Friday, January 28, 2005

Re: The Continuing Acts of the Apostles?

Note: Please open the original post (in a new tab, if you've got 'em)0 here. I promise you it's worth the read, and, as this post started out as just a comment on that blog, I'm assuming you've read that post.

Thank you, Sazzly, for calling my attention to the article.

First of all, I’m not charismatic, but I also don’t think I’m a cessationists. I do believe that in Heb 6:5, “the powers of the age to come” refers to spectacular miraculous signs performed at the establishment of the Church in order to show that it was a work of God. I do not believe such signs have “ceased1,” though they occur more often on the frontiers of the gospel, where there is no pre-existing testimony of the Church. Those powers are not of this “age,” but are of one to come, i.e., Christ’s physical reign on the earth, where disease, hunger, poverty, [insert your favorite effect of sin here], etc. will be done away with. That said, the Christian walk is rife with daily miracles and works of the spirit.

Second, I will first (er--wait... Bah! Whatever...) address a couple of the other comments:

Anonymous #1: Peter’s The Kingdom's “keys” were not given to any of the other apostles (note the use of the singular “thee” in less-modern (but more precise) translations, even though the other disciples are present), and so this discussion is not of apostleship, but rather, authority that pertains to (as we see in the exercise of this authority in the book of Acts) opening the door of the gospel to new groups of people. The Reformation's rejection of popery2 was a rejection of the idea that this was transferable to a successor, and its motto “Sola Scriptura” would indicate that the Word of God, not the teachings of men, even though taught in His name, is the standard by which we measure everything else (“for thou hast magnified thy word above all thy name” –Ps 138:2).

Windblown3: I think your reduction of cessationism to simple deism is rather harsh, and not at all true. The purpose of the gifts is “for the perfecting of the saints; with a view to the work of the ministry, with a view to the edifying of the body of Christ; until we all arrive at the unity of the faith and of the knowledge of the Son of God, at the full-grown man, at the measure of the stature of the fulness of the Christ.” (Eph 4:12-13) Most Christians who you lump into the category of “cessationalists” simply object to the Spirit-on-demand, spectacular showyness, emotion-driven worship (rather than vice-versa), contra-scriptural revelations, etc. that seem to characterize charismatics.

Finally... *Ahem*

What is the purpose of this discussion? What I mean is, suppose we had a fool-proof Boolean test that could be applied to a person to answer the question, “is this person an apostle?” What then? Until we define ‘apostle,’ or more specifically, the roles of an apostle, I don’t believe we’ll get very far in terms of identifying who is and who isn’t, and whether or not they're still around.

“Apostle” just means “one who is sent” in Greek. To my knowledge it is not uniquely Christian, however, it seems to have special meaning(s) within the context of Christianity. The most obvious is that there is a special twelve-member group of apostles, which was already discussed in the original post, seems to be the same group mentioned in Rev 21:14, and Mat 19:28. Judas was replaced not because he died, but because he betrayed Jesus (Acts 1:16-20), so the notion that at any point in history there are or should be exactly twelve living apostles belonging to this group is false.

Beyond the twelve, there are also others who are called ‘apostles’ by Scripture and who are indeed sent by God. But is that it? Or is there another dimension to those (or perhaps some of those) who are called apostles in scripture?

As far as I can tell, the only reason we might ascribe such an especially high status to apostleship is that Paul was an apostle, and many of his letters to churches and individuals are in the canon of Scripture. But does this necessarily mean anything to our definition of an apostle, or is it something unique to the particular role Paul was called (as an apostle) to play? Were John Mark, Luke, James, and Jude necessarily apostles, since they all wrote Scripture? I think this group is better defined by the term ‘prophets,’ or better yet “holy men of God” (2 Pet 1:20). Must an apostle be one who has a special revelation from God? Could Paul’s assertion of apostleship (“Am I not an apostle?” -1 Cor 9:1) be merely taken as, “Was I not sent to you by God?” and stand parallel to his freedom as a Christian, his special commission from Jesus, his role in bringing the gospel to the Corinthians. Verse 2 could then be paraphrased, “Even if I wasn’t sent by God to anyone else, you can’t deny that it was He who sent me to you.” Therefore the Corinthians were to heed what Paul said, just as the Ninevites to Jonah, or Israel to their Messiah (Deut 18:15).

What special deference should we grant to one whom we recognize as an apostle?

Are apostles infallible? No, as was pointed out, Peter (Gal 2:11-13) was in the wrong, and led others astray by his wrongdoing.

Do they alleviate our need to be taught by the Spirit through Scripture? Certainly not! The Bereans were commended for confirming what was taught to them by comparing the Apostles’ teaching to the Scriptures. (See also: Ps 138:2)

So what is it exactly that an apostle does that differs from, say, an elder?

One difference I see is that an elder is appointed within the context of a local church, that is, if Mr. X is an elder at his home church, he is not an elder when he visits another church. This is not the case with spiritual gifts, which are given to the whole Church. Therefore an evangelist is an evangelist no matter what context he is in, as a pastor4 is to shepherd God's people everywhere he finds them, an apostle is in every situation an apostle, etc. (Eph 4:11-13). It is certainly possible—and indeed quite likely—that an elder also have spiritual gift(s) and exercise them as a compliment to his elder-role.

Another role I see as apostolic is in the establishment of leadership in a new church, i.e., the appointment of elders and deacons in new churches. That is, perhaps an apostle is one who looks after churches in a similar way that shepherds (“pastors”) look after individual Christians.

If this is true, then I tend to agree with what Diane said, that “Most missionaries are evangelists, a few are apostles” and I would add that apostleship seems to be most active in arenas with emerging churches (the “mission field”) where new churches full of new believers need guidance and accountability that cannot yet be found from within.

This post is merely the product of an evening of thought and I welcome and encourage any input and further ponderings on the subject.

0 Yay for Firefox!
1 As in "cessationists"
2 Sadly, in contrast, the Reformation's rejection of potpourri has fallen by the wayside to most of modern Christendom.
3 Good to know he can laugh at himself. (Eph 4:14)
4 In contemporary American culture, "pastor" often means one of the leaders of a church (or the *shudder* only */shudder* one). This can be confusing, because technically he should be called an elder (or in some cases a teacher).

Thursday, January 27, 2005

More Internet Quizzes

Sorry, readers. I wasn't going to post these, because I just did an Internet quiz post, but when I took them, they fit so perfectly with this blog, that I couldn't resist. I promise I'll have a real post sometime soon.

You're Spain!
You like rain on the plain, as well as interesting architecture and a diverse number of races and religions. You like to explore a lot, but sailing, especially in large groups, never really seems to work out for you. Beware of pirates and dictators bearing bombs. And for heavens' sake, stop running around bulls! It's just not safe! Take the Country Quiz at the Blue Pyramid

You're California!
In many ways, you are larger than life and almost defy description. You certainly love to shake, rattle, and roll with the best of them. You have a generally sunny disposition, but are capable of resorting to harsh extremes when pressed. You are more likely than most to become rich, or famous, or perhaps both. While you have the golden touch in so many regards, your respect for actors is a little over-zealous. This endless faith in actors needs to be terminated. Take the State Quiz at the Blue Pyramid.


Anteayer, sacó mis discos compactos de MP3 de mi coche para poder ver cuales discos ya tengo quemado en los, y quemar otros, que tienen mi música más nueva. Entonces, por estos dos días, cuando estaba manejando, escuché la radio. Cuando vivía en el área de Los Angeles, yo tenía que usar todos los botones de mi estéreo, incluyendo los de FM1, FM2, y FM3 para contener todas las estaciones que me gustaba escuchar. Pero aquí en Seattle, no hay tantas estaciones. De los pocos que tocan música que me gusta, la mayoría tienen DJs aburridos o quesosos1. Hay poco para escuchar en éste ciudad. Tengo tres razones de escribir en español aquí:
  • Vi fotos de Anna con quien me gusta hablar en español.
  • Cuando devolví mis discos a mi coche, puse mi disco de música latina en el tocadiscos, y lo escuché cuando manejé.
  • ¡No hay estaciones que tocan música en español en este pueblo desolado de Dios!
Gracias a David ("El Programador") por hacer su programa que hace fácil la puntuación español.

1 Esto en realidad no es una palabra, pero mi hermanita y yo la usamos en español para querer decir 'cheesy.'

Friday, January 21, 2005

Weird Nerd Loser Die!

Here are some quizzes I took. I'm looking forward to their upcoming "Nerd Type" quiz, as well as what appears to be a Meyers-Briggs temperament sorter, though in the latter case this has more to do with the proliferation of "all the ISPQFCs."0
What is your weird quotient? Click to find out!I am nerdier than 80% of all people. Are you nerdier? Click here to find out!
I am 82% loser. What about you? Click here to find out!I am going to die at 78. When are you? Click here to find out!
I'm more weird than Krud, if you can imagine that.

Since someone asked (and for a while I appeard to be begging), yes, it is possible to post comment without an account1. You click on the "# comments" link at the bottom (if this is the main page), then on "Post a comment." If you don't have an account, post as Anonymous (some people chose to sign their names at the bottom of their comments).

I am pleased to report that Steph is slowly caving in to the pressure, so keep it up, all of you.

I'm planning on flying to eastern Canada at the end of next month, eh? Well, not flying there, but flying near there and then driving the rest of the way3.

0 I'm pretty sure this doesn't stand for 'Internet Service Provider - Quality Food Centers'.

1 The lack of this feature is why I don't like Xanga. How will he ever find out that in Firefox, Netscape 4, Netscape 7, and Opera, his page has no right margin (but it does in MSIE) if I can't tell him?

2 Hey, look at that! A footnote that isn't referenced anywhere.

3 I think the airports are all frozen over. That, or the control towers melted.

Wednesday, January 19, 2005

*sigh* Shameless... */sigh*1

That last post was intended to distract from my insecurities about the previous two posts. The first one of which, I was rather distressed about becuase it failed to elicit any immediate reader response, and the first thing I always want to do with my moments of clarification is share them with other people, both in order to get outside points of view, and to spread it around and get more people thinking about it. In my next post, I essayed the reasons for such a dearth, among those stated or alluded to:

  • Apathy - people read it, but didn't care enough to make a comment
  • Boredom - people started reading it, but got bored and chose to do something else
  • Finger Paralysis - an inability to type due to lack of digital control
  • Two broken wrists - I only know one person who's done this recently enough for it to be a semi-valid excuse
  • No one actually reads my blog - so who is there to post comments?
  • Inability to understand - no one wants to betray their ignorance or lack of expertise
  • The post was incoherent - this guy is all over the place; I can't make heads or tails of what he says
  • Too many footnotes - scroll wheel fatigue (index figer? eyes?)2
  • I'm intimidating - and anything you say will be flatly refuted in no uncertain terms because I am mean!
  • Nothing to say - I said it perfectly, why should there be any need for comments?
  • Too abstract - High on the stack, and therefore not interesting to practical people
Having thus explored all these reasons, after sleeping, I re-read my post, and for someone who doesn't know me very well, I could readily see how this post would sound mean-spirited and condescending, as if I believed I had been somehow wronged by the reader's stupidity and wanted get even with them.

I was really making fun of my own knee-jerk reactions, for the most part. It's a way of laughing at myself. A sort of argument from absurdity, in which I assume something rediculous ("It's not me...") and come up with a bunch of bizzare conclusions based upon it (" it must be everyone else."). The key to "getting it" is in this case realizing what's going on. I present you with two possible conclusions: (1) this guy is nuts, (2) this guy is joking. If you don't know me, you might just come to the wrong conclusion.

Anyway, so then I went and posted that picture of The Stephanator, taken by Caleb (of Mr. TLIC), subconciously hoping it would all blow over and no one would notice or ever mention Calvinism again. I hate doing that (but hey, it worked, right?), so I'm laying all my cards on the table in hopes that I can still get some feedback on the Calvinism thing, people still understand (indeed now I think they have too much information) what's going on in my head, and no one thinks I'm mean and runs away.

Incidentally, here's the photo out of which that last post was taken, although Hello shrinks it a bit (The evil eyes in the last post are full res, however):

1I am intentionally trying to start a trend in blogging and general Internet use. Astrix Markup LanguageTM--okay not really. How about we make it an open source standard convention (or, say, "*ML") has been used for eons (in Internet time) to communicate what someone is doing: *sigh*, *cough*, *backing away from computer*, *puts on tin foil hat*, *smiles nervously*, *twiddles thumbs*, etc. What I have been doing is extending this by allowing for the expression to span something else, in the same way that simple markup languages for printer output evolved, developing many of the tags that we still use today in HTML.
2 A trick I learned for keeping my place is to select (click and drag over) a few words near the note so I don't have any trouble finding my place after I read the note.

Tuesday, January 18, 2005

Found lurking in the background....

Sorry, Steph...

A pep talk to my [reader(s)?]

Well I guess that discussion struck the whole Internet with apathy, boredom, or finger paralysis. Is the server down? Lisa is the only one excused--unless she has one of those squishy wrist-rest thingies (then she's not). Not that I have any evidence that she actually reads my blog (This fits in with my above (arrogant) implication that the whole Internet community watches this space with bated breath). I really do appreciate comments (no pity/guilt comments, please; those aren't appreciated--I'm simply sharing my feelings and don't expect you to fix them1). I post things on my blog because in order to make my thoughts coherent2 I have to process them, and they become more developed and fleshed out. I also post because I want to share what's important to me with others. I do this with the assumption that those who read what I write will process the same, and that said processing will produce equally valuable feedback, which may be posted via comments hereto appended.3

To be fair, I didn't actually "compose" the previous post in the way that I normally compose, and it may have been hard to follow for all but the most determined readers who also didn't mind scrolling up and down constantly to match up my superscript note numbers. I had hoped that in the previous post my jokes and allusions, as well as the serious subject matter, would provide enough balance (although now that I think about it, almost everything in that post occurs in the left hemisphere of the brain) to keep enough of you going. Also in retrospect, encouraging you to read two articles in the course of reading my post seems to have high distraction potential and time commitment factors.

Am I intimidating? Do I give the impression that if you disagree with me I will pounce at you and bite your intellectual head off? I know what it is: I always do such a thorough and concise job of encapsulating whatever it is that I talk about, that a comment would just distract from the--HA! I caught you thinking of a retort. What excellent comment fodder that would make!

Speaking of intellectual heads, I have noticed that my blog tends to be about that a lot--what goes on up yonder in the gray goo. I'm an INTP4, and I like to talk about ideas and all their intricacies, and what happens when one idea meets another idea and whether or not and how they play nice together. Fact is, most of you aren't likely to relate to what I say unless I make it somehow practical.

Aaaugh! It's late! I'm tired, so I'm going to abandon this post in its current state. I went to Starbuck's twice5 yesterday, and while it didn't prevent me from sleeping, I think all that caffeine in my system made my rest uneasy. Anyway, I ended up sleeping in until 9:20. I don't normally do coffee; I'm a social drinker.

1 Listen to me! I sound like a woman!

2Oh, go ahead! Comment all you want on how incoherent my posts are. There! I spoiled it for you. How unoriginal you are! Why don't you sulk and pout and give me the silent treatment. Oh, that's real mature! (Actually I would be interested to know if any of this (not this note--it sounds like a raving, bitter, lunatic) is coming across.)

3 I here refer to insightful comments, but no less valuable are the funny, provocative, strange, helpful, warm, quid-pro-quo, consescending, , sarcastic, arrogant--oh, wait, that's just me-- inside jokes, comments of agreement, disagreement, apathy, encouragement, surprise, disgust... the list goes on. In general, a good comment is one that shares what goes through your head when you read a post. That's the only way a community exists: feedback.

4 This page contains an interesting article explaining the subtle differences between INTPs (me) and INTJs (beck, sazzly), and sheds some light on why, in addition to gender differences, I might come across more "brainy" than they in the ways that we tend communicate. For a more basic overview of what the heck all those letters mean, you might try this site. Better yet, if you really want to know what it's all about, you'll want to read Please Understand Me II.

5 A Caramel Frappuccino in the morning, and a Caramel Macciato in the evening.

Saturday, January 15, 2005

Calvinism discussion

Some of you1 wanted me to clarify my statement concerning Calvinism. I have only recently been considering it, but just now I had an interesting AIM chat with a friend, with whom, among others, I'd been discussing it, and I think it sheds at least a little light on what my views are. I present the relevant portion here, with the names changed to protect the innocent, in otherwise unedited2 form.

friend (10:57:19 PM): hey, how's it going?  
me (10:57:38 PM): okay  
friend (10:58:03 PM): that doesn't sound too positive.  
me (10:58:14 PM): it's not too negative either3  
me (10:58:20 PM): it's just... okay  
me (10:58:34 PM): it is a weekend. that's good  
me (10:58:37 PM): :-)  
friend (10:58:53 PM): I am just reading an article referred to me by a friend.  
friend (10:59:01 PM): s/freewill.html4  
friend (11:03:40 PM): what are your thoughts?  
me (11:03:59 PM): i'm not finished reading it yet. just a sed  
me (11:04:03 PM): sec  
me (11:13:01 PM): I like the distinction made, that our actions are always consistent with our nature  
me (11:13:28 PM): and that God does not force our actions, nor break our will, but gives a a new nature, a new heart  
friend (11:13:49 PM): so we have a free will, but our will is always to sin.  
me (11:13:58 PM): that, i think is the key to what I object to in what is often taught from calvinism5  
me (11:14:05 PM): correct  
me (11:14:21 PM): and that is a result of a corrupted heart/nature  
friend (11:15:18 PM): I think it presents a more realistic view of the five points.  
me (11:15:46 PM): i agree  
me (11:16:41 PM): ?id=1036  
me (11:16:47 PM): tell me what you think of that  
friend (11:25:32 PM): it makes some interesting points, but I think it fails to address many of the verses raised by "five point Calvinists"  
me (11:26:14 PM): i think he points out a lot of the weaknesses of the "system"  
me (11:26:45 PM): i don't think we can wrap such a system around the interaction that occurs between God and man  
friend (11:28:25 PM): god is sovereign and man is ultimately responsible.  
me (11:29:57 PM): the other fault i have with a lot of the explanations that are out there is that they have a strictly linear view of time.
me (11:30:37 PM): God is not in time
me (11:31:13 PM): his soverign will is brought out in spite of human free will***
(11:31:13 PM)
: but he did create it and defines things by it.
me (11:31:52 PM): he dances around our wills, and that of the demons to bend the result of the universe to his ultimate Glory
me (11:32:30 PM): the fact that he does it all while not breaking the things he has made is to his glory
me (11:32:51 PM): it surprised me to learn that Satan is never 'killed'7
me (11:33:31 PM): he's a spirit, and God had created him, so He will not unmake him
friend (11:33:52 PM): have you ever asked your dad about this issue?
me (11:34:09 PM): He will in stead show His glory by working out His perfect will in a corrupted universe while Satan runs wild
me (11:34:35 PM): I spoke about it with him while I was home after conference
friend (11:35:18 PM): I was sort of surprised when I first talked to him about it.
me (11:35:29 PM): well, he thinks he's a calvinist
me (11:36:42 PM): calvinism is a very good approximation of the truth. i just don't think it expresses it fully
friend (11:37:00 PM): I think it just addresses a particular issue.
me (11:37:29 PM): and it does, but it is unbalanced, and tends to overshadow valuable truths
me (11:37:35 PM): like human free will
me (11:37:52 PM): and the genuine offer of salvation that Christ makes to every human being
me (11:39:39 PM): i'm mostly a calvinist. you could say I'm a calvinist with a few provisos
friend (11:40:26 PM): I am just thankful that I am Christian:-)
me (11:40:34 PM): exactly
me (11:41:03 PM): one says, "i am of calvin,"
me (11:41:17 PM): another "i am of arminius"
friend (11:41:24 PM): another says, "I am of Darby."
me (11:41:31 PM): exactly
me (11:42:13 PM): and there's always that "i belive what the bible says" 'high' road, "i am of christ"8
me (11:42:33 PM): we are all of one spirit
friend (11:43:47 PM): I think there is a good verse9 in joshua. The one about "but as for me and my house, we will serve the Lord." the first part of that verse is good too.
me (11:45:56 PM): Jos 5:13 Now it came about when Joshua was by Jericho, that he lifted up his eyes and looked, and behold, a man was standing opposite him with his sword drawn in his hand, and Joshua went to him and said to him, "Are you for us or for our adversaries?"
Jos 5:14 He said, "No; rather I indeed come now as captain of the host of the LORD." And Joshua fell on his face to the earth, and bowed down, and said to him, "What has my lord to say to his servant?"

1 One of you in particular, Caleb
2 Although I did mark it up with some notes
3 Hey, a note! see! Anyone get the Family Guy reference?
4 I encourage you to read this article so that you will know what we're talking about
5 Please note that I have left the timestamps in intentionally so that it will give you a clue as to what was said in response to (or continuation of) what.
6 Please also read this article, for the same reason stated above. Update: the link is dead: the article is "Born By The Railroad Tracks: Confessions of a Zero-Point Calvinist" by J.B. Nicholson Jr. An editorial from the Oct 1999 issue of Uplook magazine. As of 5/2006 it can be found at
7 God never destroys immortal beings, including you. Sometimes the only way to accomplish this is to banish them forever from his presence. That is what I believe consitiutes hell.
8 That is, without ever specifying what it is that one thinks the Bible says. BTW, we are both alluding to this:
1Co 1:10 Now I exhort you, brethren, by the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that you all agree and that there be no divisions among you, but that you be made complete in the same mind and in the same judgment.
1Co 1:11 For I have been informed concerning you, my brethren, by Chloe's people, that there are quarrels among you.
1Co 1:12 Now I mean this, that each one of you is saying, "I am of Paul," and "I of Apollos," and "I of Cephas," and "I of Christ."
1Co 1:13 Has Christ been divided? Paul was not crucified for you, was he? Or were you baptized in the name of Paul?
9 Jos 24:15 "If it is disagreeable in your sight to serve the LORD, choose for yourselves today whom you will serve: whether the gods which your fathers served which were beyond the River, or the gods of the Amorites in whose land you are living; but as for me and my house, we will serve the LORD."
This verse follows from the lesson that Joshua learned that the nature of God is not decided by majority vote, rather it is the only true constant. As I later articulated,
me (11:52:34 PM): we are on His side if we obey him. that is it.
*** For a good explanation of this kind of thing, see "Appendix B: On 'Special Providences'" in C.S. Lewis' Miracles.

Friday, January 14, 2005

I finished reading that book

Note: if you click above on the title, you will be linked to the closest thing I could find (it appears to be a different edition (I read the third edition), and from the looks of it, it's been adapted to better fit the market on this side of the pond, but that's probably mostly just the cover art talking) on amazon.0

I finished my book about English. I enjoyed reading it very much, although I must admit the parts concerning events over a hundred years ago were a lot more comfortable for me to read than the more recent sections. The reason being, that along with all of the usual interesting nuances and developments, it was charged with controversy of interpretation. Where our language is going next, and how it will get there, is a political, economic, social, and cultural battle being waged by forces beyond the control af any one person or group of people. Will English decay into mutually unintelligible dialects, but still be preserved in its dead form as a lingua franca for diplomacy and trade? Will an international standard be enforced through legislation, only to stifle its further evolution, rendering it unfit for the task of expressing new innovations in culture, and technology? Meh!1

Writing in the 80's the authors had no idea what the Internet would do for English. The closest they came was describing an age of "satellites and telefax." The state of linguistics in the 80's (what with the newfangled tape recorders) was fascinated with oral communication. For now, at least, the state of technology seems optimized for written communication. I predict that in the future the Internet will become more and more of a multimedia experience, but I am unable to say to what extent text will remain its primary venue (with corporations and a few individuals supplying the bulk multimedia content), thus retaining written language the primary means of actual individual expression, or even begin to describe the rate at which this will happen. Not that the whole internet is in English. I'm very glad it's not, or I wouldn't get to practice any of my Spanish in this God-forsaken cauldron of assimilation known as the state of Washington. Come to think of it, I haven't been to a Spanish website in forever.

*Sigh* I still do listen to my Spanish CDs, but I haven't added to the collection since I've been up here. There aren't any good stations, and so I never hear any new songs that I like. I should start listening to Spanish pop music streams on my computer. */Sigh*2

If you stepped into a time machine3 and got out in the 1980's, I think you would be able to readily explain that "blog" is a term that will be coined around the turn of the century, and that it means a diary transmitted over a computer network, hence its etymology ("web-log"), but would have great difficulty explaining the context of blog, given that today's Internet is nothing like anything ever thought of before4.

I also can't predict cataclysmic cultural upheavals, which play a big role in linguistics. War has fallen out of fashion as a means of spreading language culture, at least in the conventional ways of annihilation, conquest, colonialism, imperialism, and--oh, that's right: now we've graduated to "nation-building."

Writing, in whatever language or dialect, will I think never lose its importance. It is no longer necessary for communicating over time, but it is the simplest way to deliberately compose. 5Other compositions (besides oral composition--which doesn't work too well if your brain leaks like a seive) are usually made first in writing, tried out, edited, and then presented as a whole. Plus, all you really need is a semi-flat surface and a marking implement.

0My apologies for nested parentheses to those of you who don't write code for a living.
1Even now I contribute to the inevitable decay. w00t!
2Not a typo.
3one that travels backwards (these are a bit harder to make than the forward kind)
4to corroborate or debunk this claim, consult science fiction archives over 10 years old
5for example, this entry has taken over an hour to compose (which is why I wish the "Time and Date" field at the bottom was dynamic--it's pretty simple to implement in JavaScript) during which time I have added footnotes, inserted and re-ordered paragraphs, and in general formed the chaos resultant from hacking my mind into the beautifully crystallized, perfect, and coherent work of literature you see here. (I will not accept the Pulitzer, but please feel free to make all the cash donations you wish).

Thursday, January 13, 2005

Wednesday, January 12, 2005

Two Near-Death Experiences Within 5 Minutes

"For God speaks once, yea twice, yet man perceives it not."~Job 33:14 No, it wasn't me. It was a contractor at work. He has a 3-month-old BMW--correction: had--now he has a blue clump of metal. On his way to work this morning he lost control due to some slippery pavement and flew off a cliff. Luckily, there were trees, one of which his car wrapped itself around, bending his passenger door almost to his knee, then he rolled a little further and finally stopped. He would've been trapped in his car and likely not found for a while because of how far off the road he had fallen (when he returned to the scene, all he could see from the road was light from one of the tail lights blinking). Fortunately, his driver's side window rolled down and when he looked out he saw open air. So he grabbed his badge from work1 and slipped out head-first. Then a tree that he'd hit fell on him--almost. It stopped inches before it hit his head because it hit other trees. He described the trunk as over a foot thick. So he scrambled up the cliff, got back onto the road, and walked to a QFC over a mile away, where apparently his cell phone got decent enough reception to call the police. They had to use two tow trucks to pull the car out and shut down the whole road to do it. He showed us pictures of his car at the impound yard. It looks as if a metal-eating T-rex took several bites out of the passenger side. So I show up to work this morning, and in my inbox is an e-mail from my boss saying that this guy wouldn't be in until about noon because he was having a bit of car trouble. Apparently he had called in and told my boss that he had a bit of a fender-bender. Talk about understatements! Anyway, that's all anyone knew until he showed up, true to his word, at about noon. He was perfectly fine--not a scratch on his body (he refused several offers to be taken to the doctor to get checked out), just some grass stains on his pants from when he'd scrambled back up to the road, and someone spotted a glass shard that was still under his eye. 1Hey, he's a contractor. If he doesn't work, he doesn't get paid.

Friday, January 07, 2005

Gas Prices

Beat that!


Last week I was randomly1 selected by God to preach the gospel. We were all hanging out at the meeting2 room drinking caffeinated beverages, and in general just hanging out. Trevor3 and I were discussing Calvinism4, when Todd5 walks up and informs us that he hadn't thrown enough musical acts together for the night, and so could one of us please give a talk tonight.

Trevor, disengaging as usual, immediately backed out, leaving me half an hour to prepare to be the mouthpiece of God. I know He planned it that way. It was probably the only way to get me humble enough to be usable for such a task.

Calvinism Tangent:
I think I'm a zero-point Calvinist. Please don't accuse me of being an Arminian6. Both Calvinism and Arminianism are inadequate systems, although Calvinism has the lofty distinction of being 'less wrong.' Yay for it. People thought Galileo and Kepler were describing totally different physical laws (terrestrial and celestial, respectively) until Newton came along and showed that there was one system that perfectly fit both. Newtonian physics and Electromagnetism were at first thought to be incompatible, but along came Einstein: the two fields of physics were shown based on a higher paradigm of theoretical physics to be only parts of the truth--and not entirely accurate. (Okay, how many of you have I lost at this point?) Calvinism/Arminianism is the same kind of false dichotomy: two separate systems that contradict each other, but each seems to describe reality. The reason is that the lesser systems only focus on a small fraction of the truth and people come to the conclusion that it's the whole system. Like the story of the blind men and the elephant7. A little knowledge is a dangerous thing.

I'm off my pulpit now. Where was I? Oh yes, I was just about to preach... This was the first time I can remember giving a Gospel sermon. I was a little shocked when it came out. The notes that I had prepared were along a slightly different path than where my words went. They both started in the same spot: Ephesians 2:8, "by grace you have been saved through faith; and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God; not as a result of works, so that no one may boast." My notes went on to Colossians 2:11-13 where it is explained that God imparts life to us when we are dead in our transgressions8, and that is where my talk went. My main point was that God has provided absolutely everything. This is because nothing we can ever do apart from Him is of any benefit whatsoever. This has many implications. I told the story of how I had come to accept Christ, and how I had at foolishly thought that I had to "be somebody"--to better myself--to be worthy, or valuable, or useful, and how this only served to delay my action. God doesn't want us to try to rely on ourselves. It's His job to conform us to Christ, and our efforts only produce false piety, which has to be amputated sooner or later (first he tries the easy ways, then the hard ways).

I definitely feel that the Lord is calling me to serve him by speaking. He's letting me know in a way that only He can by pushing and nudging at different circumstances in my life, some subtle, and some quite overt. This was preaching--I much prefer teaching--but that day He used it to change someone's life, and it was the most encouraging, awe-inspiring, humbling thing of the whole trip.

1in the random-access sense of the word
2in the Sunday-go-to-meeting sense of the word
3in the Texan-Canadian sense of the word
4in the religious sense of the word. Sorry to disappoint, Bill Watterson fans
5"Our Todd is an awesome Todd/He reigns/from a porcelain throne"--don't ask
6Not in the ethnic sense, though I'm not that either: a partisan of Jacobus Arminius (1560 - 1609)
7The short version: some blind men were given an opportunity to experience what an elephant is like, which none of them had ever heard about before. One claimed it was like a tree trunk, one described it like a snake, another a wall, and another a rope, and still another a curtain.
8sins; breaking [God's] laws; no-no's

Thursday, January 06, 2005


I'm finding it physically difficult to type. The fingers on my left hand simply won't go where I tell them to go. It comes from setting a volleyball hundreds of times on end. Tonight I joined a volleyball team, which will play in a company league for 10 weeks starting at the end of the month or so. It worked out well, because I've been wanting to get some exercise, and this came up on my one totally-free weeknight. I've been a bit busy lately so I haven't been running. This morning it snowed--not sleet or freezing rain--actual nickel and dime-sized flakes lazily floating all around me on the way to my car. It had just started when I left my apartment. I live on a hill, and so I was cautious going down. The snow had accumulated about half an inch by the time I left it (it was only really snowing at the top of the hill). I don't have chains yet. The natives (Klassens, Osborns) have absolved themselves of their obligation by putting me on notice that I need some.

Wednesday, January 05, 2005


Okay I'm doing a little better with Hello. This is my parents' dog. They've been empty-nesting ever since this summer, so they decided to replace us kids' with a canine. She's cute, though, so we don't mind. She's a chocolate brown lab.

The house

That was annoying. Normally i set up my chat programs so that pressing enter makes a carriage return. Not so with Hello. Apparently it also doesn't like more than one picture per post. At least, I haven't figured that part out. I suppose I can always go back to the entries and touch them up a bit. We (the whole lot of us you see up there (plus Caleb, the photographer, who you don't see) went shooting on the one good day. I was in California visiting my family and attending an annual church conference. The irony is, it rained (and even snowed where I was--this is the house my parents are building in Tehachapi) almost every day. Since I've returned to Washington, I've had bright, clear weather. Posted by Hello Of course, when it gets clear up here this time of year, everything freezes. Yesterday evening was spent rearranging the furniture in my room so that I could move my bed away from the heater, rendering it usable.
Hello? Posted by Hello

The Stephanator and her .38

I don't have much time for this post, but as my public has been clamoring for an update, I shall have to appease them. There's no way I'm going into everything that happened over Christmas, that may come later. Or, it might not. I'm finding that if I don't specifically purpose to blog, nothing happens. Posted by Hello