compression; makes sense to me. This is probably why I prefer live performances.

Nonetheless: I first used the word "nonetheless" when I was required to do a paper in 4th grade (I think; his initials were W.W.W.) of a certain length, so I looked up big words in the thesaurus. My teacher chided me for using words in my paper that I wouldn't use in everyday conversation; little did he know that paper sparked an interest in expanding my vocabulary. I find it ironic, then, that I don't like Harry Potter, and struggle to use shorter words when composing sermons.

Tuesday, July 17, 2007

Eternal Life Starts Now

Now this is eternal life – that they know you, the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom you sent. John 17:3
This is eternal life. ...It is not just unending life in the sense of prolonged duration. Rather it is a quality of life, with its quality derived from a relationship with God. Having eternal life is here defined as being in relationship with the Father, the one true God, and Jesus Christ whom the Father sent. The use of "Christ" (Χριστός, Cristos) is not characteristically attached to Jesus’ name in John’s Gospel... here in 17:3 enables us to correlate the statement made in 1:18 of the prologue, that Jesus has fully revealed what God is like, with Jesus’ statement in 10:10 that he has come that people might have life, and have it abundantly. These two purposes are really one, according to 17:3, because (abundant) eternal life is defined as knowing (being in relationship with) the Father and the Son. The only way to gain this eternal life, that is, to obtain this knowledge of the Father, is through the Son (cf. 14:6). ...For John this knowledge is not intellectual, but relational. It involves being in relationship. (From the NET Bible)

Saturday, July 14, 2007

Friday, July 13, 2007

Music Thoughts

Cathy's new car, Izzy (she named it "Izzy," although "Indie" was a close second), is a Hybrid with all sorts of new technology. We didn't get the navigational package (neither one of us liked it), so we got a CD player instead. One nice thing about the CD player is that it can read MP3 / WMA CDs as well as traditional Red Book.

I personally find WMA a somewhat better audio format than MP3 (though of course opinions differ); the WMA licensing is also less restrictive than MP3. And, since the CD player cannot read Ogg Vorbis, WMA will do.

I'm ripping all our CD's to WMA v9.2 variable bit rate (VBR) at 90%, which produces files about 192kbps. Unfortunately, the car stereo cannot handle anything higher than 240kbps, so I cannot use 98% VBR. That's alright - I doubt I could tell the difference even with great speakers.

So, I'll be creating compilation CDs with all of our Third Day albums on one disc, all of my Beethoven on another disc... you get the idea.

Weird thing... I came across a 2001 album by Tait entitled "Empty." It's autographed; I seem to recall that I won the Michael Tait autographed album from Air1 (great station, by the way).

Monday, July 09, 2007

Fat Ninja!

There I am, the fat ninja (the ninja who is fat, not the ninja of fat; anyway...). That's Malachi's tail as she runs away from the strange man.

Remember how I mentioned swords in a previous post? Well, I had one of their ninja swords shipped to my office.

It was actually quite entertaining; I unpacked the box without reading the label first, and found myself holding a sword. My coworker, Mike, looked at me a little nervously and asked if it was a butter knife (dulled edge) or not. For the record, it is dull. I did get some inquisitive looks, but nobody else asked me about it. (Funny...)

I had previously lent my telescoping nunchucks to the son of one of our church elders. He's into swords and other martial arts weapons. Oddly enough, they are heading to Ecuador for a missions trip to visit the Wadani tribe (yes, the same tribe from the movie, "The End of the Spear").

Odd... my last post about weapons also involved movies...

Team Work, Tithes, and Responsibility

Did you ever have a teacher who made you work in teams, and everybody gets the same grade? This is the "one-for-all" approach that is supposed to foster team work and be effective in the workplace. By extension, this should be true in churches, as well.

I have a philosophy about working in a church (and sometimes for the church). Ideally, each person understands that our work is more than a job function; it is a work unto the Lord. As such, working on a team in a church should be easier, since we're trying to please one and the same Lord, instead of advancing ourselves or our own agendas.

Therein lies the struggle for me; on the one hand, I have been contracted to organize and set policy for technology at my church, so I have an obligation to do it to the best of my ability, both as a Christian and as a job requirement. On the other hand, there are objectives and goals to be reached, and each person or ministry has their priorities. Some of these are complimentary, some are are contradictory.

Budgeting, however, has been an issue for me. Some people are understanding, others push for what they want me to buy for them, regardless of need. It bothers me when other staff purchase computer accessories or software without shopping around. This is because every dollar we don't save, when we could have saved it, is spent wastefully, no longer available for other purposes. I feel like I am spending God's people's money.

With every laptop or monitor I buy, I spend someone's gift to God, or tithe. It is a large responsibility, being responsible with God's money.

I wish I would feel that way about my time, my talents, and my thoughts.

Thursday, July 05, 2007

Cathy's Georgia Trip

So, we had a relaxing Independence Day. (I always feel like there should be an "a" in independence.) Basically, we went to a coffee shop in a bookstore to escape the hottest part of the day, bought a drink and read our diet books in the air-conditioned store. Then we sat on the front lawn and watched neighbors light fireworks before retiring for the evening. I'm very glad to have Cathy home.

While on her trip, Cathy saw some neat stuff. She pull over in Utah and saw these pretty rock formations. While driving through Illinois, she passed the Air Force base my father was stationed at when I was born. There's an obligatory picture of my cute nephew (that's Cathy's new car behind them). And, finally, Cathy got a picture of the Cross on the High Plains.

Cathy also checked out my employer's Georgia office... it would be nice to get a transfer.

Now that I am out of school, I find myself busy with church work. Oddly, I'm at my least talkative and more pensive. Go figure. Oh, my knee is getting better.