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Showing posts from 2006

Today's Gospel

[The] creator God so desires to intimately relate with each of us that he became one of us so we could know and understand him. Further . . . this god-man was rejected by those who should have recognized him, was betrayed by those closest to him, was torture[d] and beaten and finally put to the most shameful death imaginable under the powers of the day. Yet somehow this constituted his victory over those very powers as was vindicated by his resurrection and is now Lord of Heaven and Earth.
Scot McKnight


I would add some things to this, namely that this creator God can (only) be seen by looking at the first-century Jew, Jesus of Nazareth. In other words, Jesus of Nazareth revealed Israel's God, YHWH, the creator God. That at his resurrection he inagurated the New Creation. At that moment, the world changed. And now, because he is the world's true King, he demands believing obedience from the cosmos (Acts 17.30; Romans 1.5). And those of us who do believe this story are called …

Prayer for Today

Almighty and eternal God, so draw our hearts to you, so guide our minds, so fill our imaginations, so control our wills, that we may be wholly yours, utterly dedicated unto you; and then use us, we pray you, as you will, and always to your glory and the welfare of your people; through our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. Amen.

Vegetarianism

I have decided to become a vegetarian.

When I brought this up with my wife (who has been an on-again-off-again vegetarian for a while) she asked me why the change of mind. What follows is a summary of my change of mind and heart on the matter.

I believe that YHWH, the creator God, is the good God who created a 'very good' world. If we look at the beginning we will see that people, as well as animals, were vegetarian:
Genesis 1.29-31. Then God said, "Look! I have given you every seed-bearing plant throughout the earth and all the fruit trees for your food.And I have given every green plant as food for all the wild animals, the birds in the sky, and the small animals that scurry along the ground—everything that has life.” And that is what happened.

Then God looked over all he had made, and he saw that it was very good!
So, that is how God's 'very good' creation started -- with everything eating plants. Therefore, because people rebelled and 'death entered …

Seventy times seven

Daniel 9.24. 'A period of seventy sets of seven has been decreed for your people and your holy city to finish their rebellion, to put an end to their sin, to atone for their guilt, to bring in everlasting righteousness, to confirm the prophetic vision, and to anoint the Most Holy Place.'
This is the end of exile. The chapter starts with Daniel praying because he had read in the book of Jeremiah that the people of God would be in exile for seventy years (verse 2). The seventy years were almost up and he was praying for God's mercy (vv. 3-19).

Then Gabriel appeared to Daniel and gave him some instruction concerning his dream (vv. 20-23). The beginning of this instruction is found in verse 24, which I quoted above. Again, the idea here is that, first, it won't be at the end of the seventy years, but at the end of seventy sets of seven years, or four hundred-ninety years. That is when the 'end of exile' would actually take place. During that time, people will b…

Prayer for Today

Merciful God, you made all people, and you hate nothing that you have made; you do not desire the death of a sinner, but rather that he or she should be converted and live. Have mercy on your ancient people, the Jews, and upon all who have not known you and your love in your son, the King of the Jews, or who deny or oppose the faith of the crucified Messiah; take from them all ignorance, hardness of heart, and contempt for your word, and fetch them home to your fold, that they may be made one flock under one shepherd: through the same Jesus, the Messiah, our Lord and King. Amen.

Thoughts from Sunday School

I have been thinking a lot about our Sunday School class last Sunday. In closing, Fr Dwight made a statement that I think most people, well, here in American anyway, can't quite grasp. The idea of national judgment.

When we look at the over-arching story of the Bible it is not entirely concerned with individuals. Okay, sure, there are smaller stories that are about God and an individual. But those stories are about what God will do through that person for God's people, and ultimately the whole world. I think about the judgement of God upon Israel in the 500s where they were taken off into exile by the Babylonians. Surely there were righteous Israelites living at that time. Surely the entire nation was not corrupt. And yet they all were taken in to captivity. Or, like the Maccabees, they were tortured and killed (but none the less, that happened while they were still in exile). I think we Americans are living in this false hope, because of how we were presente…

Prayer for Today...

God, you made us in your own image and redeemed us through Jesus your Son: Look with compassion on the whole human family; take away the arrogance and hatred which infect our hearts; break down the walls that separate us; unite us in bonds of love; and work through our struggle and confusion to accomplish your purposes on earth; that, in your good time, all nations and races may serve you in harmony around your heavenly throne; through Jesus the King our Lord. Amen.

My Mom . . .

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This is a hard post to write. I have put it off for days. It will be sporadic at best and completely discombobulated at worst. My Mom, after a long struggle with a very weird disease, passed from this dimension into the dimension of God on October 7th. She was only 60.

This has been a very weird time for me and the rest of my family, especially, and obviously, for my Dad. They have been married for over 40 years. It is a very hard time for us.

It has been said, by more than one person, that my Mom was the glue that kept the extended family together. She was the cog for the wheel. She was the 'wheel within the wheel'. And it's so true. Even when she was sick and in the hospital, she urged me and my family to go visit my Grandmother's sister ('Great Aunt'?) and her husband while they were visiting from California. (He's a famous artist and you can find some of his work here.) She was a lovely person. Someone whom I miss deeply.

My relationship with …

Christianity is a religion? Since when?!?!

'Religion is a human effort toward transformation that will make us acceptable to God, make us godlike ourselves, or negate our personhood so we can become one with cosmic forces. Dr March asks, "Why should there not be a diversity of religions?" The reason is that religion is about human striving to achieve and create purpose apart from the grace of God through Jesus Christ. The distinctive nature of Christianity is that grace comes through Christ alone, even despite our best efforts to make it otherwise. God doesn't want any religions! God wants a wide, wide diversity of people with varieties of languages and cultures all accepting grace, to be free from striving, and living in relationship with God. How will they know saving grace if they are not told of Jesus? Grace isn't just meant for the afterlife. It is meant for the here and now so that we may see the presence of God's justice and mercy "on earth, just as it is in heaven." ' -- …

PCLOS Revisited!

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At my office, we have several 'new' systems that have been donated to us recently -- four laptops and six desktops. These systems were given to us 'as is' and without OS or applications. So, this was a great time to install PCLOS. After the initial install, I showed them to my supervisor. 'Wow', was her response. She was blown away at how smooth everything looked and how smooth everything worked. I took one of the laptops (a Compaq Evo N800c) into another room and attached an LCD projector to it. I booted up the laptop and the image appeared on the wall. PCLOS mirrored the image without any changes from me (This is very much like it works with Mac, btw.).

Also, these laptops come with an Ati Radeon M video card with a native resolution of 1400 x 1050. PCLOS not only identified this card correctly, it even used the native resolution -- even while running from the LiveCD! Amazing. In Windows, I have to download the latest drivers from Ati; install them;…

Leopard Spots

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I recently saw the keynote speech Steve Jobs gave (you can see it here). All I can say is '...wow...' There are some very cool features coming out in Leopard but the one that blew me away (and from the sound of the crowd, a lot of other people as well) is something called 'Time Machine'. Time Machine is a backup utility built right into the OS. It backs up everything on your Mac -- photos, music, docs, and the entire OS -- automatically. Then, the cool part, is that if you need something that you 'know was in my Documents folder yesterday' (my family is notorious for saying things like this), you click on the Time Machine icon from the Dock and you are transported into outer-space with a series of Finder windows cascading back to 'the beginning'. There is a time line on the right-hand side of the screen where you can just select the day you want to go to, or you can just click on one of the arrows to go back to when the contents changed -- this co…

It had to happen...

I have been using Blogger as my site for a while now but I have moved on. I like the look and feel of WordPress. I like the default blue and grey look. To be honest, it looks very 'Macish'. And, again, honestly?, that's why I moved. I have always liked this look and have tried to make it work over at Blogger but just couldn't do it (I'm not a programmer, for cryin' out loud). So, I saw a website and followed the link to WordPress. Wow. I like this place a lot. If the Lord wills, I plan to stay here for a while.

May mercy, peace, and love be yours in abundance.

+OD

Where has this been?

Ecclesiastes 12.13.Here is my final conclusion: Fear God and obey his commands, for this is the duty of every person. God will judge us for everything we do, including every secret thing, whether good or bad.
Where has this been? In all my years in the tribe of YHWH, I have never heard a message on this. I have only heard, 'Believe in Jesus and everything will be okay. You'll go to heaven when you die.' Granted, that is very paraphrased, but this is essentially everything I have ever heard from the church -- no matter what version, whether Baptist, Charismatic, Pentecostal, Assembly of God, Church of Christ, as well as the supposed 'Full' Gospel. It seems to me that the American Protestant Church is so afraid to be labeled as a 'works based religion' that it doesn't teach the 'full gospel' any longer. Now don't get me wrong. I'm NOT saying that we don't have to believe in Jesus. Far from it. I'm saying you have to believ…

Mingo Fishtrap

Well, what can I say. I have been telling people about this band for a while now and they were in town last night. This was their second time in Norman. They were at Summer Breeze last year too. This year, like last year, was an amazing show. The energy of this band is outta this world. They were charged up and ready to go.

It was about a 1.5 to 2 hour set and they played a lot of different stuff from their latest album as well as stuff from their previous ones. I also heard some new stuff. Mingo Fishtrap is a mixture of Funk/R&B/Soul and a little New Orleans Jazz. They hail from Austin, Texas and are one of my favorite bands. If you ever have a chance to see them (and for those of you whom I told about this gig for a long, long time -- shame on you for missing out!!), do it! You will not be disappointed. In fact, if you are not doing anything next weekend, they will playing at the Granada Theatre in Dallas on Saturday, July 29th. They will be doing some filming for an…

Some accomplishments...

It has been a very productive week. First off, there is a service that our organization has been trying to implement for a over a year now and it has never gotten off the ground. This service is video conferencing for people with a hearing disability. Basically, there is just a video camera, a TV, and an Internet connection. The IT person before me had attempted to set this up but was unsuccessful. When I started working there, I was told of this service but the equipment was put away in a closet somewhere and we didn't know if it would work or not. Well, I received a phone call from the person in charge of the national project asking for me to make it a priority. She stated that she would like to have it set up by the end of the week. So I started working on it the following day. I knew were to begin -- the firewall. Firewalls can be tricky if you don't know what you are looking for. And, as I looked through the open ports, I saw where my predecessor had attempted …

Justice

Before going through the Morning Service this morning, I read a small sermon based on Matthew 5.43-48. A coworker asked the priest what it meant to be an American. After much thought and detail the priest made this statement,
Justice in never motivated by hatred or fear, but hope...To be an American is not to be motivated by fear, but hope; to be an American is to be hopeful.
This statement started me thinking about the 'justice' system here in the States. It seems to me that American justice is not based on hope. Our justice is based on revenge. Our justice is based on punishment. We are quick to point to what is known as the Law of Hammurabi, 'an eye for an eye, a tooth for a tooth', and we base our 'justice' system on that. But Jesus calls us -- his followers; family members in good standing -- to follow a different Law. What Jesus said in Matthew 5.43-48 sets the Law of Hammurabi on its head. He said:
You have heard that the law of Moses says, 'Lo…

July 4th

What a great day! Around 3:00 we went to the Zoo amphitheater to see Bob Weir & RatDog. It was a whole day full of music including the Ills, Green Lime, Taj Mahal Trio, Keller Williams, and Michael Kang of String Cheese Incident. It was awesome! The cool part was the rain. Right after GL's set, it started raining. No big. It was nice. Then, it became a monsoon! It was crazy. That lasted for a good half hour at least. Then, we all made out of hiding and the bands started up again. It was one of those events that make you glad to be alive. We were there with a lot of our friends and, by the 3 person rule, we probably knew 99% of the people there! It was a great night.

However, after we got there we found out that you couldn't bring in coolers or food or drink. You had to buy your food there and water was $3 a bottle! Crazy. I guess I'm used to Norman where at Summer Breeze you are encouraged to bring your stuff with you. If there is a next time, we will …

The Daily Office

Since I am rather 'new' to the Episcopal tradition, there is a lot I still have to learn. But one thing that my good friend told me (he also happens to be the rector of our parish!) is that when we come together, we are not just there with those around us. These people are not our only family. There are those across town. There are those in the next city. There are those in the next county. There are those in the next state. There are those in the next country. There are those in the next continent. And then, there are those who have gone on before us. There are those who will come after us. The point is, we are so much more than just the persons next to us when we are at church. Our family is world wide and centuries old.

I also learned that some parts of our Sunday morning service goes back to the second century. Talk about feeling 'connected'!

This got me thinking. There are a lot of times, even when I'm sitting in a 'church service', that I …

Another satisfied customer!

Last time I posted, I talked about PCLOS. Well, this week I did some work for a lady who needed a laptop looked at. I know the people she works for (good people) and they needed me to look at some enterprise stuff as well. So Thursday I stopped by to take a look.

The desktop was alright except for some spyware (17 -- including websearch). The antivirus app she uses (it came with the CPU) wasn't updating. So I uninstalled it and loaded the freeAVG. A great little app that I have used for a few years now.

At the same time, I started looking at the laptop. I can sum up its condition in one word -- dirty. The problem was not so much that (although it was a factor) but the fact that it was running hot. Very hot. And when it got too hot, thankfully, it would shut down. I had to take it with me. It was going to be a Father's Day gift for her husband if I could get it up and running.

In the meantime, I showed her PCLOS. She really liked it. Since her husband is 'new…

PCLinuxOS

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This is a Linux distribution; i.e., an operating system for your computer. Scratch that -- a free operating system for your computer. I have mentioned this Linux distro a couple of times now. I even have a link to the website under the 'Links' heading on the main page. I like this distro. I mean, I really like it. Let me explain how I got into messing around with Linux and why I settled on PCLOS in particular.

My passion for Linux actually started with my Apple iBook (which Apple replaced with the MacBook). You see, Apple's operating system (OS) is Mac OS X (that's 'ten', btw) and it is based on Unix. That is, the core of the OS, it's foundation, is Unix. Linux is a free OS based on Unix as well. Since I liked my Mac so much, I thought I would try and see if Linux would be just a good on my Dell (the office computer I was using). I had seen Linux about six years earlier when I was in tech school and it was awful. Not user friendly in the least. …

What if . . .

What if the reason for demonic activity is because no one has been there as a witness of the true king? What if no one has been there as a representative of the kingdom of YHWH? Or, perhaps, if they have been there, they must continue to bring these 'principalities and powers' to reconciliation? What if this must be done constantly and continuously?

I ask because of the story of St Bartholomew. It is said that he stayed in India at a Temple housed by the demon, Astaruth. Before Bartholomew was there, the demon would 'cure' people of infirmity (but only, it seems, temporarily). However, after Bartholomew showed up and stationed himself in that same Temple, the demon was no where to be seen. You can read more about this here and here.

This has gotten me thinking. What if that is the case? That is, what if the problem is that these 'principalities and powers' have been rebellious so long that we must continually bring them under 'control', as it wer…

666

Well, today is the day that we see just how uneducated the world is. And not just the world. No. We get to see how uneducated the Church is too. For today is June 6th, 2006. Or, as so many of called it, '666'. Today also marks the release of the remake of the 'Omen' -- a movie about a boy who has the 'mark of the beast' on him. He is supposed to be the son of Satan -- a parody of the 'Son of God'. What this means is that most of the world, including the church, gets it's understanding of biblical things from Hollywood!

So, what does it mean? This '666'?

We find all about it in The Revelation of St John the Divine. This letter, sent to at least seven churches in Asian Minor, is a highly coded book (Talk about your Divinci Code. This letter puts that book to shame!). It was sent to the suffering Christians who were being persecuted by the Jews and tortured and killed by the Romans in the first 'official' Roman persecution. Th…

Summer Breeze

Fly'n Fiddler & Suspicious Contra Band

I love this town. One of the great things about Norman is the Summer Breeze concert series. Local and out of town (and state!) bands come and play at a couple of parks about every other weekend all summer long. At tonights concert, which featured Fly'n Fiddler & Suspicious Contra Band, a Celtic mix of music, there are elderly people and young people; preppies and hippies; vegans and carnivours. People are just sitting around laughing and singing; smoking and drinking; playing frizbee and hacky-sack; having picnics; etc. Just one big party outside in YHWH's 'very good' creation.

This is one of those things that make me appreciate life in the tribe of YHWH. I think this is what it is supposed to be like throughout the world. People just loving each other and accepting each other and just letting people be themselves. It's a great scene. I wish other people could experience this. If you live in Norman (or a…

Tribal Revival 2006

Wow, what a time! Here in good ol' Norman Oklahoma, we have a little festival known as 'Tribal Revival'. A friend of ours has this huge place out in the sticks and every year he has a huge party -- stage, lights, balloons, bands, beer, camping, huge screens to project slides and movies from previous years of TR, etc. It's kind of like our own private Woodstock.

This year the event was free and the place was packed. I saw friends that I hadn't seen in over a year, got to hear some really great local talent that I hadn't heard yet and drank some really good beer! Mahina and I stayed out there till midnight or so while our daughter stayed the night with some of our friends in their tent. Just a great family event. I wish you all could experience something like this where you live!

In all honesty, it reminds me of the previous blog, where I was discussing the different phrases one could use instead of 'kingdom of god'. I really like the 'tribe of …

The Secret Message of Jesus

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I just finished this book from Brian McLaren (you can find it here). It's a great read. Like most of the other stuff that I have been drawn to, this book talks about the social aspects of the gospel. It has been my experience that Christians (primarily, me) have often missed this point of the message of Jesus. We are so caught up in the 'more important' issue of 'going to heaven when we die' that we forget that we are supposed to be doing the Lord's work here and now. More often than not, the current world situation is not even on the radar for most of us. A lot of my brothers and sisters are too 'caught up' in the idea of the supposed 'rapture' that they completely neglect doing 'good works' while here. And let me assure you, by 'good works', I'm not referring to doing something to gain any type of favour from god. I am not god's employee looking for a pay raise. I'm talking about most of us seem 'so hea…