Tuesday, December 23, 2008

"Recycling costs more time, money, and energy than throwing away and remaking."

I was talking to a good friend of mine the other day and she said that recycling costs more time, money, and energy than just throwing something away and remaking it.

That's a fantastic hypothesis.

But to stop there without testing it is anti-scientific.

Turns out:
experts have begun to conduct detailed life-cycle analyses on recycled goods, calculating the energy consumed from the moment they’re picked up by recycling trucks until they are processed into brand-new products. When compared with the amount of energy required to send the same goods to landfills or incinerators and make new products from scratch, the results vary dramatically, depending on the material.

Aluminum, for example, requires 96 percent less energy to make from recycled cans than it does to process from bauxite. At the other end of the spectrum, recycled glass uses only about 21 percent less energy—but it still comes out ahead, according to a study by Washington-based environmental consultant Jeffrey Morris. Recycled plastic bottles use 76 percent less energy and newsprint about 45 percent less, he found. Across the board, the key factor is the energy intensity of extracting virgin materials, which is an order of magnitude higher than that of recovering the same material through recycling. “Even if you doubled the emissions from collecting recyclables, it wouldn’t come close,” Morris says. Overall, he found, it takes 10.4 million Btu to manufacture products from a ton of recyclables, compared to 23.3 million Btu for virgin materials. And all of the collecting, hauling and processing of those recyclables adds just 0.9 million Btu.

- Popular Mechanics
Let's approach this stuff as scientifically, wisely, and common sensibly as possible.

Monday, December 22, 2008

More on Calvinism from my Dad

I used to be really into researching Calvinism and I kept asking my dad about it. I remember him telling me at one point that he personally is about .9 on each of the points. Later I understood what he meant.

Another time when we were talking, we came to something of an agreement that modern 5-point Calvinism pretty much captures a lot of good truths, but, he cautioned me, "hold it with an open hand". He would later go on to give me this same advice about Dispensationalism.

I would later go on to formally abandon the label "Calvinist".

My Dad's One Liners: Vol. 2, Paulinism

I once asked my dad,
Was Paul a Calvinist?
To which he replied,

Calvin was a Paulinist.

Home for the Holidays

Do you know what "Due Diligence" is? Its broadest meaning is something like "evaluating the merits of an investment".

Anyway I have done some of my own Diligence on a charitable endeavor by my community of faith, Thryve. The umbrella is called "The HOPE Project" - it is a non-profit dedicated to partnering with local projects that meet physical needs and preach the gospel.

One of The HOPE Project's projects is in a small war-torn country in East Africa called Burundi. Our friend Prosper comes out to Coeur d'Alene once in a while to speak at our gathering and at local schools. I have met him once. Awesome guy. Speaks like 5 languages. Very sweet guy. Dave emailed him recently, telling him all about our snow and he replied something like "Snow means it is cold. I do not like it." HAHA! Funny guy.

Anyway Thryve raised $40,000 a while back to build 40 of these brick homes, and then we sent some people over to help build some of them. So cool.

And now we're in the process of raising another $60,000 to build SIXTY homes in Burundi! We had a team of 3 over there for the last little while, and 2 of them are on their way back home to North Idaho as we speak.

We have raised $29,183.82 so far, and we were aiming to raise it all before Christmas :(. But it's cool - we're not stopping until we're done. You can read about this specific project of The HOPE Project here. You can read about Prosper's organization that we're partnering with here. You can read about The HOPE Project more generally here. And Thryve CdA's (often outdated) website is here (Thryve Seattle, our parent community can be found online here). I don't really like either Thryve website, personally. But I like the work that's going on in Burundi.

If you want to partner with us for the sake of the gospel, lived and preached, consider giving some money to our Home for the Holidays project.


Want to see some pictures taken by our team over there recently? I just got these in an email (you may be able to spot Bob - pretty much the only white guy and if you can tell, he went a day without sunscreen - not recommended whilst working out in the sun ON THE EQUATOR! Haha!):


It's so much like stealing...

Sunday, December 21, 2008

Why God Hates Planned Parenthood.

My sister forwarded me this Facebook post.

I read it. There is one main, fundamental, deadly error, aside from all the good and bad of this post.

He talks about esteeming human life as the pinnacle of Americanism and goodness of government ("more important than freedom, however, is the humanity which underlies it, gives and a beautiful spectrum of meaning to it"), and then he turns around and advocates continuing to give tax-payers' money, against their will, to an institution that advocates, encourages, funds, and performs abortions ("Planned Parenthood... receives several hundred million dollars from the government... it... offers abortion clinics... i see no reason why funding such an organization with my and others' tax money poses a problem).

He never addresses the scientific and philosophical issue of whether a fetus is a human person. If a fetus is a human person, then aborting it is literally murder. Murder is the most evil, vile, destructive, anti-American, soul-damaging action that a human being can perform.

Everything else in the post melts away when this reality is brought to light. Everything.

It does not matter that Hitler resurrected the German economy because he was a murderer. It doesn't matter that the Soviets flew to the moon, because they were murderers. It doesn't matter if I help a woman plan her parenthood if I also help her murder her unborn child.

While there may be good things Planned Parenthood does ("Planned Parenthood offers STD and pregnancy tests, counseling for rape and incest victims, support lines for women in abusive relationships, pelvic exams, pap tests, screening for breast cancer, information as well as equipment to keep one's sex life safe and thoughtful, and more"), all of it - all of it - gets pushed aside in the face of life and death. And I believe abortion is a matter of life and death.

Now, I am not a black and white man. While I believe that God knows what is good and what is evil, and while I believe that objective good and evil exist, I do not believe that it is always simple for a human to discern between them. I believe the situations humans cook up become complex, spectral, and grey.

And I want to respect that.

But that said, the one of Satan's best strategies is to take one of the worst evils he can find, and couch it in the best-looking context he possibly can.

There is a fundamental difference between doing the right thing wrongly and doing the wrong thing rightly.

And I think Planned Parenthood does the wrong thing rightly.

Walking through the Bellagio casino, David tells me "this is the nicest I have ever seen trash look". It doesn't matter that the slot machines are visually beautiful and made out of the choicest metals and plastics. They're still gambling machines.

Looking at Planned Parenthood makes me think "this is the nicest I have ever seen murder look". It doesn't matter that the organization is filled with friendly faces and free pelvic exams. It's still a murder machine.

I could engage all of the other issues and nuances and moving parts, but this one major flaw stands out to me. You cannot esteem human life as the single most important thing in the whole world, and then flippantly throw it out the door if it means that other good things get accomplished. It's upside-down.

God, I sincerely ask you to bring your wrath down upon Planned Parenthood and your love down on the individuals who work there, and raise up a pro-life alternative. Amen.

Friday, December 19, 2008

Engine and Source

I tend to think that while the universe is in a state of decay (2nd law of TD and all that), the earth is being radiated by the sun and is thus not a closed system and not necessarily in a state of decay; it is being fed energy. Babies are still born and plants and animals produce after their kinds. Creativity takes place. Creativity. Generation. Building. Organizing. National GDP's can increase over successive years. There can be new life and growth in localized regions of space-time. Grass is fed by mulch. Life springs from death. Progress can be made - scientific, religious, civil, other. Ok great.

Therefore, the underlying assumption behind recycling is not vain. Meaning, it is not a hopeless cause, as if no matter what we do the earth is inevitably spiraling toward wrath and ruin and the red dawn. Moreover, we are charged with dominion over the earth, so we even have a divine mandate. Think of environmental stewardship as like cleaning up your room. A great big room we all share. In the shape of a sphere. With green leafy things and flowing rivers. Within which we build houses. Ok.

Granted, we may have intamural disagreements about how to take care of it (whether anthropogenic C02 causes a sustained and net harmful net rise in mean global temperature and what to do about it, for example).

But we should all here agree now that respecting the Creation is one way to respect the Creator. Nothing here needs to be said about worshipping nature or foisting a yoke of micromanagement and mind control on the masses. Certainly any cause may be hijacked for purposes such as those, but I am not doing such here now today. Ok.

I tend to think that humanity is meant for greatness, for generosity, for creativity, technology, growth, and exploration. It started in a garden and ends in a city.

So, while the old mantra goes something like "reduce, recycle, reuse", I don't like the "reduce" part of things. No. I want to drive an SUV - bigger and better! Hell yes! I want to build big, beautiful homes. Yes! Jewelry and fashion and the domestication of animals! Space exploration! Complexity! Games! Humor! Art!

Now, while I can understand periods of heightened conflict and thus perhaps the need to "reduce" from time to time, I do not think that slowing the rate at which we generate or create or produce should be anyone's ultimate goal.

All this to say that really what we need are:

1. A way to produce clean energy. Energy that can be conveniently harnessed, whose waste product is 100% recycled (more on this in a bit), whose environmental impact is 100% acceptable and better (more on this in a bit). Green energy. Solve a lot. Huge.
2. A way to recycle everything. It's like - thousands of years, and the BEST solution we've come up with is "uh... just pile it in a heap over there where I don't have to look at it". Honestly. And more than the heap solution - we still let poisons seep into ground water (prego women can't eat fish because of this - and don't get me started on air pollution-related deaths and diseases. sick. and why would anyone think that breathing in gunk and smog isn't bad? I spent a day in my attic, five minutes of which I spent without a particle mask, and I was already coughing up a lung. Breathing junk isn't good - why think then that spewing it into the air to begin with is just fine? No no.).

But by "recycle" I have to mean something difficult to describe while lazy. I really mean something other than "don't create waste" and something more like "don't waste anything" or "don't damage anything that ought not be damaged".

Matter is fundamentally good, thus, nothing can fundamentally, inherently, naturally, be a poison. Matter is good. It can be arranged in ways that are destructive to other arrangements of matter.

Don't destruct. Construct.

Now on to arbitrariness and the environment. First of all, humans are part of nature. By this I mean that we are a part of the universe - we live in it - we are made of matter. Pretending that the best way for humans to live is for humans to have zero influence or impact on the environment is silly. I am not denying that we aren't qualitatively distinct. Just that we shouldn't be considered hostile or unnatural components of the universe. We shouldn't try to keep things how they would be if we weren't here. No no, we are part of it.

Umm. Where was I. Australia. And Australia is entirely peopled with criminals. And criminals are used to having people not trust them. As you are not trusted by me. Ok enough. Enough!

Shoot, where was I? Arbitrariness! Haven't even really gotten there yet. So point one was that we shouldn't try to keep things they way they might have been in our absence. The second point is this: we shouldn't pretend that the environment isn't dynamic.

It changes.

Hard to believe, I know. But the entire Forest Service, funded by taxpayers in a collapsing economy, is dedicated to finding wilderness nobody ever really goes to, and "restoring" its "original" condition. The prospect of explaining to you everything I think is wrong with that is overwhelming.

But my main point here is that the environment changes. Change is not fundamentally bad and we need to come to grips with that.

Ok next.

Arbitrariness. Right. There are a broad range of conditions between which it is ethically acceptable to decide arbitrarily. There is some arbitrariness in beauty (sorry Plato) - even if you believe beauty is in some sense "objective". There is some arbitrariness in landscaping. There is some arbitrariness in large-scale landscaping. Ok.

You know, I think I've made some of my main points.

This was going to be a post about something different, something bigger, but the intro took too long. I have lost writing steam. At least blogging steam. I have been studying the Kingdom of God recently. More recently, I have gotten carried away researching Tyre, and the timeline of creation.

Don't care how long this is. Gonna post.

Not yet-CONCLUSION: We should invest in clean energy (intentionally vague) and we should learn how to not waste or destruct (intentionally broad).

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Logos RefTagger

I am trying out this new script that turns all Bible references on my blog into links. I am going to just put down a few references here, then see if it works. If it does, I will stick the control panel for it on the sidebar, and you can customize how it will work for you when you visit my blog.

Rom. 8:1
Romans 3:23
John 1:1
Jude 5
Acts 1:8

Ok it looks like it works, so long as you have JavaScript enabled (which most people do). You can change which version of the Bible is displayed in the links, and you can turn the little "L" links on and off, in the control panel at the bottom of the sidebar on the right. The "L" links pull up the Bible verse in your default Bible version in Logos, if you have it installed on your computer (I disabled this by default, and made the default version on this blog "ESV"). The links don't override any links I have manually coded to BibleGateway.com or Bible.org.

Let me know if you like or do not like this verse auto-linking system.

Monday, December 15, 2008

Monday Night Confessions

Today, I feel extremely lethargic. I slept in because I felt a bit sick. But I got out of bed around 10 and didn't feel ill, so much as I felt lethargic, much like I do right now. Like, it would feel really good to cry - to just break out in a fit of heaving sobs. I feel the temptation to do so, but can't justify the action to my intellect and so I fight the man. I would like to have the comfort of curling up in bed, but I am not tired. I search my mind looking for something to regret and nothing comes to mind. It would feel good right now to feel remorse for something - some secret, unconfessed sin. It sort of feels like I do in fact rue - but there is no object to my colorful verb. Maybe it's just sorrow. I feel sorrow mingled with apathy. And I don't know why - I have no idea why. But descending and then ascending the stairs to the basement is enough to make me feel bodily weary too. I don't want to call clients, I don't want to be confronted about not calling clients. I don't want to suck it up or grow up. I want to be a genius so my immaturity can be excused with comments like "well he is really good at X", or maybe I wouldn't mind dying early so that people can be like "he would have amounted to so much", and then I can get out of actually working hard to try and amount to something, or out of the disappointment of failing to amount to much. I am too emotionally exhausted to read. I feel guilty and like I am wasting my life because I don't read very much. I pretend to be a philosopher or a student of the Bible or a theologian or a reader or a thinker. I pretend to be a grown up. I am 24 blasted years old - I should at the very least have a Bachelor's degree by now. Anything but this - anything but an abjectly impoverished Curriculum Vitae that only adds insult to lethargy and wannabe, aspirant, depression. It's pathetic in the deepest, purest, and ugliest way possible. I need a good slap in the face. Winter 08/09, here I come.

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Happy Anniversary Wife!

Best 4 years of my life. I love you. You are so nice. You are so nice. Gardens and bread and knitting and nice things and you smell good. You are so smart. You are so smart. S-M-R-T.

Monday, December 8, 2008

An Open Letter to Worship Leaders Everywhere

Dear Worship Leader,

There are two major distinct ways for individuals attending the gathering of a community of faith to worship God through music, and trying to blend these two ways together does not turn out well.

One way to worship through music is to sing along with those leading.

Another way to worship through music is to listen to those performing.

Both are acceptable ways to worship God through music. One is participatory with respect to the music, the other is observational with respect to the music (but participatory with respect to the worship).

However sometimes worship leaders will start a song out with words on the projector screen that seem to indicate that the participants should sing along, and then the leaders sing according to a familiar arrangement of the song, and then suddenly one or more of the vocalists will break from the familiar notes and rhythms by singing differently. Quite often the difference would sound good if the other participants weren’t trying to sing along. But since the others are already singing, the difference distracts.

Singing together is about glorifying God, delighting in God; but it’s also about intercourse with other believers. It is about unity. Harmony, sure. But unity above all.

Please, worship leaders, please save your stylized vocals for your performance pieces, when I can enjoy them without feeling awkwardly left behind. When you lead me into song, please sing in accordance with a familiar arrangement.

Love in Christ,

Don't Spare "The Rod". Discipline your child. But don't use the accidentals of a verse as translated into English to oversimplify, either.

The Hebrew verb that is translated as "train up" in most English renderings of Prov. 22:6, "Train up a child in the way he should go, so that when he is old, he will not depart from it", is "chanuk" (the root word of "Chanukah". It means "dedicate", like Chanukah is "The Dedication". You can dedicate a temple, inaugurate a leader, bless a house, cut the ribbon at a ground-breaking ceremony, or put a bit in a horse's mouth (yes, it can mean that too!). Dedicate your child. Inaugurate your child. Accustom your child. Commit to being a good example to your child. Put a bit in its mouth.

The Hebrew noun translated as "rod" in the Biblical proverb "spare the rod and you hate your child" means basically "branch". This is almost always used metaphorically to refer to lineage (think of a family "tree"). Think of Jesus as the "rod of Jesse", or a "shoot growing out of the stump of Jesse" (a reference to the lineage of Jesus). But it can also mean a more literal branch, like a shepherd's staff. A shepherd uses uses his staff to hook his sheep out of crevices or away from the edges of cliffs. Sometimes he uses his staff to discipline his sheep (for their own good!), and sometimes he uses it to beat away wolves. A good shepherd will take the personality of each individual sheep into account when he disciplines them. It can also be used to refer to a scepter, used to rule a kingdom. The word "rod" can be symbolic of a dominion or of leadership. It can also reference a javelin. I like the symmetry of the proverb. It's like, if you spare the rod, you hate your child, BUT if you love your child you will discipline him (or throw a javelin at him?). It contrasts love and hate, and compares the rod and discipline (spare the rod and you hate your child, if you love your child, you will discipline him). Discipline. As a principle. Not "spanking on the butt with a wooden spoon" specifically.

When we already have "spanking" in our minds when we read this proverb, it sounds like a proverb about... spanking. We assume "rod" means "spanking rod". Why? Because that's what we assume rods are used for. Also hanging curtains.

The trick is to try and have in our minds whatever an ancient Hebrew would have in his mind when reading this proverb.

Would he be thinking, "spare the wooden spoon used to spank, and you hate your child", or would he be thinking something more like "spare the staff used to beat away wolves, rescue sheep from peril, and discipline them as well, and you hate your child", or maybe "spare the scepter that signifies oversight, and you hate your child" (or "spare the javelin, and you hate your child...")?

Anyway, both of these are of the genre "proverb", whose intent is general and principle, not commanding and promising.

I am most definitely not categorically against spanking a child on his rear in the right context. I am against using this particular proverb to say that the Bible commands that we spank every child indiscriminate of their personalities or mental states on the butt with a wooden spoon everytime they misbehave.

Friday, December 5, 2008

In the Twinkling of an Eye

I have undergone so much change in the last two weeks that I am tempted to start a new blog in illustration of my personal growth. I have entered an entirely new phase of thoughtlife.

Instead of illustrate however, I stated and decided to go no further.

At a church planting intensive in Seattle a few weeks ago I was inspired. I also heard a guy talk about non-manipulative intentionality. He also spoke about spending two hours or so per week in a coffee shop, learning the names of the baristas, saying hello to them often, and praying for them silently to himself (but sincerely to God).

I have decided to start learning all of the names of the baristas at Java. I know most of them anyway, I might as well go all the way (and I already spend way more than two hours per week there). I have also begun trying to say hi to each of them. Soon I will say hi to each of them by name. Someday I might consider praying for them too ;).

I met a man named William the other day.

I said hello to William today. Then later on I went back to refill my tea cup with hot water when I found myself caught in the conversational crossfire of him and another young man who frequents Java and other downtown venues, whom I happen to know. I inquired into their topic of conversation and William explained it to me. He then described himself as spiritual, but not religious ("could mean anything" I thought).

Later William came and sat down next to me (and Chris), and I learned that he used to be a missionary with YWAM, but had an encounter with God that changed his worldview. We proceeded to have an intelligent, dynamic (meaning two-directional) discussion about grace, inerrancy, and spirituality. I think he is a universalist who denies inerrancy, but he demonstrates a phenomenal amount of knowledge about the text of the Bible and the content of the faith of most evangelicals. He seems to have a view of grace that is just about right (more right than most evangelicals in my estimation), and he puts good works in their proper place. He is passionate and articulate.

We exchanged phone numbers. I chuckled inside because I didn't expect to find a friend so quickly using thing "just learn a guy's name and say hi" method.

We also discussed 1 Cor. 15:52:
in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet. For the trumpet will sound, and the dead will be raised imperishable, and we shall be changed.
I am not sure of when the concept of verses was applied to this particular letter that the Apostle Paul wrote to the Corinthians, but it sure makes reading a single one awkward.

You start in the middle of a sentence.

Which to me is telling. How can you even begin to understand the message of this, or any, "verse" (whatever that is) devoid of its context?

William seems to think that this verse isn't about a future resurrection from the dead that individual believers will experience. He thinks it is about a "resurrection" from the "dead" that can happen inside each of us during our lifetimes. He talks poetically and philosophically about the "twinkling" part.

William, if you ever read this, know that I am glad we met and I anticipate learning from you, telling you stories, listening to you, exchanging ideas, being sharpened by you, sharpening you, and enjoying a non-manipulative but intentional friendship with you. This is not an excursus on why I am confident that you are wrong, nor is it preparation for an attempt at forcefully converting you to my worldview.

This post is an unorganized reflective story about my day and about this phase of my life. You happen to be a part of it.

Not to say that I don't think I have somethings correct, or that some of those things are very important for you to come to believe.

Anyway it was my stated opinion that "twinkling" in this passage is merely a statement of the time it will take for our resurrection bodies to be transformed. To be honest, to me it seems obvious that Paul was writing to the Corinthians about what will happen when Jesus comes back. Those who will have already been dead at the point of Jesus' return will be raised and transformed. And those humans who are living at the time will also be transformed. This transformation will take place as quickly as one blinks! Check it:
But someone will ask, ​“How are the dead raised? With what kind of body do they come?” You foolish person! ​What you sow does not come to life unless it dies. And what you sow is not the body that is to be, but a bare kernel, perhaps of wheat or of some other grain. But God gives it a body as he has chosen, and to each kind of seed its own body. For not all flesh is the same, but there is one kind for humans, another for animals, another for birds, and another for fish. There are heavenly bodies and earthly bodies, but the glory of the heavenly is of one kind, and the glory of the earthly is of another. There is one glory of the sun, and another glory of the moon, and another glory of the stars; for star differs from star in glory.

​So is it with the resurrection of the dead. What is sown is perishable; what is raised is imperishable. It is sown in dishonor; ​it is raised in glory. It is sown in weakness; it is raised in power. It is sown a natural body; it is raised a spiritual body. If there is a natural body, there is also a spiritual body. Thus it is written, ​“The first man Adam became a living being”; ​the last Adam became a life-giving spirit. But it is not the spiritual that is first but the natural, and then the spiritual. ​The first man was from the earth, ​a man of dust; ​the second man is from heaven. As was the man of dust, so also are those who are of the dust, and as is the man of heaven, ​so also are those who are of heaven. Just as we have borne the image of the man of dust, we shall also bear the image of the man of heaven.

I tell you this, brothers: ​flesh and blood ​cannot inherit the kingdom of God, nor does the perishable inherit the imperishable. Behold! I tell you a mystery. ​We shall not all sleep, ​but we shall all be changed, in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet. For ​the trumpet will sound, and ​the dead will be raised imperishable, and we shall be changed. For this perishable body must put on the imperishable, and this mortal body must put on immortality.
When the perishable puts on the imperishable, and the mortal puts on immortality, then shall come to pass the saying that is written:
​“Death is swallowed up in victory.”
​“O death, where is your victory?
O death, where is your sting?”
The sting of death is sin, and ​the power of sin is the law. But thanks be to God, ​who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.

Therefore, my beloved brothers, be steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, knowing that in the Lord your labor is not in vain.

-1 Cor. 15:35-50 (ESV)
There is a lot going on in this passage, and much of it is no doubt difficult to discern at first, since we don't all understand the historical context in which this letter was written. I want to be sensitive to that.

The MW Collegiate Dictionary (11th Ed.) defines the dative noun "twinkling" as "the time required for a wink", and "the instant’s duration of a wink".

The Strong's entry for the Greek work translated "twinkling" in this passage is
4493 ῥιπή, ῥοπή [rhipe /hree·pay/] n f. From 4496; GK 4846 and 4856; AV translates as “twinkling” once. 1 a throw, stroke, beat. 2 a moment of time.
Wiersbe explains that the Greeks at the time rebutted the early Christians conception of the resurrection by pointing to what happens to a physical body after death - bodies turn to dust, and oftentimes trees or other things use the matter from decomposed bodies to grow. How can all that matter be collected again such that a body can be resurrected? He says that
Paul’s reply to this kind of reasoning was very blunt: “You fool!” Then he made the important point that resurrection is not reconstruction. Nowhere does the Bible teach that, at the resurrection, God will “put together the pieces” and return to us our former bodies. There is continuity (it is our body), but there is not identity (it is not the same body).

Paul knew that such miracles cannot be explained, so he used three analogies to make the doctrine clear.

Seeds (vv. 35–38, 42–48). When you sow seed, you do not expect that same seed to come up at the harvest. The seed dies, but from that death there comes life. (See John 12:23–28 for our Lord’s use of this same analogy.) You may sow a few grains of wheat, but you will have many grains when the plant matures. Are they the same grains that were planted? No, but there is still continuity. You do not sow wheat and harvest barley.

Furthermore, what comes up at the harvest is usually more beautiful than what was planted. This is especially true of tulips. Few things are as ugly as a tulip bulb, yet it produces a beautiful flower. If at the resurrection, all God did was to put us back together again, there would be no improvement. Furthermore, flesh and blood cannot inherit God’s kingdom. The only way we can enjoy the glory of heaven is to have a body suited to that environment.
Paul discussed the details of this marvelous change in 1 Corinthians 15:42–48. The body is sown (in burial) in corruption, because it is going to decay; but it is raised with such a nature that it cannot decay. There is no decay or death in heaven. It is buried in humility (in spite of the cosmetic skill of the mortician); but it is raised in glory. In burial, the body is weak; but in resurrection, the body has power. We shall be like Jesus Christ!

Today, we have a “natural body,” that is, a body suited to an earthly environment. We received this body from our first parent, Adam: he was made of dust, and so are we (Gen. 2:7). But the resurrection body is suited to a spiritual environment. In His resurrection body, Jesus was able to move quickly from place to place, and even walk through locked doors; yet He was also able to eat food, and His disciples were able to touch Him and feel Him (Luke 24:33–43; John 20:19–29).

The point Paul was making was simply this: The resurrection body completes the work of redemption and gives to us the image of the Saviour. We are made in the image of God as far as personality is concerned, but in the image of Adam as far as the body is concerned. One day we shall bear the image of the Saviour when we share in His glory.

First Corinthians 15:46 states an important biblical principle: first the “natural” (earthly), and then the “spiritual” (heavenly). The first birth gives us that which is natural, but the second birth gives us that which is spiritual. God rejects the first birth, the natural, and says, “You must be born again!” He rejected Cain and chose Abel. He rejected Abraham’s firstborn, Ishmael, and chose Isaac, the second-born. He rejected Esau and chose Jacob. If we depend on our first birth, we shall be condemned forever; but if we experience the new birth, we shall be blessed forever...

We must remember that this discussion was not written by Paul merely to satisfy the curiosity of believers. He had some practical points to get across, and he made them very clear in 1 Corinthians 15:29–34. If we really believe in the resurrection of the body, then we will use our bodies today to the glory of God (1 Cor. 6:9–1

-Wiersbe, W. W. (1996, c1989). The Bible exposition commentary (1 Co 15:29). Wheaton, Ill.: Victor Books.
And what's a discussion of the resurrection without commentary from last generation's revolutionary good ol' boys from Dallas Theological Seminary? They help out here by emphasizing the theological symmetry between Adam and Jesus that Paul's writing draws from (as well as adding some free, insightful tidbits):
15:44b-49. Discussion of the contrast between Adam and Christ (mentioned earlier in v. 22) is resumed here. Adam exemplified the earthly (v. 40) natural body (the word trans. being, v. 45, psychē, is related to psychikos, which is trans. natural in v. 44). Adam gave his nature to all who followed him (the man without the Spirit is the natural [psychikos] man; cf. 2:14). The last Adam, Christ, exemplifies the heavenly spiritual body (15:22) which those who belong to Him (v. 23; cf. 2:15) will likewise assume at His coming from heaven (cf. Phil. 3:20-21). The full harvest will be like the firstfruits (1 Cor. 15:23; cf. Col. 1:18). First the seed must die; then the spiritual body will emerge...

The dead in Christ will first be raised, and then the living will be instantaneously transformed. The trumpet, as in the Old Testament, signaled the appearance of God (cf. Ex. 19:16). It is the last blast for the church because this appearance shall never end (cf. 1 Cor. 13:12). (There is no basis for posttribulationists equating this trumpet with the seventh trumpet in Rev. 11:15-19. The trumpets in Rev. pertain to judgments during the Tribulation, whereas the trumpet in 1 Cor. 15:52 is related to the church.)

15:53-54. Like the dead (vv. 42-43), the living will exchange the temporal and imperfect for the eternal and perfect (cf. 13:10). For those who belong to Christ, death’s power will be removed.

15:55. As in the allusion to Isaiah 25:8 (1 Cor. 15:54), Paul again recalled an Old Testament passage which prophesied the cessation of death (Hosea 13:14). (The recollections were adapted by Paul and do not correspond exactly to any of the extant Gr. or Heb. texts.) The apparent victories of Satan, in the Garden of Eden (Gen. 3:13) and on Golgotha (Mark 15:22-24) were reversed on the cross (Col. 2:15; Heb. 2:14-15) and vindicated in the resurrection of Christ. From the vantage point of the certain resurrection of the saints, Paul voiced his taunt against death and Satan...

15:58. Paul’s doctrinal declarations led to practical directives and this chapter’s conclusion was no exception. The Corinthians were urged to stand firm in the apostles’ teaching (v. 2), unmoved by the denials of false teachers (cf. Eph. 4:14). This certainty, especially concerning the Resurrection, provided an impetus to faithful service (cf. 1 Cor. 3:8; Gal. 6:9) since labor in the resurrected Lord is not futile (kenos, “empty”; cf. 1 Cor. 15:10, 14, 17, 30-32).

-Walvoord, J. F., Zuck, R. B., & Dallas Theological Seminary. (1983-c1985). The Bible knowledge commentary : An exposition of the scriptures (2:545). Wheaton, IL: Victor Books.
I maintain skepticism concerning some of the points various commentators make regarding this passage, but the majority of commentators whose reputation, credentials, and methodological presuppositions resonate with me seem to be of the consensus that this passage is about Jesus coming back to earth (the way He ascended into heaven: bodily! Cf. Acts 1:11), and about the future resurrection and transformation of those under grace (both dead and alive).

I find it interesting that our resurrection is compared to Jesus' (indeed He is the first of us!), and Jesus Himself made sure that those who saw Him after the Resurrection knew that He had been raised bodily (He ate fish, and insisted that "...a spirit does not have flesh and bones as you see that I have..." Luke 20).

The resurrection will be funky.

I hope William and I get to hang out. I don't care if we talk about the resurrection. At least, I don't care if we talk about it right away. I have no agenda. At least, not any manipulative or hidden one. And whatever it is that I do have, it is not without a genuine attraction to his personality.

Um, I have more to ramble about. I don't feel like elaborating on my view of election, but I feel like I owe it to Brandon. I think there are some other explanations I "owe" to people who have commented on this blog.


Sorry guys. I know it disappoints.

Saturday, November 29, 2008

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Never Buy From Next Day Flyers.com

Next Day Flyers.com doesn't check for "escape characters" in their SQL queries, which allows users to execute arbitrary queries. In the programming industry this is called "SQL Injection". If your credit card information is stored on a database on their server, any programmer worth his salt can quite easily get a hold of it. I have two accounts with nextdayflyers.com that I did my best to scrub.

My programmer friend, Jon, called them and pleaded with them to fix it or get him in touch with their webmaster and their response was "...oh, 'that's' impossible, we're behind a 'secure wall'."

What the bucaaaak is a "secure wall"? You mean a firewall? That thing that lets traffic through to execute queries on your database?

Jon tells me this is an old type of attack and there is no reason to not account for it. Since nextdayflyers.com refused to listen to his multiple and polite attempts at warning them, I will take my business elsewhere and I recommend you do the same.

Exploits of a Mom


Sunday, November 16, 2008

Viscous Racism Sparked at Home and Abroad

This is profoundly sad to me.
At Standish, Maine, a sign inside the Oak Hill General Store read: "Osama Obama Shotgun Pool." Customers could sign up to bet $1 on a date when Obama would be killed. "Stabbing, shooting, roadside bombs, they all count," the sign said. At the bottom of the marker board was written "Let's hope someone wins."

Racist graffiti was found in places including New York's Long Island, where two dozen cars were spray-painted; Kilgore, Texas, where the local high school and skate park were defaced; and the Los Angeles area, where swastikas, racial slurs and "Go Back To Africa" were spray painted on sidewalks, houses and cars.

Second- and third-grade students on a school bus in Rexburg, Idaho, chanted "assassinate Obama," a district official said.

—University of Alabama professor Marsha L. Houston said a poster of the Obama family was ripped off her office door. A replacement poster was defaced with a death threat and a racial slur. "It seems the election brought the racist rats out of the woodwork," Houston said.

—Black figures were hanged by nooses from trees on Mount Desert Island, Maine, the Bangor Daily News reported. The president of Baylor University in Waco, Texas said a rope found hanging from a campus tree was apparently an abandoned swing and not a noose.

—Crosses were burned in yards of Obama supporters in Hardwick, N.J., and Apolacan Township, Pa.

—A black teenager in New York City said he was attacked with a bat on election night by four white men who shouted 'Obama.'

—In the Pittsburgh suburb of Forest Hills, a black man said he found a note with a racial slur on his car windshield, saying "now that you voted for Obama, just watch out for your house."

Emotions are often raw after a hard-fought political campaign, but now those on the losing side have an easy target for their anger.

"The principle is very simple," said BJ Gallagher, a sociologist and co-author of the diversity book "A Peacock in the Land of Penguins." "If I can't hurt the person I'm angry at, then I'll vent my anger on a substitute, i.e., someone of the same race."

"We saw the same thing happen after the 9-11 attacks, as a wave of anti-Muslim violence swept the country. We saw it happen after the Rodney King verdict, when Los Angeles blacks erupted in rage at the injustice perpetrated by 'the white man.'"

- AP via ABC
7 and 8 year olds chanting "assassinate Obama"? I nearly cried this morning. How awful.
In Germany, the Berlin chapter of the American Jewish Committee protested a statement released by Juergen Gansel, a state legislator and member of the extreme-right National Democratic Party. The statement was titled "Africa conquers the White House."

According to AFP news service, Gansel asserted that Obama hopes to destroy America's "white identity" and that multiculturalists in America are trying to destroy other "pure" national identities...

An Austrian journalist said on television that Americans must still be racists to make such a big deal about sending a black couple to the White House. He went on to say that he "wouldn't want the Western world to be directed by a black man." He said, "If you say that is a racist comment, you're right. Without a doubt."

In Poland, a legislator said that the election heralds "the end of the white man's civilization" and that Obama is a "crypto-communist" who would surely prove disastrous for America. He apologized for the assertions.

I do not understand.
After this I looked, and behold, a great multitude that no one could number, from every nation, from all tribes and peoples and languages, standing before the throne and before the Lamb, clothed in white robes, with palm branches in their hands, and crying out with a loud voice, "Salvation belongs to our God who sits on the throne, and to the Lamb!" And all the angels were standing around the throne and around the elders and the four living creatures, and they fell on their faces before the throne and worshiped God, saying, "Amen! Blessing and glory and wisdom and thanksgiving and honor and power and might be to our God forever and ever! Amen."


Thursday, November 13, 2008

Treasury Secretary Contradicts Himself

Paulson said the financial industry's situation has worsened since the bill was passed, prompting him to spent nearly $250 billion to buy equity stakes in banks.

"Although the financial system has stabilized, both banks and nonbanks may well need more capital — given their troubled asset holdings, projections for continued high rates of foreclosures and stagnant U.S. and world economic conditions," Paulson said.

The Treasury secretary warned that the nation's financial system "remains fragile" and that "significant illiquid assets" continued to present difficulties.

But "overall, we are in a better position than we were" two months ago, he said.

-NPR (bold and underline mine)
Cool bro.

Is it just me, or is everyone pretty much going around spouting nonsense?

Things like: "The situation has worsened" and "we are in a better situation".

And: We should give "banks and nonbanks" more capital. "Banks and nonbanks", huh? Is that sort of like 'males and nonmales' or 'everyone under the age of 18, and everyone else', or 'everything that is grilled cheese sandwich and everything that isn't', or 'everyone who is on fire and everyone who is not'?

Doesn't he know that no two people are not on fire? You'd think we'd have learned that by now. It's DeluXx, son. It's not that hard.

Or: Giving them money has "worsened" our situation, so they require "more capital".


Look, I don't care what your position is quite as much as I care that you have (a preferably coherent) one and state it plainly.

"Give a mouse a cookie...

...he's gonna want $700 billion." -JCW

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

"The BANKS got a handout? WE WANT ONE!" -Chrysler, Ford & GM

I don't know what we expected...?
In a written statement, the California Democrat [Nancy Pelosi] said the aid was needed "in order to prevent the failure of one or more of the major American automobile manufacturers, which would have a devastating impact on our economy, particularly on the men and women who work in that industry...."

"Congress and the Bush administration must take immediate action," she added. Administration officials have concluded that the bailout bill that passed earlier does not permit loans to the auto industry, but lawmakers are expected to return to the Capitol for a brief postelection session beginning next week.

Real mature.

So not only are we increasing the depth of our welfare programs for those without jobs, but now the Democratic party wants to institute the biggest welfare program of all for Big Business!

My only question: Where is the government getting all this money?
Government's view of the economy could be summed up in a few short phrases: If it moves, tax it. If it keeps moving, regulate it. And if it stops moving, [give it about $700 billion].

-Ronald Reagan (brackets mine)

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Why Idaho Has Zero Pork

Article III, Section 16 of our constitution reads:
Every act shall embrace but one subject and matters properly connected therewith, which subject shall be expressed in the title; but if any subject shall be embraced in an act which shall not be expressed in the title, such act shall be void only as to so much thereof as shall not be embraced in the title.

Idaho Constitution III - 16

[In contrast to the Federal Government (e.g. H.R. 1424; what a mess!)]

Friday, November 7, 2008

Logos For Mac Pre-Order Sale

This is so money.

I am so drooling right now.

Logos Bible Software for the Mac

7 Reasons Why It's Ok That Obama Won

Why did Obama win?

You could look at it this way:
Candidate John McCain seemed to have it all.

Few in America did not know about his decades of service, his breath-taking heroism as a prisoner of war in Vietnam, his foreign policy expertise and his ability to reach across the Congressional aisle.

Mr McCain's opponent was largely untested, inexperienced and, initially at least, unknown; his race only added to his challenge.

If there is such a thing as a perfect political storm though, John McCain found himself caught in the middle of it. In a leaky boat. With limited fuel...

From the start, his biggest problem was finding the money to compete with Barack Obama's $650m (£403m) campaign juggernaut. By accepting federal funding (which Mr Obama declined) he capped his general election campaign spending at $85m (£53m)...

In the end, he projected an image as a man from America's past, who had been through much and served his country well.

But in a disgruntled nation, deeply disenchanted with Republicanism, he couldn't match the appeal of his younger opponent and his message of change.

Richard Lister - BBC News, Washington
Or you could look at it this way:
the gate is narrow and the way is hard that leads to life, and those who find it are few.

Matthew 7:13-14
Should we be so surprised that there are more free-loaders in America than hard-workers?

In all seriousness though, I am not upset that Obama won.

First of all, he won fairly and democratically. The people have spoken. Awesome.

Second of all, I never found any good reasons to adopt any of the more extreme arguments against Obama, so I am not bracing myself for the apocalypse or anything (at least not any more so than I would be anyway).

Third of all, while I am disinclined to opt for rendering unto the government monies generally, and much less so with respect to things at which I believe the government will do an extremely poor job... it's only money. Honestly, it is only money. Plus, Obama's primary motivation for taking my money is to do things like balance the budget, and help the hungry, poor, orphaned, widowed, and the little children of our society. There could be worse things to take my money for. Personally I think I could do a better finding ways to disperse those funds, and I think other organizations than the government, that are forced to compete to earn my charitable donations, could do a better job of utilizing those funds. But still, Obama is not Hitler (despite the smears). It will be ok. It will be alright.

And honestly, maybe it won't be. Maybe Obama will turn out to be the freakin' Antichrist. But there is no reason to think so as of yet, so why worry? Bush could have turned out to be the AC, too. Besides, I won't be here. Not that we shouldn't oppose those who come in the spirit of the AC; it's just that I might as well not harbor paranoia towards everyone I have a few political disagreements with if there is no other reason to suspect him of being The Antichrist, ya know?

Fourth, while some may think of taxation categorically as theft, I just don't find myself convinced. I have thought about it, and while I understand the arguments, I just don't see it. So I am not super upset that Obama plans to tax the hell out of me. Like I said, it is only money.

Fifth, the President doesn't actually have that much power (though the power of Executive branch has regrettably swollen, and pretty significantly, thanks to the second Bush administration and its corresponding Congress).

Sixth, though the Democatic party has control of Congress, it won't for long. People like to blame the President, and soon enough Obama will field his fair share of blame. Then Congress will turn over and we'll be able to strong-arm anything too terribly extreme Obama might just try to pull (or repeal anything he might have gotten through already).

Seventh, the rest of the world likes us again. So that's cool.

...I could easily go on.

I know FOCA is a big issue, and I don't want to undermine that. But all is not lost. There is a lot we can still do. We can work to change the hearts and minds of individuals at the grass-roots level. We can work toward state legislation that strong-arms any federal law that makes it through (like Idaho is doing with our wolf issue). We can write to the President elect and his party and try to change their minds about abortion. We can applaud maverick pro-life Democrats like my wife. We can support policies or organizations that will work to mitigate the number of abortions by one means or another. We can stand up for whole-life ideals. Et cetera.

Barack Obama is our President (elect) now, and we should pray for him.

I liked McCain's concession speech, and I think it is not enough to react to it with thoughts like "what a good sport", but we should actually heed his words.

I also liked Amy's post.

And I will probably like the post my wife is writing right now.

God bless America.

See you in 4, baby.

Peace out.

Walk Through the Bible

Anecdotal Background Article #1:
When I went to La Mirada CA's Biola, every year around the same time about a quarter of the kids on campus would be buzzing about the "Walk Through the Old Testament" - a one-man act that everyone in Dr. Talley's Old Testament class would have to memorize and perform in unison.

Anecdotal Background Article #2:
When I moved to the (Inland) Northwest, I learned about two boys from Spokane WA's Gonzaga with the last names of "Barats" and "Bereta". They have their own website and MySpace pages, and have been growing in popularity since I first heard about them. Odds are if you're reading this, you have probably seen one or two of their YouTube videos.

Well the following brings Articles 1 & 2 together in a way that does not disappoint.

Bible In A Minute - barats and bereta

Why they're dressed up as Mormon elders, I have no idea.

Thursday, November 6, 2008

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

This guy pretty much sums it up.

Why I Do Not Support Obama For President of the United States in 2008

[After writing this post, I realized that its not written to convince anybody to vote for McCain. This post is a reflective exercise, and maybe even perhaps a veiled call to fellow McCain supporters to stop resorting to desperate measures. Maybe its even a veiled plea to Obama supporters to not judge me for supporting McCain.]

I have gotten far more into news and politics recently than I ever thought I could. I will spare you a superfluous description of the breadth and depth of my research concerning the major attacks on Obama that his opponents have launched. I will simply say that I have tried extremely hard to examine each claim with vigor, skepticism, integrity, and intellectual honesty.

I have found just about every major attack on Obama to be far-fetched, based on language and events ripped out of context, and insensitive to nuances, subtleties, and the various moving parts to issues and circumstances.

I do not identify with the culture among McCain/Palin supporters (I here curb my desire to rant extensively in this direction).

I do however, identify much more with Obama's approach to various methods of thought and speech. He trends toward lengthy, nuanced, or intellectual answers to questions, and this sometimes hurts him. He is slow to form opinions, and I think that's a good thing. He is often misunderstood or misinterpreted, and this happens to me a lot too. I exhibit many of his verbal habits and conventions myself, and this makes me like his personality.

I like a lot of his desires - to help the poor, downtrodden, and hungry at home and abroad, to be a good steward of Creation, to get as far as possible by verbal and other nonviolent means, to be at peace with as many people and countries as possible insofar as it depends on us, etc. etc.

I so badly long to laugh at all the SNL skits that are dominated by attacks against McCain and Palin. But I find most of them to be based on straw-man fallacies and suspect assumptions.

When it comes down to it, I just simply find myself in disagreement with Obama's proposals. I just. dis. agree. with him.


That's it. That's all.

Friday, October 17, 2008

Microsoft's Dirty Little Secret

I wanted to link to an "I'm a PC" commercial so that I could comment on how Microsoft's best reply to the "I'm a Mac" ads, no matter how funny it might be, can never transcend them because it simply parodies them.

But what I discovered was even more epic. It turns out that Microsoft's commercials themselves were created on a Mac, using Adobe software!

Sunday, October 12, 2008

On Good Taste In Music and Canonicity

Complimenting someone on their good taste in music is weird because it implies that their taste in music is distinct from yours, yet good. It begs the question 'why aren't your two tastes in music identical?'. Think about it.

It reminds me of how everbody goes cuckoo for Cocoa Puffs over Pevear's and Volokhonsky's translations of Russian classics like Tolstoy's "The Idiot". How would you know whether a work is truly a good translation or not?

I once heard about this philosopher of mathematics who failed to show up to the ceremony in which he was awarded a super rare and historical award because he said that there was nobody qualified to even decide whether he deserved it.

My old sensi once told me that he didn't give weight to compliments from blue belts, sense he was a black belt 5th degree.

But in the end the recognition of the greatness of something that you couldn't do yourself is perfectly reasonable. My friends Daniel, Jon, Max, and Chris all have good senses of musical goodness. I just can't seem to track down good tunes or track with various cultural movements.

BUT when I hear good music I can recognize it.

I can recognize beautiful paintings and though I have hands capable of painting I simply do not have the knack.

And my own inability to paint does not rightly prevent me from criticism or compliment.

A blue belt's inability to exact a side-thrust kick does not disqualify him from judging that another's is orthodox.

A panel's falling short of world-changing mathematical achievement by no means discredits them from rewarding such.

An American population's Russian illiteracy doesn't completely restrict their ability to appreciate the poeticism of a translation effort, or to marvel at reports of its accuracy.

Some of my beloved Christian brothers and sisters elevate our shared and cherished tradition to a particular authoritative status I believe only scripture itself should enjoy. "Who gave scripture its authority?" they have asked me.

Still there are other brothers and sisters who may hold scripture to be the highest authority, but who unfortunately therefore condemn all attempts at identifying and describing things, such as tradition or archaeology, that "prove" the Bible to be reliable or without error.

I personally believe that we should thread the needle: the Bible is uniquely inherently authoritative in the highest degree, and yet it is beneficial and even right that we nevertheless put it to the test, and seek out and describe things that attest to its credibility.

It is in the vein of recognizing another's good taste in music that I see that it is possible for a community to recognize books as canonical without it being so that said works in any way derive their authority from said community.

Similarly, while there are those who insist it is upside down to search for extrabiblical attestations to the reliability of the Bible, I insist it is quite reasonable. What other way are we to discern between self-proclaimed authorities? No, it is right that we catalog evidence in recognition of the Bible's credibility.

But let's keep these things in their proper places. The Bible is authoritative because it is God's Word, not because a group of humans said that it is God's Word.

Posted with LifeCast

Monday, September 29, 2008

"Think & argue about it, but at the end of the day come to the conclusion that God is sovereign and man is responsible." - T. S. (paraphrased)

After reading, talking, thinking, and praying for a very long time and to a level of sophistication that very probably nears my max out, whatever that may be, I have come to a number of core convictions most highly relevant to matters related to the doctrines of divine omnipotence and the responsibility of humankind:

1. God can do anything
2. God is morally good
3. God knows everything
4. Man is responsible
5. Logic is true

You are welcome to speculate concerning the details.

You are not welcome to elevate your philosophical speculations even remotely close to the levels of certainty and importance that the gospel enjoys.

Browser Spots

On the radio people used to call in and do "shout-outs" to their friends who might be listening in. Now people do link spots or blog spots by linking out to a series of webpages, often on a given topic. Here is a short spotting of pages on the Browser Wars:

Chrome vs. FireFox (technical)
Chrome vs. Safari (technical)
FireFox vs. Safari (biased)
Why Safari Rocks Chrome (biased)
Benchmarks: FireFox is Faster Than Chrome
Benchmarks: Safari is Faster Than FireFox (suspect)
9 Things FireFox Should Steal From Safari (from 2007, but most still apply. Also, rated PG-13)
How to Get Safari's Best Features in FireFox (a bit old, but mostly still applicable. Also, rated PG-13)
Why IE Sucks (yes, an entire blog. Rated R, and very technical)

and yet,

Browser Statistics

...proof that humans are capable of irrationality.

Sunday, September 28, 2008

FireFox Extensions

My FireFox install wasn't keeping track of my history, so I deleted it using AppZapper, repaired permissions, downloaded a fresh copy of FireFox 3, and began reinstalling all my extensions.

I thought it might be nice to share with you what extensions I use in FireFox:

Alexa Sparky
Google Toolbar
Dictionary Tooltip
Resizeable Textarea
SEO For FireFox
Web Developer

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

The Alleged & Paradoxical Tragedies En Route Due to the Various Effects of Anthropogenic C02 Broadly Classified as Global Climate Change

AAAahahahahaha. Ahem.

So I know an intelligent young woman who, for her own reasons, used to be pro-choice.

That is, until she went to a pro-choice rally.

I wonder if beginning to cite real Global Climate Change theorists will actually dissuade more people from this particular flavor of lunacy than well reasoned-arguments.

I especially enjoy looking at contradictory studies like those that show that Climate Change will cause more hurricanes (the orthodox position?) and those that show it will cause "fewer" hurricanes, a "reduced" amount of hurricanes, or that there simply isn't a link between Global Climate Change and hurricanes at all.

You can blame anything on Man now; not just Global Warming, but any Global Climate Change at all.

Sunday, September 21, 2008

Sarah Palin did not slash funding for teen moms - she actually tripled it.

The Washington Post (and about a bajillion blogs) claims that Sarah Palin slashed funding for teen moms. They show a photocopy of the budget Palin marked on, crossing out the 5 million dollar figure and writing in 3.9.

Turns out that the previous year's state funding for this particular charity, that happens to include a program for teen mothers, was only 1.3 million dollars. Palin tripled their budget.

[By the way, state-funding only accounts for about 15% of the faith-based Covenant House Alaska's annual budget.]

I didn't even think to blog about this until I looked around in the results pages of several Google queries and found that everyone is railing against Palin for "slashing funds for teen mothers", calling her a hypocrite given her pro-life stance and her own daughter's young pregnancy. I only initially found this one dude that took the time to look at the context and it just doesn't seem right to me.

In fact, Deirdre Cronin, Executive Director of Covenant House Alaska, said she "is grateful for the support [Covenant House has] received from Governor Sarah Palin, the Alaska legislature and [Alaska's] Congressional delegation over the years".

Hopefully this post and these links will boost Warren Throckmorton's pages in Google's results pages. I used the "nofollow" tag in my hyperlink to Washington Post's story so that they don't get any of my link juice.

Friday, September 19, 2008

"Imagination is More Important Than Knowledge" - An over-quoted quotation. Here's why its true though.

I started posting my notes on Quine's "Methods of Logic" online. I will finish someday. Anyway I was skimming it and found a quotation and a comment on it worth sharing over here on this blog:
We must be able to think up schemata which imply or are implied by a given schema and promise well as links in a proposed chain of argument. Such products can be checked mechanically by truth-value analysis, but thinking them up is an unmechanical activity.

-p. 47
It brings to mind the worn-out quotation of Einstein, "Imagination is more important than knowledge". Here, even in the midst of pursuing the discipline of meticulous, exhaustive, systematic, and well-defined logical analyses, we see the glory of knack and of imagination and of art.

Monday, September 15, 2008

Thursday, September 11, 2008

A Public Prayer

Dear God,

[We] sincerely pray that you help us to understand the value of public and corporate prayer.


Misc. on Tolstoy

On July 22, 1910, when Tolstoy was in the middle of what was to be his final crisis, he went into the woods with three friends to copy and sign the testament that had been drawn up according to his instructions, hoping thereby to settle both the tormenting spiritual problems and the distasteful bickering with his wife and family that the disposition of his property and rights induced. As Tolstoy began to copy the document he misspelled “twenty”, started to correct it and to reach for a fresh sheet of paper, but then smiled and said, “All right, let it be thought that I was illiterate,” adding “I will put the numeral next to it so that there will be no possibility of doubt”.

- “Tolstoy” by Ralph Matlaw, p. 1
Tolsoy's wife Sophie wrote in her journal of copying War and Peace, that it "uplifted her spiritually, ie morally".

Sophie hand-wrote seven copies of "War and Peace".

She wrote to the man who published her biography:
“You write about the ‘home’ interests which must have been subordinated to Leo Nikolaevich’s writing of War and Peace and Anna Karenina. But what was that home? It consisted only of Leo Nikolaevich and myself… In so far as I could tear myself from domestic matters, I lived in my husband’s creative activity and loved it…You mention among professional writers Gogol, Turgenev, Goncharov, and I would add Lermontov and others; all of them were bachelors without families, and that is a very different matter. This was reflected in their work, just as Leo N.’s family life was completely reflected in his works… It is perfectly true that Leo N. was generally a man and not merely a writer. But it is not true, if you will pardon me, that he wrote easily. Indeed, he experienced the ‘tortures of creativity’ in a high degree; he wrote with difficulty and slowly, made endless corrections; he doubted his powers, denied his talent, and he often said: ‘Writing is just like childbirth; until the fruit is ripe, it does not come out, and, when it does, it comes with pain and labor’.”

Wednesday, September 10, 2008


I am profoundly bottlenecked.

I am sometimes too hasty in the forming and giving forth of beliefs, and sometimes far too retarded.

I am often verbose, and sometimes bottlenecked.

I am rarely devoid of thought.

Over the last four years I have been taught a lot about humility. But there are several lessons I have been taught, but have not learned. And right now I can tell that I have a long way to go even beyond this unassimilated wisdom.

True, robust, meta humility is very difficult (both painful and requiring of a certain expertise).

Saturday, September 6, 2008

Freedom of Choice Act (FOCA): Why it DOES Matter That Obama is Pro-Choice

The Freedom of Choice Act (FOCA), is a bill introduced to Congress by Democratic Senator Barbara Boxer that has been read twice and referred to the Committee on the Judiciary. Barack Obama has indicated his support of this bill.

It says*, among other things, that...
...It is the policy of the United States that...
(b) A government may not--
(1) deny or interfere with a woman's right to choose--
(A) to bear a child;
(B) to terminate a pregnancy prior to [fetal] viability; or
(C) to terminate a pregnancy after [fetal] viability where termination is necessary to protect the life or health of the woman; or
(2) discriminate against the exercise of the rights set forth in paragraph (1) in the regulation or provision of benefits, facilities, services, or information
includes a branch, department, agency, instrumentality, or official (or other individual acting under color of law) of the United States, a State, or a subdivision of a State.
And "viability" is defined as
that stage of pregnancy when, in the best medical judgment of the attending physician based on the particular medical facts of the case before the physician, there is a reasonable likelihood of the sustained survival of the fetus outside of the woman.
So FOCA basically says that everywhere in America regardless of State or local law, any female can take the life of her unborn baby so long as she can find just one individual attending physician to judge that her baby wouldn't survive on its own if it were taken outside of the womb of its mother that instant, or to judge that her pregnancy endangers her health (not even her life, necessarily).

What does this have to do with Obama?

Well for one, he promised that it would be the first thing he signs as President.

And then there is the issue of appointing Supreme Court judges. Justice Stevens is getting old, and a couple of other judges are no doubt getting very close to throwing in the towel. While McCain has been explicit and thorough about his stance on legal matters, Obama has shied away from talking about anything legal, anything specific, and has only commented about the need to appoint judges who empathize with certain segments of society. In light of this and his radical pro-choice record, we can no doubt anticipate Obama's judicial appointments to be ruthlessly and undiscerningly pro-choice as well.

Want to know more about FOCA? Check out what the Family Research Council has to say:
The passage of FOCA would not only force the issue of taxpayer funded abortions on both the federal and state governments, but would also overturn the wishes of all 50 state legislatures and millions of people in the states. Many of these laws are hugely popular. For example, Florida's 1994 amendment requiring parental notification was approved in a referendum with 65 percent of the vote. In an October 2007 Harris poll, 38 percent of the respondents wanted no change in current abortion laws, while 42 percent wanted to see laws that made it tougher for a woman to get an abortion. Only 16 percent of respondents wanted the government to make it easier for a woman to get an abortion.[17]

The abortion industry already handsomely rewards its supporters in Congress with millions of dollars in campaign donations. In return, enactment of the Freedom of Choice Act by a pro-abortion Congress (which we currently have) and a pro-abortion President would lead to the biggest payoff in history for those who profit from abortions. All of this would come at taxpayer expense, with the federal and state governments losing the power to decide which legislative path they wish to pursue-one of promoting abortion or promoting life. Ironically, the Freedom of Choice Act would remove any concept of "choice" from the equation, by eliminating the right of states and U.S. citizens to have a say in the debate.

(McClusky, Date Unpublished)
*[GovTrack.us. S. 1173--110th Congress (2007): Freedom of Choice Act, GovTrack.us (database of federal legislation) <http://www.govtrack.us/congress/bill.xpd?bill=s110-1173> (accessed Sep 6, 2008)]

Friday, September 5, 2008

UCLA Social Scientists Find Significant Liberal Bias in Nearly All Major Media Outlets

A UCLA study that "is believed to be the first successful attempt at objectively quantifying bias in a range of media outlets and ranking them accordingly" found that "there is a quantifiable and significant bias in that nearly all of [the major media outlets] lean to the left" (Sullivan, 2005).

Before you react, read to the end of the article cited.

UPDATE: I found the study itself. If you or your school isn't subscribed to the MIT Press Quarterly Journal of Economics, you have to pay $10 to download it. But the abstract is free:
We measure media bias by estimating ideological scores for several major media outlets. To compute this, we count the times that a particular media outlet cites various think tanks and policy groups, and then compare this with the times that members of Congress cite the same groups. Our results show a strong liberal bias: all of the news outlets we examine, except Fox News' Special Report and the Washington Times, received scores to the left of the average member of Congress. Consistent with claims made by conservative critics, CBS Evening News and the New York Times received scores far to the left of center. The most centrist media outlets were PBS News Hour, CNN's Newsnight, and ABC's Good Morning America; among print outlets, USA Today was closest to the center. All of our findings refer strictly to news content; that is, we exclude editorials, letters, and the like.

-(MIT Press Quarterly Journal of Economics, November 2005)

Thursday, September 4, 2008

Why Obama is a Lesser Moral Monster (But a Monster Nonetheless)

I argued earlier that if a fetus is a person THEN it is wrong to terminate it.

I personally believe that personhood begins at conception, so I believe that abortion is inherently morally wrong (except in certain circumstances when the pregnancy critically endangers the life of the mother).

Now, you can disagree with me and support abortion without being a moral monster, if you believe that a fetus is not a person. You are wrong and there are terrible consequences to your false belief, but you are not a moral monster.

If you believe a fetus is a person AND you are pro-choice then you ARE a moral monster, because you are knowingly supportive of premeditated murder.

But what if you don't know for sure? I say that you are only slightly less of a monster than if you did know better, but a monster nonetheless. Like I said before, NEVER kill unless you can ID your target.

Would you stab a knife through a blanket if you weren't sure whether that the lump underneath was a human person or not?

When asked "Do you personally believe that life begins at conception?"

Obama answered:
This is something that I have not come to a firm resolution on. I think it's very hard to know what that means, when life begins. Is it when a cell separates? Is it when the soul stirs? So I don't presume to know the answer to that question. What I know is that there is something extraordinarily powerful about potential life and that that has a moral weight to it that we take into consideration when we're having these debates.

-Source: 2008 Democratic Compassion Forum at Messiah College Apr 13, 2008
How can he possibly justify support for abortion without being sure about when life begins?

Obama vis-à-vis Palin: Parenting

Here's how Obama says he would handle a hypothetical teen pregnancy:
I've got two daughters. 9 years old and 6 years old... I am going to teach them first of all about values and morals. But if they make a mistake, I don't want them punished with a baby.
Here's how Palin actually handled her daughter's pregnancy:
Our beautiful daughter Bristol came to us with news that as parents we knew would make her grow up faster than we had ever planned... We're proud of Bristol's decision to have her baby and even prouder to become grandparents. As Bristol faces the responsibilities of adulthood, she knows she has our unconditional love and support.

Bristol and the young man she will marry are going to realize very quickly the difficulties of raising a child, which is why they will have the love and support of our entire family. We ask the media to respect our daughter and Levi's privacy, as has always been the tradition of children of candidates...
Aside from the glaring irony of Obama's insulting comments about his own daughters (think of telling YOUR CHILDREN you wouldn't want them PUNISHED by CHILDREN OF THEIR OWN), there is the slightly more subtle presence of just plain bad parenting latent in such a position. What happened to "morals" like taking responsibility for one's decisions, Mr. Obama?

Being pro-life is important, not just because of any legislation a leader might be involved in or judges he, or she, might appoint. Being pro-life is important because it reflects a proper understanding of reality, of values, of responsibility, and of parenting.

I guess "Husky" brand liners for your vehicle's floor or bed are all the rage now.

Personally I find this little phenomenon pretty entertaining.

My good friend Andy Isaacson just started selling Husky Liners, because he found out how popular they are.

"What are Husky Liners?" you ask.

You know those floor mats that come stock with your car? You know how they always wear out and get all ratty? You know how you always wear a hole through the driver's side one under the heel of your gas-pedal foot?

I guess people (especially in the Northwest, where it snows and where people actually walk around on surfaces other than concrete, like dirt or -gasp- mud!) are starting to really love replacing those with Husky brand floor liners. Weird, I know. But think about how dirty and soppy your car floor gets in the winter, on the way back from the beach, or after a camping trip. What if you had really nice, hardy, floor liners with thick tread that felt good on your feet (ergonomic?) and collected all the snow and mud you could ever dish out?

And of course you know how obsessed a lot of guys up here get about their trucks, so I don't even have to explain to you how valuable industrial strength bed liners are to guys like that ;).

So anyway I guess Husky is like supposed to be the brand of floor and bed liners to get. They're all the rage right now.

If you want to check 'em out, or if you're curious about possibly getting them for your car, go check out Andy's Husky Liners site and click on his links and buy stuff. It's an affiliate site, so don't be surprised if the links take you elsewhere before allowing you to go through the purchase process, but rest assured the process is secure.

Ahhh... life's little quirks.

NEVER fire unless you can ID your target

Gun Safety Rule Related to Your Target #1 is to "[positively] identify your target and the threat it poses before firing at it." Our VP learned this lesson the hard way I guess, as have various cops and soldiers who have gotten in big trouble for firing on unarmed, innocent civilians.

Hang on to this tidbit, it will come in handy later.

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

Late Night Reflections

I am hanging curtain rods in my living room right now. Its dark outside. And its light inside, so when I looked at the window pane itself I caught a glimpse of my reflection. This happened to me earlier today when I was riding my bike up fourth street and I saw myself in the windows of the shops while coming home from Bella Rose where I had lunch with Chris.

I startled myself just now because I look like a young man. Not like when your mom or grandma calls you a young man. Just, I look like a man. I look like a man who is young. I am a young, married, employed, land-owning, triathlete of a man.

And I do things like mow the lawn, and... hang curtain rods.

It might sound weird to you, but it feels weird to me. I don't feel 24 at all. I feel, like, I dunno.


Just younger. And its not that I mind being 24. I guess I'm just afraid that I ought to be more mature -more wise- than I estimate I probably am. I wonder if I am on the right track in life?

I think I am, in terms of, well, I went to the right school (still need to finish though), married the right woman, I am living where God told me to, I am going to the church God told me to... but what about the details though? Am I a praying man? Do I love my wife like I ought to? Am I serving other people - living my life for the sake of others? Does my life illustrate Hope? Is my faith strong, and its content accurate?

Do I work hard enough?

God, please grant me substantial and rapid growth in wisdom and courage and passion.


Google has the right to do whatever they want with anything you ever create or transmit on the web

...if you do so using their new web browser - here's why.

Plus, Chrome is slower than FireFox 3 and Safari 3 (except when it comes to JavaScript), has no way to manage bookmarks yet, falls short in other areas (although admittedly has some serious strengths too), and isn't available for Mac yet!

As I read one commenter write, umm... don't be evil?

Faust 2.0