Thursday, July 22, 2004

Leaving for the airport in about half an hour. Managed to get about half a night's sleep, which I think is pretty good before taking an exciting trip. I hope I'm able to get some rest somewhere along the way. It's probably good that we'l get to Lviv in the evening, local time, Friday, as we'll be able to get rest shortly after we arrive.

Wednesday, July 21, 2004

Tell me if this makes you dizzy.

Tuesday, July 20, 2004

I keep feeling I should post something. I've gotten into a few controversies on other folks sites, but nothing new or noteworthy. Just stirring up some pretty old arguments.

Thurday morning I leave for Lviv for the prupose of teaching English classes and participating in Bible discussion groups with professional and academic Ukrainians. In preparation for this, our team had a meeting a couple of weeks ago with Dean Storelli who teaches people to teach ESL at Duke University. We got to learn about Stephen Krashen and some of the newish ideas regarding aquiring a second language. It was all enormously helpful and I look forward to telling my (andvanced level) students about what I learned.

The theme that the staff in Lviv picked for the week is "friends for a lifetime." I'm not sure what they are planning to do with that, but I found I had two books on my shelves on the subject of friendship, so I read them this past week.

The Friendship Factor is one I read about ten years ago but it was good to dust off and read again. I ws amazed at how much had stuck with me along the lines of "oh, THATS why I started doing that." It's a very practical and pragmatic book about how to cultivate, deepen and maintain friendships.

The other was Becoming Friends by Paul J Wadell. This is a more philosophical book by a Notre Dame educated Catholic. What really stood out was the chapter on Aelred of Rivaulx, a 12th century monk from Northumbia. Aelred studied the relaionships between the Cistercians at his monastery and decided there were three types of friendships. Carnal friends are those who are drawn together to participate in evil together, such as gossip or drunkenness. Worldly friends are those who hope to gain some advantage from their fiends. And Spiritual friends are thsoe who are joined due to their commonality in Christ. There's lots to explicate there, but you get the general idea.

I think its about time to head out to our last team meeting before we leave. Pray for us, if you would.

Sunday, July 18, 2004

My brother has taken it upon himself to make sure we are stocked with quality films at our house. We watched two that he sent us in the last two nights. Last night we watched Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid. A good fun flick. One thing I picked up. One of the unseen lawmen chasing the eponymous pair was called Laforce (sp?), the greatest lawman in the West who always wore a white straw hat. Anyone remember which movie referenced that?

Tonight we watched Network. If there was a better movie made in the 70's I'd like to know. It was an amazing job of keeping up a darkly humorous tone through a film on a relatively serious subject. The writing was absolutely masterful. I can't say much more in the spirit of the film without cussing, so I'll leave it at that.

Saturday, July 17, 2004

I have a new obsession. This site just puts up the last 20 or so images people posted to livejournal pages. Some degree of this will be unsafe for work/children, but that can't be predicted in any way. Just a weird way to see random pictures.

Friday, July 16, 2004

Breaking Chess news. Seriously. (Sorry, link apparently dead now.)
Ok, dumbed down version on ABC here.

Thursday, July 15, 2004

Somewhat amusing version of This Land. (not really for children)

Tuesday, July 13, 2004

Voting With Our Feet?

Just looking over these numbers, there's something I noticed. The states predicted to vote for Bush have gained eight electoral votes elative to the states predicted to go to Kerry. Just to complete that, the undecided ones have lost two. Are republican states better places to live? Do they just have more kids there?

On that last point, I remember seeing some analysis recently on the affect of abortion on voting. An ever larger number of aborted children since Roe v Wade would have been of voting age, and a disproportionate number were aborted in places that vote more often for the democrats. I guess it doesn't pay to kill off your voters.
Another entry in the Headline Hall of Fame.

Monday, July 12, 2004

Over on the "big Lutheran blog", as I'll call it for now, Josh et al have been trying to point out why they think Calvinism stinks and all of us should become Lutherans. At some point it got into views of politics and I mentioned in a comment (I don't even remember under which post, sorry) that I was completely ignorant of Lutheran views on politics and would love to hear something about them. Thus is was something of a surprise to me to see bubble to the top of my reading stack a volume I'd forgotten I had, God and Caesar, a collection published by Augsburg back in 1959. Apparently there had been some regular symposium on religion and politics at Valpo in the 50's, moderated by Princetonian Otto Piper.

Having gotten most of the way through this, and assuming that it represents both typical and well-expressed Lutheran views, I would have to say that they win on this front. The Calvinist concepts of positive law seem to me to fundamentally twist the attitudes of their adherents. Not that I wish to downplay the role of the law within the scripture or to endorse the Lutheran views of law and gospel, but the american Calinist tradition, through theology and historical situation, teaches that we have to create our own society and law embodied in a just state; and while that is certainly a noble sentiment, it seems rather different than what the NT teaches us about how to act as a follower of Jesus on this earth. As Hauerwas likes to say, the church doesn't need a politics, it IS a politics.

Friday, July 09, 2004

Here's a warning from the gvt that we should probably all heed.

Wednesday, July 07, 2004

From time to time I think about what I would like this blog to be, other than just getting me some practice writing. If I'm honest with myself, I realize that what I really want is legions of adoring fans. Thus I always feel a bit humbled when a post only gets comments from my wife and my mother. I want to see dozens of people writing in saying, "There was more wisdom in the second sentence of your post than in the last three generations of my family combined." Which means I want to attract flatterers with no sense of shame or honesty I suppose.

A couple of weeks ago I got invited to play a part in a VBS play. I had taken a drama class back in HS, but never got a part in a play. That's probably for the best, since I enjoy acting WAY too much. I don't need another narcissistic pursuit in my life.

Anyhow, the VBS play was based on two kids and a time machine. The particular day I was involved they were summoned to a courtroom to decide if Jesus was a prophet or a priest or a king. I was the bailiff, the formerly blind Bartimaeus. My friend Brian was the judge, and some others played Peter, John, and the widow from Nain (the witnesses). Brian's wife, Brenda, was running the show an told me to have as much fu as I could with my role. Brian told me the judge would be a cross between Shelby Foote and Freg Gwynne's character from My Cousin Vinny. I figured that gave me some license, so I went with something like a Scatman Crothers character. It seems I was a big hit with the kids. I guess that's just because I was loud and goofy. Probably the same reasons my wife keeps me around. Brian and Brenda and thier two boys, btw, are coming with me to L'viv in two weeks. Should be fun.

Friday, July 02, 2004

i wonder if there's much objective difference between web personality tests and horoscopes. For instance, I took this little one, and found myself smiling at the flattering results:

You are a WRCF--Wacky Rational Constructive Follower. This makes you Paul Begala. You are unflappable and largely unconcerned with others' reactions to you. You were not particularly interested in the results of this test, and probably took it only as a result of someone else asking you to.

You have a biting wit and intense powers of observation. No detail is lost on you, and your friends know it--relying on you to have the facts when others express only opinions. You are even-tempered, friendly, and educated. Foolish strangers may mistake your mildness for weakness--they will be surprised.

You entire approach to life is enviable. You will raise good kids

But surely everyone gets a flattering result, don't they? I suppose The Paul Begala thing bugs me a little, but at least we share a name.
Discovered an interesting blogger this week who has a nice post on a dear topic here. I suppose we all have our own distinctive ways of saying what Tim is saying, but it seems generally on the mark.