Xanga?

March 6, 2006 at 3:23 pm | Posted in Blogging, Personal, Public | Leave a comment

So it seems that I will be moving back to Xanga.  I won’t be abandoning this blog completely, but it will gain news posts more infrequently and I will use my Xanga for posts about my life (it will basically act as another way of keeping in touch with my community, which Xanga does better than WordPress).  Hope this doesn’t offend anyone, let me know if it does.

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A Time For Efficiency

February 23, 2006 at 7:15 am | Posted in Books, Community, Public | 2 Comments

When everything about a people is for the time growing weak and ineffective, it begins to talk about efficiency. So it is that when a man’s body is a wreck he begins, for the first time, to talk about health. Vigorous organisms talk not about their processes, but about their aims. There cannot be any better proof of the physical efficiency of a man than that he talks cheerfully of a journey to the end of the world. And there cannot be any better proof of the practical efficiency of a nation than that it talks constantly of a journey to the end of the world, a journey to the Judgment Day and the New Jerusalem. There can be no stronger sign of a coarse material health than the tendency to run after high and wild ideals; it is in the first exuberance of infancy that we cry for the moon. None of the strong men in the strong ages would have understood what you meant by working for efficiency.

The Thought Box

I already posted this quote (as the link shows) along with a bunch of others, but I wanted to focus in on this one.  Chesterton makes a comparison between a healthy society and a healthy man.  Healthy men don’t (or shouldn’t) worry about health, just as a healthy society shouldn’t have an obsession with efficiency (the social equivalent of healthiness Chesterton would say, or so it seems to me).  I think this is a powerful truth, but one that should not be taken too far, and that perhaps we have reason to speak of efficiency now.

First, it is not always bad for a healthy man to think of health.  For the most part Chesterton is right, a healthy man should be focused on life, not on health.  It doesn’t hurt, however, for a healthy man from time to time to evaluate himself on his health practices, and perhaps find a few ways he could improve his health even more.  Becoming obsessed with health is a very bad thing, it should not take over one’s life, but the occasional specific evaluation as well as being aware of health issues along the way is not bad.

To take the analogy back to society, it might not be bad from time to time to evaluate how society is doing, how it might be made more efficient.  We should not allow efficiency to become our god, however, we should only pursue it secondarily as we pursue the "end of the world".  Perhaps we will always have a few people thinking about efficiency, making sure we stay on track.

There is, however, another time at which it is appropriate to worry about health (or efficiency).  When a man is sick he should be focusing on becoming well, not on doing things as usual.  If he focuses on life while sick he may never get fully well, though if he becomes to focused on becoming well he may lose the will to get better, so perspective must not be lost.  A sick culture should also be worried about getting better, and that is, I propose, the appropriate time to think about "efficiency" though realistically we are not trying to make things "efficient" as much as just trying to get them to work in the first place.

I propose that our culture is sick.  The symptoms are many and varied, though as a psychology major I am very aware of the epidemic nature of depression at this point.  I could be mistaken, but I believe the statistics are such that we have more depressed people in the US than ever before.  I consider depression a kind of emotional pain (it tells us that something is wrong) and when felt on this large of a scale it probably indicates that something is wrong with culture as a whole.  Now we just have to determine how to fix it. 

The Epic List

February 20, 2006 at 2:08 pm | Posted in Music, Public | 2 Comments

So for a while I’ve had a folder in my iTunes called "Epic".  At the moment it consists of only one playlist, titled "1 Start of the Day".  My intention was to create an epic playlist with music to walk through a normal day and then specialized playlists for all kinds of things, but I can’t decide how to structure my day.  Why am I telling you all this, again?

I’m so glad you asked 😉  I’m looking help from all ya’ll.  What kind of things are pretty normal to your day?  If you were to create a playlist for the day what topics would you put on it?  Examples include "start of the day", "end of the day", "studying", etc.  It should be things that you could listen to music along with (so not things like "class").  I probably won’t take anyone’s list in totality, but I need ideas, and I might take a fair amount of it.

This could be especially interesting for those of you who are on Sigma 2nd floor with me as you can listen to the eventual product of this.  You are also welcome to look through my music (and/or listen to it) and give me suggestions for the different playlists that I come up with.  I’m going to be focusing on specialized playlists for now, but I’ll probably put numbers at the start of them even though they won’t fit in the daily progression because that will identify them for you.  Or you can just ask me about it 😉  (and I’d be willing to tell people outside of Sigma what a playlist consists of if you so desire) 

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Apple Rocks My Face Off

February 19, 2006 at 1:41 pm | Posted in Current Events, Public | 1 Comment

So apparently Apple in its new version of OSX (for the x86 architecture) has embedded a poem for would be hackers:

The embedded poem reads: "Your karma check for today: There once was a user that whined/his existing OS was so blind/he’d do better to pirate/an OS that ran great/but found his hardware declined./Please don’t steal Mac OS!/Really, that’s way uncool./(C) Apple Computer, Inc."

CNN.com – Apple’s ode to hackers – Feb 17, 2006

And I’m just here to say that rocks my face off.  Plus I wanted something to test blogging from Flock 😉

Heretics Part 1

February 16, 2006 at 7:52 pm | Posted in Books, Public | Leave a comment

I’m not talking about heretics (though it is a subject that has come up from time to time) but about a book by GK Chesterton.  Here are some quotes, feel free to interact with any that you would like to, or just enjoy them: 

But there are some people, nevertheless–and I am one of them–who think that the most practical and important thing about a man is still his view of the universe. We think that for a landlady considering a lodger, it is important to know his income, but still more important to know his philosophy. We think that for a general about to fight an enemy, it is important to know the enemy’s numbers,but still more important to know the enemy’s philosophy. We think the question is not whether the theory of the cosmos affects matters, but whether in the long run, anything else affects them.

When everything about a people is for the time growing weak and ineffective, it begins to talk about efficiency. So it is that when a man’s body is a wreck he begins, for the first time, to talk about health. Vigorous organisms talk not about their processes, but about their aims. There cannot be any better proof of the physical efficiency of a man than that he talks cheerfully of a journey to the end of the world. And there cannot be any better proof of the practical efficiency of a nation than that it talks constantly of a journey to the end of the world, a journey to the Judgment Day and the New Jerusalem. There can be no stronger sign of a coarse material health than the tendency to run after high and wild ideals; it is in the first exuberance of infancy that we cry for the moon. None of the strong men in the strong ages would have understood what you meant by working for efficiency.

A great silent collapse, an enormous unspoken disappointment, has in our time fallen on our Northern civilization. All previous ages have sweated and been crucified in an attempt to realize what is really the right life, what was really the good man. A definite part of the modern world has come beyond question to the conclusion that there is no answer to these questions,that the most that we can do is to set up a few notice-boards at places of obvious danger, to warn men, for instance,against drinking themselves to death, or ignoring the mere existence of their neighbours.

The evil of militarism is not that it shows certain men to be fierce and haughty and excessively warlike. The evil of militarism is that it shows most men to be tame and timid and excessively peaceable. The professional soldier gains more and more power as the general courage of a community declines. Thus the Pretorian guard became more and more important in Rome as Rome became more and more luxurious and feeble. The military man gains the civil power in proportion as the civilian loses the military virtues.

The truth is that exploration and enlargement make the world smaller. The telegraph and the steamboat make the world smaller. The telescope makes the world smaller; it is only the microscope that makes it larger. Before long the world will be cloven with a war between the telescopists and the microscopists. The first study large things and live in a small world; the second study small things and live in a large world.

Sexual Discussions

February 13, 2006 at 11:20 am | Posted in Hot Topics, Public, Relationships, Romance | 3 Comments

This should not be an explicit post, I just wanted to post generally about the idea of sexual discussions, both to get myself thinking and perhaps to get some feedback from my readers on the topic.  For those of you not at Biola’s chapel today, it was on sexual purity and/or struggles, so that’s what got me thinking about it.

The main thrust of this post is not so much an assertion as a question, an important question that I think needs to be raised (and I haven’t heard it raised explicitly in the circles I run in).  The question is, how much is too much when it comes to sexual discussions?  It seems the idea of the day is openness.  We view victorian “prudishness” as an evil that led to the problems of today, or perhaps more accurately, we think they had all the same problems and just didn’t talk about them so they couldn’t fix them.

At the same time it seems like we have extremely good evidence that openness isn’t the end all of problems in this area.  Sexual sin is rampant in our society not because we don’t talk about it, but because we talk about it, sing about it, show it (or the things leading up to it), etc.  The main response I can think of to this point is that it isn’t “truth” about sex that is being thrown at us, but fallenness.  I recognize that fact, and I only put truth in quotes because it is the message behind what is depicted that isn’t true (that it’s fun and good to have sex outside of marriage and that kind of thing) not what is actually depicted (I don’t think anyone would say that sex works differently than it is depicted).

It seems to me like talking about it a lot in church would just add to the cacophony of voices about sex, though, and might contribute to the problem more than helping it.  I am in no way saying that we should stop talking about sex, because unfortunately we can’t just shut up culture as well.  It needs to be dealt with, but I think it is important to determine where the stopping point is as well.

This is a pretty eclectic collection of thoughts on the subject, and since I’m not in the mood to organize well I’ll just keep jumping around 😉  Another thought that has occured to me is that sex is in some way meant to be secret.  Even most of the culture doesn’t think that sex should be done at all publicly (laws support me on this, though I recognize that the growth of pornography is a counterpoint).  I don’t know enough about history to be able to support this, but it seems to me that more of history has been “victorian” than has been like our “sexual revolution”.  There were times of debauchery where it might have been talked about more, but it seems the natural way to go is to keep it secretive for the most part.

My final point on the subject, at least for now, is what does the Bible have to say?  This is where a person’s interpretation of Song of Songs will have a greater importance.  Your view of how explicit Song of Songs is will affect how explicit you think that we should be in teaching about sex.  Some interpreters view it as a kind of sex manual, where others see it as entirely allegorical.  I currently view it as literal, though not as explicit as some, but I recognize that my view is at least somewhat affected by the time period I live in.

Ok, I’ve bumbled along for long enough now.  What do ya’ll think?  Opinions?  Is it even an important question?  Maybe if I end up with a bit more time in the near future I’ll try and make my thoughts on the matter more coherent, and/or even try and develop an actual opinion 😉

Happy Birthday Allison

February 13, 2006 at 10:38 am | Posted in Birthdays, Public | 1 Comment

Welcome to the world of twenty somethings.  Thus far I haven’t seen much difference, but I’m told it’s different than being a teenager 😉  Hope you have a great day today 🙂

Superbowl Commercials

February 6, 2006 at 4:27 pm | Posted in Current Events, Public | 2 Comments

I didn’t intend to waste time looking for them, but when I found an easy source, I decided to watch all the superbowl commercials.  I wasted a lot of time as a result, but I figure I’ll save you from that fate.  Here’s the highlights:

For those of you who like serious and/or touching, check out the last Bud commerical and the Dove commercial (I want to look into this website/campaign, it seems like it is of value, at least in principle).

For funny I especially like Vault – Scarecrow, Michelob Amber – Touch Football, Degree – Stunt City, and the Bud commericals except the last one (see touching ;-)).

Also, stay away from the GoDaddy commercials, they are worthless.  Most of them didn’t even make it onto TV because of sexual content.  (it’s not excessively horrible, but I’m glad they were kept off…I only saw them because I used the watch all of them link…)

Ok, that’s enough time wasted on commercials 😉

Fedora Core

February 4, 2006 at 12:47 am | Posted in Linux, Personal, Public | 2 Comments

Tomorrow (which is really today at this point) I am planning on making a Linux day.  I found out my problems with root in Ubuntu had to do with the fact that they disabled root.  Yeah, that’s right, they disabled it.  Ubuntu is cool and all, but sometimes I just feel the need to be all powerful, and without root access I just don’t get that.  That combined with the fact that I would like to start getting to know KDE if I’m going to learn it long term has caused me to finally decide to switch.  I will of course upgrade to Fedora Core 5 when it gets released (planned for mid-March) but for now I will settle for Fedora Core 4.  Still sounds like a well established system 😉

Reactionary Christianity

February 3, 2006 at 10:02 am | Posted in Christianity, Current Events, Hot Topics, Public | 4 Comments

I am growing more and more angry with conservative Christianity. It seems rather than just living good Christian lives we now feel it necessary to react to everything we say isn’t Christianity. This article mentions the last time this happened, with “The Book of Daniel”, and I think the writing reflects the message a secular world will get from this kind of behavior.

“A conservative advocacy group that urged a boycott of NBC’s recently canceled drama about a pill-popping priest turned its wrath Thursday to an upcoming “Will & Grace” episode that it says will mock Christ’s crucifixion.”

It “turned its wrath”. Make sure you get the full import of that. I don’t see much love in this kind of behavior, only wrath, and perhaps worse, “image management”. We now have a kind of “control agency” in place that goes after anything that isn’t “Christianity”. Apparently sinners aren’t allowed, as shown by the Book of Daniel (I have heard there was something about Jesus as well, I saw a response early enough that most of what they knew was character sketches, and I can’t speak to the Jesus issue because I never saw the show…we never even gave it a chance).

If this is the direction that conservative Christianity is going I will be taking my leave, and my parting comment will be “go to hell”. That’s where this kind of behavior belongs, along with that of the Pharisees. (note: this is not the direction I think all of conservative Christianity is going, though time will tell…these groups do at least exercise a fair amount of power within conservative Christianity) I’ll leave you with a bit of the Jesus I know:

“Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you clean the outside of the cup and the plate, but inside they are full of greed and self-indulgence.”

/rant

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