24 December 2014

Merry Christmas to All


May the blessings of the season be yours in all your days.

27 August 2014

I Made a Decision about Worship Today

Be prepared: this post may tend to ramble more than usual.
Since I was born (probably) until I moved away from home at age almost 25, I attended a Church of the Nazarene congregation with my mother. My father rarely went, usually only on Easter and maybe at the end of Vacation Bible School. But that isn’t what my decision is about.

The Church of the Nazarene is a small denomination, and from what I understand it is in the Wesleyan tradition, descended from the Methodists, although I really don’t know what Methodists are all about. I have attended a few Southern Baptist services, and they were very similar to the Nazarene services of my youth.

However, from the 5th grade (age 10) on, I attended a private school associated with the Church of Christ. This group has as its core teaching that the Bible, and specifically the New Testament, reveals all we need to know and should pay attention to regarding Christianity, including the pattern of worship services and church organization. In fact, anything that is not mentioned as being part of Christian worship in the New Testament is not done in any congregation of the Church of Christ. All this I learned while attending school and the daily chapel services.

While doing a crossword puzzle today at lunchtime, I came across a clue regarding a person associated with the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints (LDS, the Mormons). I looked it up on Wikipedia (because it really is pretty good at lists of things), and that led me to reading about an offshoot of the LDS–apparently a single congregation in Hannibal, MO–that calls itself the Church of Christ. That led me to look at the disambiguation page for “Church of Christ”, and to read a bit about the one I was familiar with.

I apologize for all the parentheticals in the following paragraph. I did warn you.

I learned that this group had its origin in the so-called “Restoration Movement” in 19th century America. I already knew that it had previously split into the Church of Christ I knew–which does not allow anything in a service that is not mentioned in the New Testament, including musical instruments–and the Christian Church (whose congregations may sometimes be called Independent Christian Churches)–which takes the position that any worship practice not specifically forbidden in the New Testament should not be forbidden in congregations. Therefore, musical instruments are allowed, but someone who shares the core beliefs of the Christian Church (and the Church of Christ, theologically speaking) could start a new congregation that did not use musical instruments, or that offered a choice between full-strength and watered-down wine, because it was the custom in the 1st century to mix water and wine for a meal.

All this led me to consider my own beliefs, including my political philosophy. I tend to be rather libertarian politically, and believe that if one’s actions do not harm other people, the government has no business punishing those actions. Of course, harm is not restricted to the physical or the immediate, but that is a different discussion and I need to give it more thought.

Similarly, I believe what the Church of Christ members taught me, that as Christians we are free to do anything, but we are required to do what is motivated out of love for others, to help bring them to, or strengthen them in, Christ. Therefore, thanks to my Church of Christ education, I have decided that when I start attending church regularly again, I shall attend a Christian Church congregation.

I welcome your thoughtful comments and discussion.

03 July 2014

Happy Independence Day Part II

Here's wishing everyone celebrating a happy and safe American Independence Day.

In addition, I have learned–or rather, been reminded–that 2014 is the bicentennial of the poem “Defence of Fort McHenry” by Francis Scott Key, which we know better as the lyrics of our national anthem, The Star-Spangled Banner.

So while you’re out watching the rockets’ red glare, and perhaps raising a glass to Anacreon in Heaven, give ol’ Frank a toast, too.

18 June 2014

World Cup: It’s Gonna Gitcha!

World Cup Fever–Catch It!
World Cup Fever has gripped Teh Twitterz, and it’s an epidemic. While some are delirious with excitement over the countries they love, hate, or love to hate, others are suffering the malaise of being bombarded with information they just couldn’t care less about. Even more than usual.

And while some client applications give users the ability to “mute” or filter out tweets containing certain hashtags, there are almost as many hashtags for the tournament as there are fans. Not only that, but many times people get so excited, they forget to use any tags at all! In short, if one wanted to bury his head in the sand (yes, I still use the ancient convention of male pronouns for unknown-sex individuals) and not see any tweets related to the FIFA World Cup, he would need to avoid Twitter entirely until it’s over.

The disdain some have for the game has led to some amusing tweets, though. For instance:
Or this:
Your humble blogger is content to watch the happenings of the tournament via Twitter, and listen to the guys a couple cubes over as they talk about their streams and why one is nearly a full minute behind the other. What’s up with that, ESPN?

Go Team USA! (I guess. sigh)

29 May 2014

Answering Some Questions

Yesterday the decidedly interesting @ProfMondo had a blog post about being nominated for a Liebster Award, whose awarder apparently has a thing for the number eleven. Part of the nomination process is to answer a set of 11 questions, and then pose a different set of 11 questions. I liked Prof. M’s questions enough that I thought I’d take a crack at answering them. Here we go:

1. If you could give a really painful (but not permanent — we’re not awful people) charley horse to anyone in the world without fear of retribution, who would it be?
Valerie Jarrett, mostly because even most of the people I follow on Twitter have stopped talking about her.

2. DC or Marvel?
Whoever has The Flash. He was my favorite growing up, because his speed gave him the ability to do a lot of different things.

3. Who would you cast to play the lead in a biopic of you? (You are not eligible.)
Edward Norton

4. Preferred pizza crust — Thin? Pan? Whole wheat? Other?
Whole wheat, not too thick, and twisted on the edge, served with honey.

5. Is there a song that makes you hit the channel change/shuffle button as soon as it starts? What is it?
Several, actually. "Imagine", for one, and that Jet song that starts with a throat-clearing.

6. What’s your favorite “guilty pleasure” movie?
The American President. “Oh, Sydney…nice shoes.” [Sydney grins and presses tongue between teeth.]

7. Bluegrass or World Music?
Bluegrass. I mean, who wouldn’t choose “Dooley, slippin’ up the holler/Dooley, tryin’ to make a dollar/Dooley, gimme a swaller an I’ll pay ya back some day” over “Is this love? Is this love?”?

8. What’s the most unusual thing in your fridge?
An array of cooking wines that were used once or twice, because now when we cook with wine we use real wine.

9. What have I got in my pocket? (Hey, it worked for Bilbo.)
217 photos, 52 books, 114 contacts, and 3,300 songs. Ain’t technology great?

10. What topic is most likely to make you start talking as your friends say, “Now you’ve done it.”?
Now, skiing, since I started learning last Thanksgiving. It’s a lot more fun than I ever thought it’d be!

11. What question were you hoping I’d ask you, but I didn’t? (Feel free to answer that one as well, by the way.)
“How much wood would a woodchuck chuck, if a woodchuck could chuck wood?” Enough to build a bonfire hot enough to burn all the open questions.

Thank you, Prof. M! That was fun. Mostly.