Archive for December, 2006

Redneck engineers versus the swarm

 Redneck engineers versus the swarm

Man versus bees.  You’ve got a swarm, flying projectiles, including parts of a Dodge Caravan and various explosions.  My favourite quote: “Oh the beemanity.”  Warning!  There are lots of colourful metaphors!  You can find it here.

Here is a taste.

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Barbara Kay takes a swipe a Christian Peacemake Teams

 Barbara Kay takes a swipe at Christian Peacemaker Teams

Personally, I don’t think she has a clue.  The Christian Peacemakers  on the ground may have an imbalanced view of the conflict in the middle east, but their view of Christ is anything but “simplistic” or “masochistic.”  Two of the strongest themes in biblical thought is standing with the oppressed and being willing to suffer.   A thought largely lost on today’s comfort Christianity.  Being willing to suffer is much different than taking pleasure in suffering.


Help me name a Podcast

Help me name a Podcast

I’m going to start a podcast with a friend and I’m hoping you will help me give it a name.  My friend Pam, who describes herself as a grumpy eastern baby boomer, will be joining me for a bi-weekly podcast focusing on social and religious issues, politics and other things that we find interesting.  We are both  Canadian and we want a Canadian theme in our name.

Here are some options.  Some of them are pretty goofy.  Feel free to tell us what you like in the comments.  Don’t be bound by what we have here.  If you have a better idea fire it right at us.

Great White North Podcast
Double Double
TransCanada Conversations
Royal Canadian Mounted Podcast
Royal Canadian National Podcast
Royal Canadian Podcast
Podcast Night in Canada
True North Strong and Blogged
CPC: Canadian Podcast Corporation
This Podcast has 22 Nations
From Sea to Shining Sea
Natural Governing Party Podcast
This Podcast was made for you and me
Unarmed Americans with Health Care
HMCS Podcast
Her Majesty’s Canadian Podcast
United Empire Loyalist Podcast
United Empire Podcast
Loyalist Review
We stand on pod for thee


Google Docs and Google Calendar

 Google Docs and Google Calendar

Google has really made using Linux easier because so much of my computing is now done online.  Today Markio and I were hashing out our vision for an organic church network in Saskatoon.  We used Google Docs to collaborate in real time.  We could both edit the same document at the same time.  It sure beats trading files back and forth.

I used to use Hotmail calendar but I’ve been converted to google.  Their Calendar is full of ajaxy goodness making their system very easy to use.  You can make public calendars for your organization that other people can include in their calendar.  I can share my calendar with my wife.  Their calendars can be intergated with desktop software like Apple’s iCal, Mozilla Sunbird and with a plugin MS Outlook 2003.  It is truly useful because the reminders are sent to my phone.  For Outlook to work it has to be running and I have to be at my desk.


Ubuntu : Christian or Satanic

 Ubuntu : Christian or Satanic

You choose:  The Distro of the Beast or Ubuntu of the Way.  Choose wisely.


Green Party leader Elizabeth May weighs in on abortion

Green Party leader Elizabeth May
weighs in on abortion

The new leader of the green party has
upset the pro-choice crowd when she shared her view of abortion. You
can read all
of it here

Her position is simple. She believes
that “all life is sacred” but that if Canada criminalize
abortions “women would seek out whatever butcher they could
find…and they would die horrible deaths.” She goes on to say
“I’ve talked women out of having abortions. I would never have
an abortion myself.” Her approach would be to “have a
different kind of conversation? What kind of programs and strategies
do we need to reduce the number of legal abortions take place?”

I think this the approach the
anti-abortion folks should take. I think criminalization of abortion
is a poor strategy. It is unlikely to happen, it comes with serious
baggage, and ‘m not sure how effective it would be.

Some of the pro-choice zealots are
having a fit over May’s comments. I picked these up in the comments
over at Abandoned

“I think I was most disgusted
when May bragged about giving medical advice to young women she’s
totally and completely unqualified to give.”

According to this person abortion is a
private medical issue.

“I am not just expressing an
opinion, and you are not just debating my opinions. You are
questioning my civil rights; you are inviting a discussion on your
blog of of women’s right to the full personal autonomy that is due
any human being by virtue of being a human being.”

Notice how this person chooses to frame
the issue one way. This is a discussion about womens rights only.

“Elizabeth May is a garden tool
and an embarrassment to womankind. An abortion is not a tragedy, it
is a medical procedure. Nothing more and nothing less.”

“The zygote does not have the
same rights as the pregnant woman. No. The zygote has no rights. It
doesn’t even get last rites. It doesn’t have citizenship. Most
are flushed before there is anything anyone in their right mind would
call “life”. The zygote is a parasite living off the body
resources of the hostess. And if she is unwilling to be the hostess
the parasite has no rights at all.”

Keep in mind this person isn’t
referring to an actual Zygote (fertilized egg before becoming an
embryo). This person is calling an unborn human a parasite.

These commenters are sure that woman
have an inalienable right to an abortion and an unborn human has
none? How can they be so sure? What criteria can be used?

How does one determine what is a
human right?

According to the preamble of the
Declaration of Human rights
they are a recognition of the
inherent dignity and equal value of all people. Another example, the
declaration of Independence
finds that human rights are
self-evident truths. If human rights are inherent or self-evident
one would have to establish that a right would be commonly
acknowledged by multiple cultures and societies. If that is the case
it would be difficult to say that an unborn human has no rights after
6 months of gestation.

There is a general consensus that
humans have some rights in the last term of gestation

Most countries have laws restricting
late term abortions. Some
have indicated that more than half of Canadians believe
that the unborn have some value and should be protected under law.
According to a Gallup Poll in 2001 over half of all Canadians
believed that abortion should only be legal in certain circumstances.

An October 2005 Environics poll found
that a majority of Canadians favour legal protection of unborn human life. To be
fair the results of these types of polls seems to change with the
question. A Nov 2002 National Post poll found that a majority
believed women should have complete freedom on their decision to have
an abortion. In a really strange finding a Gallup poll taken in April 2005 found 20% of Canadians want
abortion laws to be “less strict”. Odd because

Canada doesn’t have any laws
restricting abortion.

The right to an abortion has not
been determined to be a “charter

The Canadian Supreme Court struck
down an existing law
restricting access to abortion but never
explicitly determined a woman’s right to an abortion. The court has
never ruled whether an unborn human has rights either.

I see two major social issues that have
arisen because the unborn are treated as if they have no rights.

Fetal Alcohol Syndrome

is caused by women who drink during pregnancy. FAS causes a number
of complications. The rate of FAS is very
high among aboriginals
and has become issue for the health system
and law enforcement. If an unborn human has no rights, and a woman
has full rights over her body, then it would be logical to conclude
that a pregnant woman has every right to drink during pregnancy
regardless of the dire long term consequences.

Sex-selective Abortions

In Chinese and Indian cultures males
are preferred to females. In Chinese
and Indian communities an imbalance has a occurred the the male to
female birth ratio. Males are born significantly more frequently
than females. The social complications of this are readily apparent.
If abortion is only a private medical issue then what right does
society have to stop sex-selective abortions?

I think the idea that the unborn have
absolutely no rights is short sighted. It hasn’t been proven to me.
It is the product of a society that willing to sacrifice others on
the altar of individualism.


Apparently I want the terrorists to win

 Apparently I want the terrorists to win

I know these are lame but indulge me.

Your ‘Do You Want the Terrorists to Win’ Score: 96%

You are a terrorist-loving, Bush-bashing, “blame America first”-crowd traitor. You are in league with evil-doers who hate our freedoms. By all counts you are a liberal, and as such clearly desire the terrorists to succeed and impose their harsh theocratic restrictions on us all. You are fit to be hung for treason! Luckily George Bush is tapping your internet connection and is now aware of your thought-crime. Have a nice day…. in Guantanamo!

Do You Want the Terrorists to Win?
Quiz Created on GoToQuiz


Mount MacArthur Erupts

MacArthur Erupts

book harshly critical of the emerging church has come out.  I didn’t
read the last one but I may read this one.  Phil Johnson worked on it
and I found some of what he has said to be more substantial than most
other critics.  The only other MacArthur book I’ve read was “Charismatic
Chaos” which ranks around the worst book I’ve ever read.  Regardless we
must always be brave enough to consider what our critics say is true
and that we might be blind to our own weaknesses and faults. 

Dan Kimball responds
to  a letter from MacArthur by saying he doesn’t know of any
churches that fit his description.  I might have a different vantage
point but I think some elements of what MacArthur describes are true.  I don’t have the original letter but Dan posted excerpts.

People who are drawn to the emerging church generally place high value on ambiguity and mystery.
True.  We have a generation of people raised in a confusing cauldron of
contradictory positions.  In this relativistic soup people are tired of
dogmatism.  These people are more attracted to a church full of story
and community than sermons about 3 steps to a healthy marriage.

They reject the notion that God’s Word is clear, and anyone can understand its meaning.
Somewhat true, but it also true of evangelicals.  I have been
disappointed that so few EC bloggers post much about what they have
wrestled with in scripture.  We seem far more interested in musing
about the latest book.  In my house church experiences I’d say that we
would concluded that scripture is best interpreted in a diverse group
with the study framed by someone who put some effort in to preparing
the study.  Some things in scripture are abundantly clear but some
things are not.  If this were not the case evangelicals wouldn’t be
sending their leaders off to seminary to gain a deeper understanding of
scripture.  If evangelicals truly believed that God’s word is clear and
anyone can understand it there would be a much wider range of people
preaching.  I wouldn’t be getting invitations from desperate rural
pastors looking for pulpit supply on summer long weekends. 

That means every doctrine you and I find precious is subject to new interpretation, doubt and even wholesale rejection.
I don’t have to go far to find this.  That doesn’t mean most people
don’t stay within the stream of orthodox Christian faith but lots of
people are free to test the boundaries and they do.

Everything is being questioned and deconstructed.
When you are part of a church that has less influence on society than
society has on it, our ethical behavior reveals our hypocrisy and
thousands upon thousands of people have checked out of church in an
attempt to preserve their faith critical introspection is a good thing

Unlike the noble Bereans who used
Scripture to test what they were taught and refine their understanding
of the truth, people associated with the Emerging Church regard God’s
Word as too full of mystery to warrant handling any truth in a
definitive way.

Not true.  Even among the most “liberal” people in the EC they take
some aspects of scripture very seriously.  They come to the conclusions
that they are very sure of.   Different people sometimes emphasize the
things they like social justice and seem to ignore the things they
don’t like.  However that is just as true of evangelicals. 

The result is a movement that thrives on disorganization,
I’d prefer to frame this differently.  The organic church movement is less “organized” but not all EC churches are “organic”.

lends itself to mysticism,
I think it would be better to define what he is talking about. 

distrusts authority
A lot of people who have been burnt by churches in the past
distrust authority.  Sometimes it is because that authority failed
them.  Give them a few years to heal and a healthy environment and
things get better.

and dislikes preaching,
True of many to a point.  I know that I like delivering a sermon
much more than listening to one.  I think there needs to be a better
balance between monologue, dialog and debate.  I think preaching is
fine when in a better balance with other forms of challenge and

feeds intellectual pride
Probably true of any Christian movement that thinks they are “it”, including the reformed.

and recognizes few (if any) doctrinal or moral boundaries.
This would describe very few of the people I know.

You can see why the movement is so
appealing to college-age people young people – it is fleshly rebellion
dressed in ecclesiastical robes.

I don’t see this at all.  Speaking for myself I’d say I’m part of a reforming movement because the status quo is unacceptable.  Not because most of the churches around me don’t suit my tastes.  It is not about adding more palatable items for the religious consumer.  There is a serious problem with the church, the message it preaches, the ethics of its members and its impact on society.  The easy road for me to take would be to settle down in a ministry, take my middle class income, buy my toys and work towards incremental change.  There are some people that are called to manage incremental change and I don’t condemn anyone for taking that road.  It isn’t my calling though and while that route would make some things easier I know I’d probably become restless if things didn’t happen fast enough.

I’d rather experiment and fail and continue working under all the old assumptions.  I can’t see how that is fleshly rebellion.


I'm #3 in Google for Nipple Confusion

 I’m #3 in Google for Nipple Confusion

The title says it all.

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Ubuntu is your friend

 Ubuntu is your friend

I’ve often said that if I switched from Windows it wouldn’t be to a Mac.  Not that there is anything *wrong* with a Mac, unless you count the numerous Mac fanboys out there. 

I downloaded and burned a live linux cd to repartition the harddrive on my Dell notebook.  Once I took care of that I installed Ubuntu Linux.  Ubuntu’s Gnome interface is really nice.  I really enjoyed downloading and experiment with different themes.  My current interface is cross between tradtional Linux, Vista and a Mac.  When boot in to Windows XP I’m kinda disappointed with how plain it looks.

There are little widgets that run in one of the panels that tell me the temperature or allow to me to write sticky notes.  That is a nice touch.

One really great thing about Ubuntu is all the free software.  When I go in to add/remove programs I can pick and choose from dozens upon dozens of programs.  I pick the ones I want, they download and install.  Updating existing software is just as easy.

I’m going to have to wait and see how much of my work and play life I can do in Ubuntu.  If I am going to sit down and browse, or write I do it in Linux.