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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.
Believe it or not, I have finished filing my Taxes! I am usually scrambling on October 15th to finish. But, this year I took a little time here and there to work on them in Turbo Tax. I was also diligent to put all my tax documents in one place as I received them.
It is very nice to reap the benefits of a disciplined, organized life. This is a very new thing for me. I think that since self- control is the last fruit of the spirit listed, I must have thought it was less important. However, I have tried to be more disciplined with a few things in my life, and each has turned out very well.
Part of my change has to do with frustration at the suffering I cause myself. I used to hate going to work on Mondays because I had to record my time in some detail for the previous week. It may sound stupid to some people, but the displeasure it caused me further contributed to my procrastinating. Finally, I decided that if I would just try for one week to enter my time every day it would be better. Thanks be to God, I put aside my idol of being productive and took the time to do some meaningless data entry. It was so much better.
Part of my change is due to reading Proverbs and seeing how good a life of the Kingdom can be. I used to think less of Proverbs because it was so practical. But a recent study showed me that it was really a very integrated book. It contains verses pertaining to the love of God and neighbor.
We can be assured that the Spirit will keep working in me and you to produce the fruits of the Spirit: love, joy, peace, patience, goodness, faithfulness, kindness and self-control. The way he will work is to show us more and more how good Christ is so that we lay down our idols and run to Jesus. When this happens, our lives just naturally get better.
I have been listening to a new band as of late called The Postal Service. It is sort of a neo-techno 80's sounding band that sounds quite original amid the hundreds of same-sounding bands out there. Don't get me wrong, I like some of them, but it is nice to hear something different. In fact, it is a creative tributary of Death Cab for Cutie, another interesting band.
I would say that both the sound and the lyrics are whimsical and charming. For the most part, they are light, unusual for me, but well formed with near-perfect rhythm and rhyme. They are like a clean Eminem with a better vocabulary.
One song, called Recycled Air, which denigrates the fine dried, heated, and cooled air which we breath most of our lives. Now, I understand their sentiments. I too love to step outside an take fresh air into my lungs. In fact, I am trying to develop a habit of getting out of my seat at work and walk around the building every two hour or so. So far, I have found it difficult to interrupt the flow of my work.
However, I have lived in apartment with no central heat or air. Let me tell you it is not particularly pleasant. It gets hot in the summer and cold in the winter. We did have radiators, but we found the temperature difficult to regulate. Poor as we were, we were also forced to dry our clothes on racks in the house. Clothes take a while, like two days, drying in a damp, unairconditioned house. I particularly remember the bed always being slightly damp.
Sometimes I am tempted to overly-romanticize an adventurous life without the creature comforts to which I am accustomed. I won't take those statements back, but it is good to remember why our forefathers might have taken the steps they did to get us to this materialistic, consumeristic culture we have ended up in. They did what they did because they were living a hard life and they wanted things to relieve their suffering. They were very successful in inventing, manufacturing, and marketing these inventions until they are basically assumptions to the generations since.
I suppose I should be thankful and use this reflection to push me to find ways to relieve the suffering of others.
Courtney and I recently started watching the first season of Arrested Development on DVD. I have avoided it, as I do most TV these days, but after eating with one of the actors, I was curious. With Pete and Jamie in L.A., I ate with Tony Hale who plays Buster on the show. He was a little crazy, but I excused him since he was an actor. I am so generous. Anyway, he was really pretty cool, and I respect Pete's comedic judgement, so I decided to try it.
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.
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.
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.
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.
I have added is RSS feed to my reader.
You never know what is lurking behind the seemingly benign and harmonious relationships. I shot a wedding video for my father-in-law this weekend. Except for one sentence, I would have thought it was one big happy family.
There were smiles all around. The families were all intact as much as I could tell. Brothers and sisters seem to all love each other. There were no knock-down-drag-out fights about flowers or the service or anything.
Everyone was cordial to the help (me). There was no unusual nervousness on the part of the bride or groom throughout the wedding. In fact, at one point the bride laughed out loud.
The only odd thing I noticed was that the mother of the bride decided it was time to pick up the church in between the pictures after the wedding and the reception. We waited twenty minutes for her to arrive. That was a little frustrating.
I had to stay probably 30 minutes over my time to record the necessary rituals of cake cutting, etc. When I finally left, I realized that I was missing my jacket. I had laid it down on some bushes while waiting to get the shot of the couple exiting their limo. It was hot, and we were waiting on the OCD mother. I decided to drive back to the front and pick up my jacket.
As I drove up to the front of Cultural Activities Center, there were two people I recognized from the wedding. One was a groomsman and the other his wife. They were smoking outside near my jacket. I wondered if the thought it was strange for someone to park in the middle of the street and walk up to them. However, they kept talking as I walked up and picked up my jacket. The only words, I heard were, "It's horrible, ya know, it is the happiest day of Lori's life, and it is divided..."