Barak Obama on Politics & Religion
June 30, 2006, 10:20 am
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Here is the text of a speech given by Illinois Senator Barak Obama. He bring up some very quality points. I don’t know what his voting record is or his platform, etc. I did see the stirring speech he gave at the last Democratic National Convention. He’s clearly a contender for a presidential run. Anyway, Democrats appear to be following Jim Wallis’ cue in attempting stop conceding religious expressions in politics to the Republicans.


HT: Friendly Atheist

One more thing about MS Office 2007
June 28, 2006, 11:35 am
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Perhaps I should have known this by now . . . but the new version of MS Word has a blog posting tool built in. This post has been submitted from it. Nothing too terribly exciting, but hey, it’s cool to discover new things.

Ahhhh, Sunday, the day of rest . . .
June 26, 2006, 6:20 am
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Well, it’s supposed to be the day of rest, right? Yeah, well, sometimes that doesn’t work out so well. Yesterday afternoon, Michelle and I left home to do some errands. We were gone for about two hours. Before leaving, Michelle put some clothes in the washing machine. Upon returning we discovered that the machine had gotten stuck in mid cycle or something – it filled the wash tub of the machine, and then filled the laundry room, and began filling the garage with water. Ugh. It soaked the carpet in our downstairs areas, and through a couple walls.

Fortunately, we’ve been prepping to redo the flooring in the areas that got flooded. So basically, instead of ripping out the carpet this coming weekend, we ripped it out yesterday – it was hideously ugly carpet and had to go anyway. We found a couple layers of vinyl flooring underneath, too, which I’m sure date back to when the house was built (1977). That’s some crazy ugly stuff.

So, now I get to rip that out before laying porcelin tile this weekend. Too much fun. Actually, this is my first tile project, so I’m kind of looking forward to it. As an added bonus, instead of renting a tile saw for the whole affair, I found a pretty good one on Craig’s List last Friday night, and I’ve now added a new (used) power tool to my humble collection. I’ll take some before and after pictures and pop them on here . . . that is, if I’m proud enough of my work to show it off.

After doing the demo work in the afternoon, Michelle and I went next door, where Jeremy and Daniele were preparing a dinner of Copper River Salmon and fresh vegetables. Mmmmmmm, that was a really nice way to end an unexpectedly hard working Sunday.

The new Microsoft products
June 22, 2006, 6:37 pm
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Well, I’m no computer geek. Just a computer user who more often than not, knows just enough to get himself into trouble. Then I moved to Washington . . . 8 miles away from Microsoft. Go figure that we would buy a house next door to a Microsoft employee! I used to use Firefox for my web browsing, but I promised to at least try the new version of Internet Explorer (IE7) when it was avaialable.

That was five months ago. Aaaaaaannnnd you know what? Still using it. They’ve incorporated my favorite thing about Firefox – tabbed browsing, developed a cleaner user interface, and incorporated RSS feed subscriptions. It’s very different than the old version, and it does take a little getting used to. It’s also terribly unhip to admit that you use (and like) MS-anything . . . but hey, I’ll live with it.

Based on my good experience with IE7, I decided to go ahead and jump on a chance to check out the Microsoft Office 2007 Beta (a.k.a. Office 12). Wow, big changes there. Again, totally different user interface, but clean, easy to use, and helpful. I’ve been using it for about a month now. Outlook’s changes are terrific, Excel’s a bit easier to use, and Word is too. Haven’t used PowerPoint or Access yet. My only complaint is that apparently, this stuff is just piggy when it comes to memory, so the applications are annoyingly slow. It’ll be interesting to watch how people respond to this stuff, given that it’s so different.

Other software news . . . I was able to buy Macromedia’s Studio 8 package for $99 the other day. That’s well over $850 retail. It’s all legal, too. Nice. Now I just gotta figure out how it all works!

How to Irritate an Atheist
June 22, 2006, 6:01 am
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I saw this over at the Conversations at the Edge blog. It’s a long, and sometimes redundant list of statements that Christians say in conversations with atheists. It’s worth your time to read and really listen to what these folks are saying. It’s full of good examples of why it’s better to listen than speak. And when you think you’ve listened enough, listen some more.

One other thing I’ve been doing lately
June 21, 2006, 8:18 am
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I promise, this started before I saw the movie, but I’ve been taking the bus to work lately. It’s been good for me on multiple levels. It’s environmentally more responsible, it’s good to spend time with people out and about in the city, it keeps me from having to drive through the lame Seattle traffic. As an additional bonus these days, with gas at $3 per gallon, it’s cheaper for me to take the bus than to drive myself.

It’s not all good, though. It does take me longer to get to work and get home, I have to carry around quarters and dollar bills all the time for bus fare, and most disappointingly, I am only able to read books about half of the time I’m on the buses . . . the other half I seem to get motion sick. That’s unusual for me. Oh well.

Overall, it’s worth it. It’s hard to do all the time, because I often have meetings around the city, but every little bit helps. I’ve actually kicked around the idea of giving up driving during the season of Lent next year. We’ll see how that one works out.

Time to start posting again . . .
June 21, 2006, 5:30 am
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It seems that I’ve fallen out of the blogging habit of late. Not sure whether that’s a good thing or a bad thing . . . but I’m pretty sure it’s something. It’s not even as though I’ve had a boring life of late. I just haven’t blogged it. Here’s a quick (hopefully unboring) summary.

Last week was the Off The Map chat with Brian McLaren. Nothing too earth-shattering there, but it was good to see Rose and Winn, and a few others. I also got to meet some new folks that I’m looking forward to hanging out some more with. It was kind of funny, though, that I didn’t really get a chance to say hello to Jim Henderson at the event, but later that day while enjoying some joe at Zoka with my friend/boss, in walks Jim Henderson. Good man.

Since I mentioned it, part of why I was meeting with my friend/boss, Wes, was for my annual review. Ooooh, big scary deal, right? No, not really. Even given that by standard evangelical forms of evaluation (i.e. numbers of souls saved, butts in the pews, etc.), I’ve done very little of note. I’m really stoked that I’ve got two bosses who have given me freedom to explore and reimagine what success in this context might actually look like. And I’m glad that my bosses are really more friends than bosses. With all that sappy stuff, you’d think I’d have a brown nose right about now, given that at least one of my bosses reads this blog, but I assure you, these words are heartfelt.

Oh, what else? Well, this past weekend Michelle and I went and made a rare visit to a movie theater to see An Inconvenient Truth. It’s a pretty disturbing movie. Partly because of the impact we consumery type folks are having on our environment, but mostly because of the U.S. government’s willful insistence on policies that ultimately hurt everyone. It’s also very sad to realize that there are actually prominent Christians in this country who would publicly refuse to sign on to the Evangelical Climate Initiative. That just hurts my head.

That’s enough for now. I’ll post more later today or tomorrow.

O.k., I’ll admit it
June 11, 2006, 6:42 pm
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I don’t tend to blog much about sports here, but I’m geeked about the World Cup. Michelle doesn’t understand me (though, much credit to her – she actually watched the entire first half of the Mexico/Iran match with me). And while I’m not exactly anything close to what most would call “patriotic,” I am excited to see how the U.S. team does. I’m tempted to go in to work late this morning . . . but still planning to be a good boy.

So far, I’ve only caught parts of a few games. But I did see Trinidad and Tobago’s opener with Sweden. That game demonstrated one of the cool things about football – a team can “win” without winning, or even scoring a goal.

Christians In the City
June 9, 2006, 8:05 am
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Tim Keller, pastor of Redeemer Presbyterian Church in New York City has a good, thought-stirring article over at Christianity Today. My denom and many others continue to focus church planting efforts primarily in the suburbs. Meanwhile . . .

People who live in large urban cultural centers, occupying jobs in the arts, business, academia, publishing, the helping professions, and the media, tend to have a disproportionate impact on how things are done in our culture. Having lived and ministered in New York City for 17 years, I am continually astonished at how the people I live with and know affect what everyone else in the country sees on the screen, in print, in art, and in business.

I am not talking about the “elite-elites”—the rich and famous—but about the “grassroots-elites.” It is not so much the top executives that make MTV what it is, but the scores of young, hip creatives just out of college who take jobs at all levels of the organization. The people who live in cities in the greatest numbers tend to see their values expressed in the culture.

[read more]

HT: Steve McCoy

On being postgnostic
June 8, 2006, 5:45 pm
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Alright, well, we got a good little discussion going on my previous post, in which I suggested some of the gnostic attitudes of emerging church types – or at least the potential for it. Let me stress a couple here: first, I’m only talking about potential, and second, I’m talking only about attitudes, and not theology or teaching. The truth is that the emerging church potential for gnostic thought or theology or practice is no more or less present than its modernistic predecessors.

The point of my post is that we often spend far too much time and energy on talking (or in the case of bloggers, typing). The talking is of value for many – this ride we’re on is getting more and more riders all the time, and it’s important to remember that we were all beginners at one point or another. The talking helps us sort out a lot of the assumptions we’ve made along the way, and do so in a community (virtual or physical). However, at some point, we’ve got to get beyond just talk. Some of the people I respect the most in this grand journey are those who were active members of the conversation for a good long time, but then went quiet on their blogs and public appearances. Why? Because they discovered that the only way to get to the next level in this was to try to work it out on a local, physical level, rather than merely in the communal space of the blogosphere. Ironically, they’ve done the stuff that is actually worth talking about and have much to teach the rest of us, but they’ve found the comfort of working below the radar so appealing that they’ve chosen to stay quiet. Perhaps some day they’ll find their way back into a more public role – who knows?

So wherever you are on your journey – pre-emerging, emerging, nevergonnabeemerging – take your time to talk and relate and grow. But don’t miss your opportunity to work it out. That’s the real way to avoid gnosticism. Get into the practice of it.


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