Wednesday, June 28, 2006

Religion and Politics

Warning.... If the discussion of politics and religion is a hot button with you... Don't read any further.

I see that you are still here...

Through much of the reading I have been doing and a lot of what I have been observing lately a large question looms....

What does your political stance have to do with your religion?

A little background. Way back.

If you read the New Testament there are two standout verses which talk about your Christianity and Politics.

First is the incident in Matthew where Jesus is asked whether to pay taxes or not... His reply was to give the government what it is due.

The second is in Romans where Paul talks about citizenship both here on earth and spiritually.

In much of the evangalical circles, politics serves as a BIG issue. I was told by a friend to "Vote for Bush because he is 'Gods' choice" (paraphrase). It seems that, depending on the culture of the church you are in you are not holy enough if you are not a _________:
  • African-American church - Democrat
  • White church - Republican
I recently heard a "Christian" radio station program where their reason to be was to fight the ACLU.

Do you think we are taking Paul's warning to heart?

Romans 13:11-14 (The Message)
But make sure that you don't get so absorbed and exhausted in taking care of all your day-by-day obligations that you lose track of the time and doze off, oblivious to God. The night is about over, dawn is about to break. Be up and awake to what God is doing! God is putting the finishing touches on the salvation work he began when we first believed. We can't afford to waste a minute, must not squander these precious daylight hours in frivolity and indulgence, in sleeping around and dissipation, in bickering and grabbing everything in sight. Get out of bed and get dressed! Don't loiter and linger, waiting until the very last minute. Dress yourselves in Christ, and be up and about!

Before jumping to conclusions, however, let me state my thoughts.
  1. Every political stance will typically have it's positives and negatives... My job is to determine the best position for ME (not you) to take.
  2. I am to be involved in the political process by voting, voicing my opinion etc.
  3. I am not, however, to let politics control or define my relationship with God.
  4. There are more important things than politics in this world.
  5. God has things under control!

Monday, June 26, 2006

Tonight, I listened to the latest Lifechurch message called "The Sickness Within - Control". The speaker is Chris Spradling who lived in Steamboat for some time with his family.

He is entertaining but also quite down to earth.

One of my favorite stories of his is in his message "Meds - Know Pain, Know Gain" (The link is to an iTunes URL so I am not sure how it will act for you).


It's interesting to see the changes in maturity in the last six months with Kyle. Not physical but mental and spiritual. I suspect that Karate has something to do with that but here goes a partial list.
  • He was the one who wanted to become an apprentise in Karate because "I want to help other kids".
  • His report card was all A's and B's this last quarter
  • He was the one to volunteer to help with the 4 & 5 year olds at Vacation Bible School, in spite of his mom thinking he should help with a different age group.
  • The other day, he helped a friends mother with bringing in groceries while his friend did not.
  • He has been standing up for what is right instead of what is borderline while playing with the neighbors.
I know that sometimes the motivation is money (getting paid for chores instead of an allowance), some is to get those "coach stripes" for Karate but I see less and less of those motivations and more and more just "doing what is right".

Sunday, June 25, 2006

How to keep up on your blogs...

I have quite a few blogs I read and, as I have mentioned before, quite a few podcasts that I listen to as well.

One of the challenges it keeping up with the things you are interested in. The web has a solution. It is called RSS which stands for "Really Simple Syndication". If you look at the bottom of the info bar (to the right at the time of this writing), you will see a small image that looks like . Clicking on that image gives you a pretty ugly looking page with my blog articles on them.

Using one of several programs known as feed aggregators, you can, however, subscribe and be notified when new items are posted. This also works for podcasts as well.

Some of the aggregators I have found and use are:
  • Mozilla Thunderbird - Largely used for email, it will also subscribe to RSS feeds as well. This is not a recommendation because most people like what they are using for email but that is one possibility. Your current email program may have something like this.
  • WinPodder - I just took that program for a short spin. The interface is pretty easy to use and, one big selling point, is free. It comes pre-subscribed to several podcasts, including one of my favorites... Coverville.
  • Bloglines, Google Personal page, - All these are web based. Bloglines is probably one of the easiest to get set up. The others have varying degrees of ease.
  • RSSPopper - If you are a user of Microsoft Outlook, have a look at the RSSPopper extension. It creates a folder where all your feeds go. This also works in Outlook Express.
While the aggregators mentioned above are freeware of some sort (open source or availble on the web), you may find they dont meet you needs. There is a list of new aggregators here. See if you find something that will work for you.

Saturday, June 24, 2006

A thought for this next week...

Albert Einstein said...

"There are two ways to live: you can live as if nothing is a miracle; you can live as if everything is a miracle.

He also said...

Science without religion is lame, religion without science is blind.

Think about that as you go through your week.


I don't know why but I am somewhat tempted to start a Frappr! group.

What is Frappr!? If you read my post on Web 2.0, then explore Frappr!, you'd see that is is part of that generation of websites.

Frappr! takes Google Maps and combines it with a MySpace concept. Let me first make it clear that I am not a huge fan of MySpace. Like most things, if used properly, it is pretty nice. There are a lot of people out there that have decided to use it improperly.

I just have a lot of fun playing. I have also joined a few map groups like Linux Users, Coverville and PodQuiz. The default group I didn't join, however, is those that have birthdays on mine... That one is fun to look at. Right now, only 359 people admit to that.

Here is the downside to Frappr!... Sometimes you learn way to much about people.

Tuesday, June 20, 2006

Life on the BIG BUS!

Since we moved to Brighton, I have been taking the RTD to downtown. For some time, I drove several miles to a Park-N-Ride for a more frequent route. For the most part, I have been taking our regional bus. I figure the $1 increase in cost between the regional and express was well worth it in gasoline and wear and tear on the Toyota truck I drive.

These days, with the increased cost of fuel, more and more people are riding the bus regularly. Most of the routes take a rather circuitous trip but one, the Rx is much more direct. It is also much more full. In fact, we are predictably getting several people standing in at least one direction. Tonight, there were no seats for 4 of us.

I am proud to say, all those standing were men. We only had to stand for 20 minutes or so but at times, things got a little tense with sudden braking.

Why blog this? I was talking to one of the women in the seat next to where I was standing who thanked me for doing that. She mentioned something about being all for "women's lib" when it comes to pay but really liked chivalry when full seats on the bus was involved.

What is chivalry about? It is not that I am stronger, more fit or more durable (or any other capability based measure for that matter) than a women. When it comes to "gallantry toward women", it is about respect. I respect the women who ride that bus home with me. I respect them enough that when it comes to giving up some of my comfort, I am willing to stand until seats are available.

Now if only the RTD board would add another Rx route....

Monday, June 19, 2006

Guitar Players

A couple of guitarists that I enjoy are Dave Beegle and Phil Keaggy. As I was searching Google's video libraries, I ran across these. They are both long so be prepared.

Dave Beegle

Phil Keaggy

Sunday, June 18, 2006

More Rock & Roll Favorites...

One of my favorite Rock & Roll instruments is the keyboard, embodied by the piano and Hammond B3. My favorites include Rick Wakeman and Keith Emerson.

You can see Rick Wakeman perform in this 3 minute video.

Gwen and others...

The other day, in worship band practice Gwen Stefani's (photo left) name came up. Why? I don't know. One of the challenges with Rock & Roll music, however is finding a good and successful female vocalist that "can rock". Gwen is one of those.

My favorites include Grace Slick (Jefferson Airplane), Aretha Franklin, Heather Nova, Linda Ronstadt, and Tori Amos. There are quite a few others. In fact, I was a fan of Suzie McNeil on last summer's Rock Star INXS.

Now, in the not quite as successful (and not really Rock & Roll profession), in my opinion, you can't beat Deborah Holland and Maddy Prior.

Saturday, June 17, 2006

Old games, new locations

One of my favorite games in the past few years has been Lemmings. I found a version of it online, saving me having to install it. It is still fun to play, figuring out how to get those little guys from where they fall from the sky to home. I found it at

Another game site for old games is 1980 Games which has games like Donkey Kong, Space Invaders and Pac Man as well as others from the 1980s.

Thursday, June 15, 2006

Hit too hard....

Ok, rather than a pat on the back, I must have really nailed myself.

I noticed that a recent edit to the blog template left the blog a little unreadable, at least in Firefox...

Back to almost normal (sort of).

Wednesday, June 14, 2006

A pat on the back

To myself this time.... I filled my truck up. This is the first time in 40 days. How did I do that? It includes:
  • The truck is small so gets reasonable gas mileage.
  • Since the truck is small, I also don' t have a lot of family riding.
  • Most of the miles I put on are to the bus stop and back.
  • Few other trips than the commute to the bus stop.
  • Several days off due to vacations and holidays.
Do I think I can do that often? No, this was not normal. On the other hand, the truck is 18 years old and still has only 95000 miles....

Monday, June 05, 2006

Goals & Dreams

As of the last few years, one of my dreams has been to take all my vinyl (records for those of you who do not remember) and change it into digital (computer & CD) to make it easier to listen to.

I was recently reading a review of a turntable that connects to a computer via USB. That may be the answer!

Distributed with this device is open source software called "Audacity" which is a slick little recording program that can be used for all sorts of audio editing. It is, in fact, multi-track recording software... Cool!

Take a pebble

No, not the Emerson Lake & Palmer song.

My friend Dave, wrote a post a while back about caring for his lawn... I was in the same position yesterday. Due to our heat, lack of rain (to be expected in a semi-arid climate) and poor coverage of our sprinklers in a couple of spots it was time for yard work.

Marj and I went out and tuned several of the sprinkler heads. Our main concern, however, was a sprinkler head that did not pop up at all.

This was never a problem where I grew up. We normally didn't have to worry about keeping the lawn green through irrigation but, this is Colorado so... I started digging and following the line. After digging through 2 feet of clay, we found the coupler between the 1" and 1/2" line... No leaks, cuts of evidence of problems until.....

I blew back through the line and felt something break free. Marj flipped on the water with promise and... nothing. Try it again and.... nothing. We disassemble the line and... a pebble.

This small pebble had been blocking the line inside the coupler. One trip to get parts (usually it takes me three and, had it not been for the creativity of the sales assistant on the floor, it would have been at least two) and I have a working sprinkler head... Now if the grass comes back. I'll replace it it we see nothing by next weekend.

We also have mulched rings around the trees now. We felt that this looks better, makes mowing easier and prevented damage from the weed wackers so.... pull up more sod. A tiring day....

Saturday, June 03, 2006

Version 4.0

No, this is not an advertisement, in fact, I took the link off the picture. It is one I found for Nero, a cd writing software if you must know. It does illustrate the thought here.

One of the things about language, especially the English spoken in America is that it changes... For instance, I still have a problem understanding the stereotypical "getto" talk and it only gets worse as I age.

Today I ran across this verse in Ephesians and I thought I would tell you about my upgrades. Bible upgrades.

First off.... Why upgrade? Some time ago, I blogged about a group that things there is only one "Authentic Version" of the Bible. I have never believed this... In fact, if the meaning of the pages stays the same, the best version is the one your read and understand. Case in point. The first Bible I remember having as a kid was the King James.... It reads....
Eph 2:1
"And you hath he quickened, who were dead in trespasses and sins"
The next version I remember getting in High School was the Living Bible. The controversy around The Living Bible is that it was a paraphrases (in essence, translated twice)... I can't, however, seem to find a version on line to show you.

In College, the first bunch of people I hung around with were suggesting the New American Standard Bible would be a better choice if I wanted something more modern... It reads.
Eph 2:1
And you were dead in your trespasses and sins,
The next group used the Revised Standard Version so I got one of those... Again, I can't find one on line but it reads...
Eph 2:1
And you he made alive, when you were dead through the trespasses and sins...
While most of my friends upgraded to the New International Version, I stuck with the Revised Standard for years and years.

My latest upgrade was to The Message. This is the Bible version that has got me reading again. It reads...
Eph 2:1
It wasn't so long ago that you were mired in that old stagnant life of sin.
One of the things I realized about language many years ago is that it is used to paint pictures in your head... The way most of us think. Which one paints a better picture?

The sad part is, like my old software, most of my old versions sit on the shelf collecting dust.

There are some advantages to having the old ones around, however. Our language is not very precise, Hebrew and Greek are more precise in some ways. Examples of this are the word translated "Love" in the new testament has 3 different meanings but that is a different subject.

Lately, I have been using software called E-Sword, Bible study software which has indexes into the definitions of the words used. The basis for this is, of course, The King James Version.

If you want a challenge, the first edition of the Living Bible paraphrased I Sam 20:30... "You son of a bitch".... I was shocked to see they talked like that back then. See where these different translations lead you.