Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Fix for Microsoft Natural Ergo Keyboard 4000 Stiff Spacebar

I just purchased a Microsoft Natural Ergo Keyboard 4000 from Best Buy, since my wrists were starting to complain. It is a great ergonomic keyboard; however, one thing is exceedingly bothersome... the stiff space bar. If you don't hit it just right there is too much resistance.

I searched the web for solutions. I ran across http://www.paulstravelpictures.com/MS-Natural-Ergo-Keyboard-Sticky-Spacebar-Fix/index.html , which suggested one of the following:

1. Twist the ends of the sway bar under the space bar, or
2. Remove the sway bar altogether

Neither worked well for me. I finally came up with a solution that really solves the problem:
Break off the inner sway bar clips.

If you pull out the space bar and look underneath, the metal sway bar is secured in two places on both sides. I pulled the following picture from the site above and added arrows to show you what to do. What you what to do is break off one side of both inner clips:





Update 2/12/15: I recently bought another one of these keyboards and have found that the space bar is just fine as is and I haven't needed to do this. It seems like Microsoft has improved the keyboard in recent revisions.

Monday, June 13, 2011

Church "Growth", Comfort Zones, and Cliche Theology

There are two separate issues I want to talk about in this post. Issue number one is the concept of being the concept of comfort and the Christian. Issue number two is the concept of numerical growth.
It has been said that you can't do anything for Christ until you get out of your comfort zone. I understand the motivation behind this. People can sometimes let their petty preferences get in the way of serving God. Unfortunately, it remains bad advice.
The concept of comfort can have various meanings. For example, I am sure my pastor is would not be comfortable letting a secular rock band perform on Sunday morning. Okay, that's fine; no one would suggest that the pastor needs to "get out of his comfort zone" on that. You may remember when the Apostle Paul considered going into the region of Bithynia, but the Spirit prevented them. Evidently, Paul did not have a comfortable feeling about going into Bithynia, though he desired to spread the gospel. The Holy Spirit has made him uncomfortable with the idea.
Something can be a good thing to do, when considered on its own. Witnessing to people is considered a good thing to do. But there is a time and a place for everything, and yielding to God's leading means allowing him to redirect your good intentions when necessary.
Beyond the issue of being UNcomfortable in a spiritual way, is being comfortable in a spiritual way. God equips us each for specific service, which, if we are trying to follow Him, we will find joy and peace in doing. The peace is spiritual comfort in ministering in the way you have been enabled.
Telling people that they have to get out of their comfort zone to serve God encourages people to go against what might be the leading of the Spirit. God gives us peace about doing right and warns us about doing wrong. When we ignore our reservations or give up our contentment with where God has us as so much selfish comfort, we can get ourselves into trouble.
The truth of the matter is that we then set ourselves up against whatever standard of service is being advanced in the name of "getting out of your comfort zone." If the pastor says "you need to get out of your comfort zone and do X, Y, and Z," you'll cast aside any critical thought, adverse leading, or reservation because the pastor has implicitly labeled those as selfish hindrances keeping you in "your comfort zone." Few people will stop and question the unstated assumption that any reason for not doing X, Y, and Z constitutes an excuse for staying "comfortable." It is a form of manipulation. Biblical exhortation motivates through the word of God, not rallying people, or manipulating people, or short-circuiting people's critical thinking, or psyching people up.
The second issue pertains to the issue of numerical growth. It has also been said that evangelism is how God grows the church numerically. It may be the source of growth, but it cannot be the main purpose of evangelism. Anything is judged by how it serves its purpose. If evangelism does not result in a sufficient quantity of results, then there is a problem, if the purpose of evangelism is to grow the church numerically. And increasingly, such a problem has to be solved through promotions and other gimmicks, or through brute force in getting more people out. Evangelism's main purpose is witness. We are witnesses of Christ. We sow the seed through our witness and God causes the harvest to come in His time. We plant and water and God gives the increase. He doesn't ALWAYS give increase. He isn't OBLIGATED to give increase. Insisting that evangelism is a means of increase turns the true purpose of evangelism on its head and demands of God what He never promised to consistently provide. More tragically, it changes the motivation for evangelism from love for a lost world to a desire to grow the church.
Sadly, even the most exegetical of teachers can end up with cliché theology. "Sin will keep you from this book, and this book will keep you from sin" theology. "Attempt great things for God, expect great things from God" theology. Little sound bites for a sound bite world that line up with Scripture loosely and imperfectly. Man's wisdom espoused without constantly and consistently setting it within the context of Scripture is a road that slowly transforms a community of believers from Bible-based to man-based, from a community based on faithful teaching to a community focused on the stature of the organization called "church". Perhaps the pastor expects people to understand the context automatically. To understand his heart? But how soon are we all want to substitute our comprehension of God and Scripture for God and Scripture themselves. It is more convenient.
…and often more conducive for pushing the church in the direction of quantitative growth, be that attendees or buildings or whatever. The growth of any church is none of anybody’s business. God will grow it when He is ready.

Friday, June 10, 2011

Christian Nihilism

I have finally found a way to neatly define my frustration and dissatisfaction with Christianity. It came about as I considered how I feel about life. I think that it would be better if none of us existed. I see no purpose for our existence in this temporal world. If I think that way, I am a nihilist.
And yet, I "call" myself a Christian. Isn't a Christian nihilist an oxymoron? It's like saying one is a believing atheist. Nonetheless, I Googled "Christian nihilist" to see what I might find.
I discovered an argument made by Friedrich Nietzsche against Christianity:

"If one shifts the center of gravity of life out of life into the 'Beyond' – into nothingness – one has deprived life as such of its center of gravity. The great lie of personal immortality destroys all rationality, all naturalness of instinct – all that is salutary, all that is life-furthering, all that holds a guarantee of the future in the instincts henceforth excites mistrust. So to live that there is no longer any meaning in living: that now becomes the 'meaning' of life."

Christianity's preoccupation with the eternal is a form of nihilism. This temporal life is worthless and pointless except as it is used to further our connection with eternity. Paul said, if in this life only we have hope in Christ, we are most miserable (1 Cor 15:19). That statement is often taken to indicate that we have hope in Christ for this life as well. But I am not certain that's what Paul is saying, especially in light of the many places where Paul talks about the glory to come and our eternal hope.
No, I believe that what Paul was saying in that verse is this: if only in this life do we hope to be resurrected into glory with Christ, but nothing actually happens after death, then we are stupid--we are most miserable because we have staked everything on this.
There is no hope IN THIS LIFE for the Christian. The only hope, the only glory, the only center for the Christian, is eternity.
Christianity thus, as Nietzsche puts it, has "deprived life AS SUCH of its center of gravity." Christians are nihilists. Our temporal existence is meaningless apart from the destiny of our soul, which is held in Christian theology to be the true essence of a man.

The amazing observation out of all of this comes when you consider the antagonism of Christianity towards "godless" evolution and atheism. The thinking Christian will often be quick to reduce such positions to nihilism, without thinking about the nihilism inherent in his own faith.
It also becomes the answer to the common arguments against evolution that are based on the supposed improbability of evolution, or general evidences of intelligent design (the eye, Einstein's cosmological constant, etc.). The one who doesn't believe in God gives this world no purpose because of how he supposes it came to exist; the one who does believe in God gives this world no purpose because this world is condemned. At least the atheist can construct and work toward a better future. The Christian has resigned this world to plagues, Armageddon, and the fires of judgment and has no hope except in death.
If God's creation is so great you would think Christian theology would accord earthly life a higher importance.