Saturday, September 27, 2008

The Most Dangerous Thing a Christian can Do

From Quadrivium:

"I have discovered the single most dangerous thing a Christian can do. It is absolutely devastating to one’s religion. This single act has the ability to completely demolish one’s view of religion and change how you approach religion for the rest of your life.

Think about it for a moment. Ask yourself the following questions.

1) a. What is salvation?

b. How is one saved?

c. What does it mean to be saved?

d. What is my role in my own salvation?

2) a. What version of the Bible do I hold to?

b. Why?

3) a. When I go to church does everyone look like me?

b. Are there any from the outside?

c. Would we tolerate someone with tattoos? Long hair? Dirty clothes? Where would/do we draw the line when it comes to who we will let in?

i. If we claim we would allow everyone then where are they? “Oh, they just don’t want to come here.” Why not?

ii. “They can’t handle the truth. It is obvious they are sinners and don’t want to hear the truth.” What truth is that? Your doctrine or Biblical doctrine?

There you have it. You have just engaged in the single most dangerous thing a Christian can do… and that is to “Think.” Think about what you believe and why you believe it. "

The Debate and Legitimizing Evil Leaders

I watched the debate and wondered as McCain, over and over again, claimed that talking to Iran or N. Korea meant legitimizing those leaders.
He obviously doesn't respect national sovereignty. He keeps saying "no timetable" when the prime minister of Iraq said they wanted a timetable. Let Iraq be in control of Iraq.
The same with Iran and N. Korea. The leaders of these countries are legitimate in their own right. They were brought to power by the internal sovereign processes of their independent sovereign countries. They are legitimate leaders on the world stage because of this fact. We have no right to question whether they should be leaders unless we are a part the country they are in. Or perhaps in the case of genocide.
Unfortunately, boneheaded Republicans and other red-state types "can't understand" (to borrow one of McCain's refrains) anything outside of their own personal absolutes. Such things as "context," "relative," and even "unity in diversity" are rank heresy-isms. This insistence on judging everything by a personal absolute standard without regard to relative context is arrogance and a tendency I have also dealt with among hard-right Christian fundamentalists. It's an attitude I want nothing to do with.

Saturday, September 20, 2008

YouTube Video Problem under Firefox

My wife was watching a rather disgusting YouTube video about Neti Pots. She was using Firefox and the video would stop constantly, apparently to rebuffer. The kicker is that under Internet Explorer the video ran without a hitch!
After cleaning out cache and cookies and reinstalling Flash, I found out that the Java XPI plugin for Firefox needs to be updated. What this would have to do with Flash videos on YouTube I don't know. It isn't just Java that has to be updated, you have to use the Java XPI plugin installer here.
Alternatively, you could disable Java, but that is an unacceptable solution to me.
Evidently the Flash player uses some Java functionality that isn't properly handled by the default Java plugin included with Firefox.

Sunday, September 14, 2008

This Country

This country must be run for the benefit of someone else.
I stood there in my kitchen looking at the bottle of salad dressing I purchased from the "99 Cent Only Store". I had left it out overnight and now had to throw it away. I took a mental note to buy more as I reflected on the news that this chain of 99 cent stores was going to be changing their "pricing structure." The dollar stores are now going the way of the dime stores of yesteryear. Perhaps tomorrow's bargain shops will be titled as 5 Dollar Only stores!
It also occurred to me that the child my wife is now carrying will, when it grows up, value the dollar in much the same way we value quarters. He or she may think nothing of putting two or three dollars into the coke machine for a canned soft drink.
Our government uses our tax dollars to bail out corporations that weren't properly regulated to begin with, while the CEO rides off into the sunset with his fat severance package and all the wealth accumulated over the years he led that company down the path to ruin. When our government can't spend our money, it prints more of its own, again at taxpayer cost in terms of inflation, and floods the economy with it in an attempt to correct for the consequences of these fat-cats' mismanagement.
On the other hand, I, the average Joe, am consistently viewed as an expensive burden to corporations I work for, a favorite target of cost-cutting in terms of reduced hours, outright termination, outsourcing, in sourcing, and off shoring. And once I reach the point of needing a bail-out, I have to file bankruptcy, give up my assets and live with the stigma for 7 years. This country is not run for the benefit of the average citizen.
There was a saying in the 1930s, that if capitalism is left to itself it will cut its own throat. Here today in our country and world we are witnessing this. The government is paid off by corporate lobbyists to go light on the regulation but heavy on the rescue. Enough is enough!

Our presidential race pretends to offer hope. On the one hand we have Obama, who picks a VP candidate that compliments him. On the other hand, we have McCain, who picks a VP candidate that does nothing to compliment him but is merely a vote-getter, someone to shore up support from the abortion-obsessed evangelical right and tease over disgruntled Hillary supporters. We have McCain, who since the Republican convention has unleashed a stream of bold-faced smears and lies against Obama. And yet, this man is ahead in the polls? Oh I forgot, the only thing that matters is that whoever you vote for is against abortion. Wake up America!

The unbridled reign of corporations. The simple-minded, red-state, obstinate, decisiveness-over-thoughtfulness, resentful, grudge-holding, single-issue tendency of our much of America. These are the things that keep me up at night and tempt me to despair.

Tuesday, September 09, 2008

Verses on Forgiveness

Matthew 18:23-35
For this reason the kingdom of heaven may be compared to a king who wished to settle accounts with his slaves. When he began the reckoning, one who owed him ten thousand talents was brought to him; and, as he could not pay, his lord ordered him to be sold, together with his wife and children and all his possessions, and payment to be made. So the slave fell on his knees before him, saying, ‘Have patience with me, and I will pay you everything.’ And out of pity for him, the lord of that slave released him and forgave him the debt. But that same slave, as he went out, came upon one of his fellow slaves who owed him a hundred denarii; and seizing him by the throat, he said, ‘Pay what you owe.’ Then his fellow slave fell down and pleaded with him, ‘Have patience with me, and I will pay you.’ But he refused; then he went and threw him into prison until he would pay the debt. When his fellow slaves saw what had happened, they were greatly distressed, and they went and reported to their lord all that had taken place. Then his lord summoned him and said to him, ‘You wicked slave! I forgave you all that debt because you pleaded with me. Should you not have had mercy on your fellow slave, as I had mercy on you?’ And in anger his lord handed him over to be tortured until he would pay his entire debt. So my heavenly Father will also do to every one of you, if you do not forgive your brother or sister from your heart.

Ephesians 4:31-32
Put away from you all bitterness and wrath and anger and wrangling and slander, together with all malice, and be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ has forgiven you.

Proverbs 10:12
Hatred stirs up strife, but love covers all offenses.

I John 4:20
Those who say, “I love God,” and hate their brothers or sisters, are liars; for those who do not love a brother or sister whom they have seen, cannot love God whom they have not seen.

Thursday, September 04, 2008

Computer Vocabulary Rant

I work in tech support. A pet peeve of mine is when people get "downloading" and "installing" mixed up. For example, they say they have "downloaded" the program to their computer when really the have "installed" the program from the CD.
To "download" means to transfer a file to your computer over the network.
To "install" means to setup a program on your computer.
Installing a program from CD involves no downloading.
Now you can download a program and install it- you can install a program you downloaded. These are separate things, however.
In case you are wondering, "upload" means to transfer a file FROM your computer to someplace else on the network.

Another big one is "memory" and "hard disk space." "Memory" should not be used when referring to the amount of space on your hard drive. "Memory" refers to the amount of RAM installed on your computer, the space that is used to hold running programs. "Hard Disk space" is space on your hard drive that holds program files and other files whether or not they are being used.

The "computer" is not the screen you look at. The "computer" is the part that you put CDs in.

There- now I feel better!