Friday, February 27, 2009

Ice [Cream] Follies


So reads the lid of the Costco (Kirkland) brand vanilla ice cream in the freezer. Obviously whoever designed the packaging was suffering from ice cream brain freeze while at the drawing board. I should send them a resume and offer to proofread.

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Mrs. Scott Solves Screen Resolution Issue

Mrs. Scott did some troubleshooting for me. The dropdown "view/text size" settings were somehow re-set to "largest" for many of the blogs I frequent. No wonder the text sizes were wacky. Thank you, Mrs. Scott!

Baseball On The Radio!

Today is a wonderful day on the calendar. It was the first game of the cactus league season for the Giants (spring training) and the first game broadcast on the radio. After an entire winter of silence, simply hearing a baseball game on the radio is the best music I can think of. I occasionally write here on this blog about my love for baseball (but my baseball blog, From the Bleachers is dedicated to baseball, and this piece is cross-posted there). I am a fan, and an avid fan at that.

But, my fandom does not mean that I hang on every pitch of a game and ignore all else. For me, listening to games on the radio is a daily event during baseball season, but I enjoy it at least as much as background music as I do paying attention to every pitch. It is soothing to the soul and easy upon the mind. That we are completely spoiled here in the Bay Area with wonderful announcers that communicate the game so beautifully makes me want to live here forever.

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

What's Up With Blogger Screen Resolution?

[Update 02-25-09: problem solved, thanks to Mrs. Scott]

Last night, somtime in the middle of the night, all of my Blogger based sites on my blogroll had a screen resolution explosion (implosion?), so that now all non-toolbar space on the screen is hyper enlarged. One site, Gene's, is showing up with about 256 pt type. I can hardly read it, as even moderate length words in margins are displayed on several lines. Some sites have extreme text and photo overlap. Yahoo and Comcast home pages are also affected. Wordpress and several others don't seem to be affected.

One post title in Gene's right margin looks like this to me:

Dancing as
a Bride
with her

I have a high resolution screen, the 1280 x 1024 max, but the non-toolbar spaces on these sites show up like some 800 x 640 kindergarten viewability. No, I'm not losing my eyesight.

My Blogger post editor has like 1/4" characters on my screen. All these things are screaming at my face. Any ideas out there?

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Adding OrthoCuban

I am adding the OrthoCuban blog to my blogroll. This blog is owned by an Eastern Orthodox priest named Father Ernetso Obregon, who is Cuban born (pre-Castro) and came to the US in 1961. I found him through comments and sometimes invited contributions on the internetMonk blog. As with most Americans, I know little about the beliefs and practices of the Eastern Orthodox tradition. I find Fr. Ernesto's writing on Orthodox theology enlightening, and he relates it often to the American way of doing religion. I have found his blog to be a good read for a Protestant, especially of the Reformed Calvinist variety.

Friday, February 13, 2009

Friday Night Potpourri

Random thoughts on a Friday night:

  • It was raining hard on my way home tonight. We're in a drought here in CA and need all the H2O we can get.
  • We have a mountain here in the Bay Area, Mt. Diablo (Devil's Mountain), about 35 miles east of San Francisco (right in my back yard). Although only 3,849 ft. high, with California's vast valleys, etc., the viewable land area from its summit is the second grandest view on the face of the earth. Second only to Kilimanjaro in Africa. It really is a great view from up there. On a clear day one can see Half Dome in Yosemite National Park.
  • Speaking of Mt. Diablo, it rained heavily last night, and the snow level was down to about 1,500 ft. This morning the upper half of the mountain was a brilliant white. By sundown, most of the snow had washed away, leaving only the top few hundred feet white.
  • The Oscars are coming up, and that means I'll be an awards ceremony widower.
  • No matter who you are, I caught you doing something very embarrassing on Google Street recently.
  • Pitchers and catchers report tomorrow

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Re-Thinking The Sunday Church Service (Part 9) - The Church Meeting Described In The Bible (4)

Read the entire series here.

In keeping with Part 8 where I was writing about all the members in the church service involved in edifying the whole body, Alan Knox at The Assembling of the Church posts about spiritual gifts in the assembled church. To quote:

Scripture only gives two requirements for someone to exercise their gift when the church is assembled: whatever they do must be motivated by love (1 Cor. 13) and must edify the church (1 Cor. 14:26). No gifts should be refused, and no gifts should be elevated above the others - as long as the gifts are used to edify other people. Similarly, the people should be given the opportunity to use their gifts when the church is assembled, and they should be reminded that God holds them responsible for this. In other words, if someone is in charge of the meeting time, that person should make sure that others are given opportunity to edify the church. And, the people gathered should be reminded that God wants them to participate and expects them to participate in building up the body.

Giving all the people an opportunity to edify others, in the context of the church meeting, when the entire church is together, is a good example of "power to the people." Leave it to God to design such a thing. Those who are "nobodies" in the eyes of the world can have great power in Christ's church. No wonder so many poor people throughout history have become Christians.

Part 8 . . . . . . . . Part 10

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Good Economy, Bad Economy

Right now the economy is "bad." Really bad. Just a few years ago, it was "good." Really good. Now, things may be a bit different where you live, but in my experience, a "good" economy doesn't really mean that things are all that better. I work in the building industry, and as housing goes, so goes the economy. Our industry is a multiplier of the overall economy, so things are said to be feast or famine. Right now is "famine."

But, when the economy is "good", goodness is offset by other things bad. In my metro area, the San Francisco Bay Area, a good economy brings people in droves to Silicon Valley, where all the "good" jobs are, of course, so supply and demand means that the cost of everything shoots up dramatically. Rents and home prices skyrocket, forcing existing dwellers to move further out from the epicenter as newbies force their way in and veterans force their way up. So much economic activity occurs that there really isn't a "feast", but mostly working all the harder and faster to simply keep up with the work load. A feast also includes the free time necessary to enjoy the extra food, by the way. Clients are extra hard on you, cracking the whip in expectation of the impossible in ever tightening schedules. Then the extra work load becomes necessary to keep up with rising costs.

During an economic housing boom, everybody in the industry is employed, so bidding wars start and work shortages occur. Try to hire a contractor during a "good" economy. "We'll get back to you next May." Even if you have an agreement, if you are outbid by somebody else, you are left holding the bag.

Now as the economy is "bad", I'm hearing that many people are "going back to the basics; family, home cooked meals, staying in." During a "good" economy, meals are picked up "to go" from a restaurant so the worker can head back to the office to work late. During a "bad" economy, people stay home to eat with family, but the quality of food is not as great.

I'm not convinced that we are living in an age of prosperity, where things get slightly better all the time, but in an age of roller coasters and merry-go-rounds where things seem to get better, followed by a period where things seem to get worse. We seem to simply trade off catch-22 periods.

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Favorite Movie Scene

My favorite movie scene of all time is from a comedy. It happens to be my favorite movie as well. In this scene, which is only about 3 minutes long, King Arthur argues with a peasant about systems of government. Classic.

Thursday, February 05, 2009

Divorce: The Unpardonable Sin (2)

Imagine your very best friend gets engaged, and he comes to you and says, "I would be honored if you were the best man in my wedding." Now imagine this same best friend has said to you that if you ever got married, not only would he not be your best man, he would not even attend your wedding. Your ex-wife left you before you even became a Christian, and for you to ever get married again would be to commit adultery. Attending a wedding that is an adulterous act would be to give a blessing to adultery, something a Christian cannot do in good conscience. Yes, this very thing happened to me. Imagine being told that even though you're divorced, you're still a married man, and as a married man, you should avoid any close fellowship with women, and that your area of ministry will be solely to men. Imagine that women in the church are told that you are a married man and to shy away.

Now imagine attending another church that believes that there are only a few scenarios where a divorced person is allowed to remarry, but you're one of them! Not only do they believe you are free to remarry, they take "It is not good for man to be alone" to an extreme and tell you to get out there and find a wife. Imagine the confusion in being held to mutually exclusive, extreme imperatives by two groups of people (still having friends from the old group) claiming to believe the same bible.

Now imagine thinking that you've come to a place of believing that you're okay to remarry, and that you're going to a church that believes the same. You find interest in a young woman, and everything is fine until her parents, who were raised in the first line of thinking, find out your ex-wife left you once upon a time, leaving you divorced. Your relationship is immediately shunned. Actually, this one had a happy ending. No, I didn't marry the girl, but the gravity of the situation over time encouraged her family in examining and re-thinking their position. They sought out wisdom from others, studied it for themselves, and changed their minds.

I've also served as a deacon in a church. This required much agonizing before allowing the elders to lay hands on me. Our church sees situations where divorced people are able to remarry, but I had to have discussions with the pastor about potentially explosive situations caused by members who didn't believe in remarriage in my case or in allowing divorced people to serve. I know of a church that split over the discovery of a divorce in the past of one of its leaders.

Fun stuff, marriage, divorce and remarriage is.

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Tuesday, February 03, 2009

Divorce - The Unpardonable Sin (1)

Okay, I'm about to drop a bombshell on the blogging world. I'm divorced. Or, maybe I should say, I was divorced at one time. Yep. Now that I've lost a percentage of my readers just on this bit of information alone...

I look back and laugh at it now, but there was a time early on in my Christian life that my pre-conversion divorce was a huge blot on my character. I was a divorcee. Okay, well actually, since the people I hung around with back then claimed that there's no such thing as divorce, that I'm still married to that other woman in God's eyes, now that I'm married again, I now have two wives, and am an adulterer, and probably not a true Christian because of it.

There's a line of thinking in some strains of fundamentalist Christianity, a foul smelling doctrine of marriage, divorce and remarriage that makes anybody who has ever been divorced - even if they were the unwilling innocent (and willing reconciling) party in a marriage that was broken by the other person - an equivalent of the disease leprosy. Toss every imaginable sock of sin into the washing machine with the bleach of Jesus' blood, and out come the socks of murder, lying, theft, abuse, drug addiction, harlotry, whoredom, profanity, all pure white. Yet the socks of divorce and being divorced remain soiled. For many in the church, divorce is treated quite literally as the unpardonable sin and a dead end roadblock to any advance whatsoever in the Christian life. Divorcees, no matter how innocent, have the scarlet letter "D" tattooed branded on them, and are banned from remarriage, fellowship, even simple conversation with members of the opposite gender.

I'll take a few posts in a short series to discuss how bad theology and a misunderstanding of biblical teaching can really screw up people's lives. First hand experience, here.

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