Archive for February, 2007

An Inconvenient Truth : Online

 An Inconvenient Truth : Online


Check it out here.

[Update] It has been taken down…apparently the upload wasn’t sanctioned.

No Comments

I think we've seen this conservative government before

 I think we’ve seen this conservative government before


Government spending is set to far outpace inflation and economic growth next year, despite Tory promises to tighten the federal fiscal belt.

New estimates show spending is set to rise 6% to $211.7 billion in 2007-08 over estimates a year ago. Much of the growth comes from new defence spending and Conservative programs, such as the $100-a-month Child Care Benefit.

Canadian Taxpayers Federation federal director John Williamson says the estimates don’t take into account other new initiatives, such as larger payments to provinces expected to be added to the total in the March 19 budget.

Read More

Let’s see here. Lower taxes, increase spending, break promises, sell out the west to Quebec interests… I think we’ve seen this before. All we need is a budget deficit and a tainted Tuna scandal and we’ll know for sure Mulroney has returned.

1 Comment

Without change what are we?

Without change what are we?


Darryl Dash has an interesting post about change.   In the post he cites another Christian leader who proclaims how he is no better than the people reading and likely worse.   That just doesn’t wash with me.  In one sense we are all sinners and fall short of the glory of God.  Yet in others some of us are vessels of honor and vessels of dishonour. 

No one person could claim to be better in the realm of personally attained righteousness, but that does not mean we cannot be different.   We can be different and we should be different if we know Christ.  If we aren’t different then what are we doing?  What sort of useless good news do we carry if the those who share it have not been made in to better people? 
Changing the church or becoming missional will be an utterly futile act unless we ourselves are tangibly more like Christ.  I appreciate Darryl’s discussion of the gospel  because without a proper understanding of what it means to follow Christ people enter in to a powerless Christianity of cheap grace and meaingless platitudes.  For the church to change the people inside it must change.

3 Comments

Intentionally Simple

Intentionally Simple


Many of the alternative-church experiments I’ve been a part of were casual affairs. They started with very little in the way of concrete planning. In one case there was a little bit of planning that wasn’t clearly communicated to most the people involved. That lead to some suprises part way though and turned out to be a complete disaster in the end. Very casual groups can create a place where people can heal and such places are needed. Where they fall short is in fulfilling all the purposes of the church. Discipleship doesn’t happen without personal investment and commitment.

There will always be a tendency for people to sit back and watch the show. Even in a house church. There will also be people who are committed to more than one place at the same time. That gets frustrating because you will have a core of committed people who end up doing the lions share of the work and transients receiving but not investing. This is where the idea of a fluid church breaks down. You inevitably have people who are committed to people who aren’t committed back. It is hard to build trust and it causes frustration.

Last spring I started dreaming of a simple church network that attempted to go behind the goals of fellowship and personal spiritual nourishment. Something with leadership that is very active in equipping and facilitating ministry rather than dominating it. I’ve been in situations where the leadership style appeared very fluid and casual until the real leader, who would deny they are the “leader”, ran in to something they didn’t like. People part ways and in the end things aren’t that different from the top down approach people seem so allergic to.

I don’t think you can have a fruitful church without leadership. I think what you can change is whether the leadership is faithful, trustworthy, accountable and transparent. Are there mechanisms in place for everyone to be heard? Do people feel initimdated? Are their opinions valued and weighed properly? Is it easy for people to disagree? Are people’s gifts and talents identified and valued?
Thinking through these things has made me include that simple church doesn’t just happen when people get together. There has to be an intentional commitment to each other as people and to a way of approaching things so the community remains healthy. If a leader wants to facilitate and empower rather than take over the whole show they have to be very intentional in providing a safe place for people to step out or to share what they are thinking.

No Comments

Popular objections to the consensus on climate change

Popular objections to the consensus on climate change

The movement to stem climate change is a tool of the radical environmental left to force us in to unnecessary changes to reshape the world according to their values.
That is why republican governor Arnold Schwarzenneger, Republican presidential hopeful John McCain, right of centre premier of BC Gordon Campbell and pro-Iraq war prime minister Tony Blair believe in it.
Some glaciers are getting larger.  Explain that.
While the earth gets warmer it causes a number of factors to change.  Some places will get colder while on the whole the earth gets warmer.  In some areas precipitation will increase while in others it will decrease.  Some glaciers are bound to get larger.
If global warming is not happening then why are most glaciers getting smaller?
Why did the earth get cooler from 1940-1970?
Not all polution causes the earth to get warmer.  Sulfate aerosols have a cooling effect.  Unlike CO2 sulfate aerosols don’t stay in the air and continually build up.  The impact of CO2 builds up with increased concentration.  Starting in the 70’s there  were laws passed  to create a significant reduction of sulfate aerosol pollution. 
Is this warming a cyclical phenomenon?
The earth has warmed up too much too quickly to be consistent with the gradual warming of the earth in the past.
Why have global warming predictions changed so much?  Why did the IPCC revise its predictions so the consequences of global warming are less dire?
The earth’s climate is incredibly complex.  There are a vast array of factors and exact precision is impossible.  Each year we learn more and the predictions change. 
Why haven’t we seen more hurricanes and extreme weather events?
Most models don’t predict more hurricanes just more intense hurricanes.   There are many indications that weather events are becoming more extreme.
Why are sea levels dropping at some Islands?
They are short term blips.  When all measurements are taken in to account the seas are rising an average of 3.3 mm per year. 
RealClimate answers Michael Crichton’s objections to climate change.

No Comments

My first 24 hours with Microsoft Vista

My first 24 hours with Microsoft Vista


I’m really impressed with Vista.  I really didn’t like the cartoonish look of XP and would immediately change any xp system I owned to use the old Windows theme.  The Aero interface is elegant and functional.  I can type the name of the program I want to run in the start menu instead of hunting for it.  The transparency, task bar window previews, opening and closing effects are all very nice.

I have more control over how my system uses power when I’m running off the battery.  The “gadgets” on the side are neat to have.  Currently I used gadgets for weather, digg, RSS and a cpu/memory meter. 

There were a couple of software issues.  Conspicuously, Itunes doesn’t seem to work.  I hate to admit I actually use iTunes, but for getting podcasts there is no better system.  I use Yahoo Music for digital music which I do like a fair bit more than iTunes, it just has lousy support for podcasts.  I was also sad to discover that MSDE, a free database based on SQL Server, will not be supported on Vista.  Their latest version of the same thing ,SQL Server Express, will work.  I like MSDE’s features more and I can’t use the SQL Server Enterprise Manager to manage SQL Server Express.  That makes me very sad because the free management tool for Express is brutal in comparison.  This is probably the nail in the coffin for my use of SQL Server.  I already have good software to manage Mysql and it doesn’t have the limitations of SQL Server Express. 

My first 24 hours with vista are also my first 24 hours with my new dual core Dell Inspiron 6400.  I loaded this puppy up with call kinds of programs trying to slow it down.  I normally take the amount of Ram recommended by Microsoft and double it because I often use a number of memory intensive applications at the same time.  So in this case I picked up 2GB.  I found that I rarely used more than 900mb of Ram.  1GB should be good for most people out there.   Having 2 processors made me more productive as I didn’t have to wait for a task to finish to start another.   The speakers are better than average and the screen is bright and beautiful.  
So far I’m very happy with my new computer and OS.    

No Comments

One of the most dangerous sins today is presumption

One of the most dangerous sins today is presumption


One sure sign you are destined for the scrap heap of history is you believe you or your organization are the only viable option to accomplish a certain objective. If you believe ensuring success is just a matter of convincing others to believe you are as important as you proclaim yourself to be you are in even more trouble. Such organizations are blind to what they are truly like. They overstate their strengths and ignore their weaknesses. Cruising along they don’t have a good sense of their real net impact. They lose their way without realizing they’re lost.

No Comments

Impatiently waiting

 Impatiently waiting


Sometimes purolator courier just isn’t FAST ENOUGH!
[update] The item has been received in Calgary….CALGARY.  At least it is in the country :)

1 Comment

On second thought I’m selling out to Microsoft…again

On second thought I’m selling out to Microsoft…again


As Linux distros go I like Ubuntu. I
think it has come a long way and I would recommend it to a lot of people.   In the end there are things that I do that I
can’t do well on Linux.  As a web
developer I rely  strongly on the Corel Draw Suite and
Homesite/Dreamweaver.  Linux does have
some pretty good code editors but none that are as well suited for ColdFusion
Development as Homesite.   I really don’t
like Gimp.  Graphic editors aren’t like
word processors where someone can jump between Word, OpenOffice and Word
Perfect without missing a beat.  Switching
requires a lot of effort to learn a new way of doing things.

So much of Linux is nice and then you run in to things where
the bottom falls out and you find yourself scouring google for the best
tutorial to get your wireless network card working.  After devoting myself to the quest of freeing
myself from Microsoft I started to wonder whether really should spend all this
extra time to save $170 for an OEM copy of the next version of windows.  

Some people are really crying fowl about the DRM restrictions
in Windows Vista.  If you have HD content
you are trying to play on a monitor that doesn’t have the right technology the
system will degrade the output of your content. 
The same is true of every HD DVD/Blu-Ray player.  It will also be true on the Mac.  Linux won’t have it but someone is going to
have to hack the content protection to get protected content to play.  None of this really matters until I have a monitor or TV that could actually play 1080p content.

I am going to Vista. 
I did consider picking up a Mac. 
I’ve got an XP license I’m not using. 
After looking at my options I moved on. 
For $1200 I can pick up a awe inspiring 13.3” screen, 1.83 Core Duo 2
processor, 512 mb Ram, 60GB hard drive, CD/RW DVD combo drive and a 64MB Intel
Video Card.    If I choose Dell I can
spend $1180 and pick up a 15.4” screen, 1.73 Core Duo processor, 2GB ram, 120
GB hard drive, DVD burner and a 256mb ATI video card.   Aside
from a modest processor advantage the Dell machine packs a lot more bang for
the buck.

For the last few months I’ve adopted open office.  I’ve used it for spreadsheets, word
processing and slide shows.  I had
uninstalled Office.  I was a long way
towards being MS free until I installed a trial version of Office 2007.  It is what Office software should be.  It is gorgeous.  You can even post to your blog from it!   I imagine some people will have difficulty
adjusting to the new interface but I think it is great.

One of the biggest flaws I’ve observed with Windows is 3rd party
software barnacles.  It seems every 2nd
program you install decides to run some sort of program in the background.  A few days ago I went in to the registry on a
laptop at the school.  After I cleaned
out two thirds of the programs running at startup I freed up over 100mb of
Ram.  Programs like Norton and McAfee are
horrendous.

No Comments

The Miracle Channel Review

The Miracle Channel Review


A few weeks ago I filled in for faculty in a couple of courses.  I used some clips I recorded from the Miracle Channel.  It didn’t take long for me to find appalling theology to present to the students for their discerning pleasure.  I’m not normally the heresy hunting type but there is definitely a place for biblical discernment.  The programs I saw on that channel are so infested with the prosperity gospel it made me sick.  I don’t see a lot of difference between what I saw on the screen and the indulgences the Roman Catholic church sold to raise cash. 

I believe in the power of the Holy Spirit but there is a few fatal flaws in the charismatic movement.  Their spiritualist/literalist approach to scripture is not enough to keep them anchored in the truth.  Anyone can come along and say the Spirit told them such and such and then they pull out random bits of bible verses to prove their case and people believe it.  They are naturally suspcious of how an overly academic approach to scripture can wrestle the spiritual life of the text.  It isn’t an unreasonable fear.  However without a solid effort to understand scripture in its context (cultural, historical, linguistic, literary) they arrive at ideas that are not consistent with the whole message of scripture.

I stumbled upon this site about The Miracle Channel.  I can’t say I agree with all of his criticism but I’m more than happy to send a little google juice his way.

No Comments