30 July 2007

Collect for Today

O God, the protector of all who trust in you, without whom nothing is strong, nothing is holy: Increase and multiply upon us your mercy; that, with you as our ruler and guide, we may so pass through things temporal, that we lose not the things eternal; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever.  Amen.

27 July 2007

Prayer for Everyday

 


 


 


 


 


 


O Lord my God, Teach my heart this day where and how to see you, where and how to find you. You have made me and remade me, and you have bestowed on me all the good things I possess, and still I do not know you. I have not yet done that for which I was made. Teach me to seek you, for I cannot seek you unless you teach me, or find you unless you show yourself to me. Let me seek you in my desire, let me desire you in my seeking. Let me find you by loving you, let me love you when I find you.


 


Saint Anselm (1033-1109)

25 July 2007

Commercial Linux

As most of you know, I really love OpenSource software (OpenOffice.org is a great example).  But I am wondering about Dell selling laptops and desktops with Ubuntu pre-installed.  On one hand, I think it is a great idea.  The more people know about linux, the better.  On the other hand, however, as with Windows, so with Ubuntu.  What I mean by that is, if people want a linux solution from Dell, they only have one choice, Ubuntu.  But there are a bunch of other linux distros out there (PCLinuxOS being my favorite).  And most people don't know that.  That is how Microsoft got such a stronghold on the market.  When people go to buy a computer and the only thing they see is Windows, well, that's what they buy.  I'm concerned that the same thing will happen with Ubuntu.  Especially since it looks like HP may be doing the same thing.  So, here again, we see that, for the average person, Linux will only be one distro, Ubuntu.  And is that what we need?  I don't think so.  What about PCLinuxOS?  It's number two at Distrowatch.com.  Shouldn't it or any other distro get a fair chance?  I think so.  But the average person won't know about them.  All they will see is Windows and Ubuntu.

What would be interesting is to see HP sell PCLinuxOS systems.  That would be interesting.  Or even Dell.  That way we can see which system people are gravitating toward and (maybe) focus on that one.  I know that neither company can support fifty different operating systems, but it would be interesting to see HP offer a different one.  Then we could really get a feel of what people are looking for in an OS.

Peace be with you.

+ OD

24 July 2007

I'm back!

Wow, nothing like a few weeks of being sick to take the wind out of you sails.  But, I'm doing a lot better now.  To let you know how sick I was, I missed church and two different studies!  And, if you know me, you know that that is not me.  But, again, I'm back and ready to get this show on the road.

I have been having some good discussions with a friend of mine regarding the resurrection and the Full Preterist view.  That view is all of the 'end-time' prophecies of the Bible were fulfilled in AD 70 at the fall of Jerusalem.  (For those of you who don't know, this was a war with the Romans that lasted 3.5 years.  It is an incredible story and a lot of it reads like a commentary to the book of Revelation.  You can read it online but I would suggest getting a hard copy of it or, at least, a software module for you Bible software.)  I used to hold to this view but the historical work of Bishop Tom showed me the errors of my position.  The historical view of FP is very good.  It takes the Bible very seriously and understands the different types of language used throughout.  I am very appreciative for that position.  It forced me back to the texts over and over again.  But, alas, it goes too far.  It's 'spiritual' interpretation of the 'time of the end' is very dualistic, platonic, and yes, gnostic.  I couldn't see that when I held that view.  But, again, doing the necessary historical work showed me that it actually is gnostic.  Perhaps not in the classical sense, in that the physical world is 'evil' but in the way it proposes the 'spiritual' and 'heavenly' as the 'reality' and this world is nothing more than just a 'shadow', a 'physical' example of the 'true world'.

There are basically two different views of the resurrection within FP.  One is that when we die, we receive our 'resurrected' bodies then.  The other view is that we receive our resurrected body the moment we are 'saved'.  We have it now.  Both views, however, don't seem to grasp what the term 'resurrection' means.  In both views, they really make a claim to the metaphorical meaning of resurrection (e.g., Eziekial 37).  This, quite naturally, fits into the 'physical' versus 'spiritual' view of FP.  The problem comes when the view doesn't acknowledge the other aspect of resurrection.  In other words, FP leaves out the 'physical' aspect of the resurrection.  To its credit, however, that is consistent.  But you can't just drop off a part you don't like.  You have to deal with it.  You can't write it off by saying things like 'The Jews were so caught up in the physical that they missed the spiritual'.  You still have to deal with that part of what resurrection means.  The New Testament writers didn't change the physical side of resurrection; they changed the metaphorical side.  Metaphorically speaking (and to over simplify), the resurrection meant the restoration of Israel.  However, the New Testament changed that meaning to the restoration of all people (Jews as well as Gentiles) to YHWH (and, perhaps all of creation; see Romans 8).  They still held to the physical aspect of the resurrection, as 1Corinthians (at least) shows.

One of the main problems with the FP position (and this could be said of Dispensationalism, too) is that it doesn't take took kindly to church history.  They are right to point out, however, that some people hold to tightly to tradition.  That is, some people hold church history on an equal plain with the Bible.  However, here again, you can't write off what you don't like (well, I guess you can but that leads into different problems).  It gives off a kind of 'holier than thou' feeling when we say that church history has missed the point and that we have got it right.  That is a scary statement to make.  And I should know.  I made it!  Instead, we should step back and look at those biblical passages and then see how the church has interpreted them.  I think, more often than not, we would be better if we followed that route.  A lot of the problems we face today in the church are not new.  It is wise council to look back at our history and see how they handled things.  Then, based on those things, we can make reasonable decisions for our time.

Peace be with you.

+ OD

16 July 2007

Collect for Today

O Lord, mercifully receive the prayers of your people who call upon you, and grant that they may know and understand what things they ought to do, and may also have grace and power faithfully to accomplish them; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever. Amen.

Saints

In listening to a lecture by Bishop Tom, he made a startling statement about 'Saints' -- like St Bartholomew, or St Joan, etc. -- that I had never considered before.

The lecture was in answer to the question, 'Could a scientist believe in the resurrection?'. He then went through various meanings of 'believing' and 'knowing'. The scientist, he contended, is all about the repeatable event(s). The historian is all about the non-repeatable event(s). 'There can only be one first moon landing' he said. He then went through the evidence for the resurrection, summarizing his book, 'The Resurrection of the Son of God.'  And finally ending with a more holistic view of knowing and believing based in the evidence for Jesus' resurrection and surrounded by 'faith, hope, and love.  And the greatest of these is love.'  After the lecture, the evening was opened up for question and answer (my favorite part, actually). A gentleman stated that he was kind of confused. He didn't know if Bishop Tom actually answered the question or not. 'At one point you seem to be saying "No" and the next "Yes". So which is it?' Bishop Tom then summarized his arguments about 'knowing' and 'believing' by stating that if by 'knowing' the gentleman meant a repeatable event exactly like the one of Jesus, then the answer is most definitely 'No.' But, if he meant events that were similar, that is, they were events that pointed to 'New Creation' (and Bishop Tom asserts that the resurrection of Jesus is the beginning of New Creation), then Church history points to these events over and over again. He also points out that, because of the blind belief of the Enlightenment (my words, not his) we, in the Western world, see the Church as part of the problem (or it IS the problem) and we miss 'the many, many, many signs of New Creation' that have taken place. He said, 'This is the kind of "repeating the experiment" which is appropriate for that sort of New Creation.' He then made the statement that prompted this post: 'And ultimately the Church's, um... glorifying, if that's the right word, of saints, was an attempt to say, at it's best, New Creation does go on happening.' I find that extraordinarily helpful. I have always had difficulty with the Church's reverence of 'saints' but, in this light, it makes perfect sense. We should be looking at those people as sign posts that point, not to themselves as something to be worshiped, like idols, but as examples for us to follow. St Paul said the same thing about Jesus, himself and others (see Philippians 3.17; 1Thessalonians 1.6-7; 1Timothy 4.12; etc.). That is how the saints should be seen. They should be honored as examples of YHWH's New Creation project implemented in our world.

Peace be with you.

+ OD

14 July 2007

Lyrics

Here are the lyrics to the song 'Dear Mr. President' by Pink from her album 'I'm Not Dead.'
Dear Mr. President
Come take a walk with me
Let's pretend we're just two people and
You're not better than me
I'd like to ask you some questions if we can speak honestly

What do you feel when you see all the homeless on the street
Who do you pray for at night before you go to sleep
What do you feel when you look in the mirror
Are you proud

How do you sleep while the rest of us cry
How do you dream when a mother has no chance to say goodbye
How do you walk with your head held high
Can you even look me in the eye
And tell me why

Dear Mr. President
Were you a lonely boy
Are you a lonely boy
Are you a lonely boy
How can you say
No child is left behind
We're not dumb and we're not blind
They're all sitting in your cells
While you pay the road to hell

What kind of father would take his own daughter's rights away
And what kind of father might hate his own daughter if she were gay
I can only imagine what the first lady has to say
You've come a long way from whiskey and cocaine

How do you sleep while the rest of us cry
How do you dream when a mother has no chance to say goodbye
How do you walk with your head held high
Can you even look me in the eye

Let me tell you bout hard work
Minimum wage with a baby on the way
Let me tell you bout hard work
Rebuilding your house after the bombs took them away
Let me tell you bout hard work
Building a bed out of a cardboard box
Let me tell you bout hard work
Hard work
Hard work
You don't know nothing bout hard work
Hard work
Hard work
Oh

How do you sleep at night
How do you walk with your head held high
Dear Mr. President
You'd never take a walk with me
Would you

Now, I have thought about this a lot and, at first, I thought, 'Wow. What a good song. Some really good points there.' And there are. However, there are some real problems as well.

I find it extremely ironic when people, who are supposed to be 'tolerant' and 'non-judgmental', are intolerant and judgmental. Am I the only one who sees that? We 'all' do it. Every single one of us. When you stand up for what you believe is right, you are going to piss some people off. That is just the way it goes. It doesn't matter which side of the 'aisle' your on, we are all judgmental and intolerant people. The sooner we admit that, the better off we all will be. So, the problems I have with the song...

The whole thing is very judgmental. It assumes a lot about the President. It assumes that he does not struggle through every decision that he makes. It assumes that he does not feel that pain of the homeless and impoverished. It assumes that he could not care less; that he is 'living it up' while the 'rest of us' are in such misery. I don't buy it. I know for a fact that when you are in a position of leadership the pressure is tough. The bigger the position, the bigger the pressure. Take the 'small' task of raising a child, for example. Almost every thing you do is with that child in mind. The food, the school, the vacation, the clothes, etc. We who have children make sacrifices daily for our children. We worry about them and struggle over the things we have said or done hoping that they will know that we did the best we could. We aren't perfect, but we try. We lose sleep. We get sick. And we pray. All the while, our children don't see that. They see the end result but not the journey to get there. Now, take that small little lesson and apply it to a nation. I don't see how anyone could honestly think that the President is not bothered by all of the injustice in our country. I don't see how anyone could possible think that the President doesn't agonize over the choices that are made. It's really naive to think that he doesn't.

Pink makes the point to bring up his 'no child left behind' position but then moves to the person in the President's prison cell 'while [he] pays the road to hell'. Wait. What? Wasn't the prison system in place before President Bush went into office? Or is that his fault too? I must have missed that. Sure there are some innocent people in prison. That's a given. But there are more people in prison who need to be there than those who aren't. Are we supposed to tear down all of the prisons and release all the prisoners? That would be criminal. Surely she is not saying that. Perhaps she is just meaning that we aren't reaching those people with the same tools as the average citizen. Again, granted. But how is the President at fault for that? When are we going to bring equality to every one if only certain people have to accept the consequences for their actions? In other words, it's not the President's fault that people are incarcerated. Pink is wanting President Bush to take responsabilty for his choices but the people in prison shouldn't? I'm sorry, but people in prison have limited rights. That is part of the punishment for their crimes. Now, I'm all for prison reform. Things need to change. But to imagine that law-breakers should have the same privileges as law-keepers would be another injustice. I'm not talking about human rights here. I'm talking about privileges.

Then she brings up abortion and homosexuality and insinuates that he is not a good father. I have said this before, I find it extremely ironic that people who are against violence think it perfectly fine for a woman to kill her unborn child. They find nothing wrong with it because it is her 'right'. I had one gentleman tell me that his definition of sin is anything that hurts someone else. But he thought abortion was fine. In fact, he went so far as to say that he thought there should be even more abortions because of over-population. Seriously? Is that were we are? Someone else can kill an unborn child and it's murder but the mother can do it and it's legal?! What century are we living in? We are against the death penalty, war, domestic violence, but we are for killing our unborn children? Does no one else see the absurdity of that position? To me, violence of any kind is wrong. Period.

It bothers me that she says he 'might hate' his daughter if she were gay. It's puzzling to me that people who support 'alternative' lifestyles automatically assume that if you don't then you must 'hate' the homosexual. Now I seriously doubt that President Bush hates homosexuals. But I know a lot of people who literally loathe him. Whenever they see his picture or hear his voice they get so mad they want to do violence to him. It is also ironic that people who are tolerant toward homosexuals are intolerant of those who are not. I had one guy tell me the problem is not with homosexuality but the intolerance of people toward the homosexual. And a lot of people agree. Of course, the other side of that coin is the problem is not with people who are opposed to homosexuality but the intolerance towards people who are opposed to homosexuality. Let me be perfectly clear. I don't hate homosexuals. I hate the sin of homosexuality. And yes, I believe that it is a sin. But it is no different than lying, or stealing, or adultery, or greed. And I hate those sins, too.  'But how can you say it's a sin when people are created that way?' The same way that I can say that I'm a sinner and I was created this way. But God loves us anyway.  And he sent Jesus to rescue us from our sin.  And as Christians, we are supposed to change; to put away our sinful lifestyles.  The liar is to stop lying. The thief is to stop stealing. The adulterer is to stop cheating on his/her spouse. The 'fornicator' is to stop having sex with everyone. The violent person is to stop being violent. And the homosexual is to stop having sex with the same gender.  St Paul was very clear about this:
1Corinthians 6.9-11.  Don’t you realize that those who do wrong will not inherit the Kingdom of God? Don’t fool yourselves. Those who indulge in sexual sin, or who worship idols, or commit adultery, or are male prostitutes, or practice homosexuality, or are thieves, or greedy people, or drunkards, or are abusive, or cheat people—none of these will inherit the Kingdom of God.  Some of you were once like that. But you were cleansed; you were made holy; you were made right with God by calling on the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and by the Spirit of our God.

Notice that St Paul wrote that people changed because they became Christians.  We are not to stay in our sinful lifestyles.  We are to change.

And while I think homosexuality is a sin, my biggest problem with it is that it is shoved in my face all the time. It is the identifying thing for some people (it seems like a lot of people). I hear, 'I'm a gay artist' or 'I'm a gay attorney'. You know what? I don't care. Your sexuality is none of my business. So quit making it my business. I want to be known as a person, not my sexuality. I don't greet people with 'I'm a straight person.' I want to be accepted for being a person. My sexuality is none of anyone else's business. What my wife and I do in the sacredness of our own bed is our business.

The last thing about the song that gets me is the line 'You don't know nothing bout hard work'. What? Is she serious? How can she say that? Has she walked in his shoes? Does she have some inside information about his life that we are not privy to? I didn't know that Pink had been the President of the United States.  Hard work is not limited to the working class [which, to me is anyone who works].  Most people who work, work 'hard.'  Sure the President's job is a different type of 'hard work' but it is still hard work.

Now I know that this whole post has been judgmental about the song and to some extent it has been judgmental toward Pink. But that is my point. Like I said at the beginning, we all judge people. We come off 'holier than thou' when we just point out [what we see as] the faults of other and not recognize our own. Like is said above, I'm a sinner. I have faults just like the next person. I have done things I am really ashamed of. Jesus said,
Matthew 7.3-5. [Why] worry about a speck in your friend’s eye when you have a log in your own? How can you think of saying to your friend, ‘Let me help you get rid of that speck in your eye,’ when you can’t see past the log in your own eye? Hypocrite! First get rid of the log in your own eye; then you will see well enough to deal with the speck in your friend’s eye.

There are several things that I love about this passage.  We are both sinners.  Yet, my sin is a 'log' while my friend's sin is a 'speck'. It means that I have the greater sin. It also means that I am apparently thinking much more highly of myself that I should. I'm worse off than my friend. That means that I'm worse off than Pink or President Bush.

Abide in Peace, and pray for me, a sinner.

+ OD

10 July 2007

Collect of the Day

O God, you have taught us to keep all your commandments by loving you and our neighbor: Grant us the grace of your Holy Spirit, that we may be devoted to your with our whole heart, and united to one another with pure affection; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever.  Amen.

05 July 2007

Zoho Office

As you know, I am all about Free and Open-Source Software (FOSS). And today I want to point you in a slightly different direction. That of web based applications. Specifically, Zoho Office.

Zoho Office is an online office suite.  It has a word processor (Zoho Writer),  spreadsheet app (Zoho Sheet), presentation tool (Zoho Show), database app (Zoho Creator), groupware app (Zoho Mail), etc.  About twelve apps in all.  Most of them are free.  Some have limitations set for individual use while others have set limits for businesses.

One of the great thing about this suite (and that is what it actually is, a suite of office apps) is that you can access your documents anywhere, anytime, provided that you have Internet access.

Another great feature is that you can import existing documents so you can work on them while on the road.  This is extremely helpful for those people who don't have laptops.  In addition to this, one can even share the documents you are working on with others so they can collaborate with you.

Now, granted, this isn't neccassarily a replacement for a stand alone office suite like OpenOffice, but it sure works in a pinch.  And the sharing capabilities is a great incentive to give it a look.

Peace be with you.

+ OD

03 July 2007

Sick

Sorry, folks.  I have got some sort of cold.  I feel like I've been hit by a truck.  My daughter, Sumi, feels similar.  At first I thought I was just having an allergic reaction to all of the pet dander while ripping out the carpet in sumi's room.  But I was mistaken.  I've slept off and on pretty much all day.  I hope I'm feeling better tomorrow 'cause there are a couple of things I want to share.

Peace be with you.

+ OD

02 July 2007

Transformers

...and no, I'm not talking about the movie.

Today, and another late post,  we tore out the carpet of our daughter's room.  We took the carpet out of our living and dining room a few years ago and it was (more than) time to do Sumi's room.  This took a little while because we had to move furniture and stuff (she doesn't like it when I call it 'crap') but we got it finished.  It's nice.  We have descent wood floors underneath so it looks alright.  Besides, it's nice to get the mildew scent out of the house (our house is really old).

Also, we have rented out our upstairs room again.  This guy...  Man, this guy has been through hell and back.  He's a good man, but dang.  His was a very hard life.  After a long conversation I suggested that he write down certain aspects of his life.  It would make a great book and it would spark action from the world around us.  My prayer is that he will do so.  The things he talked about should not happen.  And we are at a place to make sure they don't.  I can't tell you any more than this but please pray for him and ask God to grant him grace and peace.

Peace be with you.

+ OD