Tuesday, December 11, 2007

My final class session

I am attending my final seminary class, listening to my fellow students expound on Scripture and the finer points of some of the Hebrew text from Genesis.

From a couple years up until now I have felt the strain of completing my degree, but eased by the support of my wife. Now that my formal education is coming to a close, I am beginning to feel the joy of completion!

Commencement is on Friday at 2:00 P.M. The timing precludes the attendance of most of my friends and family; that is O.K. with me. The commencement ceremony itself is the end of my academic career, but the beginning (or commencement) of all which God has planned for Cathy and me. That is what I look forward to, most of all.

Saturday, December 08, 2007

Sophie's been adopted!

Sophie has been adopted! All of Sohpie's kits found homes, and Sophie herself went to a the same (extended) family that adopted two of her kittens together. yeah!

Thursday, December 06, 2007

Don't boycott The Golden Compass

I'm not boycotting The Golden Compass, and neither should you. Please, don't draw any more attention to Pullman, his books, or the movie.

I have already read the book, and it is a very well-written and subtle, but effective, attempt to plant negative ideas about God in the reader's mind. The other books only promise to get more explicit in the attack on young minds who would read this series.

Rather than drawing attention to it, however, we should let it die quietly, and engage in conversation with people who express an interest in the movie and the books.

As Marc T. Newman of MovieMinistry says:
I want to make it clear at the outset that this series of articles is not designed to be a call to boycott The Golden Compass. Any attention Christians bring to The Golden Compass by yelling, screaming, offering to pay for the prints to burn them (as I remember a televangelist saying at a rally denouncing The Last Temptation of Christ) will only fuel the curiosity factor. You would think that Christians would have learned that lesson. The hype around The DaVinci Code turned a boring film into a box-office juggernaut, earning it six times its production budget and guaranteeing that Dan Brown’s other book, Angels and Demons, would get the green light (it is tentatively scheduled for a Christmas 2008 release).

Besides, it won’t work. The Golden Compass has become the “must see” film of the Christmas season. Every time the trailer for the film comes on the audience reaction is positive. They are positioning this as a family film filled with adventure and excitement. A Christian boycott will not stop this film from being a blockbuster. And there is a better way to approach this movie.

The method we find used in the Scriptures to confront the accusations of non-believers, or pagans, is not threats, but persuasion. In Acts 17 and 19 we read of Paul speaking to the Athenians, or hear of his tactics among the pagan people throughout Asia. He moved them with arguments. Paul was well-versed in the mythologies of his time, and, when he had the opportunity, he used that knowledge to question, confront, and make opposing claims. His goal was not to win some temporal culture war, but the battle for his immediate hearers’ souls. We should have the same aim in mind.

Christians can successfully use popular culture as a means of starting conversations about morality, ethics, and the Gospel. I have received numerous emails from people describing how they used Bible studies and FilmTalk cards created by MovieMinistry to bridge the gap between entertainment and evangelism. As distasteful as it may seem, The Golden Compass represents an opportunity for Christians to engage lies with the truth. The first step to understanding how that dialogue can take place is realizing that movies are not monologues.

Wednesday, December 05, 2007

Gmail up to 5.4GB, with IMAP!

I've been using Gmail for a while now. The capacity has grown from 2GB to 5.4GB, and I've only used 9% so far. Google Apps is so appealing to me that I intend to transfer my father-in-law's church to it once I start to administer the network.

The truly amazing thing about Gmail is the free POP3 and SMTP access, and now the inclusion of IMAP. The difference between POP and IMAP is how email is stored; in POP, you take the email away from the server, and in IMAP you duplicate what is on the server.

Some ISP's have offered POP for free, and most charge for SMTP access. None of the other free email hosting services offer IMAP at all. Google is a pioneer in that regard.

With POP email, the mail is moved to your computer; if your computer crashes, the email is gone. With IMAP email, the mail on the server is synchronized with your computer; if your computer crashes, the mail is still on the server and available to you. If you delete a message from the server, it is gone from your computer. If you mark a message as read on the server, it is marked as read on your computer.

If you have used corporate email like Exchange or Lotus then you understand client/server email. IMAP is a great way to pick up email on multiple devices without you having to keep them all in sync.

If you are still using an email like Yahoo! or Hotmail, or YourName@Verizon.net (or sbcglobal.net, etc) then I would encourage you to get a gmail account, or better yet, get your own domain and migrate your mail server to Google Apps. If you need a gmail invite, just drop me a line.

Cathy playing Guitar Hero

My friend Joe has been trying to get me to play a game called Guitar Hero for a long time now. Finally, he just loaned me his Playstation 2 and the game. Last night I hooked it up and gave it a try.

This game is really fun! I don't know most of the songs (I only recognized "Message in a Bottle") but I had a great deal of fun trying to "strum" the cords. It is difficult, though! That makes me think more highly of the musicians who play weekly during our worship services!

Here's Cathy playing bass guitar... if you skip to about 0:50 you can hear her finish it off.

Tuesday, December 04, 2007

Graduation is around the corner!

Last night, I did my very last assignment for my MDiv degree. It is finally starting to sink in, and I'm quite happy!

I noted with amusement that I was the class of 2000 for my undergraduate degree, and will be in the centennial class for my graduate degree.

I should be getting those grad announcement cards any day now, so I'll have to mail those quickly. Most of my tech-savvy friends read the blog, so if you're reading, you're invited; send me an email and I'll send you directions.

It's been seven years! I graduate on 12/14/2007, just a few days after my 34th birthday. Thank God!

Saturday, December 01, 2007

Christmas Favorites

Got an email from Yvonne asking about Christmas favorites, one of those that you forward to everybody? Here's my list...

  1. Wrapping paper or gift bags?

Wrapping Paper

  1. Tree--Real or Artificial?

Artificial – more economical

  1. When do you put Christmas tree up?

First week of December

  1. When do you take the tree down?

Before New Years

  1. Like eggnog?


  1. Do you have a nativity scene?


  1. Favorite gift received as a child?


  1. Hardest person to buy for?

Cathy (duh)

  1. Easiest person to buy for?

In-laws (See’s chocolate!)

  1. Worst Christmas gift?

Tube socks (come on!)

  1. Mail or email a Christmas Card?

Snail mail is better, email when desperate

  1. Favorite Christmas movie?

It's a Wonderful Life (feels good, even if it is theologically dubious)

  1. When do you start shopping for Christmas?


  1. Have you ever recycled a Christmas present?

Yes (!)

  1. Favorite food to eat on Christmas?


  1. Clear or colored tree lights?

Colors… the pretty colors!

  1. Favorite Christmas Song?

O Come O Come Immanuel

  1. Travel during Christmas or Stay home?

Travel to meet family

  1. Can you name Santa's reindeer?

Donner, Vixen, Blitzen, Comet, Rudolph… that’s it.

  1. Angel or Star on Tree top?


  1. Open presents on Christmas Eve or morning?

Christmas morning!

  1. Most annoying thing about this time of year?

Shopping malls