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Archive for March, 2009

A couple of things I have learned as a dad

Posted by Chance on March 30, 2009

I’m hardly an expert on parenting; I’m learning as I go along.  But here are a couple of things that I have learned.

This isn’t really a lesson, but I didn’t realize until I had children what it was like to totally be responsible for another human being.  It is quite scary.  You have somebody whose whole life and safety depends on you for quite some time.  Now I understand why my parents worried about me so much in high school when I was out and about with friends.  It was their responsibility to make sure I live.

Also, taking care of my kids makes me view my relationship with God in a different way.  Sometimes God can seem to be a killjoy, full of all sorts of rules.  But I watch my son run around.  He has all these toys in the living room to play with, but does he want to play with those?  No.  He wants to play in the litter box, with sharp utensils, the knobs on the stove, etc….  We have a pantry full of food to feed him.  He wants to eat who-knows-what from the floor.

It sounds very similar to the Garden of Eden; God had all this good stuff to eat, but of course Adam and Eve want to eat from the forbidden tree.  In our lives today it can be the same thing, especially in the area of human sexuality.  In the same I may appear to be a mean guy who wants to prevent my son from having fun out in the middle of the street, God is looked upon as the mean guy who has all these rules concerning human sexuality.  In the same way I want to prevent my son from being hurt, God makes us deny our natural impulses at times to prevent us from being hurt emotionally, spiritually, and possibly physically.  Instead of looking at the great stuff God has planned for us, something only shared between husband and wife, society looks at God’s view of sex as a list of “cannots”.  Part of this is due to the church, but part of it is due to our human nature.

But even beyond that, we may wonder what God is doing, why we are going through something.  Christianity is trusting that God really does know best.  He’s not trying to make us miserable or ruin our fun; He knows what He is doing, even if it does cause pain.   In the same way, my son has to trust me, that I know, for the most part, what I’m doing (even if that is not always the case).

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Posted in Christianity | 1 Comment »

Why I believe Jesus is the only way

Posted by Chance on March 29, 2009

Christianity has the very politically incorrect belief that one must believe in Jesus and his sacrifice in order to be saved.  Many Christians, however, don’t hold this view.  They believe that good people of all faiths can go to heaven.

First of all, Jesus said he was the only way.  But, that isn’t enough for some Christians.

I want to point out that the belief is logically inconsistent.  If people could get to heaven just by being “good” (whatever that means), why would Jesus bother dying on the cross?

The reason Jesus was sacrificed in the first place was because no one is good enough to get to heaven on their own works. The purpose of Jesus’ sacrifice was to eradicate the whole idea of working your way into heaven.  So, if we are still getting into heaven by being a “good” person, then we are all back to square one.  We are treating Christ’s sacrifice as it it never happened.  Even in the Old Testament people didn’t get to heaven by being “good”, they had a system of sacrifices which pointed to the one True Sacrifice.  The OT code had stringent rules for behavior, but the sacrifices were always there with the assumption that the code would be broken.

Such a belief may make Christians appear to be arrogant, or even, make Christians be arrogant.  But Christians and non-Christians alike who truly understand this idea will see that it really is not that arrogant.  Isn’t it more arrogant to believe one is actually good enough to get into heaven?  For the Christian who truly understands the doctrine of grace, they will realize they have nothing of which to be arrogant.  It’s like saying you should be proud because you were drowning and had the presence of mind to reach for the life preserver thrown your way (and that analogy may imply too much effort on our part).  Or it is like saying you are hot stuff because you are a beggar who happens to know where the free food is.  As a Christian I often forget and think that my relationship with God depends on how good I am.  In reality, it is all about my dependence on Him, which results in a more righteous life.

In summary, the Bible points to Jesus being the way to the Father, through the teachings of Christ, his sacrifice, and the following epistles.  This belief may make Christians arrogant, but these Christians lose sight of the doctrine of grace.  It may make Christians appear arrogant, but that doesn’t undermine the veracity of the claim of Jesus being the only way.

Posted in Christianity | 13 Comments »

Should Michael Vick be reinstated?

Posted by Chance on March 26, 2009

Posted in Sports | 2 Comments »

Yet another U2 post: The albums ranked in order

Posted by Chance on March 25, 2009

An article on @U2.com ranks all the U2 albums, putting the most recent No Line on the Horizon dead last.  Interestingly enough, they rank War the #1 album (with songs like “Sunday Bloody Sunday” and “New Years Day”).

If I had to rate them off-hand according to my personal opinion, I would have:

1.  The Joshua Tree

2. Achtung Baby – a close second

3. How to Dismantle an Atomic Bomb

4. All that You Can’t Leave Behind ( in terms of U2’s career, more significant than the previous album, due to hits like “Beautiful Day”, “Stuck in a Moment…”, and “Elevation” that put them back on the map. )

5.  No Line on the Horizon

6. War

7. The Unforgettable Fire

8. Rattle and Hum

From that point they are all tied or I don’t have the album.

The ones I listen to on a regular basis are the last three, 3, 4, and 5.  The albums 6-8 are almost tied.

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The Joshua Tree, a turning point in my music collection and in my life

Posted by Chance on March 25, 2009

When I was in high school, I listened to some bad music, such as Nine Inch Nails and Tool.  I won’t touch that stuff anymore, I don’t really have a desire to listen to it because most of it is angry, and primarily, because they are blasphemous in their lyrics.

About a week or two before I was going off to college, I bought the The Joshua Tree by U2.  This event was significant for a couple of reasons.

For one, this album served as the turning point from listening to dark, angry music to listening to bands that were way more positive.  My music catalog has totally changed, and it really began with U2.  Also, The Joshua Tree served as a soundtrack for a big event in my life – going away to college and embarking on something new.  I listened to this album almost every time I drove home from college and back.

It seems that many times in my life a U2 album comes out during a significant period of my life.  All That You Can’t Leave Behind came out around the time I started dating my wife.  How to Dismantle an Atomic Bomb came out near the end of my last semester of school, as I was embarking on another exciting journey from college to the workforce.  No Line on the Horizon came out about a month after my daughter was born.  In many ways, U2 has produced the soundtrack of my life.

Posted in Music | Leave a Comment »

Clarification on a previous post

Posted by Chance on March 25, 2009

Just a clarification on me being a limited government conservative… I know that the past couple of Republican Presidents have not been small government, and I know many in the Republican party don’t even pretend to be at this point.

What I mean is that, when it comes to my political philosophy, my starting point is conservative, with the addition of being for limited government. Or, you could say I start out as a libertarian but hold conservative values.  In my previous post, I wasn’t really saying anything about the condition of the current state of conservatives, except to say they are not small government enough.  Many say that the original conservative movement started out as being for limited government, with people such as Barry Goldwater.  I don’t know for sure, I’m not that old.  All I know is what I am.

Posted in Politics | Leave a Comment »

Do Christians complain too much?

Posted by Chance on March 24, 2009

No doubt Christians are at odds with the modern day culture in America.  There are beliefs many Christians have that make them clash with other parts of society.

My question is this:  where is the balance between standing for what’s right, but not focusing on being right?

Christians can often be a grumpy lot.  We are often complaining about how gays and/or liberals are ruining America.  But does complaining about other people or worldly philosophies get in the way of our mission as Christians?

No doubt Christians should stand their ground with certain issues.  I’m not saying all Christians should water down their doctrine and say it doesn’t matter how you live you life, etc…   But instead of saying “gays are ruining America”, say “hey, I may not agree with your lifestyle, but Jesus loves you”, or just saying “Jesus loves you” and leave the lifestyle part to the Holy Spirit.    I just wonder if focusing on complaining about certain people and telling them how wrong they are can get in the way of telling about and showing others the love of Christ. I just wonder if grumbling about certain groups can get in the way of ministry, and it’s something I see a lot of in some Christian circles. But I see the trap of the more liberal brand of Christianity that adapts biblical morality to worldly morality and says “all that matters is that you are nice to people.”

Culture wars are inevitable sometimes.  In our current system, they happen in public schools.  But that is why I prefer a more decentralized school system operating on school choice.  I know some in conservative circles, and many in liberal circles, are not crazy about the idea.  But as long as we try a one-size-fits-all school system, cultural battles will rage, and neither side is happy.

This viewpoint may be attributed to my personality.  I tend to be a more Type B.  Sure, I’ll voice my opinion, but I want everyone to get along; I don’t like fights.  Maybe I’m letting my personality type shape my opinions.

That is why I want other people’s opinions.  I know I use “we” in this post referring to Christians, but that is because it is my primary audience for this particular post, though comments from others are welcome.

Do Christians complain too much about the current state of affairs?  Are most culture wars inevitable, or do Christians pick too many fights?

Posted in Christianity | Leave a Comment »

Don’t ever, ever use “Safe Delete” on Picasa

Posted by Chance on March 22, 2009

…In fact, maybe just avoid Picasa altogether.  I was importing photos from my camera using the “Safe Delete” – where only copied photos get deleted, and I canceled during the import.  My photos from my camera, mostly of my 1 month old, got deleted.  Apparently I’m not the only one with this problem.

Fortunately, someone in the Picasa forums pointed out a few different file recovery programs that work even on SD cards in a camera plugged into the computer.  There is a free one called PhotoRec that I was able to use to recover my photos.

In general, I am becoming less and less happy with Google products.  Their Picasa program loses photos, and their Google Maps program doesn’t even have the option to sort searches by distance from a starting point – something other map programs have had since the dawn of internet maps.  While I didn’t have any problems with Blogger, it seems to be a distant second behind WordPress.

I feel that either Google has their fingers in too many things, and therefore less likely to do anything well, or, they simply are starting to rely on their name instead of actual product quality.  To be fair though, they still have the best search engine of which I am aware.

Posted in Computers | Leave a Comment »

Thank you Bruno

Posted by Chance on March 20, 2009

This week I lost my cell phone at the Houston airport.  I thought it was good as gone.  Thankfully the nice ladies working at the Continental ticket desk let me use their phone to call my cell phone.  I guy answered, said he had already talked to my wife and boss, and he was trying to find me.  He described himself, said he would walk over to meet me to give me my phone back.  I offered to buy him something, like a coffee or drink or something, but he said it was not necessary.   Out of all the people that could have spotted my phone and picked it up, or just ignored it (like I probably would have done), I’m thankful that Bruno found it.

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About The Office

Posted by Chance on March 20, 2009

I like The Office; it’s one of the few sitcoms I don’t want to miss.  The main character, Michael Scott, played by Steve Carell, is the outrageous boss who always says inappropriate things, especially in the context of a boss-worker relationship.

I think the show is going through what I like to call the “Urkel effect.”  Michael has always been the center of the show, but it seems like the show is focusing less and less on the supporting cast.  The character is, for the most part, funny, but sometimes he is just annoying.  Last night’s episode seemed pretty bad in this sense.  A new VP visits the office, and Michael is his outrageous self, breaking one rule of civility and proper work relationships, one after the other.  He’s not just a goofball testing the boundaries of what is proper in the workplace, he is simply being a jerk.  After some time, seeing someone be a jerk isn’t funny.  Midway through the show, during a commercial break, I told my wife, “this show isn’t really funny.  I hope Michael gets fired.”

The great thing about The Office is it does a great job of juggling believable characters in believable situations with totally off-the-wall characters, like Michael and Dwight, who bring about hilarious or totally politically incorrect events.  The character Dwight is pure genius (his feelings get hurt, but they regenerate at twice the speed of a normal human).  However, the believability of the show can only be taken so far.  After some time, the viewer is left thinking, “Okay, there is no way this guy has not been fired, like, 5 years ago.”

Hopefully the show will pay more attention to the excellent supporting cast, but I don’t know if that will happen.  I think the writers have been struggling with what to do with Jim and Pam’s relationship, now that they are together and engaged.  Any story involving them seems somewhat forced, and other times there is little to do with them at all.  We don’t see the normal conversations and joking around that made us love the couple in the first place.

Spoiler Alert

At the end of the show Michael said “he quit”, but I don’t know if that means anything for the show or not.  I doubt he plans to leave.

Posted in TV | 2 Comments »