What I'm Doing

Monday, October 31, 2005

Happy Halloween/Reformation Day

So, today is Halloween, or, if you're so inclined, Reformation Day. That's right, on October 31, 1517, Martin Luther nailed his famous 95 Theses to the door of the church at Wittenburg.

Tomorrow is All Saints' Day, when some traditions honor all the men and women of God, whether known or obscure, who have gone before us. Perhaps I can celebrate All Saints' Day by finding a short biography or martyrdom account to read and be encouraged/edified by, to the glory of God.

Tonight, however, I will be trying to get sound working in Linux, and, hopefully, watching Family Guy.

Tuesday, October 25, 2005

The Fatherhood of God

Earlier today, I found an old article on Touchstone that was really interesting: "Thou Art the Everlasting Son of the Father," which I will first summarize some parts that stuck out to me and then offer some of my own thoughts.

Summary of (Some) Interesting Points

The main focus of the essay is (as the subtitle says) the Fatherhood of God. What got my attention was when the author started talking about how many groups are moving away from the traditional names of the Trinity (Father, Son, Holy Spirit) to "Creator, Redeemer, Sanctifier." His problem with that is that "Father, Son, Holy Spirit" refers to God in Eternity—in His eternal relationship to Himself—while "Creator, Reedemer, Sanctifier" only refers to God in His relation to his creatures. In other words, the Trinity is "Creator, Redeemer, Sanctifier" in the "economy of salvation", but if there were no creation to have created, no fallen man to have redeemed or to sanctify, God would not be "Creator, Redeemer, Sanctifier". However, God is always "Father, Son, Holy Spirit", because that is how God relates to himself: the Father is Father to the Son, etc.

He also talks about the monarcy of the Father, and—another thing I found interesting—says that referring to the Father as "Father" is not a figure of speech. It is not a metaphor, whereby God is compared to our earthly fathers. As the author says, He is not simply like a father, nor is He even a father, He is the Father, and all earthly fatherhood finds its source in Him. Rather than saying our relationship to God is like our relationship to our earthly fathers, we should say our relationship to our earthly fathers is like our relationship to God the Father. He does refer to some instances where metaphor and simile are appropriate: for instance, referring to God as a rock is a metaphor, comparing his steadfastness, strength, etc. to that of a rock which is never moved but God is not actually a rock, and one could legitimately refer to God, metaphorically, as a mother, but He is not "the Mother."

The author also makes the point that mixing the names "Father" and "Creator" is the heresy of Arius, because if we say that "Father" and "Creator" are the same, that makes the Son a created being (Arius was deemed a heretic because he taught that Christ was only a man, and not divine). Rather, God is Father apart from being Creator. If He had never created anything, He would still be the Father in relation to the Son.

My Thoughts

I think the author does a good job of discussing this regarding how the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit relate to one another, and I will leave more thoughts as to that to the reader. "Practically", regarding how we relate as men to one another this seems, to me, to show my relationship to my parents in a slightly different light. How I understand this (and, if I'm wrong, I'm sure—and I hope—that someone who knows better will correct me), is that, in a sense, my father is, to me, an icon (or image) of God the Father. When I speak of an icon, by the way, I am speaking of how I understand the 7th Ecumencial Council to have understood icons, where the icon is a "window" through which we see God (you don't look at a window, you look through it), and the honor given to the icon is passed on to the original (which is, ultimately, God). In this sense, perhaps, the commandment was given to "honor your father and mother" because, by honoring them, you honor God. I read something else recently (can't remember where) that stated that it is worth noting that this commandment marks the transition in the Decalogue from those governing how we relate to God ("No gods before Me", "No idols", "Don't take My Name in vain", "Remember the Sabbath") to those governing how we relate to man ("Don't muder", "Don't commit adultery", "Don't steal", "Don't bear false witness", "Don't covet"). By the way, I'm not entirely sure how the mother fits here, since we are discussing God's Fatherhood, so any thoughts on that would be appreciated. Perhaps the mother is included as being one flesh with the father? Anyway, this specific discussion can go in two ways: the responsibility of the child, and the responsibility of the father.

The responsibility of the child is to honor one's parents, because, in doing so, one honors God. Obedience to one's parents, then, is obedience to God, and rebellion against one's parents is rebellion against God (I am sure, of course, that an exception exists when obeying one's parents is contrary to obeying God). This also means that encouraging someone else to dishonor his parents is encouraging him to dishonor God.

The responsibility of the father is to be, himself, a proper image of God to his children. It is no wonder that many who grew up with an abusive/absent father find it difficult to accept God as a good, loving, and faithful father! Fatherhood is a grave responsibility, because, being an image of God to their children, fathers, in some measure, shape how their children view God.

Anyway, those are just my thoughts on the article. There's much more said (and much better said) in the article, and I encourage anyone with the time to spare to read it.

Monday, October 17, 2005

"I Smoke My Pipe and Worship God"

Whene'er I take my pipe and stuff it
And smoke to pass the time away
My thoughts, as I sit there and puff it,
Dwell on a picture sad and grey:
It teaches me that very like
Am I myself unto my pipe.
Like me this pipe, so fragrant burning,
Is made of naught but earthen clay;
To earth I too shall be returning,
And cannot halt my slow decay.
My well used pipe, now cracked and broken,
Of mortal life is but a token.

No stain, the pipe's hue yet doth darken;
It remains white. Thus do I know
That when to death's call I must harken
My body, too, all pale will grow.
To black beneath the sod 'twill turn,
Likewise the pipe, if oft it burn.

Or when the pipe is fairly glowing,
Behold then instantaneously,
The smoke off into thin air going,
'Til naught but ash is left to see.
Man's fame likewise away will burn
And unto dust his body turn.

How oft it happens when one's smoking,
The tamper's missing from it's shelf,
And one goes with one's finger poking
Into the bowl and burns oneself.
If in the pipe such pain doth dwell
How hot must be the pains of Hell!

Thus o'er my pipe in contemplation
Of such things - I can constantly
Indulge in fruitful meditation,
And so, puffing contentedly,
On land, at sea, at home, abroad,
I smoke my pipe and worship God.
—J.S. Bach
I found this online the other day, and it made me think. How often do we miss God in the mundane things of life? How often are we blinded by our eyes, that we should not, in a sense, see through the things of this world and perceive the Kingdom? Bach here has seen through the smoke and embers of his pipe to perceive spiritual realities, and, in the process, his smoking became his worship.

Perhaps this struck me as it did because a sort of theme in my thoughts lately has been worshipping God in all things. Christ did not just redeem our spiritual actions—praise, prayer, reading Scripture. He redeemed us, and with us is included all those things we do throughout the day. Even our eating and drinking is to be an act of worship. My work at my job is to be an act of worship. Brother Lawrence of the Resurrection once said that he was happy when he could pick up a straw from the ground for the love of God, and to "count as lost every day that is not spent in the love of God." This is how I would like to live: a life devoted to the worship of God, not split between "secular" and "sacred things" but recognizing that Christ has redeemed those "secular" things and made them "sacred."

I will end my ramblings with another relevant quote:

One of the greatest hindrances to internal peace which the Christian encounters is the common habit of dividing our lives into two areas, the sacred and the secular. As these areas are conceived to exist apart from each other and to be morally and spiritually incompatible, and as we are compelled by the necessities of living to be always crossing back and forth from the one to the other, our inner lives tend to break up so that we live a divided instead of a unified life.

Our trouble springs from the fact that we who follow Christ inhabit at once two worlds, the spiritual send the natural. As children of Adam we live our lives on earth subject to the limitations of the flesh and the weaknesses and ills to which human nature is heir.

Merely to live among men requires of us years of hard toil and much care and attention to the things of this world. In sharp contrast to this is our life in the Spirit. There we enjoy another and higher kind of life; we are children of God; we possess heavenly status and enjoy intimate fellowship with Christ.

This tends to divide our total life into two departments. We come unconsciously to recognize two sets of actions. The first are performed with a feeling of satisfaction and a firm assurance that they are pleasing to God. These are the sacred acts and they are usually thought to be prayer, Bible reading, hymn singing, church attendance and such other acts as spring directly from faith. They may be known by the fact that they have no direct relation to this world, and would have no meaning whatever except as faith shows us another world, "an house not made with hands, eternal in the heavens."

Over against these sacred acts are the secular ones. They include all of the ordinary activities of life which we share with the sons and daughters of Adam: eating, sleeping, working, looking after the needs of the body and performing our dull and prosaic duties here on earth. These we often do reluctantly and with many misgivings, often apologizing to God for what we consider a waste of time and strength. The upshot of this is that we are uneasy most of the time. We go about our common tasks with a feeling of deep frustration, telling ourselves pensively that there's a better day coming when we shall slough off this earthly shell and be bothered no more with the affairs of this world.

This is the old sacred-secular antithesis. Most Christians are caught in its trap. They cannot get a satisfactory adjustment between the claims of the two worlds. They try to walk the tight rope between two kingdoms and they find no peace in either. Their strength is reduced, their outlook confused and their joy taken from them.

I believe this state of affairs to be wholly unnecessary. We have gotten ourselves on the horns of a dilemma, true enough, but the dilemma is not real. It is a creature of misunderstanding. The sacred-secular antithesis has no foundation in the New Testament. Without doubt a more perfect understanding of Christian truth will deliver us from it.

The Lord Jesus Christ Himself is our perfect example, and He knew no divided life. In the Presence of His Father He lived on earth without strain from babyhood to His death on the cross. God accepted the offering of His total life, and made no distinction between act and act. "I do always the things that please him," was His brief summary of His own life as it related to the Father. As He moved among men He was poised and restful. What pressure and suffering He endured grew out of His position as the world's sin bearer; they were never the result of moral uncertainty or spiritual maladjustment.

Paul's exhortation to "do all to the glory of God" is more than pious idealism. It is an integral part of the sacred revelation and is to be accepted as the very Word of Truth. It opens before us the possibility of making every act of our lives contribute to the glory of God. Lest we should be too timid to include everything, Paul mentions specifically eating and drinking. This humble privilege we share with the beasts that perish. If these lowly animal acts can be so performed as to honor God, then it becomes difficult to conceive of one that cannot.
—A.W. Tozer, "The Sacrament of Living", The Pursuit of God

Thursday, October 06, 2005

TI Makes Cellphones Into Safety Devices?

According to Engadget, TI has applied for a patent on a device that will allow cellphones and PDAs to detect when you wreck your car and to automatically notify 911. I wonder if it works if you're using the cellphone when you have the wreck?

Wednesday, October 05, 2005

South Korean City of the Future

From Engadget,

Seems [South Korea is] whipping up a brand new metropolis called New Songo, a “ubiquitous city” being built 40 miles outside Seoul, which, like the world’s largest gadget, will serve as one of the largest integrated technology testbeds ever conceived. Billed as the next stage of development for technology-enabled living, New Songo will equipped [sic] with a $297 million RFID research center when completed in 2014, and its 65,000 residents will all have homes with electronic locks, integrated videoconferencing, VoD, and unified systems and services down to details like each resident having a non-identity linked smartcard that transacts purchases, grants entry to mass transit, parking, and opens your front door at the end of the day (uhh).
There's some pretty cool-sounding words in there. I'm pretty sure it'd be a while before something like that appeared in America. There's probably still enough people here that have read 1984.

Still, it does sound cool.

Peter Jackson Named as Executive Producer for Halo Movie

According to Reuters,

The Oscar-winning creative team behind the "The Lord of the Rings" films, including director Peter Jackson, has been named to run the production of the upcoming film based on Microsoft Corp.'s blockbuster "Halo" video game, the company said on Tuesday.
More details can be found at Bungie.net.

Tuesday, October 04, 2005

Google-Sun News Conference Notes (Updated)

Well, the Google-Sun News Conference is over. I took a few notes of things that stood out to me, and, afterwards, wrote up some thoughts.


  • Well, I missed the first couple minutes, due to my RealPlayer link. I connected a few minutes before 1:30, and it brought up a screen saying it would start soon, and started playing some "hold music." About 1:35 or so, I began thinking, "it should have started by now," so I stopped RealPlayer, and tried connecting again. After a few times of RealPlayer not wanting to find the link, I was finally able to reconnect, and they were already talking!
  • Eric Schmidt (CEO of Google) kind of looks like Gary Winston from Antitrust. "Bill who?"
  • Someone asked about Microsoft/Office. What are Sun and Google after? "Revenue...users..."
  • What about the Google OS? Google is "in the end user search business." Sun has a new version of Solarius.
  • I'm having some connection problems.
  • Someone from CNET is asking a question. Apparently, Google is talking to CNET again.
  • I did not know that Google contributes to open source communities.
  • A question about OpenOffice as a web service. Much beating around the bush. Maybe?
  • A lot of questions relate to OpenOffice.
  • The partnership seems to be mostly about distribution.
  • Another question about Microsoft.
  • Client server is "last-millenium" and Windows is the last remnant of the technology.


It seems like there wasn't a whole lot to the conference. Maybe I did miss something important at the beginning. They, of course, stepped around any questions relating to Microsoft, and were very ambiguous regarding suggestions about an OpenOffice web service. Google is going to be buying more Sun hardware, and Sun is going to be including an option to install the Google toolbar when users install the Java Runtime Environment. I hadn't heard much before about Google's apparently "broad" support of open source, but that is good news.

Overall, it wasn't too exciting. I'm curious as to what other bloggers have to say, and what will be written by the reporters who were actually there. It seems like Google and Sun scheduled the conference simply to say, "we're working together," and the rest of the Internet picked it up and ran with it. Free publicity can't be bad. Perhaps there will be more to see later. We will simply have to wait and see.


And now there is a press release on Sun's site briefly covering the conference. You can read it here. Yes, that is basically all that was said at the conference.

Google-Sun Alliance?

According to recent news, Google and Sun may be joining forces. Sun's website mentions a live webcast at 10:30am PT (1:30pm ET) where they will "discuss joint activities".

Rumors are already circulating as to what, exactly, this means, largely fueled by a recent blog entry by Jonathan Schwartz, the President of Sun, on software distribution. The most often quoted portion of the entry that I've seen is:

But value is returning to the desktop applications, and not simply through Windows Vista. But in the form of applications that are network service platforms. From the obvious, to music sharing clients and development tools, there's a resurgence of interest in resident software that executes on your desktop, yet connects to network services. Without a browser. Like Skype. Or QNext. Or Google Earth. And Java? OpenOffice and StarOffice?

If I were a betting man, I'd bet the world was about to change.

The most widely circulated rumor seems to involve some sort of Google Office (based on Sun's StarOffice) or, at least, something similar to Microsoft's Outlook that exists online. The office idea is interesting, but the idea of an online Outlook is exciting; I mentioned back on my Xanga blog a while ago that I'd really like a "GCalendar" that would be stored online, would allow you to make entries public or private, and could possibly sync with Outlook and/or Mozilla Sunbird.

These ideas, however, bring up some issues. How much data—especially more personal data like calendar appointments—are people willing to expose to the Internet via Google? How much trust does Google have that they can protect people's data, or that they will maintain their "do no evil" motto?

Todd, on the Geek News Central podcast, says that "Google has basically declared war on Microsoft." That'd be nice, really, but if Google has really declared war on M$, why don't they have Linux versions for more of their downloaded software? Perhaps, given much of it comes from companies Google acquired, they're working on it?

Or, maybe Google really is working toward a Google OS, as some have speculated. Regardless, it will be interesting to see what comes of this. Check it out at 1:30pm ET. I plan to.

Monday, October 03, 2005

Oregon RIAA "Victim" Files Countersuit

From Recording Industry vs The People,

This is the case peer-to-peer file sharers have been waiting for. Tanya Andersen, a 41 year old disabled single mother living in Oregon, has countersued the RIAA for Oregon RICO violations, fraud, invasion of privacy, abuse of process, electronic trespass, violation of the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act, negligent misrepresentation, the tort of "outrage", and deceptive business practices.
More details can be found at the link above.

Overall, this is pretty exciting news. If, indeed, this woman is innocent of any wrong-doing, I hope she wins. If she is not innocent, perhaps some good will still come of this. Howewer, as some comments to the original article point out, the allegations of cracking her computer are questionable, and could kill the case.

Now, let me be clear on one thing: The more I hear of the RIAA, the less I like them. However, my understanding of the commandment, "Thou shalt not steal," leads me to believe that piracy (of music, software, whatever) is generally wrong. I recognize the RIAA's right to sue those who illegally download music. My problem is with the greed that seems to be very manifest in many of their actions. They often look more like a playground bully than like the victim they want us to believe that they are.

Many species go extinct because they are unable to adapt to changes in their environment. The Internet has turned many a "traditional" company on its head. Some adapted and survived. The RIAA seems to be determined to die as loudly as possible.

Wikipedia Corrects Encyclopædia Britannica

From CNET:

Those who have voiced skepticism over the reliability of information found in Wikipedia should take note of this.

The collaboratively assembled encyclopedia maintains a page devoted to correcting errors in its chief offline competitor, the venerable Encyclopedia Britannica.

Of course, Wikipedia admits its own errors, but that is part of its project. Unlike a printed encyclopædia, where what is already printed is "set in stone", Wikipedia is dynamic. When an error is found, whoever found it can correct it "in real time," and the correction is immediately available to all users.

In a related story, Esquire magazine used Wikipedia's model (and user base) to write an article about Wikipedia itself.

Sunday, October 02, 2005

Gas Tax Returns in Georgia

Early last month, Gov. Sonny Perdue chose to waive the state gas tax for last month, in response to the surging gas prices due to Hurricane Katrina. Starting today, however, the gas tax is back, and a local news station ran an article about the return. Here is my favorite part:

Lyle Morgan said the return of the tax means he will have to spend an additional $10 to fill up the tank on his sport utility vehicle.

"You've got people now having difficulty meeting their bills because gas their gas expenditure has tripled," he said.

Maybe they should trade in their SUV's for something more fuel-efficient? I just filled up the tank of my Civic today (should've done it yesterday, I know), and spent $5 more than a few months ago.
With an SUV now guzzling up to $75, many drivers are taking the joy out of their rides, eliminating any driving that isn't strictly necessary, especially on weekends.
$75‽ I spend about 1/3 of that! I can't imagine what those Hummers cost.

The ones I really feel bad for are the people whose business requires a lot of driving, and the people who really may not be able to afford higher gas prices, even with fuel-efficient cars. But people who complain about higher prices while driving SUV's?

Saturday, October 01, 2005

Is a Government DNA Database in Our Future?

According to a recent post on C|Net News.com's "Politics Blog",

The Violence Against Women Act may be about to do violence to Americans' right to privacy.

A U.S. Senate committee has adopted an amendment to the VAWA legislation that would add the DNA of anyone detained by the cops to a federal DNA database called "CODIS."

The author goes on to note that, currently, authorities are only authorized to collect DNA from those actually convicted of a crime. However, this new law allows them to collect DNA from those who are simply "detained;" what that means, exactly, is unclear.

Stuff like this always reminds me of the movie, Minority Report. Specifically, I think of the scene where Anderton (the main character) is walking through a mall, trying to figure out how to escape the police (for those who haven't seen the movie, he was framed for a murder he hadn't yet committed) and all of the advertisements were recognizing him and blurting out his name. How did they recognize him? By scanning his eyes.

Okay, so maybe that's a little bit alarmist. I doubt we will ever have a "Department of Precrime" in real life. DNA is, from what I understand, still the best evidence to tie a person to a crime, and the more people's DNA the authorities have in storage, the easier it would be for them to find criminals. However, it is a bit scary to think of how much information Big Brother may have on us someday...