Saturday, June 30, 2007

10 C's: #4 Sabbath part a

Exodus 20:8-11 Observe the Sabbath day, to keep it holy. Work six days and do everything you need to do.
But the seventh day is a Sabbath to God, your God. Don't do any work - not you, nor your son, nor your daughter, nor your servant, nor your maid, nor your animals, not even the foreign guest visiting in your town.
For in six days God made Heaven, Earth, and sea, and everything in them; he rested on the seventh day. Therefore God blessed the Sabbath day; he set it apart as a holy day. (Message)

God sets the example in the creation. He makes the whole word in 6 days and then stops. I read this morning...

Genesis 2:3 God blessed the seventh day and made it holy because on it he ceased all the work that he had been doing in creation. (NET)

I like that the NET uses ceased instead of rested. it's not that God stopped because he was tired. The word has more than the idea of rest. in their note on Exodus 20:8 they inform us, "The word “Sabbath” is clearly connected to the verb שָׁבַת (shavat, “to cease, desist, rest”)." God stopped working on the creation, like a good artist. However, Jesus has been doing some work over the past 2 millenia. He is preparing a place for us in heaven, John 14:2, and that's real exciting if he only spent 7 days on this universe and has spent 2000 years on preparing rooms for us in heaven.
God adds an addendum to the command a few chapters later.

Exodus 31:13-14 "Say to the Israelites, 'You must observe my Sabbaths. This will be a sign between me and you for the generations to come, so you may know that I am the Lord, who makes you holy. "'Observe the Sabbath, because it is holy to you. Anyone who desecrates it must be put to death; whoever does any work on that day must be cut off from his people. (NIV)

We encounter yet another commandment with a death penalty. This was enforced during the wilderness wanderings in Numbers 15

30 "'But anyone who sins defiantly, whether native-born or foreigner, blasphemes the Lord and must be cut off from their people. 31 Because they have despised the Lord's word and broken his commands, they must surely be cut off; their guilt remains on them.'" 32 While the Israelites were in the wilderness, a man was found gathering wood on the Sabbath day. 33 Those who found him gathering wood brought him to Moses and Aaron and the whole assembly, 34 and they kept him in custody, because it was not clear what should be done to him. 35 Then the Lord said to Moses, "The man must die. The whole assembly must stone him outside the camp." 36 So the assembly took him outside the camp and stoned him to death, as the Lord commanded Moses. (TNIV)

Before the commandment was given, there was a foreshadowing of this in the manna collection, in Exodus 16:23-30

He told them, "This is what the Lord has said: 'Tomorrow is a day of complete rest, a holy Sabbath to the Lord. Bake what you want to bake, and boil what you want to boil, and everything left over set aside to be kept until morning.' "
So they set it aside until morning as Moses commanded, and it didn't smell or have any maggots in it.
"Eat it today," Moses said, "because today is a Sabbath to the Lord. Today you won't find any in the field.
For six days you may gather it, but on the seventh day, the Sabbath, there will be none."
Yet on the seventh day some of the people went out to gather, but they did not find any.
Then the Lord said to Moses, "How long will you refuse to keep My commands and instructions?
Understand that the Lord has given you the Sabbath; therefore on the sixth day He will give you two days' worth of bread. Each of you stay where you are; no one is to leave his place on the seventh day."
So the people rested on the seventh day. (HCSB)

to be continued...

Friday, June 29, 2007

drunken, naked, passed out Noah Genesis 9

There's this curious story after the Noah's flood story in Genesis 9.
20 Noah, a farmer, was the first to plant a vineyard. 21 He drank from its wine, got drunk and passed out, naked in his tent. 22 Ham, the father of Canaan, saw that his father was naked and told his two brothers who were outside the tent. 23 Shem and Japheth took a cloak, held it between them from their shoulders, walked backwards and covered their father's nakedness, keeping their faces turned away so they did not see their father's exposed body.24 When Noah woke up with his hangover, he learned what his youngest son had done. 25 He said, Cursed be Canaan! A slave of slaves, a slave to his brothers! 26 Blessed be God, the God of Shem, but Canaan shall be his slave. 27 God prosper Japheth, living spaciously in the tents of Shem. But Canaan shall be his slave. (MSG)
It is so curious that there are too many interpretations of it. I'm sure the insight lightbulb for me this afternoon isn't original, but I want to write it down somewhere. Some interpreters read into that Ham interacted sexually at some level, mentally or physically, with his vulnerable father. But today, since I'm reading large chunks at a time, I thought of the context of Adam and Eve in the garden who were innocent, naked and unashamed. (Gen. 2:25) But once they sinned, they were ashamed of their nakedness and hid and God clothed them (ch.3). It occurred to me that it must have been a very strong feeling of shame that even Adam's distant descendants still felt and still respected God's solution to such feeling. Ham however, seemed to have enjoyed his father's shame, an innovation in depravity so recently after the flood, a judgment on depravity, and tried to include his brothers in on the joke. They didn't join him and Ham's child was cursed by Noah.

update from this morning's reading:
in Genesis 27 Rebekah is preparing her son Jacob to steal his brother's blessing from his nearly blind and aged father.
11 “But Esau my brother is a hairy man,” Jacob protested to his mother Rebekah, “and I have smooth skin! 12 My father may touch me! Then he’ll think I’m mocking him and I’ll bring a curse on myself instead of a blessing.” 13 So his mother told him, “Any curse against you will fall on me, my son! Just obey me! Go and get them for me!” (NET)

So mocking one's father in the ancient near east is an action with very serious consequences, which is what Ham and Rebekah disregarded and Shem and Japheth did not.

Other thoughts on drunkeness at my series on college.

Wednesday, June 27, 2007


i was on vacation at home all week with my son. i thought i'd be blogging all week but the boy kept me busy. i still need to work on the 10 commandments, resuming with number 4, Sabbath. i've been turning it over and over in my mind and when i think i can write a post i realize i'd need a hundred posts. it's a big theme in the Bible. tomorrow, i'll be done with my 2nd 90 day read through the good book. i have a new order of books to try for the next 3 months. i read the first 3 Harry Potter books all week. i'm getting ready for the Deathly Hallows. Sabbath is good.

Tuesday, June 19, 2007

Is Snape Judas Iscariot in the Half-blood Prince?

update July 2009. Since the Half Blood Prince came to the theater, I've been getting several hits to this post. Understand this, he isn't. That's what makes Rowling such a great writer.
Original post....
There is a great discussion on whether Snape is actually good or bad at the Hogwarts Professor. Said Professor, John Granger, wrote an essay last year suggesting that Snape's murder of Dumbledore in the Half-blood Prince is an elaborate deception and that they were still in partnership. His latest post is about his reconsideration. I made a suggestion on the story trajectory modeled after the gospels. My comments are waiting moderation approval so they may never appear, hence I'm copying them here...

I don’t claim to be the sharpest tool in the shed, and I also acknowledge that I am out of my league. However, since no one knows the right answer until the DH appears I want to offer a cent or two. These theories on Snape have been very stimulating. In fact, I have treasured the good Snape theory since I read it here last year, in the non-blog format back then. Now that John Granger is reconsidering I am too. If John can, why can’t I?

I don’t know much about alchemy or Machiavelli or Magick or any other sources that Rowling derives ideas from. These are all good trails to pursue, but I thought the greatest betrayal story hasn’t been acknowledged lately in the Snape discussion. What if Snape’s story is inspired by Judas Iscariot? In the beginning of the HBP we see him in council with the enemy, having finally gotten fed up with the ever-forgiving, non-aspiring Messiah, the one who has power to take over but doesn’t. He is also fed up with not being included in the inner-circle of disciples, Peter, James and John.
The permutations can run out pretty far and I won’t do that work here, except that Peter/Harry is being groomed for the next head master job…

So if the Gospel story is the trajectory JKR is following then I understand Dumbledore telling his betrayer to do according to the plan. None of the disciples understood what Jesus meant when he sent off Judas, but Judas did. It is not unlike Christ for Dumbledore to pick someone who he knew would betray him. In DH I expect to see Harry in depression and doubt. I expect to see Dumbledore reappearing to Harry and crew with encouragement. I expect Snape to despair also and kill himself. I expect Harry to triumph over Voldemort, but don’t we all.

Not much new here, I expect, but another plot trajectory to play with some.
God is good

Saturday, June 16, 2007

the Gospel

great stuff at the Gospel Driven Life

The Gospel is glorious because it is not about what we do. It is not even a message that tells us to “ask Jesus to be your savior and you will be forgiven.” That is not the Gospel, it is a response to the Gospel. The Gospel is news about what Jesus has done. We subtly distort the Gospel when we make it about us. The Gospel is more than “God loves you as you are.” It is God saves you as you are.

The Gospel is news about Him not about us. It is the description of what he has done. We are the beneficiaries, but God is the One who has acted to save us. We should dwell often on his person and work and less on ourselves...
When this truth – the life and death of Jesus the Messiah – is no longer at the center of our lives and preaching and counseling, I am likely to create a caricature of God. I like to think of Gospel centrality as the Sun in the middle of the solar system – it is over 98% of the mass of the entire solar system, and its mass keeps all the planets in orbit. Shrink the centrality of the Gospel and the planets fall out of line. That means that all the good things of the Christian life are kept in line by the Gospel. If the Gospel is diminished in our hearts, there is bad fruit.

Shrink the cross and the empty tomb and we are drawn from godliness into moralism. We teach and bring constant exhortation to a better life but without hope. People do not live in faith, but in self-reliance...
Shrink the cross and my felt needs creep into the center of the stage. I cease to think clearly about what God sees as important -- sin and holiness and eternity. I think my felt needs are what matters.

Shrink the cross and we become religious intellectuals, doctrinally precise and defined, but without the warm and glorious humility of living in the grace of God.

Shrink the cross and all attempts at relevance become nothing but powerless platitudes, and religious or moral vanity.

Shrink the cross and we are drawn into sentimentality and the pursuit of good religious feelings...
Magnify the cross! With the cross dominating, we see the central issue to be our standing before God in his glorious holiness. We see that the central enemy is deep-seated sin and arrogance. We see the only power able to forgive and justify and put sin to death is the blood of Jesus applied to our lives in the power of the Spirit. We see the centrality of the local church, for which Jesus died. We see the necessity of Gospel power over religious sentiment or mysticism or how to’s.

The Gospel is about God and what he has done in order that we will be saved from wrath. It is not about our sense of purpose in life or our sense of meaning. It is not about our psychological problems – our “issues” as we say. It is about something far deeper – it is called sin. It is not about our needs – it is about our standing before the God who is the Creator and Judge of all. It is not a therapy, it is a blood sacrifice. It is not moral advice for the well meaning, it is resurrection of the dead.

Thursday, June 14, 2007

book report: Treasure of Khan by Clive Cussler

This is not the genre of reading I look for when I visit the local library. However, at a picnic I mentioned my reading about dictators, conquerors, and war, specifically, Genghis Khan. The host of the picnic had his memory stirred and recommended an adventure writer he greatly enjoyed, Clive Cussler. Subsequently I left the picnic with his copy of Treasure of Khan, which I dutifully read.

To what can I compare this novel? An Indiana Jones screenplay perhaps. It's not that I'm averse to the occasional thriller, but Clancy and Grisham are a notch or three above this work. There are interesting occupational details of pilots and divers that add an authentic feel, but this work is the equivalent of a cartoon, not even a soap opera and far short of literature. As far as cartoons go, though, this is one that exceeds. Literary cartoons occupy an important niche, light reading, better than television, time filler. As long as the reader adjusts expectations accordingly, this novel won't disappoint.

Wednesday, June 13, 2007

10C's #3: don't diminish God's name

Exodus 20:7 "You shall not take the name of the LORD your God in vain, for the LORD will not leave him unpunished who takes His name in vain. (NASB)

i've had a real hard time wrapping my brain around this one, and as i'll show, i'm not much worse off than the commentators. i consider my opinion no better or worse than theirs. a couple immediate observations.

1-the Lord's Prayer begins with the positive response to this commandment, "hallowed be your name"

2-the punishment is not pronounced on subsequent generations but on the offender. i think there is a rich vein to mine here on why the idolaters are punished to 3rd and 4th generations but the vanitizer/diminisher/devaluer is punished solely. but i'm not smart enough for that one. can someone compare and contrast this for me? i do think it negates arguments of God did things one way then changed later on. it seems he had restraint in the verse after the one He seems in our modern perspective less restrained.

so what's the "vain" word mean? i looked in some concrodance software and its not the same word as the one used in Ecclesiastes. Job uses it alot, so do the Psalmists, and somewhat in the prophets. what's the word mean?
here's one def

Meaning: emptiness, vanity

Origin: from an unused word

Usage: deceit(2), deceitful(1), deception(1), emptiness(2), empty(1), false(9), false visions(4), falsehood(7), lies(1), vain(18), vanity(3), worthless(4).

it doesn't seem like a good word. "vanity" isn't quite the same for today's speaker, but "worthless" works. don't treat God's name as worthless. OK. but what does that mean? it seems everyone has an opinion, and i'll share a few of them.

A-against syncretism

Of special interest is the use of the term in the third commandment in Exod 20:7 (par. Deut 5:11): NIV “You shall not misuse the name of the Lord your God” (more lit., “you shall not lift up . . . to falsehood” [aCö;ti alàø... aw“V-;l']). The traditional view has been that the command is a prohibition against using the Lord's name lightly, in anger, or in the swearing of oaths. The Israelites are commanded, however, to take their oaths in Yahweh's name (Deut 6:13; 10:20). And while there are no other prohibitions in the Pent. that would correspond to a light or unthinking use of the Lord's name, there are several warnings against using the Lord's name in giving false (rq,v&,) testimony (Exod 23:1; Lev 19:12). These data, together with the replacement of rq,v&, in Exod 20:16 with aw“v; in Deut 5:20 [17], make it tempting to regard the commandment as a prohibition only against the use of the Lord's name in giving false witness.While the evidence is impressive that this is most likely the primary sense, several have rightly cautioned against restricting the scope of the commandment since aw“v;, while in the same semantic field as rq,v&,, is not merely a synonym for it (Childs, Durham, Reiterer). The suggestion of von Rad and Mowinckel, that the term refers to evil magic, seems tenuous and has not been generally followed as being the primary sense. One particular suggestion is more attractive; because of the prohibition's location in the Decalogue, in juxtaposition to the first two commandments, which deal with false gods, and the fourth commandment, which has to do with worship, what is being forbidden may be syncretistic worship, i.e., the Lord's name being lifted up along with that of idol gods, or even in some way being attached to idols. (New International Dictionary of Old Testament Theology)

B- no magic use of God's name, which is somewhat syncretistic

third commandment. As the second commandment concerned the issue of exercising power over God, the third turns its attention to exercising God’s power over others. This commandment does not refer to blasphemy or foul language. Rather it is intended to prevent the exploitation of the name of Yahweh for magical purposes or hexing. It also continues the concerns of the second commandment in that someone’s name was believed to be intimately connected to that person’s being and essence. The giving of one’s name was an act of favor, trust and, in human terms, vulnerability. Israel was not to attempt to use Yahweh’s name in magical ways to manipulate him. The commandment was also intended to insure that the use of Yahweh’s name in oaths, vows and treaties was taken seriously. (IVP Bible Background Commentary)

C-but maybe it is blasphemy, i love it when a publisher has opposite opinions...

Blasphemy connotes a word or deed that directs insolence to the character of God, Christian truth or sacred things. In its purest form blasphemy is ‘a deliberate and direct attack upon the honor of God with intent to insult him’ (NCE 2, p. 606). A violation of the third commandment (Ex. 20:7; Dt. 5:11), blasphemy robs God of his majesty and holiness and thus is regarded by Scripture as a heinous sin.(IVP - New Dictionary of Theology)

D- taking oaths one never intends to keep of just plain old swearing or near swearing...

Taking Gods name ... in vain is forbidden. This means to swear by Gods name that a false statement is actually true. It could also include profanity, cursing, minced oaths, or swearing to a promise and failing to fulfill it.

William MacDonald; edited with introductions by Arthur Farstad, Believers Bible commentary: Old and New Testaments [computer file], electronic ed., Logos Library System, (Nashville: Thomas Nelson) 1997, c1995 by William MacDonald.

Taking the name of the Lord thy God in vain has to do with using God’s holy name for purposes other than worship. Also, Christians ought to shun minced oaths such as the use of Gee, Gosh, and Golly. (KJV Bible Commentary - Nelson)

E- all of the above

The third commandment concerns the sanctity of God’s name (see 3:14, 15). The revelation of God’s name, Yahweh, entailed some risk. If it was broadcast among the people there was more likelihood that people would not hold it in reverence. Use of God’s name in vain involved: (1) trivializing His name by regarding it as insignificant; (2) trying to use it to advance evil purposes by coaxing God to violate His character and purposes (one of the ways priests of false religions often used the names of their false gods); and even (3) using it in worship thoughtlessly. (Nelson Study Bible)

takes His name in vain. God’s name was a gift of grace to Israel. Not through an idol, but in the name, Israel had access to God in worship. God’s name is therefore to be revered. This command forbids the use of God’s name in false worship, for incantations or divination, as well as for attesting falsehood or speaking blasphemy (Deut. 28:58). Jesus taught His disciples to pray that God would hallow His name, and Jesus hallowed the Father’s name on the Cross (Matt. 6:9; John 12:27, 28). (New Geneva Study Bible)

The name of the LORD should not be misused, for His name and His character are inseparable. The name of God has been misused in magic, in substantiating truth through the use of oaths and in profane utterances. The Third Commandment deals not only with the use of God’s name, but with controlling one’s tongue as well. (Spirit Filled Life Study Bible)

In vain has the idea of “for nothing, uselessly, falsely” (Ex. 23:1). One use of the Lord’s name was in taking oaths, in which the speaker affirmed a statement by saying, “As the LORD lives” (that is, witnesses my words and will hold me accountable; see Lev. 19:12; 2 Sam. 2:27; Jer. 4:2). The Lord’s name includes His nature and reputation, which the Israelites were to guard, so as not to associate Him with any lie, pagan cursing, magic incantations, fortune-telling, or any other empty or insincere purpose. To take the Lord’s name “in vain” amounted to denying the reality of His existence or moral character. More than verbal profanity is prohibited here (see also Matt. 6:9; John 17:6; 2 Tim. 2:19). (Woman's Study Bible)

You shall not take the name of the Lord your God in vain, for the Lord will not hold guiltless anyone who takes his name in vain. (NET)

שָׁוְא (shav’, “vain”) describes “unreality.” The command prohibits use of the name for any idle, frivolous, or insincere purpose (S. R. Driver, Exodus, 196). This would include perjury, pagan incantations, or idle talk. The name is to be treated with reverence and respect because it is the name of the holy God. (NET notes)

i agree to most of these. the gosh and golly admonition is weak to me. but i think reflecting on God's name these ideas possible. the principle is simple and the application is myriad. as Moses got it negatively Jesus presented it positively. when i use God's name am i bringing glory to Him? if i'm not, i'm a 3rd commandment violator, and i haven't and i am. i am guilty, but i've been forgiven and Jesus has taken my punishment and covered my sins with his blood. Thank you Lord Jesus!

Monday, June 11, 2007

religion vs. gospel

great stuff from Mark Driscoll who writes...
Religion says, if I obey, God will love me. Gospel says, because God loves me, I can obey.

Religion has good people & bad people. Gospel has only repentant and unrepentant people.

Religion values a birth family. Gospel values a new birth.

Religion depends on what I do. Gospel depends on what Jesus has done.

Religion claims that sanctification justifies me. Gospel claims that justification enables sanctification.

Religion has the goal to get from God. Gospel has the goal to get God.

Religion sees hardships as punishment for sin. Gospel sees hardship as sanctified affliction.

Religion is about me. Gospel is about Jesus.

Religion believes appearing as a good person is the key. Gospel believes that being honest is the key.

Religion has an uncertainty of standing before God. Gospel has certainty based upon Jesus' work.

Religion sees Jesus as the means. Gospel sees Jesus as the end.

Religion ends in pride or despair. Gospel ends in humble joy.

Saturday, June 09, 2007

Armenian Genocide dot org

here's more info on the Armenian genocide committed by the Turks in WW1

some of the faqs include...

Who was responsible for the Armenian Genocide?
The decision to carry out a genocide against the Armenian people was made by the political party in power in the Ottoman Empire. This was the Committee of Union and Progress (CUP) (or Ittihad ve Terakki Jemiyeti), popularly known as the Young Turks. Three figures from the CUP controlled the government; Mehmet Talaat, Minister of the Interior in 1915 and Grand Vizier (Prime Minister) in 1917; Ismail Enver, Minister of War; Ahmed Jemal, Minister of the Marine and Military Governor of Syria. This Young Turk triumvirate relied on other members of the CUP appointed to high government posts and assigned to military commands to carry out the Armenian Genocide. In addition to the Ministry of War and the Ministry of the Interior, the Young Turks also relied on a newly-created secret outfit which they manned with convicts and irregular troops, called the Special Organization (Teshkilati Mahsusa). Its primary function was the carrying out of the mass slaughter of the deported Armenians. In charge of the Special Organization was Behaeddin Shakir, a medical doctor. Moreover, ideologists such as Zia Gokalp propagandized through the media on behalf of the CUP by promoting Pan-Turanism, the creation of a new empire stretching from Anatolia into Central Asia whose population would be exclusively Turkic. These concepts justified and popularized the secret CUP plans to liquidate the Armenians of the Ottoman Empire. The Young Turk conspirators, other leading figures of the wartime Ottoman government, members of the CUP Central Committee, and many provincial administrators responsible for atrocities against the Armenians were indicted for their crimes at the end of the war. The main culprits evaded justice by fleeing the country. Even so, they were tried in absentia and found guilty of capital crimes. The massacres, expulsions, and further mistreatment of the Armenians between 1920 and 1923 were carried by the Turkish Nationalists, who represented a new political movement opposed to the Young Turks, but who shared a common ideology of ethnic exclusivity.

How many people died in the Armenian Genocide?
It is estimated that one and a half million Armenians perished between 1915 and 1923. There were an estimated two million Armenians living in the Ottoman Empire on the eve of W.W.I. Well over a million were deported in 1915. Hundreds of thousands were butchered outright. Many others died of starvation, exhaustion, and epidemics which ravaged the concentration camps. Among the Armenians living along the periphery of the Ottoman Empire many at first escaped the fate of their countrymen in the central provinces of Turkey. Tens of thousands in the east fled to the Russian border to lead a precarious existence as refugees. The majority of the Armenians in Constantinople, the capital city, were spared deportation. In 1918, however, the Young Turk regime took the war into the Caucasus, where approximately 1,800,000 Armenians lived under Russian dominion. Ottoman forces advancing through East Armenia and Azerbaijan here too engaged in systematic massacres. The expulsions and massacres carried by the Nationalist Turks between 1920 and 1922 added tens of thousands of more victims. By 1923 the entire landmass of Asia Minor and historic West Armenia had been expunged of its Armenian population. The destruction of the Armenian communities in this part of the world was total.

in the world but not of it?

i've been a believer in Jesus since i was 5 years old. some things i thought were scripture quotes aren't. the principle is there, but not the proof text. i thought the Bible had a verse telling us in 7 words to be "in the world but not of it." but the reality is the principle is explained in a chapter, John 17 and a couple other places. Here's a link to see all those passages that bear this concept.

here's a nugget from John 17

6 I have revealed Your name to the men You gave Me from the world. They were Yours, You gave them to Me, and they have kept Your word. 7 Now they know that all things You have given to Me are from You, 8 because the words that You gave to Me, I have given to them. They have received them and have known for certain that I came from You. They have believed that You sent Me. 9 I pray for them. I am not praying for the world but for those You have given Me, because they are Yours. 10 All My things are Yours, and Yours are Mine, and I have been glorified in them.11 I am no longer in the world, but they are in the world, and I am coming to You. Holy Father, protect them by Your name that You have given Me, so that they may be one just as We are. 12 While I was with them I was protecting them by Your name that You have given Me. I guarded them and not one of them is lost, except the son of destruction, that the Scripture may be fulfilled. 13 Now I am coming to You, and I speak these things in the world so that they may have My joy completed in them. 14 I have given them Your word. The world hated them because they are not of the world, just as I am not of the world. 15 I am not praying that You take them out of the world, but that You protect them from the evil one. 16 They are not of the world, just as I am not of the world.17 Sanctify them by the truth; Your word is truth. 18 Just as You sent Me into the world, I also have sent them into the world. (HCSB)

we are in, but we are to expect hatred. for all the Christian persecution and the bloggers who point it out, it won't stop, till Jesus returns, when he'll make the persecutors drink blood. but they and we are on a mission. we are in the world but we are strangers and aliens here. our citizenship is in heaven. we are not to befriend the world. James 4:4 Adulteresses! Do you not know that friendship with the world is hostility toward God? So whoever wants to be the world's friend becomes God's enemy. (HCSB)
Being the humans we are, we come into church leaning one way or another. And because of our history we sometimes need to not be in the world at all. Sometimes we need to live in the safe culture of "not-world" which may not be the same as as heaven. and the church is called to make disciples but not scare away those who might become disciples. God loves the world, that's why he saved us. so we fumble around like drunks trying to love the world but not befriend it and help form heavenly citizens/disciples. and as the church rightly creates a distinct culture, it ghettoizes itself and tells itself how awful things are outside its walls and scares its children and worries parents...and it turns into itself. and some are constantly coming along, who have peered over the walls and say, hey, its not that bad and there's some really hurting people out there, let's carry them in. and when those rescued ones revive they wake with curses and foul odors and demands for more beer, which confirms the fears of all those who've grown to fear the world and they eject the rescued or tie him up in a straitjacket. so those rescuers set up medical tents outside of the walls. and they rescue many but don't make many new citizens either because once recovered the rescued return back to the world instead of joining the city.
so i think the church that is in but not of is a city on a hill, but one with low hedges instead of walls. neither side is a mystery to the other. it's easy to talk over a hedge, yet that hedge makes good neighbors. it divides gently. its still a perimeter. there are plenty of gates that swing open and close as neighbors come and go.

sorry this doesn't make much sense, but it helps me.
i'm slogging through understanding this 3rd commandment. i'm only just beginning to grasp it. hopefully i'll post the next 10 C's post soon.

Wednesday, June 06, 2007

D-Day 1944 june 6

D‐Day Landing

Operation Overlord was the greatest amphibious attack in history. Nearly 175,000 American, Canadian, and British troops landed in Normandy on D‐Day, 6 June 1944, supported by 6,000 aircraft and 6,000 naval vessels ranging in size from battleships to 32‐foot landing craft. The object of the attack was to win a beachhead in France in order to open a second front against Hitler's armies and to use the beachhead as a springboard for the liberation of France and Belgium, and the eventual conquest of Nazi Germany.

Planning began in earnest early in 1943. The critical need for the Allies was to gain surprise, because they would be taking the offensive with nine divisions, none armored, against an enemy with fifty‐five divisions in France, nine of them armored. Gen. Gerd von Rundstedt, commanding the German forces in the west, and Gen. Erwin Rommel, commanding the forces in France, assumed that the Allies would have to gain a major port in the initial assault, so they strengthened the “Atlantic Wall” around the French ports, especially Calais, which was on the direct line London‐Dover‐Calais‐Belgium‐Cologne‐Berlin. The Allied supreme commander, Gen. Dwight D. Eisenhower, achieved surprise by attacking straight south rather than east, and by going ashore in Normandy, where there were no significant ports. An elaborate and highly successful deception plan (Operation Fortitude) kept the German attention centered on Calais.

D‐Day was set for 5 June, but a storm that day precluded amphibious operations. At the height of the storm, at 0430 on 5 June, Eisenhower's weather expert predicted that it would soon ease off and that conditions would be acceptable. Eisenhower decided to go for it.

The attack consisted of division‐strength assaults on five beaches, two British (code‐named “Gold” and “Sword”), two American (“Omaha” and “Utah”), one Canadian (“Juno”), preceded by a night assault of three airborne divisions to protect the flanks (one British on the left and two American on the right).

The night operation on 5/6 June caused great confusion among both attackers and defenders. The American paratroopers were scattered over the countryside and very few managed to hook up with their units before daylight. But the Germans were confused by reports of paratroopers and gliders landing here, there, everywhere. Meanwhile, small groups of airborne troops destroyed bridges and gun emplacements, and captured crossroads and routes inland from Utah Beach.

At dawn, before the 0630 first‐wave attack, there was a tremendous air and sea bombardment, which was highly effective at all the beaches except Omaha, where most of the shells and bombs landed far inland. At Omaha, the first wave was decimated, the follow‐up waves badly pounded. Those troops still alive huddled against the seawall, pinned down by fierce German fire. They had expected support from amphibious tanks (Shermans supported by rubber skirts and equipped with a propeller), but at Omaha the tanks were launched too far out in too‐rough seas and thirty‐two of thirty‐four sank. At midmorning, Gen. Omar Bradley, commanding the U.S. First Army, contemplated withdrawing from the beach. But thanks to heroic action by individual soldiers, who led the way up the bluff, the crisis was overcome.

By nightfall, the Allies were ashore on a beachhead that stretched fifty‐five miles. The cost was some 4,900 casualties, half of them at Omaha. German losses were not calculated, but they must have been considerably higher. Hitler's Atlantic Wall, built at enormous expense, had not held up the Allied landings for even one day.

Monday, June 04, 2007

10C's; number 2, no idols, big blessings, part f

Exodus 20:6 but showing lovingkindness to thousands, to those who love Me and keep My commandments. (NASB)

now this is a promise to enjoy! this is in contrast to the punishment of the 3rd and 4th generation of idol worshipers. so now God contrasts the reward/privilege of those who obey him and worship him alone, lovingkindness/covenant faithfulness/steadfast love/mercy to thousands of generations. The NET Bible notes this "mercy" phrase,
Literally “doing loyal love” (עֹשֶׂה חֶסֶד, ’oseh khesed). The noun refers to God’s covenant loyalty, his faithful love to those who belong to him. These are members of the covenant, recipients of grace, the people of God, whom God will preserve and protect from evil and its effects.
I'm cruising through John's gospel right now and chapter 6 is a good place for knowing what God's will is so that this blessing can flow.

40 For this is the will of my Father, that everyone who looks on the Son and believes in him should have eternal life, and I will raise him up on the last day
47 Truly, truly, I say to you, whoever believes has eternal life.
51 I am the living bread that came down from heaven. If anyone eats of this bread, he will live forever. And the bread that I will give for the life of the world is my flesh. (ESV)

I'm thinking if I live forever, that's at least a couple thousand generations of love from my Father.
I'm also thinking the children of Israel were hard core idol worshipers but they occupied the promised land for 900 years (1451BC-587BC), left for a 70 year exile, then lived there for another 600 years (535BC-70AD), and left for an 1800 year exile. The first exile had alot to do with rejecting the law of Moses, including the idolatry, see Jeremiah 2, and the 2nd exile had everything to do with rejecting Jesus (Matthew 23:34-39), the only acceptable image of God (Philippians 2:6).
God makes it simple. Do I want to bless my family or curse it? Will i hold onto and worship the false gods in my life, the little household gods in my heart or in my driveway or my refrigerator, and bring misery to my family, or will i embrace the one true God and embrace Him fully, totally to the happiness of my family?

Sunday, June 03, 2007

book report - The Genius of Alexander the Great by Hammond

after reading about Ghengis Khan and Thermopylae where the Greek Spartans faced the Persian army and held them in check despite being outnumbered for several days and reading about the battles afterwards between Athens and Sparta I had to read about Alexander the Great, King of Macedonia and King of Asia. The biography by NGL Hammond, The Genius of Alexander the Great seemed to do the job. Obviously, from the title, we can guess that Hammond is a fan of AtG. He is as much a fan of AtG as Weatherford was of Ghengis. In the same way, this author made me wish AtG was my king. If your city surrendered to him, he didn't kill you. If your city resisted, he'd kill all the men and sell all the women and children into slavery, as the Greeks typically did. But that was only if he wanted to make an example in a new region. One abused city convinced the other cities to surrender. He had no tolerance for traitorous Greeks, even if their treachery was decades old. One city had caved in to the Persians and had committed some blasphemy by how they treated their temples. Persia had relocated them to Afghanistan. When Alexander found them, he killed them all. When he first crossed the Hellespont and defeated a Persian army, he had all the Greek mercenaries in the army killed in cold blood, all but 2,000 of the 20,000 who opposed him. I learned he was serious about his religion. He offered many sacrifices to the gods along the way, new and old. He didn't want to leave any neglected. He didn't try to change the norm for a region. He just wanted them to acknowledge him as king of Asia and send him tribute or supplies or soldiers. He stopped at the Indus River because it turned out not to be the end of the world as Aristotle predicted and his homeboys were homesick. He was injured frequently in battle. Arrows, missiles, swords, all took a toll on his body, but it was in Babylon where he met his end. Just before he launched his invasion into Arabia, he died of malaria. One mosquito can get past the body guards and armor of one of the most successful generals in history and do what no army or treachery could do. Truly our lives are but a breath.

Friday, June 01, 2007

top 10 home construction technologies 2007

PATH is the Partnership for Advancing Technology in Housing and is a neat source for what's new in building green and building smarter. here are their top 10 for 2007

1. Mold Resistant Gypsum-- No Mold--Come Hell or High Water
Imagine the worst. Now imagine walls that can survive the flood. Treated gypsum wallboard products resist mold because they won't absorb moisture as easily as typical gypsum board. The paperless surface does not support mold growth.

Solar water heater

2. Solar Water Heating-- Solar Power for Your Shower
We allow that harnessing energy from the sun to heat water is not new. Solar water heaters have been commercially available since the 1800s. But now more than ever, they're an environmentally sound way to reduce energy bills.

3. Recycled Concrete Substitutes and Aggregates-- Grey Concrete Goes Green
Byproducts of the industrialized world have found a better final resting place in alternative concrete aggregate. Recycled materials such as granulated coal ash, blast furnace slag and various solid wastes like fiberglass and granulated plastics can substitute for sand, gravel and stones. (Look, Mom! No mining!)

4. Combined Heat and Power (CHP)-- Make Your Power and Heat It Too
It's not just for isolationists anymore! Whether you want to be entirely "off the grid" or just supplement your utility power, CHP systems can supply electricity much more efficiently than power plants. Using fuel such as natural gas to produce heat and electricity simultaneously, a CHP system can act as a built-in emergency generator when the grid goes down. The electricity can power any household device such as lights and appliances, and the heat produced can provide water heating and/or space heating. Home-sized units range in capacity from about 1 kW to 6 kW and are about the size of a major appliance.

5. Horizontal Axis Washer/Dryer-- Save Energy, Water, Space and Time (But the Folding is Still on You)
The two-in-one washer/dryer runs automatically from wash to dry: no more throwing clothes from one machine to the other. The compact size makes it perfect for apartments and condominiums, and it costs less than two separate units. It runs quietly and requires no venting, so it can be installed almost anywhere. The high efficiency horizontal-axis washer reduces water and energy consumption, and the high RPM spin cycle means the dryer uses less energy to dry the clothes.

6. Hydrophilic, Impact-Resistant Windows-- Windows That do Windows! Hydrophilic, impact resistant window
Now you can get self-cleaning and glare-reducing windows that also reduce the risk of window failure during tornadoes and hurricanes. A window coating causes water to run off the glass surfaces like quicksilver, preventing permanent water spots and making the glazing easier to clean. And glass laminated with composites provides enough strength to allow windows to withstand high winds, projectiles, or even bullets.

7. Super-Sized (Vertical) ICFs--- Concrete Walls, Evolved
Vertical ICFs (Insulating Concrete Forms) have all the energy efficiency, strength and building speed benefits of conventional ICF walls, plus a bonus: they go up faster and easier because fewer pieces are assembled on site. The wall sections are sturdier than conventional ICF walls and require less bracing. Composed of two polystyrene panels held together by plastic or steel I-beams and filled with concrete, vertical ICF panels form straight, energy-efficient walls.

8. Induction Cooktops-- A Cool Way to Cook
Induction offers flexible, safe and energy-efficient cooking. Go from extremely low to extremely high settings and back again nearly instantly. The stovetop doesn't actually heat up or radiate heat from its surface because the heating elements under the ceramic-glass surface use electricity to produce a magnetic field that heats only the cooking container. Food heats much faster, which saves energy while pleasing hungry mobs. Induction cooking is about 90 percent energy efficient, while gas and electric are about 50 and 60 percent efficient, respectively.

GPS for land development

9. GPS for Land Development-- Simplify Your Site Work with Software Solutions
This satellite-controlled software simplifies site grading, therefore dramatically reducing labor and material costs. The software assists excavation machines to more efficiently and accurately cut and fill grade while also reducing the potential for soil erosion. It eliminates the need for grade stakes, while letting the operator know exactly where the machine is, and its relation to the final grade.

10. Permeable Pavers & Pavement-- Surfaces for All Seasons
Look closely for the environmental halo: rainwater seeps through these pavement systems and filters naturally through soil on its way to groundwater aquifers and surface waters. That means less unfiltered, nitrate-laden stormwater running off paved surfaces into drainage gutters. And since engineered curb and gutter storm drainage systems are costly to design and build, permeable pavement systems can mean lower construction costs for developers or municipalities.

HT: ronsblog

Lifestyle reviews: Barefoot running

why am i barefoot running?
i was born this way :-)
that excuse carries so many people's choices that i figured it could carry mine. i first described my choice in 2005 when i hoped to run a marathon and run 50 miles a week. i never hit 50 miles a week. i still want to run a marathon, maybe this year. and i want to run it barefoot. the NYT has an article about low impact marathon training that is encouraging. maybe i don't need to run 50 miles a week. this week i've run a 3 miler, three 4's, and a fast 2. i want to run five 5's a week, a marathon a week, as my baseline, which if i were shod, i probably would be doing now. but i don't want to rush my feet. running barefoot builds foot muscle more than anything and just like an intensive bicep workout everyday would make arms sore, running barefoot 5 days a week make my feet sore, but not calloused or blistered. they are still soft, so i felt if very well when i stepped on a sliver of glass and i stopped right away and wiped it off my foot. so there are risks of cuts but in shoes i always got blisters that hurt, so the pain aspect is not new. my cholesterol and blood pressure are doing very well though.
in summary
running: good
barefoot:better, cheaper, provokes conversation with strangers