Saturday, December 20, 2008

A Mac Guy in a Windows World

I'm a Mac user at heart. I have a couple Macs at home, but my work is a Microsoft Windows shop through and through (read: not open to non-Microsoft solutions in reality). But being that I'm actively a user in both 'realms' as well as using Linux too, I think that MacOS does have the interface that stays out of your way far beyond a Linux (Gnome or KDE) or Windows systems.

Before anyone rolls their eyes and brings in their experience with Macs from 10 years ago, or everything sucks but Windows (though they didn't like it enough to pay for it, so they pirate their Windows OS and apps), or that their relative has a Mac and it sucks (because they are treating it like Windows machine and that doesn't work)...just remember that these are my opinions, and these are what allow me to get work done without having to concern myself with maintaining a Windows machine constantly.

So, these applications listed below are how I make my life on Windows much more tolerable by saving myself tons of time and money. This list, I believe, would be useful to people regardless of their affinity for Macs. One recommendation that I'll offer before my list is that people look into and start heavily using Google's suite of online applications (Web-mail, RSS reader, office apps, mapping, calendaring, collaboration, blogging, video-chat, etc.). Honestly, if you are using Google's applications on a standards-built web-browser like Firefox...it really doesn't matter what operating system you use.

OK...I'm done with my meager soap-box...on to the list!!! This list contains traditional applications, online applications, and frameworks that tie the two together.


Creative Applications:

Drawing and Illustrating: Inkscape (Windows, Linux, MacOS)
Vector Graphics Editor, similar to Adobe Illustrator, that strives to be SVG Compliant.
http://www.inkscape.org/

Photo Touch-up and Image Manipulation: GIMP - Gnu Image Manipulation Program (Windows, Linux, MacOS)
Image edit, analogue to Adobe Photoshop.
http://www.gimp.org/

DVD/Video Encoder: Handbrake (Windows, Linux, MacOS)
Video transcoder, and DVD ripper.
http://handbrake.fr/

Photo Management: Picasa (Windows, Linux, and now MacOS too!)
Simple photo management tool with build in touch-up features. Similar to Apple iPhoto. Also includes a new image viewer on Windows that is FAR better than the one Windows by default uses.
http://picasa.google.com/

Music Management: iTunes (Windows, MacOS)
In my opinion this is still the best, no-nonsense audio jukebox player available.
http://www.apple.com/itunes/

Audio Editing: Audacity (Windows, Linux, MacOS)
Audio editor.
http://audacity.sourceforge.net/


Productivity Applications and General Use:

Productivity: OpenOffice (Windows, Linux, MacOS)
Office productivity suite that is similar to Microsoft Office.
http://www.openoffice.org/

Web-Browsing: Google Chrome (Windows)
Google's offering for a web-browser. It is fast and has a nice number of clever features.
http://www.google.com/chrome

Web-Browsing #2: Mozilla Firefox (Windows, Linux, MacOS)
Mozilla's speedy and versatile web-browser.
http://www.mozilla.com/en-US/

Email-Client: Mozilla Thunderbird (Windows, Linux, MacOS)
Mozilla's e-mail client. Now...that being said...if you use a Gmail...I'm not sure there is much use for this unless you just want all your e-mail while you are offline.
http://www.mozilla.com/en-US/products/thunderbird/

Mapping/Exploring: Google Earth (Windows, Linux, MacOS)
Lets you explore anything that gets a satellite picture take of it. It also now lets you explore the skies!
http://earth.google.com/


Games:

Runes of Magic (Windows)
Massively Multiplayer Online (MMO) Role-playing Game that is similar to World of Warcraft in gameplay.
http://www.runesofmagic.com/

Silkroad Online (Windows)
MMO playing on the history of trade-routes that existed between cultures in Asia.
http://silkroadcp.joymax.com/

Rappelz (Windows)
MMO that plays on the contrasts between light and dark forces in a medieval setting.
http://rappelz.gpotato.com/


System Tools and Utilities:

Anti-virus: AVG Free (Windows)
Free anti-virus software for non-commercial use.
http://free.avg.com/

Anti-spyware: Spybot Search & Destroy (Windows)
Anti-spyware utility
http://www.spybot.com/en/index.html

System "Tune up": CCleaner (Windows)
Cleans up temporary files all over Windows
http://www.ccleaner.com/

Disk Space: JDisk Report (Windows - uses Java)
Shows you where all the space is going on your disk.
http://www.jgoodies.com/freeware/jdiskreport/

Runtime: Java (Windows, Linux....MacOS already has it)
Allows you to run anything written in Java on your computer.
http://java.com/en/download/index.jsp

Defrag: AusLogics Disk Defrag (Windows)
A bit simpler and easier disk defragmentation tool.
http://www.auslogics.com/en/software/disk-defrag

Compressed Files: WinRAR (Windows, Linux, MacOS)
ZIP and RAR compressed file utility.
http://www.rarlab.com/

CD/DVD Burning: DeepBurner Free (Windows)
Free edition of their CD/DVD burning software.
http://www.deepburner.com/

PDF Printing: PDF Creator (Windows)
Allows you to print to a PDF file, instead of a printer, out of nearly any application.
http://www.pdfforge.org/products/pdfcreator


Development:

Eclipse (Windows, Linux, MacOS)
Development environment that uses plugins to expand its functionality across many platforms and languages.
http://www.eclipse.org/
Combine with the Aptana Studio plugins for rich PHP, Rails, and Ajax development.
http://www.aptana.com/



Web-based apps - available to all platforms:

Web-mail: Gmail
Google's web-based E-mail. Includes Google Chat, along with Google's new video-chat feature, which beats Skype in quality and integrates in with all the Google features. Google Labs has plugins that also extend the features of Gmail, allowing you to put your Google Calendar or Docs right on the same interface as your e-mail.
http://www.gmail.com/

Mapping: Google Maps
Google's maps and directions site
http://maps.google.com/

Productivity & Collaboration: Googe Docs
Google's online productivity suite - includes a word processor, spreadsheet, and presentation ability. Allows sharing and near-realtime collaboration.
http://docs.google.com/

Calendaring: Google Calendar
Probably the best calendar software on the web. Also allows sharing and publishing of calendars.
https://www.google.com/calendar/

News Reader / RSS: Google Reader
A fantastic RSS newsreader or blogreader. Allows sharing of news articles.
https://www.google.com/reader/

Photo Albums: Picasa Web
Google's online photo pages. Allows tagging of people and sharing of photos.
http://picasaweb.google.com/

Websites: Google Sites
Easy, template-driven website creation tool.
http://sites.google.com/

Blogging: Blogger
Google's simple and also template driven blogging tools.
http://www.blogger.com/

Social Network: Facebook
Whoa - advocating a non-Google web-app? This is a particularly good social network.
http://www.facebook.com/

Financial Planning: ClearCheckbook
A online money management tool.
https://www.clearcheckbook.com/

Fuel Economy: FuelClinic
Tracks you fuel economy for multiple vehicles.
http://www.fuelclinic.com/


Putting together the web + the desktop:

Google Gears (Windows: IE, Firefox, Chrome ... MacOS: Firefox, Safari)
Allows Google online apps to interact with the desktop and browser, offers offline functionality to Google Docs and other applications.
http://gears.google.com/

Thursday, December 04, 2008

The Notion of Entitlement Played Out in Public

Like most of the times that I drive in the Springfield area, a driver deliberately put himself in a position to endanger our lives and to 'teach' me a lesson about driving. I'm a person that drives the speed limit, or just over it, and pretty much obeys all the traffic laws. And for that (apparently) I must pay.

But it makes me think about the notion of entitlement around here, and actually pretty much anyplace else I've been in the United States. This is not a political commentary, and I'll warn people that might make it so that I really won't entertain those comments. But it seems to me that though it is clear every one struggles with their own sense of entitlement, it is not largely the impoverished that make their mark on anyone's day with whatever sense they might have. Instead it is the wealthy.

Notice how often the notion of 'living up to the standard by which they have become accustomed' is an issue in the media with the wealthy as they divorce. Look at the large amount of consuming, and observe when people take for granted what they consume...and who consumes the most.

So, last night when I had my life put in danger...it wasn't a person in a beater...or a person in a Honda Accord...or someone in a Chevy Blazer. It was a guy in a really nice looking, white Porche. I'm going too slow into Nixa...and he has places to go...so he needs to teach me a lesson by driving as close to my car as possible without hitting me, many times so close that I couldn't see his headlights...but could see him, note his hair color, and see that he was smoking a cigarette...all at 55MPH north of Tracker Rd.

He could have passed, but that wouldn't teach me to get out of his way with my pathetic little Honda Civic. Instead he chooses to drive that close from the 'bowl' on 160 north of Nixa all the way to the Wal-Mart parking lot. Needless to say...I didn't get out of the car and potentially be taught other lessons. So, I drove off.

But that seems to be the case on the road with people weaving in and out of traffic at 80 MPH on Hwy 65...Audis and BMWs...Hummers and Corvettes... All with places that they need to be before you. And they'll take your lawful driving to task to get where they need to go. Who are we kidding though? Most people in this area are horribly unlawful and inconsiderate when it comes to driving. So these people are just flat out excessively dangerous.

So thank you to all the coastal immigrants that bring up the average total income (read: capital gains) so that Springfield can have more restaurants per capita than anywhere else, and so that we can have so many stores of every type imaginable. But please let us all, that is both you and people not you, get where we need to go safely.

Sunday, September 28, 2008

From Flagstaff with Love

When I went to Flagstaff, AZ for my job, I never figured the week would end like it did.

The work stuff seemed to go pretty well. In my free time I even got to see Meteor Crater, which was pretty cool. You can check out my pictures from there.

But on Thursday night after I had gotten back to my hotel from a great walking tour of the downtown of Flagstaff from one of the people I worked with at the homecare agency, I started feeling a bit nauseous. Then I started also getting light-headed, and then started feeling some pressure in my chest. This got worse until I was dizzy and thought I was going to pass out. I also felt like I was going to vomit, though I couldn't. And all the while the pressure in my chest was getting worse, and I started getting hot and cold flashes.

It persisted for quite some time and I was getting pretty freaked out by it. I decided to go to the emergency room at 11pm. Josh kept me company on the phone. The hospital didn't waste any time at all. They immediately gave put me on oxygen, a bunch of monitors, did an EKG, and also a chest x-ray.

They also gave me a cocktail for esophageal issues which was supposed to numb my throat and esophagus. That it did...and magically my chest pains started to subside. Later on when the effects had worn off some, they gave me a little water, and as I lay back down, my chest pressure started to return.

It was at this point that they suspected it was really a bad case of acid-reflux, but needed to completely the tests with a cardiologist on hand. And they did come in until the morning. So, they kept me overnight. I could have refused further care at that point, but doing so without a complete diagnosis is bad if you intend to have your health insurance work.

The hospital did a number of additional tests, bloodwork, a stress test with EKGs, and also a cardio-sonogram. After those things they did not see anything wrong with my bloodwork or other tests concerning my heart. So, the suspicion that it was actually acid-reflux mimicking the symptoms of heart-attack were correct.

It does turn out that my cholesterol is a bit off. My LDL is in the high-normal range, and my HDL is in the very low-normal range. They would like to see that change. I agree and am going to get back into more of my exercise regiment that I had been doing until the past few months. And I'm going to try to avoid a bunch of different foods also for the most part.

Cheese is going away. I am going to try to only eat cheese if it is sliced off a brick of cheese with fruit and wine. So, things like pizza and other dishes smothered in cheese will have to be off limits. This is going to be difficult, as I'm going to the Incredible Pizza Company tomorrow for my daughter's birthday! Also, I'm going to nix most fried foods and fast-food. That will be difficult during trips because it is so accessible in airports and such. But there are salads and grilled chicken. Another thing going away is most soda.

That will help me health and weight wise, but it will also help my acid-reflux...as sugar and grease are my biggest issues (not necessarily acids like tomatoes, but instead sauces with corn-syrups added). I've also been directed to start taking Zantac 150 before all my meals...at least for a time.

So...that is my Thursday and Friday. I had to move my flights a day ahead and fly out on Saturday, which was a pain and expensive. But I needed to stay in the hospital...so there was nothing else I could have done. Live and learn, and hopefully be wiser.

Friday, August 29, 2008

Barack Obama's DNC Acceptance Speech

Most of Barack Obama's ideals are ones that I hope and pray for among the nations. This is one of the good, inspiring speeches that makes you proud to be an American. It is interesting that this speech was viewed on television by more than 38-million people, which is more than the finale of American Idol (thank goodness!!!) and even the opening ceremonies of the Olympics. This is the full 44 minute speech.

John McCain's Connection to Big Oil & The Enron Loophole

John McCain admits he doesn't know much about economics or energy. And this video demonstrates who McCain aligns himself with.

Writing again

I've been busy with work, music at church, and spending time with friends and family. There has been a lot I've wanted to write about in the past few months, but I just haven't. Now we are in the midst of political change again, and though I am committed to THE Kingdom, and do not put my faith in the kingdoms of this world...there are things that wish to comment about politically, especially as most of my coworkers and fellow Christians put so much trust in the Republican nationalist pseudo-Christian political movements. Sorry all...but I can't jump on the McCain bandwagon, as though he might be anti-abortion, he doesn't represent any other ideal I hold to be accurate. So, I'll be writing. :-)

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

A long needed update

It has been quite some time since I updated my blog. I've been too busy for my own good...working 60 hours a week...being very involved with church...leading music...updating websites. My socializing has been mostly over AIM, Google Talk, and Facebook.

Things are finally balancing out enough that I'm able to go to the gym with a friend of mine. I need it...as I could shed a number of pounds. At least he is patient with me when I trail off about 1/2-way through running with him.

The family is well though, and life in Missouri is good. I've been making some new friends...trustworthy and transparent ones. I'm especially glad for that.

Monday, May 12, 2008

Cyberterrorism via Sin and Porn

Essentially, here is how this is working:
* U.S. soldier wants porn
* soldiers look for porn DVDs in the Iraqi market
* decoders on computers for the DVD region codes allow for a security issue
* viruses are implanted on the DVDs to exploit the decoding process
* U.S. military computers have viruses because of sin and porn

http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2008/05/09/AR2008050902548_pf.html

There are always consequences to sin.

Thursday, March 13, 2008

Christians and Politics

As the elections are coming up, people are in the mood to talk about politics and all the sociopolitical things that go with it. I've been meaning to clarify my position on politics and why I say that I have no faith in the kingdoms of this world. Greg Boyd, on his blog, clarified his point on a book he reviewed...and I think that it clarifies my position on politics as well.

So, here is the repost of that.

Evan


----------------------------
Thanks for all the feedback on my review of Colson’s God & Government. In light of some of this feedback, I feel I need to clarify my view. I am not suggesting Christians can’t or shouldn’t be involved in politics (though I can easily understand how the New Testament leads some Christians to this conclusion). And I am not at all negating the good that Christians like William Wilberforce accomplished by political means (though non-Christians have of course accomplished similar things). Rather, in my review of Colson’s book and my other writings, I am simply arguing four things:

1) Even if it's permissible for Christians to participate in politics, we certainly don’t have a duty to do so, as Colson and most Evangelicals assume. Our only duty and allegiance is to God and his Kingdom. We cannot serve two masters. Out of our duty to God we are to obey laws, pay taxes and pray for political leaders as well as peace. (These are the only four things Scripture mentions in regards to what a Christian's relationship with political power should be.) Also out of our duty to God, however, we are to break all laws and go against all social norms and cultural taboos that are inconsistent with the reign of God. The life of a Kingdom person is to be counter-cultural and subversive of power.

2) There is no distinctly “Christian” way of being involved in politics. The criteria for political discernment is decency and wisdom, not the Christian faith or Christian lifestyle. Given the ambiguity of most political issues, good and decent people can and do fundamentally disagree about proposed political solutions to various problems. Kingdom people need to always respect this ambiguity, even (especially) on issues about which they are passionate, and thus never label their particular views "Christian."

3) While some good things can at times come of political involvement, the trust and confidence of Kingdom people is never to be placed here. Our trust is to be placed exclusively in the Kingdom of God, which always looks like Jesus. Our focus, time and energy must be centered on individually and collectively replicating the self-sacrificial love of Jesus to all people at all times.

4) Finally, politics is dangerous! We must always remember that Satan -- the “god of this age” (2 Cor 4:4) who “controls the entire world” (1 Jn. 5:19) -- is the C.E.O. of all governments (Lk 4:5-7). We must always remember that political power was the thing Satan tempted Jesus with and must never forget that Jesus refused this temptation. We must always remember Church history, which abundantly testifies to how saying “yes” to Satan’s temptation turns the Church into an ugly, destructive puppet of Caesar.

That's it in a nutshell. Hope that clarifies things a bit.
-------------

Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Faith, Government, and Political Obsession

Satan, Government and Christian Anarchy
by Greg Boyd

Inspired by my reading of Jacque Ellul, I've been talking about Christian Anarchy the last couple posts. I want to remind folks that "anarchy" used in this way does not denote chaos. It rather means "without (an) rule (archy)." It refers to the belief that people who are under the rule of God are not under any human rule. We are to obey the laws of the land insofar as they are consistent with Gods' will, but we do this because it is God's will for us to do so. (One person who wrote me, Jason Barr, has suggested the label Christ-archist rather than Anarchist. While it's true Kingdom people are not under the rule of governing authorities in this view, we are under Christ's rule. It's an interesting suggestion).

According to the Christian Anarchist (or Christ-archist) therefore, human governments have no significance for Kingdom people. We are citizens of the Kingdom of God and are “foreigners,” “exiles” and “strangers” in this world (Phil 1:27; 3:20; Heb 11:13; 1 Pet 1:17; 2:21).

I also want to be clear that I'm exploring this train of thought in these blogs. I'm reviewing what Scripture says about God and government and finding, thus far, that it supports the view of Christian Anarchy. But I want to be clear that I'm still in process on this topic.

So far I've tried to establish that, according to the Bible, earthly governments are premised on mistrust of the rule of God (I Sam. 8). It was not part of God's original plan for humans, but rather exists as a way of God accommodating himself to human sin. I've also tried to establish that, from God's perspective, all governments are "less than nothing" (Isa 40:15-17). Since our trust is exclusively in this God, the "ruler of the nations," we should adopt this same perspective. To live under the reign of God is to live solely under the reign of God and to therefore regard earthly government as insignificant.

What I now want to argue is that all human governments are not only premised on mistrust: they are actually ruled by Satan. In Luke 4:5-7 Satan offered Jesus all the authority of the governments of the world, for he claimed to own all this authority and claimed that he could give it to whoever he wanted. What's amazing is that Jesus does not dispute his claim. He granted that Satan owned this authority and thus could give it to whoever he wanted. But he refused to put himself under Satan's rule to acquire governmental authority.

Everything else the New Testament says about Satan and governments confirms that Satan was, in fact, not exaggerating his power. Jesus three times refers to Satan as the “ruler (arche) of this world” (Jn 12:31; 14:30; 16;11). An arche referred to the highest ruling authority (the "boss") in any particular region. Satan is also referred as the “the god of this age” and “the principality and power of the air” (2 Cor 4:4; Eph 2:2). And John goes so far as to claim that, “The whole world lies under the power of the evil one” (I Jn 5:19). If the whole world is under the power of the evil one, it hardly seems Satan was exaggerating in claiming all government was under his power.

Not only this, but Satan is referred to as “the destroyer” who “deceives the nations” (Rev. 9:11; 20:3, 8 cf. 13:14) . All earthly governments are depicted as belonging to a single Kingdom that is under Satan's rule but which is now being delivered over to Jesus (Rev. 11:15). Consistent with this, scholars agree that “Babylon” in Revelation symbolizes earthly government under Satan's authority. Babylon rules “all nations," all of which are “deceived” by her “sorcery," which appears to be the deceptive lure of power. (Rev. 18:23).

Just to be clear, this obviously doesn't mean that all leaders in earthly governments are under Satan's rule. Many leaders are God-loving people who are sincerely trying to serve their society and the world. But these passages suggest that the whole power-over system that constitutes human government is under Satan's oppressive influence. I see no way around this conclusion.

Given this clear and consistent witness in the New Testament, followers of Jesus have to seriously question how much confidence we should ever have in any government and how preoccupied we should be with their innumerable fights and problems. We must remember that we are not only "foreigners" and "exiles" in this land; we are soldiers stationed in enemy occupied territory. We are not to become preoccupied with "civilian affairs" and are to "always seek to please our commanding officer" (2 Tim. 2:4).

What our commanding officer tells us to be is fully invested in living under the reign of God, yielding to the Spirit who continually works to conform us to the image of Jesus Christ. We are to live Spirit-led, radically counter-cultural lives. And we're to collectively form a contrast society that puts the beauty of God's self-sacrificial character on display in the midst of a world that has grown profoundly ugly.

To live this way is to revolt against everything in our lives, society, government and the world that is inconsistent with the reign of God. To live this way is to revolt against Satan and the Powers that empower all that is inconsistent with the reign of God. To live this way, in other words, is to be a revolutionary.

Viva la revolution!

Ephesians 5:1-2

Greg

Thursday, January 17, 2008

Repost from Greg Boyd - Huckabee on Amending the Constitution

Huckabee on Amending the Constitution
http://gregboyd.blogspot.com/2008/01/huckabee-on-amending-constitution.html
by Greg Boyd

Well, you may have already heard about it. Huckabee publicly proclaimed that we need to amend the constitution to bring it into conformity with "God's standards."

You can check out the minute and a half clip HERE.

Man, is he going after the evangelical vote, or what?!

Now, I can't help but wonder what this sincere man means when he says he wants to "amend the constitution to fit God's standards." Of course, he probably means he wants to outlaw gay marriage, since the Bible teaches that marriage is between a man and a woman. But if we're going to make our constitution fit "God's standards," as reflected in the Bible, why stop there?

Marriage throughout most of the book of "God's standards" allowed for polygamy and even concubines. If the Bible is to be our standard for marriage in America, perhaps our constitution should be amended to reflect its comprehensive view of marriage.

So too, the Bible allows for (and even occasionally commands) slavery, as the good old pre-abolition Christian South was eager to point out to the liberal secularists in the North. Would Huckabee have us amend our constitution to fit this aspect of the book of "God's standards"? Why not? If our goal is to conform to "God's standards," why be selective?

How about the way women are treated as property throughout much of the Bible? And let's not forget the pervasive "holy wars" we find in the Old Testament. If we want a constitution that truly reflects "God's standards," why not incorporate these as well?

And of course, the Bible knows absolutely nothing of any "inalienable right to life, liberty and pursuit of happiness." This comes out of John Locke, not the Bible. So maybe these pagan concepts should be jettisoned if we're going to seek to have a constitution that conforms to "God's standards."

Then again, for Christians "God's standards" are centered on Jesus Christ and the New Testament. Since Huckabee is appealing to Christian voters, and apparently wants to promote a "Christian America," why shouldn't he center his constitution amending policy on this central aspect of the book of "God's standards"?

Now that would be interesting.

Can you imagine if it was in the U.S. constitution that whenever we as individuals or as a nation were attacked, we by law would have to turn the other cheek, love our enemies, bless our assailants, do good to our persecutors, refuse to retaliate, offer them whatever they ask (expecting nothing in return), offer to feed them, clothe them and provide housing for them, and of course offer our lives up on their behalf, however evil they may be (e.g. Lk 6:27-35; Mt 5:39; Rom. 12:17-21)?

Goodbye to "the right to bear arms"!

If this is the direction Huckabee would like to amend our beloved constitution, I would greatly admire his courage and wish him the best -- because there's no way in perdition Christians would get him elected if that is what he meant! They may want a constitution that "conforms to God's standards," but only certain passages carefully selected out of his book of holy "standards," and certainly not the standards set by Jesus Christ!

Isn't it ironic?

Now please hear me. My point is not to weigh in on the political issue of gay marriage. Vote your faith and values (like anyone doesn't do this). My point is that there's something profoundly naive, if not disingenuous, about trying to pretend like we can resolve this or any other political issue in our pluralistic society by trying to make the Bible law.

Even worse -- much worse -- when Huckabee and other well-intentioned Christians talk this way, they earn the right to be despised by non-Christians, and thus to have the Gospel they claim to represent despised as well. The beauty of God's self-sacrificial love is once again smothered in the ugliness of politics.

Jesus never let politics get in the way of the message he was sent to bring. And the central job of his followers is to simply imitate him (Eph. 5:1-2).

How I'd love it if Huckabee would call on all Christians to consider their own sins to be much worse than the sins of gay people (Mt 7:1-3; I Tim. 1:15-16) and to commit to demonstrating God's love for gay people by sacrificially serving them.

Of course, he'd never get elected.

He might get crucified.

But I'd certainly vote for him!

Blessings

Greg

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

Doing wrong to establish what is right

Wow, are "Christians" so often willing to justify their actions and sacrifice what is their unique place in the world to instead live like the world does.

But lets get this straight about God as written about in the Bible: God doesn't condone actions that are contrary to his ethic of sacrificial and selfless love. God also doesn't do things or condone actions contrary to the covenant that is being established, especially as a means to establish that covenant.

For example, he is not going to have you shoot people to establish peace. He is not going to have you rip someone off to establish a financial blessing. He is not going to have you live and have sex with your girlfriend/boyfriend to establish a marriage (or re-establish a marriage).

Period.

Thursday, January 03, 2008

To care or not to care...

The person who cares the least carries the most influence in any relationship. The person who cares the most has the most to lose and is most vulnerable to being hurt. The person who cares the least never has to learn anything to not be hurt. The person who cares the most can choose to not care, or choose to get hurt. What should should you choose? Either way...you lose.

Wednesday, January 02, 2008

The Irony of New Years

I think that New Years is sort of an irony in and of itself. Our culture proposes that it is about renewal, change, and good will to each other. However, New Years Eve tends to be one of the worst night for crimes and moral offenses of the whole year. For alcohol abuses, New Years is only rivaled by St. Patrick's Day (which is an irony of its own). In Springfield, St. Pat's and NYE are a couple notable days for police because both holidays do they set up checkpoints to harass everyone, regardless if you drink or not. This night is notorious for starting the year off with the mistake of sleeping with someone. And most 'resolutions' for the new year fail or end nearly as quickly as they are decided on. I'm happy for those who are able to redeem this holiday with good fellowship and actual good will to each other, rather than moral downfall and taking advantage of each other. Otherwise, New Year's Eve and Day are just party holidays, and nothing more.