Monday, January 31, 2005

Dobson vs. Spongebob, Part 2 takes on the subject again. The whole subject rears its ugly head due to Dobson's response to the subject. Even last night at my folk's house, my mom went down to print off an email that Dobson had sent out on the subject. Once again, the site isn't taking a stance on it, it's simply commenting on the subject since it's back in the news. There are some good bits of advice for Christians who deal with the media.

How Ya Doin'?

It seems that folks got really excited when a paper with doodling by Brit PM Tony Blair was found after a conference. It was handed over to hand writing experts for analysis. The result was not good. And then it was discovered that the doodles were actually done by the man sitting at the same table as Tony Blair, one Bill Gates. Hmmm...

Evangelical Blog Awards

Aaron has a post worth reading on the rating's systems we come up with. The Evangelical Underground is now taking nominations for the best evangelical blogs. Combine that with the Time Mag report I mentioned and other rating events, Aaron's sick of it. Can't blame him.

Christian Relief Workers Keep the Best for Themselves

Here's a bit of satire (yes, it is satire) that I found through Rudy.

"two wrongs have made a right and my moral compass is tired and busted"

Rudy links to a very interesting post by a writer interviewing Iraqis after they voted. Follow the link at Rudy's blog and you'll find a very interesting piece.

Time Magazine's View of Evangelicals

Time Magazine's cover article is looking at the 25 most influential Evangelicals in the US. It's an interesting (and mostly political) list. I was actually disappointed with the level of political focus. Brian McLaren's description resonated with me, but there were a few other folks on the list who also resonated well with me. There were quite a few who I had never heard of too. I wasn't surprised by that, since I don't follow conservative politics or "Christian" talk radio. I recommend that you check it out, if for no other reason than to see those who are movers and shakers in conservative politics.

Passion Conference

The iTunes Music Store is carrying a little EP from the Passion Conference '05. It's a chump change at $2.49 for the album. The album contains a couple songs and a GREAT message. You can check it out here. It's pretty real life, but gets into a subject that I think is VITAL for Christians to think on: the difference between being a sinner saved by grace and a saint who doesn't live up to God's call. Too often Christians claim the former of those, but Scripture calls us the second. The speaker on the 50 minute part of the EP gets into the difference in a great way. I would be remiss if I didn't say that this is worth far more than the $2.49 that it costs for the whole EP. GET IT NOW! And yes, you must have Apple's iTunes software on your Mac, Windows 2000, or Windows XP computer.

You Know You're From Chicago If...

This is SOOOO true! Having lived in Chicago, I laughed at this list. Of course, at the same time, I looked at the Illinois list and very little of it made sense. It must have come from someone in southern IL.

You Know You're From Chicago When...

You say "Wanna go with?" when you mean "Do you want to come with me?"

You know what Kennedy, Dan Ryan, Eisenhower, Edens, and Bishop Ford, have in common and curse one of them daily.

You know what "the Hillside strangler is."

You can name three or four extra taxes nobody else pays.

You know the difference between Richard J Daley and Richard M Daley.

You can use two or three Daleyisms in context.

You can imitate the Mayor's whine.

You say Chicawgo and not Chicaago.

You think going to a Bears game in single digit temperatures with a wind off the lake (and freezing rain) is fun.

Da is a proper definite article.

You expect corruption in local politics.

You go to the Dells in the summer to get away from the other 20 thousand that followed you.

You've been caught speeding in Wisconsin because you had Illinois plates.

You guard your shoveled parking space with an old chair and unusable broom.

You know why they call it "the Windy City."

You know dead people who voted.

You understand the Democratic machine and don't fight against it.

You've never ever considered the idea of hiring non-union laborers.

You've never been to Springfield.

You know a good gyros joint.

You know what Giordanos, Lou Malnati's, and Gino's have in common.

You know when the last time the Cubs won a pennant.

You know exactly how many cars are "legally" allowed to turn left after the light turns red.

You don't know which ethnic "fest" to choose on any given Summer weekend.

Your idea of relaxing and getting away from it all is Ravinia (with 10,000 others who have the same idea).

You can recite many of "The Blues Brothers" lines and know where they filmed certain scenes.

You consider paying someone to watch your car at a sporting event as just another "city tax."

The "Living Room" is called the "front room"

You don't pronounce the "s" at the end of Illinois. You become irate at people who do

You measure distance in minutes (especially "from the city"). And you swear everything is pretty much 15 minutes away

You refer to anything South of I-80 as "Southern Illinois"

You refer to Lake Michigan as "The Lake"

You refer to Chicago as "The City"

"The Super Bowl" refers to one specific game in a series of 35 played in January of 1986

You have two favorite football teams: The Bears, and anyone who beats the Packers!

You buy "The Trib"

You think 35 degrees is great weather to wash your car!

You know what goes on a Chicago Style Hot Dog

You know what Chicago Style Pizza REALLY is

You understand what "lake-effect" means

You know the difference between Amtrak and Metra, and know which station they end up at. You have ridden the "L"

You can distinguish between the following area codes: 847,630,773,708, 312, & 815

You respond to the question "Where are you from" with a side" example:"WEST SIDE", "SOUTH SIDE" or "NORTHSIDE."

You know what the phone number is to Empire Carpet!

You wear gym shoes, not sneakers.

Your favorite melody to hum is "Bang,Bang,Bang-Skeet,Skeet,Skeet!!!!"

You faithfully attended Lil Louis parties at The Bismarck.

You GOT to have spaghetti at your barbecue.

You are STILL a Bulls fan........

You think kicking it outside of White Castles parking lot, (79th and Stony Island) is the "Freak Nik"

You go to Harold`s and order 4 pc wing, mild sauce, salt and pepper.

You have a picture of Harold Washington in your kitchen, living room, family room or basement.

You have ever waited in line at Home of the Hoagy on 111th for 30-45 minutes for a steak samich wit cheese

You have ever been to the Tiki Room lounge in Hyde Park

You have Y made a special trip downtown because you had a craving for Garrett's caramel and cheese popcorn.

What!!! We don`t get a Fifty? Oh yeah....

You drink at bars called "Bud on Tap" or "Milwaukee's Best" -- no names, just beer signs out front.

It's January and you see someone's kitchen chair in the street, and you know that if you're a responsible citizen and bring it back to the sidewalk you will be shot on sight

You live two miles from work and it takes you two hours to drive there

You don't flinch when you pay the fifth toll of your 45-minute car ride on the highway

When you read a big story in the paper about mob ties in the city government, your first reaction is "So, tell me something I don't know."

You know Lincoln Towing is Satan incarnate.

You've paid $105 for towing, $30 for more than one "street cleaning" ticket, $58 for a city vehicle sticker, and $70 for a license plate sticker -- and chalk it all up to "neighborhood taxes."

You pluralize grocery stores and retail chains: "I'm going to Jewels"; "I bought it at Targets"; "I couldn't find parking at Wal-Marts"

You've taken the Red Line past the point where all white people get off and all black people get on -- or vice versa.

You've cursed at a cyclist, pedestrian, or in-line skater on the lakefront path.

You know the significance of State and Madison.

You wonder if the fries will taste the same at Sammy Sosa's Restaurant.

You don't miss Planet Hollywood.

You're not ashamed of wearing a big fur Russian hat, or a headsock with one hole in it, in public from November through March.

You actually get these jokes and pass them on to other friends from Chicago.

Get Your Own "You Know You're From" Meme Here

More cool things for your blog at

Sunday, January 30, 2005

Spiritual Parenting

The odyssey is in conversation with the Prodigal Kiwi on the topic of spiritual parenting. I tend to agree that churches do this very badly. This is one area where the cross-generational nature of the Church can really help fill a need. This is where our older Christians can come alongside the younger Christians and help them move forward. It's essential for many reasons. I'm constantly amazed, as I sit in a class of 75-85 year olds, how much wisdom and knowledge of theology there is in the congregation I'm a part of. It truly amazes me.

At the same time, younger Christians can also come alongside older believers and do much of the same from a different perspective. The class I've been sitting in, mentioned above, loves to have me because I bring a lot of insight into how younger people think, feel, and act. I don't put on a show or tell them to quit complaining about modern music, I simply am myself, with all the good and bad that comes with that. I have seen these wonderful saints grow in their willingness to accept things that they don't understand or relate to because they now see how similar we are to one another as well. They are learning to trust one younger man who's willing to be honest and open about how I view the world.

I've just finished teaching on the book of Jonah in the class. Today I showed a five minute clip of Jonah:A VeggieTales Movie. It was a blast, and they really appreciated seeing a modern interpretation of the old story. The challenge was also there, though, to think outside of our safety zones. Jonah was asked by God to take a message of salvation to Jonah's enemies. He hated the idea, and even when he finally got around to doing it, he did it with a bad attitude. God was still able to use what little message Jonah spoke and lead an entire city to repentence. That's an awesome thing! These wonderful saints have so much wisdom to offer to people like me, I simply love hanging out with them. Someday I'll even put up this web address so that those who use computers can follow along. Their prayer requests are still done with a typewriter (remember those?), so there may not be many who would follow my blog, but I know that those who do would love it.

Joe Lewis on PBS

If you have yet to see the PBS show on the life of Joe Lewis, you've got to check it out. I'm sitting here watching it for the second time as I write. It is powerful.

It's Coming To Town

Impact World Tour is coming to town. This will be a good thing, so keep it in prayer big-time.

Friday, January 28, 2005

Is Lexus Using Microsoft?

It seems that the first virus to hit automobile computers is now on the loose. If you drive a Lexus, be aware of any funny business with your navigation system. Sven posted a brief on it here. There have been, of course, many fears about viruses hitting automobile computers, and it now appears to be happening.

Building a Church Web Site...

Check out these tips. These come from a link found at

Rolling Stone Takes the Ad

After a bunch of publicity, Rolling Stone Magazine has decided to accept an ad by Zondervan, the Christian book publisher, for one of it's Bibles (that's kind of weird to write!). posted this and it offers a good lesson for people to learn when it comes to launching the culture war attacks...don't do it.

Wednesday, January 26, 2005

Uh Oh!

I think our external hard drive is dying. Bummer. Nothing essential on it, but there are a few movies that we'll have to record back onto a computer in order to finish, and it's been our back up for a while, so I'll have to figure out what to do with that. Probably use my .mac account for that now.

Mac mini Accessories

So, here's the question. What accessories do you think they will come out with for the Mac mini. Here's my list of what I expect or want to see:

Bluetooth Trackball-OK, admittedly, I hate using a mouse, regardless of how many buttons it has, so I was thrilled to learn that MacMice will be releasing a Bluetooth trackball in April! Now I just have to decide if the $80+ is something I want to spend my money on.

Monitor mini-I don't know where this will come from, but I can't imagine it will take long for someone to put out a cheap 12" portable monitor with a hard case for transporting it. The Mac mini is ideally suited to be both a desktop and a portable, so you know someone's going to come out with this.

Hinged Keyboard-Again playing on the portability theme. Take an ergonomic keyboard and fold it in half, and yeah, I'd lose the number pad too, makes it too long. Ideally it will also be Bluetooth, making the portability even better.

Hey, these three things alone make the Mac mini a fully functioning portable computer! Now all that's needed is:

Mac mini Case-This is to the Mac mini what a laptop bag is to a laptop. A simple carrying case designed to protect your Mac mini (and monitor, keyboard and trackball) while you transport it back and forth to work, or on trips, or where ever.

mini Car Monitors-These monitors are attached to the headrest of the front seat of a vehicle so that the kids or adults in the back seat can watch a DVD on the mini.

Mac mini Battery Pack-This battery pack will plug into the Mac mini's power port and allow the mini to be used sans outlet. Battery mileage will vary. Recharger will be friendly with both 120v outlets and 12v car ports.

OK, there's my quick and dirty list of Mac mini accessories that we can expect to see. Anything I missed (of course there is)?

Tuesday, January 25, 2005

The Blogging President

The Ukrainian president is blogging...ok, someone is blogging for him, still, it's an interesting look at the Ukraine. Oh yeah, this is the English version. If you're interested in the Ukrainian version, go here.

Thanks to Jordon for the links.

Maybe Someday

I love reading through blogs like this. If I get enough readers, maybe I'll give it a go here too.

Why Christians Should Never Give Up on Someone

Check out Rudy's blog.

Microsoft MapPoint Technology

So, you're planning a trip to Norway and you decide to tap into the vast knowledge of Microsoft as you are planning your trip. On the third day of your trip, you are going to head a bit north, but stay within the country, so you do this:
1) Go to
2) Under "Start," next to the "Address in" radio button, select Norway, under city enter "Haugesund"
3) Under "End," select Norway, and under city enter "Trondheim"
4) Click the "Get Directions" button.

Now how confident are you in Microsoft technology? Too bad they don't make submarines...ok, on second thought, it's a good thing they don't make submarines. :)

I saw this at MacDailyNews last week and I meant to blog it then. You can check out all the anti-Microsoft laughs here. Yanks the Mac mini has posted a piece on yanking the mini due to "availability concerns," though the article, originally posted at, refers to the many customers using 10% off coupons with their order and taking the price down below wholesale. Some even speculate that other resellers were taking advantage of this so that they could also offer the mini at a lower price. So my question is this: Sven, did you get your order in on time?

Leadership Style Quiz

Computerworld has a short quiz to take on what type of leadership style you have. I came in very close to the CEO/CIO style...yeah, I thought that was weird too. Anyway, see where you land by taking the quiz here.

Monday, January 24, 2005

Jesus Monster Truck

Rudy sums it up very well. There really aren't words for this. I did not believe it was a real picture until I saw that this monster truck is sponsored by Benny Hinn Ministries and TNN. Once I saw that, I knew that there was no limit on the weirdness of the picture!

Note: I've edited this and republished it on the 24th, this is too weird to pass up.

iPhoto Class

While I was hanging out at the Michigan Avenue Apple Store today, they announced that they were about to begin an iPhoto class in the second floor theater. I decided to take advantage of it and hang out there. WOW, that was awesome. It is unbelievable to me that iPhoto is so amazing and so cheap/free!! I can't wait for our Mac mini to appear so I can start using this newest version of the world's easiest photo organizer. The new version allows sorting, not only by name, but by title, roll (grouped with other photos downloaded at the same time), and more. Not only that, but it now allows nested albums in the side bar, meaning that I can hide some of my albums within folders for less clutter.

I truly believe that iPhoto is a hidden gem in Apple's camp. This is the software that convinced my sister-in-law that they needed a Mac. Folks in my office are always amazed at how simple and powerful iPhoto is. And now I know how to use it even better! I know it isn't a great editor (though the new version really does much better with that), but that's not what it is designed to be. I was really blown away by the class today!

Mac mini vs. Dell

The good folks over at MacCentral/MacWorld did of a low-end Dell with the new Mac mini (notice that I did not capitalize "mini," it's not supposed to be). After coming away with the Mac victorious ictorious, they got a whole lot of response, much of it from people who like Dell (I didn't realize they existed!). While not nearly as fanatical as Mac Fans, they did their best to stick up for their computer maker. MacCentral published a response. The response deals with both camps, those who thought the Dell wasn't given a fair shake, and those who felt that the Mac mini wasn't given enough credit.

Personally, I think both articles are fair. The primary point being, "Who are the users that we're talking about here?" The Mac mini is truly an awesome machine. I was able to play with them a couple times this weekend as I hit a couple Apple Stores in the Chicago area (both were sold out of the $599 model, which I was wanting to buy, but I know the Oak Brook store still had the $499 model in stock). This is a computer that I can literally place on my keyboard tray! Since Apple keyboards come with USB ports, it only takes one USB port to plug in both the keyboard and mouse, leaving one USB port and one Firewire port open for other peripherals.

Oh, tonight we placed an order through the online Apple Store. We'll be getting the Mac mini, a new iPod, and Dreamweaver! Wow, the benefits of being a student again (Dreamweaver for students is 75% off the list price!)!!

Tsunami and World Vision

World Vision has a couple of videos available on tsunami relief. You can find them here. One is 45 seconds long, one is three minutes long. The 45 second one is what comes up, but there is a link to the longer video. Donate to World Vision's tsunami relief efforts here.

Got to Watch Football

Since we didn't have the kids last night, I actually got to watch the AFC Championship game. I picked it up in the second quarter, and, man, was I glad I watched that! (Sorry Sven, I've got too much Cleveland blood!) The Pats were awesome and never lost focus. I truly believe that you can never count any team out in any playoff game, and the Pats were great last night. The Eagles should give a good game, though Brady once again proved that he's got the Big Game ability.

Blogging from the Apple Store

I'm next to the window looking out on Michigan Avenue, blogging at the Apple Store. Jill has a training for work today, here in Chicago, so we got a hotel last night in the suburbs (and hit the Oak Brook store last night). It's been a while since I've driven Lower Wacker Drive. Somehow, without even knowing where on Michigan Avenue this store was located, I ended up parking ONE block from the store. If anyone had been with me, they would have been truly amazed at how this worked out. BTW, Lower Wacker is AWESOME. A couple years ago they tore up the whole upper and lower and rebuilt the whole thing. They did an awesome job, better lighting, smooth street...I was VERY impressed. If you don't know what Wacker Drive is, it is the only street in the world that runs north, south, east and west on two different levels. It runs through downtown Chicago along the Chicago River. It is, in my opinion, the GREATEST street in the world.

I mentioned the Oak Brook store...OK, why on earth would ANYONE design an outdoor mall in the Chicago area?!? Oak Brook Center attracts all these high end stores, but you've got to walk OUTSIDE to get anywhere. It took us fifteen minutes to get to the Apple Store, all outside, and in freezing weather. All I've got to say is this, I won't ever be back to that store!

Saturday, January 22, 2005

The Map

Jill spent a summer in college on a missions trip to France (one of her classmates who lived across the hall from Jill also went out that summer, to another part of the world, you know her as Lisa Beamer). Due to that, and knowing several others who have worked as missionaries in France, I know it's a country in serious spiritual need. Having said that, Shelby, one of the regulars at has a blog, and I had been remiss in not having checked it out. Shelby tells the story of The Map. It is short, and it is excellent.

Read The Map here.

Trail Run in Snow

Today the Rockford Roadrunners hosted their 1st Rock Cut Trail Run at Rock Cut State Park. There was already about six inches of snow on the ground, and then we got another bunch of snow last night. Needless to say, the news showed a bunch of runners tromping through drifts up to their thighs. Sound like fun? The runners described it as running in a foot of sand, uphill, for ten miles? Still sound like fun? Not to me!

Snow, Snow, Snow

Whew, just got in after an hour and a half with the snow blower. Two driveways makes for a lot of work. I'm not even bothering with the back half of our west driveway. I wasn't so sure that we'd gotten the snow that was expected, now I'm convinced. Of course, it was probably all for naught since we're supposed to have wind gusts of over 40 miles/hour this afternoon. That means that all the snow I moved this morning will be replaced by my neighbor's snow this afternoon! Ah well, it sure beats only having one or two seasons a year, in my opinion!

Friday, January 21, 2005

Handing out Kudos

I've got two big thanks to give out. First, to our local Carpetland USA store, for a huge donation of flooring to my employer, all types of ceramic tile and VCT. The whole thing was worth over $6,000!

Second, to Ford. Man, my F-350 is over ten years old, and it was handling that donation like a champ!! First load was about 1,000 pounds of ceramic tile and 400 pounds of grout. Second load was 1,800 pounds of VCT! Dude, that's nearly a TON! I've got one more load to pick up on Tuesday, but it'll be the smallest yet (probably 1,000 pounds). In both cases today, the truck handled it with ease.

Now, I'm sure that other truck makers have pickups that could do this, but man, this thing is TEN years old! And to think, I could have had the whole family comfortably in the cab with it. It just plain rocks!

Misunderstanding the Emerging Church

The auth of this site clearly does not understand what she is writing about. There is such a huge gap between the Church Growth Movement and the emerging church, that the two really cannot be compared, only contrasted. This writer creates an image that is a blending of the two, but doesn't do justice to either, from what I'm reading. There are parts of her criticism that may be premature, but are worth paying attention to, specifically I think of the authority of Scripture. I don't know that the emerging conversation has addressed that adequately or strongly enough. At the same time, there is an overwhelming tendency among evangelicals to use Scripture to beat people up, especially other Christians. This does not reflect the love of Christ in any way. At what point do we know Scripture so well that we don't have to abide by it? I don't believe there is such a point. I'm not saying there isn't room for criticism and rebuke out of love, but that is different than what this site is demonstrating. This is basically a warning to steer clear without an understanding of what the writer is talking about. That's not a very effective way to demonstrate love.

Thanks to Jordon for the link.

Got Seat Belts?

Sven pointed me to an article on the importance of seat belts. Seems that a college senior best known for his tirages against seat belt laws was tossed from a vehicle and killed. And no, he wasn't wearing his seat belt; if he had been, he probably would have lived.

Prayer at Mealtime

Jeremy has a fun little post about his son's letter to grandpa (as transcribed by his wife). I couldn't help but think about Nathan. Nathan has been asking to say the mealtime prayer the last few days. Last night after he finished, he looked over at Isaac and said, "Want me to pray for your People?" (meaning the Little People toys that Isaac got for Christmas). Isaac nodded yes, so Nathan re-folded his hands and added, "And thank You for Isaac's People, amen." This was followed, of course, by the boys yelling "Hallelujah!" and "Praise the Lord!", but that's how prayer time always ends in our home.

Dobson vs. Spongebob

I'm not too familiar with this situation, but has an interesting look at it without getting into the political/moral debate.

Thursday, January 20, 2005

More Proof that France is Weak

I have become more and more convinced that many of the countries that are highly critical of the US are hiding something behind smug self-righteousness. The thing that I believe they are hiding is the fact that they are weak. Weak to the point that they cannot respond to real needs ANYWHERE. This is becoming evident as now French television news is giving it up for the US military effort in the tsunami zone. Notice that the piece points out that the French are completely incapable of responding to such an emergency. While the US is sending in hundreds of tons of supplies, the French have dug a latrine.

I want to be clear here, this is not a commentary on the US being right about Iraq, it is simply a statement that many of the European countries do not have the military capability to respond to anything. They have botched the crisis in Serbia and Rwanda (along with the US), and are now proving to be incapable of providing humanitarian aid when to the most significant tragedy in recent history (if not all of history since the Flood). Should a nation decide to dominate Europe, they could walk through virtually unscathed, in my opinion.

Thanks to Rudy for the link.

Wednesday, January 19, 2005

AIDS in South Africa

I've been meaning to link to these pictures for a while now. Henner Frankenfeld is an African photographer who has posted some very powerful photos here. The AIDS tab on his site is heart breaking. I was stunned by the Coffin Factory.

County Lead Prevention Group

This afternoon we had our monthly meeting of the Winnebago County Childhood Lead Poisoning Prevention Council. Seems like we need a better name, eh? Anyway, it's a great group of folks who are passionate about the issue of lead poisoning. I'm thinking seriously about trying to create a website for the group on the side (you know, in all my free time). It'll be a good opportunity for me to try out the web creation stuff, and now that I'm a student (again), I can get Dreamweaver CHEAP! Apple's iWork may also be a good place to layout page designs, from what I can tell, so there are some good opportunities to try out some new ideas (or at least new software!). I did manage to escape the meeting without any homework, something I'm generally pretty good at since I've tried to lurk in the background, but haven't been too successful with the last couple meetings.

No Firefox?!?

University of Colorado uses eCollege for their online courses. I'm liking the system not that I'm able to access it, but I only have one complaint. Firefox doesn't work with their system. Here it is, the number 2 browser in the world, and it doesn't work. They told me that until they see enough people trying to access it with Firefox, they won't implement it. Me? I use Firefox. Fortunately the good folks who develop extensions for Firefox came up with "User Agent Switcher." Switcher, as I'll call it, basically is a liar. It tells the eCollege servers that I'm using Internet Exploder, even though I'm not. Of course, I usually forget to switch before logging in, so I always get an error message. Due to the lack of confidence that they have in their error messages, though, eCollege allows a user to re-log in right from that error page, so I simply go to my Tools menu, make the switch, and keep going.

And yes, I emailed eCollege and told them that I was lying to them, so they really couldn't trust their browser data. :)

The Last Shall Be First

A Generous Orthodoxy has me thinking tonight about these words of Christ. We say that "Jesus is Lord," but what do we mean by that? McLaren discusses a couple of meanings, but I'm just going to mention one of them here. The image of a master/slave relationship. The apostle Paul claimed to be a "bond-servant" of Christ. This was, essentially, a slave, as a debtor would be enslaved to the debt-holder until the debt had been paid off. Christ, however, taught that the master/slave relationship was one in which the master served the slave. This is very radical thinking. When Paul claimed to be a slave of Christ, I believe that he understood this. He knew the people who were Christ's closest friends when Christ was executed. He had spoken with the first people to have seen Christ after the resurrection. I believe that Paul fully understood that Christ suffered death on purpose and for him (and us as well). This was Paul's view of his master, the suffering Servant.

McLaren goes on to remind his readers that Christ is still very clearly the One who calls the shots. Christ is not "our wish-granting genie, taking commands from us" (p. 84). This is a very important reminder. Christ gave all that could be given, no more, no less. This was done in the spirit of a Servant. We, on the other hand, seem to think that God still owes us something. In doing that, we place ourselves first (and the second part of the quote that I used for the title of this post tells us what happens to those who are first...). The fact is, God doesn't owe us anything. We may desperately want to think that God does, but it just isn't so. God does not owe us an explanation for tsunamis or earthquakes or cancer or plentiful crops or a great new job or anything else, whether bad or good. We may want them, desperately want them, but we are not owed them. If we were owed those explanations, then God would not be a god of any type. Reflection on that would add a whole lot more to this post, so I think I'll leave it at that.

Pepsi/iTunes Promo is Back

That's right, Pepsi and Apple are officially re-releasing their bottle cap promo with another SuperBowl ad. This year there will be twice as many winning bottle caps (still a 1 in 3 odds of winning), but there will also be, ready for this?, Mountain Dew bottles included!! YES!! I drank a whole lot of Pepsi last year, and I grew to hate it. Mountain Dew, on the other had, has several different flavors, which I already drink a lot of, and I LOVE Dew. It will be much easier to enjoy the promo this year. And, who knows, maybe we'll still be able to see through the bottle to determine if it's a winning number before we buy!

iPod Competitor Hires Adult Film Star

When you are desperate, you take desperate moves. is reporting that iRiver, in an effort to promote their multimedia player, iRiver has, in essence, announced their target film "viewers."

And yes, according to the article, Bill Gates recently described iRiver as an "outstanding firm." So, Bill, what's in your Media Center PC?

Tuesday, January 18, 2005

A Funny From Nathan

A while back we were asking the boys how they'd feel if we brought home another baby. They got very excited and went back and forth between a boy and a girl as the gender of choice. We explained that we probably wouldn't know until right before we brought the baby home, but that it would still be a while before we did that. Just a side note, we are planning to pursue another adoption in the late spring/early summer.

Well, a few weeks later we were getting in the car and Nathan asked, "Where's the baby?" We couldn't figure out what he was talking about until he said, "You told us that you'd bring home another baby, where is it?"

Boy, that kid doesn't forget ANYTHING!

Status of the Windows (the kind with glass)

Jill and I have spent the last couple weekends taking apart our windows, sanding down the edges, repainting them, and reinstalling them. It's been a lot of fun. This past weekend we FINISHED!! It really wasn't too bad. I was able to work in the garage (we had to take them out of the house, we're doing this to pass our lead paint inspection!) where it was a balmy 5 degrees this weekend. The car really liked me for moving it out of the garage into such gorgeous weather on the shady side of the house (read: windblown). Anyway, now we're done with that portion. This coming weekend we get to do yet another thorough cleaning (this is our third attempt, we passed everything last time except the window wells...dust fell when the windows would get opened). Throw some Trisodium Phosphate in a spray bottle with water, and walk around with a big roll of paper towels and a couple garbage bags. Strange how lead paint is treated as a hazardous material until it's time to throw it away, then the residential trash is just fine, thank you very much. And yes, what I'm describing is legal. Anyway, since we've got a couple thousand dollars sitting at City Hall waiting for us to pass this test, we figured we'd better get it this time, otherwise we'll go totally nuts.

First day of class

Online class is a weird thing. I'm not sure there really is such a thing as the first day of class, since there really isn't much of a schedule. I have a feeling that I'll be doing a lot of my work in the middle of the night when I wake up and have nothing better to do than study or blog. Ok, maybe I'll blog instead and save the studying for the waking hours. We'll see.

Today's "work" consisted of ordering textbooks and producing a brief intro of myself. Greetings to any classmates who might be reading this and wondering what on earth a blog is, or, perhaps you're wondering why you're even reading this BECAUSE you know what a blog is. Either way, greetings, and come back often, as it is always good to get hits on a web site. Maybe someday I'll post Google ads on the side that you can click so I can retire early...yeah, right.

Monday, January 17, 2005

Business Blogging

Give another bit of credit to for this link. ChangeThis is offering the Beginner's Guide to Business Blogging for 15 days (expires January 25, 2005). Oh yeah, it's not at the regular price of $29, it's FREE. Yup, as in zero dinero.

Influencers of the Church

Barna has released a couple of lists related to figures who have the greatest influence on the Church (I'm assuming in North America). reports that only one Black man is on the list. Hmmm...Happy MLK, Jr. day to you, Church.

Getting It Figured Out

Wow, University of Colorado seemed to be open today. I was able to exchange a few emails and get things straightened out. It seems that every time I had an option, I chose the wrong one. Thus, I was signed up and ready to go. I was able to get help from the Help Desk, finally. I'm not sure what that was about, but I actually called them and the guy said, "Yeah, you're showing up here and using the right ID number." Every other response I got said that I wasn't in their system. I knew that part wasn't any fault of mine. Anyway, I'm able to get into the orientation course that they had set up and I'm blowing through it now while Jill is finishing the paint on the windows. It'll be good to get them back in, since it's not expected to hit double digits temperature-wise today. Storm windows are good, but they aren't THAT good. I only spent about an hour out in the garage today, which was especially good given how cold it is. The little electric heater we put out there really didn't seem to do anything at all. Brrr.

Do Not Eat iPod Shuffle

Have you checked out the iPod Shuffle yet? The website compares the iPod Shuffle's size with a pack of Trident gum. There's a little footnote notation "(2)" next to the text under the picture. Footnote number 2..."Do Not Eat iPod Shuffle."

Does CU Denver Really Exist?

The latest saga in my attempt to take an online grad class through the University of Colorado at Denver has taken yet another weird turn. I'm starting to wonder if CU-Denver actually exists or if it is an elaborate ruse designed to steal money from unsuspecting fools such as myself. After trying to sign up for a class only to have their computer system tell me that I couldn't, I called and was told that there was a different course number I had to enter, one that I had never seen in their system.

I received a bill over the holidays that was two and a half times what I was supposed to be charged. No one in the bursar's office would help me until I got the Pete, from the online program I was trying to get into, to call and explain to them how they are supposed to charge online students. It finally got straightened out, so I gave the bursar's office my credit card info so they could get the paperwork done before the system automatically "unenrolled" me.

I received an email sometime in there saying that there was an online orientation class designed to help students understand how the online classes operated, so I decided to log in, once I had paid, and give it a try. I couldn't log in. The CU Online help desk informed me that I wasn't listed in their database, but that it took 24-48 hours for that to happen. My payment went in on January 11th, so I decided to wait a couple days and try again. I tried on the 14th and got the same problem, same email from the help desk (I think the help desk sends out the same message, but automatically changes the "name" of the "person" who's responding to my cries for help).

Tonight I decided to look into this a bit further, and here is what I've found. My credit card has been properly charged, and the charge was, in fact, January 11th. The registrar's online registration system, however, tells me that I am not registered for any classes this semester. That's right, after jumping through a bunch of hoops just to get signed up for a class, now it's telling me that I'm not signed up for a class, though the bursar's office was given records that I was, thus they billed me. Of course, it's a three day weekend with classes starting on Tuesday, so I won't know until Tuesday if I'm really a student or not, but they've got my money!

Sunday, January 16, 2005

New Pastor Coming

It looks like J. is going to be making the trek westward. I gotta give it up for him, he and his wife are leaving almost all of their extended family on the east coast to move here. He does have a sister in Chicago, so there will be some family nearby, but that's it.

The meeting tonight went VERY well. He spent a lot of time on the hot seat and didn't get too many softballs lobbed at him. Still, he answered everything that came his way and he was able to answer the questions thoroughly. He has a very strong focus, and that really came through. Jill and I are totally stoked!!

You Knew This Was Coming...

as soon as you saw it. A car customizer is now offering a Mac Mini option. You can find the details here. One commenter said that it would never work because Mac OS X doesn't work with a touch screen. What does he think "point and click" refer to? If Apple can put a touch pad on a laptop, why not put a touch screen in? The wiring would simply go into both the dvi and usb slots and the computer would read the monitor as also being a mouse or touch pad. No big deal there.

Saturday, January 15, 2005

The Family Friendly Computer

That's right, it's "official." MacCentral sent a reporter to the MacWorld Expo and everywhere he went he saw regular people acting like regular people...even saw a lot of babies in tow! Hey, Sven, where were your kids that day?!? An excellent read on difference between the people who love pc's and the people who love Macs.

What is It? Part 2

Andrew Jones takes another stab at defining the emerging church here. Ok, actually this is his first attempt, the other was his second attempt. Still, you see how difficult it is to actually define something that is still...well, emerging. It strikes me as obvious, though I'm probably weird or something, that what is being talked about is something the Church needs, but hasn't started addressing yet. I'd like to say a big thanks to all the bloggers out there who love to discuss this and who, as a result, are seriously sharpening my mind. "BIG THANKS!"

Candidate for Pastor

J. is here candidating to be an associate pastor at our church this weekend. We had a great opportunity to sit and chat with him at a gathering for the three "youngest" adult communities tonight. As he sat ready to answer questions people had for him, I asked, almost immediately, to talk about some of the language differences between the emerging conversation and the traditional ways people talk about church. When Jill and I left, we realized that no one else understood what was happening. J. is TRULY talking a different language. Most of the older people sitting in the room (by older I mean folks about 40) simply interpretted what J. was describing as just another Seeker-oriented service like one finds at Willow Creek, or our own city's Heartland. J. isn't talking about that AT ALL!! He's talking about communicating the Truths of Scripture to people who already love God, but who have a completely different way of communicating. A friend afterward was commenting on the importance of expository preaching. J.'s style doesn't contradict that at all, it just teaches Scripture in a way that this friend's third grade son can comprehend. He'd probably be able to stay in the service and sit with the family under this style of service, because it would be communicating in a way that he, a tactile learner, would be able to benefit from.

Someone asked J. if, by using the term "authentic," he really meant "relevant." In a strict sense of those words, yes, he did. Unfortunately, the message J. gave, when he said, "yes," was not the message intended. Some people interpretted that as carrying the same meaning as Seeker-oriented churches place on the word. What he meant, though, was that people who came into the service would walk out with an understanding of Scripture that they could live out during the week. This isn't a topical theme on how to handle money in a Godly way (though there are a lot of Christians who need to learn that lesson too), but a lesson on how to take, for example, James 3 and actually know how to keep one's tongue under control in specific circumstances where that is a difficult thing to do. This is oriented to people who already love God. It is not a service designed to teach any and all people how they can be better people. It is designed to teach Believers how they can be MORE faithful to God, how they can put into practice the things that Scripture teaches.

J., you've definitely got what our church needs. Jill and I are holding you in our prayers!

Friday, January 14, 2005

Quote from A Generous Orthodoxy

I'm very excited to finally be getting into Brian McLaren's book A Generous Orthodoxy. I just came across a paragraph on page 30 that I've GOT to quote:

"To link orthodoxy with a practice...further makes this book seem ridiculous because many orthodoxies have always and everywhere assumed that orthodoxy (right thinking and opinion about the gospel) and orthopraxy (right practice of the gospel) could and should be separated, so that one could at least be proud of getting an A in orthodoxy even when one earned a D in orthopraxy, which is only an elective class anyway. In fact, one could even get into a good graduate school based on high orthodoxy grades alone. In that traditional setting, orthodoxy could be articulated and debated by scholars or officials who had little responsibility to actually live by or live out the orthodoxy they defended. Defenders of orthodoxy were seen more like referees than basketball players; nobody cared if they could pass, dribble, or shoot, as long as they could blow a whistle and name an infraction in their black-and-white striped shirts."

I have got to say that this totally nails it for me. The huge gap between right beliefs and actions is one of my biggest gripes with myself and with the Church in general. Hey, I'd even say society at large is guilty of this one, big time, probably even worse than the Church (though our culture is loathe to admit it). In my small group this morning we were talking about how culture has redefined sin so as to alleviate guilt. I truly believe that our culture has come to define "natural" as "good." This is very convenient as it allows people to claim that "That's just the way I am" whenever they do something wrong or offensive (it strikes me as ironic that people think that, as I don't see people rolling around in poison ivy just for the fun of it, though it does occur naturally). At the same time, people know, deep down inside, that something is wrong, and they believe that they are beyond redemption (saving). God's view is so totally different. He says, "You are a sinner, especially if you are doing what comes naturally to you, but you are not beyond redemption." God's view is the exact opposite of humanity's view. We say we're not sinners, but we're too bad to be saved, God says we are sinners, but that we are able to be saved.

Anyway, the gap between what we believe and what we practice is a gap that should never have been allowed to exist within the Church. I hate to think that the owner of a strip club could be a person of high standing in a church, but I know it was the case even here in my home town. The modernist way of thinking has been allowed to infiltrate the Church over the last couple centuries to the point where people will actually defend this. The gap between what one says and how one lives has been allowed to grow too large. Thank you, Brian, for putting this into perspective. Your words phrase my thoughts too well on this point.

What is It?

I love this definition of the emerging church from the TallSkinnyKiwi blog by Andrew Jones. He posted it nearly a year ago, but I love it.

Disillusioned with the Church

After following a number of links, I ended up at the Journey with Jesus site and came across this. It is an outstanding reminder that, in spite of all of the Church's failings, God still uses us. No claims of perfection, or even that we're better now than before (or better before than we are now, for that matter), but simply a reminder that God has always and continues to use the Church, in spite of herself.

Thursday, January 13, 2005

Emergent Rule

Check out Jason Clark's reiteration of the Emergent Rule and Order (also found at Emergent Village). It's thought provoking (as are the comments). I find that I'm basically on board with it, though I do wish there was a specific reference to the inerrancy of Scripture.

iPod + Bluetooth

I mentioned that Sven was able to hang at MacWorld on the opening day (catching the SteveNote, drooling on a Mac Mini, embarrassing his friends, etc.). He reported today on the best technology he found there, and I'm excited. It seems that NaviPlay has released a Bluetooth dock for the iPod. That means that you can set your iPod in their dock and use wireless headphones (Bluetooth based, of course) to hear your tunes. I'm looking forward to finding out if this will allow wireless syncing with the Mac. Lots of possibilities here!

Should be Slick

In the last week we've had nine inches of snow, thunderstorms, and temps ranging from over 40 degrees to less than 10. We are currently in the downward trend, and should be dropping well below that 10 number tonight. Actually, we're not expected to get above that 10 number tomorrow. Given all the snow, the melting, and the thunderstorms (which were last night, BTW), tomorrow ought to be a good day to stay off the roads. Our maintenance guys were out spreading salt this afternoon just to get a heads start on the ice.

The Innovator's Solution

I'm finally getting my Soundview Executive Book Summaries, and I'm thinking that this will be a good subscription to have. The first summary I received was The Innovator's Solution. It is awesome. The scary thing about these book summaries is that they may cause me to desire more books than I could possibly read, thus the summaries will have to do. Basically they are eight page summaries of various "important" business books. The Innovator's Solution is Clayton Christensen's follow up to The Innovator's Dilemma. I couldn't help but think of this in terms of Apple and Microsoft (see Fast Company's look at Microsoft in these terms here with thanks to Jordon Cooper for the link), but I think there are much more important things to think on for me. How does this apply to the Church, or should it apply to the Church? I'm thinking that this will be something I'll need to read a few times in order to digest it enough to form coherent thoughts on the subject. Ask me later for those thoughts. :)

Wednesday, January 12, 2005

Crazy Drivers and Video Games

So, you're driving down the street and you see the passenger in a car reach over and grab the steering wheel in an attempt to run you down. Why would that happen? Maybe the passenger was playing video games too long!

Microsoft's AntiSpyware

OK, just a little humor at Microsoft's expense (as though that's tough to come up with). Apparently Microsoft's new AntiSpyware, which is getting very good reviews, labels itself as spyware. That's right, Microsoft's Antispyware is actually spyware! Check out the info here.

And just think, you could get a Mac and not worry about the issue at all.

Tuesday, January 11, 2005

Another Name on the Christmas Card List

Send a card to Nick, it's not too late!


I'm very grateful for the opportunity to work with an organization that provides permanent housing for people who'd otherwise be homeless. I've been thinking lately that getting a blogging community there might not be a bad thing, but I'm not sure how well it would go over. The Homeless Guy constantly reminds me that the homeless are fully people with a full set of emotions and a full life, perhaps more stuff in their lives than I'll ever have to deal with. Keep up the good work Homeless Guy!

Microsoft's MacWorld Announcement

Microsoft has announced that it will be enhancing the Exchange capabilities of Entourage this year. Entourage is the Mac version of Outlook in the Office suite. That will be a great thing. I'm using Entourage and Exchange at work, and it definitely needs a little help. The email functions are fine, but I have yet to get anything else to sync, even the stuff that's supposed to sync doesn't get there. I've pretty much given up on that part of it. If Apple's various software pieces would provide full Exchange capabilities, I'd switch in a heartbeat. Since Mail, iCal, and Address Book are separate programs, they seem to have a bit more functionality than I get in Entourage. They also play VERY nice with each other. The problem is that they, as a whole, don't play well with Exchange.

Anyway, people who use Office for Mac have been begging for this for a long time. Microsoft keeps saying that it adds the features that people ask for, but this is definitely the exception. If they've finally listened, it will make a LOT of people VERY happy.


While Mac lovers the world over were glued to the internet (or, if you were like Sven, glued to the stage at the Moscone Center), I was trying to uninstall a virus manually. Symantec's Anti-Virus kept leaving it in place. Ugh.

So, what were my thoughts several hours after the SteveNote?

Mac Mini--I want one. Actually, we'll probably get a barebones low end version for the kids and continue to use our eMac as the main computer, but that is an AWESOME computer.

iPod Shuffle--No thanks, I'd rather just get a 20 gb once. Who knows, maybe I'll see the benefit someday, but for now, not really.

iWork--I haven't looked at it much, but it looks more like a page layout and presentation software than an office suite. I'm glad, as it's less likely to tick Microsoft off. Unlike many Mac lovers, I actually like MS Office. Actually, like a lot of reviewers, I like the Mac version of Office more than the Windows version. The Project Center ROCKS! Granted, there are TONS of features that I'll never use, nor will I miss using them, but, for what I need to do, it does a great job. I'm far more into the Excel end of things than Word, so if iWork was supposed to make me drop Office, there's no way. I don't think it is designed to do that though, and, from what I've seen, it does a great job of page layout. For more thoughts along those lines, check this out.

iLife '05--When iLife '04 came out, I got it. I wanted it and I love it. I really don't see enough in the '05 version to make me go out and buy it. I understand that iPhoto has a lot more editing capability, but I'm just not to the point where I want/need that enough to put out the bucks. I already have the iTunes upgrade that would be included there, and the other software is doing a great job for me.

Well, those are my thoughts on the main SteveNote announcements (at least, those that apply to me). Not having an HD digital camcorder, I'm just not ready to even discuss the HD announcements today. All in all, though, I'm excited. Once we finish up the last payout on our house, we'll be plunking down some change at the Apple store!

Monday, January 10, 2005

Don't Let the Door Hit You on the Way Out

Church Marketing Sucks has an interesting post on whether or not churches should ask people to leave. They don't go so far as to answer the question, but it's certainly an interesting question.

The Red Sox Sermon Broke the Curse

Jeremy links to The Red Sox Sermon. It was a sermon given the day before Boston came back to beat the NY Yankees. It's actually a great message comparing the legacy of the Red Sox with the legacy of humanity. Check it out.

Finally Reading a Book

I spend so much time reading articles on the web, that I rarely read an actual book anymore. This week I've finally started reading Brian McLaren's A Generous Orthodoxy. Its definitely a thought provoking book. I'm sure I'll be posting more on it in the coming days.

Tomorrow's Da Day

Tomorrow is the Stevenote. Sven gets to go hang out with the Mac Geek crowd (I am sooo jealous, seriously). I'm looking forward to reading his blog, should be a great read. The Mac web is going nuts with rumors, a sub $500 Mac, a flash based iPod (meaning an iPod that is cheaper and holds fewer songs), and now even a speed bump to the PowerBook line. That last one will be more impressive if its a dual core processor, but I don't know that Apple/Motorola/IBM is ready for that yet. Tomorrow's the day, we'll see...

Best Practical Joke

Ok, if you're speeding and the cops saw this, they might even let you off!

Sunday, January 09, 2005

Adult Ministries Pastor Candidate

Next week our church will have a candidate for the position of Adult Ministries Pastor. Since I'm not sure if he's still working at another church, I won't mention his name, but I'm VERY excited about the possibilities should he be hired. I'm also a bit nervous about the situation, not because of him, but because of our church. I love his ideas and thoughts, and I'm already to jump onboard with what he'd like to do. I'm just not so sure that the folks who will show up to vote at the congregational meeting are going to be ready to do so. The information they provided today, which I had received in an email earlier in the week, is very reflective of the emerging church blogs I've been following, but it doesn't go so far as to call for the dismantling of the clergy and other steps that I think are excessive.

The candidate is proposing a new service to be added. The nice thing is that he's not talking about just taking the same-old-same-old and adding rock music to it, but he's talking about combining a number of elements, old and new, to create a different atmosphere. That's what I like to hear. We've been struggling quite a bit with our church's structure of late, and I'm beginning to think that it will take a new way of doing things to really keep us at our church over the next few years. That doesn't mean that I don't love the people, but I look at where the church is at and I worry about the direction that it has been taking. I'm concerned that it will go the way of the dinosaur. That doesn't mean we jump on the latest bandwagon, but that a lot of thought goes into what the church should look like in five years, ten years, etc. Who do we want to be, and why? Of late, we have tended to act like a church made up of people at or near retirement age, and that's just not where I'm at. I've seen people my age come and go, and often the go because they don't like the bad attitudes that can surface at business meetings.

So, here's where I land on this one. I'd love to see this fellow come and do what his vision entails. My concern, though, is that, when it's all said and done, he's going to be trying to do this in an unhealthy environment. As much as there may be excitement among the younger generation in the church, there will still be the all-church business meetings that will serve to remind us of how divided our body is right now. Perhaps this will change. I pray it will change. It will only change by God's hand. Should this fellow walk into this situation? I don't know the answer to that.

I have good life now. I alive

Zayd's Dad blogged on his reunion with a friend in Thailand after the tsunami.

Party Day!

Today we have two birthday parties to attend. Nathan, fortunately, seems to be feeling better. First, we'll go to the one-year party of Isaac's birth sibling, Elijah. We get to be there for his first hair cut and all (from what I understand). This evening we'll be at my folks house for my dad's 65th party. It would be a bigger deal if he wasn't already retired, but, still, 65 is a pretty special party.

Saturday, January 08, 2005

Electoral College Makes It Official

President Bush has officially been re-elected. The electoral college cast their votes a couple days ago. Some Democrats tried to hold up the vote by contesting Ohio's votes, but their efforts were defeated. CNN's article notes a very interesting little fact, though. Kerry did not get the 252 electoral college votes he was expected to get. Kerry ended up with 251. The official results? Bush 286, Kerry 251, and Jonathan Edwards 1. That's right, "One Democratic elector cast a vote not for Kerry but for former Sen. John Edwards, his vice presidential running mate." Hey, if Edwards had been at the top of the ticket, I might have voted for him too.

Church Leadership

After finishing a four year stint as an elder in my church, with part of that time serving as the chairman of the elder board, this article really hit home. This is the first in a coming series of articles by John O'Keefe and it's a great start to the series. I especially like his description of what a church leader ought to be:

Visual: “Come and you will see” are the words Jesus shares.
Attractors: Andrew went and got his brother Simon Peter to bring to Jesus.
Connective: Jesus knew the lives of his disciples.
Chaotic: They do not know the absolute results, but they go anyway.
A Catalyst: A catalyst transforms things, without being changed in the process.
Be a Multiplier: Addition is not the way, and subtraction is unacceptable.
A Guide: They walk along side, and not push from behind
A Story Teller: They know the story, and they know the community
A Solver: conflict breeds conflict.

I've added the bold emphasis to make it easier to see/understand. His line "Addition is not the way, and subtraction is unacceptable" is sooooo true. O'Keefe makes some very good analyses of modern church leadership and these provide an excellent counter to the concerns that he raised earlier in the article. Check it out!

Interesting Looking Book

TheOoze has a review of American Jesus: How the Son of God Became a National Icon. The author, Stephen Prothero, is the chair of the Department of Religion at Boston University. He gives a great look at how Jesus has been viewed throughout the history of the US. Some interesting things mentioned in the review include:
1. In 1910, US churches were only 1/3 male;
2. Thomas Jefferson labeled the writers of Matthew, Mark, Luke and John as "the most unlettered and ignorant of men";
3. A very interesting look at the rise of the Vineyard Churches and Calvary Chapel.

All in all, I'm already intrigued by this book and it will definitely hit my "gift list."

One very interesting comment from the book dealt with music. It's especially interesting in the context of the modern evangelical debate over music. The article states, "Through this time, religion became more individualistic and less corporate. Theologically strong hymns like "Before Jehovah's Awful Throne" (1719) were replaced by more tender hymns like "What A Friend We Have in Jesus" (1855)." (I added the links to the songs)

Who would have thought of "What A Friend We Have in Jesus" as a modern and theologically weak song?!? I laughed out loud when I read that.

Snow Fall Total

Snow Fall Total
Originally uploaded by A Bob's Life in Pictures.
I went out and stuck a ruler in the snow on our picnic table. It's a pretty accurate record of what we got, though drifting may have taken a little bit of snow off the top meaning we might have had a little bit more snow than this shows. Anyway, 7.25 inches on our picnic table. Not bad given that it really didn't snow very hard during our couple of days of snow. It was just a constant snow most of the time.

Lead Paint

We're taking a lunch break from our lead work. We're taking apart the upstairs windows so we can clean out the lead paint and get a good coat of high gloss paint on the windows to protect them. Ah, remember the "Good Old Days" when people used poison in their homes? Nothing like a little brain damage, eh?

Electric Bill

I was opening the mail last night before bed and we got an electric bill for the old house. ComEd billed us for $370 for four months on a house that was EMPTY the entire time. Not only that, but it wasn't the final bill we were supposed to get! It says "Final bill" at the bottom, but it was an estimated read from the day AFTER we closed on the house! ARGH!! I have a very hard time believing that ComEd would have ANY customers if they weren't a total monopoly. I don't know ANYONE who would use them if they had a choice. This just reinforces their willingness to abuse people in my mind!

Friday, January 07, 2005

I'm Liberal?

This morning a co-worker came up and announced that I was speaking at the Unitarian Universalist church here in Rockford on Monday night. Turns out that Rockford Urban Ministries has a guest speaker by the same name that night. We had a lot of fun joking about that. Seems that I'm ordained and that I've "got a good idea of the pulse of the national peace organizations" and that I've "been arrested at the School of the Americas." Funny how someone is an expert on peace because they've been arrested at the School of Americas. Needless to say, we had a lot of laughs this morning.

The other part of the irony is that the Exec. Dir. of Rockford Urban Ministries has the same last name as I do and they rent office space from my company. Whenever we see each other we greet each other with an enthusiastic "Hello Mr. Campbell!" Today I saw him across the street and we called out our typical greeting. I then told him I heard I was speaking at his event Monday night. We got a good laugh out of that too!

Thursday, January 06, 2005

World Vision Work in SE Asia

I got an email tonight, after making a donation to World Vision, that stated the following:

"Dear Friend,

"World Vision has been so blessed by generous donations to our Asia tsunami relief efforts. I wanted to take a moment to thank you for all of your thoughts and prayers for our staff. I also wanted to provide you with an update of what we're doing in the region and invite you to become a part of our response to this crisis. Click here to view a slideshow demonstrating World Vision in action, or
click here to donate now.

"World Vision has been working in Asia for more than 40 years, so when the tsunamis hit, we already had nearly 4,000 staff on the ground responding within hours of the disaster.

"In the past 11 days, World Vision has been carrying out organized and orderly distributions of survival packets containing food, clothing, bottled water, medicines, sleeping mats and other essential household items from buckets to pots and pans. We have also been caring for children who are separated from their parents, perhaps orphaned by this disaster.

" • In Indonesia: Two cargo ships containing relief shipments of tarpaulins, sarongs (clothing), kitchen utensils and buckets are heading toward the devastated province of Aceh in northern Indonesia.

" • In India: World Vision has provided immediate relief for more than 3,000 families, with plans to reach an additional 35,000 in Chennai and the coastal villages of Tamil Nadu and Andhra Pradesh districts. Through coordinated efforts with teams of doctors and local churches, World Vision is offering vital aid and distributing relief goods including medicine, food, water, blankets, and clothing.

"Similar efforts are taking place in Sri Lanka, Thailand, Myanmar and across the stricken region. World Vision has worked in Asia for more than 40 years, and thanks to your support, we intend to see these families through the long, hard work of rebuilding their homes and communities — the effort will be a marathon, not a sprint.

"We need your help today to respond to this growing crisis, and to rebuild the lives of children and families. Please visit us at to give now. If you have responded already, please accept my sincere thanks.

"To see World Vision in action, I invite you to click here to view our slideshow and witness how your gifts are helping children and families in Asia rebuild their lives. Thank you for your prayers and generous support."

The letter is signed by Richard Steams, the president of World Vision, US

The Making of the Mac

O'Reilly has recently published the book Revolution in the Valley (which you are more than welcome to buy for me!). It is the story of the making of the Macintosh and is written by Andy Hertzfeld, one of the team members in the making of the original Macintosh. O'Reilly published an interview with Hertzfeld at their website this week, and it's a great read, and made me want this book even more. Let's face it, O'Reilly just puts out the absolute best books related to computers; I'm constantly amazed (and if someone from O'Reilly reads this, note the excellent use of a semicolon; need an editor?). Seriously, though, much of this book comes from stories that are already published on the web. Hertzfeld started a website that compiles many stories from the early days of the Macintosh, and they are a fascinating read. The stories seem to verify many of the rumors that float around. Bill Gates really was a ruthless business person; Steve Jobs really did have an explosive temper (I use past tense, since the stories that verify the rumors are twenty years old or more). Check out the website, buy me the book, learn about the makings of the greatest computer ever!

Windows crashes, even for Bill Gates

OK, that's not a news flash, but I would guess that Mr. Gates tells his minions to be absolutely sure that nothing goes wrong when he's doing a big keynote address. This week, someone failed to do that. Not only did the computer freeze when he hooked up a digital video camera, not only did a tablet pc fail to log onto the internet, but an XBox got the BSOD (blue screen of death) when they loaded up a game. So, if Bill Gates can't get the stuff to work right, why would anyone buy it?

Snow done, Boy sick

The snow is finished, but we got quite a bit. I took a couple pictures with my cell phone and you can find them here. Officially we ended up with 8.9", but it varied depending on where you lived, and drifting causes some areas to be much deeper and some to be much less.

When I got home Tuesday, I figured Nathan wasn't feeling well just by looking at him. When he didn't want to go out in the snow yesteday morning, that was the definite sign that he wasn't feeling good. He's pretty on and off now, but the day has been filled with lots of crying.

Wednesday, January 05, 2005

Lotsa snow!

At 3:00 this afternoon we had 5", and the forecast is for more snow tonight than we had had up to that point. In between 3:00 and the 8:00 start of the next major snow, we've probably gotten another inch or so. Should be close to a foot when it's all said and done. The boys were able to be out in it for a little while this morning and they are already excited about getting out again tomorrow too!

Tuesday, January 04, 2005

Great Lunch

I had a great lunch with Tom today. We've only spoken a couple times at church, but a mutual friend encouraged us to get together. Glad he did. Tom's got a great heart and love for our church, yet also shares some of my frustrations. Since he's only been at the church for a year or two, he's still learning his way around the "system." There's the formal system, and the informal one. I hate that. He had some great observations on how the family structures keep people from being open and vulnerable. I hadn't thought of the things he's observed, probably because I've been at the church much of my life, but he nailed it on the head with his points. It was good to spend time talking about solutions, too. I get sick of analyzing, so it's good to get to the possible instead of the current. Thanks Tom!

New Weather in the Sidebar

I've always hated the box in my sidebar. Once it got published, it looked terrible; the text was all over itself and almost unreadable. Accuweather has a much better looking box; it's easy to read, though the font isn't exactly pretty, it's at least readable, so now you can say, "Hey, it's snowing in Rockford," which it is. Glad we've got a snowblower!

Windows ME still exists!?!

A dear pastor friend was commenting that he needed to take his computer in to get fixed yesterday at lunch. It was running terribly slowly. I told him I could get rid of a lot of his trouble using software I had on a disk. Tonight I went over to his house with Spybot and Adaware in hand. I only found 115 bugs using Spybot. Of course, I didn't bother running the updates first since he's on dial-up, I told him he could do that later, so there may have been more. His system crashed during the Adaware scan...we were up to 760 "criticals" when that happened. He was running it again when I left. It's been a long time since I last saw Windows ME. I thought that had been banned by the federal government as a danger to society, or something like that...


InfoWorld Picks Apple...twice

InfoWorld has released their "Best of" list, you know, the list of last year's best computer related schtuff. Apple pulled in two, count 'em, TWO top picks. Apple's XServe G5 was named the best server hardware, and Panther (aka Mac OS X 10.3) was named the best operating system. That's right, as much shooting off at the mouth as we tend Mac lovers tend to do, InfoWorld agreed with us. It's just so much better than the other options, not necessarily in terms of what it can do, but in combining power with ease of use. Linux is supposed to be very powerful as well, but Apple has done an outstanding job of combining the power with ease of use in an operating system.

Tsunami Blog at CT

Rudy is blogging on the tsunami for Christianity Today. His first post for them is here.

Thailand Blog

Meet Joel, a blogger and missionary on an island that's a part of Thailand. He and his family were on vacation in India when the tsunami hit, and they have just returned to Thailand. The island they live on was hit very hard. Joel has just started blogging on what he is finding, so it'll be an interesting blog to follow in the coming days.

What a Setup

Check out the Cult of Mac's blog on Mac setups here. They link over to a Flickr site with a whole bunch of setups, some are AWESOME!

Monday, January 03, 2005

Mac Rumor Time

It's early January, so the entire Mac web is going nuts with rumors. An office suite? A headless iMac (meaning an iMac without a monitor built in)? Who knows until the Stevenote, but the rumor mill is definitely flying. Bill Palmer's been getting into the headless iMac discussion, as he usually does. You can see his comments here, here and here. He hates the idea, and I tend to agree with him. Who wants to hook up a crappy monitor to a new computer? No one thinks anything of getting a monitor thrown in with their Dell or HP, so why is it such a big deal to have it built-in to the eMac or iMac. Hey, even laptops of all stripes have a built-in monitor! Unlike the Dell's, at least the low end eMac comes with a separate graphics card! The eMac is an awesome machine that blows its price-category-competitors away, so why make something to fit a price category that no one buys in anyway. I recently read that even Dell only sells 3% of its computers in the $500 category (I'll look for the link later). No one wants one, not even Dell customers!

As far as an Office suite goes, the rumors had it tagged as iWork. A few folks claimed that there was no way because there is already software by that name. It's a time billing software by IGG software, and, yes, it is a Mac software. Well, today IGG announced that they were changing the name of their software from iWork to iBiz! Hmmm...

Blogging Weather Again...

I can tell that it's winter since weather is a regular topic of discussion, not because I try to avoid serious conversation with people, but because the weather can be a bit more dramatic during the winter. So, here I am blogging it again. After getting hit with an ice storm in Des Moines that left an eighth of an inch of ice over EVERYTHING, we got one today here at home. Not quite as much ice, but it doesn't take much to be bad. It's especially frustrating when it occurs during the day as it means scraping the car windows every time I want to go someplace (three times today).

The real talk, though, is the predicted storm for Wednesday. The snow is supposed to start tomorrow night and carry through Wednesday night with an expected total of 6-12 inches of the white stuff. Needless to say, the boys will be very excited before bed tomorrow night. Hey, 6-12 might even be enough to shut down some businesses or even the schools. Of course, I can walk to work, so I won't bother to take the day off for that, but I might get pretty lonely! :)


Originally uploaded by A Bob's Life in Pictures.
Yep, the boys had a little dessert tonight. Isaac even ate some, believe it or not!

NY Times plays it fair--their way

Powerline has a link that talks about how the NY Times defines presidential mandates. Seems that if a Republican wins the presidential election, they have not been given a mandate (even when Reagan won by 18%!), but if a Democrat wins, they do have a mandate. Hmmm.

Back Home

After attending church in Des Moines and then getting some lunch at Jill's Grandma's house (had to finish off some left overs), we headed home. The boys did great in the Sunday school at her church. Isaac's only crying fit was when he got a diaper change, so that was good.

We took a slightly longer route going home by heading north on I-35 and then over on US-20 through Waterloo and Dubuque. Illinois doubled the toll rates for anyone without an I-Pass, and since we're I-Pass-less, that would have meant nearly $2 in tolls instead of $1. Not a lot, but we probably only added a few minutes to our trip by avoiding the I-80 to I-88 route that would have included the tax. The boys travelled GREAT, though the last half hour included some sobbing. Jill asked if I remembered having a trip not end in an emotional breakdown for the last half hour. I told her that I did, but it predated kids. No complaints though, it could be a LOT worse. Found a DQ in Dyersville, IA with a very small tube set-up, just enough to keep the boys occupied and burn off some energy.

Got to our house about 9:30 after switching vehicles with Jill's folks (we can't travel with the dog due to allergies, just too much in a confined space, and the dog sheds a lot in the car). I checked in with my Folding@Home score, and I picked up almost 2,000 points over the weekend!! A bunch of computers sitting around with nothing to do but fold, how great is that? I'm in the top 500 for Team Mac OS X (over 2400 on the team), and I'm moving up! Competition is so good!

Hope you all had a great New Year celebration! We were awake for ringing in the new year, Isaac woke up crying at 11:30 and Jill crawled back into bed at 11:55. By 12:05, no one was awake, but, hey, we got to mumble, "Happy New Year" to each other!

Saturday, January 01, 2005

Posting from Des Moines

Well, I never got the bluetooth/USB dongle to work with the borrowed laptop, so I'm posting on a dual 2.5 ghz Power Mac at the Apple Store at Jordan Creek in Des Moines. This morning we woke up to a beautiful layer of ice on everything. The roads were pretty clear by the time we left the hotel at 10:30, but getting to the car and out of the parking lot was pretty treacherous. Since the roads were good, we decided to come out here to Jordan Creek, and I'm glad we did, first because I get to hang at the only Apple Store in IA, and second because this place is dead (the whole mall, not just this store). I think that's all weather related, though. People aren't willing to venture out yet. Having a front wheel drive is a wonderful thing, though.

The bluetooth dongle thing seems to have trashed the OS on the Win 98 machine I'm borrowing. My guess is that something went whacko during the install of the software, as it seems to have trashed any type of access to the internet. Ah, the joys of Windows. Looking forward to being home as far as computers go. I was hoping to finish up an online class on Dreamweaver yesterday, but it didn't happen. I decided to give up when I realized that my computer frustrations were finding a small outlet on the kids. By dumping the goal of completing it this weekend, its made the whole weekend more enjoyable for everyone. That's a headline: Windows Hurts Families. I'll bet there are a few families out there that can testify to that.

Well, I'm going to wander a bit now, Blog Ya Later!