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Finally cool, what now?

One night at UC as I prepared to go down for dinner, I thought of the fun I was having and the relative ease with which I managed social situations. Now, some, like my friend Rusty, might consider my ease a restriction, but for me, a social outcast in the 10th grade, it was ease.

Because of my moral scruples, sheltered life, and fear of God and man, I went from being one of the most popular boys in the 8th grade to walking across a lonely field every day to get lunch in the 10th grade. A combination of both good and bad separated me from my peers, and once friends came to deride me with the nick-name "Sadam". I was a lonely, tortured teenager. A move to another town helped remedy the situation somewhat in that I found a crowed with similar scruples. I was popular with the girls, but that was only until they met me. I was still somewhat of a dud.

I'll save you the intervening steps that are the story of my life, but in my hotel room, I somewhat legitimately thought of myself as cool. I am respected among my colleagues, God has freed me from complete fear of man and him through Christ, and so I have loosened up a bit. For better and worse, Courtney helped open my eyes to culture, so that I am not quite so sheltered. I can be relatively cool.

To an idolatrous man, this is in some ways is the pinnacle of existence. I pondered the situation where my moral scruples would again endanger my coolness. How would I get out of going to a sketchy club that the group went to? How would I remain faithful to my wife if I was pushed into a situation to dance with a young female customer?

The results, I survived. I might possibly have improved my coolness with the story of being spanked at Coyote Ugly, but God saved me from the temptation. My somewhat intentional (or at least I like to think) lack of charm shielded me from available women. I suppose God held true to his word and did not push me beyond that for which he prepared me.

Thanks be to God. And Glory be to him.

Hurricane Katrina

I can't write another entry without mentioning Hurricane Katrina. The power of the created world is awsome. Sometimes, it seems like man has taken control of the whole world, and others it seems that chaos reigns. Sometimes, these coexist.

Much has been written and said about the subject. I will offer this one thought. I have heard comments referring to the truly moronic behavior of some of the residents of the Gulf Coast to the effect of why didn't we just let them die. Because of my culture, I am amazed that anyone would say this. My culture might secretly think similar thoughts and express them more subtly, but it is difficult to not think that you are certainly better than looters carrying plasma TVs to flooded apartments.

After thinking a while, I realized the arrogance of both kinds of people. We really think that we deserve what we have. Be it our education, our hard work, our religious righteousness, our citizenship, some law, we believe has justified the inequity that exists in this world. It is our theodicy, our answer to the problem of evil. While we look down on televangelists saying that God is punishing that Sodom of a place, we are effectively saying, if only you had lived like me you would not be suffering.

This is pure evil. There is no good explanation for the inequity that exists in this world. God did not create this world for such a condition, and he gave his son to restore it and even surpass this original paradise. We must merely believe what he has done to be included in that process. Truth be told, it is more difficult to explain the good in this world than it is the evil. There is no reason besides God's love I can see for why we are not all hopelessly condemned. We were helpless looting fighting flood victims when he pulled us onto his lifeboat. We had only contempt to offer when he offered us new life.

Those looking for information on the relief effort in Bell County see:

http://www.ci.temple.tx.us/
http://www.templebiblechurch.org (follow link to bulletin board)

http://www.katrinashetler.com

More Alcohol Than Usual

Hopefully I don't get myself in trouble with this one...but I guess I could say that with many posts...

I must say that I ingested more alcohol than normal at UC but still managed to stay completely sober the entire time. That is more than I can say for my collegues. I say this tongue in cheek. Having not grown up around alcohol, and having discovered it in the safe environment of conservative, reformed presbyterianism, I have not experienced much of its darker side.

It is painful for me to see people that I love turning to such a cheap relief for their pain. This is not to say that alcohol can't help relax the shoulders, but a constant use of the drug to escape reality is damaging to the body and the soul. Like any comfort, even Christ, suffering is inevitable. The difference is that with Christ, the suffering is temporary and the relief is permanent.

Certainly, I know draw of escape, and I have first hand experience with the flesh seeking this kind of relief. The problem is in believing that this is lasting relief or that the temporary relief is best. It is an affront to Christ and his claim that he has accomplished the healing of all things. Our faith in his claims is what gives us hope until we experience the fullness of that healing.

User's Conference 2005

August 28-31 was the PDI\Users Conference otherwise known as The Industry Event. This is what has consumed my life for the last month or so. It was a fun experience, but I am glad it is over. I have written copious emails to my supervisor and those in charge of the conference about ideas and thoughts on the event. I will spare you the details.

Nevertheless, UC, as it is affectionately called, afforded me more time with people in unusual circumstances and some time for reflection. Posts for the next week or so will come from these thoughts.

Funny Brother(in-law)

If you want to see something funny, look at Cameron's post about his new amp.  It is probably funny even if you don't know him.

Nukular Proliferation

I was reading the ultra-geeky news site Slashdot.org and happened upon an interesting comment. As most slash-dotters, I usually enjoy reading the comments more than the original source. You never know what topic will be brought up by a commenter. While geeks usually have computers or science in comment, there is a wide variety of second interests, and they do not refrain from pulling those into the discussion.

In this particular comment, the writer turns a discussion of a scientific experiment regarding the speed of light into comment on linguistic philosophy and politics, two of my secondary interests. He takes a current issue and adroitly turns it into a lesson in desriptivist linguistics. He confronts one commenter's disdain of Bush's pronunciation of nuclear. I won't rehash his eloquence. See the comment for more info.

http://science.slashdot.org/comments.pl?sid=159573&cid=13362740

I have added is RSS feed to my reader.

Desperate to save their way of life

Reading: John 12:1-11

I have been reading this same section to my children in their story bible. The confluence of the two made me realize just how close to Christ's death this was. I have also gotten a better idea of the growing controversy surrounding Jesus and how desperate the religious leaders were to squash the growing momentum behind Christ's ministry.

They were even plotting to kill Lazarus because he was causing others to believe. They were willing to go to any length to preserve their way of life. How far am I willing to go to preserve my way of life from Christ's invasion?

Work and IM

I don't often write about work. It occupies too much of my time already. Lately, it has been about all I have been thinking about. We have a deadline coming up, and we have been working late and Saturday's to meet it. There is plenty to gripe about, so I will pick one thing.

We were recently kicked off of IM. One of my co-workers, who incendentally doesn't use IM, sent a message to the top execs about an article describing how some companies are ditching IM because of possible problems with Sarbanes-Oxley, an accounting law passed in the wake of the accounting scandals a few years ago.

This triggered a series emails that culminated in us being instructed to log out of IM, uninstall any IM software, crawl under our desks and hide. OK, that last one was mine.

I thought this was utterly rediculous. First of all, the original email recommended that we disable IM without those outside the company. The Sarbanes-Oxley problems are with logging internal communications about accounting procedures. Secondly, our company isn't even big enough to fall under SOX. Finally, I don't think think the mere use of IM would violated the law.

I see it as an unfortunate result of the intra-departmental conflict that has been taking place over the past few months. Our IT department knew we were using IM. It was the mere mention of the dreaded Sarbanes-Oxley that allow my co-worker to escelate the issue to those who would tend to overreact.

I hate to admit it, but this occupied my mind for the bulk of an hour. Sometimes, the stupidity of corporations just gets to me.
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SlyJesus

Reading: John 10

One of my favorite scriptures is Matt 16:10, "I am sending you out as sheep among wolves.  Therefore, be as shrewd as serpents and as innocent as doves."

In this passage, John reveals the shredness of Christ.  He never really gives the Pharasies a straight answer.  However, whenever his the most transparent with them, the end up trying to arrest him.  I guess this reveals Jesus's motive in his shrewdness.

Wrapped up in your own little world

Tonight Courtney reminded me of one of my favorite scenes in the Bonfire of the Vanities. Sherman is finally having to tell his boss about his awful predicament. The weight has been crushing Sherman for weeks, and he finally has no choice to notify his respected employer of the ordeal he is about to undergo.

His boss is interested, but Sherman soon realizes that this boss is really just as interested in the juicy story as he is in Sherman. To top it off his disregard he takes a call from a local celeb to thank him for letting him use his private jet. Twice, the vain celeb interrupts Sherman's gut-wrenching confession for frivolous chit-chat.

It becomes obvious as Sherman moves throughout his social circle that no one is really interested in him. Everyone is wrapped up in their own little world and pays attention to him only when he either benefits them in some way or when he is becoming a detriment to them.

I am afraid that Wolfe's description of the world is more accurate than not. Are you wrapped up in your own little world? or better yet, am I?

It is difficult to come up with too much evidence to the contrary. God help me.
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