June 29, 2002

Shopping Toppers
Took Wife/Youngster clothes shopping, then the mall. While out for clothes, got the youngster some Johnny Quest glow-in-the-dark underwear (hope the "radiation" does not adversely affect him!). I also noticed Incredible Hulk underwear (also glows), but only kid size, nothing in men's sizes. Seems to me someone is missing a big sales opportunity. Maybe I missed my calling and I should have been in marketing, but I guess we are all in marketing to some degree.

At the mall, we saw the Jesse Ventura dolls still on the "action figure doll" shelves at KayBee toys, and they haven't been marked down (yet). Youngster, big Batman fan that he is, said "Hey, he looks like Egghead" (an archnemesis of Batman). I had to agree with him. Maybe Jesse could try that role, after he steps down, in the next Batman film, with "the Rock" as Batman. Naah, that wouldn't work, the mask would hide the Rock's trademark eyebrow arch. Might as well get Vince McMahon. He's already "pumped-up" and would fit in the costume.
(DISCLAIMER: I do not watch WWF, just the commercials and occasional news clip. Not that I should have to apologize if I did watch it, but my pro wrestling days ended about 30 years ago when Dick the Bruiser retired.)

Posted by MarcV, 10:03 PM link

Jelly Belly
I confess - went on a Jelly Belly binge the past few days. Hey, the box says FAT FREE, so they can't be too bad for you? Eh, what's a little processed sugar in the alimentary canal! Found a quiz you can take to find out what flavor jelly belly you are.

I'm Tangerine, in case you asked: "Jealous ones see you as a goody-goody, but your friends think of you as a role-model." Ha! Now all I have to do is get friends! Goody-goody? If they only knew what a wretch I am. Saved by the blood, but sometimes I wonder if I'm testing the 7x70 limit.

Posted by MarcV, 6:45 AM link

June 28, 2002

Gift Grab Bag
With Mark Byron travelling and planning/matrimonying, his usual posting will probably be set to "trickle" for a few weeks. Aawww, that's OK, let's not see any long faces. There's only 7 shopping days left, so what to give to a "transplant-to-Florida-economics-perfesser"? He hasn't listed anything on his blog as far as I know. Don't want to look like the kind of guy who stops at the 7-11 before the ceremony and buys some silk roses. Hmmmm...
- An industrial-sized tub of SunBlock SPF40? (Nah, probably already got it after his last game of outdoor basketball "turn and burn")
- The video: "Manatees - Marine Monster or Simple Sea Cow?" (Naaah, DVD's not out yet, and it would be gauche to give VHS now)
- Two seats at a seminar: "How to Drive in Fla. Surrounded by Senior Citizens and Still Save Your Sanity"? (Ssssuper! Better hurry before they fill up!)

Posted by MarcV, 2:08 PM link

Whilst sitting here at work, hoping the phone will ring with someone in need of help from Super-Geek - MIS Specialist, I heard a page for "John MacLaughlin", and the first thing I thought was Mahavishnu. Was that a bizarre brain fart or what? Is he still plinking guitar strings?

Posted by MarcV, 1:28 PM link

Let the River Run Through It
Wife is reading her decorating books, Youngster is reading his Mickey Mouse book, I'm in the LazyBoy with the laptop and all seems right. And the river flows ...

Has anyone not seen the movie "A River Runs Through It"? Brad Pitt stars in one of his first major roles (ten years ago) catching trout and trouble. It's a great story matched with gorgeous scenery. Have to fight the urge to go fly fishing after watching it. Difficult film to categorize: part drama, romance and tragedy, centered on family and a little faith.

"There are three things in Montana that we are never late for: church, work and fishing."

Posted by MarcV, 8:37 AM link

Charismatic Unity?
A Mr. Richard Feder from Ft. Lee, NJ writes: Dear RoseAnn Rosannadanna...
Ooops, wrong letter.
My blog buddy David at HeLives has requested some of my brain squeezins, and the noggin is not totally spent yet, so...


Could you comment or blog on the following observation (relevant for this discussion) of the charismatic movement? I would be greatly interested in your thoughts. Here is the strawman:

The charismatic movement, which places a greater emphasis on experience, necessarily then places a lesser emphasis on doctrine. The result (which might be considered good or bad, depending on your perspective) is a bigger tent which holds people of a variety of vastly different doctrinal backgrounds bound by their common experience of Spirit Baptism. It becomes more difficult for charismatics to say in unity that we believe in this; the unity they profess is more and more in the experiential realm only.

True, false, offensive? (if so not intentionally). It's a gift of a free blog-topic from your Reformed pal.

First, it is my understanding that not all Charismatics believe in the Spirit Baptism, but Pentecostals by definition do. Charismatics believe in exercising the gifts of the Holy Spirit, particularly during worship times. For this discussion, Charismatics will be typified as those who have a free worship style using the gifts of the spirit, dancing/singing/praising like King David when the ark was brought into Jerusalem (1 Chr. 15:29).

I think you have two "pools" of Charismatics to consider. You have the "dive right in" crowd, just get on your feet, use the gifts and praise/holler/dance, and you have the "test the water with my toe" folks who will double check the doctrine and research until they go any further (I tend towards the latter - surprise). The latter will eventually get all the way into the water, just takes longer. People who look from the outside will tend to see the emotion and fervor and assume Charismatics are there primarily for the experience. You also have to contend with the mindset of mainline Protestants (Catholics too) that church is a holy place, decorum must be maintained, and worship must be reverential (except once a year for the youth service and they use - gasp - guitars).

Charismatics having vastly different doctrinal backgrounds? God forbid. If anything, most Charismatics take the Bible as the inerrant word of God. Like the previous tussles with free-will vs. predestination, you can find Scripture supporting both the quiet, reverential worship service vs. shout/dance and praise of those tongue-talkers. Now that I have started to dance and praise, I can't go back to quiet and reverential, and it's difficult to understand why others are not comfortable praising Jesus out loud in the Spirit. Let's climb a flagpole and shout His glory, and praise Him throughout the land! Wouldn't be proper? You could end up like those guys on the street corner, hollering and waving your Bible.

Before I step on any toes, I'm tempted to open old wounds again and bring up the "regret" that Charismatics feel towards non-Charismatics because they won't embrace the spiritual gifts. You can probably find more unity amongst Charismatics about that than emphasis on worship experience.

Finally, it's not my intention to make this some type of argument of one being better than another. There's a road strewn with landmines when you start generalizing that someone emphasizes experience or someone else is more doctrinal. If we agree that there are different "worship experiences", then it necessarily follows that there is difference in doctrinal interpretation (how styles of worship are justified).

Yes, let us agree on salvation orthodoxy as a foundation and throw ourselves at the feet of Jesus, amen. We all should emphasize a worship experience and Scripture study. We will differ on style of worship and which parts of Scripture to emphasize. I welcome all parts of the body, from the stinky toes to the nose, and to the ones I don't understand but are there and attached.
PS Paraphrasing from the sermon at the end of "A River Runs Through It": We have members of our family that we want to reach out and help, but we can't. All we can do is love them unconditionally. I want to love you Lord, just as You loved me, and I want to love others just as You love them.

Posted by MarcV, 8:34 AM link

June 27, 2002

I'm so confused. Should "Under God" be in the Pledge? I'm trying to look at it from a disciple's view. This pledge is to the US, not the Lord. It could be construed as forcing religion, but how many professing atheists do you know that use God's name in vain? We all make pledges to various groups as part of our daily living, whether or not we actually voice them (I pledge to show up to work on time, pay my bills, raise my children), as a sign of trust.
Could we pass an amendment that flat out states, THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA IS A CHRISTIAN NATION AND EXPRESSION OF CHRISTIAN FAITH WILL NOT BE OUTLAWED. According to the polls we have the numbers, if people who say they are Christian would vote for it.

Yet, I don't want to cram Christian faith down anyone's throat, that they would come to Jesus of their own free (non-Calvinist) will. Is this ruling on the Pledge of Allegiance another sign for the Apocalypse? Lord, please take me by the hand in this time of darkness.

Posted by MarcV, 2:07 PM link

Blog On
Joshua Sargent recently posted on some concerns about our little domain in the blogosphere, "Christian" blogs, and his frustration that we may not be using the "cutting edge" word of God. I gave a comment, and a nice blogger was kind enough to e-mail me and wanted to know if I would post on my comment *blush*. Keeping in mind that: a. This subject has been extensively covered by others, b. Part of Joshua's frustration is with Christian bloggers replying to each other's posts, c. About 4 other long posts are banging around in my head wanting to come out... I will yield to my vanity and expound on the Christian blog scene.

An excerpt from Joshua's post: "Are we making a difference? Or we just blogging for other bloggers?" Excerpts from my comment:

Sounds like you're hitting the sophomore slump, the one you get after you've blogged awhile, gotten a few links and mentions, then things level off and you wonder if it's worth the trouble. If bloggers start out with a good reason/vision for blogging, then they can get through the slow spots. If you're doing it just to try it out or maybe even gain some fame, then you won't last long. Just ask yourself "Why do I blog?" and "Would my time be better spent elsewhere?"
As far as Christian blogs, this is new territory (in one way) being plowed, and in another way it is the same as it ever was... Blogs have no police or overseer, so we will get worldly influences. When Martin Roth started his list, I wanted to (but did not) write him and ask him to change his blog list title to "Professing Christian Blogs".
Do we make a difference - maybe not, but is that the intent of your blog? Others do read, but I like to think that we (Christian bloggers) are iron sharpening iron, even if some rust happens to creep in from those "bad" sites.

If I may take a moment of self-focus (gasp!), this blogosphere has helped me to develop my thoughts and faith, both by writing posts and reading what others have to say. I do not have any close friends, besides my wife, that I can talk to on a regular basis. My heart is still broken, and will probably never be fully healed, when PTim moved away last September. We had the start of a "beautiful friendship" but it was not meant to be (PTim is one of the long posts in my head). Anyhow, with no mentor or friend, I have found that blogs helped fill the gap.

Do I need a real human friend/brother for accountability? You betcha. Until God supplies that person, I'll have to make do with what I have at hand (like this keyboard).

Would I like my site to be evangelical and win others to Christ? God willing. You can build it, and even advertise it, but it's a long shot that significant numbers of potential converts will open your webpage (may God bless me with even a straggler or two!). The best I can hope for is that my posts will reflect Jesus, keeping in mind that worldly "things" keep pressing in. It's the continual struggle of enjoying life but not yielding to temptation that leads to sin (in but not of the world). That's how blogs go as well, and we see different sites with varying degrees of "worldly" posts.

I like the long term prospects of blogging, both Christian and others, as a personal and direct method of connecting to other folks. As translation software improves, we could have the opportunity to communicate with everyone who is plugged in and truly make this the World Wide Web.

Posted by MarcV, 1:50 PM link

June 26, 2002

Plug-in Protestants
Glad to see Jeffrey at JoyfulChristian sitting up and taking nourishment, as well as keyboard plunking, and hope he gets back to full strength soon. He gave a discussion about church differences by first citing a post at HeLives on belief and faith (see the comments below that post for my thoughts on that), and then picked up a thread from last month about differences between churches. Now that I am in the midst of church "shopping", this subject has occupied some of my thoughts (and prayers).

Mark Byron commented that it is easier for Protestants to leave their church than for Catholics. He may be correct, but I hope his reasoning is not. Mark indicated that Protestant churches are "interchangeable." Is this really true? To an extent, it may be, but logically, they cannot be completely interchangeable. There are reasons why there are different "denominations." One of the primary differences is that they teach different things. I would hope that the reason people are at a church is because they have compared the teachings of that church to scripture and found those teachings to be true. (If the truth is not being taught, why would you remain?)
[Also]...I look around and I see that many churches teach things about salvation which I cannot reconcile with the message of the apostles, no matter how much room for interpretation I try to allow for. Based on what I have seen some churches teach, they simply do not seem to be teaching people the same message of salvation that the apostles taught. I must conclude, with sadness, that no matter what they believe about themselves, they are not part of the body.
[Also]So, to the question, "Are Protestant churches interchangeable?" I would have to answer, "Only to the extent that they teach the same message of salvation taught by the apostles."

The primary differences between churches have first a historical element. A branch or denomination splits off because they don't agree with their old leadership, or they are not being "fed" sufficiently. (For example, Assemblies of God started out in the early 1900's when Baptist, Methodist and pastors from other denominations attended revivals, experienced the baptism of the Holy Spirit and knew they could not go back to their old churches.) After decades of growth and comfort, a denomination will settle into a niche, and typically pick up enough people and ideas from other denominations so that they start to resemble their "brothers". The cycle might change, depending on the leadership, when differences are actively sought and advertised: come to blahblah - less guilt, more salvation and an easy to follow liturgy!

Protestant and Pentecostal interchangeable? Should be but they are not. Both (should) have a firm foundation of saving orthodoxy, but have much different ideas on how a worship service is conducted. So as far as churches being interchangeable, people will go where they feel comfortable with each other socially (I can hang with this crew!) and how they worship. Sadly, many people see a label on a church (i.e. Baptist, Episcopal, Methodist, Wesleyan, etc.) and assume that they are "Christian", and don't dig too deeply on the church leadership's beliefs. You can also have significant variations on what each local church will teach and allow (such as openly homosexual membership).

Are Protestant churches interchangeable? Yes, to the extent that a person is willing to accomodate worship style differences to fit their "comfort zone", as well as how deeply they dig for the church's stance on salvation orthodoxy. Many people are content if they hear a good sermon, key "buzzwords" and familiar scripture references, and then enjoy the occasional potluck or church picnic/outing. Thankfully there are those in Protestant churches who continue to sound the alarm and get people to focus on their relationship with Jesus over doctrinal (or even administrative) concerns, but find the going difficult when they describe the commitment He expects.

So if the truth is not being taught, why remain? You can't be an effective agent of change outside of the organization. Everyone, though, has their breaking point, and eventually needs to be fed, rather than dishing out all of the time. That's particularly true for pastors. I pray that deacons and elders remember this and allow their pastors enough time away from their church to attend seminars and retreats.

While I am church shopping, my first gut response is with the surface things (social and style of worship). If that passes, then I'll check the foundation, and then finally talk to the pastors and church leaders to see where they are coming from. I might not get all of the questions asked and answered, but I pray that the Holy Spirit will give me peace on the selection that I will eventually make. We rely on His help to find our church home, as well as telling us that it's time to find other pastures.

Posted by MarcV, 10:14 AM link

June 25, 2002

This term has been thrown around some featured sites, but I never could get my hands around it and understand what it meant. This article should be helpful. It was only 14 pages of print (they have a PDF option for the article).
[Update: make that 7, my printer messed up (or was it me?)]

Posted by MarcV, 4:25 PM link

Jan's Testimony
Went blog hopping (leapblog - jumping to different blogs you never have seen before using other blog links{have to see if that is on the blog dictionary}), and found a good testimony on dead yet living, a site where several people post. If you enjoy reading testimonies and have about ten minutes, read what Jan has to say.

Posted by MarcV, 4:23 PM link

President Bush finally left Arafat dangling in the wind by himself and cut off US ties to him. It's about time. How many times does a snake have to bite your hand before you stomp him? I pray that God will raise up a good leader to help change this current Palestinian mindset, and find a way to live in peace with a Jewish nation next door. Maybe even that Palestine can grow and not be a puppet of the Arab anti-Zionists.

Posted by MarcV, 9:15 AM link

Weaver of Coats
Great story on the "last American aid worker left in Afghanistan", John Weaver of Coats, NC (small town south of Raleigh). He stayed behind after 9-11, not letting a terrorist attack stop him.

"I wanted to show people that we really cared for them. I wanted to show that in the midst of their suffering, God still hadn't forgotten them."

He flew back to the US in April, and will be putting out a book this summer about his experiences in Afghanistan. He first gave his life to Christ back in 1984 (when he was 14) during a Billy Graham crusade.

He dressed, ate and lived as a native in order to blend into the local culture, so well that many people in Afghanistan did not realize that he was an American. He arrived there in Sept. 2000, and led a team of workers helping 30,000 refugees displaced by the war between the Taliban and Northern Alliance. They were at the front lines of the conflict, under the protection of the Northern Alliance.

On Sept. 9, 2001, Weaver heard about the assassination of Gen. Massoud, the Northern Alliance leader. Two days later they heard about the destruction of the World Trade Center on shortwave radio. He said that once Massoud was dead, America became the Afghans' only hope.

"For the most part, they saw America as being their deliverer. The reality was that there was no other way this war in Afghanistan was going to stop."

He will help rebuild Afghanistan by leading his team to build schools and set up educational programs. He hopes his book will inspire other missionary efforts by a few young people who want to live for God rather than themselves.

Lord, thank you for the workers in the field tending your flock. Please give me insight on how I can help those who labor for you in distant lands.

Posted by MarcV, 9:10 AM link

June 24, 2002

Terrorists Amongst Us
Chuck Colson, head of Prison Ministries, has an article at OpinionJournal about the Muslim "breeding" program in our prisons. I had a church friend who worked for Prison Ministries, and she would tell us about some of the great things going on with that program, so support them whenever you can.

Mr. Colson stated that 1 out of 6 inmates is an adherent to Islam. Out of a prison population of 2 million, that yields 120,000. Even if you conservatively estimate 10% of them being motivated for violent jihad, you have over 10,000 potential terrorists. They are people who know this country and how to blend in. And they won't be locked up forever...

Perhaps part of the cost of freedom is to have potential terrorists amongst us. Perhaps we can love on them enough so they won't want to hurt others. It's too expensive to keep them locked up all the time. It's a violent world we live in.

Posted by MarcV, 12:24 PM link

Iron Chefiness
Ever get the urge to take on an Iron Chef? Don't know what I'm talking about? Check out Iron Chef on the Food Channel Friday and Saturday nights, then come back.Here's a fan site.

To beat an Iron Chef, you need to be skilled at putting ingredients together, but presentation is oh so important. On Saturday we went to the Wal-Mart for groceries, and it's fresh fruit season (yeah!), so I picked up some apricots, plums, nectarines and cherries. Sometimes after shopping you don't feel like cooking, so I got inspired and cut/arranged the fruit on a plate. I also prepped a cucumber (from the garden), carrots and broccoli in a bowl with some ranch dip on the side.

It looked so good that I got the camera out and took an overhead shot before the munching started. We usually don't eat this healthy, so it was good to have a record of it! Anyhow, my lovely wife starts laughing at me when she saw me taking the pictures. Sheesh, can't a guy take a little pride in his efforts?

The theme ingredient for today: SPUDS! Go and dig 'em!

Posted by MarcV, 12:23 PM link

Shout to the Lord
Visited a church yesterday - probably the most "pentecostal" service I have ever been to. Maybe a little over 100 people, small but excellent praise band. They did a version of "Trading My Sorrows" (Darrell Evans) that really rocked. It was the kind of church where some of the ladies would kick their shoes off and dance in the aisles. After the praise music there was an extended time of "praise and shout" to the Lord (at least ten minutes), then when the pastor got up to the front, they had another session of praise and shout for at least the same length of time.

Unfortunately for my wife and I, the pastor was a shouter, and afterwards we both were suffering from headaches. Most pentecostal-type pastors seem to shout, and it probably turns some people off. There's probably others who think that if they don't hear alot of shouting, that the preacher must not be in the spirit. I think you can be in the spirit and give an annointed sermon without having to shout over half of the time (I sure do miss PTim - more about him later). I understand it is a "technique", that by changing dynamics you make your presentation interesting and can highlight key points. But you lose the effect when the decibel meter is pegged and stays pegged over long stretches.

I hope I am not being negative or condescending, because there are many annointed pastors serving out sermons week after week. I tried it myself one Sunday night, and I don't think I could do it for a living. It gave me even more respect for pastors after briefly slipping on their shoes. Perhaps Joshua Sargent could give me his perspective on shouting pastors?

Posted by MarcV, 9:43 AM link

Sum Fear
WARNING: If you haven't seen it, you may not want to read the post below.
Went with da wife to see Sum of All Fears - better than I thought it would be, but it had a few problems. You can't help but think back to 9/11 when they show the crowd faces before the bomb goes off. The theater was quiet before and after that scene, and I liked the use of washed out color afterwards, making it seem like a bad dream or nightmare.

As much as I have wrestled with the thought of invading Iraq, I can imagine the anger and hunger for revenge that other people will feel if terrorists happen to kill more than a handful of Americans, because I felt that during the bomb sequence. Some fears are coming true: drought seems to be tightening its grip on regions of this country (including NC), southern Africa has 7 million people in danger of starvation, the Palestinians are stepping up their suicide wishes, and a few of us will be looking over our shoulders during fireworks on the 4th (after the "alerts" given by the federal government).

As far as the movie, it does seem unrealistic now that our government would react so rashly after a single nuclear bomb, without investigating the source. I didn't see a problem with the film makers using neo-Nazis, because it's easy enough to substitute Islamofascists in your head if you want. It did seem a little too tidy for the presidents of the US and Russia to play kissy-face at the end, when their fingers were on the button ready to blow up each other's countries. You would think that it would take lengthy diplomatic efforts for relations to warm up, but this is Hollywood, home of the neat and tidy movie endings.

The one thing that could have been cut from the movie was when Ryan heads back to the docks to follow up on a lead. He had enough information to go on already, and his first priority should have been contacting people in charge. He was just wasting his time at the docks, when it didn't make sense to do so (besides showing Ryan beating up the "Terminator" character). Otherwise it was a good show with a decent amount of suspense.

In this summer of reluctant heroes (Spiderman), dog heroes (Scooby Doo), future heroes (Tom Cruise in Minority Report), and Jedi Knights, my favorite hero this summer was John Clark. He has been the most realistic portrayal of an "American James Bond" that I have seen. I hope out of this country of +260 million that we can find a few John Clark's to do the jobs that need to be done, to keep this country safe and strong.

Posted by MarcV, 9:21 AM link

June 22, 2002

How Do You Say Goodbye
Wasn't sure when and if I would be sharing this, but the shoe has dropped and the worm has turned. My wife and I are church shopping (again), but this time we're not moving out of town. I pray that by wrestling with this on the blogosphere I can get my thinking straight and perhaps help somebody else who is going through similar circumstances, yet not make light out of something serious.

Why are we leaving? It is something we have been praying about for several months, and some things have happened in the last month or so to confirm this decision. This is new territory for us - part of me wants to announce it, but it is a painful process. Just saw an article describing people who leave a church as being either "skunks"(make a lot of noise/stink) or "turtles" (shuffle out the back door quietly). My wife and I are naturally "turtles". I plan on meeting with the Pastor in a week or two.

I'm not sure where we will end up, but it will probably be somewhere with at least a pentecostal flavor. I hate to "church-hop" as it could possibly contribute to a weakening of the church, but I continue to place my focus on my relationship with Jesus. What do I need to do to strengthen that relationship and be the best father/husband to the family that He has blessed me with? Where does He want me to be?

Priorities, priorities. We're looking at a dry summer. May He favor us with His rain.

Posted by MarcV, 11:07 PM link

June 21, 2002

Keep the Possumblogger in prayer - maybe even light a candle (ha!). He took all 4 of his young'uns to the office today, expecting to get work done. I can't even imagine trying to keep my 4 year old at work and being able to get things done. I have a hunch some faith will be tested there. What a Fathers Day gift!

Posted by MarcV, 9:12 AM link

Frustrating Technology
Professor Reynolds wrote an article for TechCentral on the unneeded complexity of products, the lack of good user interfaces and having to pay more for features that most people won't use. He complains about "version fatigue", and that companies are making people read the user manual when before, in the "good ole days", you just plugged it in and could figure out how to operate the thing (not that most manuals are very useful).

Version fatigue comes from the accumulated realization that most knowledge gained with regard to any particular version of a product will be useless with regard to future generations of that same product. (And, of course, it's even worse when products change - those VisiCalc tricks you were once so proud of are entirely worthless now, except to demonstrate your old-timer credentials).

Waaah! If you're buying something that you don't understand, it's your own fault, caveat emptor, etc. Products smart, people dumb?

A better argument could be found at the MIT site, Technology Review, revealing some ugly truth about the software we are stuck with. It all comes down to odds and the practice of using software to catch errors rather than checking over the code manually. A certain blogger, who will remain nameless, had expressed support for M$ (Microsoft) and liked the fact that he was paying less money per line of code with the newer OS's, like Windows XP. Well, you do get millions more line of code, but for every million lines of code:

On average, professional coders make 100 to 150 errors in every thousand lines of code they write, according to a multiyear study of 13,000 programs by Humphrey of Carnegie Mellon. Using Humphrey’s figures, the business operating system Windows NT 4, with its 16 million lines of code, would thus have been written with about two million mistakes. Most would have been too small to have any effect, but some—many thousands—would have caused serious problems.
Naturally, Microsoft exhaustively tested NT 4 before release, but “in almost any phase of tests you’ll find less than half the defects,” Humphrey says. If Microsoft had gone through four rounds of testing, an expensive and time-consuming procedure, the company would have found at most 15 out of 16 bugs. “That’s going to leave you with something like five defects per thousand lines of code,” Humphrey says. “Which is very low”—but the software would still have as many as 80,000 errors.

The other aggravation factor for Windows is their insistence that Internet Explorer and other programs are "embedded" in the OS and can't be easily removed. Now I don't like the idea of some federally appointed commission mandating how M$ should be run, but it seems that the only other alternative is to use an alternate OS, like Linux, which has its own problems.

...Bill Gates testified in an April session of the Microsoft antitrust trial (that Windows) simply would not function if customers removed individual components such as browsers, file managers or e-mail programs. “That’s an incredible claim,” says Neumann. “It means there’s no structure or architecture or rhyme or reason in the way they’ve built those systems, other than to make them as bundled as possible, so that if you remove any part it will all fail.”

It's difficult to go against the 800 lb. gorilla, especially when you're accustomed to using the same thing at work and at home. Software is a unique product in our market. We have become numb to the blue screen of death, and expect to download and install patches of patches.

Microsoft released Windows XP (45 million lines of code) on Oct. 25, 2001. That same day, in what may be a record, the company posted 18 megabytes of patches on its Web site: bug fixes, compatibility updates, and enhancements. Two patches fixed important security holes. Or rather, one of them did; the other patch didn’t work. Microsoft advised (and still advises) users to back up critical files before installing the patches. Buyers of the home version of Windows XP, however, discovered that the system provided no way to restore these backup files if things went awry. As Microsoft’s online Knowledge Base blandly explained, the special backup floppy disks created by Windows XP Home “do not work with Windows XP Home.”

I don't know if normal market forces can turn this situation around, or if we will always be stuck with the latest and greatest software chock full of features and bugs. So far software companies have kept the trial lawyers at bay, but it may be only a matter of time.

To the surprise of many observers, the industry is relatively free of product liability lawsuits. The “I Love You” virus, for instance, spread largely because Microsoft—against the vehement warnings of security experts—designed Outlook to run programs in e-mail attachments easily. According to Computer Economics, a consulting group in Carlsbad, CA, the total cost of this decision was $8.75 billion.

Posted by MarcV, 8:57 AM link

June 20, 2002

Not much posting today.
My Corp. boss is in today, and I just responded to a letter from a friend who I have not heard from for awhile, so I sent him a 3 pager. Doesn't leave much time for posting, so check out some of the links to the right. Maybe try one you have not checked out before - you never know...

Posted by MarcV, 4:05 PM link

June 19, 2002

Pentecostal Bloggers
My Bloggedly Blog friend wondered where all of the charismatic/pentecostal bloggers are. I gave a response in his comments, but want to elaborate some more. I was also pleasantly surprised to hear that a blogger I've been checking out lately, Joshua Sargeant, is an AoG pastor.

I don't know why more charismatic/pentecostal bloggers are not utilizing the blogosphere. Perhaps they don't know about it or its potential. I have submitted an article to the Pentecostal Evangel about blogging and its potential as an evangelical tool. At the very least blogging can help you to get your thoughts and testimony squared in your mind, by writing and refining what you believe, and sometimes having to defend your faith.

I have a hunch that part of the problem has to do with the nature of the Internet itself. Many view it as a polluted, worldly garbage pit (which it can be) and don't want to touch it. We know Jesus went to the sinners, rather than always waiting for them to come to Himself. Our task, as Christian bloggers, is trying to figure out how to draw in and get the attention of non-believers, not turning them off yet still giving glory to God and telling them the good news. Haven't you checked out a site that was supposedly Christian, yet you wondered about some of their content? Maybe this site?

There may be some "Pentecostals" who would disapprove of labeling this site pentecostal since I have not experienced the Baptism of the Holy Spirit. I'll let others give me labels as they see fit (just see if you can stop them!), and try to maintain my Jesus Freak - Holy Spirit Energized label that I pursue each day. I am concerned that we, "Christian" bloggers, would insulate ourselves like some churches and miss out on evangelizing opportunities. So many good blogs, so little time, plus having to maintain my own site does not leave much time for "evange-blogging". Should I try for a blog dictionary entry? Evange-blogging: reaching out to non-Christians with the Gospel message on your or other's blog.

Time to pray on this and seek God's purpose for these digital efforts. Lord, is Spudlets just a selfish effort, and diverting my time that could be better spent on reaching out to the lost, defending the case for Christ, and lifting the name of Jesus high? Please allow the Holy Spirit to burn a path for me, and empower me to make a positive difference for You and Your Kingdom! May the movement of my fingers on the keyboard, and the meditations of my heart be pleasing and acceptable to Thee, oh Lord, my Rock and my Redeemer.

PS Pentecostal Evangel (link above) has a very good Father's Day interview with Michael W. Smith. His Worship album is outstanding.

Posted by MarcV, 11:52 AM link

Surf's Up and Over
I'll get this out of my system, and should be my only beach post. There's something about the coast and ocean that makes me feel connected with the rest of the world. I like swimming in the ocean too.
My Father's Day began on Sun. night/Mon. morning at 2 am, when the 4 yr. old boy got up again crying. We had him on the floor in a sleeping bag, while wife and I were in a cramped double (we got a king size bed the next night), and he had wiggled out of the sleeping bag and was unhappy to find himself on the floor. So I hoisted him on the bed next to Mom, and got the hard floor sleeping bag for myself.
I was not too sore when I got up (boy up at 6:15 am), so we went for a walk on the beach while Mom finished snoozing. He is much braver than last year, running into the edge of the surf then back when it gets too high. He reminded me of a sandpiper. I also thought of how I'll be looking forward to this for the next +10 years, where he'll test boundaries and maybe flirt with trouble. I pray that he will not get caught in the undertow.
After a bad breakfast out, the kind where you could make something 10x better at 1/3 the cost, it was time for beach fun, pool fun, lunch and back to the beach. After some sand castling, boy wanted to go to the pool (loves swimming with his float vest on), so Mom took him and left me on a lounge chair with an umbrella for shade, on the beach, ALL BY MYSELF. Tried to nap, but couldn't. I got a chance to contemplate life on a nice afternoon, with warm temperatures and a breeze off of the water that would occasionally spritz a small spit of ocean spray (not cranberry juice) on my face.
My life? I'm blessed beyond belief. It would have been easy to fall into a life of selfish monotony, doing what I want in a rental space and being a legend in my own mind. Now I have a family to share all that life has to offer. As I'm typing it's Sponge Bob soon to be followed by HGTV(we don't get these at home), then a buffet (that's a codeword for "face-stuffing") while we wait out the rain. I'm grateful for every day I am blessed with them, yet wondering if I'm giving enough of myself.
Isn't that what you do on your vacations, make assessments? Maybe more activity and less navel gazing might be in order. Well, guess I'll get the family moving...
Oh poop! Rained again this morning, so no ocean dip. The youngster got to swim in the pool one last time, then we went to the aquarium after checking out. Just about out of money, so it's time to go home. No more beach 'til next year.

Posted by MarcV, 7:33 AM link

June 15, 2002

Sea and Sand
Heading for da beach for a few days, so no posts until Wednesday, unless I can find someplace to plug my laptop's modem. I'll try to avoid getting any sand in my gears, and hopefully find some decent body surfing waves. Who needs a board?

Posted by MarcV, 7:12 AM link

I've come to that time in most every blogger's life, where they feel compelled to post personal info.
Who is Marc Velazquez?
He lives in the Tarheel State with his lovely and talented wife, Kristal, and son Josh (and a flea-bag cat Gus).
He currently is a computer geek for a manufacturing plant - you know, the guy they holler for when their computer doesn't work, and the first thing he asks, "Have you tried to reboot the system?" He was originally trained for leading-edge work in the high-tech field of ceramic engineering, but the long and winding road has led him to be a computer acolyte.
He accepted Jesus as Lord and Savior in '94, got fired from a job the next year, then had to sell the dream farm the year after that. God was working together for his and his wife's good, because moving to Ohio allowed them to find and fall in love with Joshua, and they have been blessed every day since June 6, 1998. The Lord continues to bless them by allowing Kristal to be a full-time stay-at-home mom.

Why blog?
Why not? Aren't all bloggers just frustrated writers who wish they could post like Lileks? Oh, maybe that's just me. I'm similar to other folks, looking for like-minded (and sometimes contrary) people to swap brain waves with, and hopefully get a chuckle or two occasionally.

Why Spudlets?
As a spud, I am in the dirt of the web with my eyes out and open, taking in information and hopefully creating something of value as I grow. Spudlets are the small taters of wisdom that come out of the dirt. In a sense we are all spuds in the dirt of this world, trying to grow but not allow impurities to penetrate us.

If there is any spare time after taking care of Josh, feeding the blog obsession, and seeing to my tender spouse's needs, I'm a bogie golfer, enjoy Bible study and teaching, and used to collect music (when vinyl was king) and go to concerts (back when $15 was pretty steep for a ticket).

Dark secret from my past
I went to a Dead Kennedy's concert near Greenwich Village in '83 wearing a black Ted Nugent t-shirt, and made it out alive.

Most asked question (well, it should be!)
Yes, I believe I am related to Jaci Velazquez, and will confim this once she accepts my invitation for chicken mole the next time her tour stops here.

Posted by MarcV, 7:09 AM link

Neighborly Extortion
Our esteemed legislature here in the Tarheel state (that's North Carolina, land of Mayberry) is considering a bill, called the North Carolina Lottery Abatement Compact. We would ask our neighbors in Georgia, South Carolina and Virginia for a cut of their lottery ticket sales. In return, we would not establish a lottery for five years.

Each state would give NC an amount equal to 70 percent of the net proceeds of their gross lottery ticket sales attributable to purchases by people from NC. Here's what the phone call would be like: NC-"Hey JimBob, this is Goober. We just passed a law here that says you will estimate your lottery ticket sales to our fine North Carolina citizens and give our state a cut." SC-"Uh, Goober, ha ha, just what type of cut are you talking about, ha ha?" NC-"Why only 70% of the net proceeds!" SC-"And, uh, Goober, ha ha ha, what do we, ha ha ha ha, get for this?" NC-"We will pledge to you, JimBob, not to establish a lottery here for five years." SC-"HA HA HA HA HEE HEE HEE HAA (snort) HA HA HEE HEE (click)" NC-"Uh, JimBob, JimBob?"

Another "sweetener" for this deal would change NC law that currently outlaws possession of lottery tickets, to permit ownership of tickets from states in the compact. So if someone went to, say, New Jersey to buy a lottery ticket, came back to NC and won a multi-million $$ jackpot, they could be arrested and charged with lottery ticket possession. I have not bought any lottery tickets for several years, and hope that we do not institute a lottery here, but find it amazing that a state would outlaw lottery ticket possession.

HOLD THE PRESSES (or should I say Publish button) - Other legislation filed this week: creation of a "Tax Me More Fund" for people who want to voluntarily pay more taxes.
Yup, apparently someone in Raleigh has spiked the pitchers of drinking water with moonshine. I'll keep my eyes open for any "Tax Me More" buttons or T-shirts. Oh wait, won't they have those available at the Democrat's convention?

Posted by MarcV, 7:03 AM link

June 13, 2002

Spam Jam
Just saw a news item on the Grand Opening of the Spam Museum in Austin, MN. As if James Lileks doesn't make living in Minnesota sound so appealing, now the Spam Museum!

Just as every Elvis fan longs to visit Graceland, SPAM fans worldwide now have their own pilgrimage to make. In Austin, Minnesota a new 16,500 square-foot SPAM Museum opened in September 2001. Museum visitors will be welcomed to the world of SPAM luncheon meat with a variety of interactive and educational games, fun exhibits and remarkable video presentations.

This Saturday, while I'm heading for da beach, they will be holding the Spam Jam festivities at the museum. Many activities and family games are planned, including SPAM Mountain. You're guess is as good as mine on what that game will entail.
Bubbles the Clown will be one of the strolling entertainers. They also listed some of the "celebrities" scheduled for the celebration: Barbara Billingsley (Beaver, finish your Spam sandwich!), Booker T and the MG's, Debra Jo Rupp, Marion Ross (Opie Cunningham, finish your Spam sandwich!), Martin Zellar, and Tom Brokaw(!). The only other celebrity they need is Homer Simpson saying, "Mmmm, Spammmm..." So pack up the kids and head for Spam Jam 2002!

Posted by MarcV, 1:37 PM link

David Heddle was traipsing in the TULIP garden today, smelling the flowers and wondering if we can lose our salvation. He gives an "emphatic no", then cites scripture concerning implied and explicit perseverance of the saints. This debate will probably keep on going until the eastern sky splits and our Savior comes riding on a white horse, so let me take the counterpoint here in the tater garden (maybe I can come up with a neat acrostic for TATER!).

IMHO, our salvation cannot be taken away from us, but we can lose it by rejecting the Lord and blaspheming the Holy Spirit. Can't say for sure if we could regain it after that. An example of the consequences of rejecting the Lord is from 2 Peter 17-21:

These men are springs without water and mists driven by a storm. Blackest darkness is reserved for them. For they mouth empty, boastful words and, by appealing to the lustful desires of sinful human nature, they entice people who are just escaping from those who live in error. They promise them freedom, while they themselves are slaves of depravity--for a man is a slave to whatever has mastered him. If they have escaped the corruption of the world by knowing our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ and are again entangled in it and overcome, they are worse off at the end than they were at the beginning. It would have been better for them not to have known the way of righteousness, than to have known it and then to turn their backs on the sacred command that was passed on to them.

Jesus discussed the sin that cannot be forgiven in Matt. 12:30-32:

"He who is not with me is against me, and he who does not gather with me scatters. And so I tell you, every sin and blasphemy will be forgiven men, but the blasphemy against the Spirit will not be forgiven. Anyone who speaks a word against the Son of Man will be forgiven, but anyone who speaks against the Holy Spirit will not be forgiven, either in this age or in the age to come.

Difficult to imagine a sin that cannot be forgiven, when you can find other passages in the Bible that assure us of forgiveness when we repent. I'm guessing there are whole semesters in various seminaries devoted to the difference in blaspheming the Spirit vs. blaspheming Jesus, and what constitutes blaspheming the Spirit.

We also have the consideration of the judgement seat, and who's names are written in the Book of Life. Will we find out on the day of judgement that you could lose your salvation based on the above scriptures? What fruit is being produced in our lives? (continuing vv. 33-36):

"Make a tree good and its fruit will be good, or make a tree bad and its fruit will be bad, for a tree is recognized by its fruit. You brood of vipers, how can you who are evil say anything good? For out of the overflow of the heart the mouth speaks. The good man brings good things out of the good stored up in him, and the evil man brings evil things out of the evil stored up in him. But I tell you that men will have to give account on the day of judgment for every careless word they have spoken. For by your words you will be acquitted, and by your words you will be condemned."

I don't know about you, but that puts the fear of God in me. How many careless words do I average a day? Romans 7: What a wretched man I am! Who will rescue me from this body of death? Thanks be to God--through Jesus Christ our Lord!

We may never get a resolution on the "Once saved, always saved" debate, but I try to approach each day with the possibility that I could be stupid enough to lose my salvation. It is not so much which answer is correct, but the attitude/mindset of being pro-active to keep and grow my faith. I rely on Jesus working through the Holy Spirit to show me the way, because I can not do it on my own.

Posted by MarcV, 11:48 AM link

Muslim Misguidedness
Lileks has a good bleat on Muslim customs and Arab investments in US companies. Every day in the marketplace we "vote" by where we spend money, with these votes sometimes rewarding people that maybe we would not want to reward. My wife is already voicing concerns on money we are about to invest in the stock market, that it not go to "bad" companies. How do we decide about companies like Levi's or Disney? They both are strong companies producing good products, but they both promote homosexuality with their company policies. Not an easy choice.

Lileks article also made me think about two other aspects for our "war" against terrorists. First, we have a substantial Arab presence in this marketplace, and they don't seem to mind taking money from infidels. How do they resolve profiting from companies that operate contrary to the Quran, like having women in management (or even hourly) positions? Second, perhaps we could win this war peaceably by fighting from within, by finding some way of empowering Arabic women to assert their equality.

It will be difficult to change centuries of customs. For example, when women in Afghanistan were allowed to pursue professional careers (after the Soviet invasion), the resulting backlash enabled the Taliban to flourish and take over. You also have to overcome the tribe mentality vs. the small family unit that has been in place for the West. Maybe satellite TV and Barbie dolls can be more effective than daisy cutters!

Posted by MarcV, 7:17 AM link

June 12, 2002

Jazzy Bloggin'
Andrea out at Spleenville had a short post relating journalists vs. bloggers to orchestras vs. jazz combos. Bloggers are working in a relatively new environment that continues to evolve, just as jazz evolved from the beginning of the 20th century up to the 1960's. To take the jazz combo analogy a little further (bloggers being like the combos of the 30's), you also at that time had the rise of the soloist, someone who could improvise, take a familiar melody and make something new and interesting. The soloists, like Louis Armstrong, Lester Young, Dizzy Gillespie and Charlie Parker for example, still needed solid players around them to back them up and challenge them.

In the blogosphere we have a few "titans" that are very talented and know how to use the blog medium very effectively, taking current events and other topics, and putting their unique "spin" on them. They may not be trained journalists, but what they write is interesting. You then have the background bloggers who occasionaly pull off a good post and comment on various subjects. Together we can produce an effective alternative to the media outlets dominated by a few (usually liberal) journalists. We may not report the news right where it first orginates, but we can help others understand and form opinions on how current events can affect our lives.

Posted by MarcV, 4:54 PM link

Nanotechnology Storage Device
WARNING: Geek news ahead.
MIT Tech Review site has an article about the promise of using nanotechnology to create new data storage devices. They use 1024 atomic force microscope probes to punch holes in a polymer coating on a silicon substrate, creating a "thermomechanical storage system". The hole size is about 10 nanometer, with 120 nanometer center-to-center. That's right, we're going back to punchcards (YEAHH!).

My first computer class as an undergraduate utilized IBM punchcards. For every line of code, you typed out a punchcard. Can you imagine the WinXP operating system (20 million lines of code?) on punchcards?

Probe storage “is an ideal system for storage in mobile systems,” Vettiger says. “If I could store your complete CD library on this little storage device, you could play your entire collection at any time.” He envisions a product that looks and functions like a flash card, but stores 1,000 times the data at the same cost. Like flash, he says, it could be integrated into chip, or packaged as a portable memory card.
Now all we have to do is find enough useful information that would make all this worthwhile.

Posted by MarcV, 4:53 PM link

Grim Reaper Aftermath
A few weeks ago I wrote about a friend of my wife who passed away, leaving behind a 4 and 8 year old. Another couple, who we also had went to church with, had been helping out by watching the kids during the friend's illness. We had heard that the "guy" threatened to call DSS on the Dad (he made the threat the night before the Mom died). Now the Dad may have some faults and lets the kids do things that maybe they shouldn't do, like over-eating snacks or occasionally wearing clothes they wore the day before, but the situation would not be considered abusive.

Anyhow, the Dad gets to meet with Social Services today and discuss the situation. I have previously worked in the foster care system, and there are kids in much worse situations that the case workers should be spending their time on. Just incredible, bury your wife and the kid's mom, and have this crap to deal with two weeks later.

Also amazing is that these two go to the same church. What "Guy" did goes against the Bible, since he went directly to the authorities. Jesus states:

MT 18:15 If your brother sins against you, go and show him his fault, just between the two of you. If he listens to you, you have won your brother over. 16 But if he will not listen, take one or two others along, so that `every matter may be established by the testimony of two or three witnesses.' 17 If he refuses to listen to them, tell it to the church; and if he refuses to listen even to the church, treat him as you would a pagan or a tax collector.

When people get together, fellowship and treat each other like family, you will get disagreements. God has a way of dealing with them, but when we as Christians rely on the world's systems for disputes amongst us, we weaken the church.

Posted by MarcV, 10:24 AM link

June 11, 2002

The Greatest Game
The OpinionJournal has a great piece on golf, now that we are approaching US Open weekend. Yes, it is the greatest game ever invented because it pits you against nature and yourself, survival in a genteel environment, and no cheerleaders or loud music. Mr. Bray elevates golf as America's "real" game:

That's because, as the late economist Armen Alchian, an ardent golfer, liked to point out, golf is one of the most democratic--and capitalist--of games. Thanks to handicapping, everybody is equal on a golf course, and thanks to the nature of the game, you have nobody but yourself to blame for success or failure.
Fore! That's what fore!

Posted by MarcV, 5:08 PM link

The Carolina Hurricanes got a dose of reality last night, but you have to admire their strength and resolve. The Red Wings are showing their dominance of the center ice, between the blue lines, and clamping down on defense. It took them a while to figure out the Canes, but the next game should be the last of the year.

I admire the Cane's coach. They said he was close to being let go earlier this year, but rather than let it get him down, he said it made his life more interesting, that he enjoyed going to games not knowing if the hammer was going to come down on him (that's exciting?). He kept to his principles, got his team working together and made quite a splash in the playoffs. Ya gotta love those underdogs!

Posted by MarcV, 11:16 AM link

Woo Hoo!
I finally rated a mention over at Martin Roth's site by Bene Diction. Thank you! If you're looking for Sudlets, that's close enough. I'm used to having others get my name slighly off. I had been fighting through the "sophomore slump", having posted for about a month, and seeing the traffic trickle in. I'm just glad to get some of my feeble attempts at writing noticed by others, and hopefully being a benefit.

Posted by MarcV, 11:02 AM link

June 10, 2002

Character vs. Charismatic
My blogging buddy at Christdot, Mr. Heemstra, gave me a challenge a few weeks ago on his site about speaking in tongues, in response to an article. I gave a brief reply, but wanted to say more. Lately my faith walk has been more stumbling than stepping (I'll reveal more as I'm ready), but I heard a message yesterday that helped me to respond to this issue. Since I didn't go to Sunday school yesterday (the horror!), this will have to serve as my lesson.
Here's Mr. H.'s post, followed by my response:

I tend to be ...cynical wrt "speaking in tongues", agreeing with other observers who describe it as "a form of mental aberration or as calculated fakery, hysteria or showmanship." I know Mr. Spudlet will disagree with this. That's OK, I don't claim to possess the truth on this matter. This last part is what really gets me:
"It's not a merit badge," Haggard said. "It's a gift. It's God saying, 'Here, let me do your praying for you.'"
The Spirit intercedes for _all_ Christians. I'm very thankful that this is the case. I'm in big trouble if I have to rely entirely on my words to interact with the Father. My words, and even my thoughts, can't begin to express my longings, desires, needs and frustrations.
Oh, those wagging tongues. The link was not working when I tried it, but I think I got the "gist" of it. It is tragic to think that speaking in tongues has been elevated by others as some sort of requirement for special membership. God blesses us in different ways, and those Christians who have not been baptized in the Holy Spirit can do mighty works by the power of that same Spirit.
Haggard said, "It's not a merit badge, it's a gift." There are plenty of examples in the New Testament of people who were blessed with that "gift" and were empowered to perform miracles, healings, etc. But I will not put God in a box and say that you cannot perform those acts, let alone pray in the spirit, unless you are baptized in the Holy Spirit.
As far as the "showmanship", you just have to sometimes take by faith what you see and experience. You know what the Bible states, and some people will abuse the blessing, but keep in mind that the foolishness of God will confound the wisdom of men.
I would rather hear a good prophecy than a thousand tongues, but it is not up to me how God will reveal His divine plan. By dismissing tongues as some type of spectacle, you are potentially limiting how God operates. Each prophecy in a tongue must be translated, then test the prophecy against God's Word - that's how the apostle Paul laid it out.

I may have in the past come on strong in defense of speaking in tongues, mainly because of the sentiment he expressed, along with many other "non-Charismatics", concerning the questionable behavior of "tongue practicers". Perhaps what turns people off, besides a fear of the unknown, is the attitude of some Pentecostals/Charismatics, that they are arrogant or just smug.

There is also the potential for abuse, that someone could say "Yabba dabba do" during a ceremony and be heralded as a prophet. You can look in the Old Testament to see how God deals with false prophets. I will state that speaking in tongues gives you the ability for a "heavenly" prayer language, and that without it you have two options to communicate your "longings, desires, needs and frustrations" to God: by human words, or by God (working through the Holy Spirit) "reading" your heart. He knows what you're thinking and feeling, but like all good dads, He wants to hear it from your own mouth.

From NKJV:

1 Cor. 14:2 He who speaks in a tongue does not speak to men but to God, for no one understands him; however, in the spirit he speaks mysteries. 3 But he who prophecies speaks edification and exhortation and comfort to men. 4 He who speaks in a tongue edifies himself, but he who prophecies edifies the church. 14 For if I pray in a tongue, my spirit prays, but my understanding is unfruitful. 15 What is the conclusion then? I will pray with the spirit, and I will also pray with the understanding. I will sing with the spirit, and I will also sing with the understanding.

If we took these passages of Scripture on their own, you could make the case for tongues being nothing more than babbling. St. Paul does discuss elsewhere the need for interpretation during the public use of tongues, so I will go out on a limb and say that he is talking about prayer language.

Have we worked our way to character? From NKJV:

Gal. 5:13 For you brethren, have been called to liberty; only do not use liberty as an opportunity for the flesh, but through love serve one another. 16 I say then: Walk in the Spirit, and you shall not fulfill the lust of the flesh. 17 For the flesh lusts against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh; and these are contrary to one another, so that you do not do the things you wish. 18 If you are led by the Spirit, you are not under the law. 22 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, kindness, faithfulness, 23 gentleness, self-control. Against such there is no law.

Besides my stand on tongues, I have also stated strongly that Christians do not live under the law, that we are under a new covenant centered on love. In order to be standing on that foundation, we must be "led by the Spirit". From a study note in my Bible: Being filled with the Holy Spirit calls us as much to character as it does to charismatic activity. It is dangerous to give attention to the gifts to the Spirit without giving attention to the fruit of the Spirit.

Notice that "fruit" is singular, signifying unity and the unique outpouring of the Spirit, while there are different gifts. Without the character, our gifts from the Spirit are impotent. If we can focus and take on His character, then the Spirit can move and operate through us in a mighty way.

"Home churches" are a way for some people to try and reach God different than the mainline Church service, by becoming "de-westernized". This is from an article on third-day churches, or home churches:

Throughout the Scriptures we receive the clues of a supernatural life we have only begun to taste. Little by little, with each God encounter, we join the legions of God-chasers before us who regularly crossed over the boundaries between heaven and earth. They were strangers and aliens, earthbound misfits, and supernatural beings. Their daily lives were governed by the whim of the Spirit.

That's where I would like to be, and maybe you do too. I hope that by bringing these points up, that I am not stepping on toes and injuring someone. If this could help someone to get closer to experiencing a spirit-filled life, hallelujah. Let's close with Gal. 5:25, 26:

If we live in the Spirit, let us also walk in the Spirit. Let us not become conceited, provoking one another, envying one another.
Finally, if you're still with me, Eugene Peterson has an interesting translation of this passage in "The Message" from the same two verses (as best as I can tell, since he does not give numbers for verses, just chapters):
Since this is the kind of life we have chosen, the life of the Spirit, let us make sure that we do not just hold it as an idea in our heads or a sentiment in our hearts, but work out its implications in every detail of our lives. That means we will not compare ourselves with each other as if one of us were better and another worse. We have far more interesting things to do with our lives. Each of us is an original.

Posted by MarcV, 10:48 AM link

June 09, 2002

oh well, the Canes came up a little short. I guess we can hope that this game took a little out of those old legs of the Wings for Monday's rematch. If Carolina can keep it close, perhaps a third period explosion will even up the series. They were just about a minute away from a 2-1 series lead - so close. But then again, Detroit rang the bar on Carolina's net at least four times and came up empty.

Keep an eye out for those "true" hockey fans at church. They'll be the ones with heavy eyelids and the "head-bob I'm not going to fall asleep" attention to the sermon. Not that I would know anything personally about those things...

Posted by MarcV, 7:36 AM link

Eye of the Canes
How 'bout dem Canes! To go into Hockeytown and steal one from the Red Wings, then coming home and taking it to them for a 2-1 lead in the series. We are cable deprived, so Sat. night was the first Canes game that I saw this season. Unbelievable how much talent and experience the Wings have, yet the Canes are only looking at the Cup. The Canes know they have to neutralize the Wings' talent with hard-hitting and hustle. Old-time hockey!

Wife sat through the game making lists. She doesn't like the physical play, but really enjoys some of the commercials, besides the stupid one for Captain's malt liquor. The NHL couldn't be happier: their elite team (#1 seed) against a young and hungry newcomer(#16 seed), and a closely played series. The refs are calling it pretty close, which is OK. I had not watched much hockey for the last few years, but really enjoyed the Olympics, and now it looks like the Stanley Cup finals will be must-see-TV.

Oh no, OT again, and it looks like the Wings are starting to figure out how to get past the Canes defense.
Oh no, double OT and another midnight rambler. Who needs sleep? Obviously I'm writing this as the game progresses. The announcers keep talking about the Wings advantage of using four lines, but alot of their players are older, they had a tough series with Colorado, and they have had tough games against Carolina. The younger legs of the Canes may be the difference ...

Triple OT, and I'm wimpin' out. Hope the Canes can do it, but I won't see it live. At least they're playing them tough.

Posted by MarcV, 12:39 AM link

June 08, 2002

Shopper Rage?
Tony Woodlief at Sand in the Gears had a good rant on the estate tax and how the liberal media frames the news for their own purposes. He has inspired me for a screed. The following is from LA Times columnist John Balzar (need to register) on shoppers quietly rebelling. Let's see how he frames his argument:

Store aisles and the Internet are becoming vents for popular anger over corporate greed. Last weekend I went shopping for electrical wiring at one of those sprawling home improvement centers. I encountered an employee who was battling to keep his temper in check. He was loading items in a shopping cart and muttering about the world going to pot. As it turns out, his world is. Customers are quietly rebelling. For the last six months or so, shoppers have been making a mess in the section of the store he supervises.
He showed me where paint brushes are misplaced and stuffed in with circuit boxes, where drapery rings are tossed in with wire nuts, where a can of custom-mixed paint is left abandoned, now worthless. Each morning, he loads up a cart with products that customers brazenly scatter out of place.
First signs of rebellion - inconsiderate shoppers rearranging the merchandise. Power to the people!
This has always been a problem in retail. But this employee says he's never seen it so bad, and it's getting noticeably worse.
I think I know why. It's a small sign of bigger grief in the land.
Good grief, there's bigger grief.
You can see it at the grocery store with avocados and bananas that have been squeezed hard with the intent to ruin them, or in the finger holes that penetrate the plastic packages at meat counters. I read it almost every day in my mail. People say it is their justification for stealing music and movies and software over the Internet.
Justification for theft and vandalism? Oops, "vandal" is not PC - let's call them people of minor destruction. Consumer price index is going up because people are "rebelling" at the Food King.
Consumers are mad, and some are declaring petty war against the mighty corporation, against the shenanigans, the double-dealing, the get-rich-quick schemes, the fraud, the self-serving deals--the corporate wrongdoing that splashes into the daily headlines and mocks American values.
You don't have to be a retail vandal or an Internet pirate to understand the ground-level frustration of citizens. It creeps into many, if not most, of the conversations I have with friends, sometimes with startling ferocity.
He uses vandal, then creep. We also have the progression from grief to mad to ferocity. At least he calls it a petty war.
Americans, if I can generalize, are feeling powerless right now. Not just against the threat of terrorism but against the overindulgences of their own free-market system and the stubborn indifference of Washington.
Osama ain't got nothin' on Arthur Anderson!
One of the promises of democracy, the essential promise, is that it will react to crisis.
No, the promise of democracy is to elect representatives that reflect the will of the voters.
In this case, it isn't happening. Representative government is inert against the disclosures of corporate corruption, corner-cutting, fraud and unfairness.
If laws are broken, then go after the criminals. If anything we have over-legislation and under-enforcement.
It doesn't seem to matter that the allegations grow more numerous and shocking by the week. Headlines tell us that Congress is gridlocked over "reform" of the accounting profession and pension law.
But look past the rhetoric and you quickly see the arguments amount to little more than whether to use squirt guns or water balloons against a high-rise fire. For instance, Congress cannot agree whether chief executives should have to attest to the honesty of their company audit reports. You mean they don't already?
Did he just use "Congress" and "honesty in the same sentence, without a "not" or "dis" between them?
Compare that with the far-reaching retirement "reforms" that business engineered in the late 1970s, when corporations decided they didn't want to offer direct-paid pensions to workers anymore. The 401(k) system was dreamed up as a gradual replacement. Recent studies have shown that business saved 14% to 22% in pension costs in the ensuing years, while the median net worth of American workers, ages 47 to 64, has fallen more than 13%, chiefly as a result of shrinking retirement nest eggs.
You can almost hear the sound of liberal eyes glazing over - oh Papa Government, please take care of my retirement, because those evil chief executives will make me eat dog food and go without prescriptions, if you don't help.
Indeed, these changes in pension law explain why today's business malfeasance has become so gripping, at least outside of Washington. Our investment markets are no longer a game played primarily by those who can afford to lose. At last count, 52% of us have our bread-and-butter retirement hopes tied up in mutual funds.
The decline of stocks has meant not just a loss of billions of dollars in savings for millions of workers, but it also has exposed levels of social corruption and avarice that the U.S. has not seen since the Gilded Age at the end of the 19th century.
It's an investment with risk, not a guarantee! Go buy T-bills if you want a safe investment. Besides, wasn't the 80's the decade of greed? Maybe our liberal friends feathered their nest egg and conveniently forgot about the "avarice" from back then.
For a family that has watched its retirement shrivel by one-third while corporate executives rake in nine figures, it is no satisfaction to hear the Bush administration and timid opposition Democrats argue over how many contacts Enron had with the White House. It is of little consolation to listen to regulators promise that market forces will eventually set things right after taking us so far off track.
Ahh, good ole class warfare, and now timid opposition Democrats (TOD's). Let's see if TOD's become the new whipping boy for our media friends, particularly if the Dems lose control of the Senate this fall (oh please please please no more Daschle).
Americans know exactly what's going on.
Yup, let's watch the liberals try to do the "power-grab shuffle" and squash those cold-hearted conservatives.
A Harris Interactive poll conducted in April found that 87% of those who responded believed that big corporations had too much power in Washington. This was not a measure of anti-business sentiment so much as dismay with politics, because an equal 87% said small companies had too little influence over national policy.
...and 87% could not name their Senators or Representative, but could name all of those N'Sync boys.
Big corporations have used their power shrewdly. They have sweet-talked the Republicans into forgetting about the values of law and order. They have blunted the wage-earner sympathies of the Democrats.
Good frame: Republicans evil, Dems are sympathetic to "wage-earners"(that's PC for hourly workers).
For that privilege, they'll happily pay clerks to restock the shelves.

Incredible - after going through this screed, I'm almost tempted to not even bother because he seems to be coming from another planet (the Planet Moron?). Consumers will have to pay more because store margins are already razor-thin - just ask anybody who competes against Wal-Mart. In the end this will be a market correction. You will always have greed in the market (by definition), and people trying to find ways around regulations. Companies have been and will be penalized when consumers do not want to transact business with them because of "irregularities". Anybody see the latest big profits at Arthur Anderson or Enron lately?

Yes, there will sometimes be short-term pain, but this country promises the right of "life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness", not a padded retirement account. If you see "people of minor destruction" acting out their rebellion at the Food King or wherever, report them to the management. Let's nip it in the bud!

Posted by MarcV, 12:26 AM link

June 07, 2002

Apocalypse Later
I checked it out, so I might as well watch "Apocalypse Now", even though I stayed up past midnight (the horror). The time was put to good use by finally being able to get through to YACCS, so now there's a Comments feature. The site loads a little slower, but that's the price you pay in the blogosphere. Now will anyone use it ...

AN is much better on the big screen, and it was interesting to see the young "stars" (Harrison Ford, Laurence-Cowboy Curtis-Fishbourne, Martin Sheen). This had the makings of the ultimate guy movie (the only females were Playboy bunnies at a USO show and some Vietnamese), but the movie is just too depressing. Between this, "Full Metal Jacket" and "Platoon", just to name a few, it's no wonder the military took a hard publicity hit. I'm sure historians will chart the ebb and flow of public opinion towards the military based on the movies that were popular.

I felt like I had to wash my ears out with soap after the movie, but I suppose they were portraying real Army life. My wife gave it "nine thumbs down" (don't know what happened to the tenth), and she only watched part of it. It's difficult to watch, but then again, war shouldn't be easy. Intriguing to see how Brando pulled off the Col. Kurtz role. Was Kurtz the "anti-Christ"? Nah, just someone with a lot of talent gone astray. Was Kurtz Satan? No, but he gives us the example of what can happen when someone turns to the dark side (no Star Wars segue here!).

With sin in our lives, we have the potential of going over the edge and turning our back on God, like Kurtz turning his back on the USA. Was the character played by Sheen some type of savior or avenging angel? He was just a guy given a job to clean up a mess. Thank God we have been given a way of cleaning up our "messes", when we humble ourselves at the foot of the Cross and ask for the cleansing blood of Jesus to wash us clean.

Posted by MarcV, 4:17 PM link

Other Sports Stuff
Just read an article on ESPN that's worth sharing with everybody. SportsGuy has his usual good review of the NBA, and Chris McKendry on Page2 has her take on the national spelling bee that she hosted last week. SportsGuy wrote about the bee last week and had a few chucklers, but Ms. McKendry takes note of two special girls who overcame difficult obstacles. Just awesome. God takes the weaknesses of man and makes them strong.

Posted by MarcV, 8:54 AM link

June 06, 2002

There's been some bloggers commenting on the decision to not enforce the Internet filters at libraries. I won't go into the legal stuff, but I am concerned that in the drive to be PC and "free-speechish", we end up polluting our communities. When I went to the library Tues. night to get videos (the price is right - free - as long as you get them back in time), I noticed they had "Natural Born Killers" on the shelf.

I've not seen it, but as I recall it was a hard R movie glorifying violence and lawlessness. The library now has a little rating sticker on the video cover, with check boxes for violence, sex, and language. I'm assuming that a ten year old would not be able to check it out, but I don't know that for sure.

Last summer I picked up a British film called "Oranges Are Not the Only Fruit", and I had to turn it off midway through. It turned out to be a film glorifying homosexuality (using teenage girls) and containing nudity. No rating sticker on this video, though.

As parents we try to keep on eye on what kids can get their hands on (and God help you if you let your child surf the Net unattended). I guess I miss the days when the worst you could see in a library was a couple of ten year old boys sneaking out a copy of National Geographic and snicker over "native breasts". The community I live in is conservative (dry county - and not just drought) with no p0rno stores (go to the big city Greensboro for that junk), but we still have the trash seeping through the cracks.

Now I wonder if I'm contributing to it. One of the films I checked out was "Apocalypse Now" (rated R for war violence, not to mention cow hacking), because I had not seen it besides when it first came out. Is this film over the edge for decency? Nothing about it glorifies God, it's just someone's viewpoint on the craziness of the Vietnam war. No easy answers when you dip into the grey area of acceptable diversions, particularly when Hollywood is dishing it out.

Posted by MarcV, 4:13 PM link

It's Fred Time!
Derbyshire at NRO's Corner (gotta link them on the site some day) gave a link for an article about profiling and airport security. What a hoot! The author is Fred Reed, and he can be described as a "good ole boy" Lileks with some Hemingway thrown in. He has a site where he has posted over 100 of his columns.

On the linked article, he goes into detail about the Muslim woman in Fla. who does not want her face photographed for her driver's license. She did the American thing and...

With encouragement from the ACLU Fatima sued, and won on grounds of religions freedom. To insist on a photo would be discrimination, said the justices without noticeable rationality. DMV argued for separation of church and at least the state of Florida, but was told it applied only to conservative Christians.
Things snowballed. About seven thousand Mohammedans lived in Florida, most of them studying crop-dusting. Skeptics pointed out that they came from countries that didn't have crops. The Moslems said this was because their crops hadn't been dusted. The State Department accepted this explanation, saying it showed initiative and would result in self-sufficiency in vegetables in the Sahara.

Fred may be a little rough around the edges, but he sure can write. If you want to read some funny stuff that may not by PC, give Fred a shot. His bio alone (on his site) is worth checking out.

PS Hey Possumblogger, Fred makes a reference to someone from Alabama! (and Fred has lived in Ala. as well). He may be a candidate for honorary Axis of Weevil membership.

Posted by MarcV, 9:45 AM link

All Shaq
So, the big fella plays both ends - wow. I saw part of the Lakers-Nets game, and still couldn't figure out who has the better team. Lakers up by 23, then the Nets get it down to 3 in the 4th? Something strange is going on when Shaq, the fouling machine, gets his first foul called midway through the 4th quarter. At least Jason Collins made the game worth watching - don't know if Byron Scott was holding him back as a secret weapon, but he played Shaq straight up. Think Collin's legs were cramped up after the game, after leaning against the Shaq mountain?
Is it just me or does the officiating stink? It has been a few months since March madness, but the NCAA tournament referees were much better than the "pro's" game-calling. Especially in the 4th quarter last night, when Collins would establish position only to be run over and left for road kill. Well, wouldn't want to let LA lose it's opener in front of the home crowd.

Posted by MarcV, 8:05 AM link

June 05, 2002

Study Aids
JeffreyC has a good bleat on over-reliance of study Bibles, when there seems to be more notes than verse. I think for "newly minted" Christians, a readable translation with good notes will help them discover truth.

There seems to be so much commentary and study aids available, that it is easy to fall in the trap of not concentrating just on Scripture. I'm struggling with this for my (former) Sunday school class. The instructor would sometimes read some Scripture, then the rest of the time was spent on their personal interpretation, feelings, definitions of righteous living and expressions of faith. There's a time and place for that, but if you're not focusing on Scripture, you're missing out on the truth that God has laid out for us.

I hope the following has not been beaten to death: your copy of the Bible is simply paper and ink (with some binding). The Holy Spirit makes the difference on interpreting God's truth from the words printed on the paper. Lord, let your Spirit allow Scripture to come alive for every Bible reader each and every day!

Posted by MarcV, 1:05 PM link

June 04, 2002

Open Office.org
The downloaded freeware is about 50 MB, and has the usual word processor, presentation package (like PowerPoint) and spreadsheet, as well as an HTML editor, graphics generator and mathematics package (for displaying complex formulas). They have a Linux version available also, and a Mac OS X in beta/development. They are open source, so you can take the code and write your own office application and call it whatever you want (SpudOff!), with certain provisions.

I am typing this now on their word processor (Writer). The website has a documentation section that contains User FAQs, How To files, Samples, and Templates, and they are looking for assistance on writing help files. Like any other program, it has its quirks and idiosyncrasies(this word was in the spell check).

Do you fell guilty if you use a copy of Office from work on your home computer? This may be a good solution, freeware that can work with M$Office. My next report should have more details on how well documents and spreadsheets can be interchanged between the two office platforms.

Posted by MarcV, 2:52 PM link

Possum Ramblin'
Some may ask why - I climbed it because it was there. The mountain to scale is the post yesterday by the Possumblogger, conservatively estimated to be at least 3500 words long. It gets my vote for the Blogania award as the longest post of daily life description (not a novel or short story). Read it if you dare - you'll laugh, you'll cry, you'll wonder why. My carpal tunnel aches just thinking about it.

Posted by MarcV, 12:23 PM link

Lord's Supper
My fysicist phriend DavidH at HeLives asked for advice on the proper attitude for the sacrament of communion. This reply is a little late, but I'm a Christian, and I like to express opinions (why else would I blog?), so here goes.

I try to approach it as an opportunity to throw myself at the foot of the cross. Jesus modeled the Last Supper as a ceremony, then made the final sacrifice at Calvary. When we come to the foot of the cross as broken sinners in need of a Redeemer, He gives His body to sustain us and His blood to cleanse us. This is our opportunity to renew our salvation vows, by asking Jesus for forgiveness (wine) and for strength (bread), because we can't do it alone. You can make it as serious as you want, but we all need to humble ourselves to Jesus.

One other point to consider: During the Last Supper, Jesus told the disciples that one of them would betray Him. How did they react? Surely Lord, not me! Yet, each one of them abandoned Him after He was arrested. Peter (the "Rock") said he would die for Jesus, yet denied Him three times after Jesus was arrested. As Christians, we do not want to betray our Lord, yet there may come a time when we do (would that be grieving the Spirit?). Thank God that by His grace He gives us the chance to make things right

Just read JeffreyC's response and he makes some good points as well about the possibility of putting too much into it, or just being distracted ("Get the basics in your head and then just react" - I try to do that as well for my golf swing, but I digress). I think a weekly frequency is too much, that monthly is OK, but that's just my fleshly opinion.

Posted by MarcV, 12:21 PM link

June 03, 2002

War Rumblings
Get the feeling that Iraq is becoming sharper in our cross-hairs? Pres. Bush seems to have taken another step closer with his West Point speech. I get uneasy advocating the invasion of a country and the subsequent loss of life. There are times when bad people do bad things, and we sometimes react with force. At some point we can be pro-active and stop the bad guys first. OpinionJournal had a great article on a theological perspective of recognizing and battling evil.

Some in the press get squeamish when something or someone is called evil, and we have the hand-wringing over the citations of the devil causing many of our woes. There comes a time when right must triumph. Reinhold Niebhur was referenced from an article originally written in 1940:

The rationale for endless diplomacy, Niebuhr observed, is that the "moral force" of the international community can bend the will of tyrants. Nonsense, he concluded: "It fails to explain just how this moral force is to be effective against tanks, flame-throwers, and bombing planes." Sometimes war is necessary.

The article goes on to discuss the "horrible alternatives" if we remain inactive. I started a discussion topic at Andrea's discussion board, so show her some love by checking out her neat site, and talk back in the Forum on the Iraqi situation. (Thanks for the link too!)
Lord, grant us clarity of thought and guide our response to terrorists.

Posted by MarcV, 4:14 PM link

Disclaimer for JN-BG
Some reader(s) might be clucking their tongues (try it, it's fun!) with my elevation of the Jimmy movie (see previous post) to such lofty heights. No, it's not a "Christian" movie, nor does it explicitly give glory to God, but how many films out of Hollywood do that? Hmmm ......... I enjoyed "The Apostle" but it tended to put Christians in the typical stereotypes. Haven't seen "Joshua" yet, but I'm not real comfortable with someone who seems to be the second coming. Guess I'll wait for the video and see for myself.

Now "Jimmy N-BG" does have some redeeming qualities. He is kind and helps "weaker" kids, and he puts his needs to the side to help the greater good. He is just a kid, though, so don't expect too much from him. Perhaps I can get a few free hours away from work when it is showing at the theater again and tie up these threads, as I'm trying to make a point on something I saw about a year ago.

Posted by MarcV, 4:10 PM link

June 01, 2002

Greatest Guy Movie
Had the privilege of driving with 4 other ladies for about 3 hours last night (all moms). The subject of kid's movies came up, since they're showing Wed. morning matinees over the summer, and one of the movies on the schedule is Jimmy Neutron. All of the women did not like it, but said their husbands and sons loved it. I enjoyed it myself. Why the gender gap? Let's look at this years blockbuster first.

The reviews for the new Star Wars have been lukewarm (my view too), but most of the women I have talked to enjoyed it. What makes Star Wars a chick flick? Besides Natalie Portman as an action hero and the preponderance of mushy scenes, the movie is centered on relationships: Obi Wan - Ani, Ani - Amidala, Ani - Mom. Hmm, who's in the middle of it all? You have Young Hunky Guy as a whiny teenager, and us knowing that eventually he turns into Darth Vader. That can get the female interest very high: "What would I have done differently so that Ani turns out like Alan Alda?"

Now for the Boy Genius. I submit that Jimmy Neutron is one of the greatest guy movies ever.
- No relationships to get in the way of the story.
- Doesn't really care about his social status.
- He's the "inventor" type with a secret lab/hideaway.
- Likes to try out new things, stays on "leading edge" technology.
- Outwits authority (parents) to have fun night with the guys.
- Organizes rescue team, take-charge guy.
- Reluctant hero, but comes through when the chips are down.
- Gets female peer to admit his worthiness after the battle is over.
- Loud burping at the end of the film.
Sure, there are other great guy movies (The Terminator, Dirty Harry, James Bond, Die Hard, etc.), but usually not having all of the characteristics listed. If you haven't seen it, try Jimmy Neutron out on your family and see if you get similar gender responses.

Posted by MarcV, 9:59 PM link

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