Friday, November 30, 2007

When Do My Ideas Become My Ideas?

I have a mild interest in, but have thought little about, intellectual property laws, patents, trademarks and copyrights. A nagging question is, "when do my ideas become my ideas"? If use somebody else's work as my own, it might be called plagiarism. But what if I came to the same ideas independently? Or what if I learned many things from many people, then used what I have learned as my own? Where is the line drawn?

If I think the same thing as somebody else, an idea for a product for example, and the other person receives a patent a day before me, then my idea becomes, in essence, his idea, even though I thought of it independently. Isn't that theft? He uses state law to force me to not use my idea, and if I do use my idea, he can collect damages. How is this not theft? Thinking out loud.

Thursday, November 29, 2007

Why Take The Chance?

Toll House recipe chocolate chip cookie dough is great. When we were kids, we used to try to get away with eating as much of the dough as mom would let us. But the purpose of the dough, she always said, was to make cookies. Today, things have changed. The dough rules. It makes sense. The dough is great, every time. But if you try to bake cookies from it, there's a chance it will not come out right, even though the cookies are great too. You could burn them or underbake them. Since the dough is always perfect, why take a chance on the cookies not turning out perfect?

Monday, November 26, 2007

End Of Weekend Potpourri

Okay, here's just some random stuff.

  • I've seen thousands of women put their makeup on in the mirror on their way to work in the morning. But for only the second time (in the last six months) I have seen a woman apply makeup at night while it was dark. Both times she used the compact mirror on the underside of the sun visor, with the small light to guide her mascara while she was driving.
  • Today I found out what a turkey Caesar salad was.
  • On occasion my wife has asked me who my favorite female celebrities are in terms of beauty/looks, etc. She keeps the list to celebs because there's no danger of them running off with me! Okay here goes. Number one, and classic, Geena Davis. Then, in no special order: Angelina Jolie, Selma Hayek, Catherine Zeta Jones, Scarlett Johanson, Nigella Lawson. Okay, maybe nudge Nigella Lawson up to number two. Halle Berry? Some people claim she has the perfect face. But I think that's the problem. No character uniqueness. Brittney Spears, Jessica Simpson, Jennifer Aniston, Paris Hilton, Janet Jackson? Yuck!
  • I'm done with the last cabinet shelf in the kitchen remodel. My dad's making rollers for the drawers and I'm on to painting and finishing the scalloped molding before re-installing.

Saturday, November 24, 2007

Harmony of the Gospels and Bible Contradictions

Then came the day of Unleavened Bread on which the Passover lamb had to be sacrificed. And He sent Peter and John, saying, "Go and prepare the Passover for us, that we may eat it." Luke 22:7-8

I recently came across a blog (and I can't find the link, but wish I could remember) that noted supposed contradictions between the four gospels as to the day of Christ's crucifixion. The contention was that the four gospels don't agree on which day Christ was actually crucified. I have come across a number of supposed contradictions in the bible before as put forth by skeptics of the faith. I have also seen a number of supposed answers to these contradictions by well-meaning Christians - some of these even in error. But one thing that I find in many of these cases is modern thinking people who try to force technical standards of modern thinking and scientific research onto ancient storytelling. It doesn't always work. Another error is to place standards of technical writing onto verbal storytelling without realizing that we moderns speak the same way.

I don't recall from the blog whether the above Scripture reference was one listed, but it should be obvious from reading Luke 22 that the two sentences in the quotation above are from two different days. Luke mentions the Passover day, then skips backward in time in the very next sentence to describe getting ready for that day. An analogy would be the following: "I had a good Thanksgiving Day. I flew home, and my mom and kid sister met me at the airport. They took me home and the whole family was there. We spent all morning watching football and talking about life, then had a great turkey meal." It might be obvious to anybody who knows the narrator that he skipped back to the day before Thanksgiving to tell of his travel and meeting his family, then skipping forward to talk about the day itself. He doesn't need to warn the reader because the reader would know that he had to travel before the holiday. We moderns, even though we pay extreme attention to technical detail in formal writing, often verbally violate these rules when we speak - and think nothing of it. We then use it against people of other times and cultures.

Another group of supposed contradictions arise in Kings and Chronicles where the number of years which certain kings reigned or the ages at which their successors' births occurred don't agree. This is because the cultures of the two kingdoms, Israel and Judah, came to count time differently. In one kingdom they counted partial years as whole years and the other counted only whole years. (Thanks to Harold Camping here for his research) In our modern world, the same "contradictions" occur. This is why when the US team plays the Taiwan team in the Little League World Series that our twelve year olds play their thirteen year olds. The kids are the same age, but in the Taiwanese culture, the nine months of pregnancy is counted as a year. So their kids are one year old upon birth, whereas ours are one year old a year later. Another example is the way days and nights are counted in the world of vacation travel by travel agencies. The day you fly there might be counted as part of the vacation time. Judgment Day will be interesting when God debunks all the false claims made against the faith. He may even use technicalities to do so.

Friday, November 23, 2007

Software Update Woes

I avoided it like the plague for over a year. I kept getting reminders in the bottom right corner of my screen. I endured having to click the thing off every time I logged on because of what I knew. I knew it would be stupid. But somehow I forgot, or at least ignored what I knew would be reality. But I did it. I clicked on the idiot button that urged me to update my Microsoft Internet Explorer from version 6 to 7.

Nothing can ruin a weekend more than trying to install or update software. Our family had one of the best Thanksgivings ever, but this morning I just blew it. I tried to update. Of course the new version did anything at all except explore the internet. No access. No ability to access. Denials that it even could have access. Mrs. Scott, who is better at dealing with tech supports than me, picked up the phone. Three hours later, after speaking to people around the world, some nice man in the Philippines finally solved the problem.

Why software installation or updating never, ever, ever works is totally beyond me. It seems only reasonable that a software company could cause its own software to update automatically. Despite all the promises of smooth installation at the click of a button. It's not like they haven't had an opportunity to make it work. Millions of people call their tech support with problems. Do they listen? It's not like I have tons of weird other stuff going on, just other basic Microsoft stuff like Windows, Excel, Word and Internet Explorer. After many apologies on my part, Mrs. Scott finally realized how my mistake will affect the rest of our weekend.

Thursday, November 22, 2007

I'm A Six Point Calvinist

I'm a six point Calvinist. If you're theologically ignorant enough to not know what the sixth point of Calvinism is, it will obviously be a waste of my time explaining it to you.

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Re-Thinking Church Membership (Part 12)

Read entire series in one article here, or as a collection of all posts here.

This topic is very complex for me, as there are many interrelated points to consider. How to arrange them and order them is difficult, so I'll take this post to state some basics, to keep myself on track. This is for both me and anybody who might be reading.

My basic premise is that church membership is not something that man has to create, i.e. establish a "formal" church membership through a process where "regular attenders" can become "members." Church membership is an already existing reality for all believers since it is God who places us in Christ's body. Since "church" (ekklesia in the Greek) means "assembly," membership is realized through assembling, not through making a covenant with others, not by fulfilling a list of items created by church leaders, not by meeting man-made standards by a group of church people.

No covenant needs to be made with all others in the church because all relationships, duties, love and actions required of Christians are already part of the New Covenant in Christ's blood. There already is a covenant. Whenever church leaders or groups of people in churches create a list of requirements or standards by which Christians can become members, there are always standards or requirements not included in the bible. Because of this there will always be Christians who because of the way God created them or because of their obedience to God will fail to meet these standards, they will be wrongly treated by the churches as if they were sinning or deficient. Even if the only requirement is that one must become a formal member by doing something to get on the membership list, this requirement is in addition to what the bible requires.

I have a number of experiences with church memberships and how simply being faithful to God is viewed as falling short by those who hold to "formal" memberships. I have also talked with many other people and they have shared their experiences with formal church memberships as well. I hope to deal with some of these. I also hope to provide actual policies (many are ridiculous) on church memberships from looking at church constitutions, by-laws and statements of faith that are readily available on-line simply by going to church websites. There are even those out there who hold so strongly to a man-made formal membership that those who regularly attend a church and who appear to be obedient, faithful Christians in every respect are viewed as unsaved simply by their failure to become formal members.

I also hope to look at the authority of pastors/elders and their responsibilities before God, and compare what the bible has to say with what they think their responsibilities are and what they think God will judge them for on Judgment Day. Stay tuned, or maybe even set up your TiVo.

Part 11 . . . . . . . . Part 13

Saturday, November 17, 2007

John Elway's Greatest Last-Minute Comeback: Nobody Remembers It

John Elway is one of the greatest quarterbacks to ever play football, maybe one of the three greatest. The one thing that Elway did best, he did more often than anybody else: the last-minute comeback. He had 50% more miracle endings than the second best, Joe Montana. Yet what is perhaps Elway's greatest comeback of his life (I found an amazing YouTube clip), nobody even remembers it.

It occurred in -what else - the last drive in the last minute of the final game of his senior year in college. I remember it so well because he did it against my school in my freshman year. I doubt a quarterback has ever had more pressure. Not only would it be the last time he touched the ball in college, the game had much more meaning. It was his rivalry game. And not just any rivalry, one of the six or seven greatest rivalries in college history. He also needed the victory because a bowl game berth was hanging on it. So was his personal quest for the Heisman Trophy and the eye of the scouts who would decide his NFL future.

The odds were stacked against him. With 4th down and 17 on his own 13 with less than a minute to play and down by two points, he needed to drive his team down the field and score. And he did it. How could John Elway pull out a miracle in his last college game over his rival to get into a bowl and win the Heisman Trophy and nobody remembers it?

It's because he also made what could be the biggest blunder in football history. In calling the final time out to set up the win, he neglected to look at the clock before calling it and left some time on the clock after the game winning score. The consequences were so unbelievably devastating and of biblical proportions that they overshadowed his miracle. See if you can pick up on why Elway's drive is forgotten in history. View his amazing feat - and tragic undoing - in this YouTube clip.

A Glimpse of Eastern Orthodoxy

Abu Daoud at Islam and Christianity posts a series about Eastern Orthodoxy as written in an article by Frederica Mathewes-Green. This is a fascinating read for an ignorant Protestant. [Update: Oops! I forgot the hat tip: Erik Twist]

Re-Thinking Church Membership (Part 11)

Read entire series in one article here, or as a collection of all posts here.

Continuing on in my examination of the articles at Pulpit Magazine, here's a quote from Part 1 of their series, from the section on the early church as an example:

In the early church, coming to Christ was coming to the church. The idea of experiencing salvation without belonging to a local church is foreign to the New Testament. When individuals repented and believed in Christ, they were baptized and added to the church (Acts 2:41, 47; 5:14; 16:5). More than simply living out a private commitment to Christ, this meant joining together formally with other believers in a local assembly and devoting themselves to the apostles’ teaching, fellowship, the breaking of bread, and prayer (Acts 2:42).

If coming to Christ meant coming to the church - and I have no problem with this - and joining with other believers in assembly, devoting themselves to the apostles' teaching, fellowship, breaking of bread and prayer, why would anybody today who was already doing these things be considered a non-member of that assembly? Only in adding requirements not found in the bible could such an idea be possible.

Part 10 . . . . . . . . Part 12

Thursday, November 15, 2007

Mickey Mouse Lived Here

I'm slowly progressing on my kitchen remodel that was supposed to be done two Christmases ago. I've got a few other projects going on and I keep running into Mickey Mouse work that occurred sometime in the past. This leads me to believe he lived here at one time.

When A Way Becomes The Way

Sometimes there's a way to do something. It's not the only way. Maybe that way is biblical, but not the only biblical way. A way to do something can easily become the way to do something. Because it's biblical it can easily be looked at as the biblical way to do something. Then when somebody does something else biblical, but not according to the way of doing things, that individual or group is accused of doing things in an unbiblical manner. Beware of letting a way become the way.

The Proverbs 31 Woman's Husband

"She rises also while it is still night, and gives food to her household, and portions to her maidens." Proverbs 31:15

Maidens? Plural? Something to consider for those rigid literalist husbands who demand more from their wives than they are capable of doing. Have they given their wives more than one maid? Hmmm?

Sunday, November 11, 2007

I Love Lists

I love lists. Many kinds of lists. The top 100 movies of all time. The top selling albums or groups of all time. The top 500 rock songs of all time counted down and played. The top 25 college football rankings. David Letterman's top ten list. And of course my love for baseball throws any and all baseball lists in here. Many of these lists are other people's opinions, many are statistical facts. But I love lists.

Catholic Rightness vs Protestant Rightness

Roman Catholics think they're right, and so do Protestants. But in reading much about what each group says when they talk about truth, it seems that Catholics tend to talk about the church, where as Protestants seem to talk about doctrine. In general, Catholics believe that they are the true church, and they are right because they are the true church. Protestants believe that they hold to right doctrine, and because of this they are the true church. In short, Catholics believe they are right because they are the true church and Protestants believe that they are the true church because they are right. Just an observation.

Sunday, November 04, 2007

Questioning My Faith

I'm returning to the post Society VS (new website for his blog) made regarding growing in the faith. He guesses that it can be likened to processes in human life. The four steps he listed are these:

1) Child - where we are told what is true
2) Teenager - where we know all the answers
3) Young Adult - where we question what we thought we knew
4) Adult - maturity that is a partnership with God

I must admit I've been questioning my faith over the last so many years. Step three. Actually this has been going on since the beginning of my faith. But I need to make a distinction here. The faith I've been questioning is not the faith - that faith handed down once for all - but my faith. I have been questioning what I thought I knew; what others have told me what the faith is.

I've been almost exclusively within Protestant/ Evangelical/ Reformed circles since my conversion. Yet within this, I've been taught what the faith is by legalists, fundamentalists, dispensationalists, covenant theologians, premillenialists, amillenialists, moralists, neoplatonists, neopuritans, neotraditionalists, political conservatives and a host of other isms, ists and knowitalls. Each of these has been content to set up a box containing all reality. Their boxes are limiting and force falsehoods upon us. I have dared to break out of boxes and tried to look at the world with the idea of God's purpose in mind; not man's knowitallism.

For whatever is born of God overcomes the world; and this is the victory that has overcome the world -- our faith. ( 1 John 5:4)

Friday, November 02, 2007

Number Nine: Yankee Announcer's Voice on Beatles' White Album

I'm convinced that the voice saying "number nine" repeatedly in the Beatles' White Album song "Revolution 9" is none other than the Yankees PA announcer Bob Sheppard. The White Album was put out in '68, so I'm guessing that the voice is an audio clip from Sheppard announcing a Roger Maris at bat sometime in '66 or earlier.

I Googled and surfed to find some confirmation of this. I did find a YouTube clip of him announcing a game in '06. At about 0:41 on this clip you can hear him announce a Texas Ranger player who wears uniform number nine. Forty years later, it sounds just like the White Album. After my discovery, I found this on Wikipedia.

Thursday, November 01, 2007

Records, Tapes, CD's and The Holy Trinity

Therefore be imitators of God, as beloved children. Ephesians 5:1

And now for something completely different. I am a Trinitarian, and unashamedly at that. I believe in One God in Three Persons, the Father, Son and Holy Spirit. I believe the bible teaches the Trinity, but I'm a bit more tolerant these days of Christians who have a hard time grasping this doctrine.

I also believe that God has built the concept of the Trinity into His creation. When man applies the concept of the Trinity to God's creation, he can reap benefits far greater than if he doesn't. Take music recording for example. Prior to the digital revolution, music was recorded on phonograph records. A needle cut the groove in a piece of vinyl, and the groove reflected the sound of the music. The vibrations that cut the groove made the groove a mere analogy of the original music. This is why conventional means are called analog. There is a point at which all analogies fail. With each successive playback of the record, wear and tear are introduced until major flaws are realized. One oops with the needle and the record itself (and thus the recording) would be damaged. Corruption in the vinyl is unforgiving.

On the other hand, when digital technology is used, the music is broken down into very small pieces that can be quantified, with each piece being equal in essence. The one piece of music is represented as many parts, whereas in analog music, the one original piece of music is represented with another one piece. This digital representation is a reflection of the nature of God. He is One being, but three (multiple) persons. He is the One and Many, the Unity and Diversity, division of labor, checks and balances. When the music is broken into small pieces, each piece has a relation to its neighboring pieces, that when combined forms something very close and almost indistinguishable from the original music. Now, here's the beauty of digital music. When one piece is corrupt, let's say from a "pop" or "hiss", it's neighbors (following a smooth curve of the music) can be looked at to determine where that corrupt piece should be. The program that plays the music back can make this correction and eliminate the corruption. In theory, the music never deteriorates, just as God lives forever and never changes.

Digital technology has greatly enhanced our lives. This is because the nature of God is applied to living. We now create things to imitate God. Many Christians have questioned whether Christians ought to be caught up in digital technology. A better question is why Trinitarians weren't the pioneers.