Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Google Earth adds Google Sky

Have you recently upgraded your Google Earth program recently? They have now added sky maps. There is a button on their top menu bar which flips it around.

The image of Polaris (center) on the left was generated using this (you can click to enlarge). Each of the blue dots in the image can be clicked to reveal photos taken by the Hubble Space Telescope.

Now, if I could just remember the constellation names.

Sunday, August 26, 2007

Pride and Amazement

First the pride. Yesterday (Saturday) Kyle went to a test at his Martial Arts studio. Here is a picture of the results.

He was given his middle brown belt. The guy with Kyle is his Karate instructor.

This is only 2 belt levels away from the provisional black belt. To get his black belt, Kyle will need to become proficient in self defense (sparing) as well as better conditioned.

On another note, Marj took her test to go to a purple belt. She has already broken her first board, learned lots of self defense and done quite a bit of sparing.

(Should I be afraid?)

Now for the amazement.

We have been going through I John in church for the last several weeks in a series called Ignite. The classic verses, the ones I remember most from I John is I John 4:7-8 which says:

Dear friends, let us continue to love one another, for love comes from God. Anyone who loves is a child of God and knows God. But anyone who does not love does not know God, for God is love. (New Living Translation)
In context, this verse is talking about loving others who are followers of Christ.

What amazes me is how picky we are as a group to call people names, level accusations and all around, enjoy others pain.

I ran across a website (I will let them remain nameless lest I start to fall into the trap) which blasts any Christian organization, denomination, church or person who they don't agree with. This includes differences of "minor" theology or practice.

What are my list of "major" theology... I heard one good explaination... The things contained in "Mere Christianity" by CS Lewis. These cover the basic life and death of Christ, basic thoughts on God and the Trinity. These are things that as I have re-explored my faith, I haven't questioned. What are the minor things? Things like Free Will vs Predestination. Views on the end times, etc. Things that are, quite frankly, gray areas that have been discussed by theologins for many years.

So, these verses in I John, tell me that in spite of where the guy next to me in church is on any of these issues, my duty (not choice) is to love him. Now, the word "love" here is not typically they way Hollywood sees it. The word in the Greek is agape (there are at least 3 other words for love in the Bible meaning other things). The easiest explanation here is the sort of love that a parent has for their child.

How then, can we turn around and blast someone who differs on the minor points and call that love? I am sure that some can do that. I don't see it, however. It makes those in that are trying to follow Christ look petty and childish. That reminds me of another verse about love...

Friday, August 24, 2007

More on God's Warriors

My guess on the common thread for the program "God's Warriors" was nearly right.

Part 1 was God's Jewish Warriors which concentrated on the struggles around the West Bank area in Israel. Here the common thread is they believe when they fully control Israel, the Messiah will return.

Part 2 was God's Muslim Warriors which looked a lot at the terrorist activities but also tied into the chain-reactions that Israel and the US have "caused". The militant Muslims like Bin Ladin believe that the presence of our troups on their soil defiled their land. Muslims also believe, however, in a coming Messiah. This Messiah is the grandson of Mohammad. One of the more touching parts of this segment was the desperation felt by the Palistinations due to being forced into what they call "apartheid".

God's Christian Warriors was part 3. The first hour concentrated on the link between conservative politics and the Christian Right. It highlighted Jerry Falwel, his last interview before his death, as well as serveral others in that movement. Again, the issue of apocalypse showed up as the show talked about churches who are helping to fund illegal West Bank settlements.

I thought the series was well done, fairly well balanced

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Warriors, the war and the Peace

Tonight, I started watching a series on CNN call God's Warriors. Tonight is God's Jewish Warriors, tomorrow, God's Muslim Warriors and Thursday, God's Christian Warriors. Since I am only 20 minutes into th show, I can't tell you much what it is about but I will try and report more later. I do, however, sense an interesting common thread -- Apocalypse.

The history behind this is that for some time now, I have been thinking a lot about the Kingdom of God and what that might mean. (The link pulls a list of all mention of that phrase in the Bible).

The really odd thing about this was 2 weekends ago when Marj and I went to see The Bourne Ultimatum. The movie is an action and violence packed adventure telling a story of cover-up and deception (I guess you can't cover-up without deception). About half way through the movie, I was struck by the difference between "The Kingdom Under Heaven" (the kingdom of God) and the "Kingdom of this world"(Satan's domain), even if only a fraction of what was being done in the name of patriotism in this movie was true.

Shortly afterward, while still watching the movie, these thoughts started running through my head: "The Kingdom of God is like..." followed by various analogies from Jesus' words.

In spite of Christiane Amanpour's assertion, are these people really God's warrior?

Tuesday, August 07, 2007

Computer Problems

No, not the one I am typing on. The computer in our office was being primarily used as a print server for the Marj's and my Laptop as well as a file server. For some reason, most likely a cooling fan, it died. Oddly enough, so did our printer so we were forced to purchase a new one.

As a result, we have a set of printer cartridges. If you have an HP printer that can use the "78" tri-color, we have a cartridge (still in packaging) looking for a home. You'll need to talk to Marj on the price... Personally I might just give it away but I wouldn't make any promises.

There is also a partially used 78 and a partially used 45 (black) cartridge that I would happily give away but they need to be handed off quickly.

Wednesday, August 01, 2007

Happy Birthday

Happy Birthday to Kyle.

12 years ago at this time, I was (calmly) driving Marj to the hospital where we would have a son.

Kyle Gordon was the name picked out on the way to the hospital. Gordon is a family name in Marj's family.

We love you Kyle!

To honor the day, I am on vacation!