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Like an editorial, but more emotional.

Rational?

Rational arguments don't usually work on religious people. Otherwise, there wouldn't be religious people.
- Doris Egan

This was a quote on my iGoogle page today. I thought it was ironic that Doris uses an informal fallacy to comment on the irrationality of religious people.

DefCon America - Evangelism

I thought it would be funny to share this survey that I recently got from DefCon America. It is suprising how much they sound like fundamentalists.

I think they might be as evangelistic as a church planter. I saved off a copy to share.

Taking pleasure in others' sin

I often here people say things like, "It is a relief to hear that he actually argues with his wife." My question is, "Why?" It seems like we really should be sad. Our brother is suffering under the power of sin. Ought we not

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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New Topic - Shopping

Here we go. This is one of those recurring conversations between Courtney and me. What is the role of shopping in our culture and in our own lives? What should it be?

We believe that it may have very well surpassed baseball in being America's national pastime. How often is it that you want to go do something with your family, and the only thing you can come up with is shop.

Now I admit, this sounds a little weird coming from a guy, but I see lots of guys browsing sporting good stores and electronic stores eyeing that piece of equipment that is going to set them free to a life of pure enjoyment.

Tonight was one of those nights. We left my aunt's house and were heading home, but we were half-way to 3/4 way to Waco, so we felt like we should go explore the "big city." So, what did we do? We went shopping. We only bought a few t-shirts for the boys, so we didn't spend that much, but we did look. I dutifully went to Best Buy and looked at various electronic gadgets I didn't need. Strangely I felt drawn to them as if they would somehow improve my quality of life even though I wouldn't really use them at all or all that much.

In many ways we are defined by our stuff. It signals to others who we are, what our values are, and what we are worth. If buying determines your existence, shopping is a dang important activity. You might even call it religious. To extend the analogy, buying is sacrifice, shopping is spiritual discipline, and the marketers are our priests.

Anyway, this is my paradigm for shopping. I think it is part of the broader materialistic idolatry that pretty much engulfs the American church, evangelical and non. Sadly, I am not that different. It is really a constant struggle to not be almost completely swept up in the world's gods and ignore the one true God who purchased me and validated that my existence is of infinite worth. Believing this is the only way the church will be able to free itself from this enslavement.

Just so you don't either think I am totally wacko or a genius, most of these ideas are highly derivative. Two books that have particularly influenced me are Lead us into Temptation by James Twitchell and Bobos in Paradise by David Brooks. I was also influenced by John Meuther at RTS in a couple of classes.

Oh yeah. Buy the books by clicking on our link so we can make some extra money to go shopping with! Is there a smiley for "like gag me with a roll of quarters?" :-@

American Restaurant Service

Wednesday I went to lunch with a friend.. He took me to Cheeve's for lunch. We went to Cheeve's, so I expected good food and good service. Wrong!

The food was decent, I was amazed at the service. It stunk. Dining out in France pretty much ruined me on most service in American resaurants. Those Frenchies really know how to do it. They don't really try to converse. They don't ask you questions. They just do what you need done when you need it and stay out of the way of your enjoying the food, atmosphere and company. They are true professionals.

The first thing our waiter did was offer us his hand and introduce himself. It was particularly odd because he was probably a freshman in college. Friendly is good, I guess, but it was too much. The staff repeatedly asked us about our meal. We were probably asked 3 times before we ever really had a chance to try it. It was almost amusing. I told my friend that in French restaurants, they didn't ask if the food was good because they knew it was good. They thought, "We are the food experts: If it wasn't good, we wouldn't serve it." It was rather annoying because we were trying to have a serious conversation, and we kept being interrupted.