Monday, February 28, 2005

Entry Info for this Week's Christian Carnival

Entry Info for this Week's Christian Carnival

This week's Christian Carnival this week is at Crossroads: Where Faith and Inquiry Meet. From Diane R.:

It's Christian Carnival time already for March 2.

If you wish to submit a blog post from the past week, simply put the following in an email:

Your blog name and the blog URL.
The name of the post you are submitting and the post URL.
A short description of the post.

Remember that we are now sending all Carnival submissions to the official Carnival email at: [ChristianCarnival ATT gmail DOTT com].....

The deadline for submissions is midnight (EST), Tuesday, March 1.

Thank you for your participation.

Consider entering your blog's best from this past week. You can check out the guidelines here.

800-CEO-READ PODCASTS: Creating Customer Evangelists by Ben McConnell and Jackie Huba

This is a pretty interesting excerpt. The main thing a got from it is that marketing is not advertising. There were other great points too. Check it out.


800-CEO-READ PODCASTS: Creating Customer Evangelists by Ben McConnell and Jackie Huba: "This week, authors Ben McConnell and Jackie Huba read from their book Creating Customer Evangelists.
mp3 26min 25 sec, 12.1 MB"

2.0 Joe (pronounced "too-point-oh-joe")

I have written up interveiw questions for Joe Missionary 2.0. click here to go there.

Saturday, February 26, 2005

Strategic Ground: Series On Withdrawing From Society

I heard Dr. William C. Krispin of CityNet Ministries speak last week at Chesapeake Presbytery. He preached and also gave a teaching time on strategic planning. He mentioned the book
Edge City : Life on the New Frontier by Joell Garreau. The basic premise of the talk is that cities have developed somewhat differently than one might expect. People tend to stay close to home to work and live. This creates series of cities around a major metropolitan area, edge cities. These are where the people go to church. He implied that a good place for churches to build was near the intersection of two or more major highways. I think for a church to be available to the most people that makes sense; easy access. In building churches what kind of an area do you put them in? In Europe the churches were build in the city square and were central to the city. This means that they were the center and usually commerce developed around them. Churches are no longer built in the city center in Europe, but they are not built that way in the U.S. either. Given how cities have an already developed downtown, we probably can't put churches downtown on a major scale. Where do we want to put them?



Residential area? This places them in a neighborhood, this emphasizes that religion is a part of private life vice public life. There is truth in the idea that religion is a part of the private life but it has a public aspect. It also means that people in that neighborhood find it accessible and those with strong ties to the denomination or families of the congregation. When a congregation gets too large in a neighborhood though, building a campus with lots of traffic, the neighborhood often starts trying to put road blocks to their cozy community becoming a traffic nightmare on Sundays.

Collegiate Church



Industrial area? There may be some real estate cost benefits here and parking space benefits but the area seems a little cold to seem welcoming. You may not get a lot of visitors just popping in because the church is in their area. The architecture may suffer greatly if one uses existing industrial buildings. I used to attend a couple of churches in this kind of situation.





Commercial area? Here the church is placed near neighborhoods but not in them. People already use the area to shop. It is usually near good areas to get traffic. The architecture can suffer if one uses existing structures but it has potential if care is taken to build so that the church actually looks and feels right. My church uses commercial space that has been radically refurbished. Though some days I don't feel we went far enough with the rebuild.



Green space areas? Parks and other green space can give a church a more contemplative feel. The
Xenos church I visited in Columbus, OH had lots of green space, woods and fields, on and near their campus. They were not too far from highway I-270 which is the Columbus beltway. This means neighbors are not as big a problem trying to keep the church small. While the Xenos church makes this work, most green space can have accessibility issues.



I would love to hear your experiences with what type of area your church is located and how it works (doesn't work) for you.

Or alternatively, if you were to build a new church, what type of area would you put it in?

Your comments are welcome.

Storefront Church on Chicago's South Side

Friday, February 25, 2005

Remembering

I drove across the US with my wife when our family was the two of us. It took us five days to go from Washington D.C. to Monterey, CA. I think the most spectacular thing I saw on the trip was New Mexico sunsets. We drove I-70, I-44, and I-40. After we crossed into California we took some lesser known roads up to Monterey. Wow, that was a great drive.

Thursday, February 24, 2005

Wikipedia's Newest Article: Actually by the time I hit save there will be another.

/
This afternoon was a snowy afternoon. All the offices I needed had sent their people home due to snow. I could not get anything done at work so I came home and sat on the couch and read Wired. There was a very good article on Wikipedia so I got off my duff and wrote an article. It is about the Upper Cumberland Presbyterian Church, a small denomination related to my childhood – young adult denomination. I actually made several telephone calls and got the moderator of their denominations governing body, Rev. Charles Jones. He seemed like a good fellow and was kind to talk to me. I had fun and acheived one of my goals.





Interview Questions

I have only one person who said they wanted interviewed. I will not make her wait until I get a group of five. If someone else wants interviewed, I still welcome it.

Questions for Catez Stevens Allthings2all who is turning the world upside down.


1. Please tell us how you came to stumble upon your favorite quote of all times?
2. Who is your favorite hero of the faith who is a woman?
3. Have any Maori (Native New Zealander) words made their way into common speech in New Zealand?
4. We folk on the North American continent want to come down to New Zealand, where do New Zealanders like to travel to on vacation (or should I say holiday)?
5. Are you a morning person or a night owl?


Questions for Barb Big Red 5 who says birds probably listen to WKRP in Cincinnati.


1. What makes a good friend?
2. What is your favorite age to homeschool?
3. What are your best organization tips?
4. How many books would you estimate you have read in your lifetime?
5. What is so great about carrot cake?


Questions for Joe Joe Missionary who claims to be sort of ordinary.


1. Many men claim some ability behind the out door grill or to have a great chili. When you end up cooking, what do you like to fix?
2. How is it that you came to a sense of your calling?
3. Who has been your greatest influences? (If I can use this phrase used by jazz artists to describe your whole life, not really your musical style at all.)
4. I'm sure you have received awards over your lifetime, what is one your all time favorite awards?
5. What gizmos are on your gadget wishlist? (Money is no object here, just day dreaming, or not perhaps.)

Tuesday, February 22, 2005

In Which I Play the Interview Game, and So Can You!

Carmon of Buried Treasure started this game. I'm being interviewed by Rebecca of Rebecca Writes. If you want to participate, the instructions follow my answers to the questions Rebeccah asks of me.


1. What is geocaching and how long have you been doing it?

Geocaching is exploring someplace with a gadget. Geocaching is finding a little treasure someone else has hidden. Hiding and finding are more important in geocaching than what it is that you hid or found. Geocaching is an excuse to buy a cool gadget. What I meant to say was geocaching is a sport where the participants use the Global Positioning Satellite (GPS) receiver to find a cache that someone else has hidden. If you are unfamiliar with the term cache, one of its more traditional usages means hidden supply. A GPS receiver, or just GPS, is a special receiver which can tell you your location in the form of a coordinate. It does this by listening, so to speak, to radio signals of Global Positioning Satellites which were put up especially for navigational use. So to go geocaching you need to have a GPS and the coordinate to the cache. You can find listed caches people have put out hidden by going to the Geocaching website.

http://www.geocaching.com/


By the way there are 24 caches listed for the Yukon Territory, Canada.

One of which is a virtual cache which simply means that the person did not put anything there, but the location has intrinsic value, like a historic landmark or a panoramic view.

http://www.geocaching.com/seek/cache_details.aspx?guid=c16e78cf-646c-4f5a-a810-f08cc2ae85b4

This one is in Whitehorse, Canada.
Oh, yeah, about three years is how long I have been geocaching.

2.What do you like to eat for breakfast?

I love eggs for breakfast but I do not eat them all the time. Saturday mornings at the Pruitt house I fix eggs-to-order for my family. I ask each person how they want their eggs and try make them just right. Elaine, (10) the youngest likes two eggs fried hard. Occasionally she will want boiled or soft boiled. I think she just tries to see how far I will go in letting her ask for what she wants. She once asked for two eggs; one soft boiled and their other fried hard. I did it. Noelle (12) is usually a two eggs fried hard kind of a gal these days but a couple of months back she preferred an omelet with cheese and ham. Simplicity and texture are important for her. Beccah (14) usually goes for an omelet with as many different ingredients as possible. She like variety and pizazz. Corrie (17) will let me fix her an omelet or sometimes scrambled. I think she would enjoy it more if she were cooking instead of me. Annalee is my oldest, a young woman almost ready to leave her teen years. She is not a big egg fan, breakfast is not her thing. But if she is in the mood I fix her two eggs over easy. Then my lovely redheaded wife will let me fix her an omelet with the fixings the fit her mood. Myself, two eggs over easy and it is best with a side of sausage.


3.If you could live anywhere in the world, where would it be?

This is a great question. One of the best things about my career in the military has been the chance to live a variety of places. I grew up in Lebanon, Missouri. My wife and I have lived in

Monterey, California Annalee was born there.
San Angelo, TX
Ayer, MA
Ft. Campbell, KY Corrie was born there.
Manassas, VA Beccah and Noelle were born there.
Frankfurt, Germany
Heidelberg, Germany Elaine was born there.
Glen Burnie, MD We have been here eight years.

I have loved living in a variety of places. Choosing a new place to live would be hard. I have always responded to some sort of career factor. Many days I'm very happy to live here in the Baltimore area. But in the end I guess I looking to prepare for pastorial ministry and let God lead me to the next step in my adventure. I hope my next move is somewhere to pastor a church for a long term commitment. For now I'm happy to live, work, study and worship in Glen Burnie.

4.What's the best thing about being a dad?

I love living with my wife and five daughters. My wife and I love babies. We love kids. On my blog profile I say I love to learn, also love to learn with my family. I love taking a picture of Elaine with cicadas on her arms and learning their life cycle. I love having Noelle tell me about horses. She knows more about them than I do. I love watching Beccah learn responsibility and how to manage and organize things. She has such joy in dealing and interacting with people. I love seeing Corrie teach herself music, art and cooking. Like me she does best when self-taught. I love talking with Annalee about things she is learning in college. I like it when she tests to see how I would respond to something one of her profs had said. I love the fresh perspective my kids put on learning about God and his world.

5. Are you a morning person or a night owl?

I burn the candle at both ends. But if I have to be one or the other, it is morning. A cup of coffee, a time of prayer, and study are simple pleasures. I jog in the mornings too. I wish mornings were longer.


Here's how you can play the interview game:

1. Leave me a comment saying “interview me.” The first five commenters will be the participants.
2. I will respond by asking you five questions.
3. You will update your blog/site with the answers to the questions.
4. You will include this explanation and an offer to interview someone else in the same post.
5. When others comment asking to be interviewed, you will ask them five questions. (Write your own questions or borrow some.)

Saturday, February 19, 2005

Baltimore-Washington-Northern Virginia Area Blogger Get Together

My friend the Jollyblogger and I are wanting us bloggers to get together.

So this is an invite if you are a blogger in the Baltimore-Washington-Northern Virginia Area to a get together. We are meeting up at Buddy's Crabs and Ribs. It is between Baltimore and Washington so it is central to both areas.

Date:
Thursday March 31, 2005 7:00 P.M. - 9:00 P.M.

Where:
Buddy's Crabs and Ribs
14707 Baltimore Avenue
Laurel, MD 20707

Map:
Yahoo Maps
MapQuest

Now we have a room reserved but there is a cost if we get less than 25 people so...please go on over to the Jollyblogger and post a comment if you are planning or thinking of coming. I'm going to disable comments on my post here so that everyone will go on over to the Jollyblogger's site and leave the message there. I hope to see you there.

Oh, yeah, I encourage you to advertise this event on your blog too.

KenRadio Broadcasting

If you know my blog then you know I like KenRadio and you also know I like Wired. Now ...drum roll please....Ken Radio interviews Chris Anderson at Wired. Now you can't get much better than that. Actually the topic is cool too, "The Long Tail" theory. If you don't know what "The Long Tail" theory is check it out at Wikipedia.





KenRadio Broadcasting

Chris Anderson, Editor in Chief, Wired Magazine
So you’ve never heard of “The Long Tail” theory. Do yourself a favor, take 16 minutes and listen to the author who wrote this seminal piece in a recent Wired magazine edition. "The Long Tail is about the economics of abundance—what happens when the bottlenecks that stand between supply and demand in our culture start to disappear and everything becomes available to everyone." Chris Anderson is a brainiac with street smarts and a pen. The dude can flat-out write (and talk).

Friday, February 18, 2005

Parableman: Commentary Recommendations

Parableman (a.k.a. straight-talker) has put together a list of commentaries. A recent seminary professor of my said he did not use commentaries. While he probably does not need it, I know I can always use some help when reading scripture. The only commentary I own on Parableman's list is Joyce Baldwin on Daniel, which by the way I like her commentary on 1 Samuel too. The fact that I don't have many on the list probably means I need to buy more commentaries at Parableman's recommendation than anything else.

Thank you Parableman for putting this out there. I will come back to it often.




Parableman: Commentary recommendations: "People often ask me what commentaries I would recommend for a particular book of the Bible. I have a significant commentary library that I constantly refer to, even reading some cover to cover. I also read lots of reviews of commentaries and investigate further purchases through the libraries I have access to and inter-library loan. I have a fair idea of the strengths and weaknesses of different commentaries."

Tuesday, February 15, 2005

JOLLYBLOGGER - : Football Is Beautiful And Paintings Are Ugly

JOLLYBLOGGER - a weblog for jolly beggars: Artist James Coleman: "I have to confess that I have never really understood art. I guess growing up in the south and being into sports, it was kind of unmanly to be into art, at least in my circle of friends. I have never been able to come up with anything to say about a piece of artwork that is more sophisticated than 'that's kind of nice,' or 'ewwww, you mean people actually pay money for that.'"




I like to tell the engineers at work that I am a philosophy major. That is sort of a lie. I majored in religion and philosophy. Okay so I failed the ethics section but I understand at least theoretically why it was wrong to lie to the engineers. I am somewhat known for my technosavvy abilities however I make sure they know the key to knowing communications protocols is good philosophy! Seriously it is but that is another posting all together.

What do you study when you study philosophy? Often it is the study of people who have been called philosophers. Studying these people is useful however the best philosophy classes focus on primary questions, not the people who tried to answer them. The list of questions keeps changing. Yesterday it was, "What is the nature of a thing?" If you don't ask this question you don't develop an orthodox theology of the Trinity. You end of say sort of, "yeah, yeah" when the Trinity comes up. In recent years it has been, "What is meaning?"




Often people focus on the study of epistomology when studying philosophy. This is extremely important but ethics should not play second fiddle epistemology, which is the study of truth tests. Ethics gets lost in the shuffle because most people have decided ethics is merely a matter of taste, that's right taste, not right and wrong. The study of taste is the study of asthetics. One reason people confuse ethics for aesthetics is Western Culture, including the Church has decided that aesthetics is not important. An unintended consequence of the Reformation is that beauty is not important. We took art out of the church buildings and replaced it with white walls. Then we simply put up a stage, and now we have a hard time justifying and objects which cheifly has a function of being beautiful. But any question that is not reduced to the rigors of epistemology, empirical evidence and definitions, is merely fluff. In other words, if no math is done then anyone's opinions is as good as the other. This is a fallacy but I'm going to move on anyway.




I ask you, is Jesus beautiful? Most Christians would feel compelled to answer yes based on a respect and honor to Jesus, so they would say Jesus is beautiful based on ethics, not on aesthetics. Most often when people talk about ethics and describe evil they are really talking about the aesthetics of the act, not the moral standard. And when people are talking about aesthetics, they are hesitant to really try to grasp beauty. One of the most pressing questions in Christiandom today, both Western and the rest of the world, is what is beauty. A solid idea of what beauty is will aid us in describing the indescribable Christ. A solid idea of beauty would tell us why, "ugly is as ugly does", in other words a lot about ethics. Will heaven be beutiful? In a religion, many people are looking for beauty, not salvation. They would not phrase it that way, but that is really where they are going with it.




The question that fills people's minds 80-90% of the time is "What do I like?" This is really a question of aesthetics. What most corporations are asking is what do people like. Of course what people like or don't like may be good or bad. If we are going to reach the present generation affected so heavily by consumerism and pop culture we must answer the question of "What is beautiful?"

Is Finding A Geocache Worth Doing?

I have actually found several caches now. Caches that I like to find are not the ones hidden deep in the brush. I like the out doors and nature but I don't like to beat the brush because it will beat back. I prefer virtual caches (historical sites especially), webcams and bench marks.

Monday, February 14, 2005

Withdrawing From Society: Pushed Back Into Irrelevance

The following is an extended parable about Christians engaging a culture that does not want to be friendly.


When I was stationed in Germany I participated in an exercise in Geissen.

Munzenburg Castle

(By the way, this is a picture of that castle)

The base had seen better days back during the Cold War years. But across the valley were some picturesque castles. I decided I was going to jog to those castles when I was off shift, especially since I was on night shift. The first time I tried I did not even get close. The second time I tried I got further but still no cigar. Finally I bought a map. The roads run mostly up and down the valley and none went directly from where our barracks was to the castle. A buddy and I set out with map in hand and went our merry way. As we got to the village surrounding the castle, 10 miles later, we found the streets confusing. I mentioned something about it to my buddy. He said he thought it was in order to channel opponents down blind alleys and confuse their movements. After he said that I could see it. Channeling is a common technique used by armies when building fortifications, even today. By the way, this has nothing to do with Shirley McClain.



But it has every thing to do with confusing and guiding your opponent. Channeling is setting up obstacle or making use of naturally occurring obstacles to guide your opponent into being less effective. Sometimes it is merely degrading their capabilities, at other times it is guiding them away from our weaknesses, and still it may be guiding them into a trap. It is usually those who have setup fortifications that can make best use of this warfare technique. Those who are moving toward the enemy to engage them can only take advantage of this technique as obstacles occur naturally. Those who are establishing a fortification can not only take advantage of naturally occurring obstacles but can create new obstacles. Obstacles do not have to be ditches or walls, they can also be created by removing brush that an approaching enemy could hide behind. "Dead space" is an area that can not be seen by those weapons at the fortified area. Dead space can be used by an enemy to hide during the approach to the fortification. But dead space can be removed by clearing brush. In modern warfare, dead space can be over come by using indirect fire weapons like cannons or by placing mines there. In times past, indirect fire weapons like catapults could be used. Or the stinky flesh of a decaying animal could be placed in the dead space. This is an ancient form of biowarfare. In modern times a range card is made of an area to aid in the analysis of the battle space right in front of a fighting position.



Moving into the area of ideas, many of us want to engage our culture and not be at war with the culture. We want to be friendly and talk with the culture and transform the culture by letting them see love. However, the culture we seek to engage often does not want us to play by those rules. While we are approaching them, we come without weapons and without animosity. However, those who we would approach have set up fortifications, they have made use of every natural obstacle and created man-made obstacles. They not only have made obstacles, they refuse us any space to regroup, rest or approach them. There is no dead space. You may ask me how is this done outside the realm of analogy.


They create off-limits topics. For instance, the idea that we can not talk about religion in the work place. I have been a supervisor at times. I go out of my way to make sure that I do not make my subordinates uncomfortable regarding my faith. However, there are those who would make religion an out of boundaries topic. What I see is Christians resorting to code talk so that fellow Christians know they are one. They decline to allow others to know they are Christians unless they are insiders to faith. Of course we should not flaunt our faith in public but at the same time, we must not make it seem as though we are ashamed of the name of Christ.

There is a set of rules of privacy that are so extensive that any uncomfortable topic is not allowed. In human relationships, there is a natural occurring level of privacy, but privacy has also been re-enforced so that there is practically speaking no way to approach an individual with matters of faith. Privacy has been expanded beyond the basic practice of not entering the someone's home uninvited. Privacy now also includes a practice of don't even approach the home. Don't approach someone in a public setting. Don't approach someone when they have scheduled something else. Don't gather information on someone else. In a sense, privacy has expanded to an obstacle where we can not engage the culture. Privacy in its worst form is really isolation. Many people in our suburbs of America have positioned themselves to have maximum amount of privacy but have created a life of total isolation. Privacy in its best form is having time and room to find refreshment, contemplation, and time alone with God.

Another way American society has attempted to make Christians withdraw is to deride types of Christians which the Christian has a more difficult time relating to. For instance, getting youth to distance themselves from the stodgy Christianity of their elders and vice versa. Getting high church Christians who enjoy Mozart to think less of those hand-clapping Pentecostal, and vice versa. Getting those who love theological depth to distance themselves from those who love simplicity of the faith. The technique is quite successful at getting a person to focus on not being like the abhorrent subsection of our Christian culture and showing how we so-called good Christians are more like the mainstream culture.

While we do not want to have a war mentality when we engage the culture, the culture may have other ideas about how they want the church to behave. The culture may be more happy for us to bring signs of peace and friendship while they exploit our good graces. We should not return evil for evil but we must beware that our kindness may be used as a weapon against us if we are not wise. I am not suggesting that the church should become a fortress, rather good Christians of the past decades have withdrawn. We are now in various ways attempting to change how we deal with the culture, but we must be wise in how we go about it. While we are thinking of strategies to cross the gap that has developed between the church and our culture, our opponents are thinking of strategies of how they can keep us distanced from the culture. Remember they have been winning ground for years and do not want to give any of it back.

Saturday, February 12, 2005

43 Things

I have added a new link in my side bar of this blog. I call it

100 Things To Do During My Lifetime

However, it links to my list on the 43 Things website. You may be asking yourself, "What is up with the numbers, can't Terry see he is 57 off?" Well, I started my list before I knew about the website and my list was inspired by a coach who made a list of 100 things. If you are a blogger out there I encourage you to create and share your own list of goals via the 43 Things website. I would like to read your list. I might even adopt or adapt some of your goals for myself!

Friday, February 11, 2005

Things Said At The Table

My third daughter said to my fifth daughter, "You are always correcting what I say!"

Five says to three, "No I don't."

Politically Speaking

The other morning I was discussing with my wife my political views. I've decided that the best description of me is

"I'm a moderate far right of center"

Thursday, February 10, 2005

Withdrawing From Society

UPPER CUMBERLAND PRESBYTERIAN CHURCH: "UPPER CUMBERLAND PRESBYTERIAN CHURCH

FOUNDED 1955 -- Standards: Original Confession of Faith of the Cumberland Presbyterian Church (1906). Stated Clerk: Mrs. Vera Allen

Publication: 'The Bulletin' -- Mrs. Jaunita Healy, Editor -- 1680 Welcome Rd., Cullman, AL 35058

CARTHAGE PRESBYTERY -- DIRECTORY OF CHURCHES

BROOKLYN -- Holly Pond, AL
HICKORY HILL -- Petersburg, TN
LEBANON CAMPGROUND -- Shelbyville, TN
MT. PISGAH -- Cullman, AL
PLEASANT GROVE -- Whitleyville, TN
PLEASANT HILL -- Centerville, AL
PLEASANT SHADE -- Pleasant Shade, TN
POSTON'S CHAPEL -- Cookeville, TN
RUSSELL HILL -- Pleasant Shade, TN
SHELBYVILLE -- Shelbyville, TN
SUMNER COUNTY -- Nashville, TN
WALNUT PARK -- Gadsen, AL"

As I understand it, this denomination has about 300 members. That is a denomination smaller than some congregations. Given the list above, the congregations average about 25 members per.

I was very surprised to find this webpage about a part of the Christian church that I did not know about. I grew up in the Cumberland Presbyterian church and still have an affection for the people and institutions. While the Cumberland Presbyterian church will always fill a fond spot in my heart, I have found my denominational home in the Presbyterian Church in America. One of the reasons for my switch from denominations is really not all that spiritual. I have been serving in the military and I hopped denominations about every time we moved. That is about every three years. So my denomination play list looks like this:
  • Cumberland Presbyterian
  • independent Fundamental Baptists
  • Cumberland Presbyterian
  • Dabbling in various Pentecostal churches, especially the Assembly Of God
  • Cumberland Presbyterian
  • Calvary Chapel
  • Bible Church
  • Southern Baptist
  • Cumberland Presbyterian
  • Non-denominational Charismatic Church
  • Evangelical Free
  • Military Chapel
  • independent Fundamental Baptist
  • Presbyterian Church In America (I have been in the PCA since 1996)

From my little history of 40 years of church hopping, the Cumberlands figure big in my personal history. Two of my college years were spent at Bethel, the Cumberland Presbyterian College. I attended a lot of the governing bodies; Presbytery, Synod, and General Assembly. I read extensively about church history, especially as it relates to the Cumberland denomination. Why had I never heard of the Upper Cumberland Presbyterian Church? The denomination apparently came about as Cumberland Presbyterians found the issue joining the National Counsel of Churches an issue from which they had to break fellowship. Here is a quote from a time line on the Cumberland Presbyterian history----



"1953 Ten presbyteries memorialized for GA about affiliation with NCC; it was requested of GA that they disapprove of the RSV and affiliation of CP Boards with Boards of the NCC; Fellowship of Cumberland Presbyterian Conservatives, a group of CP's reacting against the modernist movement, formed a conference and planned a second one in Memphis. General Assembly declared these actions unconstitutional and some left the denomination and formed the Upper Cumberland Presbyterian Church in Gallitan (near Carthage, TN)."





Did these churches make strategic errors by leaving the denomination?

I see several problems with leaving the mother denomination. For instance, their ministers will have to be trained somewhere. They may choose to have them train at seminaries in other denominations or not require seminary. If they choose to not require seminary there is the risk of eventually not having any distinction from other denominations around them and then why not let the congregations unit with a like minded denomination. I doubt that the issues mentioned for their seperation as remaining relevant to present church life.

I would suggest that this was the only option they felt was faithful to the cause of Christ. Usually people who withdraw do so as a means of protection from attack and in an attempt to purify the group. In fact, our nation was founded by the pilgrim's who were trying to withdraw from mainstream English religion in order to practice their faith in purity. The Jollyblogger mentioned not too long ago that someone told him that if he became a hermit that he would still take sin into his hermit withdrawal.

I discussed "The Village" in another post, in the movie the people withdraw and still there is evil in their midst.

I would say not all withdrawal is wrong but how much is enough.
Often withdrawal is used to simplify a problem but often it can create simply a new problem.
Withdrawal is often about power change but the new leaders may not be truly changed by Christ.

43 Things

Ken Radio mentioned today 43 Things Website. It looks fun. I have been making a list of 100 things to do during my life. Now there is a way to do that on the web, and keep track of it.

CalDAV - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

CalDAV - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia: "CalDAV
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.
(Redirected from Caldav)

CalDAV is a proposal for a standard protocol to enable calendar access via WebDAV.

The CalDAV specification was first published in 2003 by Lisa Dusseault as an Internet-Draft submitted to the Internet Engineering Task Force (IETF)"....(click the above link to read the rest.)




I have been experimenting with the Mozilla version of this.

Hat Tip : Mitch Kapor

Wednesday, February 09, 2005

LOST-TV Episode 15: Homecoming


"After the missing Claire returns with no recollection of what has happened since before the doomed flight of Oceanic 815, Jack and Locke formulate a plan of defense against her kidnapper, the mysterious Ethan, who threatens to kill off the other survivors unless Claire is returned to him. Original US Airdate: 09 February 2005"


I'm always looking for the themes and literary devises in LOST. Tonight's was along the lines of the western. We have guns, circling the wagons and even a reference to Hoss, from the TV show Bonanza. (By the way, what is a bonanza? I had to look it up at Dictionary.com. It is a source of great wealth or prosperity. Another definition is a rich mine, vein, or pocket of ore.) We got the wild West theme for how they are choosing to close ranks on Ethan. I'm not sure of the implications here. We have a new set of rules, guns have been used as a group. Who gets to have the guns? Is it competence that gets you a gun or is it compassion? Did Charlie have either of these?

Then Charlie's story was sort of strange. He was unable to care for his girl friend and so he felt compelled to be strong after he was challenged by Ethan. I'm not sure how I feel about Charlie's decision to kill Ethan. Ethan was a clear threat and had basically committed murder. But on the other hand, he had been apprehended. What threat was he now that he was in custody? But then again, how were they going to maintain their control of Ethan over time.

Some times in my own life I have been like Charlie. I have been told I am weak and I don't want to be weak. Charlie made an existential decision to act. I believe his actions to have been desperate but defining. When challenged with my own weaknesses I have acted impulsively and decisively just to make a stand. A stand for the wrong thing is not healthy. It can be a very messy thing. That does not mean all spontaneous actions are bad but often they are.

NPR : Low Power FM Movement Makes Waves

NPR : Low Power FM Movement Makes Waves: "Low Power FM Movement Makes Waves

Listen to this story... by Rick Karr "

And instead of podcasting something else happening in radio is the low powered stations as defined by the FCC. By the way this is different than the Mini Radio Stations I blogged about some time ago. Click here to go to the Wired story on that.

USATODAY.com - Radio to the MP3 degree: Podcasting

USATODAY.com - Radio to the MP3 degree: Podcasting

Here is an interesting story on Podcasting. Seems to be a mainstream media story catching up with what has been happening in the IT news for a while.

Tuesday, February 08, 2005

Can Christians Compete?

My competition meter is off, way off. I had problems with competitive sports as a child, partly because I was out of shape and possibly because I have (had) terrible hand-eye coordination. Speed of thought is not my gift either. Usually I am slow and well thought out. Sports require the ability to think on one's feet. But those are the physical reasons which may actually hide the sinful reason in my heart. I wanted to win and hardly ever did. My brother was a gracious older brother, but when we played games I could never beat him. I think I developed an aversion to competition. This aversion to competition was good but rather insidious. Insidious because what I really did was switch all my competition to areas where others did not care to compete. That makes me the winner because no one else cares. Good for making one unmanageably proud.

(Subtitle reads: That famous harp music plays that shows a panning in time. In this case, to a time about 10-15 years ago.)

Much later as an adult I find out that people, usually my fellow males, want to compete a little just to size each other up. I have a friend who I think is the most competitive man on the face of the earth. He is competitive to the point of competing about being polite. He and I did not get along until we competed and I won. I did not really want to win in a sense because it was not one of my little bastions of pride. However, that helped the two of us get alone.

While competition can be a good way to make friends, I have to be careful in competition since my meter is way off. I can get easily offended or can get too intense and offend others. But the flip side of that is that cooperative spirit is usually found in the feminine gender and males don't want to be viewed as effeminate so they will leave Christianity as something nice for children and women. What is a guy to do? Compete or be called names!

I urge you to go over and read this blog post on Dennis M's Chess Site....



Dennis M's Chess Site: Can Christians Play Chess?: "Can Christians Play Chess?
Obviously they can, because they do! I'm a Christian, and I do. So what I'm really asking is this (at least as a first approximation): can a Christian, as a Christian, play chess without thereby doing something wrong? Here are several arguments to suggest the answer is no:

1. The Christian ought, whenever...." (To read the rest of the story follow the above link.)

Saturday, February 05, 2005

Well, I'm sort of a nerd


I am nerdier than 62% of all people. Are you nerdier? Click here to find out!


Hat Tip: Orange Jack

Ideas Bouncng Around In "The Village"


We watched "The Village" by Shyamalan from Netflix. (By the way, I love Netflix; I spend much less time selecting the movies that my family watches. I used to take trip to the video store and spend significant time deciding what meets our standards and what does not.) Usually we don't do horror. The Village is very scary but like his other films is more on the suspense and twisty plot side rather than the occult and slasher side of things.

Warning: Spoiler Alert!
Stop reading if you don't want any hint of spoilers.



The ideas behind the film are quite intriguing. The village elders have resolved to leave contact from the outside world. They explain it that there are evil people in the towns not so far away AND "those who they don't speak of" are a real threat. Most of the film I was trying to decide what kind of utopian community this would be. Is it Amish, but in the future? Are they Momons? The way religion was discussed I decided it was not any of these. A fantastic mechanism for the movie was also the language used. The way the characters spoke, it made me think of those statements made by the unfortunate parents of Elizabeth Smart.

The message of the film was something like this, just because a fear is based on illusion does not mean its wrong. Society may explain a fear in one way, but that may mostly be an illusion. The illusion serves a function though to protect and bond. I had a relative who used to scare her children by telling them the "boogie man" would get them. She used this device to keep her children from wondering off into the dark from her country home. Of course Shyamalan does not attempt to fully answer the questions, just raise them but I get the idea that he thinks we should not hastily dismiss society fears on a subject just because we would call it a myth. I believe some people would see the Christian idea of hell as a myth which can function to keep people in line, keep them from acting on their evil impulses and give the ultimate threat. "Even if you think you can get away with it, God will not be fooled", is the ultimate power message. If I thought heaven and hell were a mere useful myth, I would not bother with faith as an institution. The God who brought the Children of Israel out of Egypt and paid for my sins on the cross is not the God who is empowered merely by the illusion of power but actually has it.

The "village idiot" becomes a main character. He becomes the one who causes evil. I'm not sure if there is some deeper meaning intended there. I hope there is not a negative message regarding the mentally handicapped. I don't think so but I am not sure what the message is actually supposed to be. The fellow who is the village idiot appears to by mentally retarded in his speech, his emotional response to others and his interests. His actions are extremely sophisticated. Sophisticated in calculating his actions and the cherades he plays.

Look for a future post relating to "The Village" as it relates to withdrawing from society.

Friday, February 04, 2005

Brigada - Your Gateway to Mission Networking

I have been reading Brigada for a number of years. In the mid-90's I was reading Brigada on my Mac using Compuserve as my service provider. Now I'm on my Linux SUSE box surfing on Verizon DSL. I'm still a technology rebel, and I'm still reading Brigada. (Really, you can read Brigada on Windows too.)



Brigada - Your Gateway to Mission Networking: "So what's Brigada Today? Since January 25th, 1995 -- for a whoppin' 10 years (that's like... forever when it comes to the Internet -- the weekly Brigada Today email journal has been informing Great Commission Christians about our great global quest: giving hope and help to those who need it most. During its initial 3 or 4 years, Brigada sought to create email discussion groups that would unify like-minded pilgrims in reaching specific pockets of people. Thankfully, now there are several specialist websites dedicated to that task. In more recent years, Brigada has honed in on what it always did best for Christians in God's Great Cause:

* Identify & promote helpful resources, conferences, websites, agencies, individuals, etc.
* Analyze & capsulate in layman terms the current trends in global mission, along with their potential impact on the world of missions
* Challenge & motivate evangelical Christians toward greater involvement in finishing the Task of global evangelism -- to seek to inspire others to help in passing the baton of responsibility and initiative in world evangelism, to form a kind of 'brigade' so that, shoulder to shoulder, we can finish the Task that Jesus assigned us in Matthew 28:19-20.

Today there are thousands of subscribers of our weekly publication who, together, make up the Brigada family of participants. May God grant all of us wisdom, insight, and energy to keep on sharing hope and help to those who need it most! "

Thursday, February 03, 2005

Devotion by Newsboys

this is an audio post - click to play

Joe Missionary: Theology Thursday: Women Pastors

Go on over to Joe Missionary to read more about this issue of women in ministry. There is some healthy discussion going on.


Joe Missionary: Theology Thursday: Women Pastors: "Theology Thursday: Women Pastors
When we lived in the States, the topic of women pastors didn't come up very often. It seemed to me that most women pastors served in liberal churches that didn't place a high value on the Word of God anyway. I could be wrong; the times, they are a-changin'. But I have seen and heard about several countries in this part of the world where women pastors are fairly common. Moreover, it doesn't even seem to be a controversial issue here. To me, this is a problem."


You will have to click through the link to see the whole thing.

Wired News: Car Chase Tech That's Really Hot

Wired News: Car Chase Tech That's Really Hot: "Car Chase Tech That's Really Hot

By Cyrus Farivar

02:00 AM Feb. 03, 2005 PT

If a Los Angeles-area scientist has his way, car chases may become as antiquated as horse-mounted cavalry.

James Tatoian, chief executive of Eureka Aerospace in Pasadena, California, is developing a system that uses microwave energy to interfere with microchips inside cars. Once the chip is overloaded with excessive current, the car ceases to function, and will gradually decelerate on its own, he said."



Okay, I have a couple of questions. Can I reheat leftovers with this? Will the criminal who gets zapped with this get cancer? Will the officer who uses this get it too? How do you keep this from being used by the criminals? And finally, you go into 7-11 in LA to get a Slurpy and OJ comes through with his Bronco and your car is sitting along the chase route, does your car start afterwards? Who will pay for the repairs?

There is just way too much optimism in the article for me.